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Are Jehovah’s Witnesses Christians or a Cult?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
September 15, 2023 1:30 pm

Are Jehovah’s Witnesses Christians or a Cult?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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September 15, 2023 1:30 pm

Episode 1316 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

 CoreChristianity.com

Questions in this Episode

1. What does it look like to wait on the Lord?

2. Is it okay for little kids to take communion?

3. Does "Jacob I have loved, Esau I have hated" mean that Esau went to hell?

4. Does "by his stripes we are healed" in Isaiah 53 promise physical healing?

5. Are Jehovah's Witnesses Christians or a cult?

 

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Are Jehovah's Witnesses Christians or are they a cult? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi there.

Happy Friday. I'm Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. This is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us right now with your question. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Now we're also live right now on Instagram and YouTube. You can watch us on either one of those sites and you can send your question to Adriel that way as well. And of course, you can always email us anytime. Send your question to questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, here's a voicemail from one of our listeners.

This is Jim in Georgia. So, it sounds to me like this is a question about contentment and, you know, if somebody says, I'm just waiting on the Lord to act, but is idle and is not doing the things that they should be, there's a problem there. And yet, there are also situations where we aren't in control and we really are waiting on the Lord, trusting in Him. And I do think that part of that waiting looks like prayerful meditation on Scripture and going back to the Word of God and trusting in Him in that season of waiting. But there's a difference between waiting and idleness.

And so, I think we have to distinguish between those two things. If somebody is just sort of saying, oh, you know, God is going to provide and I'm just waiting on the Lord, but they're idle, well, that person should be rebuked. I mean, that person should be addressed in the way that the apostle Paul addressed the Thessalonians in 2 Thessalonians 3 verse 6.

Listen to what he said. We command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it. But with toil and labor, we worked night and day that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.

For even when we were with you, we would give you this command. If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you are walking in idleness, not busy at work, but busy bodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

Well, there it is right there. And so, I mean, if the concern is, you know, man, there are people who are just saying, I'm waiting on the Lord, and they're not being proactive, they're not working, yeah, that is a real issue, laziness. But how many of us, you know, are in situations where we're waiting on the Lord, and a part of, I think, that faithful waiting on the Lord is trusting in Him, and faith is built up by the Word of God, and so continuing to study the scriptures, to read the scriptures as we look to the Lord and patiently wait for Him to intervene, whatever the situation is where we need Him.

And so I appreciate that question, and Bill, I don't know if you have anything to add. I just have a follow-up for you, an application question about that, and I know we have a lot of single listeners, or single again listeners, to this program. When I was single, and I was single until I was 39 actually, and when I was single, I had a lot of single friends that would say, I'm just waiting on the Lord to provide me a spouse. And sometimes I felt like they were, especially with some of my FEMA friends, they were waiting for God to sort of drop Prince Charming through the ceiling instead of being proactive, and I'm wondering how you would address that.

Sure, I mean, in the same way, right? I mean, we can say, I'm just kind of waiting on the Lord, but I'm not engaged or pursuing this, you know, in any way. And yeah, sometimes, I mean, so they're specifically thinking about relationships, I think people can have maybe this idea or this expectation that, you know, they're supposed to be this person. It just sort of descends from the heavens, or there's going to be some shining light on your future spouse, and you're going to hear the voice of God saying, you know, there it is, just ordinarily not how it works. Now, of course, when I first saw my wife, I was, you know, the choir of angels, and there was a light from heaven, and so, but it doesn't work like that for everyone, and so, yeah, I'm with you, Bill. I had the light from heaven thing, too, just to let you know. And an audible voice.

Sorry to the rest of you who didn't get that, but it's just special, so. Okay, this is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you on this Friday. Here's our phone number. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life doctrine, theology, whatever, we'd love to talk to you. Here's the number, 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Barney calling in from Stillwater, Oklahoma. Barney, what's your question for Adriel? Well, I've been a Christian for 41 years, and I'm an elder at my church, and every time I give communion, it really bothers me, but it says in 1 Corinthians chapter 11, examine yourself.

How can a two-year-old, three-year-old examine themselves? And the domination I go to, they let these little kids take communion. Hey Barney, excellent, excellent question. First, and praise God for 41 years of walking with Jesus. May the Lord give you many more years of faithfully walking with Christ, and I thank you for your service to Christ's church as an elder. So the question you bring up has to do with what's called pedo communion, infant communion, and, you know, the tradition that I'm a part of, children are required to make a profession of faith prior to taking the Lord's Supper, prior to participating in the sacrament of Holy Communion, in part because of that exhortation that's given in 1 Corinthians chapter 11. You know, Paul makes it very clear there. He says in in verse 27, whoever therefore eats of the bread or drinks of the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. And there's some debate about what that means there, discerning the body. Is that referring to the bread in particular? Is that referring to the body as in the church gathered together there? Is it kind of a both-and? But yeah, I think, right, children partaking of the Lord's Supper prior to making a profession of faith, I think that's an issue.

Now, how, you know, what does that look like? There are some traditions that say, well, we got to wait quite a while. We really want to make sure that they totally understand everything and that they've really just, you know, and so you have people not taking the Lord's Supper until they're much older. I think that young kids who make a profession of faith, who demonstrate that they understand the basics of, you know, what's taking place in the Lord's Supper, that this is a sign and seal of the gospel, that we're partaking of bread and wine as these holy signs that point us to the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and through which we receive by faith the body and blood of Jesus Christ. And so they're, you know, there's an there, you know, there's going to be some debate, there's going to be some debate there, but it would also make me uncomfortable if there was, you know, a two-year-old taking communion, because it's not just this, it's not just this cute thing that we do as a church. It's something where we are called as Christians, as Paul says there in First Corinthians chapter 11, to examine ourselves. And so maybe as an elder, it's something that you can bring up with the rest of the elder board.

Is that something that you've done before, Barney? There, it's a small church, so... No, but you know, it's, I don't know if I can say the denomination, I won't say it, but I've gone to many of this denomination, they're all the same. I mean, a two-year-old, they let take communion, and I'm like, that kid doesn't even know, you know what I'm saying? Examine yourself.

He can't examine himself yet. Yeah, yeah, well, and like, you know, there are other Christian traditions where, you know, that this is a practice, but generally speaking, in Protestant churches, this is not something that was practiced by Protestant churches, and the church in the West in particular. And so, yeah, you know, it's worth again bringing it up and maybe having that discussion some more, looking at that text in First Corinthians.

And of course, those who embrace this view have an interpretation of that passage, and I think that's where you have to do the work and say, okay, is that the right way of looking at that text, or are we doing something wrong here? And so, again, God bless you, brother, and keep pursuing the Lord, and may the Lord strengthen you day by day in Christ. Amen. Hey, Barney, thanks so much for your call, for listening to Core Christianity. Great counsel, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Let's go to Dan, who is in St. Louis, Missouri. Dan, what's your question for Adriel? My question is, I know Jacob became Israel, but what did God mean when he said that he hated Esau but loved Jacob? I mean, like, did Esau go to hell when he died, or how is that interpreted or anything?

Really, really a good question. So there are two texts to really look at here. You have one in the Minor Prophets, Malachi, and so that would be the first text to consider, and then also the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 9 brings up that very text in Malachi chapter 1. So let me just open up to Malachi really quickly, and so there are a couple of ways of thinking about this.

First is in Malachi chapter 1, it seems like the focus is in particular on the Edomites. God talking about his particular love for Israel, Malachi chapter 1 verse 2, I have loved you, says the Lord, but you say, How have you loved us? Is not Esau Jacob's brother declared to the Lord? Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated.

I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to the jackals of the desert. If Edom says, We are shattered, but we will rebuild the ruins, the Lord of hosts says, They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called the wicked country and the people with whom the Lord is angry forever. Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel. And so here, look, the focus here, and also I would say in Romans chapter 9, is God setting his particular love upon his covenant people and distinguishing there through his sovereign choice. Now when you look at how the apostle Paul unpacked this scene in Romans chapter 9, he brings this story up because Jesus came into the world and so many of his own people rejected him. And Paul says, you know, this is heartbreaking for me.

I wish that I was accursed so that they might be saved. How could the the the covenant people reject the Messiah? And then he says this, this is Romans chapter 9 verse 6, But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring. But through Isaac shall your offspring be named. This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said about, This time next year I will return and Sarah shall have a son, and not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad, in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls, she was told, The older will serve the younger as it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated. And so we are getting a picture here of God's sovereign choice, the doctrine of election. You also know when you read these stories that Esau was responsible for the things that he did. I mean it was his sin, his rebellion, his giving up his birthright for a plate of stew, that was on him. And yet somehow God was mysteriously working on all of these things, and it was through Jacob that the promise would be carried out. And so that's where we see God's sovereign choice, the fact that God is king.

That makes us uncomfortable, many of us. And that's why Paul goes on to say in that text, verse 19, What will we say then? Why does he still find fault? Who can resist his will? And how does Paul respond? He knows that that's going to be our objection. He says, But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? The problem today is we have too high a view of ourselves and not a high enough view of God, the sovereign king.

And that's what's exhibited for us in these texts, in particular in Romans chapter 9. Hey, thanks for that question, Dan. May the Lord bless you.

Just what you said reminds me, there's a new song from the group Mercy Me. The title is, Who Am I Not to Worship You? Because so often, you know, we do forget that God is God and we are not, right?

Yeah. Yeah, I think it was the old Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, who says, you know, we love God in his workshop when he's creating the stars and the planets and so forth, you know, painting the sunsets. We love that. We love God the creator. But the moment God sits on his throne, we get upset.

We stand up and that's my seat. You know, I'm the one who's in control. The idea of a sovereign God makes us uneasy, but it should be really a comfort in knowing that God is the Lord and that we can trust him. Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open. You can call us for the next 10 minutes or so with your question about the Bible or the Christian life. Here's the number, 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Just a reminder, we are live on both Instagram and YouTube today. So if you want to watch Adriel live in the studio, see what kind of cool shirt he's wearing today, now's your opportunity.

And you can send him your question through YouTube or Instagram as well. Let's go to Arlene in Nebraska. Arlene, what's your question for Adriel? I have had just a question over the years. In Isaiah 53, 5, the Bible, Isaiah is telling us about Christ's suffering. It says, He was bruised for our iniquities and the chastisement for our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed. So often in the past few years I've heard that ministers have commented that the phrase, by his stripes we are healed, refers to our own physical healing, and we can depend on that. However, I've always thought that it referred to his punishment for our sins, and just thought I would ask for maybe a little more clarification.

Arlene, thank you for that question. Such a beautiful text, Isaiah 53, one of those one of those passages that clearly exhibits the gospel, the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. It's an amazing prophecy. If you've never read Isaiah 53, read it. And your question specifically, the healing that's being spoken of there, what specifically are we thinking about? Because you're right, some preachers will say, by his wounds we are healed.

And it's sort of a name it and claim it kind of, you know, so if you have this disease you need to plead the wounds of Christ so that you might be healed. The focus even in Isaiah 53 though is on the forgiveness of sins. That's the point is that justification that God gives to us, that's the main thing. And even in the gospels as Jesus was performing his healing ministry, it was always to lead to the really the greater miracle which was the forgiveness of sins and justification. You think of the individual in Mark's gospel, for example, who was let down through the roof of the house and everybody sees, you know, he's a paralytic, and the first thing Jesus says is, son your sins are forgiven.

And everybody's, they're thinking, wait, you know, we wanted you to heal the guy. And, you know, the Pharisees are thinking, you know, who is this that he tells people that their sins are forgiven? And then Jesus says, okay, which is more difficult to say, your sins are forgiven or rise take up your bed and walk, but so that you might be healed, so that you might know that I have the power to forgive sins.

I'm going to heal this guy, rise take up your bed and walk, and he's healed. But the physical healing served the greater purpose of confirming that spiritual healing and restoration, the forgiveness of sins. And so that needs to be the focus, I would say, even here in Isaiah 53. Now there is a text in Matthew chapter 8 verse 17 where this passage is applied to the healings that Jesus was performing. Matthew chapter 8, back in verse 14, when Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever, and he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve them. That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with the word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, he took our illnesses and bore our diseases. And so there is a way in which this played out during Jesus's earthly ministry, and of course we do believe that Christ can provide physical healing, miraculous healing today, but we don't want to be presumptuous and say, well, based on that passage we should just always be healed if we asked for it. No, but we can say based on that passage that when we go to God seeking His forgiveness and His grace, it's there, and we can trust that we are indeed forgiven because, because with His wounds we are healed.

Thank you for your question, Arlene. And of course you've talked about this before, the ultimate physical healing will occur when we are in glory with Christ. That's right, we do have that to look forward to. Our bodies are going to be restored.

We do look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come through the resurrection of Jesus. Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We have this wonderful offer we want to tell you about if you're a parent or a grandparent. This is absolutely free. It's a group of songs that you can sing with your kids that really focus on God's Word.

As Bill said, this is a free resource. It's a download over at corechristianity.com forward slash radio, and the resource is called Ten Songs to Sing as a Family. It's going to give you ten hymns or songs that you can sing together with your family that are full of rich theology, that are going to direct your eyes to Jesus through song, and what a great way to have conversations about the Lord and to learn good doctrine through solid songs, and so get a hold of this resource. Again, it's called Ten Songs to Sing as a Family.

Once again, it's a free download. We'd encourage you to go to our website, browse around, check out some of our other free resources, and if you feel that God might be prompting you to make a gift to Core Christianity, we are listener supported. We count on people just like you to make gifts to keep us on the air, so we would ask you to make that something that would be a matter of prayer for you. This is Core Christianity, and we do receive voicemails here at the Core, and here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Ryan. My question is about the Jehovah Witnesses. I just didn't know if they are actual like a Christian denomination or are they just something else. I just wasn't sure how that worked. Thank you.

Yeah, thank you. Tragically, Jehovah's Witnesses are not a Christian denomination. It's the same with the Mormons as well, and I know that that offends people, you know, when you say that some people, you know, in particular those who, you know, are part of the LDS Church, and with Jehovah's Witnesses as well, but no, they wouldn't be considered a part of, within the bounds of Orthodox Christianity, because they reject Core Christianity. I mean, really what we're about on this broadcast, they reject the person of Christ and his work. They misunderstand the Gospel. They misunderstand the Godhead, who God is. They reject the doctrine of the Trinity. I'm talking here specifically, well, really both of them, but thinking about your question about Jehovah's Witnesses, they reject the doctrine of the Trinity, so they don't believe that Jesus is God.

They don't believe in the deity of Christ. They really get the Gospel all confused, and this is at the heart of the great apostasy that the Bible talks about. When John talked about the spirit of the Antichrist that was in the world already, he made it very clear that what one of Satan's main tactics right now is to confuse people about the person of Christ and his work. John says in 1 John 4, Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the spirit of God. Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you've heard was coming and now is in the world already, and the focus there specifically is on Christ's person and work has come. Well, what did Jesus come to do? He came to put away our sins, but if we reject the deity of Christ, if Jesus was just a creature, a mortal man, we might say he was elevated. He might have had some kind of divine status even though he wasn't equal with the Father, which is what Jehovah's Witnesses will say, but what we do is we undermine the very Gospel because it's only the eternal Son of God, the Infinite One, who can make perfect satisfaction for our sins. And so in rejecting the person of Christ, they destroy the Gospel, and it's tragic because there are so many people that are caught up in these heresies, and they go around knocking on doors.

They're told exactly what to say and how to say it. They kind of have a script that they're going off of, and so I would say pray for your Jehovah's Witnesses friends and neighbors that they might come to know Jesus through a true understanding of his word. God bless. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, go to corechristianity.com forward slash radio, or you can call us at 1-833-843-2673.

That's 833-THE-CORE. When you contact us, let us know how we can be praying for you, and be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-07 17:32:35 / 2023-10-07 17:42:39 / 10

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