Saturday, April 11, 2009

Theology Matters: Born Again in the Watch Tower

Once again, our local Jehovah's Witnesses stopped by to hand me another tract. The April 1,2009 issue is about "Born Again: What Does It Mean?" What is interesting about this issue is not how much they get wrong, but that they actually see something many Evangelicals miss.

On page 6 the section is titled "Is It a Command?" This is a great question. How often have we heard the Billy Graham style of preaching in which we are basically commanded to go get "born-again"? Yet even the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society sees this error. Within this section the authors wrote,
A closer look at that phrase in its original language shows that it is not rendered in the imperative mood, or in the form of a command. Rather, the phrase is rendered in the form of a statement. In other words, when Jesus said you must be "born again," He was stating a fact, not giving a command.
Although, one hardly needs to look at the original language. Jesus is describing a truth that must take place for a man to see the Kingdom of God.

Yet even the Watch Tower denies the clear Biblical teaching about this subject. After agreeing that God must do this act, they take away with one hand what is apparently given with the other. Under the section "How Does It Take Place?: A Twofold Process", the article states,
First, a person repents of his sins, turns away from a wrong course, dedicates his life to Jehovah to worship and serve Him, and makes his dedication public by water baptism.
Now how does this differ from Billy Graham or much of the Evangelicalism that this article seems to be responding to? It doesn't. It is still in the power of man to choose to be born again by obeying within his own power.

The contradiction is glaring since the tract spends much time explaining how God must adopt you first before you may do the requirements that gets you adopted and born again. Yet here we are told what a man must do to be adopted or born again.

The rest of the articles go of into la la land. I am reminded that theology matters. Jehovah's Witnesses prey on unsuspecting members of our churches, who are not theologically trained on any level. How many are we losing to the cults and other -isms simply because we do not do what Jesus and His Apostles command. Losing Weight for Jesus simply won't prepare a man against this kind of proselytizing.

If we are not preparing our members against false religions, perhaps we are not preaching the Gospel in a fashion that brings about true conversion. Just a thought.

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