Identity and Pride

Recently I’ve been following some debates between a Christian and an elder in the Black Hebrew Israelite movement. (They prefer to be referred to simply as Hebrew Israelites, but the word Black is important to help identify this particular movement in case you’re debatenot familiar with it.) Within the movement are a number of sects which vary widely in doctrine; from somewhat conservative to extremely violent, and everything in between. (Here is a discussion about this movement for any who are interested. And here are the debates: Debate One, Debate Two.)

In learning more about this movement and watching the debates, it’s easy to recognize Continue reading

The Deep Claws of the Cults

I realize it’s been some time since I updated the series on the Jehovah’s Witnesses. But don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten about it. Being a particularly hot summer, my brain fog has been especially bad, which prevents me from putting in the long periods of time and attention needed to construct longer and more complicated posts. But it’s still on my mind and I do plan to continue with the next section in the near future.

In the meantime, I wanted to touch on the general issue of cults, and particularly the tremendous grip they have on their victims. People who are born and raised in cults are especially entrenched because they’ve been saturated in cult life from their very earliest memories. Individuals who are drawn in as adults may not be quite as deeply indoctrinated, but are still very attached to their new found sense of community and security.

Now, when I talk about cults, I’m not talking about the occult in particular. I’m referring to religious groups that claim to be “true Christianity” while rejecting orthodox historic Christian doctrine and replacing it with any number of “new” teachings. Continue reading

Witnessing to the Witnesses (Part 2)

Part 2
In Part 1 of Witnessing to the Witnesses we looked at a number of fairly broad topics relating to their beliefs, how, and why we as Christians should be witnessing to them whenever the opportunity presents itself. Now let’s dig into some more specific topics of ministry and doctrine.

JWs firmly believe that members of what they call “Christendom”  (that means us “apostate  Christians”) don’t proclaim the name of the one true God, Jehovah. They simply refuse to accept that Christians love, proclaim and worship YHWH, whose name we usually refer to as Yahweh, or Jehovah. Showing  and explaining to them that they have been instructed incorrectly on this is very important because it is a core (and false) principle of their foundations. Though, don’t be surprised if they choose to ignore what you say because of their fierce allegiance to all that the Watchtower teaches them. Many of them actually think that the Watchtower knows what you believe better than you do. They’ve been told they’ve got some kind of edge on Christians because of their legalistic views on the issue. If your understanding of the tetragrammaton is limited I recommend doing a little study now. It’s an interesting study that will really help you in your discussions. It is one of the primary points that they try to use as “proof” that they are right and you are wrong. It is sad that many churches don’t teach more detail on this because it’s a fascinating and wonderful subject. Continue reading

Witnessing to the Witnesses (Part 1)

Tips to help Christians witness to their JW neighbours

It’s Saturday morning. Maybe you’ve slept in after a long hard week, and had a relaxing slow start to the day. You’ve had breakfast, played with the kids, maybe read the paper or checked some social media updates. The house, yard, etc. need some tending to after the busy week, and you’re just getting geared up for it. Then you hear it.

The knock on the door.

You peek out the window to find two nicely dressed individuals with books and a book bag in hand, and eager expressions on their smiling faces. It’s the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and they’re here to tell you this Saturday morning all about the kingdom. (To be fair, it could also be Mormons, but for this blog post let’s focus on the JW’s). Oh boy. What to do?

I think for most of us, the first emotion we experience at this point is that of annoyance. They always seem to show up when you’re not prepared and don’t really want to be talking with them. There are easy ways to get rid of them. Continue reading

Planning Your Own Funeral

Having worked at a church for nearly five years, I’ve been involved in the planning of quite a few funerals. I’ve witnessed the overwhelmed confusion of grieving family members who are left with the task of choosing what Scriptures should be read, which hymns or songs should be sung, how many people should speak, what kind of musicians should play, what bulletin cover should be used, where donations should go, etc, etc. Their world has just been turned upside down and they are just trying to get through the day. Some find this planning process to be a healthy part of grieving. But many others find it a very painful, difficult task, and often end up just telling the pastor or elder to make the choices for them.

When you witness this often enough, you can’t help but start thinking of what you might plan for your own funeral so that your own loved ones won’t have to take on that burden. Some of the more elderly ladies at that church have already submitted their choices for when they go. I love that idea. Continue reading