Why I Left The Jehovah’s Witnesses (3): Four False Doctrines

By Fred Holthouser

To further show why I left this false organization, the New World Society or Jehovah’s Witnesses, I would like to take you to four of their main teachings. I will show from the Bible that what we were forced to teach is not found in the Bible, the way that is taught by the Witnesses, not even in their own Bible in most cases. We call on all honest-hearted people to open their minds and look at what is being taught by the Witnesses. Compare that to what is taught in the word of God and let God be found true though every man be found a liar (Rom. 3:4).

When The Kingdom Began

That the kingdom of God was not established in the year 1914 as the Witnesses claim, is proven by Acts 2:1-4. The Bible teaches that the kingdom was established on the day of Pentecost about the year 33 A.D. Also Mark 9:1 tells us that some of the people standing there would be alive to see the kingdom come with power. Now one of two things has happened: either the kingdom was set up during the lifetime of these people or else we have some awfully old people walking around on this earth somewhere. In Revelation 1:9, John told us that he was in the kingdom of God’s dear Son. How could he be in something unless it was already in existence when John wrote the book of Revelation and said he was in the kingdom. You cannot be in something that does not exist. It must be there for you to be in it. It only takes one false prophecy to make one a false prophet and it takes only one false teaching to make a false teacher. The problem is nothing new, for false teachers were at work in the days of the apostles (2 Pet. 2:1, 13).

Witness Baptism vs. Bible Baptism

The Witnesses doctrine of baptism is just like circumcision as given to Abraham, an outward sign to the people that he was doing the will of God. But what they do not look at and do not teach the people is that Abraham was doing the will of God before the act of circumcision was given to him. To a Witness the act of baptism is a dedication that from that day forth you are ready to devote your life in service to Jehovah. but they put no emphasis on forgiveness of sins through Christ’s blood in baptism (Acts 2:38). What they really mean is from that day forward you have become a slave to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society and that you are never sure of being saved. Your only hope is that the harder you work in selling their books, magazines, and Bibles, the more sure the maybe becomes that you will be hid in the day of God’s great wrath (see Let God Be True, pp. 294-303). They do not teach the assurance of forgiveness in Christ’s blood at the point of baptism, but the maybe of a physical salvation at some future time in a material kingdom.

When I first joined the Witnesses, we were required to study two of their publications before we could be considered as a candidate for baptism. The two books were Let God Be True and This Means Everlasting Life. Just as they have changed everything else, they have also changed the two books that are required study before a person can become a candidate for baptism. Now after you have studied the two books and want to be baptized, you must wait for one of their assemblies to take place before being immersed for a dedication, which is sometimes six months away. That is why you read in the papers that so many Witnesses were baptized at their local assemblies. Some of these people have been waiting six months for their baptism. In every case I can read about in the Bible, the person that had made the good confession of faith was baptized the same hour. Examples of this are the conversion of Cornelius in the tenth chapter of Acts and the Ethiopian eunuch who was immediately baptized by Philip in Acts 8:38. Now all of these baptisms were not as the Witnesses claim, but were done for the remission of the sins as Peter said in Acts 2:38. There are a lot more examples that could be given, but I think all honest-hearted people will get the point.

I would like to tell what the Bible says that we are to do in order to obey the gospel and be baptized in obedience to the plan of salvation. This does not include the story of any of man’s books. The Bible says we must hear the word of God (Rom. 10:17), belive it is the word of God (Jn. 4:42), repent of our sins (Mk. 10:32), then be buried with our Lord in the watery grave of baptism and be raised to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4). All of this can be done in just a short period of time; then we must grow in the Christian graces as found in 2 Peter 1:4-8. After all this, we must remain faithful the rest of our lives; Jesus warned in Matthew 24:13 that the love of some will grow cold. Now does the teaching of these Scriptures sound like what the Witnesses teach on the subject of baptism? Why will not more people believe the word of God instead of a group of men in New York? Believe what the Bible says and not what any false religious group has to say!

No Torment In A Burning Hell?

One of the Witnesses’ basic doctrines is that there is no burning hell into which the wicked will go after the day of judgment. They use the Hebrew word “sheol” which is in the Old Testament sixty-five times. Thirty-one times it is translated “hell,” thirty-one times “grave,” and three times “pit.” One Greek word from which we get our word “hell” in the King James Version Bible is “hades.” It simply means the place of disembodied spirits. Some words are translated and some are transliterated. In the latter case, a foreign word is lifted out of the original language and placed over in the English letter by letter, such as “hades.” Other words such as “tartarus” and “gehenna” have been translated to give them their actual meaning as “hell,” but the Witnesses teach very little about these words as their standby is “sheol.” Again you can look at their own writings and see that what they teach on this subject is not what the Bible teaches. The word of God is what is going to save us or condemn us, not any man-made organization, no matter what they claim to the contrary. Their book Let God Be True, (pp. 88-89), talks of hell being a place of rest in hope, or, as they put it, we are unconscious and just like the dog Rover – when you are dead you are dead all over.

But look at what the Bible has to say on this subject. In Mark 9:43-48 Jesus says seven times that the fire is not quenched and that there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. This pictures the eternal state of the lost. Other passages show that even from the moment of death, we pass to the place of disembodied spirits to await Judgment and we wait either in blessed comfort or terrible torment. In Luke 16:19-31, we find the account of the rich man and Lazarus and that the rich man and Abraham were carrying on a conversation between themselves across the great gulf of separation. Some people say that this is just a parable, but that would have no bearing on the case if it was. I do not think that this is a parable for several reasons. One is that Jesus had a certain rich man in mind. The other is that this conversation that was carried on between the rich man and Abraham was never explained to the disciples as were the rest of the parables that Jesus spoke. But, if the story is a parable, that still would not make any difference. A parable is an earthly saying with a spiritual application. All parables tell of such events as really happen many times and teach a lesson. So it would make no difference if this was a parable or not, the lesson is still the same and that is of torment in a lake of fire for the wicked and a place of happiness for the righteous. As the old saying goes, that is the name of that tune. There are so many places in the Bible to refute what the Witnesses teach on the doctrine of hell that I do not think I will be able to put them all in this one article and give a list of all the Scriptures that refute their teaching. But if time stands and the Lord is willing, some time in the future I will write an article on just this one subject.

Now when a Witness comes to your door and tells you that there is no torment after the Judgment, take them to their own Bible to Revelation 20:10. Show them what it says there about eternal torment. Also the fourteenth chapter of Revelation, the eleventh verse, tells us that the smoke and flame of their torment ascended up to heaven and they had no rest day or night forever and forever. Now this is in the New World Translation which is the Witnesses own Bible. I would like to ask a question of them: How do you torment someone that does not exist? I want them to give me the answer from one of the accepted translations and not from one of their books or from the Bible that they use, which is a perversion of the original text and not a true translation of any accepted text.

Two Separate Groups With Different Hopes?

To answer in detail their doctrine of two separate bodies and two separate hopes for mankind would take an article by itself and then I doubt if I could explain it so everyone could understand just what they teach about the two bodies. If it will save just one person from joining this false organiztion, then all the time spent in looking up references and typing the articles will be time well spent. For their teaching of the two bodies, they use John 10:16 (other sheep not of this fold), Psalm 39:9p11 (a group consumed or annihilated), Revelation 20:4 (some reign with Christ 1,000 years), and Isaiah 65 (those who inhabit the new heavens and earth). These two groups have two hopes, one of which is to have life here on this earth and the other life in heaven. When a Witness talks to you about a little flock, he always means a heavenly class made up of what they teach is 144,000. This is not what the Bible teaches in the verses mentioned above or is it even close.

The revealed word of God is what we must go by and Paul says in Ephesians 4:4 that we are all baptized into the one body. While you are in Ephesians four, count the “ones” that are mentioned there. Also look up the following Scriptures and keep them in their context, as a Scripture out of context becomes a pretext and is good for nothing to learn truth. Here is a list of Scriptures: Colossians 3:11-15, John 10:16 with Ephesians 2:11-22, 1 Corinthians 12:20, and many other that could be listed. These all teach that there is but one body, life, and hope for all men who come to the Lord in obeying the gospel.

Truth Magazine XXIV: 45, pp. 745-747
November 20, 1980