Another Blog from UK Partnerships for Christ (www.upfc.org.uk)

What does the Bible really teach? Chapter 12 – Living In a Way that Pleases God, by Ray Aldridge

bible teach

The Chapter starts by asking 4 key questions

  • 1 How can you become God’s friend?
  • 2 In what way does Satan’s challenge involve you?
  • 3 What Conduct displeases Jehovah?
  • 4 How can you live in a way that pleases God?

 

Taking point 1 the Chapter tries to answer this question by asking what qualities do you look for in a friend and then links this to the qualities that were demonstrated by a number of biblical characters that as a result became a close friend of God? These include Abraham, David & Daniel.
A question to a Jehovah’s Witness: I agree that God would be pleased by these qualities but is that what really draws people closer to God?
The issue here is the Chapter only speaks of “moral” qualities but as we know from the scriptures that more importantly we need the new birth.
Consider 1 John 4:7, 8 where it says “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone who loves, is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God. For God is love and then look at 1 John 5:1 which clearly explains the Rebirth as “Whoever believes in Christ is born of God”
In summary we could conclude that to become God’s friend we need to be a friend of Christ in a very personal way.

 
Point 2 brings out how Satan challenged God that man would not stand faithful when under true tests and used Job as a fine example showing that man can be tested but stay faithful and that this was down to the Love that Job had for Jehovah. It then goes on to say that Satan has not stopped and continues to test mankind, so we as individuals will also be tested and that by our integrity to Jehovah and being morally pleasing to God will prove Satan wrong.
Question to a Jehovah’s Witness: Is it by being obedient to the Father the way that you can be pleasing to him. At 2 John 1:6 it explains “And this is love that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.
Now look at John 15:14 where Jesus was speaking “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” So clearly for us it is about being obedient and acceptable to Christ.

 
On point 3 the Chapter talks about that we should “shun” what Jehovah hates, which on the surface looks fine and certainly would agree whole heartedly that the list of qualities mentioned are to be avoided.

 

The last point then summarises the Chapter by talking about developing Godly qualities, and here this looks fine and agree that we should do our best to cultivate these qualities.
A question to a Jehovah’s Witness: Do you believe that the Watchtower Organization is the best example in displaying these qualities?
Consider the following 2 major aspects of the WT’s moral position.

 

1 Child Abuse in the Organisation.
There have been reported many thousands of cases which the Org have simply filed in their offices and have not to this day reported them to the Authorities.
Of the few cases that ever surfaced there was the case of victim Candice Conti in the US and more recently an elder named Gordon Leighton in the UK who was found guilty of child abuse, but it took over 3 years before this went to court.
You may suggest there are always going to be cases where some individual’s will commit these offenses as we are all imperfect, but is this a valid point here? Consider the WT‘s policy on Child Abuse: Unless there are 2 witnesses present, the accusation of abuse is not treated as valid and therefore the authorities in the majority of the cases are kept secret and only reported to a district representative who has absolutely no professional qualification to deal in these matters. How is this morally correctly?

 
2 Lying
For many years the JW Org has allowed lying in events of “Theocratic war strategy”
See link http://www.rickross.com/reference/jw/jw84.html for further details
Question to a Jehovah’s Witness: If Lying is listed as a quality that Jehovah hates, how can it be acceptable to make exceptions? Nowhere in the Bible are their cases.

 

In Summary

Apart from the moral concerns raised here, again we must emphasize the real key to please God is in fact accepting his Son through the New Birth, and by this you will receive his spirit which will move you to do what is pleasing to him, his will,

Our concern here is the chapter is completely devoid of any reference to Christ and the importance of rebirth. It also suggest s that your quest as a Christian is centered on your works, and this is further supported by the belief that this is a key factor in your hope of everlasting life.
Is this what the Bible really teaches? There are many verses in the Bible that clearly sais otherwise, one of the best is in Romans 10:9, 10 where it could not be any clearer:
“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

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2 Responses »

  1. As with the other chapters in thus book , chapter 12 does contain some truth . However , there is enough doctrinal defects in this chapter ( and book) to dismiss it instead of embracing it as wholesome spiritual food .

    One of the 4 questions this chapter claims to offer Biblical answers to is titled:
    ” How can you become God’s friend .”

    on page 115 it states that the O.T. shows God chose certain men to be His ” close friends ” .
    Abraham , David , and Daniel are mentioned as examples of God’s close friends .

    page 115 then states : ” Why did Jehovah consider Abraham , David , and Daniel to be His friends ? Well He told Abraham , ‘ you have listened to my voice ‘ ( Gen 22:18) . So Jehovah draws close to those who humbly listen to what He asks of them .”

    That is true . But those who were God’s close friends in the O.T. were such because they had a relationship with Him , and a fundamental part of a close / personal friendship is communication and thus by praying to God — calling upon His name ( Gen 13:4 ;Psalms 116 )
    they experienced a close friendship with Him .
    Chapter 17 of this book mentions that fact about prayer : ” Draw close to God in prayer” .

    Sadly this chapter (and book )don’t understand what God’s new arrangement for a close relationship with Him entails now . God’s new arrangement is recorded in the New Testament , and it centers on Jesus . Jesus was voicing the Father’s will when he asked all to ” Come unto Me ” ( Matt 11:28 ; Jn 5:39-40 ) . Those who have understood and then complied with God’s new arrangement by coming directly to Jesus and asking the Savior for forgiveness of sins ( Mk 2:10 ; 1 Pt 2:24 ) have thus gained the Father’s approval and have received the gift of eternal life ( Jn 3:35-36 ; 6:35-40 ; Eph 2:8-9 ) .
    What’s more , in praying to Jesus these persons have entered into a relationship with him , a close friendship with their living Savior — Jn 15:14 ; Acts 7:59 ; Rom 10:12 . They get to tell him of their concerns and especially to offer praises of gratitude to him each and every day just as they do to the Father. Thus they experience intimate fellowship with both the Father and the Son as they travel life’s road — 1 Cor 1:9 — that’s the heart of the Christian life .

    But sadly. Jw’s have been instructed by the Watchtower that praying to Jesus is not proper Christian behavior and thus they have been detoured from God’s best for them by trusting the Watchtower as their guide to understand the Bible .

    on page 120 it says that ” … the Devil can use subtle means to mislead you ….”

    Undoubtedly , one of these subtle means is through fooling people into thinking that because they use God’s name therefore they must have a right relationship with Him . Sadly, people can fall into the trap of thinking that amassing quantities of knowledge about God ( ” taking in knowledge ” – Jn 17:3 NWT ) therefore they have gained His approval and have a personal relationship with Him , i.e. know Him . What’s more , Jw’s trust the Watchtower ‘ slave’ as God’s commissioned prophet largely because it uses God’s personal name . But even false prophets can use and emphasis God’s name — Jer 23:16,25 . Fact of the matter is the Watchtower prophet’s predicting and teaching track record reveals the Watchtower to clearly be a false prophet led organization — Deut 18:20-22 .

    on page 121 , it says , ” ‘ This is what the love of God means ‘ , wrote the apostle John , ‘ that we observe his commandments ‘ …. — 1 Jn 5:3 . ”

    True enough . But again a statement like that should have also included what the apostle John wrote about the love of Christ in Jn 15:14 . The Father’s love and His Son’s love for mankind are the same depth .

    on page 121 it says , ” What are Jehovah’s commandments ? Some of them involve conduct that we must avoid . For example , note the box on page 122 …. there you will find listed conduct that the Bible clearly condemns .”

    The box referred to on page 122 lists things like stealing ; lying; greed; refusal to provide for one’s family ; drunkenness ; idolatry ; sexual immorality and a few other sins . But this list also included ” misuse of blood ” , ” participation in wars ” and ” use of tobacco” , these are also said to be conduct that the Bible ” clearly condemns ” .

    This is one of the latest lists of conduct which the Watchtower claims is clearly condemned in the Bible . But the three — “misuse of blood ” ; “participation in wars ” ; and use of tobacco ” —
    the Watchtower also listed are interesting because these were at one time NOT things the Bible clearly condemned and viewed to be so egregious conduct as to warrant disfellowshiping , according to the Watchtower . So this is yet another example of why the Watchtower ‘ slave ‘ has proven itself to be not a consistent reliable guide to understanding the Bible .

    The Watchtower has been quite confused as to what really constitutes ” misuse of blood ” . It had also for many years been wishy washy in dealing with those who smoked in the organization . And it’s counsel to those wondering what is and is not proper service as relates to military involvement was also ridiculous .
    So far from being conduct that the Bible ” clearly condemns ” , the Watchtower has only created rules for living that are man made inventions . In this they have succumbed to the same error the religious leaders in Jesus’ day did :

    ” they teach as doctrine the commands of men ” — Mk 7:7

    on page 124 it says , ” Reading and studying the Bible regularly will help you develop godly qualities .”

    It’s true the Bible does contain the guidance for living a life that pleases God . However , according to the Watchtower you cannot understand it properly in order to live a kind of life to gain God’s approval for receiving salvation unless you submit to the Watchtower as your guide and accept what it teaches you . Thus you can read and study the Bible all you want but you will still be in the dark as to what it teaches about many important doctrines . Fortunately, the Watchtower’s teaching track record can be viewed so that anyone thinking about trusting it as their guide can see that it has established a pattern of being a consistently unreliable guide to understanding the Bible , thus it would a unwise choice to join the Watchtower organization.

    The good news is that those Jw’s wanting to know what the Bible actually teaches can start by dismissing the Watchtower (and it’s literature )as an authority in their lives . That will not be easy because they have accepted the lie that leaving the Watchtower is to leave God .

    But God loves all Jw’s and wishes them to understand what His new arrangement for gaining His approval , close friendship , and salvation , is .

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