Apologists Exposing False Prophecies of Watchtower Organization Jehovah’s Witnesses 1878, 1914, 1918, 1925, and 1975
Is it best to spend much time trying to expose historical problems or is there a better way. Most Christian apologists are pretty much on par with the history they present about Jehovah’s Witnesses, but I would offer them some feedback. Their messages are usually a little conspiratorial. They like to add qualifiers to what they say that makes things more extreme and dire than they really are. Some have suggested that the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization has been lying to their people.
The Witnesses are not trying to hide the fact that they have been wrong several times in their predictions. In fact, they have stated it several times over the years in the watchtower and awake Magazines in the 1980s and 1990s. They did so for a while for the generation most immediately impacted by the misinterpretation.
When evangelizing, think of how it feels when a Muslim apologist or an atheist is dragging you over the coals for the history of Christianity. The Muslim and the atheist like to qualify things in the worst light possible.
Also, make sure that when you set the criteria that are supposed identifying markers of false Christianity that so-called “true Christianity” is not guilty of the same things or even worse.
Yes, the Witnesses were showing signs of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) about end times prophecy and the Second Coming of Christ but so is most of Christianity. The irony is, how did the Witnesses get so interested in end times, the Second Coming, and Bible chronology?
It was actually by the teachings of an American Baptist preacher. Yes, it’s true. In the early 19th century, William Miller (1782 – 1849), an American Baptist preacher, was OCD about end times, the Second Coming, and Bible chronology. Where did Miller get his interest in end times, from a Joshua Vaughan Himes (1805–1895) pastor of the First Christian Church in Boston?
William Miller, the Baptist preacher set the date of the second coming of Christ to 1844, which became known as the Big or Great Disappointment. His followers would go on and set yet another date. When the end did not occur as expected in the 1840s, new heirs of his message emerged, including the Advent Christians (1860), the Seventh-day Adventists (1863) and other Adventist movements.
The Great Disappointment in the Millerite movement was the reaction that followed Baptist preacher William Miller’s proclamations that Jesus Christ would return to the Earth by 1844, what he called the Advent. His study of the Daniel 8 prophecy during the Second Great Awakening led him to the conclusion that Daniel’s “cleansing of the sanctuary” was cleansing of the world from sin when Christ would come, and he and many others prepared, but October 22, 1844, came and they were disappointed.
When the founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Charles Taze Russel (1852 – 1916) was a teenager, he became an atheist because of the hellfire doctrine and several other things. One day, when walking down the street at night, he heard singing from a basement. Russel went down to investigate and met the Adventists. He became closely involved with them. They were still OCD about end times, the Second Coming, and Bible chronology.
Some of the major influences on young Charles Taze Russel were Henry Grew (1781 – 1862) a Christian teacher, George Stetson (1815 – 1879) a Christian pastor, and George Storrs (December 13, 1796 – 1879) a Christian teacher, N. H. Barbour (1824 – 1905) an Adventist, William Henry Conley (1840 – 1897) a Pittsburgh philanthropist and industrialist. He provided organizational and financial support to religious institutions in the United States.
Thus, at a very early age, Russell caught the bug of end times, the Second Coming, and Bible chronology from older religions, men from different Christian denominations, some of who had found it from William Miller, the Baptist preacher. Of course, this is not to excuse the setting of false dates.
John Calvin was OCD about eternal security, and today most Calvinist-minded Christians from several different denominations are just as OCD about the doctrinal view. One can argue another time about whether it is biblically true or not.
Do the Christians you meet today know their church history and the horrific things that have been done in the name of Christ? No. Every time you talk to an atheist, and you tell them about Christ and Christianity, are you in a rush to tell them about the things done in the name of Christ: the wars, the slaughter of men, women, and children, sexual abuses, and so on? You likely know about these things in the history of “true Christianity.” Do you rush to share those things? There are hundreds of millions of churchgoers that do not know these things, does that make it conspiratorial that they do not know? Does it mean that there is a grand coverup? I think not. Consider for a moment, there are numerous books on the history of Christianity that expose their own bad history, so there is no real coverup.
The message of this blog post is that we as Christian apologetic evangelists need to be empathetic and realistic when we are trying to share what true and false Christianity looks like. We should simply teach the truth of God’s Word because the very things we shine the light on might be used in return for far worse behavior.
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- CHRISTIAN APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM: What Will You Say to a Buddhist?
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