This is the third in a series of excerpts from the new MBC resource, “The Last Apologist: A Commentary on Jude for Defenders of the Christian Faith,” available at mobaptist.org/apologetics.
With an estimated 2.2 billion Christians in the world, worshiping in more than 41,000 denominations, one may legitimately wonder how we can possibly fulfill the prayer of Jesus that we all be as one (John 17:22).
But diversity does not necessarily mean division. The differences among the world’s Christian denominations generally have more to do with location, culture, worship styles, missionary efforts, and forms of church government than they do with major doctrinal differences.
Even so, it’s good to ask: What are the non-negotiable doctrines of the Christian faith?
Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, refers to the process of discerning biblical truth as “theological triage.” On the battlefield and elsewhere, triage is the process by which medical personnel evaluate and prioritize the urgency of patient needs. A scraped knee can wait; a severed artery cannot.
Mohler suggests that a similar method be used in our churches to determine a scale of theological urgency – what some theologians call primary, secondary, and tertiary issues.
In previous studies, we have defined a cult as: A religious organization whose members claim to be Christians, and who use the Bible and Christian terms, yet who deny the central beliefs of historical Christianity. In brief, a cult is counterfeit Christianity. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (WBTS), better known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, goes to great lengths to explain to its members, and to the outside world, that it is not a cult; rather it is the only organization truly faithful to Jehovah — and the only organization through which a person can be saved.
Are these claims true? Is the WBTS “the faithful and discreet slave” (Matt. 24:45 New World Translation), as it claims? Or is it counterfeit Christianity?
The articles below should leave no doubt that Jehovah’s Witnesses, while sincere and hard working, are indeed members of one of the largest and fastest-growing cults in the world today.
Jehovah’s Witnesses: An Overview
Some 50 years after Joseph Smith claimed to be visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ, an event that launched the Mormon Church, another teenage boy began an inconspicuous Bible study in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, in 1870. The result was the establishment of a second major worldwide cult in the 19th century, known today as the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Officially known by several names — The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, and the International Bible Students Association – the Jehovah’s Witnesses today boast more than 6.6 million active participants (known as “publishers”) in more than 230 countries, with nearly 100,000 Kingdom Halls, one of the largest publishing operations in the world, and an aggressive door-to-door “preaching” ministry. Read more.
Comparing the Jehovah’s Witnesses to Historical Christianity
Key Mistranslations of the New World Translation
Download this chart that shows how Jehovah’s Witnesses change Scripture to deny the deity of Christ and other Christian doctrines.