Victor Chininin Buele
It’s Saturday. I’m up in my office reading through Galatians 1, agonizing to see if this is the right section of scripture to share with a dear friend today to encourage him, to point him to Jesus. I’m questioning for the fifth time the song choices for tomorrow’s service. Will these songs help the congregation acknowledge their need for God and allow them to freely show that they love Him?
It’s also the day when I have a higher probability of being interrupted by that typical knock at the door. Knock, knock. Who’s there? Are you ready for Armageddon? Oh, my dear friends, come in, come in… And I do let them in. It is both a hoot and the saddest thing. The Holy Spirit confirms that I love Jesus, and I do love Jehovah. And I am supposed to be a witness of what God has done for my soul. So, why not?
My purpose with this is to show you how might be more like a Jehovah’s Witness than you would like to admit.
You know it. You hate that knock on the door. You practice your best line. You open the door naked (well, maybe not). It can become quite the fun game, “How to get rid of the Jehovah’s Witness?” A few years ago, a dear friend of ours in Loja answered the door. She came in after quickly dismissing our visitors. I asked, lifting my head from the production problem of the moment, “Who was it?” “Oh, some people talking about how to have a better family,” she said. I answered, “Who says what?” And two things simultaneously hit me:
- It’s the Jehovah’s Witnesses! Open the door, I must go chase them and talk to them.
- This is the one issue that matters for the whole Jehovah’s Witness system of thought–“Who says what?”
Allow me to explain. The Watchtower Society is the only way one can understand what the Bible says. That key statement is the most important belief in their system of logic. It really summarizes it all. They believe that nobody can ever understand the Bible without somebody from the organization explaining it to them, or at the very least, without using one of the officially-sanctioned publications available to you as a gift from them right there on the spot or available online in more than N number of languages.
The Christian needs not to tangle in heavy theological arguments about whether birthdays can be celebrated, whether Jesus is God, whether the Trinity is an invention of men, whether blood transfusions are allowed, whether we should vote for president. It all breaks if this key principle is false. The entire Watchtower “theology” hinges on the belief that you are incapable of finding out the truth of the Bible without help.
How, then, might I be more like the Jehovah’s Witnesses than I would like to admit?
This is not an article about the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Books could be written about that. The focus here is on ourselves. How are you like the Jehovah’s Witnesses? I want to leave you with these questions/points to consider:
Why do you actually believe what you believe? (Don’t say you don’t believe in anything, please, because you do. You truly do. Even if it is “I don’t believe in anything.”) Do you believe because others tell you? How do you go about confirming or denying what somebody tells you? As Abraham Lincoln said, “Don’t believe everything you see on the Internet.”
Let’s take a perhaps controversial example–
Let’s say that you believe that the economy is recovering because of the numbers you hear on the media about unemployment and GDP growth. How do you go about knowing if that’s true? I remember that in my first economics class in graduate school, the professor kindly asked if we really understood what unemployment figures really mean. Very few of the students knew what I had learned from my father’s books-that the number is based on the number of people actually actively engaged in the economy. So, if you quit looking, you’re no longer counted. That’s skewed. (And so are all statistics to one degree or another). Has the number improved? Yes, but asking why is very important.
The other day I drove through Hazelwood, MO, home of the once vital St. Louis Mills Mall, an outlet mall. The area surrounding the mall is dead, economically speaking. Last week I was at the Chesterfield St. Louis Premium Outlet Malls. I thought to myself, “Hey! That’s where everything went!” So, aren’t we going to report that they numbers look great for the region because perhaps the gain in Chesterfield surpasses the loss in the other region? Does it matter what kinds of jobs are being added? Do you actually call it a recovery if we see a larger percentage of retail jobs being added compared to high tech jobs? How do you know if I’m messing with you, like I did with the Lincoln “quote” above? How do you discern truth?
Because if you aren’t watching you may just be believing something because you heard your favorite talking head say it. Or because you read it on the Internet.
And you are doing the same level of proselytizing that the Witnesses do:
– Fritanga is a great restaurant. We were just there last night!
– My company is a great place to work. You must join us.
– My children are great, like our picture on Facebook.
– Stay out of my body. It’s my choice!
– Defend the sanctity of human life
– Keep your hands off my guns
– Protect the vulnerable children of schools from gun violence
– Don’t bully
– Friends don’t let friends vote for Trump
– Down with Crooked Hillary
– and on, and on and on…
We are evangelists by nature. It matters what our message is. It matters how we know it’s true because we will be passionate about telling others about it. It’s in our design.