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Witnesses receive praise
(Part 4 of 4)
In this final installment, I'll address further criticisms leveled against Jehovah's Witnesses by lady preacher Charlo Crossley Fortier of the Bread of Life Foursquare Church here in the City of the Angels. She asserts that untrained Witness elders break up families as these overseers follow organizational protocol. She says the Witnesses eschew the gifts of the spirit, and that yours truly should answer when Jesus comes knocking. My response is presented forthwith, and, surprisingly, Whitney Houston weighs in.
Fractured Families?: The Russian Orthodox Church used the Russian government to crack down on Jehovah's Witnesses. The Witnesses were charged with breaking up families, printing dangerous literature, and having mental illnesses, among other charges. Consequently, the government moved against the Witness. This prompted a long, protracted legal battle that ultimately led to the chambers of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.
This court "is made up of 47 judges-a number equal to the number of countries that signed the European Convention on Human Rights," says the July 15, 2011, Watchtower. "The Court's judgments are binding. Countries that signed the treaty must comply with the judgments." What did a panel of court-appointed experts say about Witness literature and its effect on the family?
"On February 17, 2004, the trial resumed to review the results of the panel's study," notes The Watchtower. "The experts found that our publications encourage readers to 'preserve the family and the marriage arrangement' and that the claim that our literature promotes hatred was 'unsupported.' Other scholars agreed." Here's a sampling of Witness publications (mostly books) written in hundreds of languages with millions of copies distributed worldwide:
My Book of Bible Stories, The Secret of Family Happiness, Making Your Family Life Happy, Learn From the Great Teacher, Questions Young People Ask-Answers That Work, (Vols. 1 & 2), Your Youth-Getting the Best out of It, Jehovah's Witnesses and Education, and School and Jehovah's Witnesses. (Visit www.watchtower.org for more info.)
But what about the very real internal family conflict in the cases where a family member begins studying with the Witnesses? "'It is the resistance and unwillingness of non-religious family members to accept and to respect their religious relative's freedom to manifest and practise his or her religion that is the source of conflict,'" the Court concluded.
Are the Witnesses a bunch of crazies with mental problems? A "professor of psychiatry testified in court that he had studied more than 100 Witnesses in Moscow. He found that the group possessed normal mental health, adding that the members of the group had grown more tolerant of other religions since they had become Witnesses."
Uneducated Elders?: Witness elders are constantly receiving training. This training has been ratcheted up in recent years. And when some have either strayed from instructions given them by the representative Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, or who-for self-serving purposes-manipulated these directives to their own advantage, eventually they are dealt with. Realizing that elders are imperfect (as are we all), the Governing Body has a multi-level appeal apparatus in place to help determine if a congregant has been erroneously expelled.
Gifts of the spirit: "Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless." (1 Corinthians 13:8, New Living Translation) When did this occur? When the first-century Christian Congregation matured. That's why Paul wrote contextually: "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I no longer used childish ways." (1 Corinthians 13:11, God's Word Translation) Indeed, the Bible says legitimate gifts of the spirit are now both "useless" and "childish."
"Won't You Let Him In?": When a wealthy young politician approached Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good must I do in order to get everlasting life?", instead of confiscating the young man's riches or soliciting a generous donation from him, the Lord instructed him to keep long-lasting commands from God, make certain sacrifices, and follow the Lord.-Matthew 19:16-24, New World Translation.
Fortier: Become born again! Jesus Christ is knocking on the door of your heart. Won't you let Him in?
Carr: Not if he has a collection plate.
Whitney Wails "Jehovah": In 1990 Whitney Houston appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show with Stevie Wonder. When asked what the first song she sang in church was she broke out singing, "Guide me oh thou Great Jehovah," emphasizing "Jehovah" for at least five seconds. What a witness from Whitney.
Peace and blessings to all. Amen.