Jehovah’s Witnesses and Samaritan Issues

In a previous post, I looked at how the Jehovah’s Witnesses get some things right. That is the first section of my book, The Watchtower and the Word. The second section of my book deals with what I consider the Samaritan issues of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Jehovah's WitnessesWhat are Samaritan issues? This is inspired by the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:1-26. As Jesus and the woman are talking, the conversation starts to hit too close to home. The woman tries to distract Jesus by bringing up a religious controversy about the proper place of worship. The Jews and the Samaritans saw this issue as an identity marker and in this case, the woman used it to try and avoid the discussion that would change her life.

I see this sort of thing taking place with Jehovah’s Witnesses as well. They have certain beliefs that they see as important but that really are identity markers.

I was sitting with some friends in a coffee shop once and a lady at the next table recognized from our conversation that we were Christians. She was a Jehovah’s Witness and she asked us if we knew what the Greek word for cross was. She may have been surprised when I blurted out, stauros. Her point was that the literal meaning of stauros is stake and not cross. It is unlikely that the shape of the wood that Jesus died on is God’s primary concern but the Jehovah’s Witnesses use this as an identity marker. Those who know the true shape are insiders and the rest are outsiders.

Why is this important? I have found that Jehovah’s Witnesses bring up topics like the cross, birthdays, holidays and other topics when we should really be talking about Jesus. These are distractions that work very well at keeping our conversations from being productive.

In The Watchtower and the Word, I offer responses to these Samaritan issues but I also encourage people to steer the conversation back to the topics that matter. If you are interested, pick up a copy in paperback or Kindle.


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4 thoughts on “Jehovah’s Witnesses and Samaritan Issues”

  1. Stephen,

    In ancient times, those that adhered to the Law Covenant were identified as Israelites (later known as Jews) or Proselytes. Coming forward, those that associated with Jesus were identified with him. After Jesus death, those that followed the teachings and principles of Jesus were identified as Christians.

    Around the second and third century, all that called themselves Christians were identified with the bible and the multiple forms of worship that supposedly honored God and his son Jesus. Over the centuries, people have decided that facts do not always matter as long as your heart is in the so-called right place. Over time, generations have participated in establishing and sustaining worship options based on traditions, popular customs and opinions, social norms and myths.

    Therefore, the truth about Jehovah, Jesus and the Good News of God’s Kingdom is a identity marker as well. It distinguishes between those that make adherence to Godly principles as establish throughout all 66 books in the Bible a way of life as oppose to those being satisfied with being called a Christian.

  2. Stephen,

    Thanks and sorry for missing your point. If I may, I like to ask a couple of question to ensure I am in your swim lane of thought. By asking, I seek not to criticize or to ridicule by dissection.

    1. Could you give more insight into the phrase, “I am assuming that God cares more about the nature of Jesus”

    2. You elaborate on the thought, “the shape on which Jesus died”.

  3. I used to be associated with the an Assembly of Yahweh, 7th Day, group, although I never accepted their sabbath teachings. They knew this, but treated as brother just the same. At any rate, they also taught that Jesus died on a stake, not a cross. I was convinced of this for several years, until I did more research as suggested by one of the Bible Students, and found that Romans did make use of stauros with a crossbeam as an instrument of execution in the first century. Likewise, the Bible itself has the TAU shape thousands of times, as it is part of both the ancient Hebrew alphabet, and also part of the Koine Greek alphabet. At any rate, while we still may no know definitely whether instrument upon which Jesus was hung had a crossbeam or not, I believe the evidence highly suggests that it did. Nevertheless, the greatest thing of importance is that Jesus died for our sins, not the shape of the instrument upon which he died. There is also the concern that any instrument or shape might be attributed with having some kind of mystical power, thus leading to idolatry.

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