Friday, May 21, 2010

What's in a name?(a Jehovah's Witness issue)

All the book quotes in this blog are from "In Search of Christian Freedom" by Raymond Franz.

Blasphemous bearing

Jehovah's Witnesses pride themselves on using God's name all the time.Briefly,let me address why their bearing this name is blasphemous before I get started on anything else.
It isn't the use of the name itself but understanding who the person is that counts..Does Yahweh advocate hypocrisy,false prophecy,mishandling of sheep,ignoring His Son,two separate hopes for Christians,sectarianism,haughtiness,legalism,bloodguilt etc?Because these are some of the horrific fruits of the WT corporation.I can assure you that Yahweh hates hypocrisy with a passion,killed false prophets with no hesitation,warned shepherds who mistreat the flock of impending retribution,admonished that either you listen to his Son or you don't know Him,promoted NONsectarianism,and demands humility and repentance as opposed to failure to admit mistakes and continually making them.He also condemned the Pharisees for legalistic policies and heavy loads and self righteousness.Also,obviously, if anyone was in any way responsible for the death of someone else that one would be punished "eye for an eye."So if a flip flop on blood for hemophiliacs,a flip flop on organs for someone in a obviously dire situation(the list goes on!),results in the death of anyone I can't see Yahweh shrugging his shoulders.The labelling and shunning of those who tell the truth about the organization like Ray Franz..those who recognize Christ as brother and mediator is neither excusable,biblical,or Christian either.These are just a few of the ways the WT society has brought reproach upon Jehovah's name and rendered their own carrying of it blasphemous.This is dangerous.

"No matter how often individuals,or an organization of people,may voice that literal name(Jehovah)(claiming a special righteousness by their repeated use of such name),if they do not genuinely reflect,in attitude,conduct,and practice,what the Person himself is like-his qualities,ways and standards-then they have not truly come to "know his name" in the Scriptural sense."

Franz then goes on the say that use of that name would amount to no more than lip service..

"If they claim to speak "in his name" yet misrepresent what He himself states in His own word,or make false predictions "in his name," or devise and impose unscriptural legislation and rules "in his name," or make unjust judgments and condemnations "in his name,"then they have,in effect,"taken his name in vain."They have acted in a way that neither has his authorization,nor reflects his qualities and standards and what He himself is as a person."p.510

I want to emphasize to JW's,since their literature doesn't,that "name" entails much more than a literal spoken name.I think the reason the WT doesn't stress this fact so much(even though they acknowledge it on occasion) is because they like to set themselves apart from "Christendom" by using God's name constantly.They like to pretend they're the only ones who use it.They shouldn't really be proud of a division and a distinguishing of themselves with a self adopted name but rather they should be called Christian like all followers of Christ and nothing else.It's really disheartening how they bear God's name so prominently and then oft-times produce repelling fruit.


As Ray says in "In Search of Christian Freedom,"Charles Taze Russell opposed the adoption of any distinguishing name like "Jehovah's Witnesses,"viewing it as a form of sectarianism and I would have to agree with Russell on this one.Interestingly JW's and WT literature praise Charles Taze Russell as a true servant of God but if modern day JW's believed even a small portion of what he taught and believed,they'd be doomed for destruction,labelled and shunned.In an April 1882 WT John Bunyan was quoted(and agreed with.)He said:

"As for factious or sect titles of Anabaptist,Presbyterian,Independent,or the like,I conclude that they came neither from Antioch nor from Jerusalem,but from Hell and Babylon,for they tend to divisions;you may know them by their fruits."

To quote Ray:

"Isaiah 43:10-12 is the primary text used by the organization to justify its chosen name.This scripture,however,simply presents a figurative court case,in which all nations are gathered and before whom the Israelites are called upon by God to bear testimony to his saving power exercised on their behalf."p.490

As we all know,however,followers of Christ after he came to die on our behalf are called nothing but Christian,and those OT passages for the Israelites have absolutely nothing to do with the modern day WT society. If JW's were Christ's true followers they would be proud to bear the name Christian and if they were true to the bible's command to not be sectarian they wouldn't desire a distinguishing that I for one think is haughty in that they erroneously think they exclusively proclaim God's name in some way and that they're the only ones who live up to carrying it,no matter how many times they've proven themselves to be as seriously flawed as any other religious institution.

"By what right do men who claim to be footstep followers of God's Son select a name which does not even bear witness to the Christ?(Acts 1:8,Acts 11:26)?How do they justify using a name that reaches back some 700 years before his appearance as the Messiah,back to words spoken to the Jewish people under the Law Covenant?"p.491

The JW's used the name as infrequently as any other Christian when Jesus supposedly chose their organization to be his sole channel in 1919.So if it means they're true Christians because of using it more than "false"Christians,then they weren't true Christians when Jesus supposedly chose them.Even though today they use God's name more than any other group,their claims that they had to "restore" it are certainly unfounded.

"The fact is that religious writers of various Christian faiths had employed the name Jehovah in their writings with considerable frequency for centuries before the appearance of the WT society."p.492

A repetitive use of a name in no way necessarily honors it.Since there is no evidence the apostles used Yah's name repetitively,they,by the WT organization's standards,would be apostates since the society claims their use of it is one giant proof they're God's only true servants.Repeatedly using a name in no way means one is a true follower of that one.To say"well I use his name all the time and therefore I'm a true Christian" would be ridiculous.Do Christians who use Jesus's name all the time necessarily really follow him?I have heard JW's say God wouldn't have allowed them to adopt the name "Jehovah's Witnesses" if they weren't really the only true Christians.That would be like me saying "God wouldn't have allowed Christians to use the name Jesus all the time if they weren't true Christians."Use of a proper noun does not a true Christian make.

We must stand alone and not organizationally when God comes to judge through Christ.As a JW,do you really think a banner or being true to the governing body of a super wealthy publishing corporation can save you?

"When the angels of God carry out the parabolic picture in effecting the harvest of the wheat from the weeds,labels in the form of denominational names surely will play no part."p.492

What's in a name?

A name has to do with the will,personality, reputation,life record,authority etc. of someone.When the bible says we must call on God or His Son's name to be saved it means we have to know who they are,what they're about and to have a relationship with them.A name expresses character and history,who one is,what one has done,what one stands for..etc..

"Ultimately,then,in speaking of one's "name" the true reference may be,not to just a word or phrase used to designate an individual,but to the person himself,his personality,qualities,principles and record,what he himself IS.(Somewhat similarly,when we appeal to someone "in the name of mercy" we refer to all that the quality of mercy represents and stands for.)It can therefore rightly be said,even if we know the name by which a person is called,if we do not know him for who he actually is,we do not really know his "name" in the true,vital sense."p. 507


When God says his people shall know his name..when Jesus says he made his father's name known..when we're told to call upon Jehovah's all obviously entails much more than a proclaimed proper noun.And though I know JW's know this,I think it often is overlooked or ignored in favor of distinguishing themselves as somehow more righteous and true than others just because they use God's personal name.The MOST personal name,however,is "father."

In God's relationship with an individual,the most important name you can use,and that which Jesus used,is Father.He is called "FATHER" 260 times in the Christian Greek scriptures.We don't address our human fathers with their names..but rather reverently refer to them with an intimate name that encapsulates more than just a proper noun.

I think perhaps the most disturbing reason the governing body urges JW's to use Jehovah repetitively as opposed to placing any emphasis on "Father" is once again,because they deny that almost every JW can even be adopted as God's children.I'm not negating the use of God's name.In fact,I think it's absurd to say he used it thousands upon thousands of times and then expected us to ignore it,to not utter it,and to shrink from its use.I am simply trying to emphasize to JW's how fantastic it is to be able to pray to our Father in heaven.To call him Father frequently so as to become more intimately acquainted,to let him know you understand that he cares and protects and guides and gave us life and disciplines us as a Father who loves us would.Only more superbly so,and perfectly,like our human fathers cannot.Human fathers disappoint,sometimes even abuse us.But God is One who never will,who loves us more than any human ever could,who was so desperate to save us that he gave his most beloved Son!So as a JW,next time you pray to Jehovah and use that name constantly in prayer..I want you to think about calling him Father more if you don't already.Jesus became our father too when he bought our lives with his blood.And it would really be a shame if you didn't also call him "father" or "brother."He's our father as the second Adam and our brother if we are Christian.Jesus didn't say he could only be a brother to a few men,but rather,throughout the entire NT,indicated that Christians ARE his brothers and sisters,not excluding any who exercise faith.

Christ opened the way for us to be adopted as God's children.Don't throw away the opportunity by putting your faith in men,in whom no salvation belongs.We can,through Christ,become children of God.And it is only through this intimate relationship that that we can truly say we know God's "name" in the greatest possible complete and heartfelt sense that we should as Christians.As our father,having the glorious freedom of one of God's children,as opposed to a "mother organization's" child or Satan's child.Don't let the society rob you of choosing to be a genuine child of's the only option for a Christian.The only other option,to be a child of Satan,is certainly not ok..yet JW's are forbidden to be children of God NOW.This should disturb you! My main intent here was to get JW's to address God as "father" more..It may open up the door to more understanding about his role for you as a Christian and for further intimacy with him.

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