Jehovah’s Witnesses Who Are They? pt.3
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do some people speak against Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Many people are simply misinformed. Others may not appreciate the Witnesses’ evangelizing work. The fact is, however, that the Witnesses do this work out of love for neighbor, knowing that “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.”—Romans 10:13.
Are Jehovah’s Witnesses Protestants, Fundamentalists, or a sect?
Jehovah’s Witnesses are Christians, but they are not Protestants for the same reason that they are not Catholics—they recognize certain teachings of those religions as unscriptural. For example, the Bible does not teach that God—the very personification of love—tortures people forever in a fiery hell. Nor does it teach that humans have an immortal soul or that Christians should meddle in politics.—Ezekiel 18:4; John 15:19; 17:14; Romans 6:23.*
“Fundamentalism is a broad movement within Protestantism in the United States,” says The World Book Encyclopedia. Some Fundamentalist organizations “have adopted social and political positions based on a literal use of Biblical texts.” That definition does not fit Jehovah’s Witnesses. As mentioned, they abstain from politics and do not impose their views on others by political or any other means. Rather, they converse with people, usually one-on-one, using reason and convincing evidence, in imitation of the early Christians.—Acts 19:8.
A sect is a dissenting group within a religious community or one that breaks away to form a new religion. Jehovah’s Witnesses have not broken away from any church. They are not a sect.
WHERE TOLERANCE PREVAILS
The town of Bejucal de Ocampo in southern Mexico is a little out of the ordinary. “The majority of the inhabitants are Jehovah’s Witnesses,” says a report in the newspaper Excelsior, adding: “An environment of religious and governmental tolerance prevails. . . . The inhabitants have traded drunken bouts and cigarettes for songs and Bible reading. They also respect the authorities.”
Despite the presence of different religions in the town, “religious conflicts or arguments have not arisen,” states the report. It also says: “Hostility has no place, and religious diversity does not prevent neighbors from greeting one another . . . Each family freely professes its religion, and this does not prevent their integration as a society. It does not seem strange to anyone that Jehovah’s Witnesses have an enormous presence in Bejucal.” What is more, their children ‘dress modestly, make good grades, and are well behaved in class,’ noted a high-school teacher there, who is not a Witness.
What happens at Witness meetings?
Their meetings, which are open to the public, are essentially Bible studies, often allowing for audience participation. One of their weekly meetings, the Theocratic Ministry School, helps congregation members develop teaching, reading, and research skills. Another is a 30-minute Bible discourse on a topic that may be of special interest to non-Witnesses. It is normally followed by a study of the Bible by means of the Watchtower magazine. Meetings begin and end with song and prayer, and there is no solicitation of funds or passing of a collection plate.—2 Corinthians 8:12.
How are Jehovah’s Witnesses financed?
Their work is financed by voluntary contributions. The Witnesses do not charge for performing baptisms, weddings, funerals, or any other religious service. Nor do they tithe. Anyone who wants to make a donation can do so by placing it in a discreetly located contribution box in the Kingdom Hall. Jehovah’s Witnesses produce the Bible literature they use, which keeps costs down, and their modest Kingdom Halls and branch facilities are mostly constructed by volunteers.
Do Jehovah’s Witnesses accept medical treatment?
Yes. In fact, they seek the best possible care for themselves and their loved ones. Moreover, many Witnesses work in the medical field as nurses, paramedics, doctors, and surgeons. However, Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse blood transfusions. ‘Abstain from blood,’ the Bible states. (Acts 15:28, 29) Interestingly, a growing number of physicians view nonblood medical care as the “gold standard,” for through it the many health risks associated with the use of blood products are avoided.
* The Biblical view of these and many other important topics can be found in the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.