Tag Archives: Two-Class System

Two Conversations from the 2020 Jehovah’s Witness Memorial

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From Carlo Salvarenga on Pixabay

The Jehovah’s Witness annual memorial (Lord’s Supper, Eucharist, Communion) was actually less strange this year than in the past, because this year visitors (such as myself) could not see what makes it so strange. What we could see at first was a number of JW individuals and families on screen in the 4-pane Zoom conference format. Many of you sheltered-in-place during this current pandemic know how it looks, especially those working from home.

Once the speaker began his talk, though, all other video and audio feeds were blocked, so that we could only see the speaker. When he got to what other churches would call “the blessing of the elements,” what we could not see was that virtually no one was eating the bread or drinking the wine. The fact that even the speaker himself did not eat or drink should have been a tipoff that something was askew, but a visitor would probably not have thought much of it, thinking that the speaker was just wanting to keep his voice clear. Those of us who have visited physically in years past know that the JW members pass the plate and the cup without eating or drinking, unless they are one of the rare (endangered?) 144,000 anointed believers.

I share this in case you were a guest (invited or otherwise) to this year’s memorial, and were unaware of the strange practice that it is. What you did not see was families at home passing bread and wine to one another, without ingesting either. It’s truly bizarre to an evangelical Christian like me. I also wonder what individuals who were alone did. Pick up the plate and set it back down again? Weird, weird, weird. I asked one of my JW friends, Gary, what they do with the bread and wine after the meeting, and he said that they eat it later. “As a snack,” he added. Wow. Just wow. “At least you don’t waste it,” I said.

Which leads me to reporting on the two post-memorial conversations I had. I talked by phone with my long-time friend Mark, and we had a long conversation about both our personal lives and doctrine. (I consider him a good friend, so we talk about a lot of things. I’m constantly praying that God will continue to protect us from his elders squelching our relationship.) We talked about the two-class system, Jesus as mediator, salvation through faith and not works, having a relationship with Jehovah and Jesus rather than “taking in knowledge,” and several other doctrinal topics.

My other conversation is with Gary, and is ongoing, because we’re conversing by text. I asked him about the speaker saying that the Bible talks about “two hopes,” but I only find the Bible talking about “one hope” (Ephesians 4:4). He told me that “this hope spoken of here [in the Ephesians verse] is the hope of everlasting life, shared by the ones with heavenly or earthly hope.” I think he found that double-speak somewhere in the JW literature, but he didn’t say where. I have texted back asking about the two-class system, and whether he thinks it has been imposed on the Bible rather than being taught by the Bible. My phone says that the text has been read, but so far he hasn’t responded. Here’s hoping and praying that he continues to interact and doesn’t shut down on me.

Lord Jesus, use the strange memorial meeting of this year to draw JW’s to yourself. Help them see the hypocrisy of rejecting you, and then calling themselves “Christians.”

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I Attended the Jehovah’s Witness Virtual Memorial

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From David Weber on Unsplash

In my previous post, I lamented and gave a pep talk to myself (and you, I hope) about God being at work even when we’re being ghosted by Jehovah’s Witnesses. At the time, it seemed like I was waiting for something to happen.

Well, something happened.

The Covid virus happened.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ annual memorial this year was done on Zoom video chat. Out of the blue I received an invitation from a JW acquaintance who attends the kingdom hall that my long-time friend Mark attends. This acquaintance (whom I’ll call Gary) offered to help me download the Zoom app, and provided the meeting access code on the day of the event.

So here’s what happened.

I thought I would be able to observe people passing the elements, whether where the speaker was located (Florida), or with the people and families I saw on screen. But no. While I could see people on screen before and after the talk, they were all blanked out during the talk. All I could see was the talking head. And he gave people hardly any time to pass the elements among themselves. In fact, it was unclear when they were supposed to pass the bread. Passing the elements seemed like almost an afterthought.

The talk was the same that I have heard every dang time I have been to the memorial. Same four questions. If I remember them correctly: (1) How is the ransom provided, (2) Who benefits from the ransom, (3) Who should partake of the bread and wine, and (4) What more can we do to show our appreciation for the ransom. Point number 3 is always a thinly veiled warning against anybody but the anointed 144,000 taking the elements. Point 4 is an appeal to attend meetings, participate in ministry, and take in Bible knowledge.

After the meeting, attendees were allowed to greet each other, which was actually a really nice, casual affair, everyone saying hello to each other. They’re obviously lonely and bored, and this was a much-needed connection time for their members. At least the control-freaks allowed it. Thank God. I actually heard a couple of hellos directed toward me; I don’t know who it was, but several members of the congregation know me. I was pleasantly surprised.

I have yet to talk with Mark and Gary about the meeting. That will be the big payoff—the talking points that came from the experience. I’ve already asked Gary what they do with the bread and wine that serve as props for the meeting. He said they eat and drink it later. That’s so bizarre. But at least the bread and wine are not wasted. (I read somewhere that those who believe in transubstantiation, like the Roman Catholics, have to pour out unused wine onto the ground, because it has actually become the literal blood of Christ. That’s bizarre too.)

My planned talking points include: The opening song, “A Special Posession,” (song #25) which is the perfect example of so much that is wrong with the Watchtower doctrine. The whole song applies exclusively to the 144,000. That means that my friends are actually singing about a group they’re not a part of. The song goes on and on about the anointed being a new creation, spirit-anointed sons, a holy nation, God’s people, etc. The whole thing borders on idolatry, praising the anointed class of believers. Ugh, it’s so annoying. What’s also annoying is that visiting evangelical Christians would have no clue about the song’s true meaning, thinking it’s just a nice song about all believers. Again, Ugh. BTW, a fun thing to do if you’re at a meeting and they sing this song: Substitute in the word “we” for every place the song says “they.” Instant evangelical hymn! Watch for reactions of those around you.

Another talking point might be that the speaker specifically said that the Bible talks about “two hopes,” a heavenly hope and an earthly hope. Nowhere does the Bible say “two hopes.” In fact, it says that there’s “one hope” at Ephesians 4:4. Only. One. Hope.

The speaker also talked about the anointed being “in contract” with Jehovah, as Jesus expressed during the Lord’s supper, when he said “this cup is the New Covenant in my blood.” He did not say the rest of the sentence, where Jesus adds “for many for the remission of sins.” If the Great Crowd believers are not in the New Covenant, what covenant, if any, are they in? What is their “contract” with Jehovah?

Finally, the speaker mentioned Romans 8 to answer how the anointed know that they’re destined for heaven. Paul says that “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Verse 16) Watchtower applies this blessing exclusively to the 144,000. I hope to read all of Romans 8 with Mark and Gary and express to them my sadness, anger, and offense at how the governing bully denies all the blessings from virtually all their disciples. They are, however, expected to live up to all the exhortations in the Bible. Harumph.

I look forward to talking with Mark and Gary. Please pray that their hearts and minds will be open to the truth and the presence of God’s Holy Spirit.

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Top Ten Topics to Discuss With Jehovah’s Witnesses #7: The Two-Class System

 

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Here is yet another good talking point that I use with Jehovah’s Witnesses, either at their carts, or wherever I may meet them: their infamous, notorious, and scandalous two-class system of believers. This is a helpful topic, especially when I don’t want to use the strategy of pretending that I’m a potential candidate with innocent Bible questions. Lately they’re seeing through that strategy anyway, and they end up questioning my motives for asking questions. They’re being trained to spot “opposers” and their strategies, and to cut off dialogue with them immediately. For a more direct approach, then, I give no indication that I’m interested in learning from them, instead expressing how shocked I am about their two-class system. It’s a completely honest and transparent approach, and I’m getting some good traction with it, depending on how comfortable they are with the subject.

Many JW’s at first don’t know to what I’m referring. But it takes only a few sentences for them to get it. Here’s how the conversation typically goes:

Me: Hello, good to meet you.

JW: Hello, you are welcome to take any of our literature.

Me: Thank you, but I’ve studied with a JW friend, and I read a lot at JW.org, and quite honestly I have a problem with your two-class system.

JW: Our what?

Me: You know, how the Watchtower teaches about two classes of believers, the anointed 144,000 and the great crowd. Like there’s a first class, and a second class.

JW: No, you don’t understand. There’s no second class. I’m looking forward to living forever in paradise on earth. I don’t have a problem with it.

Me: That part is not my biggest concern. Regardless of where we end up in the future, I’m thinking about right now. There are a bunch of kingdom privileges, or blessings, that are enjoyed by the anointed class, that are being denied to the other class.

JW: Well, we experience many blessings indirectly.

Me: Do you? I know that you can have Jesus as your ransom, but that’s about it. According to Watchtower, you don’t get to be adopted by Jehovah as his son, or be in the New Covenant, or be part of Abraham’s seed, or citizens of the Kingdom, or anointed with Holy Spirit, or being born again, or having Jesus as your mediator, or . . .

JW: Wait! You mentioned Jesus as our mediator. Of course he’s our mediator.

Me: Yes, I find that many JW’s don’t realize that Watchtower teaches that Jesus is NOT your mediator, but that he’s the mediator for ONLY the 144,000.

JW: No, you have wrong information. Maybe you saw that on an apostate website.

Me: I got it right from the Insight book, on jw.org. You know about the Insight book, right?

JW: Yes, but that can’t be right. Maybe you read it wrong.

Me: No, they very clearly teach that Jesus is the mediator for only the 144,000. You should research that. Look in the Insight book, under “M” for mediator. Anyway, I find it shocking that you and my JW friends are being denied all these blessings. You’re all being forbidden to enjoy any of these kingdom privileges, while you’re expected to take on all the responsibilities. Don’t you want to be in the New Covenant, and have Jesus as your mediator?

JW: I need to research that some more.

Me: Yes, please do. I should go, but thanks for talking with me today!

JW: Okay, goodbye.

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