|Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries||Watchtower Cult|
The successors to the Apostles
Who should Christians not greet ?
This study wishes to focus on some of the differences between Protestantism and Orthodoxy and to inspire Protestants, who are not familiar with the Orthodox Church of the Lord, to dedicate some time to consider and to examine the facts.
There are certain people who regulate the lives of millions of our fellow-humans with their commandments and their rules. And although one would at least expect honesty from their part towards those who revere them to the death and await their guidance, on the contrary, these people willfully disorient them.
Fear of the truth
Most religious leaders are aware that that if their followers ever learned the truth they would shake off the yoke of servitude that has been imposed on them, and so they subsequently strive to conceal the truth with every possible means. Basically, they strive to isolate their “victims”, by keeping them as far away as possible from former followers who have realized the Organization’s deception and are therefore able to expose its deception to others.
We are referring here to the religious organization “Watchtower”. Even though the leadership is fully aware that the beliefs and dogmas that they teach are false, they nevertheless continue to propagate them and they actually terrorize and isolate any believer who doubts these proven false beliefs. Since however the people “outside the Organization” are usually ignorant of its vulnerable Achilles’ heel, the Organization’s fears are centered on those who desert the Organization, because they have come to know all of its lies and frauds and are able to expose it, presenting proof of this fraud to others.
In its intense desire to avoid this exposure, the Watchtower organization has invented yet another misinterpretation of the Holy Scripture, for the purpose of persuading its followers not to converse with those who have deserted the Organization, whom it has labelled “apostates”.
In this study, we shall reveal how the Watchtower organization tricks its members, in order to convince them that they should never talk to the “excommunicated”, or, in other words, those who have ceased to be its members.
We shall do this, by showing how it has distorted an extract of John’s Epistle B, verses 10-11.
This is the principle passage that they use to persuade their followers that they should not talk to the “apostates” of the Organization.
As soon as a follower realizes the fraud involved here, he can then seek further information from people who have left the organization, and learn more about its various other frauds, without fearing that they have committed a sin in doing so.
8 misinterpretations of the Holy Bible
The passage of John’s Epistle B’ verses 10-11 that has been distorted by the Watchtower mentions the following: “if anyone comes to you, who is not a bearer of this teaching, do not receive him into any home, and do not greet him by saying “Rejoice”. For he that does greet him, partakes in his evil works.”
“You see? (Watchtower says to its followers) The Holy Bible says that when you see an excommunicated member, an apostate, who is not a bearer of the organization’s teachings, you should not even greet him, much less listen to him analyzing his apostate views! And if someone does this and talks to him, then he is partaking in his evil works and we must also excommunicate him too.”
A careful reader will of course observe that the passage does not say anything that is so accommodating to Watchtower, in its desire to conceal the truth.
Let’s examine these verses very carefully, in order to understand the deception.
1. Nowhere is there a mention of the word “excommunicated” in these verses.
John clearly says: “if anyone who is not the bearer of this teaching”. It is inappropriate therefore to confine these words to implying the excommunicated members of the Watchtower organization only.
If Watchtower wanted to strictly comply with these words, it would have to forbid its members to talk to anyone who believed something different to the organization’s beliefs.
Obviously, this would not have been to its benefit, as Watchtower would not have been able to send its followers to knock on the doors of those who are unfamiliar with its organization.
2. Nowhere in these verses is mentioned “the teaching of Watchtower”.
It refers to the “teaching of Christ”, in accordance with the preceding verse 9.
Given that the teaching of Christ is always true, and the truth never changes, it cannot therefore be referring to the Watchtower dogmas that change every now and then. Besides, every religion claims to possess the truth, so, based on Watchtower’s logic, the followers of every religion should never welcome any infidel at their door, not even the Watchtower followers who are not the bearers of the teaching that each of them believes to be Christ’s.
3. The verses also say : “…if anyone comes to you” and not “….anyone you happen to encounter in the street”.
The Watchtower organization is therefore not justified, when ordering its followers to never speak under any circumstance to its excommunicated members. It would mean that this person – whom it is forbidden to greet – was the bearer of a teaching other than Christ’s.
4. One cannot possibly know about another’s teachings, until he has first heard something from him.
This is apparent, in verse 7, preceding the verses that we are examining: “For many deceivers have come into the world, who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. Such is the deceiver and the antichrist.”
This, therefore, is the false teaching that we must shun. The verse does not imply the bearers of any false teachings in general, but specifies those “who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh”.
This is the clarification that a Christian must first seek from “anyone who comes to him” and this is the basis on which he must judge if he should welcome the comer, or not even greet him. Watchtower’s generalization about “whoever does not believe in its dogmas” is therefore entirely peremptory.
5. The verse does not tell us not to speak to him! It tells us not to “extend our (customary) greeting” (the Greek word for the customary greeting is interpreted as ‘Rejoice!’). Naturally, Watchtower’s addition of the words “not even” (greet him) in order to also imply “not to talk”, does not exist. Therefore, this verse clearly forbids only two things: a. we must not allow him inside our home and b. we must not extend him the greeting of “Rejoice!” .
6. There is no vagueness about the kind of greeting here. It specifies the word “Rejoice!”
The reason for avoiding this kind of salutation is that the enemy of the Gospel rejoices, when the Gospel is impaired. Thus, by greeting him in this fashion, it is as though we are wishing that everything will happen to that person that will bring him joy.
In order to eliminate the above, true meaning of the verse, the Watchtower organization says that a “greeting” is something cold and formal, as opposed to the “embracing” which is far more sentimental. It is for this reason - according to Watchtower – that one should not even say “Hello”. But his is not the case, because in the Holy Scriptures, these two (Greek) words are related, as one can see in Luke Chapter 1, verses 28, 29, 40, 41 and 44, where even a simple greeting is also mentioned as an embrace.
7. The passage does not specify fornicators, killers, thieves, etc., only those who are not bearers of the teaching of Christ. So, once again Watchtower is showing arbitrary behaviour, when specifically prohibiting its followers to speak to the people who have left the Organization for whichever reason.
8. MOST IMPORTANT : This passage does not refer to anyone who is not the bearer of Christ’s teaching; it refers to a specific category – the category of False Prophets
Prophets and False Prophets
Let us examine this matter in more detail, beginning from verse 7 of the same Epistle (John, B): “For many deceivers have come into the world, who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. Such is the deceiver and the antichrist.”
The Apostle John had written these words before, only slightly differently, in his first Epistle:
John, 4, 1-3: “My beloved, do not show faith in every spirit, but test whether the spirits are of God, because many false prophets have come forth into the world. In this you shall recognize the Spirit of God : Every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ as come in the flesh, is of God. And every spirit that does not confess Jesus Christ, is not of God; and this, is (the spirit) of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now, it is already come into the world.”
Both in this passage as well as the previous one, we observe that the Apostle John speaks of the same matter : of the false prophets. For the Apostle, the criterion that distinguishes a true Prophet from the False Prophet is if “he confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh”. The False Prophets are referred to as “deluded”, “antichrists” and “false Prophets”.
But who were the Prophets, and who were the False Prophets?
During the apostolic era, there existed the Order of the Prophets. These were the charismatic ministers of the Church, who were ordained by the Apostles, after being chosen by the Holy Spirit. They were the successors to the Apostles, who traveled from Church to Church, vested with authority. They could ordain, they could perform the Divine Eucharist, and could convey the Apostles’ instructions. When visiting a certain Church, the Christians of that district would offer them hospitality in their homes for as long as they remained there. Until the time of their departure, however, they had full authority over that Church.
It is easy to understand why John was so vehemently opposed to the category of False Prophets. These people would appear at various Churches pretending to be “Prophets”, and the Churches would welcome them as ministers authorized by the Holy Spirit and the Apostles. Therefore, whenever one of them would come to a Church claiming to be a Prophet, according to the words of the Apostle John, the local Christians had to verify whether that man confessed “Jesus Christ come in the flesh”. This was a sound criterion, because those fraudulent Prophets – who were Gnostics – went there with the intention to mislead the Church. Gnostics did not confess that Jesus came (and will come) in the flesh. Christians therefore had to enquire in this way, in order to distinguish if he was a true Prophet or a Gnostic, False Prophet.
This kind of deceiver “who came to them” was therefore neither allowed to enter their home to stay as a guest, nor was he to be welcomed with the greeting “Rejoice!”
Since these verses refer to a specific category of people of that era, it is entirely inappropriate to relate the verses to everyone else today, unless that person who comes to us claims to have apostolic succession or declares himself a Prophet, who does not confess “Jesus Christ (forever) come in the flesh”.
We are curious, as to what the wandering “bishops” of the Watchtower organization are actually confessing, when they preach that Christ will come in spirit, and not “in the flesh”.
Article published in English on: 10-12-2002.
Last update: 5-7-2005.