Foundedin 1875 by Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1921)
SOURCE OF DOCTRINE: Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures written by Mary Baker Eddy. She insisted that the Bible was the source of her authority but she also believed that God had given her His "final revelation." It was widely publicized in the July 10, 1904 edition of The New York Times that she had been charged of plagiarizing material from P.P. Quimby. She believed that the Bible is full of errors.
CENTRAL TEACHING: The Science of Health. "It is unchristian to believe that pain and sickness are anything but illusions." Good health is simply a matter of mind over matter. "The theology of Christian Science is Truth: opposed to which is the error of sickness, sin, and death, that Truth destroys."
Scripture clearly teaches the reality of the material world (Col. 1:16; Heb. 2:14), of sin (1 John 1:10), and of death (Ps. 104:29; Rom. 6:23). The Lord wants us to treat sicknesses as real (Matt. 25:36), even for the enlightened (Phil. 2:25-29; 1 Cor. 12:7-9).
GOD: God is defined as "The great I am; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all acting, all-wise, all loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all Substance; Intelligence (Science and Health, 587:5-8). The only trinity she could subscribe to was the trinity of Life, Truth, and Love.
But Scripture gives a personality to the Lord of heaven and earth. See Is. 43:25; 2 Tim. 2:19; Ezek. 18:30; Heb. 1:3; Ps. 102:17
CHRIST: "Christ is the ideal truth that comes to heal sickness and sin through Christian Science, and attributes all power to God. Jesus is the name of the man who, more than all other men, has presented Christ, the true idea of GodÖ Jesus is the human man, and Christ is the divine idea; hence the duality of Jesus the Christ" (Science and Health, 473:9-16).
What did Christ (fully human and fully divine) do for us in Mark 15:23?
MAN & SALVATION: There is no such thing as sin. On the other hand, Mrs. Eddy states that salvation is "Ö sin, sickness, and death destroyed.
Reading Matthew 9:1-10, Mary Baker Eddy was persuaded that Jesus healed the man sick of the palsy by convincing him the sickness did not exist. How did she misunderstand this miracle? What is the relationship between sickness and sin?
SACRAMENTS: Eddy referred to communion as a "dead rite." Spiritual understanding of baptism and eucharist.
CHURCH & MINISTRY: Eddy criticized the emphasis on liturgy, creeds, sacraments, public prayer and sermons. Christian Science offers members who have properly trained to serve as practitioners, who pray for the sick. "Evangelism" is done through the Christian Science Reading Rooms.
LAST THINGS: Death is defined as "an illusion, the lie of life in matter; the unreal and untrue; the opposite of Life" (Science and Health, 584). Heaven is defined as "Harmony; the reign of Spirit; government by divine Principle; spirituality; bliss; the atmosphere of Soul. (S&H, 587).
SOURCE OF DOCTRINE: The New World Translation of the Bible- a version that translates passages in a way that supports their unique teachings. This was published by the Watchtower Society.
CENTRAL TEACHING: The earth will be manís home forever if he is obedient to Godís government.
GOD: "Jehovah" is the only proper name for God. They contend that using the name Jehovah is one of the marks identifying the true religion (You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, p. 184-85). They do not believe in the Trinity. "The plain truth is that this is another of Satanís attempts to keep the God-fearing person from learning the truth of Jehovah and His Son Jesus Christ (Let God be True, p. 93)."
CHRIST: Jesus Christ has existed in three different, separate states. (1.) Michael the archangel, Godís first creation. He ceased being Michael when He became (2.) a perfect man on earth for 33 years. In His resurrection He again became (3.) Michael the archangel. (You May Survive Armageddon into Godís New World, p. 112 and Is This Life All There Is? P. 128). Jesus only had a spiritual resurrection and His body remains in the grave.
MAN & SALVATION: JWís must meet four requirements for salvation: (1) Take in knowledge by studying the Bible with the aid of Watchtower publications; (2) obey the laws of God and the laws of the Watchtower Society; (3) be baptized into the Watchtower organization; and (4) publish the good news of the Watchtower Society from door to door (The Watchtower, Feb. 15, 1983, p.12).
SACRAMENTS: Baptism and the Lordís Supper are symbolic. Lordís Supper is observed once a year by the 144,000 who alone can take it because they are the body of Christ.
CHURCH & MINISTRY: The people of God are made up of two components: (1) "The 144,000" from Rev. 7:4 who make up the body of Christ; and (2) "The Great Crowd" from Rev. 7:9 who assist the 144,000 by proclaiming the message. Only 144,000 will go to heaven. Less than 9000 of the 144,000 live on earth today. JWís not belonging to the 144,000 will live in a restored paradise on earth (From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained, p.153).
Kingdom Halls have no ordained clergy. All members are ministers (publishers). Local Kingdom Halls are tied organizationally to Bethel Headquarters in Brooklyn, NY. This is the Watchtower organization which Jehovah himself has designated to be his representative on earth since 1914.
LAST THINGS: Christ second coming began in 1914, with His action to set up the headquarters of His kingdom in heaven. The mission of JWís is to proclaim that Jehovah has now established the kingdom of Christ. Soon, after the battle of Armageddon, He will put it into operation as a millennial government on earth. Those who do not accept the message will be annihilated- either at death or at Armageddon.
WHAT JEHOVAHíS WITNESSES OPPOSE
Voting and Saluting the Flag
Serving in the Armed Forces
WHAT TO DO WHEN THEY COME TO YOUR DOOR
(Kern, Herbert How to Respond to Jehovahís Witnesses, CPH, 1995, p.11-14)
"The works I had to do as a Jehovahís Witness were a heavy burden. I felt I was always falling short, that I was never doing enough, that I was not pleasing God. I had a smile on my face, but no peace in my heart." -A former member of the Watchtower Society for 40 years
Be friendly and kind. Smile. Listen. Donít say "I am a [denomination name]. Then they will think you are part of the devilís organization. Itís better to say, "Iím a believer in Jesus." Donít get sidetracked by minor issues like their refusal to receive blood transfusions. Talking about the Trinity will probably lead you nowhere. Theyíve got a different Bible. Focus on Jesus, the central issue. Pray. "Lord, help me!"
A Brief Summary of an Actual Encounter with Jehovahís Witnesses
JW: What do you think about the crime, drug addiction, and many other problems we face today? The Bible tells us we are very near to the time when God will destroy this present world system. There will be survivors. The question is: What must you and I do to be among them?
Christian: I read the Bible every day. It counteracts all the evil I hear about and gives me a positive outlook. From the Bible I learn that God loves me. He accepts me for Jesusí sake. I know I have eternal life right now. Isnít that great?
JW: Do you think there will ever be peace on earth?
Christian: I have peace in my heart.
JW: How do you know you have peace?
Christian: I know Jesus died for me personally. If I were to die tonight, Iíd be with Him forever.
Notice what the Christian does. What is his approach?
Points You Might Want to Mention in Giving Your Personal Testimony
I trust in Jesus, not in an organization (John 3:16) I know I have eternal life (1 John 5:13) and that I will be with Jesus forever (John 14:1-6) Iím not saved by what I do. I do good works out of love for God (Ephesians 2:8-10) My first name is ________________; what is yours? (It is easier to pray for someone by name.) I will pray that you will know the peace and joy I experience (Romans 5:1)
Plant a seed of doubt. Ask questions to make them think, like: "Where was Jehovahís organization between the time of the apostles and the time of your founder, Charles Russell?" Challenge them to read the Bible. "Can you be a Christian without using Watchtower magazines and books?" "Why donít you put aside your Watchtower helps for one week or one month. Let Jehovah speak to you directly through the Bible." Ask non-threatening questions. Take control of the conversation.
When two JWís come to your door, one is usually a trainee. Direct your words to the trainee who may be more open to the Holy Spirit.
Donít give money to the Watchtower. List some relevant Bible passages in the back of your Bible that will help you in your discussion.
THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS (MORMONS)
(Information drawn from Churches in America, Thomas Manteufel, 1994, CPH and How to Respond to The Latter-day Saints, Edgar P. Kaiser, 1995, CPH)
SOURCE OF DOCTRINE: The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, The Pearl of Great Price, King James Version of the Bible (insofar as it is translated correctly).
But see the solemn warning of Jeremiah 23:31.
CENTRAL DOCTRINE: The Articles of Faith in The Pearl of Great Price state: "We believe that through the atonement of Jesus Christ all mankind may be saved by obedience to the law and ordinance of the Gospel" (p.67). The doctrine of justification by faith alone is denounced as sectarian and evil.
Contrast this with Romans 3:23-28!
GOD & CHRIST: Mormons believe that there are many gods, none of whom is a divine being. The most important is the Father. He is an exalted man, who was born at some time in the distant past and later glorified. Therefore they say, "As man is, God once was; as God is, man must become." God has a body and begets children by his wife. The two most prominent of these, who have become gods along with him, are the Son and the Holy Ghost.
It is plain that none of these is the God the Bible, with neither beginning nor end. See Psalm 90:2; Hos. 11:9.
MAN & SALVATION: All human beings have a preexistent life in the Fatherís home as spirit beings born in his family. They then come to be born on earth with physical bodies, in order to have the opportunity to earn godhood. Sin has separated them from God. But the Son of God was born into a human body and made atonement for them, so that they could be restored to Godís presence and have the possibility of gaining salvation according to the law and justice.
SACRAMENTS: Baptism is one of the ordinances that must be kept to attain salvation. Children are not baptized before the age of eight. Baptism is by immersion only and done in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. The living are encouraged to be baptized for those who have died outside the Mormon faith. Holy Communion is offered in most wards each Sunday at sacrament meeting. The common practice is to use water rather than wine.
CHURCH & MINISTRY: Joseph Smith alleged that he was called to reestablish the church of Christ, which had disappeared on the earth. It must have both an Aaronic priesthood and a Melchizedek priesthood.
But see Matt. 16:18.
LAST THINGS: Some will succeed in becoming gods by their works and will rule on earth during the millennium and on their own personal planets thereafter. Others will achieve lesser degrees of glory. The future gods expect to raise families in the millennium and afterwards. For this reason they seal women to themselves in "celestial marriages" in the Mormon temples. The more wives, the better. In fact, this is considered a requisite for attaining godhood.
But see Matt. 22:30.
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