Are Jehovah’s Witnesses considered part of a cult? How did this religion
come to be and what is it they believe?

Whether or not the Jehovah’s Witness are a cult would depend
on your definition of the word. For me, personally, the word cult has
come to have a very negative connotation. The working definition which I
believe our culture uses for a cult is a group which is dominated by an
individual who exercises a very dominating influence on the members of the
group. By this definition, the Jehovah’s Witness group would have been a
cult back in the 1880’s-1930’s, under the cult-like leadership of Charles
Russel and “Judge” Rutherford. Again, it is a matter of definition, but
in my opinion, the Witnesses are not a cult in the most common negative
sense of the word as it is used today.

There are a power point presentation and extensive notes on
the Jehovah’s Witness at the is site. Click on JW PPoint. The group was
begun by Charles Taze Russel in the late 1870’s. He was from and
Adventist background, but veered into a radically non-Christian doctrine,
including rejection of the belief that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are
deity. Thanks to Russel, the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus is
only a very powerful angel, not God. They believe that the Holy Spirit is
not a person or deity, but only a spiritual force. The Jehovah’s Witness
do not believe in Hell as a place of torment or punishment. They teach
that Jesus Christ already came back in 1914. They teach that the only
correct name for God is Jehovah, and that the New Testament was changed by
apostate Christians to remove the name Jehovah from the Bible. They have
many other shockingly non-Biblical beliefs. This group is so far from
accepting the teaching of Jesus Christ that I believe they are not even
marginally Christian. Their false theology is maintained by the
dictatorial control of the Watchtower Society which carefully controls all
the teachings and the finances of the group. The Watchtower Society is a
shadowy organization of extremely old men who control virtually every
aspect of the governance of the worldwide organization.

Other than that, they are wonderful! Actually, you will find
a level of devotion amongst the Witnesses which would put to shame most
modern Christian groups. Their devotion is based on an emotional
attachment to one another and to the Watchtower Society. It is very
difficult to “convert” Jehovah’s Witnesses to correct biblical teaching
because their commitment to the group is not based on careful thought but
on emotion and even fear. I would not suggest studying with members of
this group unless they are by themselves and are already disaffected from
the religion.

John Oakes

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