“Favorable Testimony from People on the Outside”
Although Jehovah’s witnesses do not enjoy great popularity, the work they do and the way they do it, with zeal and enthusiasm, have been highlighted by the press of Brazil, especially when they hold conventions. Since it is fruits and not appearances that count with God, Jehovah’s witnesses recognize as truth the words of the apostle Paul at 1 Timothy 3:7 when he says that one must have a “favorable testimony from people on the outside.” In this way they have shown that they are mature Christians.
The newspaper O Tempo, January 7, 1959, published in the city of São Paulo, wrote: “Although there are many imposing religions with their propaganda in all parts of the globe, there does not exist a single one on the face of the earth today that shows the same love and unity as the theocratic organization of Jehovah’s witnesses in their New World society.”
There is a reason why Jehovah’s witnesses are like that. Answering the question, “What is the reason for their zeal and enthusiasm?” the São Paulo newspaper Diário de Comércio e Indústria, of January 8, 1959, wrote: “The counsel given by the apostle Paul to his young helper Timothy, to ‘study to show yourself approved by God’, is constantly emphasized to the Witnesses, and to that end they attend five meetings every week. . . . This, besides personal study of the Bible and kindred subjects, is the reason why they conduct themselves like people with a definite purpose in life.”
Emphasizing the Christian’s purpose, to read and teach the Bible, the Diario de Mogi, January 17, 1959, published under the title “Jehovah’s Witnesses Wage War Against Illiteracy”: “A qualified instructor sets about, week after week, to patiently teach others to read and write, insisting that the pupils make the greatest possible effort, for their own benefit.” “The pupils, because of the very circumstances impelling them as ministers of God, must develop their knowledge of the language in order to give discourses.”
Due to the activity of Jehovah’s witnesses in this most important work of evangelization, their progress has been noted. Luta Democratica, of Rio de Janeiro, January 22, 1959, said: “The religion of Jehovah’s witnesses is one that has grown in importance from year to year in the opinion of the Brazilian people.” On the same subject, the Correio de Manhã, of Rio, February 8, said: “With the moral and spiritual upbuilding of the Brazilian people as a goal, the activity of Jehovah’s witnesses has been marked in our country by the holding of religious conventions.”
The way Jehovah’s witnesses preach the gospel has given rise to the following commentaries: “Jehovah’s witnesses have an unusual way of propagating their religion. They visit the homes of the people and present their beliefs to each householder, quoting a series of Bible texts. They use only the Portuguese language in all the meetings held in their 587 congregations, from the Amazon to Rio Grande do Sul.” (O Jornal, Rio de Janeiro, December 29, 1959) “Every member admitted to the denomination is, basically, a preacher. It is his duty to go from house to house, explaining the Bible for the people.”—Diario Carioca.
Explaining the procedure of Jehovah’s witnesses, Última Hora, of Rio, stated: “Jehovah’s witnesses do not oblige anyone to enter their fold; they do the work of systematic Bible instruction, explaining its truths, and only one who reasons fully and recognizes its virtues will be able to enter their ranks. For this reason children are not baptized by the ‘Witnesses’.” On this point the Correio de Manhã, February 21, 1959, published further: “We took occasion to note the presence of a number of young people from 12 to 16 years of age. We tried to learn from them whether they were being baptized because of family influence or of their own free will. All made plain that they were not forced by any influence whatever, although members of some of their families are Jehovah’s witnesses.”
Favorable testimony is also given when it is seen that they do not have discrimination of any kind. O Dia, of Rio, stated: “Persons of all social classes are going along with the movement of Jehovah’s witnesses.”