Have You Attended the Meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses?
LAST year Jehovah’s witnesses conducted, on the average, 802,473 Bible studies with other persons, in most cases once each week. By far the majority of these studies were held with persons in their own homes, and at their own convenience. Since many of the studies are with families of several members, probably well over a million persons are regularly sharing in these weekly Bible discussions. Perhaps you are one of such persons.
If so, have you not found it a real pleasure to become more familiar with your Bible? Undoubtedly these studies have caused you to appreciate more fully the inspired Bible counsel regarding the way in which we should live. How pleasant life can be when humans listen to the Word of God! Possibly your own marriage ties have been strengthened by considering the Bible’s instruction for husbands “to be loving their wives as their own bodies,” and for wives to “be in subjection to their husbands.” (Eph. 5:21-25, 28, 33) Perhaps, too, the Bible’s counsel on rearing children, and on how children should respect their parents, is exercising a beneficial effect in your family.—Eph. 6:1-4.
But besides becoming familiar with such excellent Bible guidance and instruction, consider the marvelous hope for the future that your study of God’s Word has opened before you. No longer are you perplexed regarding the distressing world conditions that have plagued humankind during the past generation. You have come to see in present events the fulfillment of Bible prophecies that show we are living in the final days of this system of things. (Matt. 24:3-14; 2 Tim. 3:1-5) Your study of the Bible has revealed that we are right at the portals of a new system of things in which “righteousness is to dwell.”—2 Pet. 3:13.
As a result of studying the Bible with Jehovah’s witnesses, your confidence in God and his promises has undoubtedly grown. Your faith has become stronger in such Bible prophecies as that recorded by the apostle John: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more.” (Rev. 21:3, 4) What marvelous blessings God has in store for those who serve him!—Compare Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:21-24.
OBLIGATION TO ASSEMBLE TOGETHER
However, in order to become recipients of these blessings it is necessary to abide by the divine requirements of God’s Word, including the one at Hebrews chapter ten, verses twenty-four and twenty-five, which says: “Let us consider one another to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near.” This, therefore, puts you under obligation before God to associate with fellow Christians at congregation meetings.
Perhaps, though, this divine requirement raises a question, for besides enjoying a home Bible study with Jehovah’s witnesses, you may also be a member of one of Christendom’s religions. So you might wonder: “To fulfill my Scriptural obligation, with whom should I associate? With Jehovah’s witnesses at their local meeting places, or with the church that I have attended in the past? Does it really make any difference?” How can you determine what course is pleasing to God?
The common view is that one should attend the church of his choice—which one that might be is generally considered unimportant. Yet, from your study of the Bible, is it not clear that God does not approve of all religious practices and teachings? In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus Christ himself said: “Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it; whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.”—Matt. 7:13, 14.
Obviously, then, not all religious paths please God. “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens,” Jesus said, “but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will.” To those who cling to false religious practices and teachings, Jesus says: “Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matt. 7:21-23) But how can you determine which religion is really doing God’s will and is thus the proper one with which to associate?
DETERMINING WITH WHOM TO ASSEMBLE
In order for a religion to do God’s will, is it not essential that it teach right doctrine about Him? It certainly is! Well, then, does the church with which you have associated teach the trinity, namely, the doctrine that, according to the popular Athanasian Creed, asserts: “The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet there are not three Gods, but one God. . . . And in this Trinity . . . the whole three persons are coeternal together, and coequal”?
If a religion teaches this unscriptural doctrine, it does not direct you to the true God. It does not teach you to worship the Father of Jesus Christ, the one to whom Jesus prayed, “Not my will, but yours take place,” and of whom Jesus said, “The Father is greater than I am.” (Luke 22:42; John 14:28) Jesus clearly showed that he and his Father are not “coequal” and “coeternal,” as the trinity asserts. You may not think that the church you have attended teaches this doctrine, yet it is more than likely that it does, since the World Council of Churches, which includes most major religions of Christendom, requires belief in the trinity as a basis for membership. Is your church a member of that Council?
Another thing to consider: What does the church with which you have associated teach regarding man’s hope for the future? If, like other religions of Christendom, it proclaims that the hope of future life is based upon the possession of an immortal soul, how could that religion be true in view of the Bible’s plain statement: “The soul that is sinning—it itself will die”? (Ezek. 18:4) These matters are the very core of religion. Is it not clear, then, that if the concept of God and the hope that is held out are wrong, the religion itself must also be false?
Jesus Christ emphasized the necessity of proper knowledge to travel the cramped road to life, saying: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Since right knowledge about God and his Son is essential to everlasting life, it is evident that remaining a part of a religion that teaches false doctrines will put one on the broad road leading to destruction.
Can you, therefore, fulfill the Bible requirement to assemble with fellow Christians, as recorded at Hebrews 10:24, 25, by associating with persons who are participating in unscriptural worship? Of course not! We have discussed these matters very frankly because your life is involved. Yes, the proper worship of God is a life or death matter!
MEETINGS OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
It is for this reason that Jehovah’s witnesses are desirous of helping you to obtain an accurate knowledge of the Bible. If they regularly conduct a Bible study in your home it is because they want to see you gain everlasting life. But as was noted, assembling with others who are taking in this life-giving knowledge is also necessary.
You are familiar with the question-and-answer method followed in your home study. Well, on a midweek night, usually it is Tuesday at 8 p.m., Jehovah’s witnesses gather together in a nearby private home and have a similar one-hour discussion. The groups are small, generally around a dozen persons, affording opportunity for all to share in a lively consideration of a Bible topic. If you enjoy the study in your home, you are certain to derive much pleasure from attending this weekly discussion.
Another meeting of Jehovah’s witnesses that you will enjoy attending is held on Sunday at the local Kingdom Hall. On that occasion a qualified speaker gives a fifty-five-minute talk on an appealing Bible subject. In the weeks to come some of the discussions to be heard are on how archaeology confirms the Bible record, the value of prayer, proof that the Bible does not contradict itself and many other topics of interest to a Bible student. Also on Sunday, a one-hour Bible study based on material found in a recent issue of the Watchtower magazine is conducted. This, too, follows the lively question-and-answer method. At these meetings you are sure to learn things that will help to equip you to serve God acceptably.
The same is true during the one-hour Theocratic Ministry School meeting held at the Kingdom Hall—usually on a Thursday or Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. Recently an informative chapter-by-chapter study of the entire Bible was completed, taking more than three years. Now the students give their talks on specific Scriptural topics, which are assigned in advance. On the same evening there is a one-hour Service Meeting during which practical suggestions are given on how to share God’s Word with other persons, as Jesus and his apostles did. You will enjoy attending these sessions and receiving the upbuilding instruction from God’s Word.
At none of these meetings will you be expected to offer comments unless you volunteer by raising your hand. Nor are collections ever taken up. Attending these meetings does not mean that you are one of Jehovah’s witnesses, but it does give you an opportunity to see what the organization is like. You will find that persons who assemble there are persons who want to please God, just as you do. You will feel right at home among them.
Therefore, we would like to take this opportunity cordially to invite you to attend the meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses. By associating with them you will be able to fulfill the Bible requirement ‘not to forsake gathering together’ with fellow Christians for worship.—Heb. 10:24, 25.