Jehovah`s Witness/Baptism

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Question
QUESTION: The Watchtower Claims they imitate what the first Christians did.
Are they doing it about baptism on how the first Christians did it with their--Baptizing with their two questions?
Is that what the first Christians did?
Compare For Baptism Verses Open Acts 2:38 Acts 8:16 Acts 10:48 Acts 19:5 Rom 6:3 Gal 3:27
http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/baptism.php Claims the Watchtower has changed how they
Consider what really is a valid baptism to get saved for everlasting life!!

ANSWER: Good evening, Wayne.  Thank you for writing with your question.

You are absolutely correct, that the WT practice of baptism is not at all in harmony with what we read about in the Scriptures.  In fact, the whole process bears little resemblance at all, to the Scriptural practice.  There is no evidence of a new convert being asked 2 questions acknowledging ANY Organization, before they could be baptized.  None.  The JW practice is entirely without Scriptural precedent.  It is indefensible from the Word of God.

In fact, it is the exact opposite of what we see in the Scriptures.  One of the greatest examples that can be given, is found in Acts chapter 8, with the account of the Ethiopian eunuch.  Now, it is interesting that the WT loves to use this account to "prove" that a person cannot understand the Scriptures alone, and therefore, need the Watchtower Society to guide them into the proper understanding.  They base that notion on this Scripture....

Acts 8:30-31-  "And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?

And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him."

The JWs believe this means that a person cannot simply read and understand the Bible, but rather, needs the Watchtower to "guide them", like this Ethiopian needed Philip's guidance.  But this is nonsense, because this Ethiopian merely needed Philip to show him WHO the prophecy was speaking of, not what it meant.  

What the Ethiopian didn't understand and needed Philip to show him, was that it had already been fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  We see this in Acts 8:34-35....

"And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?

Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus."
 
And furthermore, we never see any indication that this Ethiopian continued looking to Philip for his "spiritual food", or ANY Organization, or a Governing Body, after this encounter.  

In fact, it is strongly implied that the Ethiopian never saw Philip again.

Acts 8:39-  "And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."

But as you pointed out, there was no such thing as the Ethiopian being asked 2 questions.  In fact, there was a time that the JW baptismal candidate was asked 80 questions, to see if they met the qualifications for baptism.  Then as of around 2005, it became necessary to answer 104 questions, in order to qualify for baptism.  Now, I have not been to a JW baptism in many years, I am not sure if the 2005 practice is still in effect, but whatever the number is now, if it goes beyond the SCRIPTURAL guidelines, then it is not following what the Bible teaches on this subject.  This should serve to illustrate how the Watchtower certainly goes beyond what the inspired Word of God actually teaches.

In fact, if we read the account in Acts 8 carefully, we see just how man "questions" or requirements were given to the Ethiopian, before he could be baptized....ONE!!  And here it is....

Acts 8:36-37-  "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."


The ONE and ONLY requirement given to the Ethiopian, was that he believe and trust in Jesus Christ with his whole heart.  There was not one word about "joining" anything, or pledging allegience to a man-made organization.  His baptism requirement was to show that he was a believer in Christ....not the belief system of any relgious group.  

I would also like to give you a link to an answer I gave on this very topic, back in 2006.  I covered it a little more in depth than here, but the points are pretty much the same.


http://en.allexperts.com/q/Jehovah-s-Witness-1617/opinion-JW-baptism.htm


We can make several logical conclusions from reading Acts chapter 8....

1.  The Ethiopian was baptized THE SAME DAY that he was reading the prophecy from Isaiah, and came to realize this was speaking of Jesus Christ.  

Try going down to the Kingdom Hall and tell them that you have just become a believer and follower of Christ that very day, and that you want to be baptized.  I can promise you, that the Scriptural example of Acts 8, will not be followed.

2.  That since the Ethiopian was baptized in the very same day he became a believer, that he had not had time to undergo any intense indoctrination, such as required by the Watchtower Society.

3.  He had kept no records of being active in the "preaching work", nor had he proven to any elders that he knew Bible doctrine.  

He merely had put his faith in Christ, and this was all that was required.

So in conclusion, the Watchtower practice of carrying out water baptism, has no resemblence to the Biblical precedent that we see.  

Hope this helps, and thanks for writing.  Take care, and God bless.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: If the WT is not teaching what is right WHO Is

Answer
Good morning, Wayne.  I hope you are doing well this morning.

In regards to baptism, it is very obvious that the Watchtower requirements for baptism are found nowhere in the Scripture.  Now, I see where there have been a couple more replies from the JW side on this issue in the past couple of days, and to be honest, I have not had time to sit down and read through them yet.  And it will be this week-end before I will be able to.  I am quite certain that no Scriptures will be given that actually show an example of their requirements being practiced on a prospective baptismal candidate, and when I return to the board in a few weeks, I will address their points from the Scripture.  But as we have seen, the Biblical accounts given, show that a person was qualified for baptism, upon placing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

You ask who is teaching what is right.  I assume you are speaking specifically to the baptism issue, and there are several Christian groups that baptize according to Scripture.  The Scriptural teaching of baptism, is as follows:

1.  Baptism is to be practiced by total immersion in water, and not sprinkling.

2.  Baptism is to be done ONLY for those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, and His sacrifice, for the forgiveness of their sins.  This means that infant baptism is unscriptural, as is the doctrine of baptismal regeneration....the belief that baptism itself, is what saves us, or that a person is not saved prior to entering the baptismal waters.  The Scriptural precedent is, that a person is to BE a saved believer in Jesus Christ, prior to being baptized.

3.  Baptism is to be done according to the formula given in Scripture.....In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

4.  Baptism is an outward act, demonstrating what has happened inwardly.  It signifies our commitment to be a follower of Jesus Christ, and to live our lives according to the Bible, which is God's inspired Word.

Unfortunately, there are many deviations in various religions, regarding what the Scripture teaches about baptism.  Some sprinkle, some baptize babies, and some teach that baptism is what washes away sins, when in reality, only the blood of Jesus Christ can do that.  

But many Christian groups baptize Scripturally.  Myself, I am an Independent Baptist, and I can tell you that our baptism follows the Scriptural pattern, but several other Christian groups do, as well.  

Thanks for writing, and take care.  Sorry to be away from the board for so long, but my son is leaving on August 18, and I need to take the time off for that.  If you need to ask me any questions during that time, please feel free to e-mail me at holland_derrick@hotmail.com at any time.

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Derrick Holland

Expertise

I was raised in the religion known as Jehovah`s Witnesses for 13 years. Since becoming a born-again Christian, I have researched extensively this religion, especially their doctrines and their history. I can answer questions about their doctrines from the perspective of Biblical Christianity. To be clear: Jehovahs Witnesses is the religion of my upbringing, though I myself was never baptized into the religion, nor have I ever been considered as a Jehovahs Witness.

Experience

29 years of Biblical research into the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, and how they differ from the teachings of the Watchtower.

Organizations
I would advise each questioner to this forum, to carefully READ the profiles of the various volunteers. There are several such as myself, who are not practicing JWs, but will provide you with an accurate and honest answer, regarding JW teaching. If we don't know the answer, we will try to research and get it for you. There are also some excellent practicing JWs here, who also endeavor to give you a factual and honest answer, based on their point of view. I believe by getting both points of view, the questioner can weigh the evidence for themselves, and make an informed decision. Unfortunately, there are also 3 here who claim to be JWs, but do NOT give honest, or well-researched answers. They will tell you only what they want you to believe, and they often hide facts about the history of their religion, as well as print untruths about other people's beliefs. This is done in an attempt to deceive the unsuspecting reader. It can be easily seen who these 3 are, simply by reading the public posts and "answers" which they write. Their posts will normally be filled with personal attacks, and if you question them about some teaching or aspect of the Watchtower that makes them uncomfortable, they will often reject your question, question your motives for asking it, tell you that you have been reading "apostate" sites, or turn the conversation into an attack on another expert. These ones are better avoided, as there is nothing to be gained by way of positive discussion, as they are not interested in intelligent conversation, or honest dialogue. If after reading the forum, you still have any questions as to who they are, just ask me, and I will be happy to tell you. And I can also provide documentation of their willful dishonesty. One thing is for certain...in a forum where people from both sides claim to be "Christians", there should never be any willful lying. Such ones only create a distraction in the forum, and provide nothing of any real value.

Education/Credentials
High School, some college. Studies of God's Word, the Bible, and how it compares to JW theology. I have found my own personal study and experiences to be far more valuable than any formal education or training. The Bible message is clear...Salvation is ONLY through and by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and no religious organization has a thing to do with it. While attendance at a Bible-preaching, Bible-believing church is a must for spiritual growth and fellowship, no church can grant salvation to its members. Nor is joining a particular group a prerequisite for being saved.

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