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Reformed Literature
A Presbyterian Internet Journal

Cults and the Occult

Edmond C. Gruss .

Published by P&R Publishing

Early in the month of January, when the snow was still thick on the ground outside my door, I could hear someone knocking. When I opened the door there in front of me stood an elderly gentleman and a young lady who offered me a magazine, while I suspected I knew where they were from I asked to have a look at the back of the magazine and my suspicions were confirmed when it stated 'The Watchtower Society'. The elderly gentleman then asked me if he could give me a few questions, to which I replied that I would happily answer those questions if he could first tell me the answer to mine. I then asked him whether he was born into or chose to join a cult and what provoked that decision. Clearly, he was a little taken aback and then he spoke to me about being brought up within Romanism and then moving from that error into the Russellite movement. He said that what had struck him about the Jehovah's Witnesses was that they believed the Bible - at that point I interjected and said if on that day he had decided to leave Rome he had walked into a Free Presbyterian building then I believed he would have come to the same conclusion, except this time he would have been right! Commenting, that I believed that if he could point to and aspect of the witness or practice of the denomination that was not founded in the Bible than I believed it is something that our church would cease to do. Not surprisingly he then asked me if I had just celebrated Xmas and was clearly taken aback when I could tell him that I had not, as I followed the Biblical command to remember the birth and death of Christ once a week on the Christian Sabbath. He then asked me what I thought was wrong with the Jehovah's witness movement and at this point I chose to centre on three main issues - their denial of the divinity of Christ, their denial of the trinity and their belief in salvation on the basis of their own works. It gave me a real opportunity to explain the nature of true salvation and to try and press their need of finding the saviour on both of them. I followed this up by stressing that if a Methodist, or a Baptist or an Anglican or one of many other types of church member had come knocking on my door that I would have felt here was a fellow Christian on their way to the celestial city but, I explained I did not entertain this thought when they came knocking because their errors on the person and divinity of Christ were so serious that it affected their own state eternally and meant that I did not recognise them as Christians now!

He then offered to come back the next week to talk further on the trinity - which he did - arriving with a different young person and I took his literature and promised to read it and encouraged him to come back the following week when we could look at what it said in relation to the Bible. Before we parted I stressed that we would have to resolve our differences not on the basis of anything other than the Bible and he happily agreed to this. It also gave me opportunity to stress again the need for a personal saviour for their personal sins and their own inability to work their own righteousness and the need to be found closing in with Christ as he is offered in the Bible.

On the next week he returned and again he had a different colleague in tow. This time I had my Bible, a history of the movement by A. Rogerson, a copy of the Englishmans Greek New Testament, a pamphlet by the Rev. William Maclean (at the bottom of the page), the Confession and the book in this review. Gruss has done an excellent little book that I have given to many friends who have expressed problems dealing with JWs and Mormons who appear at the door. What is excellent about the book is that it gives a concise summary of the cult and then gives the precise nature of their errors along with a key set of biblical texts that will help you to witness to them and point out why we believe the traditional doctrines in our creed. I believe it is vital to take these opportunities to reach out to these poor souls and to present to them the truth. If the Lord in his mercy brings them to your door are you ready to explain to them the truth?

On this final occasion we went through the various proofs and I also picked up their belief in annihilation (see the book review on Blanchard and Hell). Each time he could not find the text in his Bible and questionned the quality of my translation (the AV) I could turn to the Greek Bible and show him that the AV was accurately translating the Greek. I concluded with the text in Philippians 2v11 which says, 'And every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.' as he looked at the text he said that it was identical in his own Bible - and I could then show him that through his Bible where the Greek word was Theos the JWs consistently replaced the AV word 'God' with 'Jehovah ' meaning God the Father - equally, where the Greek was was Kurios the JWs consistently replaced the AV Word 'Lord' with 'Jehovah'. I then asked why this text was the only occasion in the New Testament where they chose to translate the word in the same way as the AV rather than letting it read 'And every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Jehovah, to the glory of God the Father' - clearly this left him a bit unsettled. He said 'well, we will find out in the end who is right' - I again stressed to him the importance of finding salvation in Christ and not leaving it until it was too late.