Monday, December 08, 2008

So, what do *I* believe?

I posted recently about having conversations with Jehovah's Witnesses who came to my door, and had several comments relating to that experience. (Along with all the comments about my boyfriend, I think that made that post the most commented on in quite a while!)

Someone called Edward (who I don't think I know in person, but I may be wrong. If you're still around it'd be great if you could tell me how you found my blog) asked me what I learnt from talking to the JWs and also said "You believed different things ... is that a good thing? Are you satisfied with that?", so I decided to post a little bit about what I do believe.

I believe that Jesus IS God. JWs believe that Jesus was created by God, and he then helped in the creation of the world. The JWs I was talking to also suggested that Jesus is the archangel Michael. It was the first time I've ever heard someone suggest that, but I very much disagree. I believe in the trinity, that God is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

I guess that's probably one of the fundamental differences between what I believe and what JWs believe, and it's also something that I refuse to change my mind on. (As an aside, I just spell-checked what I'd done so far, and I managed to mis-type the word 'believe' every single time I typed it in this post. I blame being tired!)

I think that JWs totally miss out on the point of grace. They seem to be intent on works to obtain salvation. They cite the great commission in Matthew 28, where Jesus commands his disciples to go out and make disciples of every nation as their reason for going knocking door to door, telling people about God. And I would totally agree with the reasoning behind their actions. However, I don't believe that my telling people about Jesus is my route to salvation. I believe that by believing in Jesus and repenting for my sins, I have salvation, because of what Jesus did when he died on the cross for me, to take away my sin.

I can't do anything to gain salvation. If I try to do it myself, I will always fall short of the perfect standard that God sets. If I try to work my way into heaven, I could work all day and all night, but still not obtain salvation. I am going to heaven because of God's grace. (It's a fairly limited, basic understanding of grace, but) I like to remember that I have God's Riches At Christ's Expense.

I think if I try to write more at the moment I'm going to go around in circles. If you have any thoughts or questions, share them in the comments. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.


BeckyKay said...

A very timely post for me, Debs! I also believe in salvation through grace, but I find myself constantly feeling like I need to "try harder" to live up to God's standards, rather than letting Him work in my life. I'm still struggling with how this should play out in my Christian walk. In fact, this is precisely what our pastor's sermon was about yesterday! :)

Kathleen said...

Jehovah's Witnesses are very literal in their beliefs. My mother was raised a witness, and I've had the opportunity to attend a few meetings and speak with quite a few of them on the subject of Jehovah God. I think the biggest difference between them and most Christan religions is that they actually believe that, when God destroys earth, they will come back to life in a Paradise on earth. No heaven. And that this privilege will belong to very few. And that this will happen any day now.

The more subtle differences - such as how holy or human Christ or Mary are, and all of that - those escape me.

They seem to be very active this time of year, because of the holidays. Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas as it is not the true birthday of Christ. Which always seemed a pity to me, because it really is a happy day, and the music can really be uplifting.

Mrs Wibbs said...

well done, brave lady, for posting so boldly and so accurately on the basics of what you believe; that's such a difficult thing to do, and you have done it very clearly.
i can imagine there's so much more that you would like to say, but sometimes the bare essentials are what matter.
i find it really confusing to try and get to grips with the differences between what we believe as Christians, and other 'sects' - if you can call the JW's a 'sect'. a lot of the diffenrences are really subtle, and that's the point, i guess. i don't claim to be knowledgeable in the slightest about JWs, but all you have said here rings a bell.
i think mostly, it makes me sad that they're just so close, and yet SOOOO far...!