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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What is the Basis for the Differing Beliefs Between Jehovah's Witnesses and Catholics?

A PRIMARY difference and the basis for the differing beliefs between Jehovah's Witnesses and Catholics is because Catholics look to the Pope as the final authority while JWs believe that the Bible is the final authority on doctrinal belief and it cannot be overridden by any human or organization. JWs do not believe that any human is infallible.

The WTS itself has reproved Witnesses for even using terminology that would even appear to place the WTS as their authority on any subject, re-emphasizing that JW's should use only the Bible as their source.--(w98 3/15 p.18)

Catholics view the Pope as infallible in his interpretation of doctrines (or educated Catholics refer to the "magisterium" as infallible). Catholics look to the Pope/magisterium and "tradition" as the final authority on what the Bible "really" teaches and view the Bible as a secondary and untrustworthy source.*

This is the greatest difference and is the reason that Catholics do not accept the clear teaching of the Bible and also why they were not officially allowed to read the Bible on their own until recent history.

On the other hand, Witnesses have no "clergy class" and their teachers are described with the Biblical terms "Elder," "Overseer," and "Minister." As the description implies these men are simply experienced counselors and shepherds. These Overseers are not "masters of our faith" but are given authority to keep the Christian Congregation clean of immoral/doctrinal influences (Heb.13:17,24; 1 Thes. 5:12; 1Cor.16:16).

The Witnesses teaching is very clear:

"What GOD'S WORD has to say on any issue should be considered as final and binding on all members"--w68 2/1 p. 84

They direct attention to the BIBLE as:

"the FINAL AUTHORITY."--km 9/02 p.2; g80 9/22 p.12; it-1 p.1205; g75 10/22 p.22; g70 4/22 p.25

"The ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY." --sg p.155; w77 5/1 p.287; w56 11/15 p.704

"The SOLE AUTHORITY for all that they believe."--w85 5/15 p.30

"The ONLY SOURCE of truth."--g00 4/8 p.9

"The Watchtower does not claim to be inspired in its utterances, nor is it dogmatic. It invites careful and critical examination of its contents in the light of the Scriptures."--Wt 15 Aug 1950

"And we still urge, as in the past, that each reader study the subjects we present in the light of the Scriptures, proving all things by the Scriptures, accepting what they see to be thus approved, and rejecting all else."-- WT 12/15/1896

All our beliefs and teachings are derived from the Bible as the final authority (2Tim 3:16,17; Gal. 1:8, 9).

These quotes also show how we are sure that our beliefs are correct. From the first study with JWs a person is taught to examine the Bible and compare their personal beliefs. We do not just believe what is said but we do what the Bereans did; we "carefully check the Scriptures" to make sure what is said is Truth (Ac.17:11).

So, Witnesses accept what the Bible explicitly says without trying to make it fit our own preconceived ideas. We also take the Bible in context by finding all the verses on one subject so that we get a clear and unified picture of what it is saying. To this we must add a knowledge of what the original words meant at the time the Bible was written and a knowledge of the grammar.

Through extensive study individual Jehovah's Witnesses have come to trust the accuracy of their beliefs. Through experience they have proven that all True Christians are associated with Jehovah's Witnesses and this organization is the only one which gives solid evidence of being God's congregation.

So, we do not blindly follow any organization but we recognize those who give evidence of accurate teaching. Witnesses give evidence that they are True Christians by their strictly following Scriptural truth and by their fruitage (Mat.7:16-19; Jn.13:34,35).

All Witnesses do is to invite others to do the same, critically examine your beliefs in light of the plain and explicit teaching of Scripture and the evidence in the actions of your religion and its members, then choose to follow Christ closely (Rom.10:1-3; Eph.1:17).

*Catholics always like to make it seem that the issue is tradition vs Scripture. No one denies that the 1st cent. Christians had regard for tradition or that we don't appeal to tradition today. The issue is "Does our traditions contradict the Bible" and "Does tradition ever take precedence over the Bible."

Nowhere does the Bible say that "tradition" is how you discern truth. And the present Catholic "traditions" clearly contradict the Bible and even historical Catholic traditional teachings!

SOURCE: This is an answer provided by BAR-ANERGES to a question at Yahoo Answers.

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