Tuesday, January 17, 2017

No Fence Sitting

(This is an adjunct, an addendum to the Who Are “Worldly People”? article I posted yesterday.)

Eldridge Cleaver is attributed the quote: “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” Truthfully, that is only a paraphrase. What he actually said was: “There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you're going to be part of the problem.” While researching the material for this article, I noted that at least one person observed Eldridge’s quote had some similarities to “Whoever is not on my side is against me.” (Matthew 12:30)

Jesus’ words highlight the fact that there is no “riding the fence” (of indecision) when it comes to aligning ourselves with the solution that God himself provides. In this regard, Eldridge was right that “there is no more neutrality in the world.” But how do we know we are on the right side? Some may say that it is merely “believing on the Lord Jesus.” But as I have often noted, Jesus words at Matthew 7:21-23 make it pointedly clear that more than mere belief in Jesus is required, more than “exorcisms, prophesying, and powerful works" are required. It is also noteworthy that only one interpretation of Jesus words can be correct. Either he is “the son of God” (as Jehovah’s Witnesses believe), or he is “God the Son” (a phrase found no where in the Bible) as the majority of other Christian religions believe.

Hence this brings me back to the discussion on who really are “worldly” people. Since there is no fence sitting, since there is only one name given by God, since only those “doing the will of my Father” are considered Christ’s disciples, since there can only be one right viewpoint of who Jesus is, for us the answer is very clear. We wholeheartedly believe we have found the one and only truth. As harsh as that sounds, that puts everyone else on the outside as “part of the problem.” But shouldn’t everyone’s conviction be that strong? I mean, if you feel that “it really doesn’t matter what religion a person belongs to,” then in reality, you really don’t believe in religion at all.

While this official black and white stance of the Bible and of Jehovah’s Witnesses may seem arbitrarily dogmatic, in practice, just like Jesus, we do not treat others as being below us. We try to help everyone who is searching for answers and spiritual aid in this world. Also, as I mentioned, I don’t use the phrase “worldly people” even in my private conversations with fellow believers. I make every effort to demonstrate love to all people. In contrast, I have to cite my observations of those opposed to Jehovah’s Witnesses. Their strong stand against us, usually with only words of condemnation and no positive direction, demonstrate that they only want to find fault, not to help. That is why I do not feel even the slightest bit apologetic for our beliefs. I realized (it took a long while) that I have just as much right to my strong beliefs and opinions as do those opposing me. While I typically encourage conversation (up to the point that it is obvious neither side will budge), many of those I try to speak to about scripture either want to insult us, get into a shouting match or just refuse to even have a calm conversation of any sort.

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