…The HARD TRUTH with Dr. Kennedy Musonda, Ph.D.
IT was not my intention to write many articles on hell, but I have been forced to do so because of the strong arguments by Jehovah’s Witness (JWs), who have vehemently argued that there is no hell.
It all started when I wrote about the two attributes of God; love and justice. I would therefore like to set the record straight in the next few articles.
My intention is not to change the JWs’ views about hell, which would be great, but to help readers have a biblical perspective on hell and make informed decisions in regard to the JWs’ erroneous teaching on it.
I like three things about the JWs. First, the JWs have done something right about propagating their doctrine to their followers than most denominations have done, including mine.
Second, JWs have also ensured that their beliefs are propagated to non-members as they seek to recruit them as followers. I first heard about the word Armageddon and the 144,000 from the JWs. Third, the JWs have used literature to their advantage in propagating their doctrines.
I still remember the JWs’ colorful book entitled “My Book of Bible Stories” which my uncle, a JW ‘pastor’ gave me. It introduced me to the Bible for the very first time. At that time, I was going to a denomination that did nothing but teach us church traditions.
The biggest weakness of the JW as an organization is that they are deplorable when it comes to biblical hermeneutics (the art of Bible interpretation).
The members do not do independent Bible study but follow religiously whatever the governing body tells them as the gospel truth. It is stated on the JW.org website that the governing body is “a small group of mature Christians who serve at our headquarters, which provides direction for Jehovah’s witnesses worldwide” (Matthew 24:45).
When JWs’ doctrine contradicts a scripture, they modify that scripture to align it with their doctrine, and they like quoting from KJV because of its limitations.
The JWs are also good at proof-texting, or lifting a verse out of its context. Basic theological training will tell you that the meaning of a verse is in its context. For instance, the JWs claim that when a person dies, everything dies: the body dies, and the soul dies. They quote Ezekiel 18:20 in KJV to support this position.
When you look at the context of Ezekiel 18, the chapter is talking about children not being killed or punished for the sins of their fathers. The JW website also states the following on death: “People who die pass out of existence (Psalm 146:4; Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10). They do not suffer in hell.” The two scriptures are quoted out of context.
You have to read the full chapters to understand the meaning of the two scriptures. On the resurrection of the dead, the JW.org states that there will be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous. “However, those who become so wicked that they are beyond reform will not be resurrected. When such die, they suffer permanent destruction with no hope of returning to life – Matthew 23:33; Hebrews 10:26, 27. So, when they find scriptures in the New Testament, which show that sinners go to hell to be punished forever (Luke 16:24; Mathew 13:42; 25:41; Revelation 20:15), they argue that there is no hell because it contradicts their teaching.
They argue that hell is just a metaphor for a place called Gehenna, a rubbish pit used for throwing trash in the Bible times, which also burnt continuously. For them, hell means destruction. Although the place in Hebrew called Ge Hinnom existed, Jesus always referred to a future hell or lake of fire (Matthew 25:41). The question is, which one is the metaphor of the other. Is hell a metaphor of Gehenna or Gehenna, a metaphor hell? I believe it is the latter.
Author: Dr. Kennedy Musonda an international development consultant holds a Bachelor and Master of Social Work, a Bachelor of Arts in Theology, a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Ph.D. in Business Administration.
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