Thursday, June 30, 2011

Jehovah's Witnesses Revisited

In my post What to do About those Jehovah’s Witnesses I expressed a sentiment that the name of God is not all that important to me. It happens to be very important to the Witnesses so it was the first thing they asked: Does God have a name? What is it? You know, I knew what they meant. They showed me passages in the Bible etc. I mean they are Jehovah's Witnesses.

I had an anonymous commenter disagree and point to some parts of the Bible where this matter was discussed (Lords prayer and the ten commandments). I felt like he assumed that I did not know the Bible very well, I am sure that is not what he meant but I had not missed these passages. I said as much in my reply. In light of this I feel like I need to explain that point.

It is not that I do not believe in a specific God with specific attributes. It is very clear to me what my God is like and if I were to call him a proper name I would rather use the name Jesus than Yahweh. Three in one trinity and all that jazz.

Why is it that I don't see it as important, unlike the missionaries and the commenter. Well, let's use an analogy the ladies who came to my door used. What they said was: If there was a group of men and one of them was her husband if she just called out “man!” they would all turn, but if she called her husband by name only he would turn (well, perhaps another would turn too if there was more than one man with the same name but she did not include this in her analogy). My version of this is: My husband is not only a man he is my husband by virtue of our relationship and if I see a group of men and my husband is in it and I call out “Husband, get over here and get me my dinner!” ('cause I am a jerk). All the men that are husbands might turn around but only my husband would trot on over because we have a special relationship that requires him to do that. The other husbands would not recognize me as their wife so they would get back to what they were doing.

I see calling out to God in prayer to be the same way. Only my God would recognize me and come to me. My husband would not be offended if I were never to call him by his proper name again. I could just call him sweetie or honey or other saccharine things. He knows I mean him.

Also there is the assumption that there are other gods. The Jehovah's Witnesses are monotheistic but this analogy does kind of assume more than one entity listening to the prayer. I do not personally believe there are other entities out there to listen to my prayer and only the God I believe in.

So I am a little confused as to why it is a big deal especially since most translations of the Bible do not say Yahveh on these instances. My New Jerusalem Bible does. It is not usually used by evangelicals. We usually use the NIV. The Lords prayer does not use the name Yahveh even in the NJB. It just says “Father in heaven”. How ever His name is to be kept holy but does not mention what that name is so it is not really any proof for the Yahveh side of the argument. Hope that clears up my personal position on the point.


  1. Your position is clear and to the point. This is the reason why I am responding to your subject. 

    From my reading of your position, you read God's word regularly and communication with God is important to you. This tells me that you have a love of God's. Hopefully, I have it right!

    I would like to dialog with you on how knowing and using God's name is important, and how by doing both will bring you closer to him. Is this agreeable to you?

  2. Steve, Nothing I like more than a good respectful dialogue, but I feel like I have explored the subject thurougly from my perstpective. You are more than welcome to explain your thoughts I am a relatively good listener, er, reader so they wont go to waste.

  3. You stated the Lord's Prayer in your comments. 

    If you remember, that situation came about as a result Jesus's apostles wanted to be taught how to pray. Now, they were not asking this because they did not know how to pray. They knew all about talking to God. But it was the content of the prayers they were interested in because of the education and events they experience with Jesus. So, Jesus provide the content and the order in which the content should be stated. 

    He starts off by giving honor to God. Specifically, he is referencing the God in heaven and then he speaks to his name.  You are correct in that God's name is not mentioned. Keep in mind, this was a model prayer. There was no reason for Jesus to reference God's because the Jews already knew who God's name even though some had stop using God's name. The problem was that they also knew of other gods as well, some of which they were worshipping. This was a big violation of the Jewish law code given to them by God through Moses. 

    One of the main reasons for Jesus coming to the earth was to make his father's name known, to reestablish it as first place among the Jews.