Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 26, 1951
NUMBER 50, PAGE 6,15b

Delusions And Heresies

Thomas Allen Robertson, Mclean, Texas

One of the cardinal delusions of the "Jehovah's Witnesses" cult is that salvation is by faith only. "Pastor" Russell said, "The only ground of salvation mentioned in the Scriptures is faith in Christ as our Redeemer and Lord. 'By grace are ye saved, through faith.' Justification by faith is the underlying principle of the whole system of Christianity." (Studies in the Scriptures, Series 1, p. 100)

Contrary to this doctrine is the plain statement of Scripture that Christ "became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." (Heb. 5:9) What some people seem to be unable to understand is how salvation can be attributed to grace through faith, (John 3:16; 3:18; Acts 10:43; 15:7; Gal. 3:11; Eph. 2:8, 9; and many others), and at the same time also be attributed to works. (Matt. 7:21; Luke 6:46; Acts 2:38; Heb. 5:8, 9; II Thess. 1:8; James 2:24) How can these two presentations be harmonized? The answer is quite simple. Paul gives it in these words. "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love." (Gal. 5:6) Thus if we have faith in Christ, we will love him enough to do the things commanded by him. If we do not do the things he commanded, we do not have enough faith in him to save us.

This does not mean that when the sinner does that which is commanded, he merits salvation, or deserves it, or has earned it, or is worth it. But the things he does, e.g.: faith, repentance, confession and baptism, are not works of merit, but simply the means which God has appointed for the sinner to receive the free gift which is in Christ. He deserves no more credit for doing these things than a man who is drowning and who is thrown a rope, would deserve credit for saving himself. What saved him? The man who threw him the rope. (God gave us his son for a sacrifice; that is grace.) Also he was saved by the means provided, the rope. (Christ gave us the plan of salvation; that also is grace.) The drowning man was saved by believing in the power of the man who threw the rope, and also by believing the rope was strong enough to save him. But at that point he was still in the water. (We believe in God and Christ, and in the plan of salvation; but simple faith will not save by itself.) Finally, the man took hold of the rope, the means provided, and was pulled out of the water. All of this was necessary to his salvation. (Likewise we, when we believe in God and Christ, must take hold of the means provided for our salvation, become obedient to the gospel of Christ, and then in so doing, be saved. We are not saved until we do so.)


The "Witnesses" cult teaches that man is wholly mortal, and that when a man dies, he ceases to exist and is unconscious. "Pastor" Russell declared, "Soul in Scriptural usage is as properly applied to the lower animals as to man... all living, moving creatures, from a mite to an elephant, and from a tadpole to a whale, are living souls." (Studies in the Scriptures, Series 5, p. 326) "So soon as the spark of life is gone, soul or being has ceased." (Ibid. p. 342) "As the natural sleep, if sound, implies total unconsciousness, so with death, the figurative sleep; it is a period of absolute unconsciousness—more than that, it is a period of absolute non-existence." (Ibid. p. 329) And "e;Judge" Rutherford said, "God raised Jesus out of death and gave him immortality . . . God will give immortality to 144,000 associates of Jesus in the kingdom and will give it to no other. (Rev. 2:10; Rom. 2:7; I Cor. 15:53) From these scriptures you see the doctrine of inherent immortality of all souls is another lie of the devil, told to deceive man." (Riches, p. 180, 181) 'The truth is that every man is a soul; no man has a soul . . . and when a man dies, he is as dead as a dead dog." (Deliverance, p. 337)

Contrary to this "Witnesses" heresy the Bible does clearly teach that all souls are inherently immortal. "Hell (sheol) from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from the thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?" (Isa. 14:9, 10) Sheol is the place of departed spirits. Here Isaiah describes the departed spirits as existing beyond the grave and raising up to welcome the latest addition to their number. The Bible pictures the soul, the inner man, as departing from and returning to the body of Elijah it is said, "And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord, and said, 0 Lord my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again. And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived . . . And Elijah said, See, thy son liveth." (I Kings 17:21-23) When there was no breath in him (vs. 17) the soul, the inner man, had departed; the child was dead. But when the soul returned into the body, Elijah said to the woman, "Thy son liveth."

James said, "The body without the spirit is dead." (James 2:26) Christ told his disciples not to be afraid of them that would kill the body, "But rather fear him that is able to destroy both body and soul in hell." (Matt. 10:28) To the Thessalonians Paul said, "And I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Thess. 5:23)

This theory, like many others, has just enough truth in it to make it deceiving. The Bible does say, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Gen. 2:7) But t does not say what Russell and Rutherford teach. They say that the breath mentioned is simply the physical function. But actually when Cod breathed "the breath of life" into man, he gave not only physical life, but an eternal spirit as well. The body dies, but the spirit returns to God who gave it. (Eccl. 12:7) The body is mortal; but the spirit eternal. (I Cor. 15: 35-54)

Man is both spirit and body. When a man dies, his body returns to the dust and remains there until the judgment day. Being dead it has nothing to do with this physical world of the living. (Gen. 3:19; I Kings 2:10; Job 14:12, 13; 17:13; Eccl. 9:6-10; Dan. 12:2, and others) But this does not in any sense prove or even suggest that the soul is unconscious. Actually Ecclesiastes 9:6 states that their lack of knowledge is in relation to this world, "under the sun." Now the body does sleep, goes back to the dust, but the spirit goes back to God who gave it. The Bible states that God is the father of spirits. (John 3:6; Acts 17:26; Heb. 12:9) Paul speaks of the "spirits of just men made perfect." (Heb. 12:22-24) And he also declared that he had a desire to "depart and be with Christ; which is far better; nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you." (Phil. 1:23, 23) Is a state of unconsciousness, "non-existence," far better than living with Christ and serving God among the saints? Let "Jehovah's Witnesses" give answer!