Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 19, 1969

Are Blood Transfusions Biblically Forbidden? (3)

Jimmy Tuten

About twenty years ago the "New World Society" came to the conclusion that blood transfusions were contrary to God's Law. Immediately Jehovah's Witnesses were told that if one received whole blood into their veins they were guilty of eating human blood. To the mind of the Watchtower advocate this is nothing short of cannibalism. They conclude that it is better to refuse the remedy of transfusion even though it does preserve life. Because of willingness to gain God's approval and everlasting life they are willing to die rather than receive what they call "intravenous feeding." We are told that the only difference between the transfusion and eating blood with the mouth is that transfusions constitute a faster method of blood consumption, i.e., it goes directly into the blood stream rather than into the digestive system first.

This subject continues to be given attention in Watchtower publications. In 1961 a sixty-four page booklet, "Blood, Medicine and The Law of God," was published and the entire booklet constituted an attempt to sustain the anti-blood transfusion issue. The May, 1967 issue of Awake devoted its complete issue to the subject. So it is as much an issue now as when first begun twenty years ago. Their position briefly stated is this: God gave a law regarding eating blood after the flood (Gen. 9:4, human blood, they say, as well as animal blood). This law was restated during Moses' time (Deut. 12:6) and then brought over into New Testament times by the apostles (Acts 15:9). These are their main proof texts and have been dealt with in detail in previous writing.

Their Proof Texts Fail

As one reads the flood of material pouring forth from the Watchtower presses regarding the subject, one is struck by a single recurring thought: not a single Scripture used as proof texts say anything whatsoever about either human blood or blood transfusion. How could the Bible say anything about transfusions when the practice was unknown and unheard of as a science until present time? The Bible is obviously silent on the subject. The so-called proof texts that are suppose to forbid blood transfusions (eating human blood), do not speak of human blood, but of animal blood. So no matter how far back the Watchtower goes in seeking proof texts, it is still confronted with the fact that "not even the most rigorous son of Aaron, the most meticulous Pharisee, the most devout Rabbi, or the most zealous apostle ever entertained the slightest notion that the ordinances dealing with blood constituted a prohibition of blood transfusion in medical treatment" (cf. Lev. 17:10-14; Gen. 9:11-17; Acts 15:28-29).

Are Transfusions The Same As Eating Blood?

The publication, Make Sure of All Things, asserts that "transferring blood from the veins of arteries of one person to feeding upon blood. An unscriptural practice" (P. 47). "Intravenous feeding" (Watchtower terminology) is said to differ from actual eating of blood only in that it is a more direct method of blood consumption (Awake, Vol. 39, January 22, 1958, P. 23). The May 22, 1951 issue of this publication asserts: "so, whether one eats congealed blood in unbled meat, or drinks it at a slaughter-house, or takes it by intravenous feeding at a hospital, it is still a violation of divine restriction that forbids taking blood into the system" (P. 4).

Transfusions are not the same as eating blood with the mouth, Jehovah's Witness assertions notwithstanding. It is the giving of strength and possibly life. It is the supreme demonstration of mercy and love. Blood transfusions do not constitute the sacrifice of life nor of eating blood. This writer is unconvinced that the belief of transfusing fluid into a vein or artery constitutes eating blood because the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society says this is what the Bible teaches. It is certainly not based upon the teaching of God's Word. This, I believe, is the crux of the matter.

Failures Constitutes Unscripturalness?

Jehovah's Witnesses appeal to invalid and irrelevant argumentation from medical science in a vain attempt to do what they cannot do with Scripture. Failures in the medical field do not prove a thing in the realm of religion to be false. They must remember that their argument is not an argument from medical practice but from the Scripture. Overlooking this, they have put together a booklet (Blood, Medicine and The Law of God) which contains case histories of certain failures regarding blood transfusions. We admit that there have been failures in this area of medical science, but the same can be said for other areas in this field also. What about the failures regarding appendectomy and tonsillectomy? Do failures here prove that it is unscriptural to have one's appendix or tonsils removed? Are Witnesses ready for this conclusion? Frankly, they have no right to try to use a medical argument. Let them stick with the Scriptures. God's Word is the standard by which we determine the Scripturalness of an act or function of a religious nature.

It has been estimated that over 50,000,000 blood transfusions have been given over the past ten years. The risks are no greater here than that of a tooth extraction or driving one's auto down a busy highway. I have yet to see a Jehovah's Witness refuse to have a tooth extracted or drive their car because of failures and mistakes. Failures of blood transfusions are so small when compared to the good that is done. One hardly needs to waste time with such comparisons.


Marley Cole, in his Jehovah's Witnesses, The New World Society (New York' Vantage Press, 1955), says that the religion of Witnesses "is revolutionary, in a most vital way - doctrinally." This is certainly true, but much of what they teach is as opposed to what the Bible teaches as is the "orthodox religion" with which they are waging war. Their sacrosanct conviction about blood transfusions is uprooted in the light of Biblical research. Their position on the matter is not a "quaint scruple" that can be ignored. It is a position that cannot be proven by Scripture.

An appeal is made to our Jehovah's Witness friends to study carefully what the Bible says about the matter of transfusions. It will be discovered that it says nothing about it. This writer will be happy to engage in a written discussion with any Jehovah's Witness who thinks that he can prove from the Scriptures that God forbids blood transfusions. Truth has nothing to fear from investigation.

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