Church of Christ & Jehovah's Witnesses

by Aaron Charles

When comparing the United Church of Christ to the Jehovah's Witnesses, much can be learned from the names. The UCC, for example, feels strongly about uniting various denominations and philosophies in the spirit of inclusiveness. And the Jehovah's Witnesses feel strongly about giving witness, as did Jesus Christ, about the God named Jehovah in the Bible. But while they share some similarities, both groups differ in focus and belief.

Conceptions of God

One big difference between the UCC and the Jehovah's Witnesses is how they identify God. Both believe in the God of the Bible. But the official view from the UCC about God comes largely from the Nicene Creed, a document from the fourth century A.D. that professes that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all comprise God Almighty. The Witnesses, on the other hand, believe that while Jesus Christ can rightly be called a powerful god, he is not God Almighty. Rather, he's the Son of God, subject to the Father.

Biblical Authority

The UCC, like the Jehovah's Witnesses, believe that the Bible is a gift from God which should be studied and respected. The Witnesses, however, hold a different view about the Bible's authority, believing that the "Word" is the final word. But an advertising campaign by the UCC promotes the following slogan: "Never put a period where God has put a comma." In other words, the UCC believes that while the Bible is from God to instruct Christians, God also reveals truth via the UCC itself.

Inclusion

With the UCC's more liberal view, there tends to be more inclusiveness among UCC churches, which may, for instance, freely accept the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities as sanctified members of the Christian church. But not all UCC congregations agree with the church's democratically-formed decisions, made by the General Synod (meeting) held every two years. Contrarily, all Jehovah's Witness congregations believe in the tenets of their faith authorized by their governing body. These tenets support a less inclusive stance -- Witnesses don't accept LGBT people as members, for example -- in the name of keeping their Christian worship in harmony with scriptural teachings.

Ministry

Both the UCC and the Witnesses believe in ministering to surrounding communities, although they differ in their approaches. The UCC focuses more on church building, social justice and recreational retreat ministries. The Witnesses, while also active in building places of worship and in disaster relief, focus primarily on their door-to-door and public evangelism. This ministry, Witnesses say, is the ministry that Jesus Christ prioritized, even though he occasionally ministered to others by feeding or healing them.

About the Author

Aaron Charles began writing about "pragmatic art" in 2006 for an online arts journal based in Minneapolis, Minn. After working for telecom giant Comcast and traveling to Oregon, he's written business and technology articles for both online and print publications, including Salon.com and "The Portland Upside."

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