Eight men in New York City comprise the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW). Their interpretations alone determine the orthodoxy and orthopraxy of all JWs worldwide. At the moment, they require all members to refuse blood transfusions, even if it means death. If any JW accepts a blood transfusion, they will be excommunicated from their community and jeopardize their eternal life. Both lawyers and doctors have responded to this doctrine since JWs frequently refuse blood transfusions for their minor children, and the Governing Body often misrepresents medical facts to their followers. Yet regardless of the medical, ethical, social, or legal ramifications, the Governing Body asserts that their interpretation of what their bible states is the most important key in the debates. They focus primarily on three passages: Genesis 9, Leviticus 17, and Acts 15. Thus, in this interview we will address their main theological concerns and attempt to open up further dialogue with them. In the end, we argue that we are not denying another viable interpretive option, but rather are rejecting a completely invalid interpretation. The JW blood doctrine finds no legitimate hermeneutical basis, and reveals more about the Governing Body’s organizational policy and predetermined commitments than anything about biblical teaching. For example, they place more importance on the symbol of blood than on what blood symbolizes biblically—life.
Brian J. Wrightis a PhD candidate in New Testament and Christian Origins at Ridley Melbourne Missions and Ministry College, Melbourne, Australia. His feature article, “Jehovah’s Witnesses and Blood Transfusions: Their Use of Scripture in Their Blood Doctrine?” on which this post is based appears in Volume 37, No. 5 issue of the Christian Research Journal.To subscribe or renew your subscriptionit is $39.50 for six issues with the current issue FREE or give a gift subscription.
Brian Wrightwill join Hank Hanegraaff on theBible Answer Manbroadcast Tuesday, Dec. 9 to discuss JWs and blood transfusions. Tune in daily at 6PM ET at our website,www.equip.org! TheBible Answer Mancan also be heard daily onSirius-XMsatellite radio on Family Talk channel 131.TheBible Answer Mancan also be heard on local radio stations.Click herefor stations and times.