Please Note: The mention of "the Society" in my articles refers to the "Watchtower Bible and Tract Society" that is publishing our literature. By "organization" I mean the entire brotherhood in all the congregations, who are expected to be submissive and loyal to the Society and its Governing Body.
What is God's view on Dedication? The truth of the matter is, Jehovah God has not said anything on the subject! His Word, the Bible, does not teach the need for us to dedicate ourselves to him in order to gain salvation. Since God is silent on the subject, men have felt free to define whatever they want Dedication to mean. For that reason I find it necessary to quote extensively from the Society's publications, and then compare it with what the Scriptures really say. The bold in the many quotes are mine to highlight or emphasize the particular point being made.
NATION OF ISRAEL DEDICATED TO GOD?
Does God require his
people to dedicate themselves to him? Is your relationship with God, and
your salvation dependent on your dedication to him? What is more
important, your dedication to God or your marriage vow? Is our baptism
about dedication? How would you answer those questions without going
"beyond the things that are written," as we are admonished not to do. (1
Corinthians 4:6) We have build a whole doctrine around the teaching of
dedication. It has been so ingrained in us that we have just naturally
come to accept it. And, after all, what can possibly be wrong with
something that is so obviously noble and righteous? Let us examine this
most important question, and compare what we have been taught on the
subject of dedication with what Jehovah tells us in his written word.
After all, it is Jehovah's view on matters that really counts.
Dedication to “the God of Israel”
Note in the above how the terms "dedicated" and
"covenant" are used in the same context. But those two words do not mean
the same. They are not interchangeable. Jehovah never referred to his
people as being dedicated to him. He never accused them of breaking
their dedication to him or not living up to it. Not even in a figurative
sense. They did however break their covenant with him. Notice how any
scripture mentioning dedication is lacking.
Unlike natural Israel of old, to this day the Israel of
God has strictly obeyed the requirements of its dedication. This
should not be surprising because its members freely chose to obey. Whereas members of natural
dedicated by reason of birth, members of the Israel of God became such
by choice. The Christian
arrangement thus stood in contrast with the Jewish Law covenant,
which imposed dedication upon individuals without allowing them the
freedom of choice.
Again, notice how the word dedication and
covenant are used
interchangeably. Do they mean the same? Did natural Israel fail to live up
to the strict requirements of their dedication? Did Jehovah promise by
means of his prophet Jeremiah to conclude with the house of Israel and the
house of Judah a new dedication?
We have been
taught that, in order for us to have a relationship with God and have
our prayers favourably heard, we must be dedicated to him.
One such first-century individual was the devout Gentile
Cornelius. He believed that God is, and he was earnestly seeking him. What
did Cornelius do upon gaining accurate knowledge? Why, he
wholeheartedly dedicated himself to Jehovah God and was baptized to
symbolize that dedication. Thereafter, Cornelius apparently had a close
relationship with God, and this would have had a positive effect on his
prayers. —Acts 10:1-44.
Some who were at one time progressing toward dedication later may seem to be holding back. If they do not have enough love for God in their heart to make an unreserved dedication to him, they ought to ask themselves whether they still have the wonderful privilege of prayer. Apparently not, because those approaching God must be earnestly seeking him and also righteousness and meekness. (Zephaniah 2:3) Everyone who really fears Jehovah is a believer who makes a dedication to God and symbolizes it by getting baptized. (Acts 8:13; 18:8) And only baptized believers have an unrestricted privilege of approaching the King Eternal in prayer. —w90 5/15 12 Fear Jehovah, the Hearer of Prayer.
Does the Bible really teach that unless a person unreservedly dedicates
himself to God his prayers are not heard? We know that the Watchtower
acknowledges that a person
must approach God in Jesus' name; but are they actually telling us that the
emphasis is on dedication?
(John 14:13-14) Paul says,
"according to the eternal purpose that he formed
in connection with the Christ, Jesus our Lord, by means of whom we have
this freedom of speech and an approach with confidence through our
faith in him."
In the year 36 C.E., when God’s time of special
favor to the Jews expired, Jehovah God turned his attention to the
uncircumcised non-Israelites, the Gentiles, “to take out of them a
people for his name.” (Acts 15:14-18)
Using another of the “keys,” Peter was sent to the household of the
Roman centurion named Cornelius, who was kindly disposed to the Jewish
people. These Gentiles must have accepted the witness about Jehovah God
and his glorified Messiah, for the holy spirit fell upon them and they
began speaking in tongues. God had mercifully begun to grant “repentance
for the purpose of life to people of the nations also,” through Jesus
Christ, “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” (Acts
11:18; John 1:29) Jehovah had
accepted them, too, into his spiritual nation on the basis of the
dedication made to him in their hearts. Holy spirit
confirmed this. So none of the
Christianized Jews who accompanied Peter could find objection to his
command that they get “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” That
started off “the conversion of people of the nations.” (Acts 10:1-48;
15:3) Since then all who have desired to serve God, whether Jew or
Gentile, have had to make a dedication in their hearts to Jehovah.
in connection with their baptism in water, they present themselves for
the doing of God’s will for them, in imitation of Jesus.
Did the holy spirit confirm that Cornelius had made a
"dedication" of himself, and that Jehovah had accepted him "into his
spiritual nation on the basis of the dedication," and that we too must
dedicate ourselves to God since Cornelius' time? Did he set the example
for us? Any scriptural support for that claim? Notice how our thinking is manipulated by
the obvious being presented first, which is supported by scripture. Yes,
Peter was sent to the household of Cornelius; and yes, the holy spirit
fell upon them; and yes, again, they were baptized. But where is there any mention of a dedication which the holy spirit is claimed to have
confirmed? (Also, were people of the nations accepted into God's spiritual
nation "on the basis of the dedication made to him in their hearts," or
was it on the basis of Christ's sacrifice, the benefits of which were
now also extended to the Gentiles?) The reasoning is that if we accept the first part as correct
then our minds will naturally
accept the unsubstantiated claim of dedication as well. Is this not what we accuse
other religions and politicians of doing in manipulating the hearers?
The Watchtower of August 15, 1997 said: “Studying the Bible, applying what is learned, dedication, and baptism are steps leading to salvation.” —w97 8/15 7 Salvation-What It Really Means.
are some Bible subjects that evoke strong emotions in their believers.
Christendom has its Trinity. To question the Trinity is to question the
very identity of God himself and to deny Jesus. To them, accepting the
Trinity is necessary for salvation. Is it taught in the Scriptures? We
argue that it is not; that neither the word nor the idea is found in
the Bible, and that those who teach it are twisting the Scriptures. But we have our
For What Purpose?
How many Scriptures will you find to support the above statement from the 1993 Watchtower? What Scriptures do you use when you teach your bible study as to WHY they must get baptized?
Acts 2:37-38 simply says: "Now when they heard this they were stabbed to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Men, brothers, what shall we do?” Peter [said] to them: “Repent, and let each one of YOU be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of YOUR sins, and YOU will receive the free gift of the holy spirit."
By our "Dedication and the symbolizing of it by baptism" are we not teaching that we must EARN salvation? That is what the following Watchtower articles say:
Dedication and Our Obligation to God
Therefore, regardless of how many years we may eagerly have
awaited the end of this wicked, unjust, and violent world, we must
zealously live up to our dedication in accord with our
6/15 21 Jehovah's Organization Supports Your Ministry.
The articles offer no Scriptures that mention the necessity for any dedication. Neither will you find any at all. Like Christendom with its Trinity, we cite a scripture and then stretch it a bit here and there to make it fit just what we want it to say. And we fully expect faithful servants of Jehovah to accept that. But, just as we tell others, if it is not found in the Bible it is not from God. And somewhere along the line it will conflict with God's Word.
Are we declared righteous due to our Dedication?
Teaching that we gain salvation due to our dedication contradicts what the Bible teaches.
Are we not "parted from Christ. . . fallen away from his undeserved kindness," by our insistence that we can receive everlasting life only through works by living up to our dedication? Are we not also robbing Jehovah by emphasizing our dedication rather than his undeserved kindness? Does Jehovah owe us anything? Must we earn everlasting life? As Paul clearly explains, if we were to be "declared righteous as a result of works," then we would have ground for boasting, because we had earned it as payment of a debt, and not as a result of God's undeserved kindness. By teaching that we must "live up to our ministerial obligations" that we assumed when we made a dedication to God, we have placed a heavy burden on all who want to please God. And, of course, those in responsible positions are free to define, by means of their many publications, what living up to our dedication involves. (Matt. 11:30; 23:4) Note how they boast about doing this:
Each year, printing plants of the Watch Tower Society and similar legal bodies supply Jehovah’s Witnesses with millions of Bibles, books, brochures, and magazines for use in their worldwide preaching activity. These legal entities are therefore invaluable in helping dedicated servants of God to live up to their dedication to him. —w98 3/15 18 Living Up to Christian Dedication in Freedom.
If they agree that the unbaptized publisher has a reasonable understanding of Bible teachings and qualifies in other ways, they will tell him that he may be baptized. As a result of his dedication and baptism, he becomes ‘marked’ for salvation.—Ezekiel 9:4-6. —w96 1/15 17 Jehovah's Sheep Need Tender Care. (Italics mine)
Interestingly, the Daily Text for Thursday, January 14, 2010, noted the following in contrast to the above quotes: "Sinful humans cannot earn everlasting life by their imperfect efforts to do what is right. (Isa. 64:6) Gaining everlasting life is possible only by putting faith in God’s loving provision of salvation through Jesus Christ. Let us do all that we can to show our appreciation for that undeserved kindness of God! —w08 6/15 2:2, 3".
Why the contradiction? If we cannot "earn everlasting life by
[our] imperfect efforts to do what is right," and that our salvation is
due to the "undeserved kindness of God," then why the insistence on
living up to our dedication? We may not be confused about the identity of Jesus and
GOD, but when it comes to the ransom and salvation we ARE confused, and
for the same reason that Christendom is about their Trinity; we
have broken "the rule" about not going beyond what is written.
(1Cor. 4:6; Deut. 12:32) Whereas Christendom's Trinity deflects honor from
Jehovah and bestows it upon his Son, our "Dedication" deflects the honor from
Jehovah and his Son and bestows it upon ourselves.
Teaching that we gain salvation due to our “dedication to God” is tantamount to denying the ransom. (Galatians 2:21)
The time is fast approaching when Jehovah will clear up any false teaching among his people about our salvation, for "the true worshipers will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for, indeed, the Father is looking for suchlike ones to worship him." (John 4:23,24) No, we cannot earn salvation due to works by means of our unreserved dedication. But rather, we will gain everlasting life by exercising faith in the ransom provision, Jesus' shed blood. This will include all who will come back in the resurrection. But the Watchtower insists that they too must earn their future salvation by means of their dedication:
All these resurrected ones must do something in order for their resurrection to turn out to be one of life and not one of adverse judgment. They must come to the earthly courtyards of Jehovah’s temple and bow down in dedication to God through Jesus Christ. Any resurrected ones who refuse to do this will suffer the same scourge that befalls the present-day nations. (Zechariah 14:18). —w96 7/1 22-3 The Triumph of True Worship Draws Near. (Italics mine)
Our trinity of dedication, baptism, and salvation has caused a great deal of suffering. It is
the means by which we are judged by our brothers, and we judge them. (Matt.
7:1,2; Rom. 14:4) We measure and compare each other's
spirituality by it, seeing how well everyone is
living up to their dedication; publishers within the congregations,
congregations within their circuit, and the circuits with the national
average. And yet, it is not from God, for it is nowhere taught in the Scriptures. What is
taught though, is that we must NOT judge, measure, or compare. (Rom.
14:10; Gal. 5:26; 6:4) And so we have made God's Word invalid by our
traditions. Now that is something to worry about! (Matt. 15:6-9)
CAN WE DEDICATE TO GOD WHAT ALREADY BELONGS TO HIM?
We do not belong to ourselves. We belong to God because he purchased us with a price. See how the Society makes that point (Italics added):
Part of this repenting and turning around includes what Jesus called ‘disowning ourselves.’ (Matthew 16:24) That is, we no longer live according to just our own selfish desires with no concern for God’s will and purposes. Instead, we recognize that Jehovah God actually has full claim on our lives as our Creator and our Purchaser through his Son’s ransom sacrifice. As the Bible expresses it, we ‘do not belong to ourselves, for we were bought with a price.’ (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20) —tp 179-80 16 The Choice Assuring Life in True Peace and Security.
Since it is acknowledged that we already belong to God, "for we were bought with a price," and he has "full claim on our lives," how can we then go ahead and dedicate to God what no longer belongs to us but already belongs to him anyways? I am emphasizing this point because the Watchtower seems to have beclouded the issue by the teaching on Dedication. Some examples (Italics mine):
Due to our having made a dedication to Jehovah God we
belong to him, being either his adopted sons or prospective
grandsons. Jehovah God and we have mutual interests, chief of which is
the vindication of Jehovah’s name, and, secondary, our own salvation.
We are concerned with God’s vindication and he with our salvation.
—w63 2/15 113
Talking with God.
The above quotes
(and there are many more) teach that we belong to God because of
our dedication. But are we not dedicating to God what already belongs
to him, if indeed we were bought with a price? Even more reprehensible: Are we
not at the same time denying the value of Jesus' sacrifice, if we teach
that it is on account of our dedication that we belong to God? Another
important point: We are robbing Jehovah by minimizing what HE has done—bought us with a price; in favor of what
WE are doing—dedicating ourselves. Are we
not emphasizing OUR own love for God, rather than HIS love for
us? (Mal. 3:8,9) How different this attitude is from that
expressed by the apostle John: "By this the love of God was made
manifest in our case, because God sent forth his only-begotten Son into
the world that we might gain life through him. The love is in this
respect, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and
sent forth his Son as a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins."―1 John 4:9,10.
There was one occasion where Jesus referred to something as being dedicated to God. Let's read about that at Matthew 15:3-6:
"In reply he said to them: “Why is it YOU also overstep the commandment of God because of YOUR tradition? 4 For example, God said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Let him that reviles father or mother end up in death.’ 5 But YOU say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother: “Whatever I have by which you might get benefit from me is a gift dedicated to God,” 6 he must not honor his father at all.’ And so YOU have made the word of God invalid because of YOUR tradition."
The Jews had the tradition that a person could dedicate things to God by giving it as a gift to the temple. Jehovah did not require it but neither was there anything wrong with it. What was wrong, though, was the overstepping of God's own commandments in the process, as Jesus pointed out. The fourth commandment said: "Honor your father and your mother..." (Exodus 20:12) The religious leaders taught that God should come first in a person's life and thus ahead of one's parents. Therefore, dedicating something to God by which the parents could have benefited was viewed as a good thing. Putting God ahead of ones parents sounds noble, doesn't it? Yet Jesus condemned them for it. He told them "you have made the word of God invalid because of your tradition." And then he went on to say:
"YOU hypocrites, Isaiah aptly prophesied about YOU, when he said, 8 ‘This people honors me with their lips, yet their heart is far removed from me. 9 It is in vain that they keep worshiping me, because they teach commands of men as doctrines.’"―Matthew 15:6-9.
God viewed them as hypocrites because they were breaking his commandments in
order to keep their own. Their worship was in vain because they
were "teaching commands of men as doctrines." How could they expect
Jehovah to accept that?
“Jesus made clear that marriage was to be permanent when he answered a question put to him about the propriety of divorce. He stated: “Did you not read that [God] who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh”? So that they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has yoked together let no man put apart.” –Matthew 19:4-6.
Immediately after the above paragraph, though, it goes on to say:
“It has rightly been said that in the life of a Christian, marriage is second in importance only to his or her dedication to God. The latter binds one to the Creator forever, and baptism makes that publicly manifest. Marriage is the public declaration of commitment to another person – forever. It is unthinkable either to dedicate oneself to God or to forge a marriage bond while having serious reservations. Therefore, those contemplating marriage do well to examine carefully the prospective mate’s beliefs, goals, attitudes, and disposition.” —Awake! 2/8, 2002 Marriage Should Be A Permanent Bond, page 9. (Italics mine)
Is that true? Is marriage second
in importance only to his or her dedication to God?
It sounds noble! But
is that what Jehovah says, or any of the Bible writers? It is more
likely the personal opinion of some single brother on the
Governing Body, because it definitely contradicts God's own view on marriage,
which is expressed at Genesis
2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:28-31, 33; besides many other
scriptures on the relationship of a husband and wife. Jehovah has clearly
expressed his view on the marriage arrangement, but where does he say
anything about a dedication to him?
Absolute endangerment of spirituality also provides a basis for separation. The believer in a religiously divided home should do everything possible to take advantage of God’s spiritual provisions. But separation is allowable if an unbelieving mate’s opposition (perhaps including physical restraint) makes it genuinely impossible to pursue true worship and actually imperils the believer’s spirituality. Yet, what if a very unhealthy spiritual state exists where both mates are believers? The elders should render assistance, but especially should the baptized husband work diligently to remedy the situation. Of course, if a baptized marriage partner acts like an apostate and tries to prevent his mate from serving Jehovah, the elders should handle matters according to the Scriptures. If disfellowshipping takes place in a case involving absolute endangerment of spirituality, willful nonsupport, or extreme physical abuse, the faithful Christian who seeks a legal separation would not be going against Paul’s counsel about taking a believer to court.—1 Corinthians 6:1-8. —w88 11/1 22-3 When Marital Peace Is Threatened.
addition, the Bible’s words at 1 Corinthians 7:10-16, while encouraging
marriage mates to stay together, allow for separation. Some, after
trying very hard to preserve their marriage, feel they have no choice
but to separate. What can be acceptable Scriptural grounds for such a
We are taught that we have "scriptural grounds" for breaking up a
marriage if our spirituality is endangered, because "our marriage is
second in importance only to his or her dedication to God."
And do we actually believe that Jehovah is pleased with this? This is
much worse than what Jesus condemned the Pharisees for in Matthew 15.
cancel God's command by your rules.
To know Jehovah is to love him. He is everything we could imagine our father and best friend to be like. As you become better acquainted with him you will come to the point where you want to do something about your love for him. But what? We feel so inadequate. What can we actually give to God? How can we show in a positive way just how much we love him? If you had someone help you come to know Jehovah through a study of the Bible you will soon be told that you must dedicate yourself to God. Ah, isn't that a positive way of demonstrating your love for your Creator? Once you have made a dedication of yourself to God you are then instructed to symbolize that dedication by water baptism. But first you are required to review what you have learned with a couple of elders in your congregation, for they want to discern if you are ready for the commitment that dedication to God entails. You must also be already busy in the witnessing work. Once they are satisfied of your qualification you are ready to be baptized at the next assembly. All those presenting themselves to be baptized will be asked two questions:
1. On the basis of the
sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated
yourself to Jehovah to do his will?
From then on you will be
expected to live up to your dedication and all the responsibilities that
go with it that you willingly accepted, and by doing so you understand
that God will bless you with everlasting life.
But when they believed Philip, who was declaring the good news of the kingdom of God and of the name of Jesus Christ, they proceeded to be baptized, both men and women. ―Acts 8:12.
In answer the eunuch said to Philip: "I
beg you, About whom does the prophet say this? About himself or about some
other man?" Philip opened his mouth and, starting with this Scripture, he
declared to him the good news about Jesus. Now as they were going over the
road, they came to a certain body of water, and the eunuch said: "Look! A
body of water; what prevents me from getting baptized?"
Do you notice in the above scriptural examples that the believers were baptized without delay? Do you see any mention of them having to "dedicate" themselves first to God and having to weigh the responsibilities that go with such a dedication? Is water baptism about dedication? What does the Bible say on this matter?
Let us consider a few scriptures on how water was used in connection with the sin offering in the law covenant.
“5 And Jehovah spoke
further to Moses, saying: 6 “Take the Levites from among the
Why did Jehovah require such an elaborate ceremonial cleansing with water?
We are told that the law was only “a shadow of the good things to come, but
not the very substance of the things," for "the reality belongs to the
Christ.” (Col. 2:17; Heb. 10:1) ―For more information see also "Is
it necessary to be baptized to survive Armageddon?"
The concept of dedication, or consecration, to the Divine is not unique to Jehovah's witnesses. This is what the Catholic Encyclopedia, under "Consecration" writes:
"Consecration, in general, is an act by which a thing is separated from a common and profane to a sacred use, or by which a person or thing is dedicated to the service and worship of God by prayers, rites, and ceremonies. The custom of consecrating persons to the Divine service and things to serve in the worship of God may be traced to the remotest times. We find rites of consecration mentioned in the early cult of the Egyptians and other pagan nations. Among the Semitic tribes it consisted in the threefold act of separating, sanctifying, or purifying, and devoting or offering to the Deity." (bold mine)
The Encyclopedia claims that Moses designated the nation of Israel as the People of God "by a solemn act of consecration." Concerning Aaron's priesthood and that of the Levites it says:
"Later on we read of the consecration of the priests -- Aaron and his sons (Exodus 29) -- who had been previously elected (Exodus 28). Here we have the act of consecration consisting of purifying, investing, and anointing (Leviticus 8) as a preparation for their offering public sacrifice. . . . Distinct from the priestly consecration is that of the Levites (Numbers 3:6) who represent the first-born of all the tribes. The rite of their consecration is described in Numbers, viii..."
Concerning the pagan Romans the Encyclopedia goes on to say:
"Among the Romans whatever was devoted to the worship of their gods (fields, animals, etc.) was said to be consecrated, and the objects which pertained intimately to their worship (temples, altars, etc.) were said to be dedicated. These words were, however, often used indiscriminately, and in both cases it was understood that the object once consecrated or dedicated remained sacred in perpetuum."
Based on their own teaching of dedication and consecration, the Catholic Church has adopted a variety of customs in connection with it.
distinguishes consecration from blessing, both in regard to persons and to
things. Hence the Roman Pontifical treats of the consecration of a bishop
and of the blessing of an abbot, of the blessing of a corner-stone and the
consecration of a church or altar. In both, the persons or things pass
from a common, or profane, order to a new state, and become the subjects
or the instruments of Divine protection. At a consecration the ceremonies
are more solemn and elaborate than at a blessing. The ordinary minister of
a consecration is a bishop, whilst the ordinary minister of a blessing is
a priest. At every consecration the holy oils are used; at a blessing
customarily on holy water. The new state to which consecration elevates
persons or things is permanent, and the rite can never be repeated, which
is not the case at a blessing; the graces attached to consecration are
more numerous and efficacious than those attached to a blessing; the
profanation of a consecrated person or thing carries with it a new species
of sin, namely sacrilege, which the profanation of a blessed person or
thing does not always do.
Charles Taze Russell also held to the idea that we must be consecrated to God. This is what the Watchtower of January 15, 1989, page 18, wrote under the heading, "How Baptism Can Save Us":
In 1914, C. T. Russell (then president of the Watch Tower Society) received a letter in which a fellow Christian asked if his 12-year-old son should be urged to make a dedication to God. “If I were you,” Russell responded, “I would not press consecration [dedication] upon him, but I would hold it up before his mind as the only proper course for all intelligent people who have come to a knowledge of God and his gracious purposes . . . Without consecration none will ever gain everlasting life . . . Your son cannot be injured by consecration, but may be greatly helped. . . . Who shall say that a child of ten may not very fully and completely come to an appreciation of full consecration in thought and word and act? Looking back I can see that my whole consecration was first made at a little advance—beyond twelve years of age.” (Italics mine)
In 1952 the Watchtower Society re-examined the matter of consecration and more fully defined what it involved. This is how it was explained:
What this water baptism symbolized has always been clearly understood and explained by Jehovah’s witnesses, although there has been a change in terminology. In times past what we now call “dedication” used to be called “consecration.” It was called consecration, for instance, in the book by Charles Taze Russell entitled “The New Creation,” in which book the meaning of water baptism is explained, particularly with reference to those who make up the symbolic body of Christ, those who have the hope of heavenly life. In due time, however, in The Watchtower of May 15, 1952, two articles appeared on this subject. The leading article was entitled “Dedication to God and Consecration,” and the subsidiary article was entitled “Dedication for Life in the New World.” These articles showed that what was once called “consecration” was more properly termed “dedication.” Since that time the term “dedication” has been used. —w64 2/15 p. 122, Did You Make an Acceptable Dedication to God?
It is interesting to note that in the past the Watchtower has acknowledged that the word "dedication" in connection with giving of oneself exclusively to God is not found in the Scriptures. And that it is neither tied in with baptism nor becoming a disciple of Christ. The Watchtower, May 15, 1952, page 315, under the study article "Dedication for Life in the New World" says (Italics mine):
Searching through the Christian Greek Scriptures we do not find either
the word dedication or the word consecration used to designate this step
of giving oneself exclusively to God through Jesus Christ. When
reading of the early adopters of Christianity we merely find it said that
they believed or exercised faith. The formula that those used who urged
people to adopt Christianity was, “Repent and be converted,” or, “Repent
and turn around.” Also, “Repent and be baptized.”
Although the Watchtower acknowledges that in the Christian Greek Scriptures "we do not find either the word dedication or the word consecration used to designate this step of giving oneself exclusively to God through Jesus Christ," and that which made the early Christians God's people was their "faith according to God's newly revealed purpose and will," and not dedication; and also, "the formula that those used who urged people to adopt Christianity was, “Repent and be converted," or "Repent and be baptized," rather than the need to dedicate themselves to God, nevertheless, the self-appointed "Faithful and Discreet Slave", the Governing Body, has taken it upon themselves to define our dedication to God in any way they have seen fit, no different from what the Catholic Church has done, even going so far as making it a basic requirement for salvation. The article, on page 316, goes on to show how they have used the Scripture at James 2:17, 24 to define this doctrine of dedication:
Where, then, is the dedication of self to God through Jesus? It is included in such belief or exercise of faith. James 2:17, 24 (NW) tells us: “Faith, if it does not have works, is dead in itself. You see that a man is to be declared righteous by works, and not by faith alone.” Dedication to God through Christ is one’s putting life into his faith, activating it, making it a producer of works, and leading to the practice of righteousness. As we note from the record above quoted, those who exercised faith or became believers performed works. They submitted to water baptism so as to give a symbolic testimony to their faith, and thus they imitated Jesus. They turned away from the world and turned to him as Jehovah’s Anointed One or Messiah, whom Jehovah had made their heavenly Lord. They joined themselves to Jehovah’s visible organization and kept together as a united congregation. They confessed and reported their past practices openly and showed they had repented or changed their minds about such things and that they had converted or turned around and were now going in God’s way in the footsteps of Jesus. This was how they showed that they were “rightly disposed for everlasting life” in the new world.
The Bible writer James nowhere mentions dedication. That is not what he
was discussing. But, the Watchtower has
gone beyond James' words to
help define all the things that dedication is supposed to entail,
teaching us how we can
put "life into [our] faith, activating it, making it a producer of works,"
by our holding to their definition of living up to our dedication,
whatever they say that involves, and then claiming that baptism is a
symbol of that which is not even taught in the Scriptures. Is this not a
matter of going "beyond the things written"? Yes, and what is more, they
actually acknowledge it! (1 Cor. 4:6) They would do well to heed James'
other words, "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, knowing
that we shall receive heavier judgment." ―James 3:1.
prayerfully, either silently or audibly to ourselves, dedicate ourselves
to him to do his will from then on and forever in whatever realm of life
God may choose for us, does God in the high heavens really hear us or pay
attention? His Word assures us that he does, and we must exercise faith
that he does, so as to hold us to our decision. . .
How similar to the Roman practice of
dedication where "it was understood that the object once consecrated or
dedicated remained sacred
And that of the Catholic Church: ". . . the persons or things pass from a
common, or profane, order to a new state, and become the subjects or the
instruments of Divine protection. . . The new state to which consecration
elevates persons or things is permanent, and the rite can never be
“It should also be noted that vows were something spontaneous, and hence unrequested, unsolicited. They were not something set forth as a general requirement for all who would enjoy a certain privilege or enter into a certain relationship. Hence, one’s becoming a disciple of Christ Jesus and fulfilling the requirements that are set for all persons, including repenting and turning around and making public declaration of one’s faith, and being baptized, do not involve a “vow” in the Scriptural sense.” (w73 10/1 p. 607 Questions from Readers)
7. Also of note, the Watchtower acknowledges that "searching through the Christian Greek Scriptures we do not find either the word dedication or the word consecration used to designate this step of giving oneself exclusively to God through Jesus Christ." Obviously, this step of "giving oneself exclusively to God through Jesus Christ" is not a requirement for everlasting life. It has nothing to do with Baptism.
I have not researched and posted this with the goal of stumbling
anyone. My aim is to show why we have so many problems that have
stumbled many of Jehovah's precious sheep; why so many feel unworthy,
falling short of their dedication responsibilities, and do not expect
to survive into the new system. And only Jehovah knows how many
others have never taken the necessary step of baptism, fearing they
could not live up to all the requirements involved in a personal
dedication to God. The problem is that we have gone "beyond the
things that are written."
No one on the face of this earth has the
authority to do that!
―1 Corinthians 4:6.
"Let each one do just as
he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for
God loves a cheerful giver."
―2 Corinthians 9:7
"With what shall I confront Jehovah? [With what] shall I bow myself to God on high? He has told you, O earthling man, what is good. And what is Jehovah asking back from you but to exercise justice and to love kindness and to be modest in walking with your God?" —Micah 6:6, 8.
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