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.
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.
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.
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.
- United Church of Christ: Basis of Union
- Jehovah's Witnesses: Frequently Asked Questions - Why Are You Called Jehovah's Witnesses?
- United Church of Christ: Nicene Creed
- JW.org Online Library: Who Is the "Only True God?"
- United Church of Christ: Toward the 21st Century
- JW.org Online Library: Is Homosexuality Ever Justifiable
- JW.org Online Library: How the Governing Body Differs from a Legal Corporation
- Human Rights Campaign: Stances of Faiths on LGBT Issues - United Church of Christ
- Jehovah's Witnesses: Frequently Asked Questions - Why Do You Go from Door to Door?
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