There are so many religions out there, and there are so many people following them. This points to a natural draw that we have, to connect with a higher power. Should it be Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, or others I have not mentioned? That is between the individual and the spirit that is leading them in those specific directions. One’s faith walk is very important. It can decide what choices to make regarding their finances, their relations with family and friends, who they select as their spouse, where they choose to live, how they observe certain celebrations, the doctors they visit, and the choice to live or to die depending on the circumstance. I am about to talk about a specific faith. I am not bashing the faith, but would like to make known what people may not know. The faith is that of the Jehovah Witnesses.
I can go into the history and show many things that should be considered but that would require you to read too much, and it may take away from the meat of the message. Let me share with you a story about a young man named Joshua McAuley. He was 15 years old. 15!!!!! You guessed right he is no longer with us. Joshua, who lived with his parents Jerome and Denise McAuley, was described as a popular young man by his friends. One friend, Wali Ahmadi, aged 16, said: “Josh was a really good guy and was into his sports, especially basketball.” Another, Shakeeb Hanif, aged 16, said: “He was a kindhearted person who never caused any trouble.” Sixteen-year-old Sohail Khan said: “Joshua was the best person at school, hands down, he was caring, he was kind and he never did anything wrong. He brought something good to the world.” It is evident that this young man had a good character about him. He also was a member of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Smethwick, West Midlands UK
Everything seemed to be going well in this young man’s life until, one day he was out witnessing, and decided to go into a store. In a freak accident, a car hit him and pinned him against a wall. The injury was severe enough to cause serious abdominal and leg injuries. It is understood, that a blood transfusion was advised, but he was conscious enough to decline it. He died later on that evening. Click here to read more on the story.
Jehovah's Witnesses are taught that passages of the bible forbid blood transfusions. Members who do accept such treatment can be cast out of the church. Many Jehovah's Witnesses carry a signed and witnessed advance directive card absolutely refusing blood and releasing doctors from any liability arising from this refusal. I’ve always heard of this, but it is because of personal reasons why I decided to look into this further. After research, the bible verse that is used to support refusal of blood transfusions is Acts 15:20 which reads “but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.” I read it, and read it, and read it some more, and all I did was shake my head in disappointment. Is this the verse that is used? Is this the verse why so many people who could have lived, died for not accepting blood transfusions? Is this the verse that young Joshua bravely stood on and chose death? It hurts me family.
What is meant by this verse? They were referring to Mosaic Law. Not to do what the pagans did. Do not follow in their sacrifices. Do not partake of animals that were not killed properly. Properly, meaning the draining of blood. Most importantly the apostles referred back to that law as an example they were trying to make. Family, there were no blood transfusions back then, so what was the real intent? It was to abstain from a practice of worship by eating animals with the blood still in them. Theologian Albert Barnes states:
“The eating of blood was strictly forbidden to the Jews. The reason of this was that it contained the life, (Le 17:11,14). The use of blood was common among the Gentiles. They drank it often at their sacrifices, and in making covenants or compacts.”
Family, we are talking about Mosaic Law in contrast to saving a life. The bible states “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (Col 2:13-14) Family, the handwriting of requirements is the law. We are no longer bound by that covenant. We are under a new covenant. A covenant of freedom hand delivered to us by God in the form of our savior Jesus Christ. Did Jesus choose the Sabbath over healing? You know the answer.
There are so many stories like Joshua’s where a life was loss due to adhering to a scripture that may have not been understood or preached or taught properly. Christianity is not innocent either. Many were tortured and killed in the name of the church. It is imperative that one take extreme care in what religion they are going to follow. Their life may depend on it. Amen!