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The Watchtower’s Inadequate Ransom

Part 2 of a 4-part series refuting the Watchtower's inadequate view of Christ's ransom

[Quotes from Watchtower publications, including their New World Translation, are in blue.]


In The Watchtower’s Inadequate Ransom, Part 1, we showed that the WT’s ransom is inadequate to cover our sin and guilt because their Jesus is only a man, “nothing more, nothing less”, [WT, Feb. 15, 1999, Christ’s Ransom, God’s Way of Salvation].

The Watchtower’s ransom, only a man, “nothing more, nothing less” fails to provide an adequate Mediator[1] between God and man.  Relying on human logic in opposition to Scripture, the WT argues, in Should You Believe in the Trinity, p 16, that “Since by definition a mediator is someone separate from those who need mediation, it would be a contradiction for Jesus to be one entity with either of the parties he is trying to reconcile.” [Emphasis added]  The WT concludes that therefore Jesus could not be God.

But this raises a serious problem for the WT, as this means Jesus couldn’t be man, either! 

The fact is Jesus can mediate between God and man precisely because he is both God and man.   

After holding forth this inadequate ransom the WT concludes this Feb. 15, 1999 article by listing ways it’s followers can express their appreciation for the ransom.  The final paragraph on page 18 gives this suggestion, “One of the finest ways we can show appreciation for the ransom is by attending the Memorial of Christ’s death.”  [Emphasis added]

This is a sham, as you are not welcome at the table!  Partaking of the bread and the wine is limited to the 144,000, according to the WT.  So in its scope also the WT’s ransom is inadequate. It provides those benefits for only a few, the 144,000 (see WT, Apr. 1, 1979, p 31).

The WT’s ransom is also inadequate because it holds that only inherited sin is atoned for, not actual sins: “Similarly the cancellation of Adam’s one debt brings benefits to millions of his descendants...” (2/15/99, p16)  [Emphasis added] 

The familiar saying, “you get what you pay for” is certainly true of the WT’s ransom; since the ransom price was meager, the benefits are meager too.  The WT’s ransom fails to deliver.  The result:  salvation by works!  Witnesses are left to make up what is missing in the sacrifice, as the following quotes reveal:

2/15/99, Para. 15: Jesus’ sacrifice opens the door to marvelous opportunities for those who exercise faith in him”.

Para. 16: “Because of Christ’s ransom, however, our errors can be pardoned.”

Para. 17: “Christ’s ransom opens the way [for] the fulfillment of God’s purpose-that obedient humans live forever in Paradise on earth.

The ransom provides a basis for God to wipe out this ‘last enemy.’”

Para. 19: “the ransom makes it possible for us to be rescued from death!

(4/15/99, p 10, para. 4:) “it is crucial that we accept Jesus’ role in making everlasting life possible.

(4/15/99, p 11, para. 9) “[Jesus] provided a basis for the release of humankind from condemnation to sin and death and opened the way to everlasting life.”

(4/15/99, p 12, para. 14): “after the earth has been cleansed of all badness, the benefits of Jesus’ ransom will be applied fully.  Yes, all who qualify will be restored to perfect health! 2  [Emphasis added.]

And so it goes in the Watchtower; little by little it becomes clear that salvation depends on human effort.  The ransom is restricted, limited, powerless. You must meet the conditions yourself.  You must “qualify”.  But how do you know if you qualify?  And how can you “know” you have eternal life (1 John 5:11-13) if you cannot be sure you “qualify”? 

Ironically, this Feb. 15, 1999 article closes with the statement, “Surely we would not want to imply by our actions that we esteem the sacrifice of Jesus as of ordinary value.  But of “ordinary value” is exactly how the WT esteems the sacrifice of Jesus!

Summarizing Parts 1 and 2, the WT’s ransom is inadequate as theirs is only a human sacrifice, and since the ransom is inadequate the benefits are also inadequate: 

a human  ransom that cannot cover even one, let alone billions, of humans

a human mediator that cannot represent both parties

a mediator that only 144,000 have access to

a ransom that atoned for inherited sins only, not actual sins

a ransom that requires human works to supplement it

a ransom that does not guarantee eternal life

We have good news for you – see Christ’s Adequate Ransom, Part 3.

Written by Greta Olsoe

- emphasis added

[1] The WT’s view of the Mediator’s limited reach is even inserted in brackets when it quotes God’s Word.  In the Nov. 15, 1979 WT, p 26, the WT says, “What, then, is Christ’s role in this program of salvation?  Paul proceeds to say:  ‘There is one God, and one mediator between God and men [not all men], a man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all.’ - 1 Timothy 2:5,6.”  We submit that unless the context shows that the word “men” should be understood in a limited sense the WT has no right to add a limitation.  Paul clearly means to say that Christ is the mediator for all, (especially for those who believe, compare 1 Tim. 4:10 and Titus 2:11).  

[2] It is true that all effects of the fall will not be fully eradicated until the end, but it is not true that eternal life is withheld from believers until then.  See the present tenses in 1 John 5:11-13 and other passages.