Not much to add to the title. I would like to know the Jehovah's Witnesses' definition of a true follower of Christ, that is to say, what features are considered by them to be essential for a person to be qualified as such. And as a follow-up question, I would like to know if they believe that these essential features can be found outside of Jehovah's Witnesses, in Christians from other denominations or groups.

Note: By true follower of Christ I mean whatever Jehovah's Witnesses mean by someone who is walking the narrow path that leads to salvation, according to the perfect will of God, following the example set by Jesus Christ.

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    While you are waiting for an answer here is a good resource for a starter. jw.org/en/library/books/enjoy-life-forever/section-2/lesson-18
    – Kris
    Sep 1, 2021 at 17:10
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    @Kris I follow and do everything in the little booklet you referenced including loving others according to John 13:34-35. I also attend a Protestant non-denominational Church named Calvary Chapel. Do I qualify as a "true" Christian according to you and your organization, the Jehovah's Witnesses?
    – Mr. Bond
    Sep 1, 2021 at 22:18
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    @Mr.Bond You would likely not be considered a true Christian because JWs believe most people who profess to be Christian follow tradition rather than basing their beliefs in the Bible. The Trinity, immortality of the soul, and hellfire are 3 of such beliefs that JWs would say are based on pagan tradition. They also define true Christians based on how they have love among an international brotherhood that transcends nationalism, racism, or tribalism. They refuse to support war or the military of any nation. And thirdly, a true Christian engages in the preaching work. Does that describe you?
    – user32540
    Sep 1, 2021 at 23:09
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    @Mr.Bond asked "who told you the Trinity, immortality of the soul, and hellfire are pagan beliefs? Give me the sources you learned that from?". Almost any encyclopedia will confirm this. But the point is, the Bible doesn't support these beliefs. So the real question is, "who told you the Trinity, immortality of the soul, and hellfire are biblical beliefs?". Sep 2, 2021 at 1:21
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    @Mr.Bond, you are expressing an idea and then quoting specific scriptures that support it. That is a perfectly good thing to do when discussing it with others that share it, or when reconfirming your beliefs. It is known as eisegesis. ¶ But if you are trying to prove the idea to someone that doesn't already believe it, it won't work. To convince someone else, exegesis is needed: give the quotations first, and then show how they naturally lead to the idea. ¶ In this case, the three doctrines can't be derived by exegesis, so it is very difficult to prove them to non-believers. Sep 2, 2021 at 16:03

2 Answers 2


The link to this official Jehovah’s Witness article How to Identify Real Christians (provided by Kris) is useful as the basis for exploring how Jehovah’s Witnesses view Christians from other denominations: https://www.jw.org/en/library/books/enjoy-life-forever/section-2/lesson-18/

At first glance the article appears non-contentious then asks: SOME PEOPLE SAY: “Christians have done terrible things—how can they have the true religion?” The article concludes with this SUMMARY: Real Christians follow Bible teachings, show self-sacrificing love, and preach Bible truth.

This is where the discerning reader needs to drill down to get to the truth. This article, How False Religion Misrepresents God is more forthcoming: https://www.jw.org/en/library/books/enjoy-life-forever/section-2/lesson-13/

If God is love, why have so many evil acts been committed by religions that claim to represent him? Put simply, these religions are false; they misrepresent God.

  1. How does false religion misrepresent God by its teachings? False religion has “exchanged the truth of God for the lie.” (Romans 1:25) For example, most religions have not taught their followers God’s name. However, the Bible says that God’s name must be used. (Romans 10:13, 14) Some religious leaders say that when something terrible happens, it is God’s will. But that is a lie. God is never the source of evil. (Read James 1:13.) Sadly, religious lies have pushed people away from God.
  1. How does false religion misrepresent God by its actions? False religion does not treat people as Jehovah does. The Bible says that false religion’s “sins have massed together clear up to heaven.” (Revelation 18:5) For centuries, religions have meddled in politics, supported wars, and caused or approved the death of countless numbers of people. Some religious leaders enjoy a lavish lifestyle and demand money from their followers to pay for it. These actions prove that they do not even know God, let alone have the right to represent him.—Read 1 John 4:8.
  1. How does God feel about false religion? If the things done by false religion make you angry, how do you think Jehovah feels? He loves people, but he is angry with religious leaders who misrepresent him and mistreat their followers. He promises that false religion will be destroyed and “will never be found again.” (Revelation 18:21) Soon, God will put an end to all false religion.—Revelation 18:8.
  1. False religion does not reflect God’s love: Religions have misrepresented God in many ways. One notorious way has been their involvement in war.

SUMMARY: False religion has misrepresented God by means of its false teachings and terrible practices. God will destroy false religion.

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe this will happen at Armageddon and only dedicated, faithful and obedient Jehovah’s Witnesses will survive. They believe virtually every person who has died before Armageddon will be resurrected with a physical body and be given an opportunity to be saved during the millennial reign of Christ Jesus, from heaven, over the inhabitants of a paradise earth.

For the avoidance of any doubt, it is important to understand that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe every Trinitarian Christian denomination is part of the Antichrist:

What about today? People and organizations making up the antichrist still oppose Christ and his teachings. They deliberately spread lies and deceptions with the intent of confusing the identity of the Father, Jehovah God, and of His Son, Jesus Christ. We have good reason to beware of such religious deceptions. Let us look at two examples.

For centuries, the churches propagated the doctrine of the Trinity, claiming that the Father and the Son are part of the same entity. The antichrist thus shrouds in mystery the identity of Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. This mystery hinders sincere people from imitating Jesus Christ and drawing close to God, as the Bible encourages them to.—1 Corinthians 11:1; James 4:8.

The churches add to the confusion by promoting the use of Bible translations that omit God’s personal name, Jehovah, from the text. They do this despite the fact that the name Jehovah occurs some 7,000 times in the original text of the Bible. The result? The identity of the true God becomes even more shrouded in mystery.

For centuries, the antichrist has kept millions in spiritual darkness. But by studying God’s Word, the Bible, we are able to learn the true identity of the antichrist and be set free from the antichrist’s religious lies and deceptions.—John 17:17. Source: https://www.jw.org/en/library/magazines/wp20150601/who-is-the-antichrist/

Those are some (but not all) of the essential features of a true follower of Christ according to Jehovah’s Witnesses. True followers of Christ denounce the Trinity, actively promote the name Jehovah, and they will have nothing to do with “Christendom” because of “its false teachings and terrible practices. God will destroy false religion.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe they, and only they, have the “truth” and that they are Jehovah’s sole appointed earthly organisation. Even Christian denominations that reject the Trinity doctrine fail because they do not promote the name Jehovah in their Bibles, and are not baptised Witnesses of Jehovah. They are all, without exception, part of “false religion”, soon to be destroyed at Armageddon.

This link provides access to other related articles: https://www.jw.org/en/search/?q=antichrist

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    +1 There's plenty of Churches claiming that they have it right (or more right) than others. Jesus is the way and He builds the Church. "Unless you believe that I am (he) you will die in your sins." Sep 5, 2021 at 22:37

Jehovah's Witnesses consider themselves to be the true and only organization to bring about salvation.

They consider the rest of Christianity to be false, the main reason for this, and the main distinguishing factor is, Jehovah's Witnesses reject the Trinity (most Christian denominations accept).

Their criteria to get to heaven is to be a member in good standing, to be baptized. Essentially, to believe their message and "dedicate" your life to Jehovah God. Going to their worship service, reading the Bible, sharing the message to others, avoiding sin, etc.

You can see how their rejection of the Trinity makes for a good case in saying other creeds have fallen into idolatry. Coming from the Millerite movement, they also reject the doctrine of eternal hell, in favor of Christian moralism (the wicked will be destroyed). Source for baptism

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    1 For vast majority of JWs heaven is not the reward for Faithful life course. 2 We dedicate our lives to Jehovah not Jesus. 3 although Charles Russel and Miller crossed paths early on JWs are not millerite affiliated See christianity.stackexchange.com/a/60274/23657
    – Kris
    Sep 2, 2021 at 12:07
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    "to believe their message and 'dedicate' your life to Jesus." Actually, we dedicate our lives to Jehovah since he is our Creator and Life-Giver.
    – agarza
    Sep 2, 2021 at 13:01
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    @Kris thank you, I edited that to Jehovah God, instead of Jesus. Please don't take my response as biased in any way, I very much respect Jehovah's witnesses. I guess I was just trying to point out everyone wants to get to heaven. Thanks for you comment! Hope my edit helps!
    – Dan
    Sep 5, 2021 at 19:05
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    @agarza That is correct, I was so used to the expression that it slipped, again I meant no disrespect, I've edited that to point Jehovah God.
    – Dan
    Sep 5, 2021 at 19:06
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    Actually, most Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t hope to go to heaven. We believe that the earth will be restored to a paradise, and we hope to live there forever. (Psalm 37:29) But Christ has been selecting 144,000 individuals who will rule as kings and priests in heaven, serving to help Christ to restore the earth to a paradise during the first 1000 years after Armageddon.
    – user32540
    Sep 15, 2021 at 5:50

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