Is a Religious Organization neccesary?
6 Min Read Time

The word “organization” never appears in the Bible, yet over 20,000 times in Watchtower publications, where the claim is made that Jehovah has always used an organization to direct his followers. This is to convince Jehovah’s Witnesses that being associated with the Watchtower Organization is vital for their salvation.

It is incorrect to claim Jehovah has always used an organization, as for most of Bible history Jehovah is not associated with any organization. For 2,500 years, from Adam until Moses, the Bible describes God dealing directly with individuals. For another 2000 year period, from the death of the Apostles until Watchtower’s formation, Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot identify any group as representing Jehovah. 

Requirement of Salvation

The Bible repeatedly states that faith in Jesus results in everlasting life, such as at John 3:16 –  “He that exercises faith in the Son has everlasting life.” The Bible never indicates belonging to any organization is a requirement of salvation, despite Watchtower claims to the contrary.

“To receive everlasting life in the earthly Paradise we must identify that organization and serve God as part of it.” Watchtower 1983 Feb 15 p.12

John 6:68 says that only Jesus has sayings of everlasting life, and hence “whom” else could be followed?

“Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life.”  

Watchtower twists Peter’s words when changing whom to where, dishonourably replacing Jesus with themselves.

Where could we turn if we would leave God’s organization today? There is nowhere else! (John 6:66-69)”. [1]  

Watchtower uses the words at 1 Corinthians 14:33 – “God is a God, not of disorder, but of peace” – to indicate he needs an organization, but order is not synonymous with organisation. 

God’s dealings in the Bible

Bible accounts discuss God predominantly interacting directly with individuals, not an organization or its leader. He also dealt with more than one group at a time.

Originally God communicated directly with Adam and Eve, then Cain and Abel. Over the next 2000 years the Bible only mentions two other times God intervened on earth, again with individuals; Enoch and Noah. 

After the flood, Jehovah dealt directly with individuals such as Lot and Abraham, with no mention of setting up a religion or organization to represent him.


The only period of time God dealt with an organization was when Moses formed the Nation of Israel. When the Israelites demanded a human king, Jehovah considered it a rejection of him. (1 Samuel 8:7)

After the death of just the third king Solomon, the Kingdom separated into two Kingdoms, Israel and Judah, each with their own priestly class, and dealt with separately by Jehovah and his prophets. For much of this time, these Kingdoms rejected Jehovah and worshipped other Gods.

During the time of the Israelites, Jehovah also dealt directly with individuals such as Job, a man “blameless and upright, and fearing God and turning aside from bad the greatest of all the Orientals.” (Job 1:1-3)

Whilst the Kingdom of Judah was destroyed in 587 B.C., the priesthood continued as God’s representative until the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. This did not stop Jesus and his disciples standing up against that organization to publicly condemned the Priests, in effect setting up Christianity as a rival organization to the one representing God.

Individuals unattached to Jesus followers were also considered acceptable by Jesus, who said of a man expelling demons in his name, “he that is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:38-42) 

Early Christianity remained loosely structured after Jesus’ death, and unlike the Watchtower organization today, there was no formal incorporation or multibillion dollar property empire of kingdom halls and Bethel buildings. Early Christians were directed by the words of Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

“I have many things yet to say to YOU, but YOU are not able to bear them at present. However, when that one arrives, the spirit of the truth, he will guide YOU into all the truth, for he will not speak of his own impulse, but what things he hears he will speak, and he will declare to YOU the things coming.” John 16:12-13

“Where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there I am in their midst!” Matthew 18:20

The Nation of Israel and early Christians covered no more than just a small circle of humans. 

Is it fair to think God would not make himself available to the majority of mankind, and only those associated with the apostate Israelite nation could have a relationship with him? Likewise today, a large majority of people have never heard of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and it is illogical to think he is unavailable to anyone not associated with Watchtower. 

Historical Development

Watchtower claims “Jehovah has always guided his servants in an organized way.” [2] If Jehovah has always had an organization, why didn’t Charles Russell join it, instead of forming the Watch Tower Society in 1884? Russell was not a link in an unbroken chain extending through history as Jehovah’s organization. In fact, Russell turned his back on organized religion, promoting rebellion against organization.

“Beware of “organization.” It is wholly unnecessary. The Bible rules will be the only rules you will need. Do not seek to bind others’ consciences, and do not permit others to bind yours. Believe and obey so far as you can understand God’s Word today, and so continue growing in grace and knowledge and love day by day.”  Watchtower 1895 Sep 15 reprints p.1866

All that was deemed necessary was acceptance of Jesus and Bible principles. The tragic irony is that over time, the group he founded went to the opposite extreme, now saying salvation is dependent on belonging to their organization. 

The message that salvation depends on association with the Watchtower organization is simply a crass marketing ploy to build membership. Whilst the term organization sounds grandiose, it is more accurate to regard Watchtower as a corporation, since it was incorporated with a Charter in America in order to be able to function in a commercial environment. It is a legally recognized worldly corporation that has been run by a progression of men, and like any company, its foremost concern is ultimately growth and ongoing financial viability.

History proves that corruption goes together with organized religion, attracting power hungry leaders that take advantage of gullible followers. Watchtower has not been an exception, attracting global criticism for systemic hiding of child abuse, putting the interests of the organization over its members. 

Jehovah’s Witnesses are directed to accept that removing oneself from the Watchtower organization equates to walking away from Jehovah. The two things are not necessarily intertwined. People regularly leave the organization due to conscientious reasons related to doctrine or corrupt practices, whilst continuing to retain a strong personal belief and relationship with God. 


[1] Watchtower 1975 Sep 1 p.531. See also Watchtower 1988 Mar 15 pp.18-19

[2] You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth p.192