Some might wonder and think I'm a former Jehovah's Witness. The publications of the Watchtower Society generally give the impression that all potential for argumentation against the religion of Jehovahism can only come from alumni. But I am not a renegade!
In 1985 I had my first contacts with the Jehovah's Witnesses. I also enjoyed being invited by them to the Kingdom Hall in Mettmann and enjoyed participating directly in the general discussion. For example, the question was asked: "What is part of a successful sermon service assignment?" I immediately contacted them and was a little disappointed that no one was curious about what a newcomer had to say about it. I wanted to give the answer: "Love in the heart!" But unfortunately someone else came along and read only a given text: "A good organization!"
I thought I'd be kicked by a horse. I had already experienced a lot in Christian communities. It was also easy to be ignored. But it was here that I realized that Jehovah's Witnesses had deliberately and conceptually eliminated man. The individual was rigorously bent and stomped under the Watchtower contents. There was no initiative, no involvement, no enrichment of the community by me or you or anyone else. There was only the template watchtower and then nothing more.
At that time I started writing letters to the Jehovah brothers in Selters. With these letters, I hoped that the comparison between the Bible and the Watchtower statements might be perceived as help or impetus, stimulus or welcome confrontation. But at some point I received a succinct blanket letter from Selters announcing only the visit of a few people.
Dear Mr. Hentschel!
We acknowledge receipt of your letter of 17 July, in which you present your thoughts on the Watchtower edition of 15 July 1985. We appreciate that you took the time to write to us.
In your letter, you touch on various points to which we could answer you in detail, as you would expect, by means of the Holy Scriptures. But let us prefer to ask our brothers in faith of the local assembly Mettmann-Süd to do this for us. In a personal conversation, all questions that arise can be dealt with in the same way. We are looking for people who are attracted to Jehovah's loving arrangements for gaining life (John 6:44; Acts 16:14). Surely you will understand that we are especially dedicated to people who are heartfelt and who listen and respond with appreciation.
By dedicating ourselves to proclaiming the good news of the kingdom (Matthew 24:14), we remain with kind regards,
The men with the ties and briefcases soon approached me. Three pieces crowded on my sofa and fought a hopeless fight. Because then as now I was a Christian, firmly bound to Jesus. Their theological theses were nothing compared to what I had to offer them in the conflict. I had not studied theology or had any special experiences, except for the few miracles I had experienced with Jesus.
At the end of the session they left my apartment relatively jerkily and one of them called to me: "Mr. Hentschel, you have a very dangerous faith!" I called after him: "Yes, but not for me!" That was the end of the show. Only one thing remains to be mentioned: I was so strained (without noticing it during the session) that after they had left my apartment, I simply laid down on the living room carpet and relaxed. I lay there for an hour and I realized that I had put my strength into serving Jesus. What impressed me was that during the session with the Jehovah's Witnesses, I had not felt the touch of exhaustion.
In the following subpages I will publish the old found letters to the Watchtower section in Selters and to other participants of the play here. What I can say at this point is that I didn't react any differently than I do today. Perhaps publishing the old letters to Selters can help Jehovah's Witnesses realize that faith in Jesus is much stronger and easier to sustain than what the Watchtower ideology makes of the Bible. Because for about ten years I was "renegade"! I no longer felt like the stress of conscience that I imagined by believing in Jesus. For this reason I had tried to free myself from confessing Jesus. Not of Jesus himself, but of what many friends accused me of. I wanted to avoid testimony for him and set up my life according to worldly standards. I succeeded in this for about ten years. Then Jesus brought me back from my self-imposed lethargy and made it clear to me how beautiful it is to have a Lord who keeps his word.
The old faith contract that I had made with Jesus at the age of 16 became through Jesus again the wing on which I had already experienced so many moments of happiness. This time, however, it became clear to me that the meaning of this faith in Jesus not only had a functional character, but that from this promise in faith something was applied to me that I can only describe as an absolutely meaningful life.
May everyone try Jesus for themselves. In any case I can and must say: Without Jesus everything is pointless!