The second tenet listed at wit.irr.org is:
2. No organized, visible community of faithful Christians existed on the earth for many centuries prior to the rise of the Jehovah’s Witness religion in 1919.
Watchtower uses the parable of the ‘Wheat and the Tares’ to “foretell that the apostasy would make it very difficult to identify the true religion.” Perhaps that could be one translation, which would not prove that Watchtower is the ‘true religion’ because only Christ will know His own and His own will know him. The parable also may teach us that we are not to judge who is a Christian and who is not. Only the Righteous Judge can tell because He knows the heart.
Also, it seems to me, that to believe tenet 2, one must believe that for centuries the gates of hell prevailed against the church of Jesus Christ. Christians know that this didn’t happen because:
THE BIBLE SAYS
“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Matthew 16:17 (words of Christ Jesus)
Also, there were those to whom God entrusted the overseeing of His church through the centuries:
Acts 20:28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which He obtained with his own blood.
The apostles were those who saw the early Church of the Lord Jesus at its formation when Peter preached at Pentecost and the Holy Spirit came as Jesus promised in John 14.
The early church scattered under persecution, however, this scattering enabled the Gospel message to be spread across the known world.
Just as Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to be the first or early church that formed at Pentecost, so does the Roman Catholic Church make this claim. Rather than checking what religious people say, I prefer to check what God says in His word.
THE CHURCH OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is not a man-made organization, but rather it is the body of Christ. Paul spoke to the Christians at Corinth and said:
Now you are the body of Christ, and each of you is a member of it.
And to those at Ephesus:
To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. Ephesians 10:8-10
I submit that the church of the Lord Jesus Christ did in the beginning and does today consist of a body of believers and that the Lord Christ Jesus is the head of that body. It has never stopped existing and will exist until Christ returns and claims it for Himself.
And every day they were steadfastly continuing with one accord in the temple and breaking bread at each house. They were partaking of food with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47…Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria experienced a time of peace. It grew in strength and numbers, living in the fear of the Lord and the encouragement of the Holy Spirit. Acts 9:31
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice,…And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. John 5:28-29
THE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT
Through the work of Luther, Protestant Churches were formed and missions began to carry the gospel worldwide. During the 19th century, David Livingstone and others opened the African continent to missions, while workers with Hudson Taylor’s China Inland Mission spread throughout China. Actually, more Christians are said to have been martyred in the 20th century than in all earlier centuries combined.
Names that deserved to be mentioned are John Chrysostom, John Calvin, Charles and John Wesley, Hudson Taylor, Lottie Moon, John Harper, William Tyndale, Jonathan Edwards, Dwight Moody (Dwight L. Moody and Ira Sankey held large revival meetings on both sides of the Atlantic, while thousands hear Charles Spurgeon preach in London’s Tabernacle.), Charles Spurgeon, Billy Sunday, William Cowper, C. S. Lewis, Fanny Crosby, Sundar Singh, Amy Carmichael, John Newton, and Sojourner Truth. These are men and women who were members of the body of Christ and who worked through an organized body of believers on earth. The Church was, is, and will remain the body of Jesus Christ.
And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Acts 20:32
Our Lord established His Church and it has existed since Pentecost. This is His body made up of sanctified believers!