Should unity be promoted at the expense of the truth? A response to a JW apologist

The Watchtower clearly expresses that no Christian can be faithful to Christ and at the same time, contradict what the Governing Body teaches.  Never mind the fact that the Apostle Paul admonished Christians to render someone as accursed if he or she were to preach a “different gospel,” even if it were an Apostle himself (Gal. 1:6-9).  And never mind also the fact that the angel of the church in Ephesus commended Christians in “putting to the test those who call themselves apostles” and concluded that they were false (Rev. 2:2).  I could go on and on, but I think the point is made.

Surely, such testing towards even the Apostles would result in disunity, would it not?  Yet, we are instructed to do so at the expense of unity.  I hope this will set the stage as I respond to a COMMENT made by a JW apologist on one of my POSTS.

I see what you are saying Mike but you still entirely misrepresent the scenario. Eph. 4:11-17 clearly tells us that “full understanding’ is yet for the future, but still the church must remain united in it’s teachings until that time so that men are not carried hither and thither by every wind of teaching. What that clearly boils down to is that the church might hold a position for a time that is incorrect until such time that they would see the need to “readjust” to conform to a better understanding of truth. That context plainly shows that unity trumps perfection of doctrine.

I would invite the reader to check out Ephesians 4:11-17 and examine where it speaks of, “unity trumping perfection of doctrine.”  It doesn’t.  My JW friend is correct to state that the church must strive to remain unified.  But what happens when even the leaders begin to teach a false gospel?  Apparently, according to this JW, “unity trumps perfection of doctrine.”  Perhaps an exception is made for matters of apostasy.  But why?  Is “unity trumps perfection of doctrine” an absolute statement or is it not?  Its certainly not declared to be so in the text.  Nor is there an exception made in the text.  So where do we get the exception from?  Galatians 1:6-9, Revelation 2:2, among other places.

Also notice that “the church might hold a position for a time that is incorrect.”  Knowingly or unknowingly?  And who is the “they” that “sees the need to readjust?”  Certainly not the church, for they have no say in this.  Its the Governing Body who decides on these matters.  I have two problems with this:

1. Where does the Bible admonish Christians to hold to something they know to be false?

2. Where does the Bible teach that they have to wait on a “Governing Body” before coming to a conclusion on something to which they were previously unsure of?

The GB is well aware that their current understandings, which deal with ambiguous areas, are subject to correction. They have stated this time and again and they have demonstrated that time and again.

This statement itself is pretty ambiguous.  Which “understandings” are being referred to here?  Why does the Governing Body get to decide on what is ambiguous and what isn’t?  What if an elder decided to teach dogmatically something he knew to be true, but the Watchtower deemed ambiguous?

Let’s take the Society’s understanding of “this generation” in Matthew 24:34.  Is Jesus being ambiguous?  The Watchtower must think so, because the Society has changed their view so many times that i’ve literally lost count.  But surely not, for they say of their own publications,

***w09 2/15 p. 24-25 par. 4 They Keep Following the Lamb***

Yes, Jehovah provides direction to the slave. We can therefore have full confidence in the Scriptural insight, understanding, and guidance that we receive from the slave.

Can we or can we not have “full confidence” on the Society’s current understanding of Matthew 24:34?

This is entirely expected when one considers that during the harvest, the weeds would be separated from the wheat.

I appreciate this admission, but is my JW considering some of the GB members as “weeds?”  Or are the “weeds” those who deviate from the Governing Body’s teachings?  If its the latter, i’m not sure how this relates to the Society’s “adjustments.”  So, is it the former?

If what the GB teaches contradicts something that I have thought is true, then I will take another look and see whether their position is supportable by scripture.

Another statement I can appreciate, but i’m not so sure its consistent with what the Watchtower teaches.  It ends up being quite circular, because it is claimed that Christians cannot understand Scripture without the Watchtower.  So how is it that my JW friend can “look and see whether their position is supportable by Scripture?”  But aside from this, its by default that all that the Watchtower teaches is supportable by Scripture.  So why would my JW friend question this in the first place?

If it is, then I have no reason not to accept it at the very least, as possible. If I do not think so, I will patiently wait upon Jehovah to see if either I or the GB are adjusted in their thinking. I do not think that my understandings are infallible.

Unfortunately, given some bold statements the Watchtower has made, there can be no “I don’t think so” in the equation.  You are to accept the Society’s teachings because its coming from Jehovah.  This was stated quite clearly just recently:

11 Jehovah has provided a bounteous supply of written spiritual food to give us strength. No doubt, you can think of a time when after reading a publication, you thought: ‘That is exactly what I needed! It is as if Jehovah had that written just for me!’ That is not a coincidence. Through these provisions, Jehovah does instruct and guide us. He has said: “I shall make you have insight and instruct you in the way you should go.” (Ps. 32:8) –April 15, 2013 Watchtower Study Edition p. 30

Either Jehovah is instructing and guiding through the publications or He isn’t.  If he is, then why question it at all?

But out of respect for the Divine arrangement for the maintenance of unity within the congregation, I will do as Hebrews 13:17 tells Christians to do. “OBEY and SUBMIT” to those who are taking the lead among you, and surely from our standpoint, the GB would be taking the ultimate lead among men in the world today when it comes to Biblical matters and understanding. The meaning of the word “submit” is a significant one for this context. It means to surrender, such as one would do in a wrestling match.

I could not disagree more.  I would refer my JW friend to THIS ARTICLE, which was written by a JW.

That should tell us that we might not always personally AGREE with those who are taking the lead, but for the sake of unity and peace, we should submit, unless of course what they would teach would fall clearly outside Biblical possibilities.

In other words, we are to submit to the Governing Body’s teachings even if we know those same teachings to be false?  Is this what Hebrews 13:17 or Ephesians 4 is teaching us?  Its interesting that an exception clause is provided (e.g. “unless of course…”).  So what are the Biblical possibilities and who determines them?  As far as I know, the Governing Body determines them.  Therefore, not only can they draw the line, but they can move the line wherever they wish and expect absolute unquestionable obedience in return.

If the GB is wrong about something, we have full confidence that in time, they will fix it, just as we have seen them do numerous times.

If you were to conclude that the GB is wrong, wouldn’t that involve independent thinking?  Yet, this couldn’t happen because they have forbidden JW’s to think independently in this sense.

The scriptures ask that we remain united with no divisions among us, to be untied in the same mind and the line of thought. (1 Cor. 1:10 and context) God condemns the existence of divisions and sects to the same degree that he condemns adultery.

But God also condemns believing false doctrine and following those who do.  So what are we to do?  Apparently, this is the answer:

The scenario that we are left with, all things considered, is that we remain in unity with the GB, with those gifts in men; regardless of what we might THINK is the right view. Unless we think we are personally infallible in our understanding, that HAS TO BE the stance that we take in order to remain united.

So there you have it.  But unfortunately for this JW and others, this is not how the first century church dealt with those who taught what was false, even at the expense of unity.  

98 thoughts on “Should unity be promoted at the expense of the truth? A response to a JW apologist

  1. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Mike,

    This response of yours is wrongheaded in many directions. You are not differentiating properly and then building an argument based upon the lack of differentiation. That is a logical fallacy in the class of “strawman” argumentation.

    First of all, you mistakenly indicate that there is no way to question those who say they are apostles without creating disunity. That is a very narrow minded approach and I feel that is to approached that way to feed your agenda.

    Questions, inquiries or suggestions do not create disunity if the final decision to change something lies with the governing body. And that is how we see it happen in the first century in Acts 15 and elsewhere.

    Disunity comes about when there is a defined DIVISION, when there is a defined SECT-PROMOTER within the church. God condemns DIVISION and SECTS to the same degree that he condemns adultery and fornication, Therefore the Christian’s dynamic in regard to questions and doubts and suggestions to reexamine a particular view should be clear as to how it should be handled. Yes, ask the questions, even challenge the view, yet maintaining the respect for the arrangement that God has put in place, which is that the final decision for “perfecting” the holy ones is in the hands of those “gifts in men”, just as it was in the hands of the Apostles in the first century.

    If the leaders “knowingly” present a false doctrine, naturally there would be a problem. But when has this ever been the case in the JW history. When they come to believe that a view is false, they change it. What else would one expect?

    If a Christian is absolutely CERTAIN that a view is false then he should continue to communicate with the governing body and present his evidence. Now unless he thinks his view is infallible, he also must entertain that maybe it is HIM who needs to see things differently.

    To discard Eph. 4:11-17 as not telling us that unity trumps perfection of understanding is really a surprise. That’s exactly what is being stated. For instance, the very context suggests that the holy ones would be CORRECTED from time to time until full understanding would arrive. WHY? So that they would not be carried hither and thither by every wind of teaching. That unmistakably tells us that the holy ones would be incorrect about something for a while until those gifts in men corrected it. To claim differently is to deny the very scenario that it paints.

    Please note that we are not saying unity trumps truth. That is a strawman approach if there ever was one. The concept of progressive enlightenment is found numerous places in the Bible. What is known to be true is paramount, that’s the very reason they CHANGE or PERFECT their understanding in the first place. We MUST conform to what we know to be true unconditionally. What was stated was that UNITY trumps PERFECTION of understanding. That should be a no-brainer when we pay CAREFUL attention to the scenario painted at Eph. 4:11-17

    Yes, we believe that God uses the publications to help us see the truth more clearly, but we ALL understand, a does the GB, as does God, that our writings are not infallibly true because things which are ambiguously presented in the Bible are subject to refinement. That is in complete harmony with what is stated in Eph. 4:11-17. We should fully expect that our Christian organization would correct itself along the way, which has to mean that for a while, unknowingly, they are wrong about certain view. And Eph. 4:11-17 plainly tell us that those who are presently those gifts in men are the ones who “readjust” the holy ones along the way. If we are convinced that the GB are those gifts in men, then they are the ones we OBEY and SUBMIT(surrender) to for the sake of unity and peace.

    The quotes you have presented are being removed from the greater context of things that have been stated about the GB. They are intended to isolate a concept without considering what else has been said on the same subject elsewhere. Just like anything we would read and try to understand, we need to look at the “body” of writings, not just isolated statements that could lead you to think that there is nothing else stated on the subject. It’s the very same practice we should use when trying to understand the scriptures.

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham,

      I’ll address Ephesians 4:11-17 in a separate post when I get more time. It’s an important text and I don’t think leaving a comment about it in this context would really do it justice. If I remember, i’ll try to point you to it once it’s posted.

      But for now, let me clarify a few things. I’m not going to respond to everything because I would be spinning my wheels and literally be copying and pasting what i’ve already stated thus far.

      1. I’m not talking about “questioning” in the soft sense of the word. Obviously, that doesn’t cause disunity. However, what does cause disunity are leaders who teach what is false. And every Christian is obligated to rebuke and correct those who teach false doctrine (2 Tim. 2:23-26). Yes, this includes even Apostles (Gal. 1:6-9, Rev. 2:2, etc.). But as I understand it, your leaders would resent being challenged in this way because to oppose them would be to challenge Jehovah.

      2. “God condemns sects” is not a helpful way of describing the situation. First, you have to decide what the truth is and side with those who teach the truth. God doesn’t condemn those who side with the truth, but He does condemn those who teach what is false. When the Hebrews opposed Moses, was there a division or sects? Yes, there were at least 2. Did God condemn all of them? Of course not. He condemned those who opposed Moses, whom He appointed.

      3. I don’t recall saying that the JW leaders ever “knowingly” taught false doctrine. What I did say, however, is that JW’s should believe or teach what they know to be false for the sake of “unity.”

      4. “If a Christian is absolutely CERTAIN that a view is false then he should continue to communicate with the governing body and present his evidence.” Who are you to say that you could possibly know better than the Governing Body? This would be considered independent thinking and condemned.

      5. “Our writings are not infallible.” How many times do you have to say this? I’ve never argued that they’ve claimed otherwise. However, its ironic that they are just “fallible men” when they’re wrong, but until they admit as much, they are to always viewed as “teaching what is true.”

      6. Out of context quotes? Please share examples. I’m happy to stand corrected.

      1. rotherham2 says:

        Hello Mike,

        Since I see Eph 4:11-17 as crucial to this discussion; progress will be hampered until you offer what you want to say about it. I will be anxiously awaiting your comments.

        But I believe that your argument about teaching something false is cart before the horse, it is anachronistic. The WT will change whatever it is that they come to appreciate is a false teaching, so you are assuming that a false teaching has been proven and then using that assumption as your argument.

        First, there has to be something that is PROVABLY false, not just a matter of interpretation. Now if you want to address the real dynamics of this then you’re going to have to come up with an example where we teach something provably false and doggedly hold onto, unwilling to change.

        The point is, once something is proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be false, the WT will change their view. The WT welcomes questions, suggestions, even absolute proof in regard to teachings that might need corrected. Correspondence is certainly not forbidden and neither is independent thinking. As I stated, the only independent thinking that is a problem is when one runs ahead of the GB and creates division and sects within the congregation. It’s not even so much the thing that he believes is true that gets him into trouble. It might very well be determined that he was right, but he needs to remain within the structure that is arranged by God to maintain unity within the worldwide church. What really gets him into trouble is the fact that he created division and/or a sectarian section within the Christian church.

        Again, Ephesians 4:11-17 perfectly reflects this arrangement.

        Regards,
        Rotherham

  2. Frankleeh says:

    For a start I would like to say that Christ, the founder of Christianity, based his church on love (agape), not unity (John 13:34,35). The idea on doctrinal homogeneity came into vogue with the Apostle Paul, who introduced the idea of church discipline. In order to evict ‘apostates’ it became necessary to commit acts that would revoked Christ’s admonishment to ‘love your enemies,’ thus created a religious paradox.

    The WTBTS built their judicial committee system cobbling a number of scriptural sentiments to fit a scheme that would allow them the upper hand in all cases and few, if any, human rights to the accused. The natural result of this system is the wrong sort of fear and a lot of feelings and dissenting beliefs to go underground.

    Recently, JWs will have heard on JW.Org, that the Governing Body have proclaimed themselves singly the Faithful and Discreet Slave, thus awarding themselves the most powerful religious position in the world (according to their own beliefs). It is interesting that that Apostolic Succession is not a WT teaching, but obviously the GB view themselves as having inherited apostolic authority. This much is obvious.

    Just as E. Murrow reminds us that we must not confuse dissent with disloyalty, we must also recognise the difference between unity and conformity. If I went in to two elders and stated that within 5 minutes I could prove that 1914 is not a Biblical date, what do you think they’d do?

    Well, first of all they would ask me why I believe that, to which I would explain:

    607 BCE to 1914 CE = 2520 SOLAR years (365.25 day-years)

    607 BCE to 1878 CE = 2520 LUNAR years (average 360 day-years)

    In order to demonstrate that 1914 is a Biblical date one could only use Biblical indications. Therefore, where is the Biblical precedent for changing ‘prophetic’ years of 360 days to solar years (not known at least until Julius Caesar’s time) of 365.25 days per year?

    Yet, if you look at any WT publication, it is presumed that the period of 2520 is counted in solar years and not in Biblical prophetic years.

    1878 was once an important date, then the ‘End of the Gentile Times’ was changed to 1914.

    Would the fact that I dissent from from accepting what I know is wrong make me an apostate, Rotheram2?

    Frankleeh

  3. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Frankleeh

    Here is a good example of someone who “thinks” they know what is right but really doesn’t.

    One question might reveal the error. In the 70 weeks of years prophecy, which is clearly a “day for a year” prophecy, how were the years counted, as 365.25 days or 360?

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. Frankleeh says:

      Actually it is you who has not thought this out. This is just wishful thinking. And did you not think I’d thought of that?

      Where in the 70-weeks of years prophecy does it refer to “TImes” being involved? In order for the 2520 years to be said to be correctly being ‘Biblical,’ it HAS to be cross-referenced ONLY in the Bible. The mistake you make is that you assume that years are counted in, yes, not Julian, but Gregorian years! Where could this be referenced Biblically as a solar year when the Jewish culture counted its time in lunar years ONLY (lunar time could only be counted by averaging over a period of extended time)!

      Secondly, simply calculating back from 36 CE to 455 BCE is all too easy. Show me three archaeological references that satisfactorily state that the order when forth to build Jerusalem’s walls in 455 BCE.

      Thirdly, what have the two prophecies got to do with each other in the way they are counted anyway? One prophesies the first coming of Christ, the second is a cobbled-together set of eisegetically-calculated figures that purport to show the second coming of Christ (heavenly). The second is not real as Jesus clearly stated that, as far as his return, ‘the times and the seasons were not placed’ in anyone’s jurisdiction (Acts 1)!

      Fourthly, “Seven times” must pass over. If a “time” equals 360 (Revelation), what Biblical precedent is there to change the working of the “SEVEN TIMES”? Where is your BIBLICAL reference that gives license to this? Whether a lunar (average) year is literally 360 days or it is converted to years, those “prophetic” years will still have to be 360 days long to be consistent and to be a “time”!

      Simply ASSUMING that there is any connection between a genuine Biblical timeline (70-weeks-of-years) and a made-up one (2520 years) is just that – an assumption.

      Come on, Rotheram2, you’re going to have to do better than that. No one has met the challenge yet. Did you think a handful of yours would?

      Frankleeh

      1. Frankleeh says:

        Oh, and before I forget. Roth2, can you please show me 3 other archaeological sources that show that Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of Jerusalem happened in 607 BCE, please. This is not a particularly powerful argument, but nonetheless amusing.

        Frankleeh

  4. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Mike,

    Since I see Eph 4:11-17 as crucial to this discussion; progress will be hampered until you offer what you want to say about it. I will be anxiously awaiting your comments.

    But I believe that your argument about teaching something false is cart before the horse, it is anachronistic. The WT will change whatever it is that they come to appreciate is a false teaching, so you are assuming that a false teaching has been proven and then using that assumption as your argument.

    First, there has to be something that is PROVABLY false, not just a matter of interpretation. Now if you want to address the real dynamics of this then you’re going to have to come up with an example where we teach something provably false and doggedly hold onto, unwilling to change.

    The point is, once something is proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be false, the WT will change their view. The WT welcomes questions, suggestions, even absolute proof in regard to teachings that might need corrected. Correspondence is certainly not forbidden and neither is independent thinking. As I stated, the only independent thinking that is a problem is when one runs ahead of the GB and creates division and sects within the congregation. It’s not even so much the thing that he believes is true that gets him into trouble. It might very well be determined that he was right, but he needs to remain within the structure that is arranged by God to maintain unity within the worldwide church. What really gets him into trouble is the fact that he created division and/or a sectarian section within the Christian church.

    Again, Ephesians 4:11-17 perfectly reflects this arrangement.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

  5. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Frankleeh,

    Let’s back up just a little bit. It is the Bible that states that from the going forth of the word to rebuild Jerusalem to when the Messiah would appear, it would be a span of 69 weeks. The first question that would have to be asked is, how could these 69 weeks be any thing other than a day for a year prophecy? If it’s normal days, the Messiah appeared somewhere during the Persian Empire and we all missed it.

    If we do the math, and trust the Bible, I don’t see where we are left with any other conclusion. The Messiah officially appeared at his baptism, in 29 CE.

    If we use each day for a year as equivalent to 360 days in a year, then we don’t end up at 455 BCE (our figure) or 445 BCE (secular figure). For instance, with 483 prophetic years of only 360 days each, we would end up, counting backwards, to the year 448 BCE, which doesn’t match either figure.

    I believe that Rolf Furuli in his books concerning chronology, have shown beyond a reasonable doubt the year was not 445 but rather 455. I recommend that you read them.

    You see, although 360 days in a year is what was used as a prophetic standard, the Jewish year was actually only 354 days long, consisting of usually six months of 29 years each and six months of 30 days each. Leap years were added at determined intervals to keep the celestial clock, a lunar/solar combination for them, exactly in step with what we use now, a solar clock. So the Jewish system, including the leap years, would exactly reflect the solar year, so that within about a 19 year period, 19 years of the Jewish reckoning would perfectly match 19 years of the solar reckoning.

    So there is no reason to think that just because a prophetic standard of 360 days in a year was used “prophetically”, that we have to reckon each year from that point as only 360 days long, because that would ignore the fact that in actuality, there never would be a Jewish year that landed on exactly 360 days long. They added entire months to their years, not days, but it was devised to exactly mimic solar years over a period of time. So the counting of actual solar years would be perfectly natural and would match the intent of the Jewish system.

    And when you do the math, those are the figures that work. 483 years of 365.25 days each, takes us back to 455 BCE. No reckoning that I have seen, using different figures for a year, will match with 445 BCE, the secular figure.

    Daniel 4 is seen as a prophetic drama indicative of when God’s kingdom would begin to rule over the earth by means of Christ. There are many prophetic dramas in the Bible, which are indicated by the expressions found within the prophecies themselves as being too “pregnant” for a singular application. We see that as true in regard to Daniel 4.

    But in the end, rest assured, there are other lines of evidence to establish the fact that Christ began his reign in circa 1914. The seven times of Daniel is not the entire basis of determining 1914 as the year, but it is certainly seen as corroborative.

    Although secular historians disagree with our chronology, both the 455 and 607 dates, they have to ignore numerous prophecies in order for that to work, and they have to shrink the desolation of Jerusalem down to 49 years, something that just wont work from the standpoint of Biblical chronological measurements and statements.

  6. Frankleeh says:

    Rotheram2, Would this be the Rolf Furuli you speak of, of whom it’s said:

    “Furuli started his studies of New Babylonian chronology in 1984. Based on these studies, he has attempted to defend the religious views of Jehovah’s Witnesses—of which Furuli is a member[4]—including their view that Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians in 607 BC rather than 587 BC.[5] In a 2004 issue of Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Lester L. Grabbe, professor of theology at the University of Hull, said of Furuli’s study: “Once again we have an amateur who wants to rewrite scholarship. … F. shows little evidence of having put his theories to the test with specialists in Mesopotamian astronomy and Persian history.”[6]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolf_Furuli

    Two things I notice here:

    (1) Furuli is a Jehovah’s Witness and:

    (2) He is referred to as an “amateur scholar”

    Is this what you mean by corroborative evidence, Rotheram2

    So the answer to the question of at least “two witnesses” to establish the truth of any objective study of 607 BCE and the established date of 455 BCE is not forthcoming. Pity.

    Not to be dismissed, my friend, is the over 4,000 cuneiform tablets in the British Museum of Babylonian clay bills and receipt tablets (Nebuchadnezzar’s chariot, for instance) that clearly point to 587 BCE as the time of Jerusalem’s final destruction. And you have…Furuli.

    As you seem to have missed my point, I’ll try to explain again.

    Revelation 12:6 states that 3 and a half “times” are 1260 days. Double or halved, divided by 7 or 3.5, a “time” is measured Biblically as 360. My question to you was: Can you show BIBLICALLY that there is a precedent to change the time value to a more modern and convenient period (from 360 days to 365.25)?

    Most of the other stuff you present is from the SI book (All Scriptures Beneficial…). It is all eisegetically obtained, as it even contradicts itself by stating that “Ezekiel would have known a year as being 360 days long” (may vary slightly as I am paraphrasing).

    So, are you going to claim that 1914 is a “Biblically-established” date or not? The choice is yours. If you are going to change the rules of engagement, then you must be prepared to state that this may not be true.

    The fact is, 1914 has been mythologised by constant repetition – some call this indoctrination. The only thing that can be proved is the First World War took place. Revelation 12 adds information that could help us draw the ‘right’ conclusion. This seems to be a join-the-dots teaching.

    But tell me, would you prefer to believe the vast majority of archaeologists in their findings, or a group of amateur scholars whom, to date, have failed to have ANY eschatological prediction come true?

    Please let me know if you can come up with at least 2 objective studies that conclusively show that 607 BCE or 455 BCE have any historical validity. I would be most interested.

    Frankleeh

  7. Frankleeh says:

    “But in the end, rest assured, there are other lines of evidence to establish the fact that Christ began his reign in circa 1914. The seven times of Daniel is not the entire basis of determining 1914 as the year, but it is certainly seen as corroborative.”

    Intriguing, please expand.

    Frankleeh

  8. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Frankleeh,

    I would be glad to go through all of these chronological concerns and see where we land, but I am wondering if this venue is the correct place. It appears the intent of this thread is drifting from what Mike first established and I don’t know how he would feel if we kind of took over here and made it about us and our differences.

    Mike, if you’re reading this, please let us know what you would prefer us to do.

    And of course another question I would have to ask is if you are what I would consider religiously as an apostate? In other words, have you ever or are you now one of Jehovah’s Witnesses? If so, as a matter of Biblical principle, I would have to curtail our discussion. If not, then great, we will be able to continue.

    Yes, Rolf Furuli is a Jehovah’s Witness, but let’s not discount him in an ad hominem fashion because his conclusion go against the established chronolgy, Understanding of ancient chronology seems to be an ever changing science, One should consider the evidence Rolf has presented as to whether it is noteworthy or not. That’s the true way of determining ti’s value, not the evaluations of those who are immediatley opposed to his work to begin with. It deserves a fair consideration.

    I have for years debated the 587/607 topic even to the point of examining the ephemeris software of the time period in question. I feel confident that I can effectively establish our position once every thing has been considered.

    As far as your “prophetic year” point, I believe I understand exactly what you are saying. I simply see no real reason why your view of the matter should trump our view of the matter. In fact, from a Biblical standpoint, I see no reason to adopt your view. Here’s why I say so:

    The “day for a year” principle is certainly one that is not unheard of within the Bible. When God applied the day for a year symbolism, it seems that a straight forward reading of that principle means that a DAY symbolized an actual year. In the seventy weeks prophecy, it is clear that once again, a DAY within the 70 weeks, would symbolize an actual year.

    Then we come to the prophetic “time” measurement of 1260 days. Why then would not each day in a prophetic “time” equal an actual year as it did in the other “day for a year” prophecies?

    The fact that God never indicated to the prophet that he should count each DAY as 360 days, why is there any reason to think that they would, because it would have taken a special instruction to see it that way? That’s because no Jew would have thought of a year as being 360 days long. No Jewish year was ever 360 days long. However, as I mentioned, the Jewsih leap year cycle, was set up to perfectly reflect the 365.25 actual days to a year.

    So what we really have is that each DAY in these “day for a year” prophecies, represents one actual year. There’s no indication otherwise. Just because a prophetic “time” is 360 days long, that doesn’t change the fact that the precedent is set elsewhere that each day represents an actual year. The fact that each time is 360 days long has no bearing on how long each symbolic DAY was supposed to be. As elsewhere, each symbolic day stood for an actual year, so why would we revert to counting the years as 360 days long just because the “time” measurement was used to designate how many symbolic days there would be in the prophecy? Each day stands for an actual year regardless of how many days are designated in the prophecy. In Daniel’s prophecy, each WEEK stood for seven actual years. If we apply the same principle to Daniel 4, then each “time” would stand for 1260 years. It doesn’t affect the length of the year that it represents, it only tells us how many symbolic DAYS are in the prophecy.

    Now again, you know as well as I that there are no secular chronologists that I know of, that agree with 607 or 455, but I think it is quite easy to demonstrate that the Bible timetable would not agree. Since no cuneiform tablet is ultimately reliable, susceptible to error, and I have studied nearly all the relevant ones to this topic, then compared to the Bible which is inerrant, one should allow Biblical chronology to trump secualr chronology, or even the imperfect records of ancient men, which is what we do, and we believe that there is enough evidence to establish that the current secular chronology is wrong when compared to the Bible.

    For instance, with the secualr reckoning of things, there is no way to account for the desolation of Egypt for 40 years that took place at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar during the desolation of Jerusalem. That’s a detailed discussion but one that yields interesting results and reveals the error of secualr chronolgy when laid alongside the Biblical timetable..

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Gentlemen,

      While I am ever so intrigued and entertained by this discussion, I concede with Rotherham that this may not be the place for it. And I appreciate the respect Rotherham.

      I have a number of posts related to 1914 and 607/587. I think it will profit the readers more (those who read the comments anyway) if it were held there. Feel free to discuss the location of where the discussion is to be held in the comments here.

      Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

      Mike

  9. rotherham2 says:

    Thanks Mike,

    Or Frankleeh could start his own blogspot and we could finish there. Or we could discuss this at Truetheology.net, just like Ivan Monroy and I are doing at the moment concerning the governing body aspect of Christianity. Let me know Frankleeh, and please let me know your status in regard to being a Jehovah’s Witnesses.

  10. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Mike,

    Just so our exchange doesn’t get buried and forgotten, I will repeat my last post again here:

    Since I see Eph 4:11-17 as crucial to this discussion; progress will be hampered until you offer what you want to say about it. I will be anxiously awaiting your comments.

    But I believe that your argument about teaching something false is cart before the horse, it is anachronistic. The WT will change whatever it is that they come to appreciate is a false teaching, so you are assuming that a false teaching has been proven and then using that assumption as your argument.

    First, there has to be something that is PROVABLY false, not just a matter of interpretation. Now if you want to address the real dynamics of this then you’re going to have to come up with an example where we teach something provably false and doggedly hold onto, unwilling to change.

    The point is, once something is proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be false, the WT will change their view. The WT welcomes questions, suggestions, even absolute proof in regard to teachings that might need corrected. Correspondence is certainly not forbidden and neither is independent thinking. As I stated, the only independent thinking that is a problem is when one runs ahead of the GB and creates division and sects within the congregation. It’s not even so much the thing that he believes is true that gets him into trouble. It might very well be determined that he was right, but he needs to remain within the structure that is arranged by God to maintain unity within the worldwide church. What really gets him into trouble is the fact that he created division and/or a sectarian section within the Christian church.

    Again, Ephesians 4:11-17 perfectly reflects this arrangement.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

  11. Frankleeh says:

    Mike and Rotheram2,

    You’ll recall that my original comment was actually in line with the subject of unity. My question to Rotheram2 was:

    “Just as E. Murrow reminds us that we must not confuse dissent with disloyalty, we must also recognise the difference between unity and conformity. If I went in to two elders and stated that within 5 minutes I could prove that 1914 is not a Biblical date, what do you think they’d do?”

    You are yet to answer this question, Rotheram2

    Personally, I would have asked: Should unity be promoted at the expense of love?

    This aside, Rotheram2, you ask me whether you would consider me an apostate. This would depend on your definition of an apostate.

    Like the word “theocracy,” the word “apostasy” does not appear in the Bible. The word is coined based on the Greek expression “to fall away from.” What have I fallen away from? Do you mean am I a Biblical apostate? To my mind, Rotheram2, you are to present convincing evidence that the prophecy regarding the Second Coming (Parousia) is genuinely a Bible doctrine. So far, you’ve attempted to back up a controversial timeline with another archaeologically-unprovable timeline.

    Am I an organisational apostate (I have beliefs contrary to the beliefs currently held by Jehovah’s Witnesses)? As I was baptised long before the 1985 baptismal question-change, I feel no obligation to go along with a belief that cannot give convincing evidence of itself.

    Then there’s the ‘Internet apostate’:

    WT 5/15 2012, p26, says: “Let us therefore have nothing to do with apostates or anyone who claims to be a brother but who is dishonoring God. This should be the case even if he is a family member. We are not benefited by trying to refute the arguments of apostates or those who are critical of Jehovah’s organization. In fact, it is spiritually dangerous and improper to peruse their information, whether it appears in written form or it is found on the internet.”

    By this reasoning, Rotheram2, we are two spiritual brothers who have a disagreement about genuine Bible doctrine.

    Rotheram2: “Why then would not each day in a prophetic “time” equal an actual year as it did in the other “day for a year” prophecies?”

    The answer is self-refuting – because the “7 times” prophecy stands alone as have “times” attached to it and the others don’t and there is no obvious cross-referencing. I see no refutation in this question. However you attempt to dance around the subject, the FACT is that a “time” is Biblically-determined as 360 whether a day OR a year. Any mention of lunar cycles and solar cycles is merely an attempt to make a round peg fit a round hole.

    The short conclusion, Rotheram2, is that, while you may feel confident with your reasoning, no knock-down argument has been presented. Do you have anything we can measure in the material universe rather than the philosophical one?

    Mike, I am very interested in carrying on this discussion. Please publish the URL for the plain of battle and I will be happy to meet with my brother for an interesting discussion.

    Frankleeh

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Frankleeh,

      Thanks for your considerations. Once you two decide on a forum, whether on one of my blogs or somewhere else, i’ll be sure to post the link here for others.

      p.s. Though i’ve never been a JW, I might as well have been considering how many times i’ve been called an apostate by them and even shunned to some extent. I suppose then that JW’s aren’t quite unified on what an “apostate” actually is.

      1. Frankleeh says:

        Hi Mike, you are right. The Watchtower Society trains people to view any who dissent for their ‘healthful teaching’ as being ‘from Satan.’ Although the word is not Biblical, it is used in the pejorative sense to create a religious scarecrow to keep the ‘faithful’ away from the Devil’s feeding-grounds.

        Like many others who are waking from slumber, I am more interested in genuine truth, the one that can survive investigation not the more shaky ‘revealed’ truth. Rotheram2 represents so many who have to add a layer of human ‘wisdom’ to divine word to make the ideas stick when there quite clearly is no BIBLICAL basis for this and is fully reliant on belief that modern revelation can come through a modern religious body. Such ‘wisdom’ is not considered ‘going beyond the things that are written.’

        I am a theistic agnostic.

        Frankleeh

    1. Frankleeh says:

      As I explained above, by coming on to this site, you have already violated the WTBTS’s instructions to you as you will see from the Watchtower quote. This is something you should have known anyway. To me, you represent a growing number of what I call ‘wakers’ who are correctly curious about outside information regarding your long-held beliefs. This would account for why you are here on this site despite Societal instruction to the contrary. This is healthy.

      If it helps, I am currently in an approved condition with the congregation and am technically active. You would say I have been stumbled, but I view it as an awakening and want to know the truth behind the truth. I believe genuine truth should survive investigation; don’t you?

      I woke up to discover that there is no such thing as the Christian ‘new personality.’ Rather I found (from personal and subjective evidence) that humans merely compartmentalise their grudges and prejudices and label them Christianity. By your reaction you, for instance, have decided that I am not good company merely because I dissent, I have concluded there is more agape love outside the ‘Christian’ congregation than within – if indeed such a principled love exists at all.

      Run if you must, but you could be my salvation if you can at least get me to rethink my course by engaging me in intellectual discussion about this subject – who knows?

      Frankleeh

  12. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Frankleeh,

    I see I missed your above comments. Nothing personal, but I willhave to curtail our discussion. I am sue you would not want me to violate my Christian conscience.

    If someone else who is not an EX or current JW would like to take up this discussion, I would be more than willing to oblige.

    Take care,
    Rotherham

    1. Frankleeh says:

      Of course, Rotheram2, with the ‘evidence’ you had brought to the table, I can understand why no further discussion is desired.

      Your Brother, Frankleeh

  13. Frankleeh says:

    “***w09 2/15 p. 24-25 par. 4 They Keep Following the Lamb***

    Yes, Jehovah provides direction to the slave. We can therefore have full confidence in the Scriptural insight, understanding, and guidance that we receive from the slave.”

    Mike, this is what I mean about placing ‘unity’ above love, let alone truth.

    First of all, though, with the numerous, even serial, attempts to second-guess Jehovah’s will regarding his personal timetable, we would seriously have to ask: how much does God influence the earthly understanding of the Governing Body (now also self-proclaimed Faithful and Discreet Slave)?

    For at least 8 years, Watchtower publications carried the imperative that the world would see a change around the year 1975 (that’s solar years for Rotheram2’s understanding). Many many JWs placed their trust in this spiritual guidance, some even selling their houses and missing out on much-needed education that could have given them and their families a reasonable future. Need I say more?

    Now many are waking up to the magnitude of potential damage done because of Scripturally-ambiguous policies such as the WT Child Protection Policy.

    When the WTBTS sticks to clearly-stated and unambiguous Bible teaching I believe it have been faultless in its motive and passion. However, it has become necessary for the disaffected – and those apparently even within headquarters walls to fight these policies before they do any more unnecessary damage. Jehovah’s People are not cattle, nor are individuals to be considered ‘acceptable collateral damage.’

  14. Frankleeh says:

    Hi Mike, Your comment on the definition of the word ‘apostate’ is interesting. Here’s a comment I made on another site contrasting two ends of the ‘JW’ scale, You might find it entertaining. Both Skyrainbow and Rotheram2 make interesting social studies:

    “Frank says:
    February 9, 2013 at 1:50 pm
    JJ, I sense you have sympathies towards my view. I admire that you stay in the background and enjoy the show. Your lack of judgement (unlike some)gives me hope. I enjoy sarcasm as both a way to inform and to entertain. Few understand this and tend to take it personally. This is regrettable.

    Ruth, you should not be so quick to tar everyone here with the same brush. I am presently a theistic agnostic, which I became when I started to look at TTATT. In short I got myself the religious education I should have at the start and not wasted so many years in vain hope that something would have become of my ‘faith.’

    I don’t believe any more in the ‘Christian new personality.’ I believe that once you remove ‘the hope within them’ the true person comes out. This is why Skyrainbow holds no illusions for me. She needs only to have a cause and a soapbox. We have seen this many times. Cedars got wise earlier on in the piece, though, for a number of reasons, I wanted her to stay on JW Survey. Cedars ditched her before any of us could ‘get our teeth in’ to this person (man or woman). Now I believe he probably did the right thing. As you might know already, Cedars doesn’t need site-trolls to make his point-of-view known and discussed.

    Interestingly, on another site http://apologeticfront.com/201…..apologist/, one of Skyrainbow’s counterparts (though I’m sure he’d disagree) was already blogging on the site’s subject. I grilled Rotheram2 about his naive view that the 1914 date has any significance Biblically. Once he knew I was a Witness he said:

    “rotherham2
    Hello Frankleeh,

    I see I missed your above comments. Nothing personal, but I will have to curtail our discussion. I am sue (sure)you would not want me to violate my Christian conscience.

    If someone else who is not an EX or current JW would like to take up this discussion, I would be more than willing to oblige.

    Take care,
    Rotherham”

    He hasn’t returned to the site to date. This may have been because I reminded him, like JimmyG did that, while Rotheram2′s conscience bothered him about talking to a critic of some of the GB’s policies and teachings (what I believe are the damaging ones), he had already violated the GB’s instructions to stay away from sites that criticise their teachings! He may yet return.

    Now,despite the fact that he should have known this, he is at least applying what he believes is a well-honed conscience. I don’t think he’s done the right thing, but I can understand his reaction.

    On the other hand, Skyrainbow, an acclaimed ‘faithful’ JW, has totally ignored the warnings and blissfully applied a double standard continuously. I think both she/he and Rotheram2 are searching, otherwise neither would be engaged in this habit, but it’s like I say, once their idiosyncratic vulnerabilities are exposed, the real person comes out.

    And yes, Ruth, I initially quoted 1 Corinthians 13 because I believe it is an ideal, a goal to work towards, but even Paul recognised that people like Timothy were rare.

    So that’s it, really. That’s why I grow weary of the Skyrainbows of this world. They help no one; they just make faces in the window and ring everybody’s bell, then run away.

    Frank”

  15. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Mike,

    Although I have enjoyed our discussions, it appears that if the apostate interference(from our standpoint) continues, I will have to find another venue to communicate with you. If you would like a public venue, then I would suggest truetheology.net where participation by others can be monitored and controlled and no one has to feel that they would be violating thier conscience to continue with respectful and peaceful discussion.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham,

      I appreciate your honesty and I obviously welcome ex-JW’s to comment on my blog. So if that’s your conviction, to go elsewhere, then so be it.

      I’m just curious though, wouldn’t the July 15 2011 WT prohibit you from commenting on my blog at all?

      “What is involved in avoiding false teachers? We do not receive them into our homes or greet them. We also refuse to read their literature, watch TV programs that feature them, examine their Web sites, or add our comments to their blogs. ”

      I realize that the article is talking a lot about apostates, but am I not a “false teacher” according to the WT?

      I appreciate the invitation to the forum. As you might know, I focus more on posting articles as resources than spending time debating in the comment section. And I especially prefer to keep my few discussions local, just so it’s in one place.

      But I may stop by sometime, but unfortunately my soon forthcoming wedding is taking almost all my time. After that, maybe I can get involved.

  16. rotherham2 says:

    As you said, Mike, the article was addressing apostates. We encounter false teachers all the time in our ministry that are not in the class of apostates, and we have every right and responsibility to witness to them too, just like Jesus and others did to the Pharisees and other opposers to the truth.

    I will see how it goes here. Although I can not prevent anyone from commenting, my comments will only be directed to you or others that I can be assured are not apostate in nature according to our view.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham,

      All you have to do is ask, and most are free to admit it. If they beat around the bush, then that should tell you something.

      As for the article, are you suggesting that its referring to apostate false teachers only? In other words, it’s perfectly acceptable to comment on the blogs of false teachers as long as they aren’t apostate?

  17. rotherham2 says:

    It’s not something that they endorse but rather discourage because of the dangers involved for those not equipped to handle deeply entrenched things against the truth, but such activity is not addressed by that article nor is it forbidden. It would be a personal choice but one that is fraught with danger for the unwary. If one decides to enage in such activity they can not complain about the consequences.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham,

      Thanks for providing your view. I’m curious to see how other JW’s view this as well, so I may post an article to get more feedback. As you probably noticed, these sorts of issues are of great interest to me.

  18. Frankleeh says:

    Here’s the information from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society again:

    WT 5/15 2012, p26, says: “Let us therefore have nothing to do with apostates or anyone who claims to be a brother but who is dishonoring God. This should be the case even if he is a family member. We are not benefited by trying to refute the arguments of apostates or those who are critical of Jehovah’s organization. In fact, it is spiritually dangerous and improper to peruse their information, whether it appears in written form or it is found on the internet.”

    Within the context of the Bible, apostasy was literally speaking against the apostles’ teachings. It is interesting that the WTBTS’s Governing Body do not accept apostolic succession, yet they wield power as great or even greater than the first-century apostles. They state that their teachings, which involve modern deliberations and policies that have no direct Biblical connection are to be viewed as ‘from Jehovah’ because they teach that their publications are ‘directed by holy spirit.’ The further back you go in the WTBTS’s history, the claim was ‘spirit-inspired.’ What’s the difference? Either way, we are expected to believe that see-sawing interpretations are by the operation of the holy spirit.

    The problem is, Mike, that Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught many ambiguous things about so-called apostates and most JWs will understand this term to be anyone who ‘speaks against the Governing Body.’ Much suffering has come about due to bad theology over the years as by the limp and ineffectual WTBTS Child Protection Policy that ignores its obligation to Caesar mandatorarily to report sexual child abuse to the authorities. Things are catching up and there will be many spurious claims to ‘being imperfect’ and ‘receiving more light’ when they are forced to change their ‘spirit-directed’ policy. This has already happened in the case of serial-prophesying (Jan 1 Watchtower).

    I am a JW in good standing and I do not spread apostasy; I merely discuss matters much like the much more reasonable Islam that allows teachings to be discussed. Historically, the human thing to do is rise up against injustice.

    Whether you like it or not, Rotheram2 – I am your brother in the faith.

    Frankleeh.

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Frankleeh,

      Thanks for that quote, as it further reinforces the quote I just used. While Rotherham seems to view these as words of caution or even discouragement, it seems more like a command on what faithful JW’s should NOT do: commenting on the blogs of those who publicly oppose their faith.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Rotherham is deciding to think independently of these GB discretionary. But I am convinced the GB would counsel him or any other JW to do otherwise.

      Interestingly, the GB or a JW could not prove any of this from Scripture. But I can show plenty of examples where Christians engaged with false teachers; ones who even wanted to take their lives!

      1. Frankleeh says:

        I too believe Rotheram2 is searching. There are many like him who come on to the Internet despite the warnings they get. Usually I ask them to go and share their experiences with their elders and then tell us how they get on.

        I blog on other sites, one that has someone called Skyrainbow (see above). She has softened her stance as a confessed believing JW who is engaged in trying to get ex-JWs to ‘return.’ I call her The Apostle to the Apostates. She began by telling everyone who is an ‘opposer’ (should be ‘opponent’) that they are ‘losers’ who are ‘bitter.’ She got such flack that she has become bit of a pussy cat. She has been thoroughly discredited – by me. All I did was cut-and-pasted her comments from another site so others could see her rudeness and ingenuousness.

        Frankleeh

  19. theapologeticfront says:

    Frankleeh,

    What you presented is one of the primary differences between JW’s and Christians like myself. While Rotherham and others avoid ex-JW’s as if they were lepers, I do everything I can to reach someone who really has abandoned Christ. And sometimes, they return! But even if they didn’t, I would seek to love them as Christ loves me and gave Himself up for me.

    And to be completely honest, even if JW’s were right about everything else, their view on ex-JW’s would prevent me from becoming a JW. But this would not be because of a refusal to join, but because I would have such a hard time showing hatred towards other human beings.

  20. Frankleeh says:

    Mike, these are laudable words indeed. This genuinely shows agape love if approached with the right attitude. There are, unfortunately, too many parallels between the WTBTS and George Orwell’s famous book. This tends to bring the worst out in the human frame, mind, prejudices and judgementality. The course was marked for posterity in Ray Franz’s Crisis of Conscience when Bethel went through what could only be called a religious Night of Long Knives; literally “killing off” any whom it was perceived was threatening the system.

    Many good people, questioning people (the failure of 1975 prophecy) were subjected to inquisitional courts and ‘removed’ from office and then disfellowshipped. Their crime? Private study groups had started up without the use of religious publications.

    Most JWs will be unaware of this ‘alternative’ history and will be conditioned by the sanitised version presented to them with three vege nicely on a plate.

    I would be proud of Rotheram2 for his stance if he at least tried to apply agape love to my case instead of dismissing me without an adequate explanation. Unfortunately, he, like the elders, would expect capitulation after a superficial ‘explanation.’ I can’t do that, because I believe even these long-held premise-beliefs should be challenged. “Make sure of the more important things.”

    If he’s right, I’ll accept that. Running is seen almost universally as an act of cowardice, not characteristic of Christian strength.

    Frankleeh

  21. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Mike,

    Just so our exchange doesn’t get buried and forgotten, I will repeat my last relevant post again here:

    Since I see Eph 4:11-17 as crucial to this discussion; progress will be hampered until you offer what you want to say about it. I will be anxiously awaiting your comments.

    But I believe that your argument about teaching something false is cart before the horse, it is anachronistic. The WT will change whatever it is that they come to appreciate is a false teaching, so you are assuming that a false teaching has been proven and then using that assumption as your argument.

    First, there has to be something that is PROVABLY false, not just a matter of interpretation. Now if you want to address the real dynamics of this then you’re going to have to come up with an example where we teach something provably false and doggedly hold onto, unwilling to change.

    The point is, once something is proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be false, the WT will change their view. The WT welcomes questions, suggestions, even absolute proof in regard to teachings that might need corrected. Correspondence is certainly not forbidden and neither is independent thinking. As I stated, the only independent thinking that is a problem is when one runs ahead of the GB and creates division and sects within the congregation. It’s not even so much the thing that he believes is true that gets him into trouble. It might very well be determined that he was right, but he needs to remain within the structure that is arranged by God to maintain unity within the worldwide church. What really gets him into trouble is the fact that he created division and/or a sectarian section within the Christian church.

    Again, Ephesians 4:11-17 perfectly reflects this arrangement.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

  22. Frankleeh says:

    You are such a hypocrite, Rotheram2. My previous comment is verily brimming with intimate connection to the post about Unity before Truth. Ray Franz’s dark days was about establishing truth. The Organisation was quite okay with their Biblically-apostate treatement of their brother in the faith. This unity was fake and based on a power base, not Biblical-truth.

    I would even go as far as to say that social shunning is a very obvious form of persecution.

  23. Frankleeh says:

    But that’s exactly my point, Mike; these 8 men have more power than the Bible itself and can even make new, or at least add to existing law. This is why I felt that the question should be:
    Should unity be promoted at the expense of the Christ’s love?

    Rotheram2 believes that, because I ask a reason for the faith he has (1 Peter 3:15) he can turn his back on me; someone as a Christian, he SHOULD perceive as a person struggling with his own faith! Instead, he has been taught to see me as an enemy of truth, without actually being able to establish truth.

    Anyway, enough about my loving brother – Mike, what do you mean by, ” I will exegete Ephesians 4:11-17 and interact with your position”? I’m not sure what you mean by ‘exegete.’

    Frankleeh

  24. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Mike,

    A clear Biblical teaching naturally trumps the GB. The problem is, we just can’t isolate a scripture that seems to support our own agenda. It amounts to cherry picking and we know the problems that can lead to. There are a number of scriptures which bear on how we would view those that are apostate from our standpoint. Although we still love them, there comes a point that we are bound by scripture to not even say a greeting to them. They are in Jehovah’s hands as to their outcome.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham,

      What does a “clear biblical teaching” mean when you can’t even understand the bible without the GB?

      That is, a “biblical teaching” can’t trump the GB because the GB are the only ones who can tell you what the Bible means. After all, to go against their teachings is to oppose Jesus.

  25. rotherham2 says:

    As I have mentioned before Mike, although the GB is there to help us understand what the Bible says, they are well aware that they can not knowingly contradict scripture and continue to be approved by God or expect others to follow them. If they were to knowingly take a stand against a clear scriptural teaching, they could not expect to continue to be that slave whom the master appointed over his belongings.

  26. rotherham2 says:

    The Bible first establishes who the “church” would be by means of lining up with clear an absolute Biblical teachings. Once it is established who the church and subsequently, the GB would be, the Christian would trust their teachings in regard to those things which are hard to understand. They help to explain the ambiguous things, which can be subject to change via greater understanding, but they do not have power over those things which are absolute.

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham,

      What would be helpful to have is a list which tells me what teachings I can or cannot understand without the GB’s help.

      But again, the GB are the ones who make absolute statements about their authority whereby no one should challenge what they teach. For to do so, would be to challenge Jehovah.

  27. rotherham2 says:

    Those statements are made in the context of having come to see that they are God’s church. Once it has been established in a person’s mind who is the true church of God, those who accept that should trust them when it comes to those teachings which contain ambiguous elements. The WT invites absolutely full and critical examination of their teachings in comparison with the Bible, but once one realizes they are the church of God, then as God desires them to do, they submit to and obey those ones as those who will render an account before God for their souls.

    Some of the absolute teachings of God’s word, which takes no special insight, merely letting scripture interpret scripture are:

    Souls are not inherently immortal. In fact, they die. Immortality is a gift from God, not a possession of every human soul.

    Jesus Christ is the Son of God, not God Almighty.

    There is hope for the unrighteous dead.

    The earth will not be destroyed but will be made anew.

    God has a personal name that should appear in the pages of the Bible, that being Jehovah (YHWH) or a reasonable facsimile thereof. To purposely remove it from the Bible is disobedience.

    Jesus had a prehuman existence.

    Satan is a real being, not just a quality of evil.

    Jesus is a creation of God.

    Unrepentant sinners should be removed from the congregation.

    Divisions and sects within Christianity are condemned.

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham,

      Thanks for your explanation, though I have much I could respond with. Can I also understand texts like Matthew 24:34 and 24:45 without the help of the GB? I have many more I could add to this list; Scriptures that I consider to be very clear and unambiguous.

  28. rotherham2 says:

    When it comes to prophecy, parables and symbollic writings, they, by their very nature, carry ambiguous elements. Since God is not interested in his people being overrun by private interpretations of prophecy, the responsibility lies with the teaching element of the church to interpret these things.

    The word “generation” in Matthew 24:34 is ambiguous within itself and subject to readjustment.

    The “faithful and wise servant” is sandwiched within the overall prophecy concerning the “parousia” of Christ, and thus the ambiguity of its understanding begins. Many elements of eschatology must be understood within that prophecy in order to have an idea who the FDS in verse 45 could represent.

    But rather than try and decide if a church has the truth based upon naturally ambiguous elements, which is an endless discussion, the real test is to see if they adhere to the absolute teachings found within the Bible.

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham,

      Did Jesus say that his teachings in Matthew 24 were ambiguous? Or did he expect his disciples to know what he meant? Where does the Bible say what we can or can’t understand with or without a group of fallible, error-prone men who reside in a central location who’s authority and teachings cannot be challenged?

      I’m afraid that your explanation raises far more questions than it answers, though I do appreciate the attempt.

  29. rotherham2 says:

    Anything that is prone to be understood in more than one way is ambiguous. There are many things stated in that prophecy that could be understood in more than one way. That makes that prophecy contain ambiguous elements. How many interpretations does God want us to entertain at once?

    The very fact that God does not desire us to succumb to private interpretations in regard to prophecy, tells us that someone has to have the authority to interpret it for the flock. Otherwise, you have exactly what God does not want, numerous private interpretations. Again, Ephesians 4:11-17 tells us that there are gifts in men who have the responsibility and the authority, as did the Apostles, to readjust our understandings in order to keep us unified until the end. The very fact that the first century Christains adhered to the teachings of the Apostles lays a pattern as to how Christianity should structure its teaching authority within itself.

    Lone ranger, autonomous teaching is certainly NOT what God wants for his people. He clearly wants unity.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham,

      Where does the Bible teach that some verses need an external authority to interpret and others do not? Are you convinced that Ephesians 4 has something to say about this? If so, I’ll understand if you refrain from answering until I provide my exegesis.

      Frankleeh,

      I forgot to answer your question: exegesis is reading out of the text that which the author intended to be understood.

      Eisegesis, on the other hand, is reading into the text one’s own views.

  30. rotherham2 says:

    yes, I believe that Ephesians 4 has a bearing on the issue, but it is certainly not all there is.

    Since I have stated a number of times that God does not want his flock to be overrun by every wind of teaching and private interpretations of prophecy, how do you propose that the flock would be protected from things like that? How were they protected in the first century? Do you believe that God condemns divisions and sectarian factors within Christianity?

    How else could the flock be protected against these things without a teaching authority within the church?

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham,

      Great questions. And I believe that 2 Timothy 3:16-17 explains how Scripture is sufficient to accomplish that task. And note especially the full context of that chapter. It would have been the perfect time for Paul to point Timothy to a centralized body of men, but he didn’t. Instead, he pointed him to the Scriptures, which is exactly what I would do in answer to your question.

  31. rotherham2 says:

    Yes, scripture is the key to everything but you’re generalizing. Be specific. Also, do you not believe that the Christian congregation adhered to the teachings of the Apostles?

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham,

      The authority in refuting false doctrine in addition to establishing truth is not found from the one communicating, but from the Scriptures.

      In answer to your second question, yes, the Christian congregation adhered to the INSPIRED teachings of the Apostles. But not inspired teachings could be challenged and refuted (Gal. 1:6-9, Rev. 2:2, etc.), something the GB unfortunately doesn’t allow.

  32. Frankleeh says:

    Rotheram2 said: “The WT invites absolutely full and critical examination of their teachings in comparison with the Bible, but once one realizes they are the church of God, then as God desires them to do, they submit to and obey those ones as those who will render an account before God for their souls.”

    Do you really mean this, Rotheram2 or are you just reading this from a book? As I have clearly exposed above, 1914 IS taught as a “Bible teaching” but does not survive close scrutiny. If it did you would have provided this knock-down argument. You have not because you cannot.

    Simply asserting that a JW apologist cum ‘archaeologist’ knows more than ALL the others is simply silly. So, there it is – another deception you’ve been taught. By refusing to talk to a full-approved member of the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses, all you’ve done is expose your own prejudice.

    There is no shortage of religions who claim they are the ‘elect of God’ and many of their ideas are just as Biblically-reliable. But you are right about one thing – the basic doctrines, I believe, are right. But then there is the matter of ‘teaching the thoughts of men as doctrine.’ Again, you are right – accounting is coming. Like in the past, good works will not ameliorate the situation. There are many innocent souls beneath the alter.

  33. Frankleeh says:

    Mike Felker:

    “Frankleeh,

    I forgot to answer your question: exegesis is reading out of the text that which the author intended to be understood.

    Eisegesis, on the other hand, is reading into the text one’s own views.”

    Then, Mike, would you say The Watchtower Governing Body have overtly employed eisegesis when it comes to:

    The Identity of the Faithful and Discreet Slave?

    Determining when the “Lord’s Day” will begin”

    Deciding on the fate of confessed child molesters?

    Setting up a judicial system that has no clear Biblical basis?

    That it is all right to lie if it is in the best interests of the Kingdom?

    Frankleeh

  34. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Mike,

    As I have stated before, if the GB finds that a current understanding is found to be in error, they will change it because their desire is to present the truth as best as they understand it. Challenges to those views are welcome. Questions are welcome. What is not welcome is taking an active stand against what they teach. That cause divisions and sects/schisms within the congregation which Gid clealry condemns.The fact that they have changed certain things over the years proves that they can be challenged and questioned. Someone, somewhere had to raise a challenge against the current view in order for it to be changed. That can happen through letter correspondence, direct conversation, from feedback via the circuit overseers and similar paths of communication.

    I am glad to see you acknowlege that the Christian church adhered to the teachings of the Apostles. Do you think that Paul would have expected Timothy to do the same? Do you agree that God condemns one who causes division or sects/schisms within the Christian congregation?

    The gifts in men at Eph. 4:11-17 were to readjust the holy ones until the church would be full-grown and basically understand everything. Do you think that those gifts in men would be “inspired” clear through history?

    Please be specific in your answers.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

  35. Frankleeh says:

    Hi Mike.

    Does the Governing Body brook any criticism of their teachings?

    1 Brant Jones, an American elder wrote to the WTBTS following the revelations that the Society had been registered as a NGO (Non governmental organisation with the UN for nearly 10 years. His disappointment was over what both he and the British Guardian newspaper saw as hypocrisy based on the consistent advice that God’s people should ‘touch nothing unclean.’

    Below are both Jones’ letter to the WTBTS and the reply. Place particular notice to the paragraphs towards the end of the reply letter:

    http://jwfacts.com/watchtower/experiences/bjonesunletter.pdf

    Reply:

    http://jwfacts.com/watchtower/experiences/brantjonesunresponse.pdf

    2 Ray Franz, nephew of president Fred Franz wrote a book telling the unofficial history of the Organisation setting out how he and others were subjected to inquisitional judicial committees in the early 1980s. His crime? Having lunch with a disassociated person with whom he lodged and worked. The others’ crimes: Allegedly studying the Bible without the use of Organisational publications.

    The account is told in Crisis of Conscience, by Raymond Franz, • ISBN-10: 0914675044
    • ISBN-13: 978-0914675044 , published by Commentary Press.

    3 Glaswegian brother, Matthew Barrie underwent a judicial case that accused him of “spreading teachings other than those taught by Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Two witnesses called to offer the testimony, one his fleshly brother, claimed that Matthew believed that ‘Jesus is to be worshipped as Jehovah is.” Matthew had pointed to two scriptures that Stephen while being stoned addressed his prayer directly to Jesus, and the the heavenly four-headed creatures worshipped the Lamb. Merely on the basis that he held beliefs contrary to what is officially taught by the GB was enough to convict him. His two ‘witnesses’ were elders who had broken the sanctity of confidentiality at shepherding calls to offer their testimony. Nothing else could be proved. Full transcripts and an ethical study are available at:

    http://thegoverningbody.org/religious-ethics-jehovahs-witnesses-disfellowshipping-committee-judicial/

  36. Frankleeh says:

    Hi Mike.

    Back to unity versus truth:

    The WTBTS has been dining out on 1914 for many a decade. the motivation for its enforcement is the claim that 42 months (3 1/2 years) after the heavenly coronation,the Organisation was given the commission to fulfil Bible prophecy during the Lord’s Day.

    (Daniel 12:4) 4 “And as for you, O Daniel, make secret the words and seal up the book, until the time of [the] end. Many will rove about, and the [true] knowledge will become abundant.”

    Occult:
    1. Of, relating to, or dealing with supernatural influences, agencies, or phenomena.
    2. Beyond the realm of human comprehension; inscrutable.
    3. Available only to the initiate; secret: occult lore. See Synonyms at mysterious.
    4. Hidden from view; concealed.

    nu·mer·ol·o·gy
    /ˌn(y)o͞oməˈräləjē/
    Noun
    The branch of knowledge that deals with the occult significance of numbers.

    *2,520 is a perfect number. It is the product obtained by multiplying the four perfect numbers 3, 7, 10, 12, and can be divided by all the digits from 1 to 10 without leaving any remainder, hence is their least common multiple. (footnote)

    – “New Heavens and a New Earth” published by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1953, p.138

    Revelation, It’s Grand Climax, Published by WTBTS, chap. 4 p. 19 Jesus Comes With Encouragement ***
    [Chart on page 19]
    Symbolic Numbers in Revelation
    Number Symbolic Meaning
    2 Signifies solidly confirming a matter.
    (Revelation 11:3, 4; compare Deuteronomy 17:6.)
    3 Denotes emphasis. Also indicates intensity.
    (Revelation 4:8; 8:13; 16:13, 19)
    4 Signifies universalness or foursquareness in symmetry.
    (Revelation 4:6; 7:1, 2; 9:14; 20:8; 21:16)
    6 Signifies imperfection, something not normal, monstrous.
    (Revelation 13:18; compare 2 Samuel 21:20.)
    7 Signifies divinely determined completeness, as to
    Jehovah’s purposes or to Satan’s.
    (Revelation 1:4, 12, 16; 4:5; 5:1, 6; 10:3, 4; 12:3)
    10 Signifies allness or completeness in a physical way,
    as to things on earth.
    (Revelation 2:10; 12:3; 13:1; 17:3, 12, 16)
    12 Signifies a divinely constituted organization either in
    the heavens or on the earth.
    (Revelation 7:5-8; 12:1; 21:12, 16; 22:2)
    24 Signifies Jehovah’s abundant (doubled) organizational
    arrangement. (Revelation 4:4)
    Some numbers mentioned in Revelation are to be understood as literal. Often, the context helps to determine this. (See Revelation 7:4, 9; 11:2, 3; 12:6, 14; 17:3, 9-11; 20:3-5.)

    http://carm.org/what-biblical-numerology:

    “What is Biblical Numerology?
    It seems quite obvious that the Bible uses numbers in patterns. Who can deny that 40 is significant? Jesus was in the desert for 40 days, and the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years…”

    Has it occurred to Rotheram2 that 360 (1 “time” according to Revelation 12:6) is also the degrees of a perfect circle?

    Rotheram2 (February 6):

    “Although secular historians disagree with our chronology, both the 455 and 607 dates, they have to ignore numerous prophecies in order for that to work, and they have to shrink the desolation of Jerusalem down to 49 years, something that just wont work from the standpoint of Biblical chronological measurements and statements.”

    Were the “70 years” which the Israelites were to bereft of their homeland literal? Note the Revelation Book’s Biblical definition of “7” and “10.” could it be that the “70 years” were merely a divinely-judged ‘complete’ and full punishment for Israel’s unfaithfulness, and not literal?

    Rotheram2 mentions 49 above. Interesting number; 49. 7 x 7. Double heavenly completeness?

    Fascinating!

    Frankleeh

  37. JimmyG says:

    I think the impression that Rotheram2 conveys of the GB ‘welcoming’ challenges to and questioning of their version of ‘truth’ is incorrect. In the October 15 Watchtower of 2011 on page 32, they discouraged readers writing to branches and the HQ with their questions, fobbing them off by saying ask the local elders and do more research of the WT literature.
    Also, in the May 15 Watchtower of 2012 on page 26, I quote: “We are not benefited by trying to refute the arguments of apostates OR THOSE WHO ARE CRITICAL OF JEHOVAH’S ORGANIZATION”. Using phrases like that hardly encourages individuals from ‘challenging’ or ‘questioning’ the GB’s ‘current view’ on any given subject.
    The reality is, in JW land, it’s a very small step between ‘questioning’ or ‘challenging’ GB teachings and being accused of apostasy and disloyalty.

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      JimmyG,

      Those are some great points. While Rotherham seems to think otherwise, WE are the ones quoting their literature which clearly show his perspective to not be the case. In addition, I think we all know what really happens when the GB is challenged…but we can’t trust the testimony of evil apostates can we? It’s a lose lose.

  38. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Mike,

    Kept in the proper context, my words reflect the true situation. The comment quoted by JimmyG is encouraging trying to find the answer first, either yourself or through a qualified elder. This helps in preventing inquiries that have already been answered within the literature or could be answered by a qualified elder. There’s certainly nothing wrong with the GB trying to decrease the amount of unnecessary inquiries. That’s a logical and reasonable approach. On the other hand, as I have said, they welcome questions about teachings. The fact that they highlight “Questions From Readers” and comments from readers proves the notion false that they discourage ALL questions. Why would they highlight questions from readers if they wanted to discourage them from happening?

    It’s always best to keep things in context, and not just the immediate context, but the larger context as well. As I have said, it’s the same approach we make to scriptures. Statements rarely exist in a vacuum.

    And just so this doesn’t get lost in the shuffle:

    I am glad to see you acknowlege that the Christian church adhered to the teachings of the Apostles. Do you think that Paul would have expected Timothy to do the same? Do you agree that God condemns one who causes division or sects/schisms within the Christian congregation?

    The gifts in men at Eph. 4:11-17 were to readjust the holy ones until the church would be full-grown and basically understand everything. Do you think that those gifts in men would be “inspired” clear through history?

    Please be specific in your answers.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham,

      Keep in mind we’re not talking about mere “questions.” We’re talking about actual challenges and criticisms of the GB. Obviously, questions are allowed in the congregation. But we all know what happens when a rank-and-file offers the GB a challenge or criticism through the elders.

      And thanks for the reminder on your neglected points. Once I’m in front of a computer and not on my phone I’d like to respond to that. And still haven’t forgotten about Eph. 4!

  39. rotherham2 says:

    Well if you mean by “challenges” and/or “criticisms”, one who is trying to actively PROMOTE a view that is contrary to the teachings of the GB, then they would meet with opposition no doubt, but if the things are presented in a respectful manner, even if it be a criticism or a challenge, those things are handled as I have mentioned. Attitude would certainly play a part, I am sure.

    I’ll await your answers about the other questions.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

  40. rotherham2 says:

    No, they don’t. I think you’re simply seeing what you’re looking for and not much beyond. I have addressed the quotes you and others have offered and put them in their proper context. You’re allowing others who are disgruntled to poison the well.

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham,

      Why are we the only ones posting quotes then? Please provide quotations from the WT which say other than what we’re saying, such as ones that welcome respectful criticisms and challenges to the GB without penalty. “Questions from the readers” are a far cry from this.

  41. rotherham2 says:

    Could you please present the list of references that you believe disprove my explanations that I have given as to how these things are handled.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

  42. rotherham2 says:

    hello Mike,

    You told me not to quote Watchtower info but I hope in this context it is OK.

    w00 5/1 pp. 8-12

    18 Of course, in fighting the fine fight of the faith, discernment is needed. (Proverbs 2:11; Philippians 1:9) For instance, it would be unreasonable to distrust all secular information. (Philippians 4:5; James 3:17) Not all human ideas conflict with God’s Word**. Jesus alluded to the need for sick people to consult a qualified physician—a secular profession. (Luke 5:31) Despite the relatively primitive nature of medical treatment in Jesus’ day, he acknowledged that there was some benefit to be derived from a physician’s help. Christians today display balance in the matter of secular information, but they resist exposure to any that might be harmful to them spiritually.

    19 Discernment is also vital on the part of elders when called upon to assist those who speak unwisely. (2 Timothy 2:7) At times, congregation members may get caught up in disputes about trifles and speculative arguments. To protect the unity of the congregation, elders should be quick to address such problems. At the same time, they avoid imputing wrong motives to their brothers and are not overhasty to view them as apostates.

    20 Paul described the spirit in which assistance is to be given. He said: “Brothers, even though a man takes some false step before he is aware of it, you who have spiritual qualifications try to readjust such a man in a spirit of mildness.” (Galatians 6:1) Speaking specifically about Christians who struggle with doubts, Jude wrote: “Continue showing mercy to some that have doubts; save them by snatching them out of the fire.” (Jude 22, 23) Of course, if AFTER REPEATED ADMONITIONS someone insists on promoting false teachings, elders need to take decisive action in order to protect the congregation.—1 Timothy 1:20; Titus 3:10, 11.
    ——————————-

    w01 2/1 pp. 9-13

    6 What, then, must we do? We should “keep on asking God” in prayer for faith and understanding and bolster our efforts in personal study regarding any questions or doubts. We can also ask for help from those who are strong in the faith, never doubting that Jehovah will give us the support we need.

    What if Doubts Linger?
    9 What if we do find ourselves in a tunnel of doubts? What should we do then? Wise King Solomon provides the answer: “My son, if you will receive my sayings and treasure up my own commandments with yourself, so as to pay attention to wisdom with your ear, that you may incline your heart to discernment; if, moreover, you call out for understanding itself and you give forth your voice for discernment itself, if you keep seeking for it as for silver, and as for hid treasures you keep searching for it, in that case you will understand the fear of Jehovah, and you will find the very knowledge of God.”—Proverbs 2:1-5.

    10 Is that not a staggering thought? If we are willing to pay earnest attention to God’s wisdom, we will “find the very knowledge of God.” Yes, the knowledge of the Sovereign Lord of the universe is within our reach if we are willing to receive and treasure his sayings. That means turning to Jehovah in prayer and through personal study. The hidden treasures of his Word can dispel any doubts and help us see the light of truth.
    ——————————–

    w06 7/15 pp. 19-23

    16 What if we are tempted to murmur because of having doubts about certain teachings that Jehovah’s people hold in common? Then let us not be impatient. The ‘faithful slave’ may eventually publish something that answers our questions and clears up our doubts. It is wise to seek the help of Christian elders. (Jude 22, 23) Prayer, personal study, and association with spiritually-minded fellow believers can also help to remove doubts and can deepen our appreciation for the faith-strengthening Bible truths we have learned through Jehovah’s channel of communication.
    ————————————

    I think the spirit of this information should be clear that it is not wrong to have questions or doubts as the invitation is there to communicate these doubts to those who are strong in the faith. Naturally the first step would be the elders. If that does not satisfy the inquiry or doubt, then there is nothing wrong with that person addressing their question to the branch so that they can be considered by the GB for resolution if need be.

    Please show me where we can are told that we can not do this.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham,

      Regarding your quotes, i’m ok with you posting those since I directly asked you for them. But i’m failing to see how this has anything to do with the Governing Body inviting challenges and criticism. If anything, it shows that the rank and file are the usually the ones who need to make adjustments, not the Governing Body. Has the GB ever made adjustments? Of course, but this is besides the point. Its the focus of the article to assume that the guilty party is the rank-and-file, not the leadership.

  43. Frankleeh says:

    “Religion doesn’t seem to work like that; it has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever… ‘Here is an idea or a notion that you’re not allowed to say anything bad about; you’re just not. Why not? – because you’re not!’ If somebody votes for a party that you don’t agree with, you’re free to argue about it as much as you like; everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it, but on the other hand if somebody says ‘I mustn’t move a light switch on a Saturday’, you say, ‘Fine, I respect that’… But, the moment I say something that has something to do with somebody’s (I’m going to stick my neck out here and say irrational) beliefs, then we all become terribly protective and terribly defensive and say ‘No, we don’t attack that; that’s an irrational belief but no, we respect it’. “’

    – Science writer Douglas Adams

    Mike, when religion sends fear to guard the gates of intellectual freedom all they do is create an underground, and whether Rotheram2 likes it or not, she is part of that underground.

    How is this unity maintained by fear? Social shunning is a form of persecution. It is antithetical to any healthy community, and counter-intuitive to a healthy mind. The one thing it is is effective. It’s purpose? To maintain the status quo; a set of beliefs that should not be questioned on the pain of losing your loved ones in spiritual (and eventually physical) death.

    People like Rotheram2 know that asking questions sooner or later will be perceived as a challenge and that person will become marked. I know, because it happened to me. Here’s another recent comment:

    “BlindersOff says:
    February 20, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Awesome letter . My heart bleeds for you . I’am also shunned
    just for asking questions .”

    Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that ANY doctrine (Biblical or policy) should be viewed as coming from God himself; to question (challenge) the doctrine is to question God. Therefore they have only two routes of inquiry:

    1 WTBTS publications

    2 As one of the religion’s ranking representatives (elders, circuit overseers etc)

    As the arguments are always from divinely-attributed authority, doing this will lead always to Biblical tautologies.

    The result:

    http://jehovahsjudgment.co.uk/607/

    Frankleeh

  44. JimmyG says:

    I think that the ‘Questions from readers’ are not from the readers at all, especially so since that 2011 WT article discouraging readers from contacting the branches and HQ. I believe these are contrived articles answering so called ‘questions’ that the WT wants to answer. Over the years it has been one of their methods of telling people what to think and do.

    Rotherham can quote ad infinitum from WT literature, but this is not the REALITY.To illustrate: In Pakistan, anyone can ‘criticise’ Islam, but can be executed for blaspheming the prophet Mohammed. If you are a Christian in Pakistan, are you going to feel confident about ‘criticising’ Islam, not fearing at all that what you say won’t be regarded by Muslims as blaspheming Mohammed?

    Arguing that the GB ‘welcomes’ challenges and questions regarding their biblical interpretations and that this is somehow different to what Rotherham calls ‘taking an active stand against what they teach’, is just semantics. Challenging and questioning WT doctrine IS regarded as taking an active stand against the GB, just as criticism of Islam would be regarded as blaspheming the Prophet. In theory, there’s a difference, but not in reality.

    Over the years many have written to the GB. Their usual response is………….. no response. Depending on the issue, sometimes the response is……………. a ‘visit’ by two elders.

    Regarding ‘unity’, which is the actual subject under discussion here, for the JW version of ‘unity’, read the testimony of Covington and Franz in the 1954 Walsh Trial. This type of ‘unity’ ( in reality, ‘conformity’) has been enforced, even more so, in the last 30 years, since the 1980 purge of so called ‘apostates’ in the New York HQ. Their crime? Discussing bible passages in groups, without using WT literature.

  45. Frankleeh says:

    I’m with JimmyG on this. If the “Questions from Readers” were genuine, then some of these might pop up:

    QUESTIONS FROM READERS
    Is it true that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society became affiliated with the United Nations organisation for nearly 10 years? Has the stance of Jehovah’s Organisation changed on the position of political neutrality?

    QUESTIONS FROM READERS
    Is it true that the Watchtower Bible and Tract society invests publisher’s money in hedge fund organisations? Does this mean that Jehovah’s Witnesses can now purchase lottery tickets?

    QUESTIONS FROM READERS
    Is it true that a second witness is required in order for elders in a congregation to act on the basis of complaints of sexual child abuse? Will the elders go straight to the police on hearing even of accusations of attempted child abuse in accordance with Romans 13?

    QUESTIONS FROM READERS
    Can the Governing Body please explain how a change to a solar year (365.25 days) in calculating 1914 is justified when a “time” is based on the Biblically-ordained chronological measure of 360 days (Revelation 12:6)?. Wasn’t Jesus crowned in 1878?

    And on and on.

    These are questions I would like to raise, but as I said in my first comment to Rotheram2: how do you think the organisation would react?

    It is ironic that the most-feared fundamentalist form of Islam is more tolerant than the organisation here under discussion. Don’t forget Brant Jones and the two letters on pdf file cited above.

    Unity is enforced, not encouraged.

    Frankleeh

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Frankleeh,

      That’s exactly how I feel about the “questions from the readers.” They’d never post those because they know exactly what would happen. Its funny how silent the WT has been on the UN issue, regardless of whether or not its a valid criticism. The point is, many thousands have probably left the org because of that issue. Yet, the leadership sits in silence and anonymous JW’s pick up the slack in creating an entire website to the issue.

      Personally, I think its better to respond to the best the other side has to say. The WT, on the other hand, would rather play kick ball. But then again, maybe they don’t care about persuading people like me? Who knows, but i’ll never get the opportunity to ask them.

  46. theapologeticfront says:

    Rotherham,

    I am glad to see you acknowlege that the Christian church adhered to the teachings of the Apostles. Do you think that Paul would have expected Timothy to do the same?

    Yes. And this is a far cry from adhering to a handful of fallible, uninspired men from Brooklyn, NY.

    Do you agree that God condemns one who causes division or sects/schisms within the Christian congregation?

    Have you stopped beating your spouse? This is the wrong question to ask. Would openly opposing Apostles who preached a false gospel cause divisions? If so, then who is in the wrong? In the same way, when the Governing Body is wrong, there is absolutely nothing unbiblical in pointing it out. Yet, the Governing Body advises that we shouldn’t.

    The gifts in men at Eph. 4:11-17 were to readjust the holy ones until the church would be full-grown and basically understand everything. Do you think that those gifts in men would be “inspired” clear through history?

    The Apostles were the only ones who were inspired. The Governing Body is not, so i’m not sure what your point is here.

  47. Frankleeh says:

    Hi Mike. You make a good point about the Governing Body claiming not to be inspired. In fact, the word ‘apostasy’ was coined to mean ‘to speak against the apostles.’ If the Governing Body do not claim apostolic succession, how can ANYONE be accused of apostasy by criticising the modern governing body?

    Perhaps ‘new light’ will come out, not only claiming that the Governing Body are the Faithful and Discreet Slave, but also they now believe themselves to be the modern successors to the first century apostles! Than would convenient and the only way to seize full temporal religious power.

    Frankleeh

  48. rotherham2 says:

    Sorry, I have had the flu for the last few days and am still fighting it off. I’ll be back on soon to follow up.

    Rotherham

  49. Frankleeh says:

    Hi Mike and Rotheram2,

    I thought you might like to know there is another interesting thing I’ve discovered:

    If you take the almost-archaeologically-verified date of 537 BCE and move forward 2530 years at 360 days per year, you come out at 1948 CE.

    The significance?

    “Israel and the 1948 War
    In May 1948, Israel became an independent state after Israel was recognised by the United Nations as a country in its own right within the Middle East.”

    http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/israel_and_the_1948_war.htm

    “May 14, 1948 | Israel Declares Independence
    On May 14, 1948, the independent state of Israel was proclaimed as British rule in Palestine came to an end.”

    http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/14/may-14-1948-israel-declares-independence/

    Hard to believe? Let’s do the math:

    537 x 365.25 (solar years) = 196139 days

    1948 x 365.25 (solar years) = 711507 days

    196139 + 711507 = 907646 days

    Divide total days by 360 (average lunar ‘year’) to bring into line with Revelation 12:6 and what do we get?

    907646 divided by 360 = 2,521 360-day years in accordance with the Bible, less one year for the absence of no year nought = 2,520 years.

    The timeline starts from the return of Jews to their homeland and finishes with Jews declaring independence in Israel.

    As a theistic agnostic all this teaches me is that incredible co-incidences DO happen.

    Charles Taze Russell wrote in the Bible Examiner 1976 that 2520 years from 606 BCE would bring us to the End. The only thing that can be proved is that WW1 took place.

    Why is this scenario less likely than the traditional JW teaching, Rotheram2?

    Frankleeh

  50. Frankleeh says:

    End of the Gentile Times

    “If you take the almost-archaeologically-verified date of 537 BCE and move forward 2530 years at 360 days per year, you come out at 1948 CE.”

    should read: “If you take the almost-archaeologically-verified date of 537 BCE and move forward 2520 years at 360 days per year, you come out at 1948 CE.”

    Frankleeh

  51. Frankleeh says:

    And do you want to know the weirdest thing of all, Mike and Rotheram2:

    1948 – 1878 = 70

    How do we process this? Co-incidence?

    Frankleeh

  52. Frankleeh says:

    What is amazing is that, if correct, we have a beginning equation (2520 360-day-years [average Jewish lunar years]) from the beginning of the Jewish Exile to Babylon that brings us to 1878 AD; and an ending equation (2520 360 day-years [average Jewish lunar years]that apparently brings us to 1948 AD. Minus one from the other and you have verification that it was 70 Jewish average lunar years.

    Astonishingly, this seems to prove that the Jewish Exile had to have been 70 360-day-years starting in 607 BCE, and not 365.25-day-years (solar years).

    I felt like Einstein when E=MC2 fell into place!

    Unfortunately, it also seems to prove that 607 BCE is the actual date as the 1878 date was worked out on this basis (which may mean that it wasn’t 607 AD on the solar calendar, of course). The upside is that there is no sign of 1914 in the whole deal!!! The WTBTS “coronation” date was worked out from the earliest beginnings using the less likely 365.25 calendar.

    The point is we have double the calculations to verify and not the single 1 the WTBTS has with which it is so dogmatic.

    There surely have to be flaws in these workings, and I would invite a discussion to figure them out.

    Of course, all it may prove is that amazing co-incidences are not just possible, but probable when we’re looking for one.

    Frankleeh

  53. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Mike,

    I said:
    I am glad to see you acknowlege that the Christian church adhered to the teachings of the Apostles. Do you think that Paul would have expected Timothy to do the same?

    You said:
    Yes. And this is a far cry from adhering to a handful of fallible, uninspired men from Brooklyn, NY.

    Response:
    Although true that inspiration verses non-inspiration is quite different, the manner in which Christian authority within the church is structured hasn’t significantly changed. Eph. 4:11-16 makes it clear that there would have to be uninspired men, acting as gifts in men, who would continue to readjust the holy ones clear down until the time that the full-grown stature would arrive. Also, the Christian instruction of obeying and submitting to those who are taking the lead among us is a constant feature throughout history for Christian authority.

    I asked:
    Do you agree that God condemns one who causes division or sects/schisms within the Christian congregation?

    You said:
    Have you stopped beating your spouse? This is the wrong question to ask. Would openly opposing Apostles who preached a false gospel cause divisions? If so, then who is in the wrong? In the same way, when the Governing Body is wrong, there is absolutely nothing unbiblical in pointing it out. Yet, the Governing Body advises that we shouldn’t.

    Response:
    It is certainly not the wrong question to ask. It states right within the Bible that those cause divisions and sects will not inherit the kingdom. How then could it possibly be the wrong question to ask? That’s a rather odd evaluation. If Christians in the first century took a firm stand against the teachings of the Apostles, they would have been guilty of causing divisions and/or sects within the congregation. Since those things can affect our salvation, they would have to be handled effectively, such as “rejecting such a man” after a second or even third admonition.

    The same structure continues today. I someone takes a stand against those “gifts in men” who are in the same list as the “Apostles”, if they were insistent, then that is promotion, and that causes divisions and sects. As I stated, it’s not so much the teaching that they are challenging, it is the fact that they end up actively promoting their idea that gets them removed as one who is promoting a sect. That’s straight from the pages of the bible and I find it hard to understand why this is so difficult to grasp.

    I said
    The gifts in men at Eph. 4:11-17 were to readjust the holy ones until the church would be full-grown and basically understand everything. Do you think that those gifts in men would be “inspired” clear through history?

    You said:
    The Apostles were the only ones who were inspired. The Governing Body is not, so i’m not sure what your point is here.

    Response:

    The point is this: Since Ephesians 4:11-16 plainly shows that clear through history there would be those “gifts in men” that would have the responsibility and the authority to “readjust” the holy ones, to keep them united, and they would NOT ALL be inspired, then how is this any different than what is happening with Jehovah’s Witnesses today?

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Hi Frankleeh,

      Not that I’m aware of? But then again, I have so many conversations going on in different places that I can’t keep track anymore, much less find the time to engage in all of them.

      Was there something specific you would like me to comment on?

  54. Frankleeh says:

    I assume Rotheram2 is either still recovering or she has decided this place is not spiritually healthy for her. She may have even worked out that she shouldn’t have come here in the first place according to the principles she claims to follow.

    Do you have an opinion about the legitimate competition above to the long-acclaimed year of 1914, Mike?

    Frankleeh

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