While not an “official” publication by the Watchtower, THIS ARTICLE appears to reflect the attitude of many JW’s as they consider former Governing Body member Ray Franz and his books. While there may be other books he’s written that i’m not aware of, the most prominent are CRISIS OF CONSCIENCE and IN SEARCH OF CHRISTIAN FREEDOM. The purpose of this post isn’t to defend everything Franz has said or published (as i’m sure i’d disagree with him on quite a bit), but to consider some common understandings that many JW’s might have towards he and other so-called “apostates.”
The ARTICLE in question considers the question, “If a member of the Governing Body leaves, does that mean that the organization is a ‘failure?'” While i’m sure there are some who have asked this question, it’s not one that I find to be an issue even if the JW religion is true. And for the purposes of this post, i’m only going to address the points related to those who have left the JW religion and/or written books critical of the Watchtower.
Ray Franz was just a person who sought to promote himself rather than his Lord Jesus Christ. And he secretively tried to insert his own contrary ideas into Scriptural truth. When he was called to account by his fellow Christians he refused to correct himself. He continued to be admonished and attempts were made to resolve his perceived issues until all efforts failed. Being unwilling to repent and seeing the “writing on the wall” he “left” the organization and published his self-serving and twisted version of the facts. His personal opinions simply reflect his own prideful animus and require others to have an ignorance of the Scriptures (2Pe 2:17-22).
While he was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses he worked without payment and only for room and board. But after he was kicked out for his prominence seeking, he made money and gained personal prestige by writing against the Witnesses. He had to go promote himself to those who were used to a clergy class to find people gullible enough to buy his books so he could make a profit off his ideas. I think I will trust someone without such a strong personal motive.
These two paragraphs are quite loaded with assertions. But that’s what they are: assertions and little more. One who reads Franz’ own testimony of what really happened in “Crisis of Conscience” would hear a completely different story…along with documentation. While i’m open to a critique of Franz’ documentation, it does very little to simply dismiss him as a self-serving, prideful and greedy apostate.
At the same time, Ray Franz’ teachings are being repeatedly disproved even on this forum. Anyone who would “buy into” Ray Franz’s story clearly will believe ANYTHING no matter what the facts are!!
I’m not sure what forum is being spoken of here and i’m very curious to see where Franz has been “repeatedly disproved.” But i’m more curious as to why these JW’s are reading “apostate literature” in the first place? Isn’t this something that is expressly forbidden by the Watchtower? This is a very common way for JW’s to deal with so-called “apostates”: pose ad hominems and accuse of twisting the facts, but to never actual read this literature to which they are referencing. Why? Because it’s against their convictions.
At least non-JW’s such as myself can be consistent here. That is, I can read someone like Bart Erhman (who I would definitely consider an apostate) and actually deal with what he’s written in good conscience. Why? Because I recognize that he has influenced a multitude and I would love to offer the truth to someone who has been misled by him. However, a JW couldn’t really do this with Franz. Yes, they could assert that he is a greedy apostate who twists the facts, but they couldn’t actually deal with what he’s written in hopes of helping someone who has been misled by him. On the other hand, I suppose they could just dismiss all apostates as being greedy twisters of the facts and teach the misled persons that this is always the case.
But I don’t even think that about Bart Ehrman! In fact, I think that Ehrman is a very sharp scholar and is impecable on most of his facts. Where I differ with him is on his conclusions and presuppositions.
Ray Franz and others like him left a vibrant, growing, active and truly Christian organization. Now they have withered up and become just like any other cult leader in Christendom. They have nothing to offer.
How so? What is “every cult leader in Christendom” like? This is certainly some very emotionally charged language and quite unconvincing at that. Also, i’m surprised at the use of “cult” here. What makes Franz a “cult leader” and the JW Governing Body not? I would also beg to differ on having “nothing to offer.” Franz has offered hope when there was no hope by those who were hurt by the oppressive shunning policies of the JW religion. And what was this hope? Pointing them to Jesus Christ, which is the same hope I would offer.
Ray Franz, and those who were infected by him, left correct doctrine. They worship with and make common cause with religions which turn a blind eye, or outright allow, homosexuals, fornicators and adulterers to be accepted members of their congregation. These religions also allow their members to drop bombs even on fellow “Christians.” So, those who leave the True Christian Congregation either abandon Christian morals themselves or become guilty by association. Literally or spiritually they are debased.
I’ve certainly not read all that Franz has written, but where did he turn a blind eye to homosexuals? Or is this just more emotionally charged language without any supporting documentation? Also, how is it that those who leave the “True Christian Congregation” are “guilty by association” regarding those who are murderers? Am I guilty in this regard? What if i’m a pacifist? Would Jesus hold me accountable and guilty of bloodshed for what other professing Christians have done?
Actual evidence irrefutably proves that Jehovah’s Witnesses are the true Christian Congregation and it alone has the Truth. On the other hand all other religions have abandoned following Christ, in actions and morals.
Not the most persuasive way to finish such an article, but this seems to be the thinking of many JW’s. Perhaps my JW friends will use this as an opportunity to step back and consider how people like me view their religion and consider arguing more persuasively on topics such as these. While JW’s authors like these make apostates out to be these bitter and angry persons, one wonders why I shouldn’t see this author as the same?
My commendation to those who really seek to follow Christ would be to look at both sides and come to their own conclusion. For example, don’t take my word for it about Bart Ehrman. Instead, read his books and then read what men like Dan Wallace would have to say. It’s one thing to have a biblical perspective and view true apostates for what they are. But it’s another thing to dismiss them out of hand without taking the time to examine the evidence.