This debate took place on the TRUE THEOLOGY forum, but I will be posting the full debate on a PDF once it is completed. You can follow the discussion HERE.
The debate is with Rotherham, who is a JW I regularly interact with here. The format is as follows with hyperlinks for each section:
(3) Submit 5 questions
- Rotherham’s First Question to Mike –>Mike’s Answer, Rotherham’s Rebuttal, Mike’s Rebuttal
- Mike’s First Question to Rotherham –> Rotherham’s Answer, Mike’s Rebuttal, Rotherham’s Rebuttal
- Rotherham’s Second Question to Mike –> Mike’s Answer, Rotherham’s Rebuttal, Mike’s Rebuttal
- Mike’s Second Question to Rotherham –> Rotherham’s Answer, Mike’s Rebuttal, Rotherham’s Rebuttal
- Rotherham’s Third Question to Mike –> Mike’s Answer, Rotherham’s Rebuttal, Mike’s Rebuttal
- Mike’s Third Question to Rotherham –> Rotherham’s Answer, Mike’s Rebuttal, Rotherham’s Rebuttal
- Rotherham’s Fourth Question to Mike –> Mike’s Answer, Rotherham’s Rebuttal, Mike’s Rebuttal
- Mike’s Fourth Question to Rotherham –> Rotherham’s Answer, Mike’s Rebuttal, Rotherham’s Rebuttal
- Rotherham’s Fifth Question to Mike –> Mike’s Answer, Rotherham’s Rebuttal, Mike’s Rebuttal
- Mike’s Fifth Question to Rotherham –> Rotherham’s Answer, Mike’s Rebuttal, Rotherham’s Rebuttal
49 thoughts on “Debate with a JW: “Is the Watchtower’s interpretation of the faithful slave found in Matthew 24 and Luke 12, as articulated in the July 15th, 2013 Watchtower, accurate?””
Very interesting statements and posts, thanks for linking. I’m looking forward to Rotheram’s response
I have been reading the debate. I agree with Mike in his preterist view of Matt 24 and Matt 16:27-28. However, this discussion goes nowhere. I doubt that the witness apologist will change his views. In spite of this, if the events of Matt. 24 had two fulfilments, there is no such a proof that they have to do with the year 1914. What if that end of times is a future event for the next millenium?
Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. My intention isn’t necessarily to convince my opponent but to allow the audience an opportunity to look at both sides and come to their own conclusion.
I usually try to avoid eschatology, but couldn’t find a way to avoid it in this case, especially when his position is dependent on dual fulfillments.
Hi Mike. I know your opponent, and it seems to me that he is taking an advantage of some weak points of the preterist reading. The main point of this discussion is if the interpretation of the faithful and discreet slave is correct according the Watchtower Society. This interpretation would be correct if in fact Jesus appointed Joseph Rutherford and his close friends as the only channel of God in 1919. Of course, this date is correlated to the hypothesis that states that 1914 is the End of the Gentile Times. If the Gentile Times ended in 1914, the Watchtower Society would have an initial support. Although Russell predicted that in 1914 would be the End of Armagedon, which began in 1878 (according the him), a relevant event happened in the world: The beginning of the First World War. So, the contrary happened. Ok, witnesses say: “but it means that the date was correct but the interpretation was wrong”. However, the gentiles were (and are) still reigning this world. In that year nothing ended for the gentiles, nor for the physical city of Jerusalem. Worse, the Watchtower Society predicted that in 1918 millions of members of the churches would be destroyed by God. Nothing happened. The book that the Bible Students distributed between 1917 and 1919 (The Finished Mystery) was full of false predictions, where most of them were inventions of the paranoic mind of Clayton Woodworth. Of course, in this book, Bible Students were also proclaiming statements against the war. However, contradictorily, in 1918 the Watchtower leaders (Rutherford and his friends) decided to endorse buying war bonds and were praying in favor to the victory of US. So, what was what Christ saw in those guys in 1919? If Christ appointed them in 1919, why did they began other campaigns for other false predictions (waiting for 1925, for 1975 and for the end of the 1914 generation)? Witnesses will say: “no, no , these were only, improvements in our understanding, because God appointed the Society’s leaders due to the fact that they proclaimed against the Trinity, against the Hell fire and against the immortality of the soul, which are teachings of Babylon the Great”. However, in the first century, many Jews believed that the souls of the faithful would be in a place called the bosom of Abraham, and the souls of the wicked in a place of torment. Nevertheless, Christ told us a story which endorses this view (in the rich and Lazarus). Furthermore, Christ said that men can’t kill the soul, but God. Obviously, Christ “failed” to follow the Society’s standard. This is why most of the church fathers believed that the soul survives the body after death. Were they apostates? No, they just followed Christ’s statements. This is why Christ did not destroy the members of the church by millions in 1918, and this is why Christ did not appoint the Society’s leaders as his sole channel. ……these are facts that Rotherham should face.
Witnesses allways fail to follow Jesus’ advise: “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority” (Acts 1:7).
I agree that Rotherham is doing everything he can to find weak spots in my eschatology, which I do not believe he has successfully done. Moreover, I think his doing so actually weakens his position. If I were him, I would be spending more time defending my position than trying to poke holes in the other’s. This is not to say he can’t do so, but even if he absolutely refutes Preterism, this would not mean that he successfully defended the debate thesis.
I will do my best to regularly bring the topic back to the thesis of the debate, as I hope will be obvious from the questions i’m asking him. While he tries to shoot holes in Preterism with his questions, i’ll continue to question his understanding of the FDS, 1919, etc.
You mention a lot of really interesting points regarding the selection of the FDS. I’ll have to think about that some more and whether or not to bring it up. After all, it hasn’t been brought up thus far and i’d hesitate to raise a whole new argument at this point rather than developing one i’ve already addressed.
Mike: I was a witness, who sincerely believed that God was using this organization. Of course, I was blind. However, some years ago I had to do my homework to prove for myself if the governing body was appointed by God. I had to study the Society’s history, the church history and the Bible itself without any prejudice. My sincere conclusion was that the only person who could appoint the Watchtower leaders in 1919 was Satan, the Devil. No one in his sound mind could write the absurdities which were written in the Watchtower literature in the Rutherford age. I have published several articles about it in my native language (Spanish). For instance, the Finished Mystery misled many Bible Students and was one of the causes of the division of the Bible Students. The book has many traces of demonism. Interestingly, one of the authors, Clayton Woodworth, confessed that he was possessed by demons 4 years before he was appointed to write some chapters of the Finished Mystery. He said in a Bible Student Convention :
“….I came directly under the influence of evil spirits, so much so that for three days I was as completely under demonical control…” (Convention Report 1913 , “The Vow”).
This is why he wrote in the Finished Msytery the following:
“Have you enjoyed this work so far? Are you convinced it is of the Lord– prepared under His guidance? Have you carefully and prayerfully read the comments on Rev. 7:1? Then brace yourself for the truth that it is evidently God’s purpose soon to allow the minds of many of His little ones to become an open battle ground, upon which the fallen angels shall be judged, and the manner in which we meet the tests will prove our worthiness of crowns at the same time that it proves these disobedient spirits unworthy of life on any plane. This is something with which some but not many are yet familiar…. without actual experience it is quite impossible to conceive of the intensity of such struggles…. The base of the brain is seized as in a vise. Interpretations of Scripture, ingenious, but misleading beyond description, are projected into the mind as water might be projected through a hose. Visions may be tried, wonderful illuminations of the mind as by a soft but glorious greenish or yellowish haze. Seductive suggestions may be made, based on circumstances of the environment. Offers of inspiration may be made. The privilege of sleep may be taken away for days at a stretch. All this with the object of forcing the unfortunate into at least a temporary insanity…. the mind may be flooded with thoughts that are vile beyond description. THEN REMEMBER THE VOW.” (The Finished Mystery, pages 126 and 127)
Have you noticed that Woodworth said that this book was “prepared under the Lord’s guidance?”. However, this book was a mess of paranoic false predictions, which misled many people. However, instead of removing this crazy guy, Rutherford promoted him as the editor of the Golden Age Magazine. In this Magazine Woodworth could continue to write many more absurdities such that his campaign against the germen theory and vaccination, which led many Jehovah’s Witnesses to believe that vaccination was banned by God.
On the other hand, Rutherford claimed that the holy spirit was no longer needed:
“By his spirit, the holy spirit, Jehovah God guides or leads his people up to a certain point of time, and thus he did until the time when “the comforter” was taken away, which would necessarily occur when Jesus, the Head of his organization, came to the temple and gathered unto himself those whom he found faithful when he, as the great Judge, began his judgment, in 1918″. (Preservation, 1932, p.193-194)
“With the coming of the Lord to his temple and the gathering together unto himself of the chosen ones (2 Thes. 2:1) the holy spirit would there cease to function as a paraclete or advocate for the church”. (ibid., p. 46)
Note, Rutherford was supposedly appointed by Christ in 1919, however, this anointed guy told us that the Holy Spirit was no more the paraclete since 1918. I would want to know what these witness apologist would say about it. Could Christ appoint a man who denied the necessity of the Holy Spirit?
Please send over what you have written or link to it as i’m interested in what you have to say. I don’t think there are many JW’s today who could even make it through some of these books you reference due to the absolutely bizarre things that are said therein.
But to your point about the Spirit ceasing to function, that is something I would like to know as well. To any thinking Christian, that should be considered absolute heresy or at best, something that no true Christian leader could ever espouse.
Once this debate is over, I may raise those quotations in a post and see what kind of responses are offered.
Hi Mike: here
I quote directly from the english version of the Rutherford’s book : “Preservation”. There you may read that Rutherford declared that “the comforter was taken away……in 1918”.
Also, in the following link
you can find the original article: “The Holy Spirit”, in pdf format, which was published by Rutherford in the Watchtower, September 1, 1930. There you may also read that the article concludes that those “that are chosen and brought into the temple have no further need for the administration of the holy spirit as a helper or advocate because Christ Jesus himself is present with them”.
On the other hand, here:
I provide quotes in English, from the “Finished Mystery”, the book that Christ had to approve to appoint this “faithful and discreet slave”.
Finaly, you can see here
some obscene cartoons published in the Golden Age Magazine. For instance, you may see in one of them how the Pope is sucking the Satan’s teat. I am not catholic, however, I don’t think that a christian needs to be obscene in order to criticize the errors of the Catholic Church.
Thank you very much for the links! Just curious, did the WT ever officially renounce these views? Or, at best, when did they change them?
Hi Mike. After the death of Rutherford, in 1942, though Nathan Knorr became the president of the Society, Fred Franz assumed the theological lead in the organization. He did some changes. It seems that the Society simply abanoned that heretical view about the holy spirit. As far as I know, no official anounce was given in this respect. However, it seems clear that Rutherford “removed” the aid of the Holy Spirit so as to adjudicate himself more divine authority. I remember that James Penton, a former witness who is the author of the book “Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah’s Witnesses”, wrote me that by this argument, Rutherford justified all his authority over all the elders of the congregations. So, no elder could claim that the Holy Spirit appointed him. Whatever, the main point is that the Society declares that Christ appointed The Society’s leaders in 1919. How could it be, knowing that Rutherford was a heretical man who even “removed” the aid of the Holy Spirit?
Do you think it could be demonstrated that Rutherford indeed held to this throughout the “inspection” period of 1914-1918?
According to Rutherford, the inspection was in 1918. However, the Society has recently changed it to the period 1914-1918. Rutherford held this view of the Holy Spirit since 1930, just before the Society’s followers accepted the new name “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. However, note that Rutherford, the appointed one in 1919, declared that the Holy Spirit was taken away in 1918. Think about it, Rutheford was totaly right. If there was some of the Holy Spirit in the Watchtower Society and if Christ went to inspect them during the period of 1914-1918, he saw many false prophecies being proclaimed in his name. What did He do?, he simply removed in them the Holy Spirit in 1918. This is why all their prophecies have failed.
After reading the last post of Rotherham, I want to commment one of his statements:
“And the pattern throughout the Bible is that the few feed the many. There is a tremendous amount of good reason and scripture to establish that Christianity, God’s congregation, would indeed have a centralized teaching authority, as they have always had in history….”.
Interestingly, this is the same claim of the Catholic Church. Following Rotherham’s reasoning, Charles Taze Russell, the first president of the Watch Tower Society, would be an apostate because he thought the opposite:
“Beware of organization. It is wholly unnecessary. THE BIBLE RULES WILL BE THE ONLY RULES YOU WILL NEED. Do not seek to bind others’ consciences, and do not permit others to bind yours. BELIEVE AND OBEY SO FAR AS YOU CAN UNDERSTAND GOD’S WORD TODAY, and so continue growing in grace and knowledge and love day by day.” [Watch. 1895 Sep 15, page 216]
Note how far was Russell from the Witnesses’ view:
“Thus the Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible,” (Watchtower, Oct. 1, 1967, p. 587).
However the above position hits the very fundation of the Jehovah’s Witness organization. For instance, the Watchtower did not participate in establishing the New Testament canon. If the Bible is an organizational book, it must belong to the oldest organization which took care of it. For example, the Watchtower leaders say:
“From time to time, there have arisen from among the ranks of Jehovah’s people those, who, like the original Satan, have adopted an independent, faultfinding attitude…They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such ‘Bible reading,’ they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom’s clergy were teaching 100 years ago…” (Watchtower, Aug. 15, 1981).
Note that the foundation of the Watchtower’s religion is based on a man (C.T. Russell) who “adopted an independent” attitude based on his own views about the Bible. So, Russell had to reject traditional views like hell fire, the Trinity, the divine authority of established christian organizations, etc., in order to study the Bible “in small groups at home”. Futhermore, the Watctower says:
“Theocratic ones will appreciate the Lord’s visible organization and not be so foolish as to put against Jehovah’s channel their own human reasoning and sentiment and personal feelings,” (Watchtower, Feb. 1, 1952, p. 79-80).
Who was Jehovah’s Channel in the second century?. If there was no Jehovah’s channel in the second century, there would not be divine authority to reject pseudigraphia and gnosticism. However, the Church of the second century defended the orthodox teachings against independent apostates like Marcion, Valentin, Praxeas, etc. For instance, one of the well established teachings of the second century was the doctrine of hell fire, like that of the soul surviving the body after death. However, Jehovah’s Witnesses, following Russell, hold the doctrine of soul-sleep. Nevertheless, The early church historian Eusebius stated that the doctrine of “soul sleep” was invented by third-century heretics. Eusebius, remarking that Origen in his later years (c. 245) had become more publicly active, mentions a synod in Arabia:
“About the same time others arose in Arabia, putting forward a doctrine foreign to the truth. They said that during the present time the human soul dies and perishes with the body, but that at the time of the resurrection they will be renewed together. And at that time also a synod of considerable size assembled, and Origen, being again invited thither, spoke publicly on the question with such effect that the opinions of those who had formerly fallen were changed” (E.H. VI, C37)
Note that “a synod”, a centralized christian authority of the third centurty, had to correct a heretical view held now by the Watchtower organization.
So, it is interesting to see that Jehovah’s Witnesses defend the loyalty of a centralized teaching authority, but they reject the teachings of the oldest centralized authority which took care of the New Testament and of its original interpretation.
Good points Octavio-
The key is “always”, which is demonstrably false. But my question to him will be, why can’t the elders of each congregation function as the authority once the Apostolic office ceased?
Rotherham wants to find parallels everywhere…except for inspired Apostles. Or non-Apostles who were NOT a part of the Jerusalem counsel…yet they sent authoritative and inspired letters written by them personally to various congregations. That would never happen for JW’s today.
Interestingly, the Watchtower Society has recently said:
“In a parable, Jesus indicated that from the first century onward, there would always be some genuine anointed Christians on the earth. He compared them to “wheat” growing among “weeds.” (Matt. 13:30) Of course, we cannot say for certain which individuals or groups belonged to the anointed wheat class, but we can confirm that there have always been some who have courageously defended God’s Word and exposed the church’s unscriptural teachings. Let us consider a few examples.” (The Watchtower, January 15, 2012, article: “True Christians Respect God’s Word”, paragraph 14)
Then the article mentioned some people as Waldo, Wyclef, Tyndale, Grew and Storrs. However, Waldo, Wyclef and Tyndale were Trinitarians, as far as I know, and most probably they also believed in the doctrine of hell. So, It would mean that a trinitarian could be a genuine anointed before the appearance of the Watchtower theology. Very interesting !!!
Hi Mike, in your last reply you said:
“The reason I’m bringing up 1919, the inspection, Malachi 3, etc. is because I believe the Watchtower’s understanding of the FDS depends on it. That is, if this inspection and refining never took place, then on what basis could the Governing Body claim their authority? Moreover, the Watchtower magazine under discussion spends a fair amount of time discussing 1919 and the appointment. Therefore, it seems appropriate to do here as well.”
I see you finally arrived at the most relevant point for this discussion. Your opponent must prove on which basis The Lord chose in 1919 Joseph Rutherford and his closer friends (like Clayton Woodworth) as his sole channel on earth. What did those guys do during the period of 1917-1919 in order to deserve such a privilege?. We must note that Bible Students were encouraged to be neutrals by Charles Taze Russell. It is interesting to analyze what a governing body member said in a talk. Gerrit Losch, one of the governing body members said that it is easy to prove that Jesus started ruling in 1914 aside from any chronology. One of the proofs of the Christ’s coming in 1914 is the following text:
(Malachi 3:1) 3 “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he must clear up a way before me. And suddenly there will come to His temple the [true] Lord, whom YOU people are seeking, and the messenger of the covenant in whom YOU are delighting. Look! He will certainly come,” Jehovah of armies has said.
Gerrit Lösch said that this is when Jesus came to refine and cleanse his people, which occurred during 1917-1919. He said that brothers made mistakes during those years and Jehovah wasn’t pleased, so there was punishment due (captivity to Babylon) but that Jehovah brought them back from captivity.
He mentioned some of these sins: The Watchtower encouraged people to pray for the victory of the U.S. in World War I so that democracy would spread and they would have an easier time of preaching the good news. This was a violation of Christian neutrality. Also, the WT encouraged people to buy war bonds, and some brothers put on a uniform and went to war. They came back from the war proudly stating that they never killed anyone because anytime they shot off their guns they shot them only into the air (upwards towards the heavens I guess). These were also violations of Christian neutrality.
He then talked about how some venerated Charles Taze Russell and a cult developed. These people left the Watchtower organizaton, thus they were cleansed out. See? Some wanted Rutherford to give up his power as President and share it with others. They left. And the organization was once again cleansed. Those remaining were restored to a condition of spiritual paradise.
As you may see, Gerrit Losch showed that Bible Students did nothing special in comparison to other churches.
Rotherham said in his last reply:
Prophecy was never intended for “private” interpretation. The understanding of prophecy would be in the hands of those “gifts in men”, otherwise, it would be interpretational chaos, which is what you have spread abroad the churches of Christendom. To a degree, your BELIEF in a prophetic interpretation can be a matter of trust. Once one has identified the true church via the unambiguous teachings in the Bible, then if that church provides meaning to a prophecy, it should be adhered to as long as it is historically, logically and scripturally harmonious.
The above words show that Watchtower apologists are blind and soberb, like those Bible Students who wrote the presumptuous book called “The Finished Mystery” in 1917. They can’t see how chaotic are still being the current interpretations of the Watchtower Society. As an example, we have the absurd “new light” of the “overlapping generation”, which was given by the FDS to maintain the following lie:
“Today, a small percentage of mankind can still recall the dramatic events of 1914. Will that elderly generation pass away before God saves the earth from ruin? Not according to Bible prophecy. ‘When you see all these things,’ Jesus PROMISED, ‘know that he is near at the doors. Truly I say to you that THIS generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.’ – Matthew 24:33, 34.” (Watchtower May 1, 1992 page 3: The Year That Shocked The World)
Note that the Watchtower affirmed that “according to the Bible prophecy” the generation who saw the events of 1914 will not pass. However, that generation is dead now. Nevertheless, the dishonest Watchtower leaders have invented the following absurd interpretation so as to maintain the above falsehood:
“In his detailed prophecy about the conclusion of this system of things, Jesus said: “This generation will by no means pass away until all these things happen.” (Read Matthew 24:33-35.) We understand that in mentioning “this generation,” Jesus was referring to two groups of anointed Christians. The first group was on hand in 1914, and they readily discerned the sign of Christ’s presence in that year. Those who made up this group were not merely alive in 1914, but they were spirit-anointed as sons of God in or before that year.—Rom. 8:14-17.” (The Watchtower, January 15, 2014, article: “Let Your Kingdom Come”—But When?, paragraph 15)
Note how the simple meaning of “this generation”, the generation who heard Jesus, is now understood to be “two groups” of Watchtower leaders 2000 years later.
So, according to the Watchtower Society, this is the logic which all people must follow, in order to survive the War of Armagedon, in which only those who are faithful to the Watchtower leaders will be saved by God.
Hello mike. Sorry. I am in the hospital with pneumonia. May be a few days yet
Rotherham, I’m really sorry to hear that! Take your time and I’ll keep you in my prayers.
Well, I am back home and on the mend, but moving kinda slow. I hope it wont be too long with my answer to your number 3.
PS Thanks for your patience
Glad you’re back! Take your time, I’m in no hurry.
Let me give a commentary about this discussion. I see that Mike is not insisting in addressing an important point in this debate. The Watchtower’s interpretation about “the faithful and discreet slave” is strongly related to historical facts between the years 1914 and 1919. We have a moral problem if Jesus appointed the Watchtower Society as his sole channel on earth in order to provide “food at proper time” for the “domestics”.
Regrettably, I didn’t raise these points and I should have in my opening. It seems to late in the game to do that now, especially if it needed to be developed. I’m not convinced this argument is the nail in the coffin anyway. For me, the Watchtower’s poor exegesis needs to be exposed first.
I am sure we at times aggravated each other a bit but I wanted to thankyou for the time and effort you put into this and the good spirit that you have shown. If all debates could be this civil despite serious differences, the apologetic world would be a much more peaceful place.
I wanted to mention a few things in regards to our closing statements which are the concuding steps to our debate.
Please remember it is a mere summary of the points that were made as to why we believe that the goal was either accomplished or not accomplished. We can certainly point out where we think certain things were unaddressed or unanswered but no NEW arguments should be presented and no NEW answers to questions should be presented. If one or the other believes that their opponent has overstepped a boundary of a proper closing statement they can post their concern and either the point will be removed or an opprotunity for further discussion of the point can be added in an addendum to the overall discussion with the same format as the questions were initially performed.
Also, so the readers do not miss each of our condluing remarks, at the beginning and end of each other’s concluding post, I will place a link to the opponents concluding remarks so that they are not missed inadvertently. So many read the last post and not realize that there may have been one before it that they missed. I am sure we don’t want that to happen in our conclusion.
I too have enjoyed this exchange, though it was far more time consuming than I expected. But I suppose that’s just the nature of written debates.
I don’t see my frustration as anything personal, and I assume you see it the same way. Debates are what they are, and I think frustration is expected and justified as long as we don’t violate scripture.
I’m good with everything you said here. No new arguments; only summary and recap. Let’s make our posts simultaneously if that’s ok. My one year wedding anniversary is this weekend, so I’ll surely be tied up. But I may be able to pull it off by mid next week. We’ll make the arrangements here as usual.
One other thing. We should try to synchronize our concluding comments as we did in our openings.
Agreed. Just let me know when you are ready to post and we’ll time it accorcdingly.
So you tie each other up on your anniversary? Hmmmm.
Ha! Nice call on that one 🙂
Sorry it’s taking me so long to respond. I’ve written about half and can’t seem to find the time to finish. Please stand by and hopefully I can finish up sooner than later!
That’s OK. I’ve barely looked at it myself. No hurry.
Wow, I finished! Ready when you are to post. No hurry.
OK. Give me a few days. Hopefully by Monday I’ll be ready.
Hi Mike, …after reading some of the last Rotherham’s arguments I have to agree with Walter Salter, who wrote a letter against his former friend Joseph Rutherford (the second president of the Watchtower Society). Salter said :….. “Oh, some will say, the Roman Catholic Church is the counterfeit of the true and the Society is the true church. But the question might be asked is it not more reasonable to conclude that the Society is the counterfeit of the Roman Catholic Church even though the Catholic Church is not the true church, do not appear to be the work of the same potter? Note, the spirit of both: pride, arrogance, intolerance, bombast, to say nothing of the spirit of judging. “………yes Mike, note that Rotherham uses similar arguments to claim divine authority for the governing body, however, the Roman Catholic Church is one of the oldest churches and did the same things to maintain the “unity”. So, if we had to believe that Christ established a governing body to be followed by all christians, the Roman Catholic Church has better arguments to claim his divine authority, because the Watchtower organization has broken many traditions of the early church. The Watchtower founder had to use “independent thinking” to break with the traditions of the Church.
I’ve thought quite a bit about the parallels and find them to be striking, although not exact. The arguments for the Papacy are far weaker than for the GB. Still, the nature of the authority and demand for obedience is very similar. I’d like to explore this question more.
Hi Mike, …for instance, Rotherham said: “….for the sake of unity, the submitter should wait for their decision to be accepted or rejected by the governing body.”….This is absurd, because if a teaching is against a Christ’s teaching one must obey Christ, not a governing body. Paul said: “but even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!”,…so Paul, a person with divine authority said that if “we” (even the apostles), preach another gospel, we can reject them. We know that some Watchtower teachings are against the Gospel. For example, the governing body say that only a few ones can partake in the Lord’s Supper. This clearly is another gospel. The Watchtower of December 15, 2013 says in paragraph 16 of the article “Do this in Remembrance of Me”: ” Few (or perhaps no one) will partake of the bread, as was the case in most congregations when the bread was passed on this occasion in 2013″.
I completely agree and I believe I touched in that in the debate. Nowhere in the NT does it say to “wait” on anyone if that teaching is against Christ’s teachings.
Rotherham says: “You acknowledge that the first century worldwide church adhered to the teachings of the Apostles and then you deny that they were a governing element/body to be able to do so. You contradict scripture and yourself.”…….What is clear to me is that the governing human element of the first century was led by the Holy Spirit with clear powerful manifestations. This is why many people accepted them as apostles of God. No such a thing can be seen in the history of the leaders of the Watchtower Society. The founder of this organization based his leadership mainly in dates for the END of the WORLD. Then, the Second President of this organization not only proclaimed more false dates, but denied the help of the Holy Spirit.
Good points Octavio. Even granting the GB’s claims, they still fall terribly short of paralleling the first century.
Hi Mike: may be you are aware of it, but just in case I want to told you the following. Fred Franz, the oracle of the Society from 1942 to 1993, did not like the new governing body arrangment established in the 70s. Because, before this concept, the Society was mainly by Nathan Knorr and Fred Franz, after Rotherford’s death. So, Fred Franz gave a talk to show that there was no governing body in the first century. May be you are interested in listening the talk. Then I would like to read your commentary. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-vYMDLW83c
Just as a heads up, the referenced video does no such thing. A truly careful listening to what was said in no way denied the existence of a first century governing body but rather affirmed it in a number of ways. It was pointing out that no earthly organization could ever usurp direct orders from God and Christ and that is exactly what we uphold. I imagine a dig was being made at the Roman Catholic Church where the Pope, being reckoned as God on earth, has been said to even have the authority to change Divine law.
Thanks for offering your thoughts. I haven’t watched the video but I’m glad to see that you have, given that most JW’s would absolutely avoid such a confrontation. Even if he did deny a GB, that would be one of many beliefs that were previously held that are no longer held today.
Thanks Mike, you’re right. I believe I am ready to post my concluding remarks. I think we are in the same time zone. It is now 10:46 here. Can we post at 11:00 AM. I will then add the links to each others concluding remarks.
Yes, that works for me! Remind me again what you mean by adding links? I’m still posting this directly to the forum right?
Yes. But as I mentioned, some people just read the last post without looking to see if there was another one before it. So that wont happen to our concluding remarks I place a link to the other participants concluding remarks at the beginning and the end of our conclusion.
Ok, no problem. I should have mine posted within the next 30 minutes unless something comes up at work.
OK. Sounds good. I’ll be posting shortly.