What about those with less access to Watchtower Publications?

In the August 15, 2014 Watchtower Study Edition, the Watchtower addresses some interesting points as it relates to reading the Bible when someone has less access to the Watchtower publications than others.

Since the appointment of the faithful slave in 1919, millions of “domestics” of all languages have been gathered into God’s organization and are being spiritually fed. (Matt. 24:14; Rev. 22:17) However, the same amount of material is not available in all languages, and not all individuals have access to the electronic forms of our publications. For example, many do not have the videos and the articles published only on jw.org. Does this mean that some miss out on receiving the food they need to remain spiritually healthy? (p. 3)

This is similar to the questions many of us have been asking for quite some time:

  1. If we can’t understand the Bible without the Watchtower, then what about those JW’s who have little to no access to the Watchtower?
  2. If we have to have the Watchtower to understand the Bible, then how did the Watchtower come to understand the Bible?
  3. If we have to have the Watchtower to understand the Bible, then how do we know that is biblical?  Wouldn’t this be circular reasoning?

Also, consider a realistic scenario.  A Jehovah’s Witness is thrown into prison for many years.  After several weeks with no contact, a few strings are pulled and a Bible is provided by a friend.  Never again will this JW receive Watchtower publications.  Like i’m sure any JW would do, this JW spends countless hours reading the Bible.  In fact, he is able to read the entire Bible through once a month while carefully studying it’s contents.

Surely, such a JW has made quite a bit of progress!  While I would never advocate that a Christian should intentionally avoid fellowship with other believers, I submit that the above scenario would not inevitably result in poor spiritual growth and false doctrine.  Unfortunately, the Watchtower would not agree that such a circumstance would result in spiritual progress.  If anything, it must be worse for him!

For a person to develop strong faith, he needs to do more than read the Bible. He must understand what he reads and apply what he learns. (Jas. 1:22-25) An Ethiopian eunuch in the first century appreciated that fact. He was looking at God’s Word when the evangelizer Philip asked him: “Do you actually know what you are reading?” The eunuch replied: “Really, how could I ever do so unless someone guided me?” (Acts 8: 26-31) Philip responded by helping the eunuch gain an accurate knowledge of God’s Word. The eunuch was so moved by what he learned that he got baptized. (Acts 8:32-38) Similarly, our Bible based  publications have helped us gain an accurate knowledge of the truth. They have touched our emotions and have motivated us to apply what we learn.—Col. 1:9, 10. (p. 4)

While I would certainly advocate helping others to understand the Bible, this isn’t the full picture.  First, the Ethiopian eunuch did not have the inspired Christian Scriptures.  This is an important distinction because they were necessary to understand the Hebrew Scriptures, especially where it related to the Messiah.  Those in the early church were dependent on inspired revelation to understand the full scope of the Hebrew Scriptures and what they said in regards to the Messiah.

But even aside from this, the Watchtower is much more than simply a “Bible study aid”; it is an authoritative voice which demands the absolute unquestioning obedience of all Christians.  In fact, without this authoritative voice, you can’t even understand the Scriptures.  Thus, the Watchtower should be termed a “Bible study requirement.”

Next, the Watchtower asks, “If you do not have access in your language to all the publications that are produced, will you become spiritually undernourished?”

While they correctly answer “no” and provide some qualifications, I found this section to be quite interesting.  First, this probably isn’t in relation to those who have little to no access to the publications.  Instead, it’s in reference to those who may not get every publication as opposed to, let’s say, someone living in the United States.  I’m sure if the Watchtower provided “new light” (as found in this very issue as it relates to marriage and the resurrection), then these ones will receive this information one way or another.  If i’m wrong on that, i’m sure I will be corrected.

My main concern is how those with little to no access to the publications can get along spiritually?  How are they able to keep up with the organization’s doctrinal alterations?  Are they less spiritual or deprived because they can’t?  What if they read the Bible 5 times as much as the Governing Body members themselves?  Is it possible that they could be moving ahead of the organization and abandoning false teachings before the Governing Body does?  According to the Watchtower, this cannot be a good thing.  Yet, this presents an interesting dilemma that isn’t addressed in this Watchtower issue.

50 thoughts on “What about those with less access to Watchtower Publications?

  1. rotherham2 says:

    Hell Mike,

    Let me address your three questions and saee where that takes us.

    1. If we can’t understand the Bible without the Watchtower, then what about those JW’s who have little to no access to the Watchtower?

    I do not recall where we have ever stated that one can not understand the Bible AT ALL without the iad of the FDS. You’ll have to reference exactly what you are thinkng of if you want me to address that idea. Likely, you have misread or you are setting up an argument that we ourselves don’t even use.

    We do believe that without proper guidance in today’s world of disinformation about Biblical truth, a person will not be able to FULLY understand the wondeful truths of God’s Word as opposed to much of the rubbish that is dished out by Christendom. We believe that is a Biblical principle supported by the account of the Ethiopian eunuch. Do you believe the Ethiopian eunuch neded help to understand things better or not?

    2. If we have to have the Watchtower to understand the Bible, then how did the Watchtower come to understand the Bible?

    Once again, ANYONE can come to a limited understanding of the Bible without any literature other than the Bible, but today, there is too much disinformation out there to come away with all the truths that are taught, some of it obscured by faulty renditions and popular ideas that are no where found in the Bible. Some one must translate the original languages to reflect as best as possible the original words that were used. I am sure you know that every one who picks up a Bible and reads it with a certain amount of trust is relying on those translators to give them proper insight. The alternative would be for every person to become a scholar in order to get the truth. Some one has to do the leg work for the majority of mankind.

    Sincerity and a love for turth, regardless of what it might cause you to have to change is no doubt an honored quality by our God. When he sees that kind of sincerity, he uses it. And he can give certain people better insight into the scriptures based upon that sincerity, can he not? Without bei9ng infallible or inspired, right?

    3.If we have to have the Watchtower to understand the Bible, then how do we know that is biblical? Wouldn’t this be circular reasoning?

    See answer to number 2. This is rather more of a strawman argument than a legitimate one.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham,

      Thanks for responding. Since I’m on my phone I’ll see if I can answer your arguments another time. But for now, can you answer whether the Watchtower themselves have a full/complete understanding of the Bible? If they don’t (surely, you’d agree?), then how can I trust that the areas in which I need their understandings are indeed correct? Perhaps those “gray” areas are where the Watchtower is teaching error. But you’d never know because you accept whatever they say without question.

      1. rotherham2 says:

        Hello Mike,

        No, we do not claim to have full and complete understanding of the Bible as you know. Since Eph. 4:11-17 shows that gifts in men are responsible for maintaining the unity of the congregation until that time comes, we now obey and submit to those who take the lead among us. As you have admitted, this would be in regard to a governing element/body on a congregational level. We believe the scriptures support a worldwide level of authority, not local only.

        Even if our views are not perfect, they are maintained for the sake of unity as Eph. 4 demands. The absolute teachings in the Bible can be discerned by any one who can read and understand words, and those absolute teachings clearly identify which religious groups or group supports the truth and those who do not. Once one comes to trust a religious group or organization as the one who truly supports the absolute teachings of the Bible and therefore representative of the true body of Christ and not a counterfeit, then they are asked to obey and submit to those ones who are taking the lead, imitating the first century arrangement in regard to the teaching of the Apostles. This is necessary for the sake of unity, something that is very important to the God of the Bible.

        After that, it would only be in the event that this same group would clearly hold to teachings that violate scriptural teachings that one would abandon them as representing the body of Christ on earth.

        Plus, we have full freedom to ask questions and inquire about things that we may not agree with. The problem only arises when one decides to resist the body of Christ in what they have determined to be true and promote aberrant teachings. That would be in direct contrast to the message of Eph. 4 and the protective format that is presented at Titus 3:10,11, in regard to those who promote sectarian ideas.

        Regards,
        Rotherham

      2. theapologeticfront says:

        It sounds to me then that the Watchtower is not necessarily needed for a full and accurate understanding (since they clearly can’t provide), but for a unified understanding. Am I understanding this correctly?

        So in the end, by following the Watchtower, I’m not actually coming to a better understanding. The reason being, in those theological areas which I apparently can’t understand without them, I just have to accept on their authority. I mean, how can I challenge the GB when I can’t even understand what I’m challenging without them?

        It sounds to me that in the end, truth is sacrificed for unity.

  2. rotherham2 says:

    Hello MIke,

    The scriptures themselves support the idea that sometimes an unrecognized truth is sacrificed for the sake of unity, but the key word is an UNRECOGNIZED truth. Never would a RECOGNIZED truth be sacrificed for unity, only one that has not yet been firmly established. That’s exactly what Eph. 4:11-17 has to be talking about, otherwise, there would never be a need for “readjustemnt”.

    With the Watchtower, you are indeed coming to a better understanding because of their up-to-date rendering of the word of God and the corrections they have made to the disinformation. Much ambiguity is removed when things are rendered correctly and much truth is clarified by the same thing. Plus, as I mentioned, due to the disinformation that is out there, mankind needs someone to sort it out and that is where the FDS comes into play.

    As I said, we can all read and understand the absolute teachings of the Bible if we sort through the disinformation and have a a very accurate grasp of the original languages. Our literature dies not deny that as you claim. Other than that, we all need help to understand. Some more than others. If we arrive at something that we believe is a definitive contradiction to the teachings that we have found to be true, then there are measures to take in resolving that and still maintain the unity. If that truth is found to be absolute, then it will be adopted collectively. That’s the way it should work to maintain unity. God has often in times past, especially during the days of the Israelites, tolerated error and wrong views for the sake of unity.

    Is that not how it would work even at a local level if someone discovered a truth that was prior to UNRECOGNIZED by the church? The worldwide level is no different.

    REgards,
    Rotherham

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham,

      In response, let me ask you. Is there a particular doctrine/interpretation “X” that I could not understand without the Watchtower, regardless of how much Bible study I do?

  3. rotherham2 says:

    Not really and that is not what the WT claims. They do not claim that no metter how much you study you can’t get the truth without them, but it is certainly easier with the aid that God has provided. It is also very difficult to sort through the years of disinformation that is found in countless theological references, so it would be difficult without them, and for some, not attainable because they simply do not have the mental faculties or the physical resources to do the research. It is considered an aid to understanding, not the source, like a pair of glasses that helps you see better.

    The obedience part has to with how the protective element of the congregation has been set up by God.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham, surely you wouldn’t suggest that the Watchtower is merely a suggested aid, just to help you understand the Bible better? Isn’t it the case that you are obligated to accept everything they put into print, even if it contradicts what you are convinced is the most accurate understanding?

  4. rotherham2 says:

    AS I said, it is indeed a suggested aid. The obedience part has to do with how the protective element of unity is said up in the congregation. It has nothing to do with whether the words are considered infallible. Unity should be maintained. When updates are necessary, they are done collectively, not individually. Otherwise we end up with the congregation being led by every wind of teaching, something that God is against.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Unless I’m misunderstanding you, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t have “suggested aids” that demand absolute submission and agreement.

      It also seems as though we have some differing interpretations on what the WT has said on these matters. I’d like to address these, but not sure when I’ll be around my computer to do so.

      1. rotherham2 says:

        That is dependent upon who has the authority to determine what is considered heresy, doesn’t it. Who determines what is salvational and what is not? Who has the authority?

        Regards,
        Rotherham

      2. rotherham2 says:

        Right, all absolute truths should be issues of salvation. No one should promote something that is contrary to the scriptures.

        Now, again, please answer the question. What if you found somethingthat you were personally convinced was an absolute truth but your church leaders absolutely refused to let you teach it because they regarded it as heresy. What would you do?

      3. rotherham2 says:

        Hello Mike,

        The obedience has nothing to do with the status of the literature. That’s what you’re missing. The obedience has to with unity.

        Regards,
        Rotherham

      4. rotherham2 says:

        We must be obedient because to do otherweise would result in a lack of unity, not because the literature is to be regarded as infallible. Two different things.

  5. rotherham2 says:

    Let me ask you in reference to a locally autonomous congregation. What would happen if you started to mpreach something that they elders or leaders of the church were strictly against. What if you were personally convinced that it was the absolute truth and you started to teach it without their approval? What would happen?

    Regards,
    Rotherham

      1. rotherham2 says:

        That is dependent upon who has the authority to determine what is considered heresy, doesn’t it. Who determines what is salvational and what is not? Who has the authority?

        Regards,
        Rotherham

  6. Octavio says:

    Rotherham says: ” a person will not be able to FULLY understand the wondeful truths of God’s Word as opposed to much of the rubbish that is dished out by Christendom. “. These Watchtower appologists have a blind moral eye. They should firstly see their asburd doctrines which kill many ignorant witnesses every year. The Bible does not say that red cells and white cells are forbidden to be used for medical purposes. However, they mislead the majority of ignorant Jehovah’s witnesses, by telling them that if they save their lives by using them, they will be disloyal against God and will not be saved after Armaggedon. Instead of criticizing the doctrines of the Christendom, look at your theological rubbish.

  7. Octavio says:

    If we must obey a unity, all who were opposers to the Catholic Church, like Luther, Hus, John Wicliffe, would be apostates, however, Watchtower has commended them. They rejected the authority of the Church because they were guided by their christian conscience. The Watchtower put their organization first, instead of the truth. The Watchtower Society acts like the Catholic Church, with the same hypocrisy.

  8. ivanmonroy1 says:

    Rotherham:

    You made the following comment:

    Even if our views are not perfect, they are maintained for the sake of unity as Eph. 4 demands.

    This is quite a revealing statement. This is truly not unity but conformity, isn’t it? Indeed, Jehovah’s Witness “unity” is not achieved with spirit, peace, and truth, but with listening and accepting the Society’s views, regardless of whatever your or your family’s view is. Even if you’re right about the issue!

    Indeed. suppose this was the year 2010 and you disagreed with the Society’s “generation” teaching. In fact, suppose you knew it was 100% false (which it was, since they changed it). Is silencing truth really unity? And suppose you decided to speak up about this matter to the congregation. You would be seen as causing division even though you were 100% correct. The spirit of truth would be silence and rejected for conformity, not unity.

    I just hope you reconsider what it means to be biblically united.

  9. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Ivan,

    I have invited both you and Mike to an in depth discussion about Eph. 4:11-17 and how Christiains should look at it and whether our view is acceptable. We are told that those who create divisions will not inherit the kingdom of God. What does that mean? The one bringing up the different teaching should be willing to follow the divine manner in which to resolve things like this, shouldn’t they? Even if they turn out to be ultimately correct? Without losing their patience?

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. ivanmonroy1 says:

      Rotherham:

      I would question the entire premise. A true God-fearing Christian should never be put in a situation wherein they should be forced to accept questionable teachings, especially where evidence exists against those teaching. Much less should be they silenced for holding a different view on interpretational matters.

      It s extremely questionable that speaking truth to a people who claim to love truth is “causing divisions.” One has to seriously ask if a people who would silence truth really do have the spirit of truth in their hearts and minds, and whether divine truth is worth censoring. Indeed, if a correct understanding of the scriptures is the method through which the voice of God and Jesus can be heard, why silence their voice?

    2. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham,

      I didn’t get any notification of an invite. But even so, I can’t promise i’ll get involved with it due to my time constrains. I did a post along with a lengthy discussion with you in a past post, so i’m curious as to what you’d bring up in your forum that hasn’t already been covered.

  10. ivanmonroy1 says:

    Rotherham:

    Also, I don’t understand your point about Ephesians 4:11-17. All Christians, I’m sure, believe that Jesus set up certain offices to play out different roles within the congregation. No one disputes that, and that’s what Ephesians 4 teaches.

  11. rotherham2 says:

    Hello mike and Iban,

    I’m not sure either of you understand the full scope of Eph. 4:11-17 and the related verses dealing with division and the same line of thought, and how it all has to work in order to be effective in maintaining unity within the congregations. With your approach, it sounds like a formula for “every wind of teaching”, because usually, when someone comes up with something, they always think it’s true, whether it is or it isn’t. It should be up to those gifts in men who have the responsibility of maintaining unity and the responsibility of readjusting the holy ones, to have the final say.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. Mike Felker says:

      Rotherham,

      Actually, it’s the Watchtower who is guilty of “every wind of doctrine,” as can be shown from their track record. Just because they silent any and all opposition, even if that opposition is correct, doesn’t mean they’re somehow more “unified” or obeying Eph. 4 better than everyone else.

      But let’s get more specific here. Is it really up to those “gifts in men” to demand “unity” when for over a decade teaching that the functions of the spirit ceased in 1918 or that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be resurrected in 1925? In your view, all the JW’s during that era should be commended for believing Rutherford’s false teachings unchallenged.

      1. rotherham2 says:

        Hi Mike,

        I’m switching to HI instead of Hello. With my typos I look like I’m cussing you out. 🙂

        Anyway, the natural consequence of one’s understanding of truth becoming brighter is change, change in doctrine and belief and even possibly morality. Yes, looked at from an historcial overall cobntext, it might look like every wind of teaching, but that’s not how you should look at things, otherwise, we would have the same problem with God himself from the Old Law to the Christian arrangement.

        When it comes to unity, we should look at things from the present standpoint. Are we united presently, or are we victim to every wind of teaching presently? That’s the proper question.

        Because again, even from a personal standpoint, if one has experienced a few changes in their understanging of the Bible, they too, from the standpoint of a critic, could be accussed of possessing “every wind of teaching”. What those critics forget is that unity, by necessity, speaks from a present understanding, not from an overall historical context. That wouldn’t work for anyone.

        Regards,
        Rotherham

    2. ivanmonroy1 says:

      Rotherham:

      What your position boils down to, really, is that believing and teaching falsehoods is to be preferred for the sake of conformity. That is, divine truth is worth suppressing and God’s voice is worth silencing because you don’t want truth to cause “division.”

      To me and many others that is an unacceptable position. I find that view of “unity” to be extremely lacking. Unity can be demonstrated in multiple ways, none of which require conformity.

      1. rotherham2 says:

        Hi Ivan,

        What we are talking about are truths that have not yet been recognized, not truths that have been. Your formula is one that would cause disunity. Like I said, most everyone who comes up with something thinks they’re right, whether they are or not. Everybody needs a filter, unless they think they have a direct line with God. That filter are those gifts in men.

        Regards,
        Rotherham

  12. ivanmonroy1 says:

    Rotherham:

    We disagree on the “filter” and we disagree on the importance of divine truths. Jesus gave us a mechanism by which to test the spirits, and that doesn’t include accepting false teachings for the sake of conformity. Had that been the case Jesus could have merely gone along with the religious leaders of his day, and not caused “division” for the sake of “unity.”

  13. rotherham2 says:

    Hi Ivan,

    Once again, we are talking about UNrecognized truths, not ones that are recognized. Jesus, who is called the “truth”, being divine himself, would be able to establish truth. We don’t have that privilege as humans, we must ascertain truth from what we have been given, by the help of God’s Word and spirit, and sometimes we need a filter in our perceptions because we are imperfect. God tells us that there is salvation in a multitude of counsellors. I’m not sure why you would disagree on the filter idea but that’s your business.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

  14. rotherham2 says:

    Hi Ivan,

    I’m not sure what your response means but I would think that unless a person is inspired by God, then there is always the chance that what he believes to be an absolute truth, is just not so. That’s why all men need a filter. That filter are those whom God has appointed to readjust and unify the congregation, to protect against every wind of teaching, numerous conflicting ideas at the same time.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham,

      Yet, when the WT “readjusts” to “unify,” it is sometimes a readjustment into false doctrine. I think in this case, the ones who refuse the “readjustment” should be commended. So really, it’s the rank and file in these cases who could really do the protecting when the leaders are teaching what is false. Yet, there’s no room for such in the org.

      1. rotherham2 says:

        The scriptures teach that there is salvation in the multitude of counsellors. The human element can never be erased without inspiration. To prevent subjective views as opposed to objective views, there should always be consultation in regard to those things which are said to be true to see if they withstand the test of truth.

        Regards

    2. ivanmonroy1 says:

      Rotherham:

      I truly consider your view is be contradictory to the bible and theologically dangerous, since this “filter” becomes your final authority in theological matters–despite its flaws–and you challenging such “filter” would be seen as causing division. Every single change of doctrine is a blemish on the track record of said “filters,” and thus are unreliable.

      But ultimately, as I understand your comments, these “filters” really determine theological truth from theological error. I find that someone else adjudicating for you to be troublesome.

      Since the bible teaches every Christian to test the spirits (1 John 4:1), that “filter” must be something other than fallible human beings. To me it seems that “filter” is proper exegesis that is open for argument and debate while allowing reasonable diversity for people who seek to worship in peace without being conscientiously bound to non-essential doctrine.

  15. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Ivan,

    As stated, the only things that change are peripheral views which is entirely to be expected until such time as we possess full knowledge. The fundamentals stay the same. As I mentioned to Mike, no one can erase the human element without the benefit of Divine inspiration. Therefore, anything perceived as truth should be presented to the body of Christ to be certain it is not just a subjective view, but an objective one, and one that actusally does establish real truth and not just a perception of truth. The scriptures assure us that there is salvation in the multitude of counsellors. Of course, one would first be as sure as possible to properly identify who it is that represents the body of Christ in the world today.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. ivanmonroy1 says:

      Rotherham:

      Given how central eschatology is to the Society’s teachings, I’m not convinced such changes as the “generation” teaching, for example, is a “peripheral view.” Changes in the blood doctrine that have cost people’s lives and that could have potentially done so, aren’t “peripheral” in my opinion.

      I would disagree slightly that inspiration removes the human element, as the recipient is human and must communicate the revelation in human terms. So I believe it always remains. I also agree that teachings should be presented to the body of Christ in open dialog. However, I wouldn’t maintain that all must adhere to such teachings if they are not fundamental or if they are debatable, even after evaluating the evidence. Leaving a grey area is proper.

      I’m not quite sure what you’re referring to as there being ‘salvation in the multitude of counselors.’

  16. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Ivan,

    Views are peripheral when they are not relating to the main or most important part, such as with
    a computer, it would be connected to a computer but not an essential part of it. Or in other words, the main part could exist and function without it, but it is enhanced with it. The understanding of the meaning of the one word “generation” is peripheral to the main understanding of the parousia and it’s expected events and results. In other words, the teaching concerning the last days could exist without it but is enhanced with it. The same is true with changes in the blood doctrine. The main understanding is enhanced by the adjustments, but the main part does not change.

    I agree that even under inspiration the human element would still be there, since we know that different writers were still allowed the option to word things the way they would normally word them. However, God would protect that inspired message against error. Without inspiration, errors could leak through because of an improper processing of what God has called to their mind.

    Any truth that can be solidly established via the scriptures should be regarded as essential. And please remember, that if one has a different view on a peripheral issue, it is not the view itself that causes the problem, it would be the promotion of a view against the view of the body of Christ that would constitute a division.

    “Salvation in a multitude of counselors” is a Biblical principle.

    Proverbs 11:14 When there is no skillful direction, the people fall; but there is salvation in the multitude of counselors.

    Proverbs 15:22
    22 There is a frustrating of plans where there is no confidential talk, but in the multitude of counselors there is accomplishment.

    Proverbs 13:10
    10 By presumptuousness one only causes a struggle, but with those consulting together there is wisdom.

    Naturally, whatever ecclesiastical authority we believe is employed for Christianity, that authority should have the right to know if someone has arrived at what they believe to be an ignored truth, so that they can properly evaluate it with the help of God’s spirit, much as when the Apostles and older men got together to evaluate the circumcision teaching that had cropped up within the congregations of the first century.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

  17. theapologeticfront says:

    Rotherham,

    I have to ask in relation to the following statement you made: “And please remember, that if one has a different view on a peripheral issue, it is not the view itself that causes the problem, it would be the promotion of a view against the view of the body of Christ that would constitute a division”

    So let me get this straight. JW’s are “unified” even though it’s possible that all sorts of views might be held on “peripheral” doctrines? This appears to be a very artificial form of “unity.” Indeed, these ones with dissenting views are not wrong because their beliefs are false. Instead, they are wrong because they don’t conform. I think Ivan was correct when he argued that this isn’t unity but conformity.

    I don’t mean to put this so crudely, but it seems as though your leadership is saying, “Believe everything we teach. If you disagree, just be quiet about it.” Maybe i’m missing something, but this doesn’t seem like unity at all. Instead, it sounds like a spiritual North Korea.

  18. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Mike,

    It is unity, not conformity, on foundational teachings, which are anything that can be solidly established as a Biblical truth. As long as a peripheral issue does not cause division within the congregation, it can be entertained. If it causes division, it should be held in check until such time as the body of Christ can be allowed to evaluate it. That’s unity.

    Now, as far as your North Korea comment, you should probably complain to the author of Hebrews about that. It was HE who said we should OBEY and SUBMIT to those who are taking the lead among us. The word SUBMIT in the Greek carries the meaning of surrendering something against your will. Those are God’s wishes in the matter. So do you think God might be a dictator?

    Regards

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham-

      If this is simply about “foundational teachings,” then what exactly are we debating? I totally agree that Christians must hold to certain foundational doctrines, or else they simply aren’t Christians. And I would also agree that peripheral issues can and will be disagreed upon. But I believe that Christians should seek unity in light of these disagreements.

      As much as i’m thankful to see you say what I think you’re saying, I really don’t think this is a Watchtower teaching. Instead, their view is that you must believe everything that the Watchtower teaches. In other words, you are arguing for something much more soft than your leaders teach. But perhaps you are in disagreement with them, which is supposedly allowed?

      On the North Korea comment, this has nothing to do with the Hebrews passage. In the “spiritual North Korea” comment, this has to do with absolute conformity with the leadership’s demands. No disagreements could be approved of. If there is a disagreement, the GB provides the “answer” and you are expected to believe it and not doubt. I don’t see how this would be different from a spiritual dictatorship?

      “Submition” must be qualified. Do you submit to your elders if they teach something that is completely unbiblical, even within your theological framework? Or do you have a higher authority in which to submit to, namely, the Scriptures? This is why even Paul said, “Even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed.” (Gal. 1:8)

  19. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Mike,

    As I have stated many times, all Christians are expected to abide by what can be solidly established as a scriptural truth, an unambiguous scriptural teaching, regardless of what any man, including an ecclesiatical authority would say. So no, we would not follow men into an obvious, unscriptura error. Truth prevails first. Unambiguity is to be conformed to regardless.

    When it comes to issues that are ambiguous and subject to change, such as the understanding of certain prophecies, parables or symbolism, or teachings that have some fuzzy meanings of words involved, then conformity, submission to those who take the lead is exactly what a Christian should do. Again, the word “submit” means to yeild against your will. It is the same word used in regard to one who would yield in a wrestling match.

    I am not saying anything that is outside what the WT has stated. I have dealt with situations where these kinds of things have come up, although extremely rare, so I think I am qualified to say what I am saying.

    Issues, or ideas or even beliefs that are not divisive to the congregation do not come under the jurisdiction of the body of elders or the organization.

    Regards

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Rotherham,

      Thank you for your explanation, but I have experiences to go on as well (in addition to Watchtower citations). I think everyone here knows full well what would happen if two JW’s were found outside a KH respectfully debating the identity of the FDS (is this a peripheral issue?): one maintaining the previous view and another the current view.

  20. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Mike,

    It would all depend how far the dissenter would be willing to take the view. Would he be willing to cause division in the congregation over it? If so, it is the attitude that is the problem, not the view itself. You see, that’s what you are never told by those who are apostates and I would suspect that your expeiences are second hand and therefore could be tainted by lies or misrepresenations of the facts involved. Apostates, or those like them, like to claim that even questions or doubts will get you disfellowshipped when they should know that this is never the case. Only promotion of divisive views can get one disfellowshipped. God specifically stated that those who cause division will not inherit the kingdom of God so it is certainly a serious issue to God.

    Regards

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