Answering a JW apologist: is the Watchtower Directed by Jehovah?

Rotherham’s arguments are more directly related to THIS POST, but COMMENTED ON the article, “Did the Watchtower’s ‘Faithful Slave’ claim the Holy Spirit’s functions ceased?”

I would recommended reading Rotherham’s comment before proceeding to read my critique.  I’m posting this here rather than the comment section because it highlights many of the common responses JW apologists offer.  I hope this will be helpful to those who engage with JW’s and challenge the authority of the Watchtower.  The key thing to keep in mind is: are they consistent with their own claims?

Another noteworthy concern is when JW apologists will create parallels between their “spirit directed” leaders who make a lot of mistakes and certain persons or groups portrayed in the Scriptures.  These parallels must be challenged, as I hope to do below.

“But the claim is further made by opposers that Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot be Jehovah’s organization directed by His holy spirit and His son because they have in the past made interpretations, pointed to certain dates, and taught teachings that were proven to be wrong or were later corrected. Jehovah’s spirit is never wrong. Jesus is never wrong. Then how can it be that Jehovah’s Witnesses are directed by Jehovah and Jesus? ‘Impossible!’ opposers say.”

This is only a part of it.  It would actually be nice if JW apologists quoted from a source rather than provide hearsay.  We quote from the Watchtower all the time, so it would be nice to get the same in return.  I say this because I don’t know of an “opposer” (perhaps I should call JW apologists “opposers”?) who makes this argument.  Perhaps Rotherham has.

Anyway, it’s not simply the claim:

I. The Governing Body claims to be spirit-led

II. The Governing Body makes mistakes

III. Therefore, the Governing Body is not spirit-led

The objection is actually much more precise:

I. The Watchtower publications are spirit-directed (i.e. directed by Jehovah)

II. The Watchtower publications contains doctrines A, B, C, D, E, F, G, etc.

III. Everything published in the Watchtower is directed by Jehovah, including doctrines A, B, C, etc.

IV. Doctrines A, C, F, G have been shown to be unquestionably false

V. Jehovah directed the false doctrines A, C, F, G, etc.

VI. Therefore, Jehovah directs false doctrines.

It’s one thing to claim a spirit-leading in areas of sanctification (Rom. 8:16), but another to claim that all of your published works are directed by Jehovah as Jehovah’s voice, sole channel of communication, etc. In addition, because these publications are spirit-led from God’s sole channel of communication, you must believe everything they teach.

Another point.  We all agree that the spirit did not lead the Governing Body to publish false doctrines, such as the ceasing work of the spirit.  But if the spirit wasn’t leading them to teach this, then who was?

But would anybody make the same argument about the seven congregations that John wrote letters to in the book of Revelation? Take a look at all their problems stated in the letters:

“you have left the love you had at first….

you have there those holding fast the teaching of Ba´laam, … to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication….

you, also, have those holding fast the teaching of the sect of Nic·o·la´us likewise…

you tolerate that woman Jez´e·bel, … and she teaches and misleads my slaves to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols….

I know your deeds, that you have the name that you are alive, but you are dead….

I have not found your deeds fully performed before my God….

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or else hot. So, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth.

you say: “I am rich and have acquired riches and do not need anything at all,” but you do not know you are miserable and pitiable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire that you may become rich, and white outer garments that you may become dressed and that the shame of your nakedness may not become manifested, and eyesalve to rub in your eyes that you may see.”

Someone could very well say of those seven congregations: ‘Can you believe that this is God’s organization? They certainly can’t be spirit directed. They certainly do not have Jesus as their leader. There is no way that these congregations make up God’s organization.’

This is apples to oranges.  Was anyone in any of these congregations making the same claims as the Governing Body?  If not, then how is this even a close parallel?

But they would be dead wrong. Why? Take note of these verses which show who is in the midst of the congregations directing them:

Revelation 1:12 “And I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me, and, having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands someone like a son of man, …20 As for the sacred secret of the seven stars that you saw upon my right hand, and [of] the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars mean [the] angels of the seven congregations, and the seven lampstands mean seven congregations.”

And take note that to each congregation it is said: “Let the one who has an ear hear what the spirit says to the congregations.”

Obviously the seven congregations which were composed of God’s people, yes, His organization, were directed by Jesus and God’s holy spirit and yet they had many problems. How can this be? Jesus and the holy spirit can’t make mistakes.

Again, there is a big difference here.  As far as any kind of parallel goes, this is a far cry from these congregation leaders coming together and saying what the Governing Body says of themselves.  If these congregations were publishing works that were directed by Jehovah and must be absolutely believed, then there may be a point.

Just because a person or a group of persons are directed by God’s spirit does not mean that they will always follow the leadings of God’s spirit. Moses didn’t. David didn’t. The Israelites didn’t. The apostles didn’t. At times they failed to follow the guidance of God’s spirit which led to incorrect thinking or actions. And so there is a difference in being spirit directed and spirit inspired. Persons who were inspired by holy spirit to write the Bible did not make mistakes in those writings. However, these same persons, who were spirit directed, did not always follow exactly the leadings of God’s spirit and so they did make mistakes.

Again, we have to make a distinction.  Moses never claimed that X was spirit led and then later realized that X was false.  No one is denying that simply because they are “spirit led” in very specific ways (i.e. inspiration to write the Scriptures) that they cannot make mistakes in other ways (i.e. committing adultery).  If Rotherham is going to find a parallel, it really needs to be on the same grounds.  However, he’s not going to find a biblical parallel because the Bible does not offer support for the Governing Body’s claims for themselves: uninspired, error-prone men, who demand absolute obedience to everything they put in print.

The Watchtower publications have not been written under inspiration of the holy spirit and so at times the things written may have to be corrected.

I find this claim to be quite interesting.  Do JW’s really read the Watchtower thinking to themselves, “Well, I know this isn’t inspired and may very well have some mistakes that need to be corrected.”  I don’t think so.  Even if the Watchtower published something completely foolish and silly (which they have a number of times), it is expected that the JW believe it and not think to themselves, “this may have to be corrected.”  If a JW thinks this, he is wrong because the Governing Body knows better than them.  This is the case even when the JW is right.

“By no means does this prove that Jehovah’s Witnesses are not spirit directed. The very fact that they have made the changes and corrected wrong teachings or ideas is proof that they are directed by holy spirit. Other religions simply have not followed this example. They continue to teach the same old Babylonish falsehoods and follow the same old pagan practices. Not so Jehovah’s Witnesses. Just look at the changes JWs have made! We can only conclude then that out of all the religious organizations on earth today, it is only Jehovah’s Witnesses who are truly directed by Jehovah’s holy spirit.”

This is a very weak argument and is actually self-defeating.  What if a JW made this claim in 1920 after reading the “Finished Mystery”?  Would it stand?  Surely not, because the Watchtower was then teaching a great deal of complete falsehoods that had not yet been corrected.  How do JW’s today know that they’ve abandoned all falsehoods?  They don’t.  So it looks like Rotherham is giving the Watchtower a free pass for their history of false teachings.  Remember: just because you’ve changed a belief doesn’t mean that change is in the right direction.  Many times, the Watchtower has changed beliefs that went in the wrong direction.  So why wouldn’t this be an argument against the Watchtower?

Even putting this aside, it’s really just a poor argument.  Just because a religious group changed their beliefs does not prove they are directed by Jehovah.  If anything, it might prove that they are extremely fallible, error-prone, not reliable, and therefore not trustworthy.  Given their track record, I would say this is the case.

Here’s my alternative and positive commendation: study the Scriptures for yourselves and “test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)  This includes everyone from JW apologists like Rotherham to his leaders to even your own pastor.  If anyone teaches what is contrary to the Scriptures, do not believe them.  This includes everything from essential doctrines to peripheral ones.  Don’t simply assume that they know better than you, because they may not.  This is why even the apostle Paul had to declare, “But 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)

44 thoughts on “Answering a JW apologist: is the Watchtower Directed by Jehovah?

  1. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Mike,

    I am going to be scarce for the next few days, likely until Monday sometime, but I will prepare a full response to this article in the meantime. I may get time to post it before Monday, just not sure, but I see a number of errors in your logic and in your accusations that I will address. I hope you will decide to answer the questions that I ask of you in return.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

  2. rotherham2 says:

    Lo and behold! I found the time. It wasn’t too bad once i got started. I believe the same basic errors were repeated throughout. My comments are between the $$$$$$$$$$$$$.

    Hello Mike,
    Although the following quotations are actually from me because I did not write the information, I do agree with its conclusions and will defend them below.

    You quoted:
    [quote] “But the claim is further made by opposers that Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot be Jehovah’s organization directed by His holy spirit and His son because they have in the past made interpretations, pointed to certain dates, and taught teachings that were proven to be wrong or were later corrected. Jehovah’s spirit is never wrong. Jesus is never wrong. Then how can it be that Jehovah’s Witnesses are directed by Jehovah and Jesus? ‘Impossible!’ opposers say.”[/quote]

    This is only a part of it. It would actually be nice if JW apologists quoted from a source rather than provide hearsay. We quote from the Watchtower all the time, so it would be nice to get the same in return. I say this because I don’t know of an “opposer” (perhaps I should call JW apologists “opposers”?) who makes this argument. Perhaps Rotherham has.

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    Well Mike, you’re simply not the only critic out there and I am sure the fellow that wrote this, as well as myself, has experienced JW opposers who reason exactly as has been portrayed above. Whether that is your specific take on the matter was not the reason I posted it, but it’s close enough to what you are saying to have value, as I will demonstrate.
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    Anyway, it’s not simply the claim:

    I. The Governing Body claims to be spirit-led

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    I see immediately you are making a distinction between spirit-led and spirit-directed. To us, the terms are synonymous. Following the leadings of the spirit is the same thing to us as saying we are spirit directed, because the “leadings” direct you. Of course, it is up to the human, without the benefit of inspiration, to follow correctly, which doesn’t always happen. As I have mentioned before, the human element is unavoidable and the human element sometimes gets it wrong. That’s why all humans need to filter things through the true body of Christ so that they too can evaluate what has been discovered to determine its veracity. However, that does not mean that those who err were not initially led or directed by the spirit of God. The problem, when they get it wrong, is that they did not make the proper mental divisions and came up with an inferior result. It may be a better result than what they had previously, but it may still need some adjustment, no doubt to be followed through by the continued “direction/leadings” of the spirit until they arrive at the “full grown man” of understanding. (Eph. 4:11-17)
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    II. The Governing Body makes mistakes

    III. Therefore, the Governing Body is not spirit-led

    The objection is actually much more precise:

    I. The Watchtower publications are spirit-directed (i.e. directed by Jehovah)

    II. The Watchtower publications contains doctrines A, B, C, D, E, F, G, etc.

    III. Everything published in the Watchtower is directed by Jehovah, including doctrines A, B, C, etc.

    IV. Doctrines A, C, F, G have been shown to be unquestionably false

    V. Jehovah directed the false doctrines A, C, F, G, etc.

    VI. Therefore, Jehovah directs false doctrines.

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    Once again, as you often do, you have attempted to make a distinction that amounts to nothing different than the first list that you provided. You try to bolster by changing the word form being “led” to be “directed”. There is no difference as I have explained above.

    Let’s go through it again. Unless a person is actually infallibly inspired by the word of God, even if God attempts to direct them in a certain direction, the human can still not quite get it right due to his imperfection of thought or insufficient knowledge. Is this really that difficult to understand?

    So, what happens when things are not arrived at correctly is the result of the human element not quite getting the correct thought. That’s the very reason that those gifts in men continue to readjust the holy ones in order to keep them unified. Surely you don’t think it’s just a onetime adjustment, do you? Ask yourself, why would these adjustments be ongoing? What’s happening that this would be the case? And To claim then that God initiated the error is simply a desperate attempt to build a false construct so you can easily tear it down. God doesn’t initiate the error, man does, because man is imperfect and we still see certain things “in hazy outline by means of a metal mirror” and we will continue to see some things rather hazily until such time as the “full grown man” of understanding arrives.
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    It’s one thing to claim a spirit-leading in areas of sanctification (Rom. 8:16), but another to claim that all of your published works are directed by Jehovah as Jehovah’s voice, soul channel of communication, etc. In addition, because these publications are spirit-led from God’s soul channel of communication, you must believe everything they teach.

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    Again, you continue to present a straw man. I have told you that there is room for different views to exist in peripheral areas, areas that are not solidly established by the scriptures as truth, or somewhat ambiguous. It is only the promotion of those views that creates a problem, because the promotion of those views lead to division, and God condemns that kind of division within the congregation. You should really try to get that straight because you constantly misstating this doesn’t do much for your credibility as an apologist.
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    Another point. We all agree that the spirit did not lead the Governing Body to publish false doctrines, such as the ceasing work of the spirit. But if the spirit wasn’t leading them to teach this, then who was?

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    The answer to this should be obvious from what I have stated above. If not, well, I’m not sure I can help you understand. Those errors did not come from God, they came from the faulty process of human reasoning, something all men are prone to who are not infallibly inspired.
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    But would anybody make the same argument about the seven congregations that John wrote letters to in the book of Revelation? Take a look at all their problems stated in the letters:

    [quote]“you have left the love you had at first….

    you have their those holding fast the teaching of Ba´laam, … to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication….

    you, also, have those holding fast the teaching of the sect of Nic•o•la´us likewise…

    you tolerate that woman Jez´e•bel, … and she teaches and misleads my slaves to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols….

    I know your deeds, that you have the name that you are alive, but you are dead….

    I have not found your deeds fully performed before my God….

    I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or else hot. So, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth.

    you say: “I am rich and have acquired riches and do not need anything at all,” but you do not know you are miserable and pitiable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire that you may become rich, and white outer garments that you may become dressed and that the shame of your nakedness may not become manifested, and eyesalve to rub in your eyes that you may see.”

    Someone could very well say of those seven congregations: ‘Can you believe that this is God’s organization? They certainly can’t be spirit directed. They certainly do not have Jesus as their leader. There is no way that these congregations make up God’s organization.’[/quote]

    This is apples to oranges. Was anyone in any of these congregations making the same claims as the Governing Body? If not, then how is this even a close parallel?

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    True, they were not likely members of the governing body that were addressed in Revelation. However, it does suffice to show that for a while such views were tolerated for a while with the intent of correcting them. They were not immediately disfellowshipped because they were wrong. They simply needed to repent. This is reminiscent of Titus 3:9,10 in regard to those who are promoting a sect. They are to be rejected only after a second or third hearing. They were not ousted without a fair hearing of their errors and without the hopes of correction for them.
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    [quote] But they would be dead wrong. Why? Take note of these verses which show who is in the midst of the congregations directing them:

    Revelation 1:12 “And I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me, and, having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands someone like a son of man, …20 As for the sacred secret of the seven stars that you saw upon my right hand, and [of] the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars mean [the] angels of the seven congregations, and the seven lampstands mean seven congregations.”

    And take note that to each congregation it is said: “Let the one who has an ear hear what the spirit says to the congregations.”

    Obviously the seven congregations which were composed of God’s people, yes, His organization, were directed by Jesus and God’s holy spirit and yet they had many problems. How can this be? Jesus and the holy spirit can’t make mistakes.[/quote]

    Again, there is a big difference here. As far as any kind of parallel goes, this is a far cry from these congregation leaders coming together and saying what the Governing Body says of themselves. If these congregations were publishing works that were directed by Jehovah and must be absolutely believed, then there may be a point.

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    See above. Nothing new here.
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    [quote] Just because a person or a group of persons are directed by God’s spirit does not mean that they will always follow the leadings of God’s spirit. Moses didn’t. David didn’t. The Israelites didn’t. The apostles didn’t. At times they failed to follow the guidance of God’s spirit which led to incorrect thinking or actions. And so there is a difference in being spirit directed and spirit inspired. Persons who were inspired by holy spirit to write the Bible did not make mistakes in those writings. However, these same persons, who were spirit directed, did not always follow exactly the leadings of God’s spirit and so they did make mistakes.[/quote]

    Again, we have to make a distinction. Moses never claimed that X was spirit led and then later realized that X was false. No one is denying that simply because they are “spirit led” in very specific ways (i.e. inspiration to write the Scriptures) that they cannot make mistakes in other ways (i.e. committing adultery). If Rotherham is going to find a parallel, it really needs to be on the same grounds. However, he’s not going to find a biblical parallel because the Bible does not offer support for the Governing Body’s claims for themselves: uninspired, error-prone men, who demand absolute obedience to everything they put in print.

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    Moses went 40 years too soon to deliver the Israelites from Egypt. Why? Did he not think that it was God’s will at the time? Did he not say that he imagined that the GOD was giving them, the Israelites, salvation at the hand of Moses?

    The inspired prophet Nathan told David to go ahead and build the temple of God and told David that God was WITH him in connection with that. God himself had to correct his one prophet so that David would not attempt to build the temple.

    You are also still ignoring the obvious result of what Eph. 4:11-17 is saying. Those readjustments are coming from those gifts in men, who although imperfect, are readjusting the holy ones until the “full grown stature” is arrived at. Are you seriously thinking we are just talking about ONE adjustment and that’s it? If they make an adjustment, and then another one, was God responsible for the first adjustment not being precise enough, or was that the result of men’s imperfection mixed in the process.

    In fact, the scriptures are very clear that things would not be perfect until sometime in the future and that unity should be maintained until that time arrives, a unity that would be accompanied by adjustments from time to time to lead us ever closer to the full realization of truth. The obedience to the “present” understanding of truth is necessary in order to have unity and to not be carried hither and thither by every wind of teaching all at the same time.
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    [quote]The Watchtower publications have not been written under inspiration of the holy spirit and so at times the things written may have to be corrected.[/quote]

    I find this claim to be quite interesting. Do JW’s really read the Watchtower thinking to themselves, “Well, I know this isn’t inspired and may very well have some mistakes that need to be corrected.” I don’t think so. Even if the Watchtower published something completely foolish and silly (which they have a number of times), it is expected that the JW believe it and not think to themselves, “this may have to be corrected.” If a JW thinks this, he is wrong because the Governing Body knows better than them. This is the case even when the JW is right.

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    You would be so wrong about this. We are used to the idea of adjustments and often speak among ourselves about them and the likelihood of receiving more and in particular areas of our teachings. I’ve often said as well as others in our circle of friends that in certain areas there is likely to be another adjustment, or we just don’t understand all of that yet. You’re pretending that there is this sterile, somber atmosphere that we exist in and it’s nothing of the kind. We enjoy the progression and clarification. If anything, it’s refreshing when we see things become more clear. It is what is to be expected in the last days.

    In fact, the publications have said that if we have a doubt about something and we can’t seem to resolve it that we should be patient because God may move the FDS to correct it in the near future, so they tell us to ANTICIPATE such adjustments in areas hard to understand.
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    [quote] “By no means does this prove that Jehovah’s Witnesses are not spirit directed. The very fact that they have made the changes and corrected wrong teachings or ideas is proof that they are directed by holy spirit. Other religions simply have not followed this example. They continue to teach the same old Babylonish falsehoods and follow the same old pagan practices. Not so Jehovah’s Witnesses. Just look at the changes JWs have made! We can only conclude then that out of all the religious organizations on earth today, it is only Jehovah’s Witnesses who are truly directed by Jehovah’s holy spirit.”[/quote]

    This is a very weak argument and is actually self-defeating. What if a JW made this claim in 1920 after reading the “Finished Mystery”? Would it stand? Surely not, because the Watchtower was then teaching a great deal of complete falsehoods that had not yet been corrected. How do JW’s today know that they’ve abandoned all falsehoods? They don’t. So it looks like Rotherham is giving the Watchtower a free pass for their history of false teachings. Remember: just because you’ve changed a belief doesn’t mean that change is in the right direction. Many times, the Watchtower has changed beliefs that went in the wrong direction. So why wouldn’t this be an argument against the Watchtower?

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    It’s actually a very accurate argument. JWs could indeed make that claim back in the 1920 because the foundational doctrines were clearly established, the same foundational doctrines that we have today. They are the same. They don’t change. More straw men. We don’t claim to have abandoned ALL falsehood or we could never entertain the notion that we are still receiving adjustments. We do however claim to have abandoned the Babylonish errors in relation to those foundational doctrines.

    They don’t even know who God is. They worship an abstract theological construct called the Trinity that does not exist. They do not worship the true living God, but some concocted rival to his sovereignty. They teach eternal torment and the immortality of the soul and a number of other errors along the way. So yes, when it comes to peripheral teachings or adjustments, I give them a free pass, based upon the solidity of their foundational true teachings as opposed to the errors of Christendom who is unwilling to change for the better. Based upon Eph. 4:11-17 it is exactly what would be expected. Freedom to adjust.
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    Even putting this aside, it’s really just a poor argument. Just because a religious group changed their beliefs does not prove they are directed by Jehovah. If anything, it might prove that they are extremely fallible, error-prone, not reliable, and therefore not trustworthy. Given their track record, I would say this is the case.

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    Actually, given their track record I would say the opposite. No other religious organization on earth has refined their doctrines to contain the amount of truth that they contain based upon Biblical precedent and the foundational teachings.
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    Here’s my alternative and positive commendation: study the Scriptures for yourselves and “test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1) This includes everyone from JW apologists like Rotherham to his leaders to even your own pastor. If anyone teaches what is contrary to the Scriptures, do not believe them. This includes everything from essential doctrines to peripheral ones. Don’t simply assume that they know better than you, because they may not. This is why even the apostle Paul had to declare, “But 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)

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    Absolutely agree. Make the truth your own, as we have often encouraged EVERYONE to do. But don’t go TOO far in your independence, or you will deny the very process that is established via the gifts of men and the process of readjustments. Remember, not EVERYTHING, especially peripherals are clear cut. That’s why the scriptural admonition is to OBEY and SUBMIT to those who are taking the lead. The most important teachings to have correct are the foundational ones, such as listed at Hebrews 6:1,2. Those should not change, and with Jehovah’s Witnesses, they never have.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. Mike Felker says:

      Rotherham-

      Please provide the Scriptural citations for these biblical examples you used and also any other ones you can think of. I’d like to write an entire post on these and see if they really parallel in any way the Governing Body’s authority claims with the mistakes they make:

      “Moses went 40 years too soon to deliver the Israelites from Egypt. Why? Did he not think that it was God’s will at the time? Did he not say that he imagined that the GOD was giving them, the Israelites, salvation at the hand of Moses?

      The inspired prophet Nathan told David to go ahead and build the temple of God and told David that God was WITH him in connection with that. God himself had to correct his one prophet so that David would not attempt to build the temple.”

      Still trying to find the time to respond to your points. Hopefully this weekend!

    2. Mike Felker says:

      Rotherham-

      I’m not going to address every single argument you made as I would simply be repeating things i’ve said before. But responding to a few things directly will allow me the opportunity to clarify. If I left something unaddressed that you think I should answer, let me know.

      You claim that I was making a distinction between spirit-led and spirit-directed. I didn’t intend to, so my apologies for not making that more clear. I agree that they are basically the same. As to the fallibility aspect, i’m honestly unclear on what you mean by the spirit leading someone and that person misinterpreting what the spirit says. Would this be akin to receiving the scriptures but misinterpreting them?

      The problem is not merely that the GB claims to be spirit-led. It’s actually two fold:

      1. Everything they publish is spirit-led
      2. We are spirit-led, therefore you need to believe everything we publish

      I don’t want to rehash all the implications of these because I have already done so. Simply put, a Christian claiming to be spirit-led in areas of spiritual growth is different from a Christian demanding absolute obedience to all of their spirit-led publications.

      “even if God attempts to direct them in a certain direction, the human can still not quite get it right due to his imperfection of thought or insufficient knowledge. Is this really that difficult to understand?”

      It’s not hard to understand, but that’s not all the WT is claiming; that is “spirit-directed in a certain direction.” It’s much more than that. The spirit-direction is the very basis of their authority and you are to believe their every published word if you want to be a faithful JW.

      “So, what happens when things are not arrived at correctly is the result of the human element not quite getting the correct thought. That’s the very reason that those gifts in men continue to readjust the holy ones in order to keep them unified. Surely you don’t think it’s just a onetime adjustment, do you?”

      Yeah, but again, this isn’t just about any normal fallible Christian getting things wrong. Sure, all Christians need to grow and make adjustments to their understanding. And yes, Christians should seek to be unified too.

      But here’s the difference: the “unity” you speak of is conformity. How can a group of fallible, error-prone men demand that everyone agree with everything they publish for the sake of unity? Once again, this is conformity rather than an honest pursuit of truth.

      “God doesn’t initiate the error, man does, because man is imperfect and we still see certain things “in hazy outline by means of a metal mirror” and we will continue to see some things rather hazily until such time as the “full grown man” of understanding arrives.”

      Is this how the GB expects me and every Christian to view the next issue of the WT? Are these just “hazy outlines” that are being published? Or are these words that are spirit-directed that all faithful Christians must believe?

      “Again, you continue to present a straw man. I have told you that there is room for different views to exist in peripheral areas, areas that are not solidly established by the scriptures as truth, or somewhat ambiguous. It is only the promotion of those views that creates a problem, because the promotion of those views lead to division, and God condemns that kind of division within the congregation. You should really try to get that straight because you constantly misstating this doesn’t do much for your credibility as an apologist.”

      I don’t think this is a strawman at all. Please quote for me a WT publication that states “there is room for different view to exist in peripheral areas.” Does Jehovah expect you to believe everything published in the WT or doesn’t he? If so, then where is there room for different views?

      Here’s what was stated in the April 15, 2013 WT:

      “Do we strive to take in all the spiritual food we receive and meditate on it? Doing so will help us to continue to bear fruit and not wither spiritually in these difficult last days.—Read Psalm 1:1-3; 35: 28; 119:97…May we be diligent in partaking of all the spiritual food we receive through Jehovah’s organization.”—Ps. 119:27. -p. 30

      Do JW’s take in ALL the spiritual food or don’t they? If they don’t, aren’t they wrong? It doesn’t make sense to claim that there is room for disagreement and then say that any disagreement is wrong.

      “Those errors did not come from God, they came from the faulty process of human reasoning, something all men are prone to who are not infallibly inspired.”

      I don’t mean to sound like a broken record here, but here’s my question: is everything in the next issue of the Watchtower directed by Jehovah or is only some of it? Surely, all faithful JW’s hold that everything published by the WT is directed by Jehovah.

      “Are you seriously thinking we are just talking about ONE adjustment and that’s it? If they make an adjustment, and then another one, was God responsible for the first adjustment not being precise enough, or was that the result of men’s imperfection mixed in the process.”

      This is a “you can’t have your cake and eat it to” sort of thing. If the GB are just fallible men like every one else and doing the best they can to understand the Scriptures, then fine. But that’s not all they are. It simply doesn’t make sense to demand that all true Christians agree with you and then keep messing up the things you keep demanding everyone to believe.

      This is why we don’t have these problems in the local elders model. My elders don’t claim what your leaders claim. So when they teach something that is unbiblical, I simply choose not to believe it. And if I am in a teaching situation, I welcome and expect disagreement as long as it’s done in a charitable fashion. Yet, we remain unified in our worship and devotion to Christ. This is where I really see the spirit at work, not in situations of demanded conformity.

      “We are used to the idea of adjustments and often speak among ourselves about them and the likelihood of receiving more and in particular areas of our teachings.”

      What you call “adjustments” I call correcting a previously false teaching. But in these “circles” you speak of, do you sit around claiming that the GB is actually wrong about something? Clearly, in the 1920’s, any person who is even remotely familiar with the Scriptures would have been completely right in claiming that much of the material in “The Finished Mystery” was complete theological rubbish. Yet, I don’t think this is even possible for the faithful JW to have done, back then or today. You are to believe what the GB teaches, no matter how absurd it is; even if we’re talking only about peripheral issues.

      “Actually, given their track record I would say the opposite. No other religious organization on earth has refined their doctrines to contain the amount of truth that they contain based upon Biblical precedent and the foundational teachings.”

      That really doesn’t matter to me. It’s not what they were right on, it’s what they were wrong on. Harold Camping would be right in line with me on a lot of doctrines. But where he is wrong and has messed up badly is a deal breaker for me.

      I think i’m going to stop there. Unless there’s something you need clarification on, i’ll let you have the last word on this thread. As always, thanks for the discussions and challenges.

  3. Heber J Perez says:

    Great arguments Mike. I believe the amount of false prophecies are a good indication they are false prophets. Is not false prophecies the fruits of a false prophet? It is sad they don’t see that when it is clearly in their faces. A murderer does not stop being a murderer just because he was found to have committed the crime. Jehovah’s Witnesses did not just came out and adjusted their views they were forced to accept what they were teaching was false. How could they argue Armageddon did not show up in 1914 when 1915 came around? I enjoy you trying to put some common sense into the subject.

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Heber- thanks for sharing your thoughts! Apparently, falsely predicting the end of the world and leading thousands or millions astray isn’t a big deal for the Watchtower. After all, they didn’t apologize for it.

      How many false predictions would it take to then render a leader unreliable and untrustworthy? It’s simply beyond absurd for any serious Bible student to try and set a date for the end. When they do, they’ve lost all my respect.

      1. miken says:

        “After all, they didn’t apologize for it.” Well they did once five years after initially blaming the rank and file for having unrealistic expectations for 1975. See WT March 15, 1980 Choosing the Best Way of Life paras 5 & 6, admittedly a rather disingenuous one.

  4. rotherham2 says:

    False prophets would be those who claim inspiration in their expectations of what is to happen. We don’t. In fact, we deny inspiration and admit the chance of human error.

    This was found in the opening pages of the WT during this period of history:

    “This journal…is not dogmatic, but confident;
    for we know whereof we affirm, treading with
    – Are Jehovah’s Witnesses false prophets?-PART 1 Page 8 of 31
    file://E:\32gigflashdrive\moretouchstone\DCForumID4\12.html 4/23/2010
    implicit faith upon the promises of God. It is
    held as a trust, to be used only in his service;
    hence our decisions relative to what may and
    what may not appear in its columns must be
    according to our understanding of his good
    pleasure, the TEACHING OF HIS WORD, for
    the building of his people in grace and
    knowledge. And WE NOT ONLY INVITE BUT
    URGE OUR READERS TO PROVE ALL ITS
    UTTERANCES BY THE INFALLIBLE WORD TO
    WHICH REFERENCE IS CONSTANTLY MADE
    TO FACILITATE SUCH TESTING.” (emphasis mine)

    He have always held to that statement.

    Watchtower, 1879, page 38
    “We do not object to changing our opinions on
    any subject, or discarding former applications
    of prophecy, or any other scripture, when we
    see a good reason for the change, -in fact, it
    is important that we should be willing to
    unlearn errors and mere traditions, as to
    learn truth….It is our duty to “prove all
    things”-by the unerring Word,-” and hold fast
    to that which is good”.

    Watchtower, 1896, 2080
    “Nor would we have our writings reverenced
    or regarded as infallible, or on a par with the
    holy Scriptures. The most we claim or have
    ever claimed for our teachings is that they are
    what we believe to be the interpretations of
    the divine Word, in harmony with the spirit of
    the truth. And we still urge, as in the past,
    that each reader study the subjects we
    present in the light of the Scriptures, proving
    all things by the Scriptures, accepting what
    they see to be thus approved, and rejecting
    all else. It is to this end, to enable the student
    to trace the subject in the divinely inspired
    Record, that we so freely intersperse both
    quotations and citations of the Scriptures
    upon which to build.”

    The Watchtower, 1908, 4110
    “We are not prophesying; we are merely
    giving our surmises, the Scriptural basis for
    which is already in the hands of our readrers
    in the six volumes of Scripture Studies. We do
    not even aver that there is no mistake in our
    interpretation of prophecy and our
    calculations of chronology. We have merely
    laid these before you, leaving it for each to
    exercise his own faith or doubt in respect to
    them.”

    Zion’s Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s
    Presence, September 15, 1909, 4473
    “Someone may ask, Do you, then, claim
    infallibilty and that every sentence appearing
    in “Watch Tower” publications is stated with
    absolute correctness? Assuredly we make NO
    SUCH CLAIM and have NEVER MADE SUCH A
    CLAIM. What motive can our opponents have
    in so charging against us? Are they not
    seeking to set up a falsehood to give
    themselves excuse for making attacks and to
    endeavor to pervert the judgments of
    others?” (emphasis added)

    From the book “Prophecy”, 1929, pages 61-2
    “Many students have made the grevious
    mistake of thinking that God has inspired men
    to interpret prophecy. The holy prophets of
    the Old Testament were inspired by Jehovah
    to write as his power moved upon them. The
    writers of the New Testament were clothed
    with certain power and authority to write as
    the Lord directed them. However, SINCE THE
    DAYS OF THE APOSTLES NO MAN ON EARTH
    HAS BEEN INSPIRED TO WRITE PROPHECY,
    NOR HAS ANY MAN BEEN INSPIRED TO
    INTERPRET PROPHECY.” (emphasis added)

    WT 1913, november 15th, 5348
    “However,we should not denounce those who
    in a proper spirit express their dissent in
    respect to the date mentioned (1914) and
    what may there be expected…We must admit
    that there are possibilities of our having made
    a mistake in respect to the chronology, even
    though we do not see where any mistake has
    been made in calculating the seven times of
    the Gentiles as expiring about October 1,
    1914”

    Later, the same article on page 5350 stated:
    “We hold that nothing in these quotations
    declares the infallibility of the theories we
    suggested respecting 1914. In these
    statements, AND IN ALL OF OUR
    STATEMENTS, we have merely informed our
    readers respecting our views and the process
    of our reasoning on the Scriptures which we
    have brought to their attention. Thus we have
    asked each reader to think and judge for
    himself, and to agree or disagree with us
    according to his own judgment of the facts.”

    Regards,
    Rotherham

  5. Octavio says:

    A recent Watchtower’s article says:

    “We must study the Bible and our publications carefully, and when Jehovah’s organization makes adjustments, we need to accept them humbly….All who remain loyal to Jehovah and his organization will receive blessings….False religion will no longer teach lies about God, because it will be gone.” (ws14 5/15, article: “Are You Moving Ahead With Jehovah’s Organization?” ,extract from paragraphs 15,16)

    Is it not wonderful?, we only need to be loyal to the Watchtower Organization so as to be saved. We don’t need to be worry about the lies in its publications, we just have to preach them door by door, then the governing body will adjust them. No matter how wrong this organization may be, God will destroy the other religions and will bless the Watchtower.

  6. Octavio says:

    Hi Mike :

    The Watchtower Society claims to be a Prophet Organization:

    This “prophet” was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. (The Watchtower, April 1, 1972, article: “A Prophet was Among Them”, page 197.)

    1. Heber J Perez says:

      Octavio it does not matter who it was, you are missing the point. Did they prophesized lies or not? It could be one or a thousand, but don’t lie to me and tell me the Jehovah’s Witnesses have to repeat like a parrot what the Governing body says come on.

      1. Octavio says:

        This is why I said ( ironically) that witnesses think that they will be saved by their loyalty to the Governing Body, without examining the lies they are preaching.

  7. Heber J Perez says:

    What I meant they have to repeat like a parrot what the Governing Body tells them they don’t have a choice, but to accept what they say blindly even if it is a lie later.

    1. Octavio says:

      I was a witness, so I know the mind control techniques of this cult. But I show my identity, instead, the Watchtower apologists can’t do that without being punished by the organization. The organization does not like witnesses spending time in defending the Watchtower lies, because some of them have noticed the absurdities they were defending. Greg Stafford was one of them. Now he is no longer a witness.

  8. Octavio says:

    Hi Mike:

    Here another presumptuous proclamation of the Watchtower Society, now during Russell’s time:

    “We see no reason for changing the figures, not could we change if we would. They are, we believe, God’s dates, not ours. But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date of the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble. We see no reason for changing from our opinion. “(The Watchtower, July 15, 1894, page 226.)

    So, The Watchtower saw no reason to doubt about the meaning of the year 1914. Note that Russell, who was the editor and the writer, predicted that 1914 would be the end of the time of trouble. But the contrary happened, because the World War I was not the end for the evil in the World. Now the Watchtower says that 1914 represents the beginning of the time of trouble, and they are currently lying by saying that the Watchtower anounced it before the 1914 year:

    For many years, anointed Christians had preached that the end of “the appointed times of the nations” would come in 1914. They also preached that from that time on, there would be more trouble in the world than ever before. (Luke 21:24) Did “the nations” pay attention to this warning? No. Instead, political and religious leaders made fun of and persecuted those Christians.(ws13 2/15, pp. 15-19, paragraph 4.)

    As we read, in 1894 the Watchtower said that 1914 would the end of the time of trouble, not that there would be more trouble. So, the Nations read from the pages of the Watchtower that the World would be better “from that time (1914) on”. Nevertheless, the Watchtower accuse the nations for not paying attention to a corrected version of a Watchtower failed prophecy.

  9. FredTorres says:

    Hey there Mike..what’s up my old friend. I see you’ve been quite busy and once again you’ve got an active discussion.
    I’d like to briefly chime in and pick your brain a bit… so let me give you a couple of focused requests and ask a simple question..

    I. The Watchtower publications are spirit-directed (i.e. directed by Jehovah
    Request: Can you cite a recent publication (maybe last 20-30 years or so) making this specific claim?

    II. The Watchtower publications contains doctrines A, B, C, D, E, F, G, etc.
    Agree

    III. Everything published in the Watchtower is directed by Jehovah, including doctrines A, B, C, etc.
    Request: Can you cite a recent publication that makes this specific claim?

    IV. Doctrines A, C, F, G have been shown to be unquestionably false
    Agree

    V. Jehovah directed the false doctrines A, C, F, G, etc.
    Possible Non-sequitur-to be demonstrated after I receive your response to my requests.

    VI. Therefore, Jehovah directs false doctrines.
    Possible Invalid Solution due to possible non-sequitur in step V.

    Question: Yes, or No: Do Jehovah’s Witnesses view their publications as God- inspired documents?

    Thanks partner.
    Shoot me an email. let me know how you guys are doing..

    1. Mike Felker says:

      Hey Fred!

      Great to hear from you man! It’s been a while! I’ll definitely shoot you an email so we can catch up.

      As to your questions, thank you and I welcome the opportunity to clarify. However, I owe Rotherham a response first which I don’t have time to get to at the moment. For now, I think another recent post of mine will address most of your questions:

      http://apologeticfront.com/2014/05/23/spirit-directed-and-spirit-inspired-is-there-a-difference/

      But I will definitely address yours directly.

    2. Mike Felker says:

      Hi Fred-

      Thanks for the opportunity to clarify these points. I do believe that most of this is indirectly addressed in a previous post of mine:

      http://apologeticfront.com/2013/01/16/some-very-bold-statements-found-in-the-april-15-2013-watchtower-study-edition/

      But i’ll be happy to address these directly.

      “Can you cite a recent publication (maybe last 20-30 years or so) making this specific claim?”

      Admittedly, the WT doesn’t state it exactly as I did or i’d otherwise use their quotes in the syllogism. So this is definitely an interpretation on my part. If i’m misunderstanding what the WT is saying, i’d be happy to be corrected. As you know, I believe the GB is way out of bounds in claiming these things.

      “Today, Jehovah guides his people by means of the Bible, his holy spirit, and the congregation. (Acts 9:31; 15:28; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17) The guidance that we receive from him is so clear that it is as if ‘our own ears hear a word behind us saying: “This is the way. Walk in it.” ’ (Isa. 30:21) In effect, Jesus also conveys Jehovah’s voice to us as he directs the congregation through “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matt. 24:45) We need to take this guidance and direction seriously, for our everlasting life depends on our obedience.—Heb. 5:9. (p. 21)” – WT April 15, 2014

      ***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.

      ***w10 9/15 p. 26 ‘Our active leader today’***

      Still, Christ found these same faithful anointed Christians doing their utmost to provide timely spiritual food for the household of faith. From 1879 onward, through thick and thin, they had been publishing Biblical truths about God’s Kingdom in the pages of this magazine. Jesus had prophesied that “on arriving” to inspect his domestics during “the conclusion of the system of things,” he would find a slave providing them “food at the proper time.” He would pronounce that slave happy and would “appoint him over all his belongings” on earth. (Matt. 24:3, 45-47) As Head of the Christian congrega-
      tion, Christ has used this “faithful and discreet slave” to administer His Kingdom interests on earth. He has provided direction for the anointed “domestics” and their “other sheep” companions by means of a Governing Body.—John 10:16.

      “Question: Yes, or No: Do Jehovah’s Witnesses view their publications as God- inspired documents?”

      No, they do not.

      1. FredTorres says:

        Mike:

        Thanks for the direct answers.
        “Question: Yes, or No: Do Jehovah’s Witnesses view their publications as God- inspired documents?”

        No, they do not.

        Well, I think that’s the main point. I’ll leave it at that.

        Thanks Mike,
        check your email partner.

  10. Octavio says:

    The fact is that the Watchtower leadership claims that they are the sole channel between men and Jehovah:

    “By word or action, may we never challenge the channel of communication that Jehovah is using today.” (Num. 16:1-3) (w09 11/15 pp. 13-17, paragraph 5)

    So, if we can’t challenge this channel, then it follows that what “the govering body” says is what Jehovah says.

  11. mark says:

    Is the Watchtower directed by Jehovah?Are the governing body really who they claim to be?
    The answer is the bible is inspired the Watchtower monthly magazine is not, and neither are the men that write the articles or translate the NWT.

    For example, I recently discovered that in the NWT that they have clearly inserted the name Jehovah in Genesis 18:32.I know this because in Exodus 6 it says that God did not reveal that name to either Abraham, Isaac or Jacob

    Exodus 6:2 Then God said to Moses: “I am Jehovah. 3  And I used to appear to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty,+ but with regard to my name Jehovah+ I did not make myself known to them.+

    Genesis 18:32 “Finally he said: “Jehovah, please, do not become hot with anger, but let me speak just once more: Suppose only ten are found there”

    Jehovahs Witnesses teach that we should call on the name Jehovah, thats part of their uniqueness, it sets them apart from other denominations.They often, quote Romans 10:13  For “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah* will be saved.

    Again, they have clearly inserted the name Jehovah into Romans.as the surrounding text tells us that Paul is teaching that Jesus is Lord and those calling upon, him will be blessed.In addition, there is no original greek manuscript that has Jehovah is in there.But, the evidence of many other scriptures is conclusive

    At 1 Corinthians 1:2 to the congregation of God that is in Corinth,+ to you who have been sanctified in union with Christ Jesus,+ called to be holy ones, together with all those everywhere who are calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,+ their Lord and ours:

    In John chapters 16-17 jesus prepares his disciples to call upon his name John 16 :24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name

    John 17:11 ….Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me.

    Its clear that under the new covenant, we call upon our Lord Jesus Christ, yet the WT insists its Jehovah.

    My point is that the watchtower and those who defend it, should spend less time trying to persuade people they are Gods Channel and more time reading and trusting in Gods word.In this way they can rectifying some of the errors they teach.

    And I would say that teaching people to call on the name Jehovah , when God has asked us to call on the name of his only begotten Son is pretty important.

    Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

  12. FredTorres says:

    “For example, I recently discovered that in the NWT that they have clearly inserted the name Jehovah in Genesis 18:32.I know this because in Exodus 6 it says that God did not reveal that name to either Abraham, Isaac or Jacob”

    To Mark:

    ===
    *** Rbi8 p. 1562 1B Scribal Changes Involving the Divine Name ***
    1B Scribal Changes Involving the Divine Name
    The 134 Changes
    In 134 places the Jewish Sopherim (scribes) altered the original Hebrew text from YHWH to ʼAdho·nai′. Gins.Mas, Vol. IV, p. 28, § 115, says: “We have seen that in many of these one hundred and thirty-four instances in which the present received text reads Adonaī in accordance with this Massorah, some of the best MSS. and early editions read the Tetragrammaton, and the question arises how did this variation obtain? The explanation is not far to seek. From time immemorial the Jewish canons decreed that the incommunicable name is to be pronounced Adonaī as if it were written אדני [ʼAdho·nai′] instead of יהוה [YHWH]. Nothing was, therefore, more natural for the copyists than to substitute the expression which exhibited the pronunciation for the Tetragrammaton which they were forbiden to pronounce

    Following is a list of these 134 places, according to Gins.Mas, Vol. I, pp. 25, 26, § 115:
    Ge 18:3, 27, 30, 31, 32; ……
    =====

    Roman 10:13 quotes Joel 2:32, where the Tetragrammaton does occur. Here we see that Jehovah’s Witnesses give greater weight to the actual verbage uttered by the inspired prophet versus a copy of the greek text which alters the word Prophet Joel said under inspiration.

    ====

    Mark, in your own copy of the Bible, look at Genesis chapter 15. Jehovah reveals himself by name to Abram. So, Exodus 6:2 refers to Abraham not knowing God’s name in a different sense.

    Regards,
    Fred

  13. mark says:

    Exodus 6:3 “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai–‘God Almighty’–but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them”

    Yes, Jehovah reveals himself in a different sense to Abraham and then to Moses and then again to Christians.Under the new covenant he reveals his character or name through his son.The Father gave his name to the son, in a sense he revealed his glory to us in the name of Jesus Christ.

    Yahweh will always be Yahweh, but we are not commanded to call upon that name.

    The apostles would often use expressions from hebrew texts and apply them to Jesus christ.Just because Paul is using language from the hebrew scriptures does mean he is quoting them verbatim.The NWT does not read correct, Paul teaches the Romans that Jesus is Lord and to call upon him, then immediately tells them to call on Jehovah?If I was in the audience I would be confused, which name do we call upon Jesus or Jehovah?I would ask Paul to clarify his teaching.
    I Corinthians 1:2 confirms that they called upon the name of Jesus Christ.In Acts Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

    Fred, I wonder, when Jehovahs Witnesses, make their dedication, do they pray and call on Jesus Christ to repent before baptism?Would they literally say “Lord Jesus, forgive me”?I get the impression they would not.

    I asked a JW friend not so long ago who,s name would you call upon at Armageddon, He said, “Jehovah”. Seeing that Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” I find that worrying.

    mark

    1. FredTorres says:

      Hi Mark,

      What were your thoughts on the Scribal changes in Genesis 18:32. Do you tend to sympathize with the notion that Jehovah’s Witnesses should not restore the Divine Name in those instances?

      I don’t disagree with you in the the Father reveals himself in the Son.

      This is a translation issue, not really a purely personal theological one. You can believe that Paul is applying OT texts to Jesus even with the Divine Name in the NT. In fact, for some, it even facilitates that belief.
      The true issue here what does the translator do…give more weight to what was actually originally uttered under Divine Inspiration, or does he give more weight to the Greek Text. Really, all JW’s are doing is restoring what was originally there, which is exactly what was also done in regards to the Scribal changes. Do you disagree?
      Jehovah’s Witnesses have made an informed decision in this regard, and it’s one of the reasons why I became one. But, I respect your views and I think I do understand where you are coming from.

      Jesus Christ was a witness of Jehovah. I love the Son and I love the Father. I dedicated myself to Jehovah, and turned back from my ways. Jesus called on the name of his Father, as do I.

      regards,
      Fred

  14. Mark A says:

    Fred, thanks for chiming in on this forum. I also wanted to thank you for the debate you had with Mike re. where the kingdom would be. I must admit that Mike made many good points that I had not thought of and I am rethinking my view of the kindom as a result. However without going into details you did make one point that I don’t think Mike answered to my satisfaction so I would not say the debate completely answered the question for me.

    I have those .mp3s on my iPod and have listened to both sides of the debate at least 8-9 times. I really really wish more witnesses would do that type of thing. I just can’t see how it is bad to debate with someone as long as both of you are respectful (you both were), as long as both of you are sincere (obviously both of you are) and as long as you are searching for the truth (that one is up in the air a little as both of you feel you have the truth – smile)

    I am not saying that everyons should be debated with, there are many “rabid” apostates with whom debate would simply be a waste of time. However there are those in “the truth” who do have questions, and are afraid to ask the questions for fear of being branded an apostate. Ignoring the questions, and only presenting one side of an issue does not make them go away. At least when someone knowledgable like yourself (or Rotherham) enters into a debate (especially a civil debate) it allows even witnesses who have questions to hear both sides.

    That being said I do believe overall in the debate between Mike and yourself that Mike did raise a lot of questions that you did not answer. Especially with regards to the manner of Christs return.

    1. theapologeticfront says:

      Mark-

      Thank you very much for the kind words and encouragement. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the debate and learned from it.

      If Fred chooses to respond and start a discussion, I’d prefer it not be here so things don’t get too off topic. I have a few posts directly related to this issue and I’d much appreciate any discussions on the issue be had there instead of here.

      Also, on the divine name issue I would appreciate that be taken to another place as well.

      Great discussions though!

      1. mark says:

        Mike.
        Yes, I managed to completely go off topic.It was not my original intention I assure you.

        I have followed a few discussions on this forum, and find them sincere intelligent and helpful.So, I appreciate the time and effort.

        Mark

  15. mark says:

    In Genesis 18:32 “YHWH” does not appear in any of the original hebrew.Looking at other passages prior to this Abraham would of known the pronunciation of Gods name.Did Abraham utter the word Jehovah at Genesis 18:32 or Lord?Maybe?

    You say that Jehovah’s Witnesses have made an informed decision regarding translating Genesis 18:32.I will not argue with that.But I disagree that Witnesses have made an informed decision to translate Romans 10:13 with replacing Lord with Jehovah.

    Again. If 1 Corinthians 1:2 says that everyone called upon the name of Jesus Christ.
    If Stephen called upon the name of Jesus. If in the book of Acts it says that the only name given to men for salvation is Jesus Christ.If no greek manuscript of Romans 10:13 exists with the word Jehovah.Then the NWT at Romans 10:13 is wrong.
    Of, course if you can convince me that whoever translates the NWT is Gods channel today, I might overlook all the other passages of scripture that say otherwise.But then, I think I would be compromising truth and common sense and I would not feel comfortable with that.

    The result of this insisting that we need to call on the name Jehovah, is that those who become JWs don’t call on Jesus name like the Corinthians did or like Stephen did.In a similar way to muslims JWs would not dare to pray directly to Jesus as mediator.

    You said “Jesus Christ was a witness of Jehovah. I love the Son and I love the Father. I dedicated myself to Jehovah, and turned back from my ways. Jesus called on the name of his Father, as do I.”

    If only JWs, could acknowledge that countless individuals from many other denomination feel the same way.

    mark

    1. FredTorres says:

      To Mark:

      Hey thanks for the response. The next question would be why you give a “maybe” to the Divine Name in Genesis 18:32 if “it does not appear in the original Hebrew” but no the Divine name at Romans 10:13 where the copies of the Greek text do not contain the divine name..
      Out of respect for Mike’s request..shoot me an email if you are interested in more conversation.
      fedetor@yahoo.com

  16. Mark A says:

    Just a point for clarities sake. There are two posters named Mark on this thread. There is “mark” and “Mark A” we are not the same person. : )

  17. FredTorres says:

    “Fred, thanks for chiming in on this forum. I also wanted to thank you for the debate you had with Mike re. where the kingdom would be. I must admit that Mike made many good points that I had not thought of and I am rethinking my view of the kindom as a result. However without going into details you did make one point that I don’t think Mike answered to my satisfaction so I would not say the debate completely answered the question for me. ”

    Mark A:
    You’re not alone in seeing that Mike made many good points and that there are more questions than answers in the debate.
    Shoot me an email if you want to discuss the content of the debate, why I chose to debate, etc.
    fedetor@yahoo.com

    1. Mark A says:

      Hi Fred,

      I very well may take you up on that offer. Thank you very much. As a witness with questions I am craving to be able to ask someone without risk of losing my family (I am a 3rd generation witness). My wife and daughter are both very strong in “the truth” I have no desire to damage my relationship with them in any way.

      I am going to listen to the debate in full again and take notes this time so I can try to send you a focused question. It may be a while before I am able to get the time to write it up but I will. And thank you again.

      1. FredTorres says:

        Brother Mark A:

        I hope to hear from you soon. In the congregation, all are reminded of the words found at Jude 22″ Also, continue showing mercy to some that have doubts; ” If they and your family are “strong in the truth” as you say, then you should be confident that they would be mindful of that.

        Email me on the Trinity brochure issue. You don’t have to wait for the debate questions. I’ve corresponded with someone responsible for circulating misleading information on the brochure, and I’ve done some research on this topic at the University of Texas.

        That’s it for me, I have to respect Mike’s request to keep things on topic, so the ball is in your court. I’m busy too but I’ll make time. fedetor@yahoo.com

        yb,
        Fred

  18. mark says:

    Mark A

    You said “here are many “rabid” apostates with whom debate would simply be a waste of time”

    I don’t want to get off topic anymore than I have, but this the kind of language that labels people unfairly?It might be true that constructive debate might not be the gift or intention of some, but to make such a generalisation is not helpful.Some JWs don,t ask questions because they get called names like that.

    mark

  19. Mark A says:

    I guess you may be right. Perhaps I phrased it incorrectly. I was speaking of those on another forum who call witness terms like “watchtarded”, who refer to God as “Jehoover” and his son as “Jebus” and critisize anyone who belives in the bible as stupid. I was not refering to those who have honest questions.

    Either way, I will agree with you that I should not have used the term “rabid” apostates.

  20. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Mike,

    You said:
    You claim that I was making a distinction between spirit-led and spirit-directed. I didn’t intend to, so my apologies for not making that more clear. I agree that they are basically the same. As to the fallibility aspect, i’m honestly unclear on what you mean by the spirit leading someone and that person misinterpreting what the spirit says. Would this be akin to receiving the scriptures but misinterpreting them?

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    Think of this as a for instance, since I obviously have no idea how God chooses to work these things out in detail.

    During the time of the harvest, which we regard to be the same as the “last days” and the “parousia” of Christ, it would be a time for clarification of truth and rejection of error. Eph. 4:11-17 would establish this as a process involving steps rather than a one shot operation. The same passage would tell us that such a process is still continuing since we have not yet achieved the status of the “full grown man” in understanding.

    God reveals things in his own due time for them to be understood. Seeing as how he appoints “gifts in men” to be those who are to readjust the holy ones, he would naturally work with those gifts on men when he had determined to refine their understanding of a particular subject, or they themselves, through diligent prayer and study, desired to have a finer understanding of a certain teaching, recognizing certain tensions within their current thoughts about it. How then could God lead or direct them with the spirit without at the same time inspiring their choices and subsequent writings as he did in times past?
    If God wanted these gifts in men to appreciate a certain aspect of Biblical teaching in a clearer manner than what they currently entertain, he could cause them to think of certain scriptures or bring to their minds certain aspects about the original languages that they have studied that bear on the issue, hoping that through their own meditation and study they might more clearly see the points that would bring about a refinement. This is not the same thing as being inspired where God evidently put his very thoughts into the individuals head and has him record them in an infallible manner and those words become the “words of God” through their hands.

    If God dealt with just the individual, interpretations without inspiration could become extremely subjective. However, when working with numerous individuals as a group, the chance for error is decreased because the interpretations have a larger pool of resources to draw from and the views are less likely to be the subjective opinions of one man.

    However, in that process, there is still room for error as even collectively, humans are still imperfect and they can misunderstand things to different degrees.
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    The problem is not merely that the GB claims to be spirit-led. It’s actually two fold:

    1. Everything they publish is spirit-led
    2. We are spirit-led, therefore you need to believe everything we publish

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    Your number two is the one that keeps getting in your way and causing your confusion. Anyone who reads and adheres to the scriptures properly is also spirit led, but not just anyone has been given the responsibility of keeping the congregations unified in their teachings. So, it’s just not a matter of being led by the spirit, but it has to do with the manner in which God keeps his people unified. It also has to do with the fact that we would expect God to give special attention to those gifts in men who have been given the responsibility of readjusting the teachings until they are perfect, all along maintaining the unity of God’s people in those matters.

    So they do not demand adherence solely because they are spirit led, or solely because God gives them special attention in understanding things, but it is required in order to sustain unity. In other words, if unity was not a requirement among the congregations of God, then it wouldn’t matter if they had special insight. However, since unity IS the requirement, then adherence is necessary.
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    I don’t want to rehash all the implications of these because I have already done so. Simply put, a Christian claiming to be spirit-led in areas of spiritual growth is different from a Christian demanding absolute obedience to all of their spirit-led publications.

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    Yes, and I have explained above why that is so.
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    [quote]“even if God attempts to direct them in a certain direction, the human can still not quite get it right due to his imperfection of thought or insufficient knowledge. Is this really that difficult to understand?”[/quote]

    It’s not hard to understand, but that’s not all the WT is claiming; that is “spirit-directed in a certain direction.” It’s much more than that. The spirit-direction is the very basis of their authority and you are to believe their every published word if you want to be a faithful JW.

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    Again, that’s wrong, you can’t have the authority based upon spirit direction alone without the requirement of unity. Unity is the catalyst for adherence, plus the fact that they are led by God’s spirit. Again we are reminded a number of times in the scriptures, that “salvation is in a multitude of counsellors”.
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    [quote]“So, what happens when things are not arrived at correctly is the result of the human element not quite getting the correct thought. That’s the very reason that those gifts in men continue to readjust the holy ones in order to keep them unified. Surely you don’t think it’s just a onetime adjustment, do you?”[/quote]

    Yeah, but again, this isn’t just about any normal fallible Christian getting things wrong. Sure, all Christians need to grow and make adjustments to their understanding. And yes, Christians should seek to be unified too.

    But here’s the difference: the “unity” you speak of is conformity. How can a group of fallible, error-prone men demand that everyone agree with everything they publish for the sake of unity? Once again, this is conformity rather than an honest pursuit of truth.

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    It is both at the same time. As the honest pursuit of truth is carried out, conformity assures unity until everything is perfectly understood. Conformity is a good thing in the proper setting, and Eph 4:11-17 establishes the proper setting.
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    [quote]“God doesn’t initiate the error, man does, because man is imperfect and we still see certain things “in hazy outline by means of a metal mirror” and we will continue to see some things rather hazily until such time as the “full grown man” of understanding arrives.”[/quote]

    Is this how the GB expects me and every Christian to view the next issue of the WT? Are these just “hazy outlines” that are being published? Or are these words that are spirit-directed that all faithful Christians must believe?

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    We understand the writings in the proper context that are presented. We are very well aware that peripheral ideas are subject to refinement and correction, but, for the sake of unity and respect for the assignment that these gifts in men have been given, we conform to their thinking in those peripheral areas until perfection of understanding is achieved. As I said before, the foundational and absolute teachings in the Bible never change, nor should they. It is the UNITY that drives the conformance, not the mere fact that they are directed/led by the spirit.
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    [quote]“Again, you continue to present a straw man. I have told you that there is room for different views to exist in peripheral areas, areas that are not solidly established by the scriptures as truth, or somewhat ambiguous. It is only the promotion of those views that creates a problem, because the promotion of those views lead to division, and God condemns that kind of division within the congregation. You should really try to get that straight because you constantly misstating this doesn’t do much for your credibility as an apologist.”[/quote]

    I don’t think this is a strawman at all. Please quote for me a WT publication that states “there is room for different view to exist in peripheral areas.” Does Jehovah expect you to believe everything published in the WT or doesn’t he? If so, then where is there room for different views?

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    God expects conformity to maintain the unity. That’s the very reason that Hebrews 13:17 says that you must not only obey, but SUBMIT (a word that denotes a struggling) those who take the lead among you. This in itself demonstrates that not everything you submit to is what you might personally think to be the case. It is easy to OBEY when you agree, there is no struggle to do so, but this verse helps us to see that submitting involves surrender to an idea or practice that you may not be sure about or even personally agree with.

    The WT stated:
    [quote]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.[/quote]

    If we are required to actually BELIEVE unreservedly everything that is stated, then why encourage the person to be patient?

    If it is simply unreserved belief that is required, why say the following to CHRISTIANS:

    [quote]Of course, not all doubt is bad. At times, you need to suspend acceptance of something till you are sure of the facts. Religious exhortations to the effect that you should just believe and should doubt nothing are dangerous and deceptive. True, the Bible says that love “believes all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7) A loving Christian is certainly ready to believe those who have proved trustworthy in the past. But God’s Word also warns against ‘putting faith in every word.’ (Proverbs 14:15) Sometimes a person’s past record gives legitimate reason for doubt. “Although [the deceptive talker] makes his voice gracious,” the Bible warns, “do not believe in him.”—Proverbs 26:24, 25.
    The apostle John also warns Christians against blind belief. “Do not believe every inspired expression,” he writes. Rather, “test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God.” (1 John 4:1) An “expression,” a teaching or opinion, might appear to emanate from God. But did it really come from him? Exercising some doubt, or suspending belief, can be a real protection because, as the apostle John says, “many deceivers have gone forth into the world.”—2 John 7.[/quote]
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    Here’s what was stated in the April 15, 2013 WT:

    “Do we strive to take in all the spiritual food we receive and meditate on it? Doing so will help us to continue to bear fruit and not wither spiritually in these difficult last days.—Read Psalm 1:1-3; 35: 28; 119:97…May we be diligent in partaking of all the spiritual food we receive through Jehovah’s organization.”—Ps. 119:27. -p. 30

    Do JW’s take in ALL the spiritual food or don’t they? If they don’t, aren’t they wrong? It doesn’t make sense to claim that there is room for disagreement and then say that any disagreement is wrong.

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    The encouragement is to meditate upon it and naturally they wouldn’t print it if they did not think it was the truth. These words do not contradict what I posted above.
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    [quote]“Those errors did not come from God, they came from the faulty process of human reasoning, something all men are prone to who are not infallibly inspired.”[/quote]

    I don’t mean to sound like a broken record here, but here’s my question: is everything in the next issue of the Watchtower directed by Jehovah or is only some of it? Surely, all faithful JW’s hold that everything published by the WT is directed by Jehovah.

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    And I am feeling like a broken record in trying to get you to see the difference that you can’t seem to grasp. It’s all directed by God as I explained, but clearly, not all of it gets properly filtered by imperfect men, sometimes more than other times. Sometimes they get it just right. Other times, they miss it. The importance of absolute truths compared to peripheral refinements should always be considered and remembered. Remember, it is the requirement of UNITY that drives the conformity, not just the fact that they are led by the spirit.
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    [quote]“Are you seriously thinking we are just talking about ONE adjustment and that’s it? If they make an adjustment, and then another one, was God responsible for the first adjustment not being precise enough, or was that the result of men’s imperfection mixed in the process.”[/quote]

    This is a “you can’t have your cake and eat it to” sort of thing. If the GB are just fallible men like every one else and doing the best they can to understand the Scriptures, then fine. But that’s not all they are. It simply doesn’t make sense to demand that all true Christians agree with you and then keep messing up the things you keep demanding everyone to believe.

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    They are the gifts in men mentioned at Eph.4:11-17, as we believe them to be. The process spelled out there is rather clear except to those who have an overactive spirit of independence. Those gifts in men have the responsibility to readjust the holy ones until things are perfect. The whole purpose of that is so that the congregations are unified in their teachings. Naturally, and this should just be simple logic at work here, if there are refinements going on and adjustments taking place, yet the unity is maintained, the you are going to have the same operation, or nearly so, that is employed by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
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    This is why we don’t have these problems in the local elders model. My elders don’t claim what your leaders claim. So when they teach something that is unbiblical, I simply choose not to believe it. And if I am in a teaching situation, I welcome and expect disagreement as long as it’s done in a charitable fashion. Yet, we remain unified in our worship and devotion to Christ. This is where I really see the spirit at work, not in situations of demanded conformity.

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    But then that same elder could think you are teaching something unbiblical or you would have accepted his idea. Who’s right? Who decides? And please don’t tell me that can’t happen. And then when we expand that potential to the worldwide congregation of God, the potential for every wind of teaching, all at the same time, simple multiplies many times over. You end up having the very situation that God was trying to prevent in Eph. 4:11-17
    1 Corinthians 1:10 tells us that we should all speak in agreement, be in the same mind and in the same line of thought. Christ should not exist divided, and that’s what you could clearly end up having if elders disagree and people in the congregation align themselves with each elder and the things that they teach. That scenario is nothing but a formula for disunity, division and the promotion of sects.
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    [quote]“We are used to the idea of adjustments and often speak among ourselves about them and the likelihood of receiving more and in particular areas of our teachings.”[/quote]

    What you call “adjustments” I call correcting a previously false teaching. But in these “circles” you speak of, do you sit around claiming that the GB is actually wrong about something? Clearly, in the 1920′s, any person who is even remotely familiar with the Scriptures would have been completely right in claiming that much of the material in “The Finished Mystery” was complete theological rubbish. Yet, I don’t think this is even possible for the faithful JW to have done, back then or today. You are to believe what the GB teaches, no matter how absurd it is; even if we’re talking only about peripheral issues.

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    Sometimes correction does have to do with rejecting false teachings; sometimes it is simply a refinement of a peripheral to an absolute teaching. I can entertain the existence of a different view without claiming that the GB is wrong. I can surely say they might be wrong about something, but I would never go so far as to promote a different view without their consent. That’s how it works. We all understand that and accept it as the Biblical way of refinement and unity at the same time.
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    [quote]“Actually, given their track record I would say the opposite. No other religious organization on earth has refined their doctrines to contain the amount of truth that they contain based upon Biblical precedent and the foundational teachings.”[/quote]

    That really doesn’t matter to me. It’s not what they were right on, it’s what they were wrong on. Harold Camping would be right in line with me on a lot of doctrines. But where he is wrong and has messed up badly is a deal breaker for me.

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    I would be in disagreement with both you and Harold when it comes to the established truths in the Bible. That’s the first disqualifier for me. That’s what people should first consider. Do have the foundation teachings established correctly or not? Do they conform to the absolute teachings of the Bible?

    So again, I implore you to pursue a teaching worthwhile for beneficial results. Pursue something that you believe is provable from the Bible where we are definitely wrong about as a foundational teaching, such as what is listed at Hebrews 6:1,2. That’s how you get JWs to stop being JWs, certainly not by pointing out that they have made peripheral errors and corrections, we already know that. It is something we fully expect to have happen in these last days. Adjustments in those areas are fully expected. In fact, without them, there would be a problem.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

  21. Octavio says:

    Rotherham says:

    “I can surely say they might be wrong about something, but I would never go so far as to promote a different view without their consent. That’s how it works. We all understand that and accept it as the Biblical way of refinement and unity at the same time.”

    So, currently, the Watchtower regards the medical use of red cells as forbidden by God. So, if my son needs them to save his life, I have to let him die, because I have to wait to a new Watchtower’s update of understanding. This is the lovely “god” the Watchtower promotes.

  22. mark says:

    Rotherham’s original comment compared the Wt society to the seven congregations in Rev.Although I agree with Mikes post. I don’t Rotherham’s comparison works because each of the congregations in Revelation has its own unique “deeds”.so, each congregation appears to be self governing.The Wt society is unified by the Governing body and what it prints.When they print error, all follow error. These are their “deeds”

    Instead of comparing the whole seven congregations to one organisation, would it not be more appropriate to compare the Wt society to just one of those congregations?

    The Wt society have some good deeds or qualities like other christian organisations.But, also have some things they need to work on.One, being, their presumptuousness and self elevation over the other six congregations, claiming that they alone are Gods sole channel of communication.I suppose a a bit like The Mormons,The Catholic church, SDA,s,Iglesia ni cristo, and so on.

    Luke 9:49″Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”50″Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

    Jesus admonishes the apostles for showing a sectarian spirit towards the stranger who was expelling demons in Jesus Name.Jesus explains the kingdom does not work in such a way.Although I wouldn’t compare the apostles directly to the Governing body, rather that every Christian should understand that the Kingdom can work in what ever way God chooses.And, of course he chooses Jesus Christ.

  23. rotherham2 says:

    Hello mark,

    What the messages to the seven churches demonstrates is that God’s congregations can exist in error for a time, but is allowed time for repentance and correction. Error alone does not disqualify the congregation, but it is rather their attitude toward truth. Are they willing to accept it as it is recognized or do they doggedly hold on to error and therefore eventually losing their “lampstand”?

    God condemns sectarianism and divisions within Christianity. That should tell us that all the different sects are not of God, but of men. There should be but one that God would recognize as his “church”. Those that are still captive to Babylon the Great need to depart, or as Revelation tells us, there will be consequences.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

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