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Switch to Forum Live View Jehovah's Witnesses joy concerning our changes in beliefs.
3 years ago  ::  Mar 12, 2012 - 11:32AM #1
Newtonian
Posts: 12,187

Jehovah's Witnesses' progressive enlightenment - the joy of increasing understanding of the Bible. 

As in Science so likewise in our literature newer literature tends to be more accurate than older literature because Jehovah's Witnesses are enjoying progressive enlightenment on the Scriptures.   There are a number of purposes for this thread:



 1.  To apply Acts 17:11 - carefully examing the Scriptures to see if our teachings are true.   Present tense, of course  - therefore including a critical analysis of our current website:

www.watchtower.org

and our primary beliefs in the list found here:

www.watchtower.org/e/jt/index.htm

2.  To document changes in our beliefs or understandings over the years, including the reasons for those changes.


 
3.  To study and add to research involving these changes.   Primarily Scriptural research, of course.



 4.  To document statements in our literature whereby we state that our literature is not inspired but is fallible while the Bible is infallible.



 5.  To expose false accusations about our literature that have been posted in this forum - such as that we are liars.


 
6.  My critique of specific anti-witness links concerning changes in our understandings.


 
7.  A study of the history of Jehovah's Witnesses, as we report it - such as in our book on our history:  "Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom.


 
8.  Documenting our newest changes in understanding - e.g. Wt. 4/15/10, p. 10.



 9.  How the Holy Spirit reveals new or clearer understandings of Scripture - Acts 17:11 - by study of the Bible - examples - e.g. Wt. 7/15/10 p. 22

First, a few briefer quotes from our literature concerning the above: Documenting two of wrong expectations concerning 1914 while recognizing our insight into the 7 times of Daniel 4:17 ending in 1914:

"A Modern Need for Adjustment 20 For 38 years prior to 1914, the Bible Students, as Jehovah’s Witnesses were then called, pointed to that date as the year when the Gentile Times would end. What outstanding proof that is that they were true servants of Jehovah! Yet, like first-century servants of God, they also had some wrong expectations. For example, they expected that the full number of anointed Christians would be raised to heaven by October 1914. They also thought that the war that started in 1914 would lead directly on to the end of Satan’s world." - "The Watchtower,10/15/90, p. 15

Documenting some of our errors in regards to dates and that our literature is not inspired or infallible so that at times it has been necessary to corrrect wrong views:

"Jehovah’s Witnesses, in their eagerness for Jesus’ second coming, have suggested dates that turned out to be incorrect. Because of this, some have called them false prophets. Never in these instances, however, did they presume to originate predictions ‘in the name of Jehovah.’ Never did they say, ‘These are the words of Jehovah.’ The Watchtower, the official journal of Jehovah’s Witnesses, has said: “We have not the gift of prophecy.” (January 1883, page 425) “Nor would we have our writings reverenced or regarded as infallible.” (December 15, 1896, page 306) The Watchtower has also said that the fact that some have Jehovah’s spirit “does not mean those now serving as Jehovah’s witnesses are inspired. It does not mean that the writings in this magazine The Watchtower are inspired and infallible and without mistakes.” (May 15, 1947, page 157) “The Watchtower does not claim to be inspired in its utterances, nor is it dogmatic.” (August 15, 1950, page 263) “The brothers preparing these publications are not infallible. Their writings are not inspired as are those of Paul and the other Bible writers. (2 Tim. 3:16) And so, at times, it has been necessary, as understanding became clearer, to correct views. (Prov. 4:18)”—February 15, 1981, page 19." - "Awake!," 3/22/93, p. 4

Documenting more errors in dates, including 1878:

"Testing and Sifting From Within


 Based on the premise that events of the first century might find parallels in related events later, they also concluded that if Jesus’ baptism and anointing in the autumn of 29 C.E. paralleled the beginning of an invisible presence in 1874, then his riding into Jerusalem as King in the spring of 33 C.E. would point to the spring of 1878 as the time when he would assume his power as heavenly King. They also thought they would be given their heavenly reward at that time. When that did not occur, they concluded that since Jesus’ anointed followers were to share with him in the Kingdom, the resurrection to spirit life of those already sleeping in death began then. .... That 1878 was a year of significance seemed to be fortified by reference to Jeremiah 16:18 (‘Jacob’s double,’ KJ) along with calculations indicating that 1,845 years had apparently elapsed from Jacob’s death down till 33 C.E., when natural Israel was cast off, and that the double, or duplicate, of this would extend from 33 C.E. down to 1878. ... See “The Truth Shall Make You Free,” chapter XI; “The Kingdom Is at Hand,” pages 171-5; also The Golden Age, March 27, 1935, pages 391, 412. In the light of these corrected tables of Bible chronology, it could be seen that previous use of the dates 1873 and 1878, as well as related dates derived from these on the basis of parallels with first-century events, were based on misunderstandings." - "Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom," pp. 632,633.

Contrasting our fallible literature with the Bible which is infallible such that our understandings have been "adjusted" as a result of increased light on God's Word and how Jehovah's Witnesses have shown loyalty and love in accepting these changes in our understandings:

"Because of this hope, the “faithful and discreet slave” has alerted all of God’s people to the sign of the times indicating the nearness of God’s Kingdom rule. In this regard, however, it must be observed that this “faithful and discreet slave” was never inspired, never perfect. Those writings by certain members of the “slave” class that came to form the Christian part of God’s Word were inspired and infallible, but that is not true of other writings since. Things published were not perfect in the days of Charles Taze Russell, first president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society; nor were they perfect in the days of J. F. Rutherford, the succeeding president. The increasing light on God’s Word as well as the facts of history have repeatedly required that adjustments of one kind or another be made down to the very present time. But let us never forget that the motives of this “slave” were always pure, unselfish; at all times it has been well-meaning. Moreover, the words found at Romans 8:28 are fitting here also: “God makes all his works cooperate together for the good of those who love God, those who are the ones called according to his purpose.” Actually, any adjustments that have been made in understanding have furnished an opportunity for those being served by this “slave” to show loyalty and love, the kind of love that Jesus said would mark his followers. (John 13:34, 35; compare 1 Peter 4:8.) For those who truly love God’s law there is no stumbling block.—Ps. 119:165." - "The Watchtower,3/1/79, pp. 23,24.

From our book on our history, documenting some other older examples of increased light:

"OTHER CHANGES IN VIEWPOINT
Advancement in understanding God’s Word brought about some other adjustments in Christian thinking. According to Grant Suiter, the late 1920’s were noteworthy along these lines. He says: “Modification of viewpoints respecting scriptures and matters of procedure seemed to be constant during these years. For example, it was in 1927 that The Watch Tower pointed out that the sleeping faithful members of the body of Christ were not resurrected in 1878 [as once thought], that life is in the blood and that the matter of somber dress would properly be modified.” (See The Watch Tower for 1927, pages 150-152, 166-169, 254, 255, 371, 372.) For that matter, the year before, during the London, England, convention of May 25-31, 1926, Brother Rutherford spoke from the platform while attired in a business suit, instead of the formal black frock coat that had long been worn by public speakers among Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. Another change in viewpoint involved the “cross and crown” symbol, which appeared on the Watch Tower cover beginning with the issue of January 1891. In fact, for years many Bible Students wore a pin of this kind. By way of description, C. W. Barber writes: “It was a badge really, with a wreath of laurel leaves as the border and within the wreath was a crown with a cross running through it on an angle. It looked quite attractive and was our idea at that time of what it meant to take up our ‘cross’ and follow Christ Jesus in order to be able to wear the crown of victory in due time.” Concerning the wearing of “cross and crown pins,” Lily R. Parnell comments: “This to Brother Rutherford’s mind was Babylonish and should be discontinued. He told us that when we went to the people’s homes and began to talk, that was the witness in itself.” Accordingly, reflecting on the 1928 Bible Students convention in Detroit, Michigan, Brother Suiter writes: “At the assembly the cross and crown emblems were shown to be not only unnecessary but objectionable. So we discarded these items of jewelry.” Some three years thereafter, beginning with its issue of October 15, 1931, The Watchtower no longer bore the cross and crown symbol on its cover. A few years later Jehovah’s people first learned that Jesus Christ did not die on a T-shaped cross. On January 31, 1936, Brother Rutherford released to the Brooklyn Bethel family the new book Riches. Scripturally, it said, in part, on page 27: “Jesus was crucified, not on a cross of wood, such as is exhibited in many images and pictures, and which images are made and exhibited by men; Jesus was crucified by nailing his body to a tree.” - 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, pp. 148,149

Here are some of the newest corrections in our understandings:


"Are You Keeping Up With Increased Light? Jehovah continues to shed light upon his people. What are some refinements that have been published in The Watchtower?


▪ Jesus’ illustration of the leaven highlights what positive lesson about spiritual growth? (Matt. 13:33)—July 15, 2008, pages 19-20.


▪ When does the calling of Christians to a heavenly hope cease?—May 1, 2007, pages 30-31.


▪ What does it mean to worship Jehovah “with spirit”? (John 4:24)—July 15, 2002, page 15.


▪ In which courtyard does the great crowd serve? (Rev. 7:15)—May 1, 2002, pages 30-31.


▪ When does the separating of the sheep and the goats take place? (Matt. 25:31-33)—October 15, 1995, pages 18-28." - "The Watchtower," 4/15/10, p. 10

Our 1950 and 2009 invitation for all to critically analyze our literature in the light of the Bible , thus applying Acts 17:11 -


 "Hence the purpose of this magazine is to keep sharp and faithful focus on Bible truth, on world happenings that may fulfill prophecies, and on religious news generally. Sometimes it will tear down religious falsehoods, that Bible truth may be built up in their stead. Such two-way work is Scripturally commanded, and is beneficial for all persons of right heart condition. (Jer. 1:10; Heb. 12:5-13) However, The Watchtower does not claim to be inspired in its utterances, nor is it dogmatic. It invites careful and critical examination of its contents in the light of the Scriptures. Its purpose is to aid others to know Jehovah and his purposes toward mankind, and to announce Christ’s established kingdom as our only hope."- "The Watchtower," 8/15/50, p. 263

And from our latest (2009) book on Acts entitled "Bearing Thorough Witness about God's Kingdom"  

The Governing Body relies on God’s holy spirit for direction. Its members do not regard themselves as the leaders of Jehovah’s people. Rather, like all anointed Christians on earth, they “keep following the Lamb [Jesus Christ] no matter where he goes.”—Rev. 14:4. - page 110.


Though the Beroeans were hearing something new, they were not suspicious or harshly critical; neither were they gullible. First, they listened carefully to what Paul had to say. Then, they verified what they had learned by turning to the Scriptures, which Paul had opened up to their understanding. Moreover, they diligently studied the Word of God, not just on the Sabbath, but daily. And they did so with great “eagerness of mind,” devoting themselves to finding out what the Scriptures revealed in light of this new teaching. Then, they proved humble enough to make changes, for “many of them became believers.” (Acts 17:12) No wonder Luke describes them as “noble-minded”! 17 Little did those Beroeans realize that the record of their reaction to the good news would be preserved in God’s Word as a shining example of spiritual noble-mindedness. They did precisely what Paul had hoped they would do and what Jehovah God wanted them to do. Likewise, it is what we encourage people to do—to examine the Bible carefully so that their faith is solidly based on God’s Word. After we become believers, though, does the need to be noble-minded come to an end? On the contrary, it becomes ever more important that we be eager to learn from Jehovah and quick to apply his teachings. In that way, we allow Jehovah to mold us and train us according to his will. (Isa. 64:8) We thus remain useful and fully pleasing to our heavenly Father. - pp, 137-138


[Box on page 105] ‘JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES BUILD THEIR BELIEFS ON THE BIBLE’   As amply demonstrated in the case of the early Christian congregation, the history of true worship is a record of progressive spiritual enlightenment. (Prov. 4:18; Dan. 12:4, 9, 10; Acts 15:7-9) Today, too, Jehovah’s people adjust their beliefs to conform to revealed truth; they do not force the Scriptures to fit their views. Impartial observers have recognized this fact. In his book Truth in Translation, Jason David BeDuhn, associate professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University in the United States, wrote that Jehovah’s Witnesses approach the Bible “with a kind of innocence, and [build] their system of belief and practice from the raw material of the Bible without predetermining what was to be found there.”


Thus it turns out that some hate the fact that we have changed our beliefs and understandings in the light of Scriptural research - however I wish to go on record as loving this aspect of my religion.  In fact - this is the same reason I love science - the humility to reject formerly cherished beliefs  in the light of good research and the joy of discovery of new truths - new to us but waiting to be discovered!


This is just as true in Biblical research as in scientific research, as Isaac Newton also believed - and Newton wrote more on his Biblical research than on his scientific research! Hence my user name, btw.


One afterthought - would anyone accuse Newton of lying because he did not incorporate Einstein's discoveries in relativity into his laws of motion?   Have Newton's laws of motion been corrected as a result of new light through Einstein's research?


to be continued 

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 12, 2012 - 12:52PM #2
Svetlana
Posts: 11,286

Mar 12, 2012 -- 11:32AM, Newtonian wrote:


One afterthought - would anyone accuse Newton of lying because he did not incorporate Einstein's discoveries in relativity into his laws of motion?   Have Newton's laws of motion been corrected as a result of new light through Einstein's research?



Apples and oranges, dear Newtonian, and I know you know that.  To restate the glaringly obvious, Newton NEVER claimed to be led by the spirit of God (which implies perfection), nor did he ever claim to be the only mouthpiece of God on earth (again implying perfection, and implying that whatever he said was the ONLY correct way of saying it).  He merely reported what he had learned, without even implying that he was necessarily correct.  Newton and the WTS are not remotely alike in their pronouncements, no such comparison can be made.  Not apples and oranges, apples and orangutans.


"No matter how big and bad you are, when a two-year-old hands you a toy phone, you answer it."  ~ (common sense)

"Never place a period where God has placed a comma."  ~ Gracie Allen

"I care not for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it." ~ Abraham Lincoln

"I wonder sometimes if we ever give God a headache." ~ Dontay Hall, age 8
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3 years ago  ::  Mar 12, 2012 - 1:13PM #3
Oeste
Posts: 3,376

Mar 12, 2012 -- 12:52PM, Svetlana wrote:


Mar 12, 2012 -- 11:32AM, Newtonian wrote:


One afterthought - would anyone accuse Newton of lying because he did not incorporate Einstein's discoveries in relativity into his laws of motion?   Have Newton's laws of motion been corrected as a result of new light through Einstein's research?



Apples and oranges, dear Newtonian, and I know you know that.  To restate the glaringly obvious, Newton NEVER claimed to be led by the spirit of God (which implies perfection), nor did he ever claim to be the only mouthpiece of God on earth (again implying perfection, and implying that whatever he said was the ONLY correct way of saying it).  He merely reported what he had learned, without even implying that he was necessarily correct.  Newton and the WTS are not remotely alike in their pronouncements, no such comparison can be made.  Not apples and oranges, apples and orangutans.





I agree Svetlana, there is little comparison between what we accept objectively through science and what we accept intrinsically through faith.


But Newt is pointing out something very different here. Scientific "truths" are constantly changing because its not based on the Word of God, but on the word (observations) of men.


Likewise, Watchtower "truths" are constantly changing, because they're not based on the Word of God, but on the word (observations) of men.


It reminds me of Ephesians 4: 14:


"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming."


It is a striking parallel, science and Watchtower teachings, and one the Watchtower takes great joy in. I hope to see additional posts from Newt drawing on this subject.


Never argue with stupid people. They will drag
you down to their level and then beat you with
experience ~ Mark Twain

If you are neutral on situations of injustice
you have chosen the side of the oppressor ~
Desmond Tutu
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3 years ago  ::  Mar 12, 2012 - 1:34PM #4
Newtonian
Posts: 12,187

Svetlana - My comments are in blue - and this is a relevant tangent from thread theme.


Mar 12, 2012 -- 12:52PM, Svetlana wrote:


Mar 12, 2012 -- 11:32AM, Newtonian wrote:


One afterthought - would anyone accuse Newton of lying because he did not incorporate Einstein's discoveries in relativity into his laws of motion?   Have Newton's laws of motion been corrected as a result of new light through Einstein's research?



Apples and oranges, dear Newtonian, and I know you know that.  To restate the glaringly obvious, Newton NEVER claimed to be led by the spirit of God (Can you prove that?) (which implies perfection), [ No, it does not so imply.  In fact, even the inspired Bible writers were not perfect.   The only human that was perfect was Jesus Christ - and certainly writings of holy men led by God's spirit are not perfect]


....



You believe scientific research and Biblical research are not alike - not me.   Thank you for stating your belief - it is clear your belief is diametrically opposite to mine on that matter.


God created all things that are studied in all branches of science and God inspired the Bible - Paul invited us to study the things made to learn about God - see Romans 1:20 - thus Jehovah's Witnesses literature includes information from all the branches of science.


You wish to separate Biblical research from scientific research - and your view is that this is like comparing apples and oranges.   That is exactly opposite to my view - hey, beleive as you wish - I do not share your viewpoint.


When I look at the universe and study what astronomers have learned about how fine tuned our universe is for life it filsl me with awe at God's power and ability in fine tuning the 4 forces of physics and the expansion rate of the universe - and the fact that scientists have now discovered that the universe is accelerating in expansion helps me understand better Isaiah 40:22 which states God is stretching out the heavens.  And the many ways earth is fine tuned to bring man joy - the beautiful sunsets, majestic mountains, awesome aurora's - so many things that show God's love for man in providing this beautiful home.


That is how I feel about scientific research - I do not share your viewpoint at all - far from it!


However, on this thread I wanted to concentrate on new things we have learned - and as a segway, our literature from the 1920's does not tell us anything about dark energy, but our more recent literature does.


"Dark Energy and Dark Matter


In 1998, researchers analyzing light from a special kind of supernova, or exploding star, found evidence that the expansion of the universe is actually accelerating! At first, the scientists were skeptical, but evidence soon mounted. Naturally, they wanted to know what form of energy was causing the accelerating expansion. For one thing, it seemed to be working in opposition to gravity; and for another, it was not predicted by present theories. Appropriately, this mysterious form of energy has been named dark energy, and it may make up nearly 75 percent of the universe!


Dark energy, however, is not the only “dark” oddity discovered in recent times. Another was confirmed in the 1980’s when astronomers examined various galaxies. These galaxies, as well as our own, appeared to be spinning too fast to hold together. Evidently, then, some form of matter must be giving them the necessary gravitational cohesion. But what kind of matter? Because scientists have no idea, they have called the stuff dark matter, since it does not absorb, emit, or reflect detectable amounts of radiation. How much dark matter is out there? Calculations indicate that it could make up 22 percent or more of the mass of the universe.


Consider this: According to current estimates, normal matter accounts for about 4 percent of the mass of the universe. The two big unknowns—dark matter and dark energy—appear to make up the balance. Thus, about 95 percent of the universe remains a complete mystery!" - "Awake!, 8/09, pp. 17,18


True, our literature is more focused on Biblical research than on scientific research.   As I posted, Newton also wrote more on his Biblical research than on his scientific research.



 

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 12, 2012 - 1:56PM #5
Newtonian
Posts: 12,187

Oeste - Better post - again my comments are in blue.   You also are not addressing the actual changes in our beliefs, btw.



I agree Svetlana, there is little comparison between what we accept objectively through science and what we accept intrinsically through faith. [Perhaps for you - not for me.   Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept 'blind' faith, but rather follow the counsel at 1 Thessalonians 5:21 - "prove all things" - KJV (NW footnote - be you proving).   The type of faith Jehovah's Witnesses develop is explained in Hebrews 11:1 - the greek words involved include "convincing evidence" for example.   For me there is absolutely ZERO difference between what I accept through science and what I accept through the Bible because science is the study of all the things God created]


But Newt is pointing out something very different here. Scientific "truths" are constantly changing because its not based on the Word of God, but on the word (observations) of men.[Your oversimplify - accurate observations reported accurately by men are, in fact, infallible - just like the Bible is infallible - the problem comes in how accurate the observation , the reporting and the interpretation of the data is.   Also, only statements in our literature not actually proven by the Bible are fallible.   Any accurate Biblical statement in our literature is infallible.  Thus the need to apply Acts 17:11 to see if the teaching is true, or is questionable, or is wrong.]


Likewise, Watchtower "truths" are constantly changing, because they're not based on the Word of God, but on the word (observations) of men. [As you phrase it, your statement is inaccurate - but you are on the right track.  Only teachings contained in the Watchtower which were not proven by the Bible have changed.   Teachings which accurately represent what the Bible really teaches have not changed.   Thus my challenge to try to find errors in our website by applying Acts 17:11 -


www.watchtower.org


 


It reminds me of Ephesians 4: 14:


"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming." 


You failed to note the context - that we are to strive for oneness of faith built up in love - Jehovah's Witnesses have that unity - that oneness of faith as followers of Jesus Christ.   Few other religions enjoy the unity of faith and belief that Jehovah's Witnesses have.   See the list of beliefs I linked you to - and I challenge you to point out if there is any error therein.  Note that these are Bible based teachings, not fallible human opinions we have sometimes expressed in our literature.


It is a striking parallel, science and Watchtower teachings, and one the Watchtower takes great joy in. I hope to see additional posts from Newt drawing on this subject.


Thank you Oeste - you will!  I love both scientific research and Biblical research and the joy of discovery of new things learned in both!






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3 years ago  ::  Mar 12, 2012 - 2:34PM #6
Kemmer
Posts: 16,518

 A few years later Jehovah’s people first learned that Jesus Christ did not die on a T-shaped cross. On January 31, 1936, Brother Rutherford released to the Brooklyn Bethel family the new book Riches. Scripturally, it said, in part, on page 27: “Jesus was crucified, not on a cross of wood, such as is exhibited in many images and pictures, and which images are made and exhibited by men; Jesus was crucified by nailing his body to a tree.” - 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, pp. 148,149



This is just one of the JWs amusing little inventions.  Evidently JWs believe all Roman executions took place on a cross EXCEPT Jesus's.  Curious.


And what does dark energy and dark matter have to do with anything?  I guess no scientific discoveries or advances are accepted by the JWs until they are noted in their "literature", the WT and Awake.

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 12, 2012 - 3:01PM #7
ephphatha
Posts: 143

Newtonian,


I had hoped that this would actually be an attempt to grapple with the evidence I have provided to show that the Watchtower Society has been dishonest about its own history.  Unfortunately, you completely ignored all the evidence I provided and made a completely different case.  What your evidence shows is that the Watchtower, at various times, has been truthful about its history.  But, as any reasonable person can see, the fact that somebody has told the truth about their past does not mean that they have never lied about their past.  I'll prove that to you right now.


Yesterday, I ate sushi with my brother.


Yesterday, I did not eat sushi with my brother.


By the law of excluded middle, we know with logical certainty that one of those statements is true and the other is false.  That means I have lied about my past, and it also means that I have been honest about my past.  It is therefore possible that one is a liar even if one tells the truth.  In the same way, you could multiply cases and evidences about the Watchtower being truthful about its past, and it will not in any way undermine the case I have made that the Watchtower has been dishonest about its past.  If you cannot see this, then there is no hope for you.  It is impossible to reason with you if you cannot grasp such a simple concept.


If you want to actually grapple with the evidence that has been offered, then you need to grapple with the quotes and citations that were actually used to demonstrate dishonesty.  You need to show the they do not mean what I and the other authors claimed they meant, or you need to show that they were taken out of context, and that the context reveals a different meaning, or something along those lines.  Or you need to reconcile the statements in the old literature with the statements in the newer literature--the ones that were compared with the older literature to show the inconsistency.  You've got to show that they were not really inconsistent.  Or, you could just show that the quotes and citations are completely made up.  Any of these things would debunk the case against Watchtower dishonesty.  But what you have done so far does nothing of the sort.


Now I'm going to respond to some specific things you said in your post, irrelevant though they are.


"A Modern Need for Adjustment 20 For 38 years prior to 1914, the Bible Students, as Jehovah’s Witnesses were then called, pointed to that date as the year when the Gentile Times would end. What outstanding proof that is that they were true servants of Jehovah! Yet, like first-century servants of God, they also had some wrong expectations. For example, they expected that the full number of anointed Christians would be raised to heaven by October 1914. They also thought that the war that started in 1914 would lead directly on to the end of Satan’s world." - "The Watchtower,10/15/90, p. 15


This is highly misleading.  Prior to 1914, the phrase "gentile times" referred to the period of history when gentile nations ruled the world.  The end of the gentile times, therefore, entailed the destruction of gentile governments.  So it is highly misleading to say the Witnesses were right about 1914 being the end of the gentile times, but wrong about 1914 being the end of the gentile governments (which I take to be what the article means by "Satan's world," but you can correct me if I'm wrong).


Think about it.  Suppose I told you that tomorrow there would be a total eclipse.  You ask me, "What is a total eclipse?"  I responded, "A total eclipse is when the moon completely blocks the light from the sun in some area on the surface of the earth."  Then, tomorrow rolls around, and although the moon never blocks the sun's light on the surface of the earth, there nevertheless is a big train wreck that kills a hundred people.  Then I say, "Victory!  I accurately predicted there would be a total eclipse!  I was just wrong about the moon blocking the sun.  It turns out that a total eclipse is when a train wreck happens that kills 100 people."  Honestly, Newtonian, would you be impressed by that?


And yet the article you quote says, "What outstanding proof that is that they were true servants of Jehovah!"  Newtonian, you may be impressed by statements like that, but people are laughing at you.  They are literally laughing.  Personally, I don't know whether to laugh or cry because although the gullibility is remarkable, I have loved ones who believe this nonsense.


But lemme ask you a question.  What do you think about the critics of Jehovah's Witnesses prior to 1914?  They all predicted that 1914 would NOT be the end of the gentile governments.  And they were right!!!  Does that prove that they were true servants of Jehovah?  In ever case where Jehovah's Witnesses have set dates, they have been wrong, but their critics have been right.  Does that show their critics are true servants of Jehovah?


The truth is, Newtonian, absolutely nothing that was predicted to happen in 1914 actually took place.  Jehovah's Witnesses have simply retained the phrase "gentile times" and invested it with a completely different meaning and declared victory for accurately predicting the end of the gentile times.  Nobody else is impressed.


In reality, not even the new meaning of "the gentile times" gives them an accurate prediction.  WWI is the only event we were able to observe.  Nobody observed Jesus taking the throne in 1914.  Somehow, JW's think WWI provides evidence that Jesus took the throne in 1914, but that is speculative at best.  Biblically, it is untenable.  And the Biblical basis for JW's arriving at 1914 is absolutely absurd.


"Jehovah’s Witnesses, in their eagerness for Jesus’ second coming, have suggested dates that turned out to be incorrect. Because of this, some have called them false prophets. Never in these instances, however, did they presume to originate predictions ‘in the name of Jehovah.’ Never did they say, ‘These are the words of Jehovah.’ The Watchtower, the official journal of Jehovah’s Witnesses, has said: “We have not the gift of prophecy.” (January 1883, page 425)" February 15, 1981, page 19." - "Awake!," 3/22/93, p. 4 



This is bald faced lie, as this quote proves:


“We see no reason for changing the figures-nor could we change them 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 for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble.” Zion’s Watchtower July 15, 1894 pp 226-231



So yes, Jehovah's Witnesses did in fact explicitly attribute the dates to Jehovah, and not to their own speculations.


Concerning the statement that "We have not the gift of prophecy," the organization has been wildly inconsistent on this issue.  What they have essentially done is claimed for themselves all of the authority of a prophet, but denied all the responsibility of a prophet.  However, one cannot have the authority without the responsibility.  Take at look at this quote:


"So, does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come? 


IDENTIFYING THE "PROPHET"
These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet? ... 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. ... Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a "prophet" of God. It is another thing to prove it. The only way that this can be done is to review the record. Thus this group of anointed followers of Jesus Christ, doing a work in Christendom paralleling Ezekiel's work among the Jews, were manifestly the modern-day Ezekiel, the "prophet" commissioned by Jehovah to declare the good news of God's Messianic kingdom and to give warning to Christendom." Watchtower 1972 Apr 1 pp.197-199 'They Shall Know that a Prophet Was Among Them'



Notice the sense in which the organization was identifying itself as a prophet.  They were claiming to be prophets in the same sense that Ezekiel was a prophet.  Now, just ask yourself, "In what sense was Ezekiel a prophet"? There is no doubt that the organization claimed to be a prophet.  The only question is what they meant by it.


I want to say something about your claim that Jehovah's Witnesses have changed their views over the years.  To make my point will require you to be honest with yourself about something.  Is it possible for a Jehovah's Witness to openly disagree with current Watchtower literature and remain a Jehovah's Witness in good standing?  If you are honest, I think you will have to say the answer is "No."  And, in fact, the Watchtower has said:


If we have love for Jehovah and for the organization of his people we shall not be suspicious, but shall, as the Bible says, 'believe all things,' all the things that The Watchtower brings out, inasmuch as it has been faithful in giving us a knowledge of God's purposes and guiding us in the way of peace, safety and truth from its inception to this present day. (Qualified to be Ministers. WTBTS. 1955. pp. 156.)



Now look at what follows from that, combined with the fact that the Watchtower is sometimes wrong about doctrinal matters.  What follows is that in order remain a Jehovah's Witness in good standing, you must sometimes believe things that are false (or if you disagree with them, you must keep it to yourself). 


Stay with me, now. There are several cases where the Watchtower has said that full membership in the organization is necessary for salvation.  For example:


Similarly, Jehovah is using only one organization today to accomplish his will. To receive everlasting life in the earthly Paradise we must identify that organization and serve God as part of it." Watchtower 1983 Feb 15 p.12



(See also the May 15, 2006 edition of the Watchtower, p. 22)  Now think about that, Newtonian.  Let me break it down for you.


1.  In order to receive everlasting life, one must be part of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses.


2.  In order to be part of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, one must agree with all the teachings put out in Watchtower literature.


3.  Sometimes, the teachings put out in Watchtower literature are false.


4.  Therefore, in order to receive everlasting life, one must sometimes believe what is false.


Do you see the problem here?  This is precisely why Paul said, "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!" (Galatians 1:8).  Not even Paul was arrogant enough to assume the same kind of absolute authority over doctrine that the Watchtower organization claims.  Jehovah's Witnesses pride themselves on applying Acts 17:11, but when would you honestly ever look at the scripture, come to a different conclusion from the WTS, and claim your understanding is better than their's?  You wouldn't do it, which means your claim to Acts 17:11 is pretentious.  I had a Jehovah's Witness who came to my house openly admit this to me.  I asked him this question:  Suppose you read the Bible, and from everything you could tell by reading it and parsing out the syntax, context, etc., it looked plainly to you to say X, but the Watchtower literature said it meant something different, would you conclude the Watchtower was wrong, or would you assume there was a misunderstanding on your part when reading the text?  He told me he would trust the Watchtower over his own understanding. He would assume he was wrong even though he couldn't understand why.  Can you relate with him, Newtonian?  Because if you can, then you are at odds with both Acts 17:11 and with Galatians 1:8.  If Watchtower literature always necessarily trumps any understanding you arrive at through private study, then your use of Acts 17:11 is pretentious.


Well, I haven't even gotten half way through your post yet, but I've spent a lot of time on it.  I'll take a break and maybe come back to your post later.

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 12, 2012 - 4:20PM #8
Svetlana
Posts: 11,286

Mar 12, 2012 -- 1:34PM, Newtonian wrote:


Svetlana - My comments are in blue - and this is a relevant tangent from thread theme.


Mar 12, 2012 -- 12:52PM, Svetlana wrote:


Mar 12, 2012 -- 11:32AM, Newtonian wrote:


One afterthought - would anyone accuse Newton of lying because he did not incorporate Einstein's discoveries in relativity into his laws of motion?   Have Newton's laws of motion been corrected as a result of new light through Einstein's research?



Apples and oranges, dear Newtonian, and I know you know that.  To restate the glaringly obvious, Newton NEVER claimed to be led by the spirit of God (Can you prove that?)



Can I prove a negative??  I thought you studied science.  Well, I'll give it a shot as soon as you show me how.  I tell you now as fact that I have never been to Scotland.  Now please PROVE that, as you would have me prove that Newton never claimed the results of his experiments were guided by the Holy Spirit.


(which implies perfection), [ No, it does not so imply.  In fact, even the inspired Bible writers were not perfect.   The only human that was perfect was Jesus Christ - and certainly writings of holy men led by God's spirit are not perfect]


....


Careful!  I didn't say anything about scripture, I said that your leaders claim to be the mouthpieces of God Himself, directly so.  Scripture has nothing to do with it.  

"No matter how big and bad you are, when a two-year-old hands you a toy phone, you answer it."  ~ (common sense)

"Never place a period where God has placed a comma."  ~ Gracie Allen

"I care not for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it." ~ Abraham Lincoln

"I wonder sometimes if we ever give God a headache." ~ Dontay Hall, age 8
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3 years ago  ::  Mar 12, 2012 - 5:51PM #9
Newtonian
Posts: 12,187

Mar 12, 2012 -- 2:34PM, Kemmer wrote:


 A few years later Jehovah’s people first learned that Jesus Christ did not die on a T-shaped cross. On January 31, 1936, Brother Rutherford released to the Brooklyn Bethel family the new book Riches. Scripturally, it said, in part, on page 27: “Jesus was crucified, not on a cross of wood, such as is exhibited in many images and pictures, and which images are made and exhibited by men; Jesus was crucified by nailing his body to a tree.” - 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, pp. 148,149



This is just one of the JWs amusing little inventions.  Evidently JWs believe all Roman executions took place on a cross EXCEPT Jesus's.  Curious.


And what does dark energy and dark matter have to do with anything?  I guess no scientific discoveries or advances are accepted by the JWs until they are noted in their "literature", the WT and Awake.




Kemmer - You have any documentation for your silly assertions?


I will be glad to document accurate statements in our literature.   For example, the Greek word translated "cross" in many Bibles is "stauros"


www2.mf.no/bibelprog/vines?word=¯t0...


denotes, primarily, "an upright pale or stake." On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroo, "to fasten to a stake or pale," are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed "cross." The shape of the latter had its origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands, including Egypt. By the middle of the 3rd cent. A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the "cross" of Christ.


However, the Bible also used the Greek word xylon to describe the death instrument.   As my above quote of our literature shows, these verse read in most Bibles that Jesus was put to death on a tree -


e.g.: Acts 5:30 (KJV)  The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.


Need any more documentation?

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 12, 2012 - 6:04PM #10
Kemmer
Posts: 16,518

I will be glad to document accurate statements in our literature.



Forgive me if I question the accuracy of any statements in your magazines.


For example, the Greek word translated "cross" in many Bibles is "stauros"



"Stavros" is a common man's name in modern Greece.  How many moms would name their sons "Torture Stake"?  (Unless that child were an embarrassing inconvenience) Wink

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