Thursday, June 19, 2008

Are all Jehovah's Witnesses after 1984 apostate?

I am a bit perplexed by this and would like clarification by any Jehovah's Witness who might be reading this:

December 1, 1984 Watchtower:

"....Have apostates who claim that "the last days" began at Pentecost and cover the entire Christian Era promoted Christian alertness? Have they not, rather, induced spiritual sleepiness?...."

February 15, 2008 Watchtower:

".....Since Jesus did not use negative qualifiers when speaking to them about "this generation," the apostles would no doubt have understood that they and their fellow disciples were to be part of the "generation" that would not pass away "until all these things [would] occur....."

I don't have the full articles, which might make more sense given the fuller context. But what i'm seeing here seems to be saying that those who claimed that the last days began at pentecost are "apostates." This was said in 1984. But then in 2008 it was said that the apostles understood the last days as happening in their lifetime. Unless i'm mistaken, this seems to be an instance of careless stone-throwing by the Watchtower.

36 comments:

Shawn said...

Here's the context... and you won't get it simply by having both articles in their entirety. In 1984, JWs believed that the people who witnessed the events of 1914 would not die before Armageddon occurred. The age of a person who was able to comprehend the events of 1914 was eventually lowered to 10 years old, born in 1904. These people would have to be 104 now.... oops. So, to save themselves from yet another failed prophecy ( they have said that 'the end' would happen in 1914, 1915, 1918, 1925, 1975, before the 1914 generation dies, and the latest implication is 2034 ), the Watchtower society redefined the term "generation" from the literal generation that saw 1914 to something nebulous. The latest date was published in the December 15, 2003 Watchtower on pages 14-19. (quote from http://www.jwfiles.com/2034.htm )

Noah preached 120 years until the time of the flood, which was the time of the end to Noah and his generation. The December 15, 2003 Watchtower article is paralleling Noah's day to our present day. The Society is adding a 120 years to the 1914 date to come up with the hinted date of 2034.

Words such as "Similar, Similarly, Similarity, Similarities, Parallel, Corresponds, Characteristic, Compare, Arklike and more are all through the article to back up their subtle and hinted claims.

Page 15, Paragraph 6
"In Noah's day, Jehovah declared: 'My spirit shall not act toward man indefinitely in that he is also flesh. Accordingly his days shall amount to a hundred and twenty years.' (Genesis 6:3) The issuance of this divine decree in 2490 B.C.E. marked the beginning of the end for that ungodly world. Just think what that meant for those then living! Only 120 years more and Jehovah would bring 'the deluge of waters upon the earth to bring to ruin all flesh in which the force of life is active from under the heavens.' - Genesis 6:17"

Page 15, Paragraph 7
"Noah received the warning of the upcoming catastrophe decades in advance and he wisely used the time to prepare for survival.' After being given divine warning of things not yet beheld,' says the apostle Paul, '[Noah] showed godly fear and constructed an ark for the saving of his household.' (Hebrews 11:7) What about us? Some 90 years have passed since the last days of this system of things began in 1914. We are certainly in 'the time of the end.' (Daniel 12:4) How should we respond to warnings we have been given? 'He that does the will of God remains forever,' states the Bible. (1 John 2:17) Now is therefore the time to do Jehovah's will with a keen sense of urgency."

Page 15, Paragraph 9
"Jehovah has kept these warnings in front of his people by means of timely reminders through the spiritual food provided by 'the faithful and discreet slave'".... (end of quote)

A footnote in the Feb 15th 2008 Watchtower study article states "Apparently, the period in which "this generation" lives seems to correspond to the period covered by the first vision of the book of Revelation. (Rev. 1:10-3:22) This aspect of the day of the Lord extends from 1914 until when the last of the faithful anointed dies and is resurrected - See Revelation - Its Grand Climax at Hand! page 24, paragraph 4."
The Watchtower society used to quote Psalms 90:10

"10 In themselves the days of our years are seventy years;
And if because of special mightiness they are eighty years,
Yet their insistence is on trouble and hurtful things;
For it must quickly pass by, and away we fly. "

and associate 70 or 80 years with the generation of 1914, but now that that time has come and gone, they need an extension and found it in the parallel of Noah's day. The JWs are a branch of Adventism and are eagerly awaiting the destruction of all human life on earth except for JWs, at which time the earth will, through the hard work of the survivors, be transformed into a global park where there will be no carnivorous animals. Oh, lions will still be around, they just won't eat meat anymore, so your children will be able to hug them. Take a look at http://www.watchtower.org/e/lmn/index.htm

The Watchtower society is constantly looking for clues as to when this catastrophic event will occur and every time one of the indicators (either a particular year or the passing of the 'generation') fails to ring in the destruction of almost all human life, the Watchtower society suddenly gets 'new light' from the Holy Spirit.

So it's entirely understandable that you are confused about this interpretation. You have to keep in mind that the JWs (meaning the governing body in Brooklyn) are constantly discovering "new light" and this new light gives way to "the current understanding" of the scriptures. So really, only the publications from the last few years are to be understood as "the truth". Also, keep in mind that any interpretation of the scriptures that does not come from the Watchtower society (referred to internally as 'the faithful and discreet slave') is coming from an apostate.

The preaching work of the JWs is fueled by the fear that the coming day of Jehovah's wrath is very near and that true Christians will be involved primarily in the preaching activity. For the rank and file adherents, that means that if they're not busy in the Lord's work when Armageddon happens, they will be destroyed with the rest of the pagans. This urgency is what drives JWs to engage in the door-to-door ministry to promote the Watchtower society's message. Therefore, anyone who claims that the scriptures do not indicate that the time we are living in is 'the time of the end', is working against God's spirit-directed organization (the Watchtower society's governing body)... an apostate.

In the mind of a JW, there is no conflict in the statements of 1984 and 2008. In the 1984 article, the Society is warning the faithful not to believe people who say the end is not near. That's because JW families might not want to go out knocking on doors every weekend and take their family to a real park without friendly lions and actually enjoy the life they are living instead of living for a life that the Watchtower society has promised them will come really, really soon. On the other hand, in the 2008 article the Society is disseminating 'new light' on the understanding of what the term 'generation' means.

This is typical Watchtower marketing spin. They present this new light in a you-heard-it-here-first-Aren't-you-special? kind of way to distract the rank and file from the fact that the society was just plain wrong about Armageddon arriving before the literal generation of 1914 dies ( or whatever else they were wrong about). There's a lot of excitement before some new light is published. Magazines leading up to the new light hint at it's arrival. Then, after the new light arrives there's a sort of mob mentality that pushes each individual to adapt their beliefs to this new light. Talks from the platform and Watchtower articles tell the congregations how the Society is a swift moving organization and that no member can 'stand still' - You're either moving forward with the faithful and discreet slave, or you're moving backwards into spiritual darkness. Members are also constantly reminded to 'look forward', discouraging them from looking critically at the failed prophecy of the organization they belong to. Combine this with...

* The shear volume of required study of the current Watchtower publications
* The hours each week spent at meetings and in the field ministry
* The fear that if one is not in-line with God's spirit-directed earthly organization, the Watchtower society, that person will be destroyed at Armageddon ( which is going to happen really soon)

...and you have a group of people that are so busy that they simply don't have time to sit and reflect on the very long list of failed predictions.

How do I know? I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness from infancy and was a member up to my late twenties when I could no longer stand how women are treated as second-class citizens along with some serious discrepancies between historical events and the dates used by the society to predict 1914 as the beginning of Christ's invisible presence, namely the Watchtower claim that the first destruction of the temple in Jerusalem occurred in 607 B.C.E. The one good thing that I got out of being a JW was extensive training in public speaking and debate... which I now use to shed, not 'new light' but the actual light of truth on this controlling and manipulative cult.

I would be happy to answer any other questions that anyone has about what JWs believe, what life as a JW is like, etc.

grissom6471 said...

My comments is that you should go to the meetings and pay attention rather than taking things that do not matter out of context.

And don't listen to this Shawn dude. As he said, he does not understand because he left and focused too much on dates and what the Society said. Real JWs don't do that. Real Jws focus on the kingdom.

Anonymous said...

The place to get real and accurate information on Jehovah's Witnesses by Jehovah's Witnesses is at
www.jwproclaimers.org

Shawn said...

grissom6471,

Exactly... real JWs focus on the kingdom and not the fact that the Watchtower society has made many, many false prophecies. Did you know, grissom6471, that C.T.Russell's (the founder of the JW movement)original calculation for 1914 was based on the length of an exhaust vent in the pyramid of Giza? Did you know that he said that that pyramid was God's second testament next to the Bible? Did you know that his grave stone is a replica of that pyramid? Look it up... or better yet, visit it yourself. Here's a picture... http://www.jwfiles.com/pyramid.htm

1 John 4:1 Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world.

That scripture was written for each and every one of us. That scripture was written for you as warning to be on the look out for people who claim to represent God, but whose word proves false to it's promise. Think critically - the truth, the actual truth, can stand up to any amount of scrutiny.

Deut 18:22 when the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true, that is the word that Jehovah did not speak. With presumptuousness the prophet spoke it. You must not get frightened at him.’

The fact of the matter is that the Watchtower society, over and over, has made predictions that failed to come true. This is not my obsession with dates, but theirs. Do you deny that the bible students under Russell truly believed that 1914 would mark the end of Babylon the Great? Did you know that the date was moved to 1915 right after? By the way, I wasn't alive for either of those years, those dates don't mean anything to me... but they did mean something to the pre-JW farmers who didn't plant crops those years because the end was coming. Did Jehovah play a prank on those farmers? I don't think so and I don't believe you do either. So who is to blame for the long list of dates that the Watchtower society put into print?

Is not the faithful and discreet slave responsible for providing spiritual food at the proper time? What then was that food prior to 1914?
...prior to 1915?
...prior to 1925?
...prior to 1975?

The Watchtower society, not I, made those predictions. If you are a good JW as I was not too long ago, you probably believe that the year 1975 was concluded to be the year Armageddon would come by a few rouge JWs looking for a date... Here's a quote from The Watchtower to think about.

"At all assembly points where it was released, the book was received enthusiastically. Crowds gathered around stands and soon supplies of the book were depleted. Immediately its contents were examined. It did not take the brothers very long to find the chart beginning on page 31, showing that 6,000 years of man's existence end in 1975. Discussion of 1975 overshadowed about everything else. "The new book compels us to realize that Armageddon is, in fact, very close indeed," said a conventioner. Surely it was one of the outstanding blessings to be carried home!"
Watchtower 10/15/66 pg.628-9

If you read that article from the faithful and discreet slave, the channel that God uses to keep His loyal witnesses in line with his heavenly organization in 1966, would you not conclude that the end of this system of things would occur in 1975? The problem is... the Watchtower society claims to be God's channel... until they issue a false prophecy... Then they claim to be 'imperfect humans'. They cannot have it both ways. Either they are Jehovah's earthly organization, dispensing accurate information to His people, or they are false prophets misleading millions. The record of history tells us that the Watchtower society is indeed a false prophet who, according to Deuteronomy 18:22, we must not be afraid of.

To quote you grissom6471: "he left and focused too much on dates and what the Society said. Real JWs don't do that. Real Jws focus on the kingdom."

Do you not focus on what the society says? If you don't, you need to talk to one of your elders. The Watchtower society claims to be the only source of genuine spiritual food from Jehovah. If you are not focusing on what the society has said, can you really call yourself a Jehovah's Witness? Your manner of speech leads me to believe you are still young and that you have the youthful zeal for spiritual things. You owe it, not only to your self, but to every single person you hand a Watchtower magazine to, to test every inspired expression and make sure of the things you have learned. If, in fact, you are misleading your fellow humans, you would be better off tying a millstone around your neck and have it thrown into the sea. As one of Jehovah's Witnesses, I know that you know that you and you alone are personally responsible for claiming your own salvation through the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God will not hold anyone but you responsible for your actions in this life.

Matthew 7:22 "Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ 23 And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew YOU! Get away from me, YOU workers of lawlessness."

Just because one is sincere in his or her beliefs does not mean that the Christ will accept that person.

Mike-e said...

grissom, help me understand what you are trying to say: "go to meetings, but don't take things that don't matter out of context?" First question is, am I taking anything out of context? And secondly, if these things don't matter, then why would the WT refer to these people as apostates?

Jim said...

Even C.T. Russell in his "Studies in the Scriptures" Volume I, knew and said he did not have all the answers.

That is why he continued to use the scripture at (Proverbs 4:18) 18 But the path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established.

He knew that the true religion would not be a faith of creeds but progressive. Even Jesus disciples made mistakes. Even prophets in the old testament did.


All the other religions on earth today kill one one another and are political, not for God's Kingdom.

So tell us....which religion is the true faith today?

Mike-e said...

jim, true religion is not found in an organization. Instead, it is found in the person of Jesus Christ. He answered your question by claiming to be THE way, THE truth, and THE life (john 14:6). Notice that He nor the apostles claimed that for an organization.

I also disagree wth the watchtowers use of proverbs 4:18. For JW's the light isn't getting brighter and brighter. Instead its flickering on and off, on and off.

Jim, I recommend heeding to Christ's teachings instead of the watchtower. Only by faith in Him will you be born again and thus able to see His kingdom.

Jim said...

Dear mike-e:

god has always had his true worshipers organized through out the Bible. First Adam, then Able, then Enoch, then Noah, then Abraham, then Moses when he gave them the Law. then the Judges and later the Kings who ruled over God's people with the temple arrangement in Jerusalem with the Priest that served in the temple and dispensed spiritual food from the Law to teach the people God's way. Then Came the Christ our Lord who serves over the Christian Congregation.

When worshipers of God were few in number, he gave directions to family heads such as Noah and Abraham, and they then acted as God’s spokesmen to their families. (Gen. 7:1, 7; 12:1-5) When God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, he gave them directions through Moses. (Ex. 3:10) At Mount Sinai, God organized the people into a nation, providing laws and regulations to govern their worship and their relations with one another. (Ex. 24:12) He established a priesthood to take the lead in matters of worship and to instruct the people in God’s requirements; at times he also raised up prophets to deliver needed exhortation and warning to the people. (Deut. 33:8, 10; Jer. 7:24, 25) Thus, although God listened to the prayers of individual worshipers, he provided instruction for them through an organizational arrangement.

As the time neared for God to begin to unify true worshipers with himself by means of Jesus Christ, God sent him to earth to act as His spokesman. (Heb. 1:1, 2) Then with the outpouring of holy spirit at Pentecost of 33 C.E., the Christian congregation was brought into existence. After Jesus had returned to heaven, this congregation became God’s arrangement for instructing and for coordinating the efforts of individual Christians. There were overseers to take the lead in local congregations, and a central governing body made necessary decisions and helped to coordinate activity. Clearly, God had brought into existence an organization on earth made up of true Christians.—Acts 14:23; 16:4, 5; Gal. 2:7-10.

But to where would a person direct interested ones so they could obey this command if there were no organization with regular meetings where they could gather?

Heb.10:[23] Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
[24] And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
[25] Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

So when Jesus said at Matt.24:[45] Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
[46] Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

So like I said before if according to Eph.4:[5] "One Lord, one faith, one baptism,"

Then who is teaching the truth today?

Mike-e said...

Jim, I appreciate your well thought-out comment. And I actually don't disagree with any of it.

And in light of what you said, i'll answer it in exactly the same way as I did before: those who follow Jesus Christ and hold to the teachings of the Bible are the ones teaching the truth today.

So let me ask you: why did Jesus point to Himself rather than an organization as "the way, the truth, and the life?" No doubt that congregations, elders, overseers, etc. are necessary for the spiritual well-being of believers. But no author of the Greek Scriptures ever, to my knowledge, pointed to a particular organization as the one teaching the truth.

For instance, Paul addressed the Corinthians as his "brothers," yet he rebuked them very sternly for how wrong they were. Does this mean that the Corinthians weren't "in the truth?"

Jim said...

Dear Mike-e:

For those in the Corinthian Congregation that did not repent and turn around, I would think that the truth was not in them, but for those who did repent the would have stayed in the way of the Christ.

I too believe that those who follow Jesus Christ and hold to the teachings of the Bible are the ones teaching the truth today.

There was an organized group in the Greek Scriptures. "Organization" I'm sure is not in the Bible but Jesus did organize his true disciples and there must have been an organized group of older men that they went to when questions came up in the congregations to keep them in unity and one thought. Like at Acts.15:[22] Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
[23] And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:
[24] Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
[25] It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
[26] Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
[27] We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.

Who would those people be since Jesus said in the Last Days at

Matt.24:[45] Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
[46] Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
[47] Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

So who is this faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?

Who is that today?

I don't think it is the churches today that I have been to that seem to money hungry and divided among racial lines and even would go to war and kill someone of their own faith from another country, or those who are political and fail to see that Jesus is our King.

If God had his people organized in the past, and he does not change and is not a God of disorder, then to me it would seem that he would be using some group today that speaks in unity and has love among themselves to carry out Jesus' command at:

Matt.24:[14] And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Those ones would be teach the same thing....not the so many doctrines of the churches that can't even agree with things in their own church.

You see what I mean?

Who is this faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?

Mike-e said...

Thanks again for your comment, Jim. I appreciate your willingness to dialogue with me on this and I hope we can both get something out of this as we continue.

For those in the Corinthian Congregation that did not repent and turn around, I would think that the truth was not in them, but for those who did repent the would have stayed in the way of the Christ.

I agree with this. But this doesn't quite answer my original question though: was the church at Corinth a true church? No church could be more dis-unified than this church, yet Paul considered them his "brothers." Of course, there were unrepentant "believers" there, but it is interesting that Paul addressed those at the church as brothers.

I too believe that those who follow Jesus Christ and hold to the teachings of the Bible are the ones teaching the truth today.

This is why I disagree with the Watchtower's emphasis on "organization." It seems as if though the Watchtower is claiming itself as "the way, the truth, and the life" rather than Jesus. This is why i'm so emphatic on this point; because nowhere in the Greek Scriptures do we find this kind of claim of an organization; to be God's "one channel of communication on earth today", etc.

There was an organized group in the Greek Scriptures. "Organization" I'm sure is not in the Bible but Jesus did organize his true disciples and there must have been an organized group of older men that they went to when questions came up in the congregations to keep them in unity and one thought. Like at Acts.15:[22] ...

I completely agree with this. There is no dispute in my mind that the believers in the early church organized themselves. But I don't see any claims of exclusivity in terms of a particular organization that true believers are supposed to be bound to. What I do see, however, is a particular belief system (let's not forget the fruits of the Spirit, of course) that separates true believers from everyone else.

I think many different angles could be taken to argue this point. One of these include the fact that Israel was God's "chosen people," or as the Watchtower might call it, "God's organization." Many, many examples could be given to substantiate the fact that there were those who weren't part of this "organization" who were indeed saved. In fact, sometimes YHWH brought some from outside the "organization" to correct and rebuke them! Think about this in light of the coming of Christ. Jesus pulled individuals out of "God's organization" and showed how impotent that "organization" was when it came to salvation. Christ drew His people unto Himself, not to an organization.

Who would those people be since Jesus said in the Last Days at

Matt.24:[45] Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
[46] Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
[47] Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

So who is this faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?


I think it is a huge stretch to claim that these verses are talking about anything other than individuals. I don't see anything in the text that would force me to conclude that this is talking about an organization and one organization alone.

My interpretation of this passage is very simple. It is talking about ministerial servants, more specifically elders and deacons. Since the office of the elder is the highest authority in the church (with the exception of apostles, which I don't think you would argue are for today) today, this couldn't be referring to anyone or anything beyond them. Is there anything in the text that would warrant an interpretation above and beyond this? If so, i'd be interested in your thoughts.

Who is that today?

I don't think it is the churches today that I have been to that seem to money hungry and divided among racial lines and even would go to war and kill someone of their own faith from another country, or those who are political and fail to see that Jesus is our King.


I'm not about to get into a discussion about politics and war, but if you are talking about the "faithful and wise servant" as I interpret it, then I totally agree. But just because a particular church has problems doesn't mean that individuals within it can't be true believers.

If God had his people organized in the past, and he does not change and is not a God of disorder, then to me it would seem that he would be using some group today that speaks in unity and has love among themselves to carry out Jesus' command at:

Matt.24:[14] And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Those ones would be teach the same thing....not the so many doctrines of the churches that can't even agree with things in their own church.

You see what I mean?

Who is this faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?


Jim, there is no example in Scripture where believers acted in the manner of unity which you describe. True believers have always been involved in disputes. True believers (especially those at Corinth) have always been disunified in some sense. Don't get me wrong, true believers should strive for unity, but never at the expense of truth. There is no doubt in my mind that Jehovah's Witnesses are among the most "unified" religious organizations out there. But I can't help but notice some issues that can't be ignored. Many JW's have some serious doubts about many WT doctrines, such as 1914 and blood. But these individuals know that if they speak out, they might be subject to discipline and possibly (or likely) disfellowshipping. Thus, many sacrifice truth for unity out of fear of disfellowshipping which will ultimately lead to losing their families.

But apart from all this, I don't believe that Jehovah's Witnesses are true believers for the reason that their beliefs are incorrect. And honestly, if I am going to even begin to consider the Watchtower as the truth, then I would first need to be convinced that they are correct doctrinally.

jimfisher007 said...

I know that the Watchtower Society have made mistakes in the past, every religion has. But they are the only ones I know out there that admit to their mistakes just like the early apostles did. They are not perfect just as Moses struck the rock. But God used him as his "mouth piece" when corrected.

He has always had a Someone here one earth to dispense spiritual food at the proper time.

There were some men in the past that looked for dates, who knows how God judge them. Many left because it looked like they were only serving God for a date. We serve God forever. No one knows when God’s day will come and judge this world.

The Watchtower Bile and Tract Society has to be Inc. for legal reasons. We do not follow the Watchtower, we follow Jesus Christ who is head of the congregation which is organized in unity and love.

As far as :Matt.24:[45] Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
[46] Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
[47] Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

So who is this faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?

You responded:

"I think it is a huge stretch to claim that these verses are talking about anything other than individuals. I don't see anything in the text that would force me to conclude that this is talking about an organization and one organization alone."

I agree it is talking about individuals. I also think that if they were the ones " to give them meat in due season?"

Would the meat "or spiritual food" be many different kinds of interpretation of the scriptures or would they be in unity.

As far as disfellowshiping goes, god has always done that to protect true worship.

God took expelling, or disfellowshipping, action in numerous instances. He sentenced Adam to death and drove him and his wife Eve out of the garden of Eden. (Ge 3:19, 23, 24) Cain was banished and became a wanderer and a fugitive in the earth. (Ge 4:11, 14, 16) The angels that sinned were thrown into Tartarus, a condition of dense darkness in which they are reserved for judgment. (2Pe 2:4) Twenty-three thousand fornicators were cut off from Israel in one day. (1Co 10:8) Achan was put to death at God's command for stealing that which was devoted to God. (Jos 7:15, 20, 21, 25) Korah the Levite along with Dathan and Abiram of the tribe of Reuben were cut off for rebellion, and Miriam was stricken with leprosy and eventually might have died in that condition if Moses had not pleaded for her. As it was, she was expelled from the camp of Israel under quarantine seven days.—Nu 16:27, 32, 33, 35; 12:10, 13-15.

That was a principle scriptural protection for the first century congregation and for today. You know that.

Under the Mosaic Law. For serious or deliberate violations of God’s law given through Moses a person could be cut off, that is, put to death. (Le 7:27; Nu 15:30, 31) Apostasy, idolatry, adultery, eating blood, and murder were among the offenses carrying this penalty.—De 13:12-18; Le 20:10; 17:14; Nu 35:31.

Under the Law, for the penalty of cutting off to be carried out, evidence had to be established at the mouth of at least two witnesses. (De 19:15) These witnesses were required to be the first to stone the guilty one. (De 17:7) This would demonstrate their zeal for God’s law and the purity of the congregation of Israel and would also be a deterrent to false, careless, or hasty testimony.

During Jesus’ earthly ministry the synagogues served as courts for trying violators of Jewish law. The Sanhedrin was the highest court. Under Roman rule the Jews did not have the latitude of authority that they had enjoyed under theocratic government. Even when the Sanhedrin judged someone deserving of death, they could not always administer the death penalty, because of restrictions by the Romans. The Jewish synagogues had a system of excommunication, or disfellowshipping, that had three steps or three names. The first step was the penalty of nid·duy′, which was for a relatively short time, initially only 30 days. A person under this penalty was prohibited from enjoying certain privileges. He could go to the temple, but there he was restricted in certain ways, and all besides his own family were commanded to stay at a distance of 4 cubits (c. 2 m; 6 ft) from him. The second step was che′rem, meaning something devoted to God or banned. This was a more severe judgment. The offender could not teach or be taught in the company of others, nor could he perform any commercial transactions beyond purchasing the necessities of life. However, he was not altogether cast out of the Jewish organization, and there was a chance for him to come back. Finally, there was sham·mat·ta’′, an entire cutting off from the congregation. Some believe the last two forms of excommunication were undistinguishable from each other.

One who was cast out as wicked, cut off entirely, would be considered worthy of death, though the Jews might not have the authority to execute such a one. Nevertheless, the form of cutting off they did employ was a very powerful weapon in the Jewish community. Jesus foretold that his followers would be expelled from the synagogues. (Joh 16:2) Fear of being expelled, or “unchurched,” kept some of the Jews, even the rulers, from confessing Jesus. (Joh 9:22, ftn; 12:42) An example of such action by the synagogue was the case of the healed blind man who spoke favorably of Jesus.—Joh 9:34.

During the time of his earthly ministry, Jesus gave instructions as to the procedure to follow if a serious sin was committed against a person and yet the sin was of such a nature that, if properly settled, it did not need to involve the Jewish congregation. (Mt 18:15-17) He encouraged earnest effort to help the wrongdoer, while also safeguarding that congregation against persistent sinners. The only congregation of God in existence then was the congregation of Israel. ‘Speaking to the congregation’ did not mean that the entire nation or even all the Jews in a given community sat in judgment on the offender. There were older men of the Jews that were charged with this responsibility. (Mt 5:22) Offenders who refused to listen even to these responsible ones were to be viewed “just as a man of the nations and as a tax collector,” association with whom was shunned by the Jews.—Compare Ac 10:28.

Based on the principles of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Christian Greek Scriptures by command and precedent authorize expulsion, or disfellowshipping, from the Christian congregation. By exercising this God-given authority, the congregation keeps itself clean and in good standing before God. The apostle Paul, with the authority vested in him, ordered the expulsion of an incestuous fornicator who had taken his father’s wife. (1Co 5:5, 11, 13) He also exercised disfellowshipping authority against Hymenaeus and Alexander. (1Ti 1:19, 20) Diotrephes, however, was apparently trying to exercise disfellowshipping action wrongly.—3Jo 9, 10.

Some of the offenses that could merit disfellowshipping from the Christian congregation are fornication, adultery, homosexuality, greed, extortion, thievery, lying, drunkenness, reviling, spiritism, murder, idolatry, apostasy, and the causing of divisions in the congregation. (1Co 5:9-13; 6:9, 10; Tit 3:10, 11; Re 21:8) Mercifully, one promoting a sect is warned a first and a second time before such disfellowshipping action is taken against him. In the Christian congregation, the principle enunciated in the Law applies, namely, that two or three witnesses must establish evidence against the accused one. (1Ti 5:19) Those who have been convicted of a practice of sin are reproved Scripturally before the “onlookers,” for example, those who testified concerning the sinful conduct, so that they too may all have a healthy fear of such sin.—1Ti 5:20.

The Christian congregation is also admonished by Scripture to stop socializing with those who are disorderly and not walking correctly but who are not deemed deserving of complete expulsion. Paul wrote the Thessalonian congregation concerning such: “Stop associating with him, that he may become ashamed. And yet do not be considering him as an enemy, but continue admonishing him as a brother.”—2Th 3:6, 11, 13-15.

However, regarding any who were Christians but later repudiated the Christian congregation or were expelled from it, the apostle Paul commanded: “Quit mixing in company with” such a one; and the apostle John wrote: “Never receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him.”—1Co 5:11; 2Jo 9, 10.

Those who have been expelled may be received back into the congregation if they manifest sincere repentance. (2Co 2:5-8) This also is a protection to the congregation, preventing it from being overreached by Satan in swinging from condoning wrongdoing to the other extreme, becoming harsh and unforgiving.—2Co 2:10, 11.

You said: " But just because a particular church has problems doesn't mean that individuals within it can't be true believers."

I agree, but churches today continue to let these one associate with the true believers thus how can the scripture be fulfilled at:

2Cor.6:[14] Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
[15] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
[16] And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
[17] Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
[18] And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Not all Jehovah's Witnesses will receive salvation. God is the one who will give the free gift to ever He wants to.

We all know to well...churches and religion itself are divided up by racial, and in my area, economic, and yes even political, and mostly different interpretations of the Bible. And what Jesus said. I do believe That Christ is my King and is making sure true worship is being dispensed today for people to gain salvation.

Regards Jim

Mike-e said...

I know that the Watchtower Society have made mistakes in the past, every religion has. But they are the only ones I know out there that admit to their mistakes just like the early apostles did. They are not perfect just as Moses struck the rock. But God used him as his "mouth piece" when corrected.

Jim, i'm probably shooting myself in the foot for saying this, but there is a book called "Crisis of Conscience" by former governing body member, Ray Franz. I'm not sure if you have heard of it, but this book is what convinced me that your statement above is far from true. It convinced me that the Watchtower organization (in particular, the governing body) is just as "human" as any other organization, if not far worse. If you would like to correct my negative perception of the Watchtower, I ask that you read Ray Franz' book and consider what he says if you haven't already. It is possible that Franz may not be telling the truth or exaggerating, but until that can be proven otherwise, I have no reason to doubt Franz' integrity.

He has always had a Someone here one earth to dispense spiritual food at the proper time.

There were some men in the past that looked for dates, who knows how God judge them. Many left because it looked like they were only serving God for a date. We serve God forever. No one knows when God’s day will come and judge this world.


Jim, i'm assuming that you are well aware of the Watchtower's long history of making false prophecies. In accordance with Deut. 18:20-22 and Matthew 7:15, the Watchtower is a false prophet and we should not listen to them. The WT claims to speak for Jehovah and has claimed that (specifically, for 1914) these are "God's dates, not ours." From this fact alone, there is no reason for me to view the Watchtower in light of what it claims for itself.

The Watchtower Bile and Tract Society has to be Inc. for legal reasons. We do not follow the Watchtower, we follow Jesus Christ who is head of the congregation which is organized in unity and love.

If this is true, then what do you do when the Watchtower is teaching something unbiblical? For instance, if you were alive in 1913 and knew that the Watchtower was incorrect in their teaching that Christ's physical return would happen in 1914, would you be disfellowshipped for speaking out? Or what about when Vaccination's or organ transplants were deemed "unbiblical?" Who would you follow; the WT or God?

As far as :Matt.24:[45] Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
[46] Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
[47] Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

So who is this faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?

You responded:

"I think it is a huge stretch to claim that these verses are talking about anything other than individuals. I don't see anything in the text that would force me to conclude that this is talking about an organization and one organization alone."

I agree it is talking about individuals. I also think that if they were the ones " to give them meat in due season?"

Would the meat "or spiritual food" be many different kinds of interpretation of the scriptures or would they be in unity.


I don't think this changes anything. The Watchtower has been just as disunified as any church has. The only difference is, the Watchtower has only allowed one interpretation for that particular point in time. When I look at Watchtower history, I see doctrinal flip-flops, false prophecies, etc. They have been wrong far, far more than, for example, the churches that hold to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of faith. How many times has this confession been altered or changed? This doesn't really prove anything for me, other than the fact that the Watchtower is a bit arrogant in its claims when it criticized the churches of "Christendom" for what they themselves are guilty of.

Furthermore, which interpretations are you speaking of? Are they on critical issues that affect one's salvation? In addition, does the fact that the WT is currently "unified" prove that their interpretations are true? Or does the fact that many churches have different interpretations on, for example, eschatology, automatically make them false?

As far as disfellowshiping goes, god has always done that to protect true worship.

God took expelling, or disfellowshipping, action in numerous instances. He sentenced Adam to death and drove him and his wife Eve out of the garden of Eden. (Ge 3:19, 23, 24) Cain was banished and became a wanderer and a fugitive in the earth. (Ge 4:11, 14, 16) The angels that sinned were thrown into Tartarus, a condition of dense darkness in which they are reserved for judgment. (2Pe 2:4) Twenty-three thousand fornicators were cut off from Israel in one day. (1Co 10:8) Achan was put to death at God's command for stealing that which was devoted to God. (Jos 7:15, 20, 21, 25) Korah the Levite along with Dathan and Abiram of the tribe of Reuben were cut off for rebellion, and Miriam was stricken with leprosy and eventually might have died in that condition if Moses had not pleaded for her. As it was, she was expelled from the camp of Israel under quarantine seven days.—Nu 16:27, 32, 33, 35; 12:10, 13-15.

That was a principle scriptural protection for the first century congregation and for today. You know that.

Under the Mosaic Law. For serious or deliberate violations of God’s law given through Moses a person could be cut off, that is, put to death. (Le 7:27; Nu 15:30, 31) Apostasy, idolatry, adultery, eating blood, and murder were among the offenses carrying this penalty.—De 13:12-18; Le 20:10; 17:14; Nu 35:31.

Under the Law, for the penalty of cutting off to be carried out, evidence had to be established at the mouth of at least two witnesses. (De 19:15) These witnesses were required to be the first to stone the guilty one. (De 17:7) This would demonstrate their zeal for God’s law and the purity of the congregation of Israel and would also be a deterrent to false, careless, or hasty testimony.

During Jesus’ earthly ministry the synagogues served as courts for trying violators of Jewish law. The Sanhedrin was the highest court. Under Roman rule the Jews did not have the latitude of authority that they had enjoyed under theocratic government. Even when the Sanhedrin judged someone deserving of death, they could not always administer the death penalty, because of restrictions by the Romans. The Jewish synagogues had a system of excommunication, or disfellowshipping, that had three steps or three names. The first step was the penalty of nid·duy′, which was for a relatively short time, initially only 30 days. A person under this penalty was prohibited from enjoying certain privileges. He could go to the temple, but there he was restricted in certain ways, and all besides his own family were commanded to stay at a distance of 4 cubits (c. 2 m; 6 ft) from him. The second step was che′rem, meaning something devoted to God or banned. This was a more severe judgment. The offender could not teach or be taught in the company of others, nor could he perform any commercial transactions beyond purchasing the necessities of life. However, he was not altogether cast out of the Jewish organization, and there was a chance for him to come back. Finally, there was sham·mat·ta’′, an entire cutting off from the congregation. Some believe the last two forms of excommunication were undistinguishable from each other.

One who was cast out as wicked, cut off entirely, would be considered worthy of death, though the Jews might not have the authority to execute such a one. Nevertheless, the form of cutting off they did employ was a very powerful weapon in the Jewish community. Jesus foretold that his followers would be expelled from the synagogues. (Joh 16:2) Fear of being expelled, or “unchurched,” kept some of the Jews, even the rulers, from confessing Jesus. (Joh 9:22, ftn; 12:42) An example of such action by the synagogue was the case of the healed blind man who spoke favorably of Jesus.—Joh 9:34.

During the time of his earthly ministry, Jesus gave instructions as to the procedure to follow if a serious sin was committed against a person and yet the sin was of such a nature that, if properly settled, it did not need to involve the Jewish congregation. (Mt 18:15-17) He encouraged earnest effort to help the wrongdoer, while also safeguarding that congregation against persistent sinners. The only congregation of God in existence then was the congregation of Israel. ‘Speaking to the congregation’ did not mean that the entire nation or even all the Jews in a given community sat in judgment on the offender. There were older men of the Jews that were charged with this responsibility. (Mt 5:22) Offenders who refused to listen even to these responsible ones were to be viewed “just as a man of the nations and as a tax collector,” association with whom was shunned by the Jews.—Compare Ac 10:28.

Based on the principles of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Christian Greek Scriptures by command and precedent authorize expulsion, or disfellowshipping, from the Christian congregation. By exercising this God-given authority, the congregation keeps itself clean and in good standing before God. The apostle Paul, with the authority vested in him, ordered the expulsion of an incestuous fornicator who had taken his father’s wife. (1Co 5:5, 11, 13) He also exercised disfellowshipping authority against Hymenaeus and Alexander. (1Ti 1:19, 20) Diotrephes, however, was apparently trying to exercise disfellowshipping action wrongly.—3Jo 9, 10.

Some of the offenses that could merit disfellowshipping from the Christian congregation are fornication, adultery, homosexuality, greed, extortion, thievery, lying, drunkenness, reviling, spiritism, murder, idolatry, apostasy, and the causing of divisions in the congregation. (1Co 5:9-13; 6:9, 10; Tit 3:10, 11; Re 21:8) Mercifully, one promoting a sect is warned a first and a second time before such disfellowshipping action is taken against him. In the Christian congregation, the principle enunciated in the Law applies, namely, that two or three witnesses must establish evidence against the accused one. (1Ti 5:19) Those who have been convicted of a practice of sin are reproved Scripturally before the “onlookers,” for example, those who testified concerning the sinful conduct, so that they too may all have a healthy fear of such sin.—1Ti 5:20.

The Christian congregation is also admonished by Scripture to stop socializing with those who are disorderly and not walking correctly but who are not deemed deserving of complete expulsion. Paul wrote the Thessalonian congregation concerning such: “Stop associating with him, that he may become ashamed. And yet do not be considering him as an enemy, but continue admonishing him as a brother.”—2Th 3:6, 11, 13-15.

However, regarding any who were Christians but later repudiated the Christian congregation or were expelled from it, the apostle Paul commanded: “Quit mixing in company with” such a one; and the apostle John wrote: “Never receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him.”—1Co 5:11; 2Jo 9, 10.

Those who have been expelled may be received back into the congregation if they manifest sincere repentance. (2Co 2:5-8) This also is a protection to the congregation, preventing it from being overreached by Satan in swinging from condoning wrongdoing to the other extreme, becoming harsh and unforgiving.—2Co 2:10, 11.


For the most part, I agree with everything you said here. But can you specifically address how we should view those who disagree with doctrinal matters? For example, many JW's disagree with 1914 and such. What does the WT do about those who disagree openly about such matters?

You said: " But just because a particular church has problems doesn't mean that individuals within it can't be true believers."

I agree, but churches today continue to let these one associate with the true believers thus how can the scripture be fulfilled at:

2Cor.6:[14] Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
[15] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
[16] And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
[17] Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
[18] And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.


I agree that many churches today are not exercising church discipline as they should. But I think that there is a line that should be drawn where some take church discipline above and beyond what the Scriptures mandate.

Not all Jehovah's Witnesses will receive salvation. God is the one who will give the free gift to ever He wants to.

I completely agree. And I would like to ask you, Jim, are you sure of your salvation? If so, why. Or if not, why? And if you like, I would be more than happy to show you how you can be absolutely certain of your eternal life and how you can be born again, which is the only way you can even see the kingdom of God.

We all know to well...churches and religion itself are divided up by racial, and in my area, economic, and yes even political, and mostly different interpretations of the Bible. And what Jesus said. I do believe That Christ is my King and is making sure true worship is being dispensed today for people to gain salvation.

Jim, I understand your frustrations, as I have them myself with many of these churches that you speak of. But in no way can I ignore the fact that the Watchtower has problems of its own; problems that are just as equally valid as those in the churches of Christendom.

jimfisher007 said...

Dear Mike -e: I appreciate your concern. As far as my salvation goes Jesus said at: Matt.24:[13] "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." So I try to endure faithfully.

As far Ray Franz goes, I have read a lot non-Jehovah's Witness literature. I have read a lot of non-Mormon, non-baptist...ect....you get the picture. It seems to me that those people who wrote things against their former religion had their own agenda. Mostly, they made money by publishing books that they sold about their former religion. Ray Franz, even in his book doesn't tell you who, or what faith, or which group is dispensing the proper spiritual food at the right time for this day. I questioned myself, "Why should I believe just him and what he says? For he sold many books on what he had to say, nothing but negative things about the WT and its Governing Body, from which he was disfellowshipped from for some reason which is none of my business."

And I just thought of something...if you think the WT and it's Governing Body are false prophets, then wouldn't that make Ray Franz one to since he was once a member of the Governing Body and taught these teachings.

I have never read, and I have their literature that goes back to Zions Watchtower 1879 that they have ever said that they are "Divinely Inspired". Instead just the opposite.

Why have there been changes over the years in the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses?

The Bible shows that Jehovah enables his servants to understand his purpose in a progressive manner. (Prov. 4:18; John 16:12) Thus, the prophets who were divinely inspired to write portions of the Bible did not understand the meaning of everything that they wrote. (Dan. 12:8, 9; 1 Pet. 1:10-12) The apostles of Jesus Christ realized that there was much they did not understand in their time. (Acts 1:6, 7; 1 Cor. 13:9-12) The Bible shows that there would be a great increase in knowledge of the truth during “the time of the end.” (Dan. 12:4) Increased knowledge often requires adjustments in one’s thinking. Jehovah’s Witnesses are willing humbly to make such adjustments.

At least Jehovah's Witnesses are the only religion I know of today on earth that has Unity, True Love...no matter what race, economic, or country that they come from. Sure you can find bad apples anywhere, but as a whole, I believe they are the only ones that are making God's Name known and are fulfilling the scripture at

Matt.24:[14] And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

and at:

Matt.28:[19] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
[20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Jim

Mike-e said...

Dear Mike -e: I appreciate your concern. As far as my salvation goes Jesus said at: Matt.24:[13] "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." So I try to endure faithfully.

Jim, I also appreciate your concern for me as I have no doubt that you are sincere in wanting to show me what you believe to be the truth.

I have asked quite a few Jehovah's Witnesses about their assurance of salvation. Almost every time, the response I get is "I hope so." And your response seems to be along those lines. But I must ask, who's faithfulness are you relying on? Or better yet, who's righteousness are you relying upon? Your own?

As you well know, we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. And even now, you and I both know that you fall short of Jehovah's standard of holiness each and every day. If this is so, then what hope do you have? I know that if I rely on my good works for my salvation, then I am completely and utterly hopeless in obtaining eternal life. Why? Because I miss the mark. Jehovah requires perfection.

But Jim, I want to share with you a way in which you don't have to rely on your righteousness for eternal life. Jesus said in John 5:24, "Most truly I say to YOU, He that hears my word and believes him that sent me has everlasting life, and he does not come into judgment but has passed over from death to life."

This is your assurance and guarantee that right now, you can have everlasting life. Do you believe that if you hear his Word and believe in Him, that you have everlasting life right now?

I also realize that JW's who are not of the "annointed" are not born-again. But I challenge you to reconsider in light of the following texts:

"Everyone believing that Jesus is the Christ has been born from God, and everyone who loves the one that caused to be born loves him who has been born from that one." (1 John 5:1)

If you believe that Jesus is the Christ, then according to this text you have been born from God.

"In answer Jesus said to him: “Most truly I say to you, Unless anyone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nic·o·de´mus said to him: “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter into the womb of his mother a second time and be born, can he?” Jesus answered: “Most truly I say to you, Unless anyone is born from water and spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. What has been born from the flesh is flesh, and what has been born from the spirit is spirit. Do not marvel because I told you, YOU people must be born again." (John 3:3-7)

A few things to note from this text. First, unless you are born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God. Secondly, when did Jesus tell Nicodemus that he "must" be born again? I hope you will reconsider your position on this issue in light of these verses.

Lastly, I would like to show you what it means to be justified, or made right with God.

"On the other hand, to the man that does not work but puts faith in him who declares the ungodly one righteous, his faith is counted as righteousness. Just as David also speaks of the happiness of the man to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Happy are those whose lawless deeds have been pardoned and whose sins have been covered; happy is the man whose sin Jehovah will by no means take into account.” (Romans 4:5-8)

This is one of the most powerful verses that put to rest the idea that we should depend on our faithfulness and righteousness to have eternal life. In fact, this verse tells us not to work (v. 4), but to "put faith in him." Why? Because that is the grounds to which Christ imputes or credits His righteousness to us. In other words, the reason that you will be saved in the end is because Jehovah will not look at your righteousness, but instead will see the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Jim, I want to make myself clear that out of all the issues that we have discussed, this is the most important. And I hope that God will be gracious to you, as He has been to me, in taking your heart of stone and giving you a heart of flesh, so that you may have the blinders removed from your eyes and see the true God of the Bible, Jesus Christ.

As far Ray Franz goes, I have read a lot non-Jehovah's Witness literature. I have read a lot of non-Mormon, non-baptist...ect....you get the picture. It seems to me that those people who wrote things against their former religion had their own agenda.

Jim, everyone has an agenda. The Watchtower does, I do, as well as Ray Franz. But does this automatically make what they say false? As a non-JW, looking into a particular religion requires investigation. When I look into Mormonism, I read books by former members and I do the same with JW's. By alleging that they have their own agenda, this does nothing for me. I need facts. And if Ray Franz is wrong, then I need to be shown why with facts. Ray's book is full of documentation and anyone can investigate what he says to see if it is correct. And thus far, i have no reason to doubt that Franz' facts are correct.

Mostly, they made money by publishing books that they sold about their former religion.

Again, this does nothing for me. I don't know what percentage of royalties Franz receives for his books, nor do I care. I care only about the facts presented.

Ray Franz, even in his book doesn't tell you who, or what faith, or which group is dispensing the proper spiritual food at the right time for this day. I questioned myself, "Why should I believe just him and what he says? For he sold many books on what he had to say, nothing but negative things about the WT and its Governing Body, from which he was disfellowshipped from for some reason which is none of my business."

Jim, I don't think your comment is fair. And the reason is, Franz wrote his book shortly after his disfellowshipping and no one should expect him to have it figured out. But even then, I don't think its true that Franz only had negative things to say. The last few chapters consist of Franz offering guidance and comfort for those who have been damaged by the Watchtower; those who have lost their families, etc. Furthermore, if Franz offered the "positive" aspect that you are looking for, his already lengthy book would be far too long. This is why he wrote an accompaniment book called, "In search of Christian Freedom." So again, I think it is unfair to claim that Franz only has negative things to say and doesn't answer "which food is dispensing the proper spiritual food."

And I just thought of something...if you think the WT and it's Governing Body are false prophets, then wouldn't that make Ray Franz one to since he was once a member of the Governing Body and taught these teachings.

Actually, yes this would be true. And as far as I know, Franz is not even a Christian and probably still holds to many of the key doctrines of the Watchtower. And believe me, I hold the same standard to those in my camp; I know of many who have made false prophecies and claimed to speak for God. And I consider them to be false prophets along with the Watchtower. And i'd be willing to corrected on this. But in accordance with Deut. 18:20-22 and Matt. 7:15 I have no other choice but to believe that the Watchtower is a false prophet just like Benny Hinn, Harold Camping, Pat Robertson, etc.

I have never read, and I have their literature that goes back to Zions Watchtower 1879 that they have ever said that they are "Divinely Inspired". Instead just the opposite.

These statements by the Watchtower seem to prove otherwise:

"There is no organization to-day clothed with such divine authority to imperiously command mankind...though we are well aware that many of them in theory claim that they ought to be permitted to do so." (Watchtower, Sept. 1, 1893, p. 266)

"If the 6 volumes of 'Scripture Studies' are practically the Bible topically arranged, with Bible proof-texts given, we might not improperly name the volumes- 'The Bible' in an arranged form. That is to say, they are not merely comments on the Bible, but they are practically the Bible itself...Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible itself, but we see also that if anyone lays the 'Scripture Studies' ... after he has read them for 10 years-if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone...out experience shows that within 2 years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he has merely read the 'S.S.' with their references, and had not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of the two years." (Watchtower, Sept 15, 1910)

"In all his (Russell's) warnings he claimed no originality. He said that he could never have written his books himself. It all came from God, through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit." (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 7, p. 387.)

"The Watchtower is the channel which Jehovah, our God, is using at this time to in the faithful remnant who are keeping the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." (Watchtower, August 1, 1930 p. 239)

The Watchtower is not the instrument of any man or set of any of men, nor is it published according to the whims of men. No man's opinion is expressed in the Watchtower. (Watchtower, Nov. 1 1931 p. 327)

The Lord has used the Watchtower publications, and of fact we have an abundance of proof. No man is given credit for the wonderful truths which the Lord has revealed to his people through the Watchtower publications. (Watchtower, Dec. 1, 1933 p. 363)

"This is proof that the interpretation of prophecy does not proceed from man, but that the Lord Jesus, the chief one in Jehovah's organization, sends the necessary information to his people by and through his holy angels." (Preparation; 1933; p. 28)

Certain duties and kingdom interests have been committed by the Lord to his angels, which include the transmission of information to God's anointed people on the earth for their aid and comfort. Even though we cannot understand how the angels transmit this information, we know that they do it; and the Scriptures and the facts show that it is done. (Preparation; 1933; p. 36-37)

"It should be expected that the Lord would have a means of communicating to his people on the earth, and he has clearly shown that the magazine called The Watchtower is used for that purpose." (1939 Yearbook Of Jehovah's Witnesses, P 85)

Why have there been changes over the years in the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses?

The Bible shows that Jehovah enables his servants to understand his purpose in a progressive manner. (Prov. 4:18; John 16:12)


i don't see how Proverbs 4:18 refers to the development of doctrine. The surrounding verses state that "the wicked...do not sleep unless they do badness...The way of the wicked ones is like the gloom; they have not known at what they keep stumbling… listen to the discipline of a father … keep my commandments … safeguard your heart." Solomon was trying to show us the difference between good and bad people, not the revealing or changing of doctrinal truth to an organization. Consider the following and whether this change is an example of the "light getting brighter:"

Imagine being the Witness parent of a child that needed a kidney transplant in 1970. Although the Awake! 1949 December 22 had described transplants as "wonders of modern surgery" in 1967 God's brighter light had apparently revealed that transplants were wrong in his eyes. The Watchtower 1967 November 15 pp.702-704 stated that being now "enlightened by God's word" God's people understood that transplants are against divine principles and cannibalistic. The parents must sincerely have believed they were putting Jehovah first when watching their child die, refusing them the opportunity of possible survival through a transplant. How would that parent feel on reading the Watchtower 1980 March 15 p.31 "There is no Biblical command pointedly forbidding the taking in of other human tissue…. It is a matter for personal decision…"? The enlightenment of 1967 had proved to be dark, harmful and in need of later correction, a regressive doctrine that resulted in the unnecessary death of members.

When a doctrine changes and then reverts back to the original position this is not evidence of light getting brighter. Instead, it is an example of the light flickering on and off. And its interesting that the Watchtower accuses others for the same thing that they are guilty of:

"Tell me," he asked, "how can I have confidence in anything? How can I believe in the Bible, in God, or have faith? Just ten years ago we Catholics had the absolute truth, we put all our faith in this. Now the pope and our priests are telling us this is not the way to believe any more, but we are to believe 'new things.' How do I know the 'new things' will be the truth in five years?"" (Awake! April 22, 1970 p. 8)

"True, there have been those in times past who predicted an 'end to the world' even announcing a specific date. Yet nothing happened. The 'end did not come'. They were guilty of false prophesying. Why? What was missing? Missing from such people were God's truths and the evidence that He was using and guiding them." (Awake! October 8, 1968)

Thus, the prophets who were divinely inspired to write portions of the Bible did not understand the meaning of everything that they wrote. (Dan. 12:8, 9; 1 Pet. 1:10-12) The apostles of Jesus Christ realized that there was much they did not understand in their time. (Acts 1:6, 7; 1 Cor. 13:9-12) The Bible shows that there would be a great increase in knowledge of the truth during “the time of the end.” (Dan. 12:4) Increased knowledge often requires adjustments in one’s thinking. Jehovah’s Witnesses are willing humbly to make such adjustments.

But is this applicable to the Watchtower? Can you show me one place in the Scriptures where a prophet made a false prediction and claimed to speak for Jehovah? Furthermore, did truth change in the Scriptures in the same way as the Watchtower? It is one thing to make mistakes and repent of our false beliefs. There are some things that I have believed in the past that I now believe to be false. But in no way would I claim divine authority and bind everyone to the same interpretations as me, where any deviation would result in a loss of eternal life; yet this is exactly what the WT does. And this is why I asked the question: "if I got an organ transplant in 1968, would I be disfellowshipped?"

At least Jehovah's Witnesses are the only religion I know of today on earth that has Unity, True Love...no matter what race, economic, or country that they come from. Sure you can find bad apples anywhere, but as a whole, I believe they are the only ones that are making God's Name known and are fulfilling the scripture at

Again, just b/c there is "unity" does not make them true. And I would certainly question this "unity" simply because I am aware of the reality of the fear amongst member of the organization who would be fearful of speaking out in areas of doubt.

Matt.24:[14] And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

and at:

Matt.28:[19] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
[20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.


I understand that you believe that JW's are the only ones spreading a particular message "unto all nations," but it is far from true that they are the only ones sharing their faith. In particular, the North American Missions Board, which is most definitely fulfilling Matthew 24:24. Of course, I believe the NAMB is spreading the real good news, and I think this is what we should focus our discussion on, rather than how much ministry work is being done from either side.

Mike

jimfisher007 said...

Dear Mike,

Never heard of the North American Missions Board.

Jim

jimfisher007 said...

Dear Mike-e: I just went on the North American Missions Board, come on .... A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and the Annie
Armstrong Easter Offering® .... been there done that... they are still divided among racial lines.

They still believe in the old traditional holidays which we know are false. I'm sure the make money off their DVD about JW.

Still to me since Christ is head of the congregation The Governing Body may claim to be god's channel for dispensing spiritual food but they don't claim to be divinely inspired in the since that everything they say is perfect and 100% correct. They will at least admit to their mistakes. they know only the Bible is God's Divinely Inspired Word of Truth. Directly from God.

jimfisher007 said...

Dear Mike-e: All I am saying is that the Governing Body does not claim to be infallible like some church leaders, they admit to their mistakes.

It seems like Shawn had a problem with looking at dates and did not enjoy preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and The Kingdom that Christ himself told his followers to do. I have a family of 6 and we are balanced in our preaching work and have lots of fun in other recreational activities.

For Example Shawn said the following:

"Noah preached 120 years until the time of the flood, which was the time of the end to Noah and his generation. The December 15, 2003 Watchtower article is paralleling Noah's day to our present day. The Society is adding a 120 years to the 1914 date to come up with the hinted date of 2034."

Seems like he's reading to much into things. If he does not agree with the Watchtower then why waste his time reading it to find fault.

To answer your question once again, Jesus stated at (Matthew 24:13) But he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved.

and,

(James 2:26)"Indeed, as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead."

So anyone can believe in Jesus Christ and his teachings but if they don't do them, are you saying they will still receive everlasting life?

And Mike, why don't you want to talk about "I'm not about to get into a discussion about politics and war,"?

I think it would add a lot to how Christ would view different faiths here on earth. Wouldn't you?

Mike-e said...

Jim, i'm a bit disappointed that you have not addressed many of my arguments. But more importantly, I hope you took the time to look at the Scriptures that speak of salvation. You can be certain of your eternal life, and you don't have to be enslaved by an oppressive organization any longer. If you ever want to discuss this further, please feel free to email me at entrsnm3@aol.com

Dear Mike-e: I just went on the North American Missions Board, come on .... A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and the Annie
Armstrong Easter Offering® .... been there done that... they are still divided among racial lines.


I'm not here to defend the North American Missions board. The reason being, I don't believe they are God's one true organization, prophet, or whatever. They are simply an organization that seeks to spread the good news throughout the earth. And I only shared them with you to show that the WT isn't the only group trying to fulfill Matthew 28:18. Furthermore, i'm curious to see your documentation in showing that they are divided among racial lines?

They still believe in the old traditional holidays which we know are false. I'm sure the make money off their DVD about JW.

In accordance with Romans 14:4-6, you have no grounds for judging someone who chooses to celebrate holidays:

One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.

Furthermore, I already stated that I could care less whether or not someone makes money off book or DVD sales. If you have a problem with this, then thats your deal.

Still to me since Christ is head of the congregation The Governing Body may claim to be god's channel for dispensing spiritual food but they don't claim to be divinely inspired in the since that everything they say is perfect and 100% correct. They will at least admit to their mistakes. they know only the Bible is God's Divinely Inspired Word of Truth. Directly from God.

Jim, you can choose to believe that if you want. But the quotes I provided suggest otherwise. And until you or another JW address those statements, I will have no reason to believe that your above statement is true.

All I am saying is that the Governing Body does not claim to be infallible like some church leaders, they admit to their mistakes.

Again, please respond to the provided quotes. I am completely willing to be corrected on my perception of the Watchtower. As far as other church leaders, you are probably completely and totally right. There is massive corruption in probably the vast majority of religious organizations. And that is why i'm a protestant; specifically a Reformed Baptist who holds to Sola Scriptura and does not believe that the Watchtower has the authority that it claims.

It seems like Shawn had a problem with looking at dates and did not enjoy preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and The Kingdom that Christ himself told his followers to do. I have a family of 6 and we are balanced in our preaching work and have lots of fun in other recreational activities.

Jim, i'm sure that you have a great family and i'm sure Shawn does too. But do you not see why we have problems with these dates? The Watchtower claims divine authority and its members, therefore, have no choice but to believe them. Lives have been ruined because of the Watchtowers insistence that the end would come. Time after time, after time, the Watchtower has made false prophecies. Therefore, it is difficult to even begin to take their claims seriously that they are God's channel of communication.

For Example Shawn said the following:

"Noah preached 120 years until the time of the flood, which was the time of the end to Noah and his generation. The December 15, 2003 Watchtower article is paralleling Noah's day to our present day. The Society is adding a 120 years to the 1914 date to come up with the hinted date of 2034."

Seems like he's reading to much into things. If he does not agree with the Watchtower then why waste his time reading it to find fault.


I'll let Shawn defend his claim :-)

To answer your question once again, Jesus stated at (Matthew 24:13) But he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved.

and,

(James 2:26)"Indeed, as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead."

So anyone can believe in Jesus Christ and his teachings but if they don't do them, are you saying they will still receive everlasting life?


Absolutely not, for a true believer will do good works. Dogs don't bark to become dogs, they bark because they are dogs. Similarly, people don't do works to become saved; they do good works because they are saved. Good works are part of the nature of the true believer. But at the same time, salvation comes by faith alone by grace alone.

And if you disagree with this, I would love to hear your exegesis of Romans 4:5-8 and how it fits with the Watchtower's works salvation doctrine.

If not, then try something. Just read the book of Romans from start to finish. And allow the book to speak on its own authority as God-breathed revelation. Paul didn't need to send a Watchtower magazine to explain what his letters meant. They speak for themselves. And there is absolutely, positively, nothing wrong with reading the Scriptures by yourself and coming to your own conclusion.

And Mike, why don't you want to talk about "I'm not about to get into a discussion about politics and war,"?

I think it would add a lot to how Christ would view different faiths here on earth. Wouldn't you?


Because, that is a completely different discussion for a different time and will open an entire can of worms. I think we have enough to discuss to keep our hands full. There are far too many issues that you have not addressed that need to be before we go onto another topic. Maybe in the future we can discuss politics and war. In fact, i'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

jimfisher007 said...

Dear Mike -e:

Salvation is a gift from God. We can not earn it. The heart of man is treacherous, who can know it according to the scriptures. So I don't judge myself, I will leave that up to God to do.

(Zephaniah 2:2-3) "2. Before [the] statute gives birth to [anything], [before the] day has passed by just like chaff, before there comes upon YOU people the burning anger of Jehovah, before there comes upon YOU the day of Jehovah’s anger, 3. seek Jehovah, all YOU meek ones of the earth, who have practiced His own judicial decision. Seek righteousness, seek meekness. Probably YOU may be concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger."

all I can do is do the best to follow and do the teachings of Christ.

Even Jesus said there would be those who would fall away. I have seen a lot of people that said they were born again but to later fall back into fornication and the other bad things.

What faith are you? Where you ever one of Jehovah's Witnesses?

I cannot help what men of old have expresses or interpreted the scriptures of old.

I do believe that God's light keep shining on people who try to do his will. So far, the only ones I know now that don't teach Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny and other pagan holidays and that are non-political is The Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses today.

Even God had to continue to correct the Nation Of Israel in the past, even when false prophets rose up in their mist. But they were still God's True Worshipers even though they were imperfect.

Jim

Mike-e said...

Salvation is a gift from God. We can not earn it. The heart of man is treacherous, who can know it according to the scriptures.

You hit the nail on the head, Jim. If Salvation is a gift that cannot be earned, then why are you continuing to rely on your faithfulness for your salvation? You state below that all you can do is "your best." Is this what you are relying upon? If so, then I fear for your soul. No man will gain eternal life by "doing their best." Why? Because "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23) Furthermore, Romans 3:10 declares that "there is none righteous, not even one."

Jim, do you claim to be righteous? If so, then why? On what basis? Both of these texts declare that you have fallen short of Jehovah's perfect standard. And until you recognize the complete and total depravity of your sinful nature, then you cannot and will not recognize the fact that you have no hope of eternal life unless Christ's righteousness is credited or imputed to you through His finished work on Calvary.

So I don't judge myself, I will leave that up to God to do.

Actually, 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test?"

And certainly, Paul had no problem in his salvation, for the following verse says, "But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test."

The same can be true for you Jim, if you repent of your sins and trust in Jesus Christ as your savior for Salvation. Then you will recognize that your sins have been washed away, and by no merit of your own will you have been granted eternal life. Why? Because you will then have Christ's perfect righteousness imputed to you! Thats good news Jim! No more trusting in your own works! Its all about trusting Christ, which is why Paul can say what he said in 2 Corinthians 13:6!

(Zephaniah 2:2-3) "2. Before [the] statute gives birth to [anything], [before the] day has passed by just like chaff, before there comes upon YOU people the burning anger of Jehovah, before there comes upon YOU the day of Jehovah’s anger, 3. seek Jehovah, all YOU meek ones of the earth, who have practiced His own judicial decision. Seek righteousness, seek meekness. Probably YOU may be concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger."

all I can do is do the best to follow and do the teachings of Christ.


I'm sorry Jim, but if this is all you can do, then you will end up far, far short of Jehovah's perfect standard of righteousness. If this is really "all we can do" then we are all hopeless and miserable people.

Let me ask you this; come judgment day, do you really believe that your best will have been good enough? Please read the book of Romans and realize that you will never obtain eternal life based on "your best."

Even Jesus said there would be those who would fall away. I have seen a lot of people that said they were born again but to later fall back into fornication and the other bad things.

Yes, as have I. There will be many who falsely profess. But don't look to them as your example. Look to the Scriptures for your assurance. John 5:24 still stands as a guarantee that you can, right now, obtain eternal life if you would simply repent and believe.

What faith are you? Where you ever one of Jehovah's Witnesses?

I'm a Reformed Baptist, which means that the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith is what most closely resembles what I believe the Scriptures teach. I was never a Jehovah's Witness, but I have been a semi-regular attendee at the local kingdom hall for over a year now and have been involved in quite a few personal book studies with JW's.

I cannot help what men of old have expresses or interpreted the scriptures of old.

I'm a little bit confused by this statement. Could you clarify what you mean?

I do believe that God's light keep shining on people who try to do his will. So far, the only ones I know now that don't teach Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny and other pagan holidays and that are non-political is The Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses today.

Actually, many churches don't teach about bunnies and Santa. But they do select certain days for reflection of Christ's birth and resurrection. Also, most churches--at least Reformed Baptists--do not take official political stances. In other words, there are Reformed Baptists that are pacifists, democrats, republicans, etc. But I suppose if you are looking for an organization that will disfellowship anyone and everyone who chooses to celebrate Christ's birth and votes on presidential elections, then the Watchtower is the place for you.

But I find it hard to believe that you chose to be a JW based on their stance on holidays and politics. And this is why I would be very interested in your story; how and why you became a JW and saw the Watchtower as God's only organization on earth today.

Even God had to continue to correct the Nation Of Israel in the past, even when false prophets rose up in their mist. But they were still God's True Worshipers even though they were imperfect.

This is true. But find me one true prophet in the Scriptures who spoke false prophecies in Jehovah's name like the WT has? Those false prophets who rose up in their midsts were never true prophets.

jimfisher007 said...

Well...Reformed Baptist.....seems like an organization you believe in. Do the teach the Trinity Doctrine and that the wicked will be destroyed by hell fire?

As far as my salvation goes I believe God will deliver the righteous that is why I do agree with you at 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test?"

I know that I am not perfect and could fall into temptation. that's why I persist in Bible Study.

(Romans 3:23-24) 23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and it is as a free gift that they are being declared righteous by his undeserved kindness through the release by the ransom [paid] by Christ Jesus.

(1 Corinthians 1:6-7) 6 even as the witness about the Christ has been rendered firm among YOU, 7 so that YOU do not fall short in any gift at all, while YOU are eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(1 Corinthians 10:12) 12 Consequently let him that thinks he is standing beware that he does not fall.

I do believe that it takes effort on our part to remain faithful.
Not just to sit back and not declare Christ as King. For then I would be blood guilty.

Even Paul didn't want to be that.

Mike-e said...

Well...Reformed Baptist.....seems like an organization you believe in. Do the teach the Trinity Doctrine and that the wicked will be destroyed by hell fire?

Just to make it clear, I don't hold to my church to the same level authority that the JW's hold the Watchtower. In fact, its not even close. "Reformed Baptists" are not under a hierarchy. Each church is completely independent and finds its highest level of church government in the elders. Nonetheless, Reformed Baptists hold pretty strongly to the 1689 London Baptist Confession. Hope that all makes sense. And yes, they do teach the Trinity and eternal torment in hell (although the "fire" aspect is disputed). If you have any additional questions about this, feel free to ask. But I do recommend checking out the confession of faith. This Wikipedia article surprisingly provides an excellent overview of the denomination:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reformed_baptist

As far as my salvation goes I believe God will deliver the righteous that is why I do agree with you at 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test?"

Yes, God will deliver the righteous. But according to Romans 3:10-24, there are none that are righteous. So what are you going to do about this problem? I would recommend heeding to the words of Romans 4:5,

"But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness."

If you do this, Jim, then God will certainly deliver you not from your righteousness, but Christ's perfect righteousness.

I know that I am not perfect and could fall into temptation. that's why I persist in Bible Study.

(Romans 3:23-24) 23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and it is as a free gift that they are being declared righteous by his undeserved kindness through the release by the ransom [paid] by Christ Jesus.

(1 Corinthians 1:6-7) 6 even as the witness about the Christ has been rendered firm among YOU, 7 so that YOU do not fall short in any gift at all, while YOU are eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(1 Corinthians 10:12) 12 Consequently let him that thinks he is standing beware that he does not fall.

I do believe that it takes effort on our part to remain faithful.
Not just to sit back and not declare Christ as King. For then I would be blood guilty.

Even Paul didn't want to be that.


Of course it takes effort to remain faithful. But again, if you are depending on your own faithfulness for eternal life, then I fear for your fate. I'm happy to continue this discussion as long as you want. But I just want you to know that I care about you and I am praying for you.

jimfisher007 said...

Dear Mike-e,

You said "Of course it takes effort to remain faithful. But again, if you are depending on your own faithfulness for eternal life, then I fear for your fate..."

Let me assure you that I do not depend on my own faithfulness for eternal life. I do believe in John 3:16.

I love to preach the Gospel of Christ and of his coming Kingdom, I don't do this for salvation because I know it is a gift that cannot be earned. I do it for my love of Gos and His Christ and for my neighbor.

I wonder what you said about your faith...not to sound critical...and please forgive me if it does but you said ""Reformed Baptists" are not under a hierarchy. Each church is completely independent and finds its highest level of church government in the elders."

If they have elders, wouldn't that be some kind of hierarchy, or what is their function?

Sincerely,
Jim

Mike-e said...

You said "Of course it takes effort to remain faithful. But again, if you are depending on your own faithfulness for eternal life, then I fear for your fate..."

Let me assure you that I do not depend on my own faithfulness for eternal life. I do believe in John 3:16.

I love to preach the Gospel of Christ and of his coming Kingdom, I don't do this for salvation because I know it is a gift that cannot be earned. I do it for my love of Gos and His Christ and for my neighbor.


I'm glad to know that we are on the same page with this. Unfortunately, your organization isn't:

"Jehovah God will justify, declare righteous, on the basis of their own merit all perfected humans who have withstood that final, decisive test of mankind. He will adopt and acknowledge them as his sons through Jesus Christ." (Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God, 1966, p. 400)

I hope that you will consider the Scriptures that I raised as far as Justification and your assurance of salvation, as I don't believe that you can understand them through Watchtower teaching. You appear to be a bit independent of the Watchtower in some ways, as you wouldn't be on here having discussions with someone like me. With that said, I challenge you to read the book of Romans for yourself and by yourself, independent of WT literature, and allow God's Word to penetrate your heart and mind.

I wonder what you said about your faith...not to sound critical...and please forgive me if it does but you said ""Reformed Baptists" are not under a hierarchy. Each church is completely independent and finds its highest level of church government in the elders."

If they have elders, wouldn't that be some kind of hierarchy, or what is their function?


No need for hesitation on asking me questions. I'm completely open to questions and criticisms. You seem like a really nice guy and I wouldn't take any of your questions with offense.

Great question though! When I say that Reformed Baptist churches are not under a hierarchy, what I mean is, there isn't an organization controlling or monitoring all reformed baptist churches. But as far as each church is concerned, you could say that the elders of that church are the "hierarchy." The difference is, my elders don't possess a type of authority that goes beyond what the Scriptures teach for eldership. I can, and have, gone to correct my elders when I believe they are doing something unscriptural, even though I have no position of authority. They welcome my comments and criticisms and don't view me as a threat. This is because they are under the authority of the Scriptures. And it doesn't matter who the correction is coming from; if the Scriptures are being used, then they must adhere to its commands.

There are many different functions of the elders. Primarily, they are to preach the word faithfully. Their words are not infallible; they do not claim to be speaking for Jehovah; they are simply teaching on what they believe God's Word says and will stand in correction if they are ever in the wrong. Other functions include, mandating church discipline when needed, keeping the congregation unified, counceling, etc.

Feel free to ask more if you like! And again, if you want to start emailing me rather than going to the comment section of the blog, feel free to drop me a line anytime at entrsnm3@aol.com

Thanks Jim!

jimfisher007 said...

Dear Mike-e,

I have done the same as you said with my elders:

"The difference is, my elders don't possess a type of authority that goes beyond what the Scriptures teach for eldership. I can, and have, gone to correct my elders when I believe they are doing something unscriptural, even though I have no position of authority. They welcome my comments and criticisms and don't view me as a threat. This is because they are under the authority of the Scriptures. And it doesn't matter who the correction is coming from; if the Scriptures are being used, then they must adhere to its commands."

My elders have had know problem with me doing this since Christ is head of the congregation.

They too, as yours: "There are many different functions of the elders. Primarily, they are to preach the word faithfully. Their words are not infallible; they do not claim to be speaking for Jehovah; they are simply teaching on what they believe God's Word says and will stand in correction if they are ever in the wrong. Other functions include, mandating church discipline when needed, keeping the congregation unified, counceling, etc."

They do not speak for Jehovah or use their own wisdom, but have always used the Bible as the Authority.

I have never been accused or disciplined for anything I question about our faith from the elders. Our congregation have very loving men who care for and serve the congregation, not lording it over.

Please though explain the scripture at:(Romans 8:33) 33 Who will file accusation against God’s chosen ones? God is the One who declares [them] righteous.

King James says: Rom.8:[33] Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

Thanks,
Jim

Mike-e said...

Jim, you may be fortunate to not have been subject to unfair and unbiblical judgment and discipline. But others have not been so fortunate. On paper, the WT view of the role of elders would probably be quite in line with what I believe, as well as my church. But in action, the results are quite different. If you want a better glimpse as to why I question this whole aspect of the role of eldership in the local kingdom halls, listen to these testimonies:

http://www.jwinfoline.com/Page/audio.htm

In particular, the testimony of Jay Hess is most noteworthy. He was an apologist for the organization and wrote many articles in WT publications defending the Trinity and such. He was disfellowshipped without appeal for believing that Jesus should be worshipped, even though this was something that the WT held to.

As far as Romans 8:33, i'm not sure what your question is attempting to imply. But as far as the text goes, this is referring to our predestination, election, and justification in Christ. Verse 30 makes this clear, that we were "predestined" before we were called. Those He called were justified, and then glorified. This was all Jehovah's doing. Therefore, God received all glory and credit for our salvation. This is why no one can bring a charge against God's elect. Men may judge me, and even condemn me. But my election is secure in Christ regardless of what anyone says.

I'm sure much more could be said about this. If there was something else you were implying from your question, feel free to share your thoughts.

thanks Jim!

mike

jimfisher007 said...

Dear Mike-e,

I grew up in the Presbyterian Church who teaches predestination. The taught us from since the beginning we are all either "damned or saved". I also went to the Baptist church who didn't.

I disagreed with that teaching. I do believe that end the end their will be those who a re declared righteous by God thru Christ said

You said: "As far as Romans 8:33, i'm not sure what your question is attempting to imply. But as far as the text goes, this is referring to our predestination, election, and justification in Christ. Verse 30 makes this clear, that we were "predestined" before we were called."

So do believe like the Presbyterians? Just wondering.

As far as Jay Hess, is concerned I don't judge why people are disfellowshiped, that is between the person and the Elders and Christ who is head of the congregation, it is a private matter. I don't get into other people's business.

Jim

Mike-e said...

Reformed Baptists are pretty much in line with Presbyterians on most doctrines. The main differences include their views on baptism and church government. They hold to the Westminister confession whereas Baptists hold to the 1689 london baptist confession.

Reformed baptists are different from "regular" baptists in that most baptist churches are very much against predestination and election. In fact, they would argue their beliefs in a very similar manner that the Watchtower would. I'm sure being a JW, you disagree with predestination. But i'm convinced that it is biblical.

The whole reason i brought up Jay Hess was to provide a reason why I believe the elders within the WT go beyond what the bible teaches in exercising authority. But I think something much more disputable is the governing body and the authority of the organization as a whole. This is something that I believe is much more obvious on paper than the eldership issue. Ray Franz' book is one of the best examples as to how corrupt the organization is. And until you give this book a read, you will never know.

Mike.e

jimfisher007 said...

Dear Mike-e:

Whatever Ray Franz or Jay Hess has to say about the Governing Body or the WT really to me is a "He said She said" kind of thing. I have seen a lot of documentation on both sides. Documents can be taken out of context. I don't believe everything I read. I don't care for mud flinging. Anyone can do that to any religion on earth.

I look at the fruitage that is being produced.

I'm sure that you would agree that even in your church and it's history that the all the elders where not perfect and were corrupt at times. All of us are sinners.

People who are not Christian could argue that Christ's own 12 Apostles where or could have been corrupt because they argued all the time of who was the greatest among them and even Judas Iscariot was a thief and a betrayer.

But Jesus still used the other 11 and then added another one to take Judas' place to preach the The Kingdom of God and of His Christ and to help establish congregations in different cities.

Believe it or not, the Watchtower and Governing Body of old, back in the days of Franz and Hess have died off for the most part. We don't even use the most of the publications for reference for truth anymore. They have even professed that.

Even though I have an extensive WT Library dating back to 1879, since I like history. I also have over 52 different translations of the Bible in many different languages including several ancient copies of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek and a very large Theological library on other beliefs.

I am no scholar.

I just love history, religion, and politics and like to research other publications and translations.

It's like I tell my wife: "Those who refuse to study history are destine to repeat it!"

We are know to not only as Jehovah's Witnesses, but also the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.

We teach that Christ is the only way for salvation and we must except Him as King of God's Kingdom and sits at the right hand of God.

The type of predestination and of election, that I believe in the Bible is not on individuals, but that God new there would be those who could use at certain times for his purpose and later who would be declared righteous thru Christ.

I believe that God made us and the angels with "Free Will" in-order for us to make our own decisions.

If I'm already predestine to be "saved or damned" then why should I care to read the Bible or to go to the Doctor or to not to play in the highway. I believe God used people who happened to live at the right time and the right place to fulfill his purpose. Just like Job, who HAPPENED, to live in the land of Uz.

Can Predestination Be Reconciled With God’s Love?

“WE DEFINE predestination as the eternal design of God, whereby he determined what he wanted to do with each man. For he did not create them all in the same condition, but foreordains some to everlasting life and others to eternal damnation.”

That is how Protestant Reformer John Calvin defined his concept of predestination in the book Institutes of the Christian Religion. This concept is based on the idea that God is omniscient and that his creatures’ actions cannot call his purposes into question or oblige him to make changes.

But is this really what the Bible implies concerning God? More important, is such an explanation compatible with God’s qualities, especially his foremost quality—love?

A God Capable of Foretelling the Future

God is able to foretell the future. He describes himself as “the One telling from the beginning the finale, and from long ago the things that have not been done; the One saying, ‘My own counsel will stand, and everything that is my delight I shall do.’” (Isaiah 46:10) Down through human history, God has had his prophecies recorded to show that he can exercise his foreknowledge and foretell events before they take place.

Thus, in the days of Belshazzar, king of Babylon, when the prophet Daniel had a dream about two wild beasts, one supplanting the other, Jehovah gave him its interpretation: “The ram that you saw possessing the two horns stands for the kings of Media and Persia. And the hairy he-goat stands for the king of Greece.” (Daniel 8:20, 21) Obviously, God exercised his foreknowledge to reveal the succession of world powers. The then prevailing Babylonian Empire would be succeeded by Medo-Persia and then by Greece.

Prophecies can also concern one individual. For instance, the prophet Micah declared that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2) Again, in this case God exercised his foreknowledge. However, this event was announced with a particular purpose—the identification of the Messiah. This instance does not justify generalizing a doctrine of predestination that includes each individual.

On the contrary, the Scriptures reveal that there are situations in which God chooses not to foreknow the outcome. Just before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, he declared: “I am quite determined to go down that I may see whether they act altogether according to the outcry over it that has come to me, and, if not, I can get to know it.” (Genesis 18:21) This text clearly shows us that God did not foreknow the extent of the depravity in those cities before he investigated matters.

True, God can foresee certain events, but in many cases, he has chosen not to use his foreknowledge. Because God is almighty, he is free to exercise his abilities as he wishes, not according to the wishes of imperfect humans.

A God Who Can Set Matters Straight

As did Calvin, some say that God predetermined man’s fall before his creation and that he had predestinated the ‘chosen ones’ before that fall. But if this were true, would it not have been hypocritical for God to offer the prospect of everlasting life to Adam and Eve, fully aware that they would be unable to realize it? Moreover, the Scriptures nowhere deny that the first human couple were given a choice: either to follow divine directions and live forever or to reject them and die.—Genesis, chapter 2.

But did Adam and Eve’s sin really thwart God’s purpose? No, for immediately after their sinning, God announced that he would raise up a “seed” to destroy Satan and his agents and that he would again set matters straight on earth. Just as a few insects cannot stop a gardener from producing good yields, so Adam and Eve’s disobedience will not prevent God from making the earth into a paradise.—Genesis, chapter 3.

God later revealed that there would be a Kingdom government entrusted to a descendant of King David and that others would be associated in this Kingdom. These others are called “the holy ones of the Supreme One.”—Daniel 7:18; 2 Samuel 7:12; 1 Chronicles 17:11.

To Foretell Is Not to Predestine

The fact that God did not choose to know which course mankind would take did not prevent him from prophesying the consequences of man’s good or bad actions. A mechanic who warns a driver of the poor condition of his vehicle cannot be held responsible if an accident occurs or be accused of predestining it. Likewise, God cannot be accused of predestining the sad consequences of individuals’ actions.

The same was true with the descendants of the first human couple. Before Cain killed his brother, Jehovah put a choice before Cain. Would he master sin, or would sin get mastery over him? Nothing in the account indicates that Jehovah predetermined that Cain would make the bad choice and murder his brother.—Genesis 4:3-7.

Later, the Mosaic Law warned the Israelites about what would happen if they turned away from Jehovah, for instance, by taking wives from among the pagan nations. What was foretold did happen. This can be seen from the example of King Solomon, who in his later years was influenced by his foreign wives to practice idolatry. (1 Kings 11:7, 8) Yes, God warned his people, but he did not predestine what their individual actions would be.

The Christian elect, or chosen ones, are encouraged to persevere if they do not wish to be deprived of the promised reward of reigning in the heavens with Christ. (2 Peter 1:10; Revelation 2:5, 10, 16; 3:11) As some theologians of the past have asked, Why were such reminders given if the calling of the chosen ones was final?

Predestination and God’s Love

Man was given free will, being created “in God’s image.” (Genesis 1:27) Free will was indispensable if humans were to honor and serve God out of love, not as robots with every movement determined beforehand. Love displayed by intelligent, free creatures would enable God to refute unjust accusations. He says: “Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me.”—Proverbs 27:11.

If God’s servants were predestined—or programmed, so to speak—could not the genuineness of their love for their Creator be called into question? Also, would it not be contrary to God’s impartiality for him to make a predetermined choice of persons destined to glory and happiness without taking their individual merits into account? Moreover, if some receive such preferential treatment, while others are destined to eternal punishment, this would hardly arouse sincere feelings of gratitude in the “elect,” or “chosen ones.”—Genesis 1:27; Job 1:8; Acts 10:34, 35.

Finally, Christ told his disciples to preach the good news to all mankind. If God has already chosen the ones to be saved, would this not dampen the zeal Christians show in evangelizing? Would it not make the preaching work essentially pointless?

Impartial love from God is the strongest force that can move men to love him in return. The greatest expression of God’s love was to sacrifice his Son in behalf of imperfect, sinful mankind. God’s foreknowledge respecting his Son is a special case, but it assures us that the restoration promises resting on Jesus will indeed be fulfilled. So may we put faith in that Son and draw close to God. Let us show our appreciation by accepting God’s invitation to come into a fine relationship with our Creator. Today, God addresses this invitation to all who want to exercise their free will and show their love for him.

Sincerely,

Jim

Mike-e said...

Whatever Ray Franz or Jay Hess has to say about the Governing Body or the WT really to me is a "He said She said" kind of thing. I have seen a lot of documentation on both sides. Documents can be taken out of context. I don't believe everything I read. I don't care for mud flinging. Anyone can do that to any religion on earth.

Thanks again for your comment Jim. The whole point in my bringing up Ray Franz and Jay Hess is to display my reasons for rejecting the Watchtower in light of its claims for itself. This is not to necessarily to convince you of anything. Instead, it is to show you reasons why I reject the WT. Franz's documentation has not been refuted. And as long as it remains as such, I have no reason to believe that the WT is "God's only organization on earth today." You can remain convinced that the WT is what it claims for itself. But I will remain unconvinced until you, or someone else, shows me otherwise.

I look at the fruitage that is being produced.

I'm sure that you would agree that even in your church and it's history that the all the elders where not perfect and were corrupt at times. All of us are sinners.


Jim, I am fully aware of the corruption that has existed, and still exists in the church. But keep in mind that my church doesn't make the claims of authority that the WT claims. And because the Watchtower says what it says, I have no choice but to hold them to the highest possible standard. As far as my church, we don't make these claims and there is no need to hold us to any standard other than whether or not our doctrine is biblical.

People who are not Christian could argue that Christ's own 12 Apostles where or could have been corrupt because they argued all the time of who was the greatest among them and even Judas Iscariot was a thief and a betrayer.

Jim, not even the 12 apostles made the kind of claims for themselves that the WT makes. I can give you quote after quote after quote of WT authority claims, and I would challenge you to show me one place where the apostles make an equivalent claim. You can only hold someone to a standard that is consistent with their claims. Otherwise, the comparison fails.

If you'd like me to re-quote the WT inspiration and authority claims, i'd be happy to do so.

But Jesus still used the other 11 and then added another one to take Judas' place to preach the The Kingdom of God and of His Christ and to help establish congregations in different cities.

I'm not sure how this is relevant to what we are discussing other than the fact that you might be comparing the governing body to the apostles. Is that what you are suggesting?

Believe it or not, the Watchtower and Governing Body of old, back in the days of Franz and Hess have died off for the most part. We don't even use the most of the publications for reference for truth anymore. They have even professed that.

I'm very interested in this admission by you that "we don't even use most of the publications for reference for truth anymore." Are you saying that what the WT teaches as truth now may not be truth in 10 years? What if, like organ transplants and vaccinations, the WT allows blood transfusions in the future? Thousands would have died needlessly.

But if what you say is true, then how far back in WT publications can i go before things stop becoming true? Are only the past 5 years of WT publications true? Last 2 years? 1 year? How do I know what is true and what isn't?

Even though I have an extensive WT Library dating back to 1879, since I like history. I also have over 52 different translations of the Bible in many different languages including several ancient copies of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek and a very large Theological library on other beliefs.

I am no scholar.

I just love history, religion, and politics and like to research other publications and translations.

It's like I tell my wife: "Those who refuse to study history are destine to repeat it!"


Looks like we have a lot in common! You are a very intelligent guy and I wish more people would be as studious as you!

We are know to not only as Jehovah's Witnesses, but also the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.

We teach that Christ is the only way for salvation and we must except Him as King of God's Kingdom and sits at the right hand of God.


Many religions teach this, but whats important is Christ's identity. Your organization teaches that Christ is Michael the Archangel and that he is Jehovah's first creation. I fully reject this teaching on the basis that it is completely unbiblical. This is definitely an area of critical importance that i think would warrant more discussion between us.

The type of predestination and of election, that I believe in the Bible is not on individuals, but that God new there would be those who could use at certain times for his purpose and later who would be declared righteous thru Christ.

I believe that God made us and the angels with "Free Will" in-order for us to make our own decisions.

If I'm already predestine to be "saved or damned" then why should I care to read the Bible or to go to the Doctor or to not to play in the highway. I believe God used people who happened to live at the right time and the right place to fulfill his purpose. Just like Job, who HAPPENED, to live in the land of Uz.


Soteriology is something i'm very interested in discussing with you. However, I don't find the Calvinism/Arminian debate to be in the area of essential Christian doctrine. You may disagree with this, but I don't believe that this issue affects your salvation.

I appreciate you quoting those WT articles about predestination. I've read them in the past and have studied the issue from both sides. But rather than discuss this, i'd rather discuss issues pertaining to the identity of Jesus, Watchtower authority, Salvation by faith alone, and other areas relating to essential issues. That is to say, I usually only discuss predestination with fellow believers.

I post blogs relating to Calvinism every now and then. So if you feel the need to discuss it, you are welcome to comment in those appropriate section and I will make an attempt to answer your objections. In fact, i'll post a blog tomorrow for this very purpose :-)

jimfisher007 said...

Hey Mike,

I do like to research History because it shows why we believe what we practice and believe today.

Could you explain to me what the meaning of this scripture at:

1 Thessalonians 4:16 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Jim

Mike-e said...

Jim, I hope its safe to assume that you are implying from your question that 1 Thessalonians 4:16 is identifying Jesus as Michael the Archangel. If not, then I apologize for my incorrect assumption.

There are several reasons why I believe that the “kyrios” (Lord) here is no being identified as the archangel. If using an archangel’s voice makes the Lord an archangel, then having God’s trumpet makes him God. But this isn’t valid; as I’m sure you’d agree. Belief in Christ’s deity is based on numerous other passages. But nowhere in this text does it explicitly say that Jesus Himself speaks with the voice of the archangel. It seems much more logical to me to read this verse as saying that when Jesus comes from Heaven, He will be accompanied by the archangel since it is the archangel’s voice (which is distinct from Jesus) that issues the shout. This interpretation is strongly supported by 1 Thessalonians 1:7, which reads, “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire.” If the angels accompany Christ at the Second Coming, then surely the archangel will accompany Him as well.

I have many other reasons for rejecting the idea that Christ is the archangel Michael. If you’d like to discuss these further, I’d be happy to bring them up.

jimfisher007 said...

Hey Mike,

Hope you are ok.

Just wondered why Jesus wouldn't also play the role as the Archangel if he also according to the Trinity is equal to God the Father and Holy Spirit.

Jesus was here on earth and played the role as the Son of God, so why not the Archangel after his being resurrected to heaven as well?

Couldn't play two roles in heaven or maybe 3 or more. I know he acts as High Priest and King in heaven or am I wrong there as well?

Just wondering?

Jim

Just wondering?

Mike-e said...

I understand your point, Jim, but there is simply no biblical reason for claiming that Jesus is Michael the Archangel. I didn't find 1 Thess. 4:16 to be good evidence, so unless you can provide a counter argument from mine or another text, then I see no reason why I should believe the WT position on this.

jimfisher007 said...

Dear Mike,

I e-mailed you