Monday, May 23, 2011

My Interview with Apologetics315 on Jehovah's Witnesses

Thank you, Brian, for the opportunity for this interview!  Here's the description from APOLOGETICS315:

Today's interview is with Mike Felker. Mike blogs on apologetics at TheApologeticFront, with an emphasis on interacting with Jehovah's Witnesses. He talks about his background, the overall belief system of JWs, The Watchtower Society, their various teachings regarding salvation, the afterlife, Jesus, the trinity, etc. He also discusses strategies for interaction including what to focus on and what to avoid. You might also enjoy Mike's interview on the Theopologetics podcast at this link. Mike's video channels on Youtube are here and here.

Full Interview MP3 Audio here (1hr)

Enjoy.

Books recommended by Mike for dealing with Jehovah's Witnesses:

Subscribe to the Apologetics 315 Interviews podcast here or in iTunes.

76 comments:

Nick Norelli said...

Just finished listening to it. Great interview!

The Apologetic Front said...

Thanks Nick!

Brian said...

Nice Job Mike. I really enjoyed that and you are an excellent representative for those of us reaching out to this people group. I pray that God continues to provide these platforms for you.

Brian (21cc21)

Anonymous said...

In a nutshell, what did you mean by your comment, I can't remember the exact quote, but basically there is a reason why JW's can live good moral lives? You said it would take another conversation to talk about, but in short hand, what do you mean?

P.S. Please do not use literal short hand. Thanks...

The Apologetic Front said...

@anonymous,

I'm not sure what I meant either. Where in the audio did I say this? Either I misspoke or I meant something by it but I'm not recalling it.

Anonymous said...

Early on. Some part after explaining how they are very united. Maybe 5 to 10 minutes in.

Mike Felker said...

@Anonymous,

You are going to have to be more specific. Please provide a direct quote or feel free to ask me a direct question about what I believe about X,Y, or Z and i'll be happy to answer.

Anonymous said...

At the 18:05 mark you said that JW's are moral people and in general they are successful in living moral lives. Then, at about the 18:20 mark you say this: "How and why they are able to accomplish this is another issue."

I simply want to know what that means. Not really a "what do you believe about Y" but more like a "what do you mean by your statement".

Thanks...

Mike Felker said...

@anonymous,

Thanks for being more specific and giving me the opportunity to clarify. I would intend the same explanation for the ability of JW's worldwide to be generally unified in belief as they would be unified in their lifestyle: absolute unquestionable obedience to the Governing Body.

I'm not saying this to broad-brush JW's, as I know there are some who would believe what they believe regardless of what the GB demands of them. In addition, I think that many remain moral and doctrinally unified because of their fear of shunning and disfellowshipping.

Hopefully that clears up what I was trying to say. If you need further clarification, please let me know.

Anonymous said...

If the GB represents God to them, and they listen to the GB, wouldn't that be a good thing that they live clean and moral lives? That they are encouraged to read the Bible, to go preach.

Or, would it be better to not listen to GB and live the way they want. Maybe live like the rest of christianity. Perhaps smoke, perhaps divorce their spouce on grounds other than those taught in the Bible, perhaps beilieve part of the Bible, just not all of it, ect.

Does the unity in their religion prove anything? No other religion I can think of teaches the exact same thing, not even the closely related Bible Students. It is interesting.

Mike Felker said...

@anonymous,

Its not "listening to the GB" per se that I have an issue with: its listening to them with absolute unquestionable submission. And this would include "moral" duties such as allowing a child to die rather than receiving a blood transfusion that could save their life. Such a decision should be based upon the individual Christian's conscience rather than absolute unquestionable submission to whatever a New York publishing corporation puts in print.

Instead, each Christian should be faithful to God and what He has declared through His word and test whatever their leaders say against the Scriptures (Acts 17:11).

Anonymous said...

I will give credit to the JW's. I would agree with much of what you said, however it is tainted with the basic misunderstanding of christians of Acts 15.

The verses 28, 29 say quite literally, emphatically, "abstain from blood".

I don't think it is wrong for JW's to take the Bible literally do you?

Also, I believe it is a person's choice what to do in a life or death situation. Do JW's stand by with a gun to make sure they don't give blood? Do the GB know if one accepts a transfusion?

It is clear that blood transfusions aren't always the answer and often create more problems. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/bt/bt_risk.html

This is off base a bit, but it seems you are kind of picky with JW's taking things literally. So here is a direct question Mike, how are YOU able to choose what to take literally in the Bible?

If the Bible says "abstain from blood", seems like not eating or not having it transfused would be acting in accord with scripture.

Maybe the GB deserve more credit than you are giving. Maybe God knew what he was talking about.

Anonymous said...

My comment disappeared Mike, oh well.

Anonymous said...

It says 13 comments on your site but only shows 12. Gee, I wonder what happened?

Mike Felker said...

@Anonymous

Sorry about your comment not posting. My blog has a spam filter and sometime anonymous comments don't go through.

As to Acts 15:28-29, my problem is with the governing body holding all Christians worldwide to absolute unquestionable submission to anything they say. And with this text, no Christian is left to decide for themselves lest they be disfellowshipped or viewed as an apostate.

But even so, if JW's really are going to take this literally, then why are blood fractions allowed? And furthermore, perhaps JW's who work in meat markets should quite their jobs since they have to deal with blood.

Obviously, "abstain from blood" means to not eat blood. Transfusing it is something completely different.

But I don't want to get into a debate on blood. My point is to show that this is an issue, like any other medical issue, that should be up to the individual Christian's conscience to decide; that is, unless it is directly contradicting something explicitly taught in Scripture.

If you haven't already, check out Greg Stafford's treatment on the blood issue.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't one of Jehovahs Witness leaders or presidents a practicing homosexual , who was caught having sex with male prostitutes and exposed on TV a few years ago and he was also found to be a drug addict , doing all this while he was married , think the guys name was Ted or somthing like that ?

Anonymous said...

Actually Anonymous , get your facts straight , the guy your most likely refering to was TED HAGGARD , who has nothing to do with the JW's , but happened to be a leading Evangelical Christian ,and president of the Evangelical Alliance...please make sure of your facts before making random statements that could be misleading , even malicious slander ..

Anonymous said...

Mike, JW's wouldn't quit jobs in meat markets because they aren't eating it or licking it up or transfusing it into their own blood.

"Obviously, "abstain from blood" means to not eat blood. Transfusing it is something completely different." Technically true, but in reality no. If you are told to abstain from alchohol would you drink it? No. Would it be ok to put directly into your veins? Of course not!

The Bible says not to sin. Would it be up to a Christian on whether he can sin or not? Certainly it is not up for discussion.

The Bible says abstain from blood. It doesn't say simply animal blood, it doesn't say "it's ok to use it in your own blood", it simply states "abstain". It is not up for discussion.

Mike Felker said...

@Anonymous,

Are you suggesting that accepting a transfusion is no different than eating it? And can you please explain to me why blood fractions are acceptable but whole blood isn't?

If your doctor told you to abstain from ham sandwiches, would you then think its ok to eat the ham and bread, but leave out the cheese?

Furthermore, is it wrong to transfuse your own blood back into your body if it has to be temporarily removed for surgical purposes?

The alcohol analogy fails because putting alcohol into your veins is the same as drinking it because the effect is exactly the same. Drinking blood is different because it cannot be digested. But by transfusing it, you are simply putting something into your body that is already there.

Anonymous said...

Am I suggesting that accepting a transfusion is no different than eating it?

Good question, however, I will simply go say again, whether it answers your question to your satisfaction, in this case they are no different. Abstain from blood means to not take from blood in any case.

Are you suggesting we should look to find ways around what God's written law says, much like the Sadducees and the Pharisee? I mean seriously, if the Bible says not to do something, do we look for ways that we can do what we want?


"If your doctor told you to abstain from ham sandwiches, would you then think its ok to eat the ham and bread, but leave out the cheese?"

In your analogy of the ham sandwhich, you are going to have to be more specific on what applies to what with regards to blood. What part of blood is the cheese and so on. :)

"Furthermore, is it wrong to transfuse your own blood back into your body if it has to be temporarily removed for surgical purposes?"

For myself, it would need to be in a constant flow. Otherwise it may not be still part of me. (Deut. 12:23, 24)

Lastly Mr. Felker, you said blood cannot be digested. Actually, it can. Do some better research next time before you make a blind statement. Thanks.

Mike Felker said...

@anonymous,

I'll accept the correction that blood can be digested. But my point was to show that it is not the equivalent to alcohol as to the effect in which it is digested via veins or drinking.

But you didn't answer my question about blood fractions. Why is it acceptable to accept fractions but not whole blood?

Next, I don't understand how "constant" flow can be justified if "abstain from blood" is what you claim it to be. That is, if your blood is leaving your body and then transfused back into your body through a "constant flow," then why couldn't another's blood be used in the same manner? It looks to me like you'd be finding ways to "get around what God's written law says."

Do you not see how trivial this issue is? If it were not so trivial, can you please explain why the WT has changed their policy on blood? Were fractions always allowed? Why the change? Was was so unclear about "abstain from blood?"

For me, the bottom line is not whether you think blood transfusions are wrong. If you want to hold to that conviction, then fine. But I take issue with your leaders who think that all true Christians should have absolute unquestionable submission to whatever they put into print. This means that no Christian can remain faithful to God and use their conscience in deciding on whether or not they should accept a potentially life-saving transfusion.

Anonymous said...

Why is it acceptable to accept fractions but not whole blood?

A couple of things to consider:

My "leaders" have not told me to have unquestionable submission to what they print.

For example, the 1990 Watchtower of June said this with regards to blood fractions, "Jehovah’s Witnesses do not accept transfusions of whole blood or of its primary components (red cells, white cells, platelets, or plasma)", however, "some Christians have felt..." or "Others have felt..." or
"when a Christian is deciding...".

"Each must resolve the matter personally before God." - My "Leaders"

I understand what you are saying about it seeming trivial, but I don't think it is because the idea of abstaining was something continued by 1 C.E. Christians. For that very reason, it should mean something.

I think the fact that they have seen the matter brought up in the Bible and have made Christians aware of it is a wonderful thing. Most christians would simply ignor this command. We are presented with the command and are shown that in a serious situation, we have some major choices to make.

Science in the matter is now better, I would venture to say, because of JW's strict adherance to God's word in the book of Acts. Most honest people would admit that bloodless surgeries are better all around. I would attribute this to Jehovah being wise the whole time, knowing the matter of our bodies and blood.

Has the Watchtower Society changed their view of fractions? Certainly they have. Science develops. The Bible does not comment on blood fractions, though whole blood and the components, i.e. red cells, plasma, white cells and platelets are rejected out of respect for Acts 15.

In the past much of this did not exist, so some JW's would die not accepting a blood transfusion. Sad yes, but to die by doing what God said is right, I would ask, what better way could you die? In war? In a car accident? Obeying scripture is what men have been dying for for thousands of years!

Some JW's view fractions as wrong. Maybe all of them, maybe some of them. They have the choice and are asked, in print, not to push their opinions on others.

You said "This means that no Christian can remain faithful to God and use their conscience in deciding on whether or not they should accept a potentially life-saving transfusion."

That is simply not true. It is all about personal choice. How do your understand the scripture? "After doing prayerful research on a medical product or procedure, we should heed our Bible-trained conscience. (Romans 14:2, 22, 23)"

JW's accept life-saving transfusions, the safer kind.

P.S. A constant flow, like on a dialysis would keep the blood from ever permanently leaving your body, unlike, giving blood where it is stored and no longer part of you. At that point, my understanding would be like that of Deut 12. But because your blood is filtered and cleaned, there is no problem, as is my view.

Mike Felker said...

@anonymous,

I realize the WT allows JW's to use their conscience in deciding on accepting blood fractions. However, i'm still wondering why blood fractions are acceptable for each Christian to consider on his own but not whole blood?

And does it not concern you that many JW's had their health seriously impaired or died as a result of following the WT's lead when they would have otherwise accepted a blood fraction when it was once prohibited?

Or how about those who refused organ transplants? Did the WT ever apologize to those who obeyed them?

Anonymous said...

Maybe could blame God for not making it clearer because in the future we would have to explain what exactly the word abstain would mean and in what context.

Maybe we could blame science for not coming out with better methods.

Maybe we could blame sin for putting us in death's grip?

You can blame JW's for whatever you want. I may take fractions or not, I may die. That is my choice, not the WT.

Seriously though Felker, you are so quick to blame the JW's for all the bad. Why don't you thank them for giving you the chance to freely express yourself as they have done more for freedom in this country than has any other religious person/group.

The Apologetic Front said...

@anonymous,

I'd really like for you to answer my questions about blood fractions. Why is it acceptable for each Christian to use his/her conscience for blood fractions but its absolutely unquestionably wrong to accept whole blood?

As for "blaming," i'm simply saying that this should be of great concern for you if the Governing Body are who they claim to be; that is, if they have yet to apologize for all the harm their teachings has caused to persons around the world.

The Apologetic Front said...

@anonymous,

If you're willing, I would be fine with you ignoring anything I have said here if you would take the time to read these few pages from Greg Stafford's book, "Jehovah's Witnesses Defended" concerning blood:

http://www.elihubooks.com/data/topical_index/000/000/133/JWD3_Chap_9_Sec_Blood_SITE_4_9.7.10.pdf

Anonymous said...

I posted a comment earlier and it isn't showing up.

Because the article is too long to post and the fact that you have to take it all in context, I would suggest you read w90 6/1. It is the basic answer to your question blood fractions and maybe why they are ok for a Christian.

Hopefully it will help you.

As far as Stafford, I'm not really interested in him. From my understanding, he has abandoned JW's.

Mike Felker said...

@Anonymous,

I'm not sure why your comment isn't showing up. But I didn't receive an email notification from blogger either, so i'll assume it didn't go through.

As for the WT you referenced, why should I be willing to read this if you aren't willing to read Stafford?

Keep in mind that Stafford is not abandoning JW's. Did you not see the title of his book, Jehovah's Witnesses Defended? Does a book with a title like that sound like one who is abandoning JW's?

Anonymous said...

Come on Felker, you talk to me like I'm dumb.

I've been talking with you via email and mostly through this thing for nearly a year now. I know all about you. I know you have the WT Library and you use it and read along with a number of publications, pretty sure I say a YouTube vid on that.

I know you have other software that allows you to things prior to 1950 as well, but so do I.

You should know too that I am not interested in what people who leave JW's say. You bring up some good points some times and infact, help me reaffirm my faith.

Stafford's book title makes it sound like a JW publication or one in support of the org, but I know better. And now, so should you with your deceptive means of trying to make me read his work.

Mike Felker said...

@Anonymous,

I said nothing deceptive. Stafford's book seeks to defend JW's and that is the truth. Is he against the org? In some cases, yes. But since you refuse to read anything by him, then I suppose there's no use in discussing him any further.

So again, I ask: why should I or anyone be willing to read a WT article if you are unwilling to read something by Stafford? Perhaps all Christians should hold this mindset in refusing to read works by those who oppose their beliefs?

Anonymous said...

If you are a Christian and you believe you have the truth there is no reason to read some other faith's publications. I wouldn't accept anyone elses, and haven't.

You seek to witness to JW's by using their own publications so that is why you read what I am telling you. You wouldn't be breaking your own rules.

Mike Felker said...

Well I guess the Watchtower definitely broke that rule then. I think they've quoted from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other Catholic publications more than a few times. And add to that plenty of other sources from other religious groups.

But maybe you have your own rules in being more closed minded ;-)

Anonymous said...

I know what they have a Bethel. I also so know the got yelled at by all the apostates for using the UN library. In their writing, their agenda would be different than me reading something from your faith or from someone elses faith. I have enough things to read, things I actually want to read, like this wonderful site.

In reality though, just because they may own certain books doesn't mean I should. I can simply type in a phrase online and see if what they are saying is true. I don't need to own the Book of Mormon to know what they believe or to know it's full of errors. Same with Stafford and his views.

Clearly my mind is far more open since I am talking to you, though I must admit, when I first saw a YouTube video about and JW's I thought you were open to discussion. Now it seems your mind is made up. I do still like answering your objections though.

Mike Felker said...

@Anonymous,

Fair enough. I'll just have to keep all of this in mind as we continue discussions in the future. But for now, thanks for stopping by and offering an engaging dialogue :-)

Anonymous said...

So you aren't willing to see the difference of fractions? I gave you the source material. You also haven't even defended your position that to abstain doesn't mean to abstain.

The Apologetic Front said...

@anonymous,

Its not that i'm not "willing." Instead, I don't see why its acceptable to accept fractions but not whole blood or its 4 primary components. Though the WT position is "explained" in the article you've referenced; I don't find the distinction compelling in the least.

From what I can tell, if "abstain from blood" means what you say it means, then accepting blood fractions is nothing short of "finding ways around God's law."

And yes, I have clearly defended my position on what "abstain" means. It is referring to abstaining from blood as food. This is to be contrasted with a command whereby one would abstain from blood as blood; in which case transfusing your own blood back into your body would be wrong; even if in a "constant flow," as you say. In fact, using the WT's logic, you could just as well drink your own blood as long as its in "constant flow" since drinking/injecting blood is the same thing.

The WT has failed time and time again to see this distinction. Instead, they continue to compare drinking vs. injecting alcohol with drinking vs. injecting blood. The reality is, there is a clear distinction but is not recognized.

Mark Hunter said...

@Anonymous - i have a question regarding the keeping of God's laws.

Jesus said he wouldn't abolish the law but would fulfill it.

So, you believe that "abstaining from blood" means more than eating it, per the culture when Acts 15 was recorded. You, per the Governing Body's exegesis believe that abstaining from blood includes refusing whole blood and certain fractions of blood.

Would this constitue a law? I'm sure you referred to it as a law somewhere in the comments here.

If it is a law, do you believe that observing such laws make you right with God? In other words, if you were to receive a certain blood component that wasn't on the Governing Body's approved list, as published in the Watchtower magazine, would you be breaking God's law, and would he somehow love you less for doing so?

Anonymous said...

Mark Hunter, good to see you again.

I see where you are going with this and I don't want to play your way of the master mind games.

You asked if observing 'such' laws make me right with God and I would simply answer that by saying no. Good question though. (Heb 10:26-31)

Mike, you said Acts 15 is referring to abstaining from blood as food. Even though transfusions didn't exist at the time, how can you say that the principle cannot apply to blood transfusions? There are many principles we find scripturally where we understand something and yet there is no explicit command.

You said the WT doesn't know the difference between eating and drinking blood but I'm sure you know that in the hospital you may be fed through the nose or mouth or through the veins. When sugar solutions are given intravenously, it is called intravenous feeding or parenteral nutrition. So the hospital’s own terminology recognizes as feeding the process of putting nutrition into one’s system via the veins.

Regardless of the method, it is still not abstaining from blood.

There are all kinds of arguments for and against fractions, but you are refusing to hear them Mike. To me, the matter is very clear. But to you, it's very clear in a different way.

Mark Hunter said...

"I see where you are going with this and I don't want to play your way of the master mind games.

You asked if observing 'such' laws make me right with God and I would simply answer that by saying no. Good question though. (Heb 10:26-31)"

That's it? That's your response? I thought Jehovah's Witnesses were trained to give a robust answer for their "hope".

So, if you're not made right with God by keeping laws, can you be made "wrong" with God by not keeping them?

Go on. Give it a shot.

Mark Hunter said...

I should add, Heb 10:26-31 assumes that breaking the Governing Body's concocted rule about blood transfusions would constitute a "sin".

That would only be true if we presuppose that the Governing Body's rules are actually laws from God.

And that would only be true if we presuppose the selection of the "faithful and discreet slave" took place in 1919 and that, in some unexplained way, the selection involved the decision makers at the Watch Tower Society.

So, basically, we've got a rather interesting web of presupposition that, in practical terms, means life or death to the children of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Now, which presupposition would you like to start with and provide compelling evidence for?

Mark Hunter said...

Anonymous, earlier you said that Jehovah's Witnesses should be allowed to interpret the Bible literally.

Yet now you're saying:

"Mike, you said Acts 15 is referring to abstaining from blood as food. Even though transfusions didn't exist at the time, how can you say that the principle cannot apply to blood transfusions? There are many principles we find scripturally where we understand something and yet there is no explicit command. "

What, literally, was meant in Acts 15 when the NWT says "abstain from blood"? What literally was meant?

You see, it seems that your leaders, whom you must faithfully and obediently follow, are telling you that in the case of Acts 15 you should not read it literally.

For if you did, you would conclude that the matter was addressing the "pagan" practise of eating blood, something that was abhorrent to Jewish Christians.

Deciding, almost 2000 years later, that Acts applies to modern medicine is more certainly not a literal reading of the Bible.

Mark Hunter said...

Anonymous, you also say;

"You said the WT doesn't know the difference between eating and drinking blood but I'm sure you know that in the hospital you may be fed through the nose or mouth or through the veins. When sugar solutions are given intravenously, it is called intravenous feeding or parenteral nutrition. So the hospital’s own terminology recognizes as feeding the process of putting nutrition into one’s system via the veins."

This is a hypothesis straight from the pages of the "Reasoning" book. And, like that book - with its adherence to long-since-abandoned doctrine - it's a tired and unreasonable argument.

Receiving nourishment intravenously isn't the same thing as expanding blood volume. You could drink a pint of blood straight from a jug and it wouldn't increase your blood volume.

I'm never done being stunned at the Watchtower idolatry of the symbol of life, namely blood, at the expense of that which it represents.

Poor, murderous theology at its worse.

Anonymous said...

You are quite the bitter person Mark Hunter. And no, my information wasn't "straight from the pages of the "Reasoning" book".

Mark Hunter, to you all things are lawful. To me, not all things are advantageous.

Mark Hunter said...

"You are quite the bitter person Mark Hunter."

That's an interesting conclusion you've come to, Anonymous.

You may see it as advantageous to follow - and trust - men as your leader.

I see that as unlawful.

As a side note, your choice to remain anonymous tells me everything I need to know about your religion.

The Apologetic Front said...

@Anonymous,

You continue to miss the point. When food is given intravenously, it is given as food. When you take blood through the veins, you are taking blood, not food. In other words, you are adding into your veins what is already there; blood.

And you do the exact same thing when you remove blood from your body temporarily for surgery. It goes back into your body through transfusion. If you really want to get literal with "abstaining from blood," then you should refuse this as well in addition to accepting blood fractions.

You may claim that i'm "getting around the law," but if this is the case, you advocate your own "getting around the law" through blood fractions and accepting the transfusion of your own blood.

Kyle said...

Mark Hunter you are extremely aggressive and insulting in your tone ... you get full marks for "How not to win friends and influence people".

Any one tell you , you're a great advert for Evangelical Christianity ;-) Keep it up !

Anonymous said...

Great Link to check out guys ..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_evangelist_scandals

What a nice bunch ;-)

Anonymous said...

PS BTW I'm not a JW either , seems you all have Christ in common , but pull each other to pieces , seems to me its all about wining an argument , like dogs fighting over a bone .Neither side wanting to let go or budge on the issue , a battle of the intellect rather than a battle to win the heart! Is this not how the inquisitions and religious hatred and intolerance got its start ? - Just my perception ;-)

The Apologetic Front said...

Kyle,

What's wrong with inquisitions, religious hatred and intolerance? Are these things absolutely wrong or wrong just because you said so?

Mark Hunter said...

"Mark Hunter you are extremely aggressive and insulting in your tone ... you get full marks for "How not to win friends and influence people".

Any one tell you , you're a great advert for Evangelical Christianity ;-) Keep it up !"


This is a typical response from a Watchtower apologist/follower of the Governing Body; you ignore what's actually being said and instead focus on who's saying it. It's an ad hominem attack with the intention of "poisoning the well".

Why would you care who/what I'm a good/not a good advert for?

Why not focus on what I'm asking and make some effort at responding?

You see, either the Governing Body speaks exclusively for Almighty God, based on some 1919 appointment to the role, or it doesn't.>

If it does, then the world needs to see the evidence.

If it doesn't, then you all need to stop sacrificing children.

Mark Hunter said...

"Great Link to check out guys ..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_evangelist_scandals

What a nice bunch ;-)"


What's your point?

Kyle said...

@Anonymous ..

YOU SAID : I believe it is a person's choice what to do in a life or death situation

So you agree its a matter of conscience , as do I ..the Anonymous you have responded to on the issue is clearly objecting on grounds of HIS conscience - so why dont you respect that ?


From my perspective , I agree that Paul is refering to the deliberate eating of blood , incidentaly I attended an Alpha course run by a local Evangelical Church , who served black pudding (sausage made with pigs blood) at one of their breakfast events , so from my perspective a clear violation of the Holy Spirits injunction to abstain from blood - their spin on that I assume is "Christians are not under law" .

One question - what about fornication then , the text says to abstain from fornication to - is this a law/command or am I okay to fornicate as I'm no longer under "law" - is this also a matter of conscience ?

Kyle said...

Sorry the above comment is for @ MIKE not Anonymous ...

The Apologetic Front said...

Kyle,

I would ask that you follow my conversation with "anonymous" a little more closely. I said more than once that my dispute is not what he/she believes about blood. In fact, its no more my business than whether he/she chooses traditional medicine over holistic care (which I advocate).

The issue is what his leaders demand from all Christians worldwide; abstaining from blood transfusions that come from someone other than the recipient. That is what I cannot and will not "respect" because it refuses to allow the individual to decide for himself, lest he refuse and get disfellowshipped as a result of disobeying 7 men in Brooklyn, NY. And of course, such would inevitably lead to that one being destroyed at armageddon.

To answer your last question, fornication is not just something that is condemned only in the Old Covenant law; it is condemned throughout the Christian Scriptures. That is, its wrong regardless of what covenant you're under.

But I think you're bringing up fornication is a good example of how the Governing Body is inconsistent on the blood issue. Since they take "abstain from blood" to mean, "don't accept transfusions," they somehow feel that its acceptable to transfuse blood fractions. The implications: perhaps then its acceptable to have a little bit of fornication here and and a little bit of fornication there (i.e. fornication "fractions"), as long as one isn't going "all the way" with their fornicating.

Mark Hunter said...

@Kyle - do you recognise that the book we know as "Acts of the Apostles" is a documentary of events surrounding the earliest followers of Jesus?

Therefore, would you concur that Acts is not a series of laws, rules or regulations, but rather the documentary of how the earliest followers of Jesus conducted themselves, including how they dealt with early culture clashes?

So, for example, in Acts 15 we read of how the Jewish Christians helped smooth over the culture clash that had sprung up over how Gentile followers of Jesus were behaving.

Now, given that Acts of the Apostles is documentary, are we to conclude, logically, that Acts 15 is all about a meeting of Christians of Jewish heritage who were taking the lead in Jerusalem, and how they set about easy cultural tensions?

When you factor in that Paul, one of those present, later refers to this meeting in less than glowing terms (Galatians) and concedes to the Jesus followers in Corinth that what you eat or refuse to eat doesn't defile you, and that basically you shouldn't allow someone of a different culture (Jewish) to judge you, you realise that Acts 15 is not some sort of law that Christians must follow.

Anonymous has demanded that Witnesses should be allowed to interpret the Bible literally. If we interpret it literally then we cannot come to the conclusion that the documented meeting - and letter - written about in Acts 15 was a universal law for all Christians in all cultures and time frames. The text simply doesn't allow it.

Also, as I've already pointed out, if the text is taken literally, there's no room to extrapolate it to include medical science 2000 years later; it's either about not eating blood, per non-Jewish customs or it isn't.

But, as Mike rightly points out, if we apply the same eisigesis to fornication as the Governing Body has applied to blood, then would it be ok for Witnesses to have a little bit of extra/pre-martical hankipanky, as long as it wasn't "full fornication"?

Anonymous said...

"it be ok for Witnesses to have a little bit of extra/pre-martical hankipanky, as long as it wasn't "full fornication"?"

Not at all. The issue with blood is that from the start of the Bible it was regarded as sacred. In the middle it was regarded as sacred. At the end, with Jesus blood it is most sacred.

As was mentioned, fornication under no circumstances is ok. Same with with idols, hence no images in JW worship.

Why fractions, for the 100th time?

A lot of people try to do what the Bible commands, via laws or ideas presented (except Mark Hunter because he can do what he wants based on Jesus' blood). Using God's name is one thing that people use and are asked to glorify. But most, because they say they don't understand properly how to say it, refuse to use it. That is how they see scripture.

JW's see fractions as a different ball game than whole blood. In the past and more recently with medical science it was been better understood the benefits of fractions and how even naturally they are used via the human body.

For instance, the blood system of a pregnant woman is separate from that of the fetus and their blood types are often different. The mother does not pass her blood into the fetus. Formed elements (cells) from the mother’s blood do not cross the placental barrier into the fetus’ blood, nor does the plasma as such. In fact, if by some injury the mother’s and the fetus’ blood mingle, health problems can later develop (Rh or ABO incompatibility). However, some substances from the plasma cross into the fetus’ circulation. Do plasma proteins, such as immune globulin and albumin? Yes, some do.

Researchers have proved that albumin from the plasma is also transported, though less efficiently, across the placenta from a mother into her fetus.

For this reason and others similar, JW's have the choice. Some may not, some might see fractions as ok because the information just presented.

No doubt, it is a serious matter that some JW's and ex Jw's have argued about for some time. So perhaps that is what has led the GB to examine other situations.

It seems to me quite a wonderful thing that blood transfusions are on the way out anyway. They are generally used by sloppy surgeons and they are expensive. Plus, blood is sometimes hard to come by no matter how many blood banks and buses there are.

The scripture states that if you abstain from there things, "good health to you" and I think JW's have seen this to be true.

The GB do not make anyone decide what to do. They present what they see as the options.

And Mark Hunter, I don't demand that all the Bible be taken literally. But some I do. With Mike, I was trying to reason with him that even if we didn't take this literally that principally it can be seen that blood taken in by drinking or eating or in the veins is all the same thing. Blood is sacred.

Kyle, I agree with you about Mark Hunter, you can tell he is a hate mongor - exJW.

Mike, religious hatred and intolerance are wrong because Jesus said so. (Matt 5:43,44)

The Apologetic Front said...

@Anonymous,

You continue to miss the point. You claim to take "abstain from blood" as absolutely literal with no qualification. And the moment I seek to qualify the statement, you claim that i'm trying to "get around the law."

And now you tell me that because you observe something occurring in nature (i.e. elemental transfers between mother and child), you seek to qualify what "abstain from blood" means.

Anonymous, the question then becomes as follows: why is it ok for you to qualify "abstain from blood," by not me?

I think we all know the answer to this: because 7 men who run a multi-million dollar publishing company (as well as the lives of 7 million JW's worldwide) in New York says so.

p.s. My comment about hatred and intolerance was directed toward Kyle, not you. I agree with what Jesus said; the question is, does Kyle?

Mark Hubter said...

"Kyle, I agree with you about Mark Hunter, you can tell he is a hate mongor - exJW. "

Aw, now you've gone and hurt my feelings, "anonymous".

Kyle said...

@Mike,

I think you know my answer to your question "My comment about hatred and intolerance was directed toward Kyle, not you. I agree with what Jesus said; the question is, does Kyle?"

As to your comment... " fornication is not just something that is condemned, only in the Old Covenant law; it is condemned throughout The Scriptures,that is its wrong regardless of what covenant you're under." ..Is this not also true of blood , when Noah and his sons stepped out of the ark God commanded they abstain from blood ?

@Mark I'm more than familiar with the so called "cultural Sensitivity" interpretation of Acts 15, so dont patronise me please.

@Anonymouse , I agree with Mike that blood transfusions should be a matter of conscience, and no-one should be coerced into a decision out of fear of excommunication - and here the GB make a huge error of judgement as they are going beyond what is written as they so often do with many other issues and this is where men step into very dangerous territory.

Personally I would seek alternatives to blood as a first line of treatment , and I acknowledge that because of JW's many surgeons now offer alternatives to blood , my reasons however would largely be health consideratons , as I do not believe the medical use of blood is a sin , but this is my conscience and I do respect that others may view it differently , as the bible teaches if one goes against ones conscience and does something , then indeed it is a sin for them.

The Apologetic Front said...

@Kyle,

No, I don't know the answer to that question. If you agree with Jesus, then on what basis within your worldview? I don't know anything about you, so that is why I asked in the first place.

As to your second point, i'm completely fine with granting that eating blood for food is wrong for all Christians today. And whether this can be disputed is not something I care to get into.

Mark Hunter said...

"@Mark I'm more than familiar with the so called "cultural Sensitivity" interpretation of Acts 15, so dont patronise me please."

Interesting, yet you continue to see Acts 15 as law.

Oh well.

Mark Hunter said...

"Is this not also true of blood , when Noah and his sons stepped out of the ark God commanded they abstain from blood ?"

Abstain from blood ie. in the form of intravenous transfusion with the purpose of building blood volume to keep a person alive, per modern-day science, or....?

Anonymous said...

"Abstain from blood ie. in the form of intravenous transfusion with the purpose of building blood volume to keep a person alive, per modern-day science, or....?"

I don't believe there is any clarification in the Bible Mark Hunter. It's only what you see it to mean.

What does the word abstain mean? Maybe to hold back. That it doesn't mean transfusions is your interpretation. It does not qualify how one would take in blood, no matter whether you personally see it as eating blood.

Round and round.

Mark Hunter said...

" That it doesn't mean transfusions is your interpretation."

This is an excellent point, and bonus points for being able to make it without making a personal attack on me.

However, it does throw up the problem of who's interpretation you go by.

For example, orthodox, kosher Jews do not believe that any Levitical command not to consume blood includes medical use through intravenous transfusion. That's how they interpret it. That's how they live by it. That's why their children don't die through refusing transfusions that could save them.

In fact, it's only adherents of the Watch Tower Society's religion, Jehovah's Witnesses, who make this extra-Biblical assertion that "abstaining from blood" is more than the cultural reference found in Acts 15.

So, who's interpretation is relied upon by Jehovah's Witnesses when they make a "personal choice" to die/let their infant die rather than receive certain 21st century medical treatments involving certain components of blood?

In fact, who's interpretation of Acts 15 is called upon to split blood down into acceptable/unacceptable components?

So, "anonymous", who's interpretation do Jehovah's Witnesses adhere to?

Further to that, who gave this person(s) authority to make such an interpretation, one that affects the health of 7 million Jehovah's Witnesses?

What evidence is provided by this person(s) that they have such authority to make such interpretations?

....indeed, round and round.

Be honest, now...

The Apologetic Front said...

@anonymous,

Once again, if you are going to argue that "abstain" has no qualifications, then you need to be consistent in condemning blood fractions as well as the transfusion of your own blood.

Anonymous said...

If we are going by how things were back then like yourself and Mark Hunter are, then it would be clear that the Bible was speaking of blood as a whole as they had no developed other methods. The Bible does not specify on the matter of blood fractions.

We are consistant at going what the Bible says and it says nothing of blood fractions.

The Apologetic Front said...

@Anonymous,

Do you not see the double standard?

"The Bible was speaking of blood as a whole as they had not developed other methods."

So you decide on what "abstain" means on the basis of what "methods" had been developed at that time? In other words, you seek to qualify what "abstain from blood" means?

"Anonymous," i'm beginning to see that the only way to get through to you is to point out that the only reason you can have your cake and eat it to is because of 7 men in Brooklyn, NY who run a multi-million dollar publishing corporation that claims to be God's sole channel of communication on earth today.

Mark Hunter said...

"The Bible does not specify on the matter of blood fractions. "


Excellent. That's a start.

Now, as to who it is that's deciding how to interpet Acts 15, what say you?

Anonymous said...

I would say the Faithful and Discreet Slave would have the ability to make that qualification.

Are you suggesting that Jehovah's Witnesses should look to you Mark Hunter, or you Mike Felker, as to how we should perceive Bible accounts? Or would it be more reasonable to depend on those who have been able to discern that there are indeed false religions? Who have helped many out of religious slavery to idols? Who do not put up with and associate with those who practice fornication?These are just the points of Acts 15. We could spend a lot of time talking about why JW's GB has more authority than both of you and myself combined.

Mike from the start your comments were these:

"Its not "listening to the GB" per se that I have an issue with: its listening to them with absolute unquestionable submission."

With regards to blood transfusions that is clearly not true, as anyone can read all of my posts above. It is always up to the patient.

You go on and say "this would include "moral" duties such as allowing a child to die rather than receiving a blood transfusion that could save their life."

A blood transfusion that could help, or could kill or could damage or be rejected. Any number of things. Jehovah says good health to you if you abstain from blood. Bloodless procedures are now proven to be better for you. It is a medical fact.


Then you make the point that GB has already made as I have pointed out countless times, "Such a decision should be based upon the individual Christian's conscience rather than absolute unquestionable submission to whatever a New York publishing corporation puts in print."

Not only are we in agreement, you basically quote the Watchtower.

"The Bible does not specify on the matter of blood fractions." This is also a quote from the Watchtower. Seems like if you read it you wouldn't be so quick to attack it.

Kyle said...

Interesting article by the Bible Students on Blood...

http://jws.reslight.net/?p=24

Mark Hunter said...

@Anonymous

"Are you suggesting that Jehovah's Witnesses should look to you Mark Hunter, or you Mike Felker, as to how we should perceive Bible accounts? Or would it be more reasonable to depend on those who have been able to discern that there are indeed false religions? Who have helped many out of religious slavery to idols? Who do not put up with and associate with those who practice fornication?These are just the points of Acts 15."

That's a fairly huge leap of logic to assume that either Mike or I are suggesting that Jehovah's Witnesses - or anyone else - look to us to perceive Bible accounts.

Speaking for myself, I know I haven't claimed at any point to have been chosen by Jesus to be God's exclusive "mouthpiece" on earth, nor have I claimed that I alone am qualified to interpret the Bible. I certainly haven't made the claim that all adherents of a religious order I preside over should unquestioningly obey me.

I haven't even hinted that failure to recognise how important I am would impact negatively on another person's chances of salvation.

Yet the same cannot be said of the "faithful and discreet slave", AKA the Governing Body.

You say that the Faithful and Discreet Slave (capital letters yours) are qualified to interpet the Bible.

From whence does this qualification come?

You cite a litany of reasons why, I'm surmising, we should look to this esoteric group (as personified by the self-appointed Governing Body), such as being able to identify false religions and helping people out of religious slavery.

Are you suggesting that these acts are evidence of God's appointment?

If so, is there scriptural backing? What if I could cite other religious orders who engage in the same activities and make similar exclusive claims about themselves; would that make them qualified to tell you how to interpret Acts 15 also?

If not, aren't you merely indulging yourself in a little circular logic?

You continue:
"We could spend a lot of time talking about why JW's GB has more authority than both of you and myself combined."

Isn't that a worthy discussion? After all, if you're willing to lay your life on the line, literally, at the word of the Governing Body (ie. their non-literal interpretation of Acts 15), surely it's prudent to be absolutely sure of the evidence that this group of men in North America absolutely speak for God?

I've asked Jehovah's Witnesses numerous times for proof, for sight of the evidence, and not once have I bee provided with a jot.

You later say:
"Jehovah says good health to you if you abstain from blood."

Perhaps you are betraying your lack of understanding of Watch Tower Society dogma, but the Governing Body jettisoned this reasoning a number of years ago; the "good health" to you admonition has nothing to do with being "healthy" in a medical or bodily sense. Look it up.

Finally, you round up your argument by stating:
""The Bible does not specify on the matter of blood fractions." This is also a quote from the Watchtower. Seems like if you read it you wouldn't be so quick to attack it."

So if the Bible is not specific on the matter of blood fractions, why have the Governing Body of your religion, the men to whom you must obey, decided to be specific about blood fractions?

Anonymous said...

"That's a fairly huge leap of logic to assume that anyone look to us to perceive Bible accounts."

Actually, this site, in it's very title uses the words "teaching" and "equipping". What does it mean to teach? You know the answer.

Am I suggesting that the GB, by helping millions come out of religious bondage and helping bring about united peace seen no where else in the entire World, whether a group of athiests or a religious group, does this give evidence of God's appointment?

Yes. How else could this be accomplished. If JW's were the cult everyone says, how can this be so? There is such negative talk online and everywhere about JW's yet, JW's are peaceful people.

You said "What if I could cite other religious orders who engage in the same activities and make similar exclusive claims about themselves"?

The problem is, you can't. There isn't anyone on Earth that act as JW's do with regards to the Bible's principles. Love your enemy. Do you? Do you preach to them? Do you go to war against them? Do you support such things? You can speak for yourself as a christian, but I can speack for all JW's.

JW's take a literal stand for Acts 15. You do not. You will take blood from someone else through your veins. I will not. I will abstain, refrain.

Do you Mark Hunter, even know what a blood fraction is? You keep saying that it is still blood.

With regards a minor blood fraction, it is NOT a small amount of whole blood. Some have used the analogy of a pie to try to express what a minor blood fraction is. In this analogy, a minor blood fraction would not be akin to a small piece of the pie. Rather a minor blood fraction is like a small ingredient that went into the making of the pie.

Therefore, to abstain from blood is in harmony with accepting blood fractions, but it is up to each to make their choice. Thankfully the GB brought this to our attention.

You said I'm willing to lay my life on the line, literally, at the word of the Governing Body.

I'm not too sure what that means, but for example, I will assume you are talking about how they see scriptures, such, Jesus saying to love your enemy. (Matt 5:44)

My brothers in Germany during WW2 died because they believed that. Your brothers fought against their brothers from other countries, all supposed followers of Christ.

Had I been there, I would hope I would be with the other purple triangles. I would rather die or go to prison than to fight for man. God's Kingdom is what I support and if the GB can point me in the right direction, than I will follow and so I do.

Other religions have and continue to show their true colors, we can get into that too if you want.

Mark Hunter said...

Anonymous, evidence please, for the 1919 selection.

Until you provide that I have to assume your logic and reasoning is purely circular and cannot be accepted as truth.

As for "love your enemy", you wasted little time attacking me, didn't you?

Mark Hunter said...

Anonymous, I should add, what's your response to this:

"Speaking for myself, I know I haven't claimed at any point to have been chosen by Jesus to be God's exclusive "mouthpiece" on earth, nor have I claimed that I alone am qualified to interpret the Bible. I certainly haven't made the claim that all adherents of a religious order I preside over should unquestioningly obey me.

I haven't even hinted that failure to recognise how important I am would impact negatively on another person's chances of salvation."

Anonymous said...

I claimed you were bitter, which by your posts would seem to be an accurate statement. I claimed you were a hate mongor, even Kyle noticed that "you are extremely aggressive and insulting in your tone".

You attack the GB and not the message. I attack your message and you say I don't love my enemy? I don't think you can answer that, just as I cannot answer that for you. I did ask though.

As for 1919, nothing I or any JW would see as evidence would convince you, you have already rejected the truth.

Just as you ignored 75% of my comments, I will do likewise.

Mark Hunter said...

"As for 1919, nothing I or any JW would see as evidence would convince you, you have already rejected the truth."

I accepted Jesus.

What other truth do I need?