Sunday, October 23, 2011

Discussion with a Jehovah's Witness "WorldHistory2011" on Independent Thinking

Just last evening I had a most interesting encounter with a JW.  But this wasn't just any encounter; it was recorded.  It all started with the following comment on THIS VIDEO:

But was it a "complete lie?"  Though my comment in 2:25 of that video was made in passing (the subject of the video was something different), I backed up my claim by referencing the following Watchtower quotation:
*** km 9/07 p. 3 Question Box ***

Does “the faithful and discreet slave” endorse independent groups of Witnesses who meet together to engage in Scriptural research or debate?—Matt. 24:45, 47.
No, it does not. And yet, in various parts of the world, a few associates of our organization have formed groups to do independent research on Bible-related subjects. Some have pursued an independent group study of Biblical Hebrew and Greek so as to analyze the accuracy of the New World Translation. Others explore scientific subjects related to the Bible. They have created Web sites and chat rooms for the purpose of exchanging and debating their views. They have also held conferences and produced publications to present their findings and to supplement what is provided at our Christian meetings and through our literature... Thus, “the faithful and discreet slave” does not endorse any literature, meetings, or Web sites that are not produced or organized under its oversight. 
 What transpired was a 45 minute discussion with WorldHistory2011.

Go HERE to watch the encounter.

Go HERE to listen to the encounter.


FredTorres said...


The beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses do not forbid the study and research of the biblical languages etc. from sources outside their publications.

Some Witnesses are professionals in these areas, and they regularly maintain and update their credentials.

All English speaking Witnesses have access to the Wescott and Hort text with a word-for-word translation.
The Emphatic Diaglot is also available to all english speaking Witnesses.

The WT Society publishes thousands of copies of KJV, ASV among other "non WT produced" Bible translations for research and study.

Because JWs use this material, I've found that in general terms, Jehovah's Witnesses are far more informed about their own beliefs, as well as other perspectives than the avereage non JW.
Feel free to confirm that in your own community like we do. If you ever were to go from house to house in all of your area surveying their belifs I'd think you might agree with me.

Consider that no one indvidual and/or body has the kind of control and power needed stop any Witness or group of Witnesses from carrying on study and debate amongs the brethren. It's just that the vast majority of JW, like myself, believe that life is too short to not be out reaching souls in our ministry.

The faithful and discreet slave correctly "does not endorse" any group or indivudal carrying out such activity, because it cannot and should not be held responsible for research that they cannot verify as valid. Does not endorse does not mean "prohibits".

Jehovah's Witnesses spend their time building their faith by holy spirit,constant prayer, daily Bible reading and regular association a Christian gatherings. Each indvidual is reponsible for his own faith thus each person studies and researches to the extent that satisfies his spiritual needs. We are encouraged to do that. Most Witnesses have studied and researched to his/her own satisfaction, and thus do not see the need for continual debate/analysis amongst each other.

Anyway, again, just my two cents worth.


The Apologetic Front said...

Hi Fred,

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

I may have not made my position very clear, as most of the discussion was taken up by my JW friend.

But the issue wasn't and never has been whether JW's can do research. The issue is independent thinking and the role it plays (or lack thereof) in the life of a JW.

And the society has made it abundantly clear that no JW should be thinking independently of the Governing Body. To me, this presents and extremely stark contrast between us.

FredTorres said...

Hey Mike,

I think we started having this discussion a while back. So let's make sure we are talking apples to apples. Let me ask you:

What is independent thinking, and what process is involved in forming an "independent thought."

Based on your first response, I'm certain that you do not understand how JW's understand the concept.


The Apologetic Front said...


Perhaps you could explain it first since the Society has expressly condemned independent thinking in its literature. Once you've explained it, I could offer my thoughts.

FredTorres said...

Independent Thinking refers to an attitude more than a process.

Satan the devil is an "independent thinker.", not because he posses knowledge of various perspectives and thus made his own, un-influenced rational decision to abandon God. He is an "independent thinker" "because" he abandonded God, and his place in God's arrangement.

Human beings can and do fall into the same category. If in fact God today has selected a "people for his name" as he did with ancient Isreal, to reject that arrangement could be classified as independent thinking. Independedent thinking is the formulation of concepts that places human wisdom in the place of God's will and arrangement in one's conciousness.

That's pretty much a loose paraphrase based on my understanding of the Bible and as explained in the publications.

That's my take,

The Apologetic Front said...


Thank you for your clarification. But please keep in mind that i'm not saying Christians should think independently of God and what He has declared in God-breathed Scripture. But when it comes to the teachings of men, we must think independently of them.

After all, how else would you guard yourself from apostasy? What if "God's arrangement" went apostate as you believe it did in the first and second century? Wouldn't it have been commendable for those first/second century Christians to have exercised independent thinking in not following after their leaders in accepting false doctrine?

FredTorres said...


You carry teachings of men. How many times have you had a paradigm shift in your understanding of scripture. I address this in the other article, so if you want you can consolidate a response there.

Yes, if the Watchtower promoted the Trinity, taught Hell-fire etc. I would reject it as apostasy. I'm not certain by what you mean with the terms "indepdenent thinking." being the protection. Wouldn't it be the holy spirit?
If Trinitiarians and hell fire preachers took over the Jehovah's Witnesses, it would no longer be Jehovah's Witnesses. That's a different proposition from the one you make in the article.

The Apologetic Front said...


How is what i'm saying the "teachings of men" when I am clearly stating that we should abandon the teachings of men when they disagree with Scripture?

And how many times have I had a paradigm shift in my understanding of Scripture? Several, to say the least. But I don't see how this has anything to do with what we're talking about here.

How could you deny the Watchtower if they stopped teaching the same viewpoints on certain doctrines? On what grounds could you disagree with them given that by following them, you are following Christ and by rejecting them, you are rejecting Christ?

And to open up a new can of worms, was Charles Russell exercising independent thinking (WT's definition) when he was formulating his beliefs against those around him? Does the Governing Body think independently? (again, WT definition)

FredTorres said...

Hey Mike,

I sent a comment but it didnt come out.
I basically thanked you for being the scholar and gentleman that you are. It's a brreath of fresh air.

I'll try so summarize my comment.

By pointing out your paradigm shifts, I am trying to help you see that you and I are equally guilty of possessing teachings of men. You had convinced yourself of a teaching as being true, only to change your mind later. You will likely change your mind on other matters because you currently. That means that you right now you believe something that is not of God, but of a man: you, Mike Felker.
I was persuaded to believe something that turned out not to not to be true. I believed in something that was of a man: me, Fred Torres.
In answer to your question on what grounds i can disagree with the WT? The question is non sensical. I believe what the WT teaches because I believe it to be true, not because I am obligated to. How is that following other men and not Christ? You can make the claim that I'm wrong about my belief, but that's different from saying I follow other men's teachings.

Yes, I do believe that Russel and the individual GB members do not believe that we should think independently of God and his provisions.

As always, my very best to you,

FredTorres said...

on the comment above this one, there is an incomplete thought.
I meant to say that you currently hold teachings that are not of God, so you will undergo another paradigm shift.