In the Watchtower Study article for last week, June 3rd - 9th, 2013, the congregation was asked the question, "IS YOUR TEACHING UP-TO-DATE?"
There was a box on the top of page 9 that asked three questions allowing everyone to test themselves and find out if they had "up-to-date" and "accurate knowledge" in keeping with the "the ever-increasing light" as revealed through the pages of the Watchtower magazine and related publications.
Now at first blush this all sounds really good, but is it? Let's take a closer look:
The article made the comparison of modern day Christians to Apollos of Bible fame. - (Acts chapter 18)
Now there are at least two very important problems with the line of reasoning used in this article.
1. FALSE ANALOGY - The article tells us about how Apollos was "speaking and teaching with correctness the things about Jesus, but being acquainted with only the baptism of John.” It goes on to explain that, "Without realizing it, Apollos had been teaching an out-of-date understanding of baptism." - [Emphasis added]
OK, so the article confirms that what Apollos was teaching was correct, but out-of-date. Why? Because he didn't know about Jesus and the the meaning of Christian baptism. His knowledge was correct, but it was incomplete. This is a very important distinction as we shall see.
When reasoning by analogy, it is important that the two things being compared are parallel in every way. If they are not, then the analogy fails and the comparison is rendered invalid. Notice how the analogy breaks down in this case.
The WT article tries to compare changes in JW "theology" and doctrine with the situation of Apollos described above. The question for the paragraphs asks, "What can we learn from the account of Apollos?" and the caption for the box adds, "Apollos was helped to improve the effectiveness of his ministry."
Again, for an analogy to be an effective tool of logic it must be parallel. This one is not:
- What Apollos was teaching about the baptism of John was correct, but he didn't have the whole picture: he didn't know about Jesus. He needed current information. His knowledge was not wrong, it was incomplete.
- What the WT has taught in the past on the three doctrinal points highlighted in the box has changed. There wasn't any new information added, the teachings were simply changed. Nothing new happened except the WT's published explanation of what these scriptures mean. These teachings were not incomplete, they were just wrong.
This is an example of a false analogy and as such fails as a faulty argument.
Were are left with a very important question which needs to be asked:
- If these "up-to-date" teachings are indeed "accurate knowledge," then what kind of "knowledge" were the previous teachings?
That is a question that would make even the most die-hard JW squirm.
There is a another practical problem for anyone trying to keep "up-to-date" with the WT's "ever-increasing light."
2. RESEARCH RESOURCES - Did you notice that two of the references are to WT articles from the '90s? That's right! Two of these three "up-to-date" references are 18 and 19 years old. That's getting to be pretty old by WT standards.
Newer JWs are not going to have access to these articles to "research" and find out what "present truth" is. This is compounded by the problem that the WT Online Library only goes back as far as 2000. Why is that? I don't know, but unless you have a WT Library CD or access to hardcopies of old WTs you simply can't look these articles up.
That being said, they can look ahead to the upcoming July 15th, 2013 WT Study Edition to be really, really up-to-date on these subjects. Funny the WT didn't reference them. I wonder why not?
The WT has a long history of changing teachings under the guise of allegedly "ever-increasing light," but under close examination we find that what was taught before was just wrong and needed to be discarded. Trying to compare it to a Bible account of a faithful man that had incomplete knowledge does not excuse the WT teaching things that are inaccurate and incorrect.