One Watchtower/Catholic comparison...

by Confession 38 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Confession

    Don't know how many of you have read M. James Penton's "Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses." Honestly it's not what I'd call an "easy read," but it does contain very well researched information. I enjoyed his recognition of a similarity between the WTS and Catholicism.

    [Watchtower, August 15, 1981] "From time to time, there have arisen from among the ranks of Jehovah's people those who, like the orignal Satan, have adopted an independent, faultfinding attitude. (Compare Ephesians 2:19-22.) Rather, they present a 'stubborn shoulder' to Jehovah's words. (Zech. 7:11 & 12) Reviling the pattern of the 'pure language' that Jehovah has so graciously taught his people over the past century, these haughty ones try to draw the 'sheep' away from the one international 'flock' that Jesus has gathered in the earth. (Hohn 10:7-10, 16) They try to sow doubts and to separate unsuspecting ones from the bounteous 'table' of spiritual food spread in Kingdom Halls of Jehovah's Witnesses, where truly there is 'nothing lacking.' (Ps. 23:1-6) They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such 'Bible reading,' they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom's clergy were teaching 100 years ago, and some have even returned to celebrating Christendom's festivals agains, such as the Roman Saturnalia of December 25! Jesus and his apostles warned against such lawless ones."
    Now how similar does this seem to the Catholic "Decree Concerning the Edition, and the Use, of the Sacred Books" of the Council of Trent of 1546?

    "Furthermore, in order to restrain petulant spirits, it decrees, that no one, relying on his own skill, shall--in matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine,--wresting the sacred Scripture to his own senses, presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which holy mother Church,--whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures,--hath held and doth hold; or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers; even though such interpretation were never intended to be at any time published. Contraveners shall be made known by their Ordinaries, and be punished with penalties by law established."

    Penton's comments... "How strange it seems that an organization which has for more than a hundred years attacked the Church of Rome for its attitude towards the Scriptures has taken a position virtually identical with that of that church in proclaiming its own magisterium or teaching power, its right to speak ex cathedra on behalf of the faithful, and its right to restrain 'petulant spirits' with 'independent, faultfinding attitudes.'"

  • Confession

    My apologies about the double post!

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    I've moved the extra thread off the board for you

  • drew sagan
    drew sagan

    Just got the book in a few weeks ago. Looking forward to reading it very much.
    About a year ago a circut overseer gave us a little 'quiz' about the governing body. Where are the 5 places the governing body have been. His answers where 1. Jerusalem 2. Mountains of Jerusalem 3. Allegheny, PA 4. Atlanta Georgia 5. Brooklyn, NY
    Now let me think about this, what is another organization besides the witnesses that says their religious council has descended from the hand picked disciples of Jesus christ?
    Instead of one man (pope) they say it's a group of men (governing body) that fill the role. Amazing to see how similar it really is.

  • lovelylil

    Yes, there are stiking similarities between the catholic church and the JWs. I know because I once belonged to both of these religions.

    The Catholics call their church the "mother church", the JWs the "mother organization"

    Both believe they are the only true church which was descended from the Apostles.

    Both have a large hierarchy structure - Catholics have priest,bishop, archbishop, cardinal, bishop, pope, etc.

    JWs have pioneers, ms, elders, Po's, Co's, Do's, zone servants, governing body. Although the JWs say they are all brothers and none is greater than the others, we know this to be baloney. Each one on the lower rung has to answer to those on the higher rung of the ladder.

    Both believe their church has the sole authority to interpret scriptures. We know this is true of the JWs as we have been there, but look at this ironic statement the WT makes against the vatican;

    The Vatican belittles Bible study by claiming it is the only organization authorized and qualified to interpret the Bible." (The Watchtower, 7/1/1943, p. 201.)

    They also both have cities where their govening agent is set up for all "truth" to flow out from - Rome for the Catholics and Brooklyn for JWs.

    These are only some of the similarities. It is no wonder the JWs are mostly former catholics.

  • Leolaia

    I like this quote because it admits both hierarchical ecclesiastical structure and ex cathedra authority:

    *** w59 5/1 p. 269 pars. 6-7 Attain Completeness in the New World Society ***

    Christ, the Head, employs the organization that is his body to carry out his assigned work. His orders reach the whole of the organization on earth through the governing body, and on down through the Branches to the congregations. -- 1 Cor. 12:12-18; Matt. 24:45-47. To hold to the headship of Christ, it is therefore necessary to obey the organization that he is personally directing. Doing what the organization says is to do what he says. Resisting the organization is to resist him.

  • Poztate
    His answers where 1. Jerusalem 2. Mountains of Jerusalem 3. Allegheny, PA 4. Atlanta Georgia 5. Brooklyn, NY

    Next stop...FLUSHING NEW YORK...Why does that sound so appropriate...

  • jschwehm

    Hi Gang:

    There are a couple of things I would like to say in response to the comments above:

    1. The comments at the Council of Trent were written in response to the Protestant Reformation. Prior to the Protestant Reformation to be a Christian you were either a Catholic Christian in union with Rome OR you were an Eastern Orthodox Christian in union with one of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs. There were no other choices really as to which Church one would belong to. And prior to 1054 A.D. there was really only one Church to belong to and that is the Catholic Church. Since that is the case, the Bible and the New Testament in particular was compiled by the Catholic Church and the religious tradition associated with the Catholic Church. The Church was merely saying that for someone to interpret the Bible (and the New Testament in particular) apart from that tradition was in danger of misunderstanding it. This makes sense since it was from the tradition of the Catholic Church that the New Testament came into being.

    2. The way in which the Governing Body rules over the JWs is much much much much much more authoritarian than any Pope. When I was a Jehovah's Witness, I was taught that anything that came out of the magazines or the Watchtower Society publications was the truth on high from God until another publication came around and said that what was printed in the previous publication was wrong.

    The Pope and the Bishops of the world in the Catholic Church are charged with teaching the faith to Catholics throughout the world. There are some very specific criteria that need to be met in order for the Pope to make an ex cathedra statement and in 2000 years of the Church's existence only two have been made on matters of doctrines associated with Mary if I am not mistaken.

    There are a whole lot more "ex cathedra type statements", if that is what you want to call it, coming from the Governing Body....such as the shunning of people because they chose to accept blood. This does not happen in the Catholic Church. (In fact, the Catholic Church provides hospitals for people of all faiths to receive the medical treatment they need and in some cases provides it for free.)

    And the shunning of people who celebrate life by commemorating birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc. (This does not happen in the Catholic Church either.)

    What the JWs have done is to, make themselves, in a certain way a caricature of the Catholic Church and ironically they have become that very caricature of the Catholic Church that themselves constantly condemn.


    Jeff S.

  • jwfacts

    Here is an interesting article from

    Roman Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses are strikingly similar!

    Roman Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses share exactly these same qualities:

    1. Centralized World-wide church government from which all official doctrine comes. The Pope and the Governing body.
    2. A city where world headquarters permanently resides: Rome, Italy and Brooklyn, NY, USA
    3. Authority of this "world organization" is not to be questioned.
    4. Both consider God to be the head of the world organization.
    5. Both the Pope and the Governing body both claim inspiration.
    6. Both organizations are "spirit directed" by God.
    7. A simple definition of both is as follows: "Definition of a Catholic/Jw: 'Someone who accepts Rome/Brooklyn as God's visible spirit-directed theocratic organization upon the earth.
    8. Both have official yearly meetings of the world leaders.
    9. The official doctrines that have changed dramatically over time.
    10. Both claim "new light" or progressive revelation to explain doctrinal changes.
    11. Both share a similar hermeneutic on how to determine truth: Catholics have a system called, "Doctrine of Development" popularized by Dr. Newman, but anticipated by the German theologian Mohler in his work, Symbolik. This hermeneutic contended that Christ had committed to His Church certain seeds and germs of truth, destined afterwards to expand to definite forms; that He did not intend that the teaching of His Church should be always the same; but ordained that it should go on continually improving under the guidance of His Holy Spirit. Jw’s employ exactly the same hermeneutic but call it by a different name: "New Light"
    12. Both teach the organization is supreme over the Bible rather than the Bible being supreme over the organization.
    13. The average members are told by the organization that they cannot understand the Bible without the help of the official organization.
    14. Both discourage independent thinking from the world organization.
    15. Both continue to blindly follow the organization in spite of major doctrinal changes, reversals and flip-flops.
    16. Both "explain away" doctrinal changes, reversals and flip-flops by claiming "new light".
    17. Both view every other church as heretical and false.
    18. No salvation outside of their organization.
    19. The word of the organization is unquestionably final.
    20. Interpreting the Bible is the sole right of the organization.
    21. Both make claims that because of their size, growth, activity, they must have the truth.
    22. Both have authoritative writings in addition to the Bible. Creeds, catechisms and the watchtower.
    23. Both teach that you cannot understand the Bible unless you compare the Bible with their official "authoritative writings" Creeds and Watchtower.
    24. Both have an official clergy system with special privileges and rights the common member does not have. Priests and the Governing body.
    25. Both have system of monasteries where "most holy and dedicated" selflessly pledge to do the "work for God" without any material rewards. No children are allowed in both. Catholic = monasteries; JW = Bethel

    FACT: The vast majority of Jehovah's Witnesses were former Catholics.

    1. They had very little real change to make.
    2. They just switched organizations and creeds!!!
    3. Now you know why.

    Why are most Jehovah's Witnesses former Roman Catholics?

  • lovelylil

    Hi Jeff,

    you make a good point about the WT being much more authoritarian then the Witnesses. That is true as I had a lot more freedoms when I was a Catholic then as a JW. Also, when I decided to leave the Catholic church - I just left. No one tried to kick me out, call me apostate or bring me before a judicial commitee.

    I understand too that the NT we have today was put together to include books the Catholic Church approved of but I do not believe they have any more authority over God's people - The Church, which are the individual members in the body of Christ, than any other church has. Although they claim they can interpret the truth better as the Pope is the Vicar of Christ - this is a self appointed position only. I know the Catholic church also says it is directly descended from the Apostle Peter but without going into too much detail in this thread, that belief is based on a misunderstanding of scripture. Peter was not placed above any other Apostles by Christ. I know about this teaching as I refutted it prior to leaving the Catholic church.

    That being said, I consider Catholics my brothers and sisters in the faith as they, like I , have accepted Jesus as their personal savior. And I respect their beliefs and their right to believe what their own conscience dictates to them. But I draw the line when they try to tell me that I am not accepted into Christ's body unless I am in touch with the Catholic Church. As a Catholic I am sure you can verify that this is the belief, although some of my Catholic nieghbors are a little more balanced in this view.

    Jesus did not start any organized religion while he was on earth. In fact he was totally anti-established religion. He started the Christians faith only. And since I have been part of many organized churches over my lifetime I can tell you that every single one of them claim they are the only ones descended from Christ and the Apostles. Or that their church organization is the one that more closely matches the one in the Apostle's time. The only thing they can really say is their faith (the Christian faith) came from them, not the church itself. The churches as an organizational structure were not started until many years after the death of all the Apostles. There was absolutely no organization back then that resembled the JW org. or the Catholic Org. we have today, nor any other religous structure. Both of these groups and all the others, have evolved very much over time. Christians were united by holy spirit in the Apostle's day and not church afilliation. This is the same today in our time. I say this with all due respect to you. That is why these two orgs. are very similar in nature claiming sole authority over Christ's people.

    When all is said and done, it will be up to Christ upon his arrival to judge who are really his disciples and this judging will have nothing to do with our church affilliation. But if you need that type of organiztion and enjoy the structure, there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Many Christians though have left such organizations are wish to remain free in Christ, awaiting our savior only to judge us, not any man made religion, doctrines or creeds. We recognize the Church as what it truthfully is - The people themselves in the body of Christ.

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