Regardless of differing opinions on E-watchman, this commentaryis excellent, including the graphics.
This is worth a post on its own.
Kudos to Lisa, without you this would not have happened.
The latest scandalous revelations of the pedophilia-related criminal activities of a long-time Bethelite raise questions anew regarding the Watchtower’s credibility and ought to cause thinking Jehovah’s Witnesses to reconsider the notion that Jehovah’s Witnesses are living in a predator-free spiritual paradise. (Links to additional news articles 1, 2,)
In response to previous public exposure of the Watchtower’s miserable record of failure in protecting children from the crimes of pedophiles within the congregations, the Society’s spokesman, J.R. Brown, stated in a canned public relations video that “child abuse is an evil. It is an evil of our time and an evil in our society.” Brown went on to make the audacious claim that the Watchtower’s policies have adequately protected our children from such evils. How that claim can even be made when tens of thousands of children have been sexually abused and countless pedophiles have gone unpunished and unexposed staggers the mind.
But J.R. Brown’s own frank admission confirms that the Watchtower Society is plagued by the very same evils that afflict society in general – evils including pedophilia. Yet how can that be if the Watchtower Society is a spiritual Eden? According to the Bible’s prophetic description spiritual paradise will be devoid of all hurtful and predatory individuals. So, the question all of Jehovah’s Witnesses should meditatively ponder is this: If pedophilia is an “evil of our time,” an evil that infests Jehovah’s organization, as J.R. Brown candidly admits, why are child predators so prevalent in our putative spiritual paradise; so much so that the Watchtower Society has been compelled to make a public statement in defense of the effectiveness of its policies to deal with the problem? Is the Bible untruthful in foretelling that not even one foolish or evil person will be found traveling in company with Jehovah’s repurchased ones on the spiritual highway of holiness?
The Watchtower’s media public relations statement clearly is at odds with the Society’s teachings fed to Jehovah’s Witnesses. Why is that? Obviously the Watchtower’s Writing and Legal departments have divergent agendas and their statements are intended for consumption by different audiences. Please consider more recent examples of the contradictions of the Society’s media spokesman.
In a telephone interview conducted in the days immediately following the arrest of Jesus Cano, J.R. Brown was asked by the interviewer if the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses was inspired or “spirit directed.” (Click here for the audio clip of the interview. A written transcript of the interview has also been made available on the e-watchman forum by the member Indigo Hound. Click on audio clip link above and scroll down.)
Specifically, the interviewer asked the question: “So neither the volunteer workers nor the leadership itself of the Jehovah's Witness church professes to be spirit-inspired or directed or what not?”
Brown’s answer: “No, no, we don't have anybody that expects that.”
Essentially, the interviewer asked if Jehovah’s Witnesses feel that the organization is exclusively directed by God’s spirit, to which the Society’s spokesman answered no. Yet, the Watchtower’s own baptismal vows contain the statement: “Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?”
Indeed, the Watchtower does not allow anyone to be baptized who does not confess their allegiance to the Watchtower as being God’s spirit-directed organization. Here is another quote taken from the January 15th, 1989, Watchtower Magazine: “Only if the individual answers in the affirmative and also understands that his dedication and baptism identify him as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization can he acceptably undergo water immersion.”
Perhaps J.R. Brown did not understand the question. The interviewer reworded it slightly and asked: “It seems like that's a shift in theology. At one time in the late '70s and '80s there was a move to set the church aside as being the one single organization of God here on earth, but what I'm hearing now is perhaps the organization is a little more mainstream, which would be more of a positive thing?”
In saying that Jehovah’s Witnesses have not made the claim that the organization is above all others or that the Society does not claim to have a “special pipeline to God” either the Society’s spokesman is not familiar with the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses or else he is deliberately misleading the media. For a fact, the Watchtower Society most certainly does claim to be above all others. In fact, the Watchtower unabashedly proclaims itself to be the only channel of truth upon the earth to the extent that no one can understand the Bible on their own without being under the tutelage of the Society. Here are a few excerpts for select Watchtower articles that contradict J.R. Brown’s media statements:
Clearly, the Watchtower Society most certainly does teach that it is the exclusive channel of truth in the world– “a special pipeline to God” – exactly as the interviewer queried, yet denied by the Watchtower’s media representative. Media persons reading this article should beware of the deceptive intent of the Watchtower’s spokesman. But, sadly, there’s more.
The interviewer next states: “The type of scenario, the same scenario that has happened here with Cano is no different from the scenario that has happened in any other religion, and as a matter of fact, Jehovah's Witnesses are not proclaiming that they are the only true religion.”
To which J.R. Brown responds: “That's not really the answer ... that last part, to be absolutely correct, I would say no, we don't go out and say, "We're the only true religion." Now if you said to me, "Do you believe you have the truth from the Bible?" My answer is, as I mentioned a moment ago, "Yes." If I didn't, I would go and join or be a part of whatever I thought it was.”
Is it really true that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not publicly proclaim the Watchtower Society to be the “only true religion”? Absolutely not. The Watchtower itself frequently claims to be the only true religion. Why, the Watchtower’s website, while not overtly admitting to being the true religion, certainly implies that it is. Here is a sampling of other articles.
Again, the facts show, contrary to the remarks of the Society’s official spokesman, that Jehovah’s Witnesses most certainly believe and publicly proclaim themselves to be the exclusive practicers of true religion.
The interviewer tried again and again to get a straightforward answer from the Society’s spokesman and was unsuccessful. She asked J.R. Brown several times if God was using other religions other than Jehovah’s Witnesses and he simply evaded the question. It is, of course, assumed that when someone agrees to an interview they tacitly agree to truthfully answer the questions put to them. Yet, any knowledgeable Jehovah’s Witnesses who listen to or read the transcript of the interview must surely come to the conclusion that the Society’s spokesman was evasive and did his best to misdirect the media.
But why, why did the Watchtower’s front man obfuscate and deny the facts? It should be obvious that the Society wants to appear to the media as more moderate and mainstream and less dogmatic and cultic. It is as if the organization has two sets of truths – one for the media and public consumption and the other for Jehovah’s Witnesses.
No wonder the pre-recorded judicial decision in the 43rd chapter of Isaiah, soon to be rendered against those whom Jehovah calls “my witnesses,” states: “and your own spokesmen have transgressed against me.”
Again, through Isaiah, Jehovah puts his finger on the underlying reason the Watchtower routinely lies. It is fear of man, as opposed to fear of God. “Whom did you become frightened at and begin to fear, so that you took up lying? But I was not the one that you remembered. You took nothing to your heart. Was I not keeping silent and hiding matters? So you were in no fear even of me.”
But J.R. Brown is not the only kingdom con man. Another JW Internet flimflam man unblushingly proclaims to tell “the truth about the truth about the truth” – whatever that means. One blog entry boasts of refuting e-watchman in defending the Watchtower’s blasphemous “spiritual paradise” doctrine. But let’s see how his reasoning stands up to scrutiny.
The anonymous blogger implies that Jehovah’s Witnesses are living in spiritual paradise simply because all anointed Christians have supposedly been in spiritual paradise since the advent of Christianity. But is that scriptural? Moreover, are his ideas even in harmony with the Watchtower Society?
After citing a passage in Ephesians the blogger opines: “Paul is speaking about the spiritual condition of the anointed ones even before they receive their heavenly reward. God raised them 'together in the heavenly places' even while they are still on earth. Certainly their being raised up to heavenly places while still on earth, even in the imperfect flesh, constitutes a spiritual paradise indeed!”
So, according to this line of reasoning entry into spiritual paradise is automatic by virtue of the fact that all born again Christians have a place reserved for them in heaven. Presumably, then, because all anointed Christians since the time of Christ have had the privilege of being seated in “heavenly places” along with Christ it also must be the case that they all have inhabited spiritual paradise as well. But, if that is true why then was it necessary to restore spiritual paradise in 1919 if all anointed Christians prior to that time were already residing in spiritual paradise by virtue of having their citizenship enrolled in the heavens? For instance, Charles Russell extensively expounded on the heavenly hope and most assuredly he believed that he and his associates were seated in the heavenly places reserved for those in union with Christ. So then, let the blogger explain why Russell and the original Bible Students were presumably excluded from the spiritual paradise that according to Watchtower lore was not restored until 1919. (Anticipating the absurd, the burden of proof is left to the Society to adequately explain how all the prophecies of exile and restoration were fulfilled in 1918-1919 with the brief incarceration of a handful of Watchtower officials.)
Also, let him explain how it is that the millions of non-anointed Jehovah’s Witnesses supposedly enjoy spiritual paradise now even though they admittedly are not ‘ seated in the heavenly places in union with Christ Jesus.’ If entry into spiritual paradise is gained by being in union with Christ, how do non-anointed persons benefit? After all, there are only a relative handful of genuine anointed Christians alive today, so, if entry into spiritual paradise depends upon being in union with Christ, how do non-anointed Christians enter that blessed state? Does just reading a magazine that is supposed to have been written by an anointed Christian impart the keys of paradise to the reader?
The truth is the Watchtower does not explicitly teach that the first century Christians resided in spiritual paradise. (The Bible definitely does not.) In fact, the most recent Watchtower on the topic of spiritual paradise implies that the original Christians did not enjoy spiritual paradise. Here is what the October 15th, 2004, Watchtower had to say: “ This historic prototype helps us to understand what Paul saw in vision. It would involve the Christian congregation, which he termed “God’s field under cultivation” and which was to be fruitful. (1 Corinthians 3:9) When was that vision to be fulfilled? Paul called what he saw a ‘revelation,’ something future. He knew that after his death an extensive apostasy would develop. (2 Corinthians 12:1; Acts 20:29, 30; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 7) While apostates prevailed and seemed to overshadow them, true Christians could hardly be likened to a flourishing garden. Yet, the time would come for true worship to be elevated again. God’s people would be restored so that ‘the righteous ones could shine as brightly as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.’ (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43) That actually came to pass a few years after God’s Kingdom was established in heaven. And with the passing of the decades, it becomes very evident that God’s people enjoy a spiritual paradise, which Paul foresaw in that vision.”
Those familiar with Watchtower double-speak, or “double-faced divination” as Ezekiel calls it, ought to recognize that Bethel’s writers evidently wish to give the impression that the 1st century Christians were in paradise without overtly committing themselves to a position they know is scripturally indefensible.
However, if the Corinthians had been enjoying spiritual paradise, as the blogger insists and the Society adroitly intimates, why then was Paul’s third heaven vision so special? If Paul and the Corinthians were already in spiritual paradise, why was Paul “caught away to paradise”? What would be the point? Indeed, why did the apostle say that the things he heard were so sublime that they were “unutterable” and “unlawful” to speak? Yes, let the blogger explain why Paul would boast of receiving a special revelation of a condition if it already existed at the time and was common knowledge among fellow believers.
Further, if spiritual paradise exists as a result of Christ cleansing the congregation, as is surely the case, why do Jesus’ letters to the congregations in Revelation speak of the nefarious presence of “Jezebel” and “Balaam” in among the faithful? Will the immoral and spiritually corrupting influences of Jezebel and Balaam types exist after Christ cleanses his Father’s spiritual temple? How absurd!
Obviously, being seated in heavenly places does not mean that Christ has necessarily cleansed Jehovah’s organization of all corrupting influences, such as will exist in spiritual paradise. The “truth about the truth about the truth” blogger simply doesn’t know what he is talking about.
The blogging kingdom con-man next resorts to outright lies and slander to defend the Watchtower. He writes: “Did Paul believe that perfection must be obtained before a spiritual paradise can exist? No, the Apostle Paul does not agree with the reasoning of the 'prophet/watchman'. How about you? Who do you believe? The Apostle Paul, specifically chosen by Jesus Christ and used by Jehovah God as a writer of much of the Holy Bible? Or the reasoning and baseless statements of a self proclaimed watchman/prophet who has shown himself guilty of double speak and copying the works of others while proclaiming it his own?”
At no time has e-watchman ever stated or implied that spiritual paradise comes about as a result of humans attaining a state of perfection, as implied in the statement quoted above. Perhaps that is why the blogger does not post hyperlinks to the specific e-watchman articles written on the topic so that his readers may not better inform themselves of the facts about what e-watchman states and believes. Be that as it may, here is what one commentary stated as to how spiritual paradise comes about: “ So, what is spiritual paradise? Spiritual paradise is the blessed condition that Jehovah will bring about after he repurchases his people from the captive condition they will find themselves in during the tribulation. That paradise will be characterized by the complete absence of any sort of wickedness.”
Honest reasoning persons will readily admit that there is an enormous difference between mere imperfection and outright wickedness. For example, let’s say we are walking down the street and I carelessly bump into you. Naturally I immediately say, ‘oh, pardon me, I’m so sorry’ and all is forgotten – that’s imperfection. But, let’s say I scheme to rape, rob and bludgeon you and after joyfully doing so I refuse to admit any fault or offer an apology – that’s wickedness. There is obviously a huge difference. Yet, the Watchtower and her blogger apologist deceitfully refuse to make that distinction. True, the Watchtower piously admits that there are a few problems in the organization due to imperfections, but they dishonestly gloss over the gross wickedness that also exists – of which they are well aware.
However, the real spiritual paradise that is foretold in scripture is a condition that is characterized, not by human perfection, as the blogger lyingly implies e-watchman claims, but by the complete absence of wicked persons. To illustrate the distinction, the great crowd of Armageddon survivors will not be perfect, but we may be sure that none of those who will inherit salvation will be wicked persons. It is the same criteria for entering spiritual paradise. Spiritual paradise comes about as a result of the angels physically debarring all wicked persons from continued association with Jehovah’s then-approved people. The Watchtower’s insistence that Jehovah has already brought such a condition about is a blasphemous lie.
Trying his hand at prophetic interpretation, the Watchtower apologist insists that simply because Paul quoted from various prophecies that that necessarily means those prophecies were fulfilled in every respect in the 1st century. In so doing, though, he ignorantly contradicts the Watchtower’s most precious doctrine of all; namely that Christ began ruling the nations in 1914. For example, quoting from the 15th chapter of Romans where Paul quoted from the 11th chapter of Isaiah, the “truth about the truth about the truth” blog states: “And again Isaiah says: “There will be the root of Jesse, and there will be one arising to rule nations; on him nations will rest their hope.” Yes here once again Paul shows us that the gathering of people of the nations into his organization is in fulfillment of the prophecy about restoration and paradise as found in Isaiah 11. According to Paul it by no means must wait to be fulfilled after the destruction of the wicked for it had a fulfillment in his day. Again we asked, will you believe the Bible writer Paul or some self proclaimed 'prophet' who has proven himself unable to properly interpret the scriptures?
The reliability of Paul’s writings is not in question. It is the twisted reasonings and contradictions of the Watchtower and her inept defenders that is the issue. For example, if all aspects of Isaiah’s prophecy were fulfilled simply because Paul quoted a verse, that would mean that Jesus Christ began ruling over the nations in the 1st century. After all, Paul quoted from it so that must mean that every aspect of the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled then – at least according to the Watchtower’s apologist. But if that is the case, just why was it necessary for Jesus to begin ruling the nations again in 1914?
The blogger has the luxury of not having to explain his own nonsensical interpretations.
Also, in the same context of Isaiah, the brief 12th chapter places the fulfillment of the prophecy immediately after the expression of Jehovah’s anger against his nation. Question: Did Jehovah express his indignation against the 1st century congregation? No. Were the relatively minor persecutions of Rutherford and a handful of Bible Students in 1918 the fulfillment of the numerous prophecies that call for God to pour out his indignation upon his people? Again, no.
No wonder the Watchtower has sternly counseled brothers not to set up their own websites. Obviously this blogger is not qualified to defend the truth.
Perhaps the blogger is merely ignorant, or, more probably, is perversely misrepresenting what e-watchman has published on the topic, whatever. At any rate, the blogger misrepresents what e-watchman has stated by claiming that spiritual paradise comes about after Armageddon destroys the wicked. E-watchman has said no such thing. Here is a direct quote from the commentary the blogger has obviously read and himself quoted: “In the real spiritual paradise that Jehovah will provide for the meek ones of his people, as a prelude to their entering the new world, there will be no unclean slithering pedophiles—not even one.”
In numerous essays and commentaries, e-watchman has made the case for a future judgment of Jehovah’s organization to take place. (See also the chapter The Judgment Begins.) That judgment is initiated at the parousia of Christ and culminates in the great tribulation. During that smelting phase, when Jehovah expresses his judgments, every faithless and wicked person will be smelted out of the organization by the heat of Jehovah’s anger and skimmed off like scummy dross.
Elsewhere in numerous illustrations Jesus said that those who are removed from the organization will weep and gnash their teeth on the outside, while the true sons of the kingdom begin to shine as brightly as the sun. The reason those on the outside while weep and gnash their teeth is because they will have full awareness of having been sentenced to everlasting death. In that sense, then, Christ conducts an executionary work against the wicked and sluggish slaves within the congregation. Such takes place before the execution of Jehovah’s judgment against the nations at Armageddon and paves the way for the redeemed ones to be ushered into a cleansed organization – a spiritual paradise. Those who weep and gnash their teeth are not literally put to death, at least not immediately, otherwise how could they weep and wail, since the dead are unconscious?
Not only has the blogger lyingly distorted what e-watchman has stated on the topic, but he has proven himself to be a wholly incompetent Watchtower apologist and Bible teacher. The truth is, like the Society’s official spokesman, the author of “the truth about the truth about the truth” has proven himself to be a mere kingdom con man.
Do save me, O Jehovah, for the loyal one has come to an end;
For faithful people have vanished from the sons of men.
Untruth they keep speaking one to the other;
With a smooth lip they keep speaking even with a double heart.
Jehovah will cut off all smooth lips