You aren't an ass or a pretentious Pharisee wannabe. I wouldn't even want to rip your posts to shreds. The desire would never even come up into my heart, of your posts to date are any example.
saki2fifty: Even though I feel as though I found some interesting things...
Keep in mind that my problem is not with people independently choosing of their own volition to add more requirements for themselves than what the Bible requires. If someone simply wants to study prior to baptism, wants to attend meetings prior to baptism, etc. that is fine by me. Except for preaching. I see no justification in the Bible for anyone who is unbaptized to consider themselves qualified to preach.
My problem here, is with an organization that claims to be God's Channel of communication with the earth teaching people that these extra things are requirements of God. My problem is a book that claims to help people understand what the Bible really teaches, i.e. what the Bible actively advocates in favor of and prohibits against, having within its pages this statement:
To qualify for baptism, however, you must take definite steps.
Since this statement is followed by many steps the Bible does not teach along with one step the Bible does teach (repentance and conversion), this statement is an untrue statement. The fact that the statement is untrue, in itself, does not make the statement a lie. A lie must be an untruth intended to deceive someone.
The deceit enters in when we realize that if there WERE Scriptures to clearly support these requirements, those Scriptures would at least be cited in this chapter. Which means, an active attempt was made by someone, at some point in time, to find the Scriptures supporting this doctrine during the writing of this book. When the Scriptures were not found to support a required "step", the "step" should have been omitted from the publication (and doctrine).
Each step that is unsupported by the Bible and was not omitted is a separate deceit. It is a lie. It isn't important to me that you see anything beyond the fact that they KNEW they had no Scriptural support and taught this doctrine as though its was Scriptural anyway. I hope you do see that.
You see, from my perspective once you see that...the rest becomes sideline issues. The 607 BC doctrine becomes a curiosity, and little more, if one realizes that the organization supports teachings as though they are from the Bible even when they know they are not from the Bible.
Reasoning From the Scriptures (1989) p. 283
How can Jehovah’s visible organization in our day be identified?
(3) It adheres closely to God’s inspired Word, basing all its teachings and standards of conduct on the Bible.—2 Tim. 3:16, 17.
Please answer me just one question. After your personal study of the current JW doctrine on pre-baptismal requirements, would you be able to honestly tell a stranger that JWs base all their teachings on the Bible?
If not, according to point #3 of the standard of judgment they use to rule out other organizations as Jehovah's visible organization in our day, it seems to me they rule themselves out, too. You may have come to a different conclusion than I did, but I hope as a result of your study you at least understand that my reasons for leaving were very logical.