Watchtower publications exhibit a level of ignorance and in adequate education by its writers that is astounding, especially when it comes to logic and false arguments. I recently received a copy of the 9-1-06 Watchtower and discovered that it is a great example of how false arguments are used to manipulate the readers - primarily Jehovah's Witnesses.
Passive Voice: One of the prime ways that a false argument is made is through the passive voice. Example: "It is said that ...," or "There are those who say that ...," or "People wonder about ...," or "Further, it was felt that .... ". These are typical phrases in the passive voice which leaves the reader with the impression that something important or truthful has been said by many people, so it must be the common opinion, or a view held by experts. Yet, such phrases really say nothing, and shows the writers as utterly stupid or engaged in malice of forethought to mislead the reader. One can find the Watchtower publications filled to the brim with such phrases. The September 1, 2006 Watchtower is no exception.
Religion, What Good does it do? Page 3, the very first sentence, "I can be good without being religious!" That is a common sentiment." While not exactly in the passive voice, the quote is invented, and the subsequent sentence is passive. It says absolutely nothing. Although, the following statements cite an article from a book called The Decline of Christendom in Western Europe." But the citation does not directly support the comments where it was noted. The last paragraph on page 3 says that priests and preachers gave up teaching that God requires obedience, but instead taught that each individual must decide for himself what is right and wrong. This is a total lie. First, any reference to "Priests" include Catholic and Orthodox Priests. Never in the history of the Catholic or Orthodox Churches have they ever taught such a thing. The whole concept of self-determination is completely contrary to 2,000 years of Catholic teaching. Maybe some few Priests, perhaps Angelican or Episcopal made such statements. Likewise, Protestant Preachers from most mainline denominations, such as Southern Baptists, Pentecostals, Assembly of God, etc, do not teach self-determination. The do allow more in the way of personal conscience. But these churches are very much in favor of obediance to the Law of God as a way of life. They simply teach that perfect obedience is not required because we are all sinners, and thus are covered by Jesus sacrifice. The rest of the commentary in the article is likewise replete with passive statements.
St. Augustine: The same article on page 4 says, "One who spoke "twisted things" was Roman Catholic theologian Augustine. Jesus had taught his followers to convince others by reasoning from the Scriptures. However, Augustine twisted the meaning of Jesus' words recorded at Luke 14:23, "Compel them to come in," to mean that it was alright to use force in the work of converting people. (Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 28:23, 24) Augustine used religion to control people."
First, there is no statement in the New testament which states anywhere that Jesus taught his followers to convince others by reasoning from the scriptures. This is pure Watchtower fiction. Rather, Jesus said that people would be taught by the Holy Spirit. John 14:25, 26. Jesus simply said to tell people about the Good News. The Apostles understood this to mean that we plant but it is God that makes it grow.
Second, notice that the Watchtower never actually quotes St. Augustine, nor do they cite the reference where he is supposed to have said such things about forcing people to become Christian. St. Augustine was a prolific writer, and addressed many topics in great detail, using much logic and debate against heresies. While I have not read all of his works, I have not yet found any such comments by St. Augustine. I welcome anyone to find where St. Augustine said such things. I would love to read the context. Understanding context and the issues of the times helps a great deal in properly grasping what the early Church Fathers taught.
Third, the statement that St. Augustine used religion to contrl people is just stuck in the paragraph. The Watchtower statement has no connection to what St. Augustine is supposed to have said. There is no basis on which the Watchtower Society can claim that St. Augustine used religion to control people. They have simply invented these thoughts.
Satan, a rebellious angel: Now the article gets to the bottom line ... Satan! The Devil made them do it! The Watchtower now claims that "Satan provoked religious men in the first century to try to corrupt Christian congregations." Again, which men? Who? How many? The first century means any time from the death of Christ in 33 AD up to the year 99 AD. The Society then quotes 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 regarding false apostles, deceitful workers, etc. Yes, heresies and heretics were around in the first century and onward up to the 21st century. What else is new? But no where did Jesus Christ or the Apostles ever state that such 'false apostles' would take over the Church or corrupt it. Rather, Jesus Christ promised that he himself would safeguard the Church all days up to the end of the world. Jesus said to the Apostle Peter that even the gates of Hell (Hades for JWs) would not prevail over his Church. First century Christian leaders were still writing what we call the New Testament Bible, right up to the year 99 AD. Afterwards, Christian leaders, known also as early Church Fathers, wrote much about holding to the teachins of Christ and spent incredible time arguing against heresies. The Watchtower Society itself attempts to quote these early Church Fathers in an effort to support their own teachings. However, in every case I have read to date, e.g. the Trinity Brochure, and various Watchtower articles, the Society misquotes the early Church Fathers, or they quote opinions of what the early Church Fathers taught as though these were statements by the early Church Fathers. This is why it is vital that the Watchtower Society "Identify" which early Church Fathers that they consider to be "provoked by Satan" into mileading the early Church. The Watchtower Society never does this.
Satan is at it again: The Society now states that Satan uses religion to "make a pretense of being Christian, moral, and enlightening in order to make people live by his standards rather than God's." What are some of these Satanic standards that religion uses? The Society says, clergymen use high-sounding titles and obtain money from their flocks! WOW! So, then, does Anointed Governing Body member, or Zone Overser, Or Branch Overseer, or District Overseer, or Circuit Overseer, etc. qualify as high-sounding titles? Does the collection of money at Kingdom Halls qualify? The Watchtower Society takes in over a Billion dollars in the United States each year - judging from an older 1982 Dunn and Bradstreet report showing their US income at about $1.4 Billion. Twenty-four years later, I cannot imagine that they are pulling in less money. Nonetheless, the Watchtower Society fits this claim that Satan uses titles and money as much as any Church. So, who are they kidding?
The Devil's tactics: At the bottom of page 4 and top of page 5, the Society implies that Satan employes the majority of religions by quoting the verse which says that Satan is misleading the entire inhabited earth, and that the whole world lies in the power of the wicked one. Their paragraph provides no evdience other than an implied claim. The Watchtower Society is just as much in the path of Satan as any of us are. The scriptures involved do not say that the majority are mislead, or that the majority are in his power. Rather, these scriptures merely show that Satan has access to the whole world and is conducting his activities all over the planet. But, he cannot harm the Church because Jesus Christ promised to protect the Church always. What Church has proven to be there throughout history? It is certainly not the Watchtower Society or Jehovah's Witnesses.
A pact with God? The Society claims on page 5 that Christendom professes to have made a pact with God. What pact? Which church? Give us some references please. This is an utter lie. The Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox have not made any such pact. I know of no Protestant denomination which claims to have made a pact with God. This claim is complete fiction. God, through Jesus Christ promised to protect his Church always. Any "pact" is on God's part, and not the Church.
What does God care? The Society on page 5 goes into the worship of ancient Israel, and cites verses that condemn Israel because they do not obey God. Then the Society applies this to rituals of Christendom, and how displeasing they are to God. They argue that the clergy have corrupted God's word, and thus their worship in ritual and prayers are not accepted by God. Again, what laws of God have been rejected by the leaders of the Church? Yes, some leaders have said and done wrong things, and I have no doubt that God is displeased with these individuals. But to wholesale condemn entire Church denominations is nothing short of violating Jesus command not to be judging others such that you try to remove the straw from their eye while you fail to notice the rafter in your own eye.
Doing things for God: The Society concludes by talking about how good people will be found doing good things for God. Does God need to be bribed with our works of righteousness? The Apostle Paul stated very clearly that our works cannot earn our salvation. Our works show that God is working through us because we have accepted Jesus Christ. But the Watchtower Society has completely abandoned 2000 years of Christian teaching that we cannot work our way to salvation ... that is why we needed to be saved by a saviour. We cannot do it of our own ability. Who then is the religious organization that is displeasing God? The Watchtower Society is as guilty or even worse than any religion that they so judge.
The entire Watchtower article is not worth the paper it is written on. The article is distorted and misleading. The article fails in using basic logic and valid argumentation. The article does not cite sources, save one that is not essential to the points made. The article makes unfounded claims about the Churches, church history, and Biblical teachings. The article serves only to tear down, and not build up people of the Christian faith.