Well, my wife and I returned to the JW elder’s house for another “Bible Study” continuing the series in marriage. That study went pretty well, poking fun at each other concerning our marital issues and all. Nothing in that particular study would seem to be bad or anything for after all, one cannot argue against the virtues of being faithful to your spouse and the marriage arrangement (at least for Christians that is). However, as readers of my last post will recall, the subject of the baptismal questions asked of all Jehovah’s Witnesses came up and of course I addressed my concerns (see thethread ). The elder made good on his promise and did his research and this was what he presented me with.
He presented me with an excerpt from the Watchtower April 1 st , 2006 in the article entitled ‘Go and Make Disciples, Baptizing Them.’ This article goes into the need for ‘accurate knowledge’ of the requirements for baptism and (in paragraph 4) indicated how “Jesus intended for his disciples to have a solid foundation for their faith before they would get baptized.” Paragraph 4 goes on to state that “those who qualify for baptism have usually studied the Bible for months or even a year or two, so that their decision is neither hasty or ill-informed.” He then gives me an brief history lesson concerning how some people would get baptized, then become a publisher and ’side with the people at the door with whom they were witnessing to’ regarding the doctrine of Hell-fire or how they would spend months studying with an individual, baptize them, and never see that person again.
I read through the parts of the text that he printed in red (I'm guessing he did this though it could've been highlighted in red from the Watchtower on CD). I was particularly interested in paragraphs 11 - 15 since it addresses the reasons for the second baptismal question. I'll take some excerpts and discuss my views on them.
"...he becomes an ordained minister who bears Jehovah's name." "It also puts the one baptized in line for eternal salvation provided he remains faithful to Jehovah" An ordained minister who bears Jehovah's name? I guess this is to ensure that no baptized publisher 'erroneously' (according to the Watchtower) believes in Hell-fire and other 'false' doctrines of Christendom. It also puts him inline for eternal salvation provided he remains faithful to Jehovah? The wording here seems to prove that Jehovah's Witnesses do not have the assurance of their salvation and explains why they must work so hard in their ministry. It quotes Matthew 24:13 to justify that statement.
"The second question also reminds the candidate of his responsibility to work with Jehovah's spirit-directed organization." "Like a mother who makes sure that her child is well-fed and cared for, 'the faithful and discreet slave' provides an abundance of timely spiritual food for our spiritual advancement." They reference the parable in Matthew 24:45-47 and Paul's Ministry in 1 Thessalonians 2:7,8 to apply the labels of 'mother' and 'faithful and discreet slave' to the governing body.
What is interesting here is that they continue to omit the importance of the Holy Spirit spoken of by Jesus Christ that is provided to 'teach us of all matters of truth,' to comfort us, and intervene for us. I've reread the Watchtower article that the elder presented to me again to ensure that the Holy Spirit was not mentioned, and sure enough it makes no mention of the importance of the Holy Spirit for believers. It only mentions the 'spirit-directed organization' as if the Holy Spirit speaks only to the governing body. This is evident in paragraph 15 where the article states "Both at our meetings and through our personal study of Bible publications, we can see Jehovah's spirit at work, directing his organization." (italics mine) Notice it did not say 'our personal study of the Bible.' Since only the governing body directs the organization the conclusion I made about the Holy Spirit speaking only to them seems valid. Any Jehovah's Witness reading this is free to refute this conclusion provided you can actually back it up.
I did not actually get a chance to read over the article until after my family and I returned home, so I did not get to present my 'findings' written above to them. I did, however, get to ask some questions of them concerning manners of whether or not Jesus is 'a god.' Of course, Jesus is 'a god' according to them and that He was created by Jehovah, a Might God, but not the Almighty. I presented Isaiah 44:6 and asked them to explain the contradiction. The elder's wife asks me, "Isn't Satan a god?" My response, "Not a true god." They did not seem to like it when I made the distinction between god and true God. The subject matter was somehow dropped (or got changed, not really sure now). Their point however seems to be that since Satan is a god and Jesus is 'a god' then that harmonizes with Isaiah 44:6 but even if you believe that because the word god is spelled with a small 'g' to refer to Jesus and Satan (making then gods but not God) then how do you reconcile Isaiah 9:6 where the word God (big 'G') is used to reference Jesus?
As I was leaving, I asked the elder if he could research 1914. He stated that 1914 has both biblical and physical proofs of it. I'd be interested to see what he comes up with.