New Light

by Spade 98 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Spade

    I've noticed quite a few dissidents of Jehovah's Organization that have left with some fixation on Jehovah's Witnesses concept of “new light.” I really don't understand. The antiquity of religion may be historically educational, but not always personally illuminating.

    The concept of "new light" is perfectly reasonable to me:

    Your word is a lamp to my foot, And a light to my roadway. Psalm 119:105

    But the path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established. Proverbs 4:18

    Some important developments took place in the first few decades as Jehovah's Organization got its start and before it was firmly established. The first few decades began the ascension out of Christendom. It took several hundred years for Christendom's churches to descend into apostasy and some time to reverse the apostasy that blocked the way to God.

    This Time of the End, or day of Jehovah preparation beginning A. D. 1799 and closing A.D. 1914, though characterized by a great increase of knowledge over all past ages, is to culminate in the greatest time of trouble the world has ever known; but it is nevertheless preparing for and leading into that blessed time so long promised, when the true Kingdom of God, under the control of the true Christ, will fully establish an order of government the very reverse of that of Antichrist. Thy Kingdom Come 1st Edition - 1891 Page 59

    Apostasy—The Way to God Blocked

    WHY are Christendom’s first 400 years of history so important? For the same reason that the first few years of a child’s life are important—because they are the formative years when the foundation is laid for the future personality of the individual. What do Christendom’s early centuries reveal?

    The Seduction of Philosophy

    Historian Will Durant explains: “The Church took over some religious customs and forms common in pre-Christian [pagan] Rome—the stole and other vestments of pagan priests, the use of incense and holy water in purifications, the burning of candles and an everlasting light before the altar, the worship of the saints, the architecture of the basilica, the law of Rome as a basis for canon law, the title of Pontifex Maximus for the Supreme Pontiff, and, in the fourth century, the Latin language . . . Soon the bishops, rather than the Roman prefects, would be the source of order and the seat of power in the cities; the metropolitans, or archbishops, would support, if not supplant, the provincial governors; and the synod of bishops would succeed the provincial assembly. The Roman Church followed in the footsteps of the Roman state.”—The Story of Civilization: Part III—Caesar and Christ.

    Such an attitude left the way open for Greek philosophy and terminology to infiltrate Christendom’s teachings, especially in the fields of Trinitarian doctrine and the belief in an immortal soul. As Wolfson states: “The [church] Fathers began to look in the stockpile of philosophic terminology for two good technical terms, of which one would be used as a designation of the reality of the distinctness of each member of the Trinity as an individual and the other would be used as a designation of their underlying common unity.” Yet, they had to admit that “the conception of a triune God is a mystery which cannot be solved by human reason.” In contrast, Paul had clearly recognized the danger of such contamination and ‘perversion of the good news’ when he wrote to the Galatian and Colossian Christians: “Look out: perhaps there may be someone who will carry you off as his prey through the philosophy [Greek, phi·lo·so·phi′as] and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ.”—Galatians 1:7-9; Colossians 2:8; 1 Corinthians 1:22, 23. -Mankind’s Search for God, chap. 11 pp. 261-265

    Critics of Jehovah's Witnesses will often zero in on the early development of the organization for any flaws without taking into consideration the environment that surrounded Charles Taze Russell and his contemporaries. There wasn't the kind of guidance as explained in Acts 8:26-31:

    However, Jehovah’s angel spoke to Philip, saying: “Rise and go to the south to the road that runs down from Jerusalem to Ga′za.” (This is a desert road.) With that he rose and went, and, look! an E·thi·o′pi·an eunuch, a man in power under Can·da′ce queen of the E·thi·o′pi·ans, and who was over all her treasure. He had gone to Jerusalem to worship, but he was returning and was sitting in his chariot and reading aloud the prophet Isaiah. So the spirit said to Philip: “Approach and join yourself to this chariot.” Philip ran alongside and heard him reading aloud Isaiah the prophet, and he said: “Do you actually know what you are reading?” He said: “Really, how could I ever do so, unless someone guided me?” And he entreated Philip to get on and sit down with him. Acts 8:26-31

    There were Christendom's Churches, the polytheistic religions in various eastern cultures and some new religious movements such as the Seventh-day Adventists, a group the early Bible students distanced themselves from:
    “The Second Advent Church” people, and many in other denominations, interested in the Lord’s coming and expecting him in the flesh, have turned their attention to 1881, and feel confident that they will see Jesus with their natural eyes this year. Their hopes are based partly upon an old rhyme called “Mother Shipton's prophecy,” which concludes:

    “The world unto an end will come,

    In eighteen hundred and eighty-one.”
    The WATCH TOWER never claimed that the body of Christ (congregation of Christ) will be changed to spiritual beings during this year. There is such a change do sometime. We have not attempted to say when, but have repeatedly said that it could not take place before the fall of 1881. -Zion's Watch Tower May 1881 p. 5-6
    Using the term "new light" is appropriate upon acquiring new understanding, especially in terms of prophecy and how the Bible relates to world events. This was possible for these men only because of the fulfillment of the promises about guidance by God’s holy spirit. (Joh 15:26, 27) God's spirit wasn't the seal of infallibility, but such help enabled them to recall Jesus’ instructions and teachings, to clarify points of doctrine, and to be progressively guided “into all the truth” revealed to them at that time period.

  • MrFreeze

    Truth doesn't change. I'm fine with them admitting mistakes but when you've made so many mistakes in the past, don't be upset when I don't accept everything you say. The problem is they don't put the blame on themselves. They blame their followers. Their followers have wrong expectations they say. Well they were listening to what you said without question! Of course they would have wrong expectations if you were putting those expectations into their mind.

  • aqwsed12345

    Were the Early Christians Jehovah’s Witnesses?

    The Alleged "Apostasy" Of Christendom

    A recent Watchtower magazine expounds the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ view that orthodox Christianity ("Christendom") underwent a great apostasy after the death of the apostles: "The death of the apostles removed a restraining influence, allowing a widespread apostasy to develop. (2 Thessalonians 2:7, 8) An organization grew up that unworthily professed to be God’s congregation. It falsely claimed to be the holy nation anointed with God’s spirit to rule with Jesus."

    The Witnesses believe that the influx of pagan converts brought in doctrines and concepts from Greek philosophy and religion which were then integrated into the Christian faith, resulting in such "false" teachings as the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the immortality of the soul, and eternal punishment in hell. According to the Watchtower Society, Christendom lived in darkness for 18 centuries after this apostasy. Yet they believe there were always individuals who were faithful to divine truth — a truth more fully unveiled when their founder, Charles Russell, began to study the Bible in earnest in the 1870s. To support this view, Watchtower literature regularly cites passages from the church fathers to demonstrate that, even after the apostasy, there were some who believed as Jehovah’s Witnesses do today.

    In light of this line of argumentation, it is worthwhile to examine the writings of the early church fathers. If indeed such writings reveal that early Christians believed as Jehovah’s Witnesses do today, then surely a reevaluation of orthodox Christian teachings is needed. If these writings fail to support Watchtower claims, however, then one must conclude that Jehovah’s Witnesses represent a new religious tradition of the late 19th century, with no historical connection to apostolic Christianity.

    The body of literature of the postapostolic church is substantial, and a full review would be outside of the scope of a limited survey such as this. The most critical period is that prior to the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, because it is historically closest to the apostles. Part One of this series will examine writings from this period that relate to the question of whether the church underwent a great apostasy. It will also investigate what the church fathers say about one of the most critical doctrines of the Christian faith — the divine nature of Christ. Part Two will review other important doctrines of the faith, such as the nature of the Holy Spirit, the soul, and the fate of the wicked.

    Did a Great Apostasy Occur?

    Was the true faith taught by the apostles lost or corrupted within the first generation after the apostles? If so, then the true faith was not successfully transmitted anywhere in the evangelized world of the first and second centuries — including churches established by the apostles, with leadership appointed personally by them. A "great apostasy" would require an extraordinary event: the simultaneous loss of faith by an entire generation of Christians throughout the civilized world. Included in this apostasy would be disciples of the apostles themselves, as well as those who witnessed the thousands of martyrs who, just a short time previously, refused to deny Christ, either explicitly or by worshiping pagan gods.

    A great apostasy, wherein the doctrines of Greek pagan philosophy replaced apostolic teaching, would most likely have begun in areas where the church was accepting a large number of converts with backgrounds in Greek religion and philosophy, such as Alexandria, Egypt. The prominent western churches established directly by the apostles, such as those in Rome and Antioch, would likely have fallen into heresy more slowly. But the historical facts do not support this (or any other) scenario of a "great apostasy." Had a great apostasy begun immediately after the death of the apostles, as the Watchtower claims, a mixture of "true Christianity" (i.e., Watchtower–type teachings) and "pagan heresy" (i.e., orthodox Christian teachings) would be discernible in the literature of the early church, which was widespread in its geographical points of origin.

    Is it possible that all the writings of the followers of the "true faith" were completely destroyed by the paganized church? Such a view is highly improbable. Many manuscripts have survived from Gnosticism (a widespread religious movement of this period which combined elements of Greek paganism and eastern mystery religions), despite several centuries of concerted attack and condemnation by the church. Yet not a single document exists pointing to a group who believed as the Jehovah’s Witnesses do today.

    The absence of such early "Watchtower" literature causes one to doubt the existence of the so-called "faithful and discrete servant class." After all, the stated purpose of these 144,000 anointed servants in Jehovah’s plan is to provide "meat in due season" — that is, literature that imparts "accurate knowledge" about the Bible. If these early Jehovah’s Witnesses were true to the kingdom gospel, handed down to them by the apostles, they would have written sufficiently to provide the faithful with an understanding of the Scriptures. Keep in mind that the Watchtower Society teaches that the Scriptures cannot be properly understood without such aids. Yet where is the Watchtower literature of the first and second centuries — or for that matter, of any century prior to the 1870s? Its absence is most telling, and highly damaging to the claim of a general apostasy with just a few of the dedicated faithful surviving.

    Perhaps the most compelling argument against a universal early apostasy may be found in the commissioning and empowering of the apostles themselves. If a universal apostasy occurred immediately after the death of the apostles, we would have to judge the apostles as incompetent or negligent evangelists who utterly failed to accomplish Jesus’ commission to make disciples. Such an apostasy would reflect poorly on Jehovah God as well, whose "holy spirit" was unable to preserve His followers for even a single generation.

    There is, therefore, no reason to believe that a great apostasy occurred following the death of the apostles, with the resulting loss of the "true" Christian faith for over 1800 years. This conclusion seems undeniable in view of the Great Commission, the power of the Holy Spirit, the absence of literary evidence for an alternative group of believers with a gospel similar to that preached by Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the implausibility of the required simultaneous loss of faith by an entire generation of geographically dispersed Christians.

  • Leolaia
    The WATCH TOWER never claimed that the body of Christ (congregation of Christ) will be changed to spiritual beings during this year. There is such a change do sometime. We have not attempted to say when, but have repeatedly said that it could not take place before the fall of 1881. -Zion's Watch Tower May 1881 p. 5-6

    IIRC Russell was not being honest here....I'll have to check.

  • JeffT

    From reading in context it seems evident that Proverbs 4:18 is talking about the spiritual growth of the individual, not changing doctrines of a religious body. The scriptural test is simple, if some one claiming to speak for God tells something that is not true, his teaching is false and should not be accepted. I expect your going to tell me that the Watchtower doesn't claim to be a prophet. If that is the case, why should I listen to them at all? Either they speak for Jehovah, or they don't.

    PS, even if you are right and Jehovah's Witnesses are the one and only true religion, at Armageddon you're going to be just as dead as everybody else on this board, because you aren't following orders. Having rebelled against your God, you're just as apostate as the rest of us.

  • smiddy

    If the Apostacy began circa 325 A.D. and "GOD" doesn`t do anything about it till the late 1800`s ,am I the only one who sees something wrong with that?

    What about those millions of people who have gone through" "HELL "on earth,defending an apostate religion,being put to death in such torturios conditions,and suffering ......,and all we hear,........ is silence from an ALMIGHTY GOD

    Whether it be Roman Catholic ,Eastern Orthodox,Greek Orthodox,Polish National Catholic Russian Orthodox.,Protestant Reformationists,Church of England,Lutherans etc.etc.

    The "GOD" of the bible has been conspicously silent over all these centuries

    I have some new light

    Maybe the God of the bible, doesnt exist


  • Bungi Bill
    Bungi Bill

    Real scholars of the bible - NOT the pseudo, Watchtower Society type "scholars" - are in agreement that Proverbs 4:18 is indeed talking about an individual's spiritual development.

    N.H. Knorr is credited with seizing on this bible verse in an attempt to justify the WTS's frequent changing of doctrines:

    - not to mention its frequent need to revise its interpretations of bible prohecy, when these have failed repeatedly.

    Well has this so-called "brightening light" been more accurately described as a "Flashing Light", like the WTS is unable to make up its mind.

    Better call in the electricians!


  • jwfacts

    You are spot on. New Light is completely reasonable as justification for a religion teaching crap. The only pitfall to your argument is that since every religion claims to be representatives of God, all religions can invoke this shallow excuse as applicable to themselves.

  • Juan Viejo2
    Juan Viejo2

    New light means that as we go forward we will have a broader understanding of the details and nuances of the Bible's teachings.

    What the Bible means is that it like being in a room where more lamps are added and the room gets brighter and everyone can see clearer.

    What the Watchtower means is that the bulbs keeping burning out and new ones have to replace them. That the lamps quit working and new ones are made to replace them. That someone forgot to pay the electric bill and God has turned off the power.

    Sorry - new light? Hardly...


  • mamalove

    Was it ever determined by IP or however Simon figures these things out, if Spade is a former JW apologist who used to go under a different name?

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