1st Cen. Christianity - One Organization

by StandFirm 144 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • PSacramento

    There is no reason to believe that Peter was NOT in Rome or Never in Rome, since we have eivdence that he was and there was no reason for that evidence to fabricate it AT THAT time.

    Regardless of what the ROman church cam eto be AFTER the 4th century, that has nothing to do with the writings of those in the 2nd and 3rd and even, perhaps the 1st.

    That said, there is NO evidence that there was ANY central organization ( much less a "governing Body") BEFORE Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire.

    The bible is actually quite consistant on the fact that whenever relligion did get "organized" all it ever did was cause shit and God had to send INDIVIDUALS to straighten it out.

  • Hobo Ken
    Hobo Ken

    So standfirm is that the best reply you could muster after some excellent posts by the likes of Terry and others?

    You pick one or two which presumably you've chosen because they fall into your preferred field of vision, and suit your argument.

    Marvin is essentially asking were those 19th cen. Christians :

    1.True Christians?

    2. Organised?

    3.How did that express itself?

    Whether they were organised or not one thing is certain they were not part of the Watchtower Society since it didn't exist.

    You respond to these questions with some jw dogma about the"great apostasy". Which is really the wtbs's only way of explaining why , if they are god's organisation they only appeared on the world scene in the late 1800's.

    It is truly arrogant to suggest that while these people were Christians the were disadvantaged by the fact they lived before God's organisation on earth had been formed in the shape of Jehovah's Witnesses.

    Moreover what marvin raised was anything but a red herring as you call it. Instead you are the one who implies that there was 1st century "spiritual prosperity" when time after time people have posted evidence of the exact opposite being the case, lack of organisation, disunity, people going it alone etc etc. And yet you chose to ignore all of that.

    It's also been extensively pointed out that there probably were many ideas and many separate groups all following Christ but not a single christian set of "doctrines" which everyone in the 1st cent unanimously agreed on.

    Really the purpose of this thread is to validate a JW teaching that God had an organistion in the 1st century.

    Because the Witnesses , like you, are not interested in establishing the facts of history if they happen to contravene one or more of your doctrines.

    They have ably demonstrated a complete contempt for the non-biased expert opinion of people whose job it is to establish things such the date and manner of particular events.

    Jerusalem's destruction.

    Worldwide flood.

    Death of jesus on a cross.

    Ice age.

    I could go on. But the real question should be if you standfirm believe that god has an organisation and it's the witnesses, when did he pick your religion?

    I'm presuming the reasoning will be there was a 1st cen version so then it would follow he has one today and that would be Jehovah's Witnesses?

    I look forward to a response and some proof that your religion has been chosen to represent God's interests on earth.


  • No Room For George
    No Room For George

    I noticed this thread when it started, and I'm glad I didn't look at it right away. I'm glad I'm just now going through it because some of the posts in this thread are some of the greatest thoughts I've ever read in my entire life!!! Terry, Psac, and everybody else This should be placed in the Best Of section.

    WontLeave you posted the one thing that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth regarding this organization, and I have to thank you. This right here....

    Witnesses would trip over themselves to agree, if someone left to his own devices read the Bible, no way would he come away with the Trinity. By the same token, realistically, would anyone left to his own devices read the Bible and come away with the "faithful and discreet slave" being human overlords? Would someone left to his own devices read the Bible and come away with a cohesive, unified organization where no point was permitted to be questioned?

    Threads like this started by a WT Apologist are the exact reason why the WT doesn't want apologists debating with apostates online. Beautiful. Friggin beautiful. As far as debate is concerned, I wouldn't even call this a debate as much as I'd call it a thorough schooling.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I am a early Christian nut. Because of my Witness upbringing, I place almost too much emphasis on the BIble. Jesus selected very common fishermen, not highly educated Pharisees. Jesus' teachings are not an example of crystal clear doctrine setting. Several themes run through his teachings. Most of his teachings already existed in Judaism, outside of Temple Worship. He dined with Pharisees. In many ways, Jesus was a Pharisee. Jesus could have had paid scribes to dictate the Nicene Creed or the Apostle's Creed. He could have given very good lectures on Christology, his basic nature. Was he God? Was he a minor figure as the Witnesses teach? The biggest debates showing a total lack of organization were the Christology debates.

    My faith teaches me that Christ was God but not conscious of it during his ministry. God sacrificing God is no big deal. Certainly Jesus had the power to enforce strict dogma and a strong, cult like organization. He chose the opposite course. The lesson I take from this is that faith was more important than doctrine. Purity of heart and action mattered and on an individual level. He clearly wanted some vague organization b/c he called The Twelve and commissioned them. The lack of doctrine and organization is no accident. His teachings and his very self are timeless as a result. Every time I read the NT, I find something new, fresh, and puzzling. The King of Kings could have me know the Nicene and Apostle's Creed in my heart, rather than know the church bulletin.

    The Trinity is an extrapolation but the Witness doctrine is extrapolition, too. I ponder why Jesus did not address his dual nature or his whatever status. Fundamentally, Christ's nature is what draws people. The Holy Spirit, not his teachings that were not that unique. The biggest hurdle is that I do doubt as Thomas did. I am free to ponder. Why would a loving God have no church from the Easter Christ to the 19th century? It is ludicrous. The list of Christian martyrs is long. I find it odd that the English translator and publisher of the Bible, Tyndale, could be burned as a dangerous heretic. Yet the Witnesses would deny me my right to use all the skills God gave me and read the Bible. People at Bethel are not direct representatives of Christ. I love being part of a community but my free will is intact. With my doubts I have far more faith in God/Christ than I ever did as a Witness.

    This thread has personal opinions and disputes just as early Christians did. There are many objective facts that negate a Witness like organization.

  • ProdigalSon

    BOTR: I am a early Christian nut.

    Me too. I'm always searching for new information on what went on in Christianity before the Constantine Church dogmatized it. When I see several sources concurring with the same conclusions, I tend to give those sources more credibility. I have found Madame Blavatsky to be highly credible. She was very "connected", and has withstood the challenges.....


    I think you would appreciate this series of articles.....



    wow, away for a few days and look what happened to this tread.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    Note that the thread starter is AWOL.

  • maksym

    Perhaps I can share my thoughts on this thread, as it relates to the core of my new found faith since leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I am Eastern Orthodox Christian now, and I have studied the history quite extensively to do a rebuttal to the Watchtower notions of Organization as being the church structure.

    Foremost, it is woefully problematic to take modern definitions from dictionaries that are used from our own vernacular of the day, to define things from the Bible that was written in Greek, and as such those words will hold different meanings. That is poor exegesis right from the start. A good example is the meaning of “greeting” in the verse that JW’s use for their disfellowshipping model. But that is another subject.

    Secondly, the books of the New Testament were not canonized and recognized by the Apostolic church until close to the end of the 4th century. The Church came together through Holy Tradition. Those Traditions were handed down from the Apostles and then later to the Bishops. The Bible is even clear on this at 2 Thess 2:14. The New Testament gives us therefore a “history” of how the church functioned to some extent but that format came about before the New Testament books were identified as Holy and inspired for all. The Church actually came before the New Testament. To use the Bible as a guide in understanding the church model is like putting the cart before the horse and it will result in endless difference due to the bias of the person.

    Thirdly, for the first three hundred years, up until the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, Christianity was not legal to practice. A central authority that would give instructions was not there, nor was the means to distribute and communicate things easy.

    Also Jehovah’s Witnesses often like to point out that the Council at Jerusalem was like a command central that dictated what others would do. If we read the account in Acts we find the problem was in Jerusalem and not elsewhere. The nature of the Council was conciliatory and not dictatorial as the governing body operates today.

    Without going into a long history lesson, I will say that historically, the Church has been conciliatory and universal in ironing out problems. The Ecumenical Councils are good examples of when problems arose they were taken care of by all the Bishops or other hierarchies.

    Finally, Jehovah’s Witnesses seem to think the Church in Apostolic times was some kind of organization similar to that which operates in Brooklyn, and would have been identified as an actual “visible” organization in operation. Yet, they seem to think the Church went “invisible” and cannot be found until modern times. They claim then that there were always faithful people during this so-called “apostasy”. If we assume this premise to be true then the actual church of the apostles died out after they died.

    This would mean even the New Testament books that were accepted into the Canon were determined by apostates!

    It would also mean that salvation throughout all those centuries remained wholly individual and that God did not need a Church or organization to operate.

    It would also mean that the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in Matthew 16:18 in which it says that “the gates of Hades would not prevail against the Church”. This is foundational in knowing there would always be a “visible” church that would not die off into apostasy.
    And it would also mean that God cared less for the vast majority of people between the beginning of the first century and the 19th century. Where would one go to gain salvation?Would they just need to believe a certain way? How would they know that they believed the correct way?

    Fundamentally God would have abandoned his Church or organization.

    Because the Watchtower has no history and is just a young upstart religion in modern times they place an “apostolic stamp” on themselves by saying they have restored the “true faith” because it went into apostasy. They are nothing more than what is termed a Restorationist movement mixed with a Protestant background.

    The true church never died out it just gets re-invented again and again.



  • Hobo Ken
    Hobo Ken

    Excellent post maksym.

    I think the salient point you make about the church being in existence first before the new testament canon being completed is spot on.

    Also the fact the "Bible" was collated during the time that supposed "great apostasy" was in full swing is huge for JW's.

    They cannot have it both ways.

    Either God was using an organisation to do his work or he wasn't.

    The fact that an important event such as that occurred during this dark apostate time is something they don't want to acknowledge. It causes them to face up to the fact that either you don't need an organisation to serve God or as you say basically God was beaten and allowed the apostates to win, despite the Bible saying this would never happen.

    A superb effort by everyone on this thread.

    An honest presentation of history without bias will always expose those who have distorted, self serving doctrinal agendas.

    Where's Standfirm anyway?


  • sizemik
    Well, the simple fact of the matter is that the only reason it was the BIBLE that became so popular was because the people that proliferated it had the most money, the first printing presses, and the biggest cannons.

    I always wondered what "Cannonicity" meant

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