Watchtower study article for the week of October 7-13, 2002
"NEVER HAS ANOTHER MAN SPOKEN LIKE THIS"Luke 4:22
This is the 3 rd of 4 articles devoted to the way Jesus taught. The WTS is hoping that somehow by osmosis JWs will see where they need to improve. Most JWs I know have not progressed past a magazine presentation. If someone brings up a question, the JW publisher panics. The WTS is trying to train them to use the Reasoning book but first they have to remember to put it in their book bag.
Of course, Jesus needed neither magazines nor Reasoning book because he was a genuine student of the Bible.
Jesus impressed the soldiers who came to arrest him; they said the words above. People even went without eating so not to miss anything Jesus had to say. Can anyone remember a public speaker like that today? Do we have any now? Speakers today put their audiences to sleep. What could they learn from Jesus?
SIMPLICITY AND CLARITY
The WTS says that well-educated people use language that is far above the heads of their listeners. JWs just use the "pure language" with words such as Caesar, Babylon the Great, time of the end, etc., which equally if not more so confuses the householder. This is also a not so subtle slam against those that pursue education beyond the minimum required by law.
Talking over the heads of the listeners, high-sound expressions, short, clear phrases, powerful sayings easily called to mind, in the era before printed books; well, JWs today cannot recall Jesus powerful sayings because speakers merely allude to them or leave them out altogether. Short, clear phrases are non-existent because the speaker doesnt under the point himself and is tied to the outline and quoted sources provided.
USE OF QUESTIONS
"Jesus made remarkable use of questions---when it would have been less-consuming just to tell his listeners the point." Not surprisingly, the WTS tells people the point of the question in almost all the remaining paragraphs. JWs are not comfortable with questions in the study material that do not have the answer in the paragraph in black and white.
"Jesus effectively but gently used questions to help Peter arrive at the right conclusionand perhaps to see the need to think more carefully before speaking." I can accept Jesus knowing what the right conclusion is. But do the elders and the publishers? What do they base the conclusion on, the Bible or the WTS publications? Perhaps is another buzzword the WTS uses when they are about to add to the Bible canon. Since the FDS is thinks they are Gods representative on earth, is it surprising that they think they know what Jesus was thinking?
Heres another example of adding to the Bible canon. The disciples asked Jesus whether they should fight in his defense. "Not waiting for an answer, Peter cut off one mans ear with a sword (though it may be that Peter intended to inflict more serious harm).
Hyperbole"intentional exaggeration for the purpose of emphasis---created mental pictures."
Rafter in the eye account"Someone who is prone to be critical offers to extract a mere straw from his brothers eye. The critic would be claiming that his brother could not see matters clearly enough so as to render acceptable judgment (yet isnt that what many JWs are told by the WTS and their representatives the DOs, COs, elders, you dont have all the facts we do).
"But the critics own ability to judge is impaired by a rafterfoolishto criticize the minor faults of our brothers when we may have major faults of our own!" Does the WTS think child molesting is a minor fault or covering up for child molesters to protect the precious name of the WTS? How can the WTS criticize anyone with the major faults they have?
Heres my favorite, but again the WTS misses the real application, "strain out the gnat but gulp down the camel." Mentioning "sticklers for rules" who were straining their wine through a cloth sieve comparing it to gulping down the camel by disregarding "justice and mercy and faithfulness." Who makes the rules in the WTS? Who spends all their time worried about facial hair, hem lengths and skirt slits and ignores the cries of abused children?IRREFUTABLE LOGIC
"With his perfect mind, Jesus was a master at reasoning logically with people. Yet, he never misused this abilityhe always employed his keen mental faculties to advance truth." But whose truth? The WTS truth?
The WTS gives the answer in this example of irrefutable logic rather than letting the average JW figure it out. After quoting Matthew 12:22-26 the WTS says, "Jesus was, in effect saying:" and then gives the answer rather than letting the reader show how effective was this "powerful logic." The average JW cannot answer a question unless the answer is in black and white in the paragraph. Most dont answer now; and even less would if they had to use logic to find the answer rather than being prompted.
Jesus was a wonderful teacher, but few today in the WTS can even be called mediocre. Even one is spoon fed what to teach and what not to teach. The Knowledge book avoids theses issues, blood, trinity, holidays. Its amazing that an organization that devoted a whole brochure on the Trinity, now devotes a few paragraphs to it in the main Bible aid.
Logic requires critical thinking and that is not encouraged among JWs. Rather JWs are programmed through the Bible Topics for Discussion in the back of the New World Translation and Reasoning from the Scriptures. If the discussion goes beyond the programmed sermons in these publications, JWs panic. Just this last week, the WTS cautioned members that they must give a Bible-based answer when asked why they dont do something rather than saying "Its against my religion." Why is it that JWs that have been attending meetings for more than 3 years dont know at least one scripture without running to a reference book to support their beliefs? If attending meetings, few pre-study or comment. Many JWs do not nor do they want to conduct Bible studies.
It will take more than a few examples from Jesus life to make Bible students and teachers out of many JWs.
Pictures this week
1. Jesus standing talking a group just gathering (still standing)
"Jesus used plain language that ordinary people could understand"
Can you imagine Jesus' today standing before a group using these terms without explanation: Babylon the Great, Armageddon, Caesar, the Truth. Public speakers today no longer consider that there could be newly interested ones in the audience. In spite of counsel at the Theocratic School, they use words only JWs could possibly understand. I guess they assume few non-JWs come to the talks any more and they are right.
2. "The Pharisees 'strained out the gnat but gulped down the camel"
A Pharisee straining his wine through a cloth cover over his wine cup with a camel behind him.
This is one of my 2 sayings that I love to use. The other is "pearls before swine"