How does the WTS explain away THIS scripture?

by Searching 17 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Joe Grundy
    Joe Grundy

    This is from Bart Ehrman's (subscription) blog, which I highly recommend. I'm not sure if I'm alowed to share it, but I don't think he'd mind. It talks about the earliest diversity:

    The key point is that the differences affect not just the resurrection appearances. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Destro and Pesce have maps of Palestine for each of the Gospels where they shade in where Jesus does or says anything. And the four different maps are very different indeed. In the three maps that provide shading for what you find in Mark, in the “special sources of Matthew” (that is, the material that Matthew has acquired from sources other than Mark or Q), and in the “special sources of Luke” – the only place of any overlap is Jerusalem. Mark has activities of Jesus up in Tyre, Sidon, Caesarea Philippi – basically places north and northwest of the Sea of Galilee. Luke’s special material does not have these places, but instead has places on the southern coast of the Mediterranean heading east to Jerusalem; Matthew’s special source has some overlap with Mark, but mainly it’s all up in Galilee north, east, and NE of the sea of Galilee. John on the other hand has almost none of that, but instead has a areas in Samaria and Judea. And so on.

    Destro and Pesce use these data to make a very interesting argument. They think that Jesus, during his public life, was active in a number of areas of Galilee and Samaria and the Transjordan. In various places he would have acquired followers, who could not physically follow him around since, well, they did have to work for a living in order to eat. After his death, these groups of followers would have continued to adhere to his teachings – as they understood them. They would have told stories about him. Their views would have developed. And there is absolutely no reason to think that these various groups would have thought the same things about Jesus, remembered the same things about him, recalled the same teachings from him, or interpreted these teachings in the same way.

    In other words, immediately as soon as “Christianity” (however we define that) began after Jesus’ death, there would have been small groups of Jesus’ followers in different places with different views. And these different interest groups’ stories are the ones that eventually were brought together in the various Gospels.

    Destro and Pesce do not tie this into Bauer’s thesis about orthodoxy and heresy, but the connections are hard to miss. Diversity in the early Christian movement did not start with the Gnostics and Marcion in the middle of the second century. It was there from the beginning, as different followers of Jesus in different places had different understandings of what he said, what he did, and what he meant. These groups would have heard at different times that Jesus was raised from the dead. They would not have been connected with each other, unified with each other, seeing one another as all members of the same church. They were simply the followers of Jesus who may have known that there were other followers elsewhere (or not). We shouldn’t think of Christianity as starting out as ONE group of Jesus’ followers, who all swore allegiance to the disciples who set up the church in Jerusalem. It would have been scattered, disunified groups throughout Palestine. From the very beginning.

  • eyeuse2badub
    The people of the region saw that there was great power in the name of Jesus,

    "The bible is an old fiddle on which any tune can be played." That's how they explain everything!

    IMHO, Paul did to Jesus' teachings the same as Rutherford did to Russell's teachings. Teachings that started out as gentle, kind, and humane got changed by the next guy in line of authority. Paul often mentioned Jesus teachings because he saw

    'great power in the name of Jesus" but he also added his own version and twist on things. He used the "Jesus power and persuasion" as a segway to take over and promote his own ideas into the "christian " congregations. Most 'christian' doctrine today is basically Pauline dogma. He wrote most of the greek scriptures which reflect his world view of how things should be.

    Rutherford did the same thing to Russell's religion. He muscled his way in and took over. He used what Russell amazing was able to get started and often mentioned Russell in endearing terms, because he saw " great power in the name of CT Russell"/ until he gained full control. His writings dominated the organization for many decades until thankfully he died.

    Sorry if I got of track!

    just saying!

  • Searching

    @ Joe Grundy

    I 100% agree with this! I think that Christ had many followers, from many different places and walks of life, and that they did not always communicate or talk with one another, that they were all not in one place at one time, did not matter to him. He knew each of them were HIS followers, and the nature of their hearts, and I don't believe for one second he, or His Father would cast any of them aside just because they did not follow instructions that were never even given by THEM in the first place. Or that he would abandon those individuals. There are so many things that the JW preach as "in accordance with God's Law" that aren't even laws?? Like no-beards?? Thats ridiculous???

    @ eyeuse2badub

    Sad as I am to say, I agree, I was actually shocked when I learned how drastically different the Org. was under Russell vs. Rutherford. Really, if feels like it just morphed into an almost completely unrecognizable religion in the transition of Russell --> Rutherford.

  • Doubtfully Yours
    Doubtfully Yours

    That text means to me that there is NO such thing as an 'exclusive' religious group that is approved by God.

    The man Job wasn't of the chosen Israelis, Cornelious wasn't even a baptized Christian and he received Holy Spirit. There are people that serve and please God in every org.

    Moderate/progressive JWs have always known this.


  • Pubsinger

    Moderate, progressive JWs? Have always known that there are people that serve and please God in every org?

    Except when someone who was a JW leaves and attaches themselves to 'another org' and 'still' believes in God and carries on serving. Then they all stop being 'moderate and progressive' and start saying 'APOSTATE!'

  • venus

    Both the statement reportedly made by Jesus (“Whoever is not on my side is against me” & “He that is not against us is for us”) may not have been made by him because both the statements lack meaning. For example, many of the divorced couples are not on each other’s side, and are neither against one another nor supportive to each other.

    In view of the other statements Jesus made, the statements he could have made could be something like this:

    Whoever is not on my side is not against me but is great as he is neutral;

    He that is not against us is not for us but is great as he is neutral.

    Jesus taught neutrality through his action when he said: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's” (Mark 12:17; Mathew 7:12, 21-23)

  • Old Navy
    Old Navy

    Quote from Searching:

    I just don't really understand, and I suppose since I no longer see it that way I never will, that if Jesus & God wanted, or demanded that we in the future form one small exclusive group - who were the only ones that could be saved from destruction, why did they not make that more explicitly clear? Why was nothing laid out in the bible, but instead had to be stumbled upon? Instead Jesus said that the way to gain salvation was through him and him alone.

    Guess its in the fine print somewhere

    Super questions! The so-called "Good News" that the WTBorg "preach" in their recruiting efforts really isn't very good news. It's some really bad news borrowed from certain sects of Christendom which is heavy on the Fear component. Why would a God, for whom all things are possible, even think about throwing a "destruction" tantrum to eternally annihilate most of the human race to prove His Love for the World? The message at John 3:16 is certainly much bigger than that!

    Happily, there is indeed some Really Good News which demonstrates a Love which covers ALL.

    Some Bible Scholars have truly gotten it right!

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    I don't know how the WT explains this but in line with Joe Grundy's information I think what is evident in this text is the competitive nature of early Christianity. The scripture hints at the competition going on for establishing an orthodoxy, in effect the claim for the 'true' Christ story and the 'true' church. This was only resolved in the fourth century with the Roman Church taking total control through the will of the emperor.

    No one ever wrote down what Jesus said (there is no contemporary documentary evidence that he existed outside of the Bible) and if he did exist, none of the gospel writers heard him. At best what Jesus said was second or third hand, forty year old memories and human memory is very capricious. Try remembering verbatim a conversation from five years back or even five days!

    So the text is clearly the work of a writer connected to one of the Christ cults seeking prime position in the territory. Who is not against us is with us the writer says, in other words get as much support from wherever you can.

    The more members; the more powerful the bishop and the bigger the funds. It was always about power and control.

    Incidentally early Christianity continued using the same clerical orders, bishop (overseer) presbyter (elder) deacon etc, that existed in the other established temples with their own christs, notably the in the mithraeum.

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