DESTROYING the Governing Body’s claim of authority
BEGIN at the BEGINNING
What source authority did early Christians have?
Early Christian church: Septuagint (Greek) translation of the Bible, Jesus’ teaching via his Apostles transmitted orally and eventually written down.
Early Church Fathers: Catholic Magisterium (The traditions of the Apostles and authority of the Pope.) The Bible was not available. Scripture existed in Latin, little understood by non-scholars.
What is Sola Scriptura?
Starting with the 16th century C.E. Protestant rebellion against the Catholic Church, instead of relying on a Pope for matters of direction and authority in Faith and Morals,
Sola Scriptura was put forth as a replacement: _Scripture is self-authenticating, clear (perspicuous) to the rational reader, its own interpreter ("Scripture interprets Scripture"), and sufficient of itself to be the final authority of Christian doctrine._
What source authority did C.T. Russell have?
1, Under Charles T. Russell, a loose federation of independent Bible Students began reading and embracing his topical explanation of the entire Bible. It was called STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. Note: Russell’s commentary around scripture was a wedge allowing Russell’s ideas to come between the Bible reader and direct understanding.
2. Russell published and distributed an amalgamation of End Times sermons, exegesis, and opinions suggesting (as William Miller's Adventist followers had done) Christians would live to experience the return or Second Advent of Jesus Christ in a very short space of time.
3. Gradually, especially with the help of his wife, Russell took on an international celebrity status and charisma. He was increasingly looked upon as a kind of latter-day, final Prophet like Daniel.
Note: It was Maria Russell who invented what came to be the Central Doctrine of teaching authority. The “Faithful and Wise Servant” or Faithful and Discreet Slave doctrine turned Jesus’ parable into a prophecy fulfilled upon Charles Taze Russell + Maria Russell.
4. Self-aggrandizement warped Russell's personality. He rebuffed his wife's affections, divided fellow believers with various speculative chronology declarations, and began experiencing blowback in the form of criticism, lawsuits, and public exposure as a fraud.
5. Before his death, devout followers (Russellites) swallowed his End Times chronological claims: a. Jesus had returned (invisibly) in 1874, b. The resurrection of the dead had occurred in 1878, and c. Armageddon was due in 1914. All predicted with absolute confidence, and supported with the help of charts, pyramid measurements, and relentless speechifying.
(Note: Instead of Sola Scriptura (Bible alone) Russell’s charts and Pyramid chronlogy scheme replaced traditional Christianity and turned his followers into End Times speculators and conspirators.)
6. As each of Russell's preachments was laid bare by circumstance of FAILURE as unreliable, more and greater dishonesty became necessary for Russell and his followers to prop up his reputation or credibility for his adjusted predictions.
What source authority did J.F. Rutherford claim?
7. After his death in 1916, attorney J.F. (Judge) Rutherford jumped in and seized control of whatever remained of the WatchTower Corporation. The Judge sought to unify the stragglers any way possible.
(Note: What was Rutherford’s source authority? He transferred Russell’s chronology, pyramidology and personal interpretation books (Studies in the Scriptures) into a platform of teaching and used Maria Russell’s Faithful and Wise Servant as a kind of Apostolic succession.)
8. Rutherford urged ghost writers to concoct a "posthumous final volume" of Studies in the Scriptures under the title, The Finished Mystery. Vicious, anti-patriotic rhetoric landed Rutherford and his “directors” of the Watchtower in Federal Prison until the end of the war.
9. A Writ of Error freed the Directors and President of the Watchtower Society. He immediately began consolidating the remainder of the Bible Students with bold sermons in large venues such as MILLIONS NOW LIVING WILL NEVER DIE.
(Note: Rutherford presented his prison episode as a historic and heroic fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies for the next 40+ years.)
The Judge’s desperation to hold Bible Students in thrall is reflected in the fact this hinged on a brand new False Prophecy with an end date of 1925 in mind.
10. Each new dramatic scheme Judge Rutherford concocted alienated more and more of the original (Bible Students, Russellites, Age to Come) following Russell had acquired. The Judge turned to bolder speculations and maintained an iron grip on those remaining loyal to him who were hardening into confrontational extremists.
11. Rutherford attempted to lure Russellites into the fold by reassuring them Pastor Russell was editing the Watchtower magazine from heaven! He continued to promote the Great Pyramid and use the Studies in the Scriptures. As each flourish was met with skepticism and rebuttal, Rutherford radicalized, growing bolder, and by degrees, more unreasonably absolute.
12. When 1925 proved an embarrassing failure, the Judge went off the deep end. He became a tyrant with sweeping changes instituted solidifying his central authority. He began by sending representatives to all the independent congregations with "help" in organizing their study methods. Gradually he replaced the democratically elected leaders with his own puppets. Finally, he demanded every Bible student become a door-to-door book salesman with hourly quotas to fulfill, and various pressure techniques to ensure compliance.
At this point in Watchtower history, we will now begin examination of how Maria Russell's application of a parable about the "faithful and discreet slave" was used as a latter-day prophecy transferred to Rutherford, and eventually to an actual "governing body" within the organization.
By 1923, J.F. Rutherford claimed the mantle of authority for himself alone.
“In connection with his presence and the harvest work, the office of that “faithful and wise servant” is important and is made so by the Lord himself. The one who fills the office is made ruler over all the Lord’s goods during his incumbency in office. The office of that “faithful and wise servant” therefore is a part of the orderly manner in which the Lord carried on his work during his second presence.” Watchtower. 1923 3/1 p. 67-8, 72, Loyalty the Test
What source authority did a governing body have?
The Watchtower magazine’s first mention of a governing body came in 1944.
"In the year 1944 the Watchtower magazine began to speak about the governing body of the Christian congregation."
The Watchtower, December 15, 1971, page 755
“A Governing Body as Different from a Legal Corporation”
STOP RIGHT THERE! We are bracketing these two periods right before your eyes. 1944--1971.
We'll come back to it.
"How did this governing body make its appearance in recent times? Evidently under the direction of Jehovah God and his Son Jesus Christ."
Note: Give close scrutiny to the use of "evidently," the Watchtower's favorite weasel word!
"In the first century, a group of older men in Jerusalem made up a governing body that had oversight of the congregations and of the Kingdom preaching activity in general. The same pattern is followed within Jehovah’s organization today."
(Notice please: "governing body" is written in lowercase letters, not capitalized as Governing Body. Over the years, as self-importance grew, the lower case became the upper.)
In reference to the above quotation: Let us ask: "IS THAT TRUE?" Did Jerusalem have 'oversight' of everything?
Was Jerusalem's leadership the only official and central authority back in the First Century?
Paul the Apostle didn't think so!
Saul converted to Christianity and (now Paul) went off preaching to Gentiles for 3 years on his own. He sought no consultation with Jerusalem.
Fourteen years after a first visit, Jerusalem had caused problems in Antioch which caused him to have to straighten out their errors of understanding regarding Gentiles. In this instance, the so-called governing body in Jerusalem was dead wrong! This is not much of a winning argument to support the Watchtower contention above, is it?
Now, back to the 1940's and we find ourselves 2 years later, after the FIRST mention of the "governing body."
Watchtower Nov.14,1946 p.330 "Let God Prove to be True."
These are policy statements about the governing body.
THEY ARE AT ODDS WITH the facts.
The article itself was written by Fred Franz, Watchtower vice-president.
Please make careful note of the thesis argument Fred Franz is building.
His subject concerns the Authority of Jehovah's Witness governing body leaders. He wants to create a strong contrast between Catholics and Protestants Vs. Jehovah's governing body leadership and authority and he will use Romans 13: 1,2 to prove his case.
Franz is contrasting the MAGISTERIUM of the Catholic Church with the PROTESTANT Doctrine of Sola Scriptura (Bible alone+Holy Spirit).
Rutherford’s Illicit Change of God’s authorization of Government authority?
Look closely: Romans 13:1. "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God."
Judge Rutherford had taken it upon himself to change the historic meaning from civil authority of state and government to Watchtower religion authorized under Jehovah God and Christ Jesus. This false interpretation began in 1929 and ended in 1962.
NOTE: In ’62, the Watchtower flipped the script back to the original “Old Light” interpretation which Christendom had held for over 2,000 years.
This meant the “New Light” in 1962 restored the “Old light”!
For 33 years, the Watchtower taught error WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO DO So!
RECAP: The introduction of the governing body took place in 1944.Watchtower leadership was solely vested in President Rutherford. After Rutherford, his successor, Nathan Knorr shared responsibility with "oracle" Fred Franz, exercising monarchical control over doctrines and policies.
Let it be noted: Fred Franz claimed the Watchtower Corp. and Jehovah's Witnesses were NOT being run as a hierarchy.
The Bible was held out as the validating force (i.e. meaning Maria Russell’s doctrine of “faithful and wise servant”) rather than the human leaders acting as an interpreting body. That was the spin.
This was a False Claim of Authority
The Watchtower leaders claimed falsely: nobody within the organization was superior to any member. The only "head" of the organization, it was claimed, were Jehovah and Jesus. (Romans 13 had been twisted in order to claim such authority.)
What, then, was the so-called model of Authority for the administration of Watchtower?
They claimed it was the Early Church and they highlighted the role of the Jerusalem Council as a template for the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
WAS THE JERUSALEM COUNCIL an actual basis of authority?
[Concerning Jerusalem's council in Acts 15, Barnes Notes, page 235 tells us:]
ON WHAT BASIS OF AUTHORITY did the Watchtower claim THEOCRATIC RULE?
The Watchtower, December 15,1971 page 754, “Theocratic Organization with Which to Move Forward Now”, says:
“The ‘faithful and discreet slave’ class of today has been appointed over all the Kingdom interests belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ.”
When the above words were published, this was taught and believed.
But who authorized this understanding to be taught and believed?
There is only one reason. Worldwide, Jehovah's Witnesses were obligated to believe whatever the Nathan Knorr and Fred Franz told them was "Truth."
This phrase (faithful and discreet slave), at that time, was considered to be
ALL anointed and not just the few who were Society's officers.
Do you understand?
Members of Jehovah’s Witnesses didn’t realize Knorr and Franz were the real bosses. The members were being misled that ALL anointed worldwide were the FDS (faithful and discreet slave)
The elect anointed weren’t fooling themselves--Knorr and Franz were misleading them!
None of this was actually true.
How do we know?
44 years later all the previous revealed/ channeled "truth" interpretation was wiped out.
Yet another flash of UNauthorized "New Light" had turned to. . .garbage. (i.e. “Old light.”)
HISTORICAL SUMMARY for Watchtower “Authority”
In the July 15, 1906 (p.229) issue of Zion’s Watch Tower, Pastor C.T. Russell’s wife, Maria took the step of “identifying” her husband as the object of Jesus’ parable of the faithful and discreet slave.
March 1, 1923, WatchTower quotes Russell as saying that some spoke of him as the “faithful and wise servant” and others spoke of the Society as such.
The magazine then adds: Both statements were true; for Brother Russell was in fact the Society in the most absolute sense, in this, that he directed the policy and course of the Society without regard to any other person on earth. In fact, a biographical issue of the WatchTower published after his death on October 16, 1916, stated: Thousands of the readers of Pastor Russell's writings believe that he filled the office of “that faithful and wise servant,” and that his great work was giving to the household of faith meat in due season. His modesty and humility precluded him from openly claiming this title, but he admitted as much in private conversation."
In 1931, J.F. Rutherford renamed the Bible Students, Jehovah's Witnesses single-handedly.
Watch what happens next (which will be UNDONE later).
In 1932, Rutherford eliminated the bodies of elders (then elected by the congregations), stating that the arrangement was “not according to the principles of the great Theocrat, who rules his sanctuary from the top down.
1938 all congregations worldwide were invited to adopt an agreement authorizing the Brooklyn headquarters to appoint any and all persons serving in responsible positions in the congregations.
Hold on! This is a coup! (coup= an illegal seizure of power of governance.)
The term “Theocratic organization” has been used since the December 1, 1939 Watchtower in particular.
Repeatedly, all were urged to submit to “Theocratic order,” which in actuality meant to accept what came from the headquarters as if it came from God.
Whoever was the President/ Vice President was now a dictatorship disguised as Theocracy.
We already learned "governing body" appeared in 1944.
Pastor Russell was the sole decision maker and practitioner of doctrine.. His wife, Maria, invented the “faithful and wise servant” i.e. Faithful and Discreet Slave doctrine.
Judge Rutherford was the sole decision maker and practitioner of doctrine who arrogated a change in Romans 13 to seize power.
Nathan Knorr and Franz pretended a “Theocracy” led by worldwide anointed were the decision makers and inventors of doctrine as directed by Jehovah.
Franz and Knorr published a false prediction of 1975 which embarrassed and refuted the silly Theocracy and caused an upheaval in the other members of the Board of Directors.
Another coup was staged wresting power away from the Presidency/ Vice Presidency.
Note: How was it a coup? The power of Knorr and Franz was wrested away by others without their consent!
All along, Jehovah’s Witness leaders had denied the Organization was like the Catholic Church as a hierarchy. In fact, the use of Theocracy was meant to refute that notion.
1986 court testimony: Jehovah's Witnesses are admitted to be a hierarchy.
Crisis of Conscience, by Raymond Franz, demonstrates the official transformation from individual to group n 1976 ifor Governing Body:
Maria Russell’s doctrine had now been twisted into a springboard to MEDIATORship.
As such, they took over the role of Jesus Christ toward humanity, as MEDIATOR.
1 Timothy 2:5-6New King James Version (NKJV)
5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time
But Wait! The Governing Body says “NO!”
Watchtower 1989 Aug 15 pp.30-31:
"Consequently, 1 Timothy 2:5, 6 is not using "mediator" in the broad sense common in many languages. It is not saying that Jesus is a mediator between God and all mankind."
For all these years, the justification for the Governing Body (FDS) being allowed to tell us what to think, how to act by the authority of BEING SELECTED by heaven and APPOINTED over ALL Jesus' belongings.
This explanation has been removed!!
We can only wonder how the GB expects to justify the 100+ years of meddling abuse!
On what demonstrable authority do they seek such control?
It rests on false pretense and gullible willingness of 8 million members.
WHAT LESSON about AUTHORITY was LEARNED about governing by Jehovah’s Witnesses?
On WHOSE AUTHORITY were false prophecies able to pass muster in the leadership if Jehovah, Jesus and holy spirit had actually been using the Watchtower leaders?
"At a session three weeks later, April 30 , President Knorr surprised us by making a motion that henceforth all matters be decided by a two-thirds vote of the active membership." Crisis of Conscience (Commentary Press Fourth Edition 2004) Ray Franz p.85
It is revealed 4 years later.
GET READY. . . WAIT FOR IT . . . WAIT FOR IT . . .
Watchtower March 1st 1979 page 23, paragraph 15:
“Because of this hope, the “faithful and discreet slave”has alerted all of God’s people to the sign of the times indicating the nearness of God’s Kingdom rule. In this regard, however, it must be observed that this “faithful and discreet slave”was never inspired . . .”
Reread that paragraph and focus on the phrase: “. . .the nearness of God’s Kingdom rule.”
The article was published in 1979. God’s Kingdom rule was a “nearness” according to the writer of the article.
What about this?
100 Years of Kingdom Rule—How Does It Affect You?
8 By 1919, the “good news of the Kingdom” had taken on added meaning. (Matt. 24:14) The King was ruling in heaven, and he had gathered a small group of cleansed earthly subjects. They eagerly responded to Jesus’ rousing instructions: Preach the good news of God’s established Kingdom in all the earth! (Acts 10:42) For example, close to 20,000 Kingdom supporters convened for an international convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, U.S.A., in September 1922. Just imagine their excitement when Brother Rutherford delivered the talk entitled “The Kingdom” and declared: “Behold, the King reigns! You are his publicity agents. Therefore advertise, advertise, advertise, the King and his kingdom.”
How about this?
We have a mixed message, do we not?
First, there is confusion about WHO or what really runs the Watchtower organization (President? Faithful and Discreet Slave? Anointed worldwide? Governing Body? Legal Board of Directors?
We have a mixed message about Jehovah’s holy spirit as well!
Preservation (1932) pages 193-194 (Watchtower Bible and tract Society publisher)
“By His spirit, the holy spirit, Jehovah God guides or leads His people up to a certain point of time, and thus He did until the time when ‘the comforter’ was taken away, which would necessarily occur when Jesus, the Head of His organization, came to the temple and gathered unto Himself those whom He found faithful when He, as the Great Judge, began His judgment in 1918.”
What’s going on here?
The Watchtower Organization was NEVER LED BY the AUTHORITY of holy spirit!
According to the Organization’s own words we get our answer:
Preservation (1932) page 151:
“After the holy spirit as an advocate or paraclete ceased to function in behalf of the consecrated, the angels are employed in behalf of those are being made ready for the kingdom.”
"God uses angels to teach His people now on earth." The Golden Age 1933 Nov 8 p.69
"No man can properly interpret prophecy, and the Lord sends his angels to transmit correct information to his people." Watchtower 1936 Feb 15 p.52
Okay. That was 1936. What about 1987? Another modified adjustment is made!
"Christ used his authority by actively leading his congregation on earth. He did this by means of the holy spirit, the angels, and the governing body made up of the 12 apostles and the elders of the Jerusalem congregation. Jesus stated that he would be with his disciples right up to the conclusion of the system of things, where we now are. In the following article, we will see how he is still the active Head of the Christian congregation and how he is leading his "sheep" today." Watchtower 1987 Aug 1 p.15
"To this day the Governing Body follows similar guidelines. Each article in both The Watchtower and Awake! and every page, including the artwork, is scrutinized by selected members of the Governing Body before it is printed. Therefore, you can read The Watchtower and Awake! with confidence." Watchtower 1987 Mar 1 p.15
How about 6 years later? ARE YOU CONFUSED? Well so are the leaders of the Watchtower Organization!
"Those who make up the one true Christian organization today do not have angelic revelations or divine inspiration. But they do have the inspired Holy Scriptures, which contain revelations of God's thinking and will." Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom (1993) p.708
DESTROYING the Governing Body’s claim of authority
If Jehovah’s holy spirit is leading the Governing Body, if Jesus is ruling through the appointment of the Governing Body, how is the following situation even possible?
"Shocking as it is, even some who have been prominent in Jehovah's organization have succumbed to immoral practices, including homosexuality, wife swapping, and child molesting." Watchtower 1986 Jan 1 p.13
Destroying Governing Body authority with a note of irony.
"The reasons that people give for abandoning the churches are many and varied. Some in West Germany do it in order to be relieved of paying the church tax. More often, however, the reason involves changes in Roman Catholic teaching in recent years. These have confused many persons who thought that they had the true apostolic religion. As one Catholic priest in the United States put it: “If the things the Church has said in the last ten years are true, then everything it said for the last 2,000 years is false.”"
Watchtower 1975 Jun 1 p.324
There you have it in their own words. Everything the Watchtower has claimed to have the ‘authority to teach and practice’ for the last 100+ years is false!
Terry Walstrom 6/7/2016