It is not “Preach the good news” nor is it “Believe in Jesus and get saved” neither is it “Believe in the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses and get saved” although in practice they do teach this. No, everything they claim depends on a belief in another doctrine which logic decrees cannot be found in the Bible.
The leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses put absolute faith in a Protestant doctrine which is given a Latin name, Sola scriptura, meaning “by scripture alone”.
Good evidence of the governing body believing in the primacy of this doctrine was when being questioned by the Australian Royal Commission, they resorted to the ‘authority’ of scripture to defend their stance on having “two witnesses” when they are investigating child abuse cases.Throughout the hearing they paraded their naive trust in the Bible as the highest possible authority proudly ignoring the fact that most people regard it as having been superseded by modern scientific evaluations of what is true.
Sola scriptura came into existence in Europe at the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century as an antidote to the monopoly of Papal influence and its claim to determine Christian teaching by its own authority, the Roman Catholic Magisterium.
So is the belief in the Bible as the sole arbiter of truth a sensible idea?
One dramatic consequence of the belief in Sola Scriptura was the proliferation of Christian sects who were freed from the stranglehold which the Papacy had wielded for twelve centuries. Where there was one all embracing church before the Reformation, afterwards at least 20,000 Christian denominations and sects have ensued.
This informs a lot about the nature of enforcing religious orthodoxy versus the freedom to interpret the scriptures according to personal taste. As all controlling religions know, especially the RC church and Jehovah’s Witnesses, that “heresy” is the greatest threat to maintaining order, and that freedom of belief leads to splintering and disintegration.
The Reformation was propelled by trying to right the abuses and corruption in the Roman Church, revealing at the same time that such practices are a corollary of unregulated religious authority. However the fracturing of Protestant belief into myriads of sects, speaks about something else namely the impossibility of finding a coherent and absolute set of doctrines “from scripture alone” which could stand as a universal “truth”. No coherent, inerrant “truth” resulted from the Reformation, nothing which would shift monolithic Catholicism from its self built pedestal of “divine appointment”.
A lesson learned from this would be that one set of divine and absolute doctrinal beliefs to which we should be drawn is an idealistic impossibility, the success of a religion is about perceived authority and power not doctrine.
Surely though the JW Bible says “All scripture is inspired of God, beneficial etc”. Doesn’t that mean the Bible is inspired? If it did mean the Bible is inspired it would logically be disqualified because it is circular reasoning; using the authority of the original statement to justify itself.
By looking at the Greek text and other translations, the writer of Second Letter to Timothy here is saying that all “inspired writings” are beneficial, a reasonable thought if you are promoting a religious approach to life. He cannot be saying the Bible is inspired because it was not compiled until the fourth century CE. Paul used an expression which referred to a category of writing; "divinely inspired writings", which at the time would mean all of the popular literature encouraging faith in God such as found in the Shepherd of Hermas, and other hand written documents of a similar vein then in circulation. Interestingly Paul could not focus on Jesus or the so called gospels of Jesus because they were yet to be written.
In other words the most important belief of JWs, that the Bible is the word of God, is itself NOT found in the Bible. It is impossible to determine this doctrine on the authority of the Bible.
Belief that the Bible is the sole and inerrant word of God was a Protestant reaction to the corrupt Papacy and is unsupported by evidence. Instead the Bible is filled with gross factual errors and failures of logic. It unreflectively describes mythical and magical events as if they are true, it borrows much core narrative from astrology and it imitates and copies pagan writings of antiquity. It suffers from later literary insertions, it has been selectively edited, and revised according to partisan dogma.
Is it from God? Does it sound like it is from God? The Bible writers and editors evince all human failings not the least being to promote religious, racial, patriarchal and homophobic bigotry. Really would God do this?
The JW leadership cling to Sola scriptura above all other things because they have nothing to else to offer mankind except their pathetic reliance on this Protestant superstition.