Feb. 2017 "Who is Leading God's People Today?"
I know that I am not by any means the first person to take note of this article, but today I finally got around to reading it. I quickly found the now infamous line "The Governing Body is neither inspired nor infallible." In the interest of fairness, however, I decided to finish the paragraph, which led me to finish the lesson. Below are my notes on the article which I will place here for anyone who wishes to reference them.
12 The Governing Body is neither inspired nor infallible. Therefore, it can err in doctrinal matters or in organizational direction. In fact, the Watch Tower Publications Index includes the heading “Beliefs Clarified,” which lists adjustments in our Scriptural understanding since 1870. Of course, Jesus did not tell us that his faithful slave would produce perfect spiritual food. So how can we answer Jesus’ question: “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave?” (Matt. 24:45) What evidence is there that the Governing Body is filling that role? Let us consider the same three factors that directed the governing body in the first century.
The first thing that jumps out at me is the use of the word "Clarified." I am no English Professor, but I know and have confirmed through research that to clarify something means to "to make (an idea, statement, etc.) clear or intelligible; to free from ambiguity." Thus, this word carries the connotation that original idea has not been changed, but rather that it has simply been presented in such a way that it makes more sense. A more appropriate title for that heading would be "Beliefs Rescinded," because to rescind something means "to invalidate (an act, measure, etc.) by a later action or a higher authority," which is a more accurate definition of what happens when a religion has a major doctrinal change.
Regardless of that troubling semantic issue, however, I decided to delve into the resource they mentioned. To start with a great number of the links don't go anywhere so there is no way to examine what they say unless you happen to have your own copy. Another thing is that many of the links that do work only link back to the "God's Kingdom Rules!" book which itself contains a doctored version of history and thus does not have any complete versions of the original articles so that the reader can determine for themselves what Russell thought was coming in 1914.
Moving into the end of the paragraph, the writers seem to indicate that some sort of evidence exists which back their claim to the title of "Faithful and Discreet Slave," so once again in the name of fairness, I decided to examine that supposed evidence.
13 Evidence of holy spirit. The holy spirit has helped the Governing Body to grasp Scriptural truths not previously understood. For example, reflect on the list of beliefs clarified that was referred to in the preceding paragraph. Surely, no human deserves credit for discovering and explaining these “deep things of God”! (Read 1 Corinthians 2:10.) The Governing Body echoes the apostle Paul, who wrote: “These things we also speak, not with words taught by human wisdom, but with those taught by the spirit.” (1 Cor. 2:13) After centuries of apostasy and spiritual darkness, can anything other than holy spirit explain the rapid increase in spiritual understanding since 1919?
If there is anything resembling evidence in this paragraph I'm afraid I couldn't locate it. The first sentence seems to indicate that either: the Holy Spirit did not convey the proper "truth" to the Governing Body when they originally published it (in which case how do we know that the Holy Spirit hasn't dropped the ball again with the new revelation), or the Governing Body didn't have the guidance of the Holy Spirit when they made their first attempt tp explain that "truth" (in which case how do we know they have it now if they also claimed to have it the first time.) Furthermore, that sentence itself seems to contradict their earlier admission that they are "neither inspired or infallible," for to be inspired by something is to be "influenced, impelled, communicated with, or suggested by." If the Governing Body is not being influenced by the Holy Spirit, then how does it help them to "grasp" anything?
In the next couple of sentences, they refer back to the list of "clarified" (rescinded) beliefs, as if that somehow proves that they have the Holy Spirit. I fail to see how doctrinal changes prove divine guidance, for there are many religions that have altered their beliefs over the years, especially within the first couple of centuries of their inception. The Catholic Church, for example, is a much different entity than it was 500 years ago, after all, they don't burn people at the stake anymore, does that also indicate that they have been guided to make those changes by Holy Spirit?
Instead of expanding on their "evidence," they decide to end the paragraph with a vague rhetorical question about something that they have yet to verify, namely how it is they know they aren't in the same "spiritual darkness" that they are convinced has plagued mankind for "centuries." So the first evidence they offer seems to be a bit of a bust, so moving on.
14 Evidence of angelic assistance. The Governing Body today has the colossal task of overseeing an international preaching work involving over eight million evangelizers. Why has that work been so successful? For one, angels are involved. (Read Revelation 14:6, 7.) In many cases, publishers have called on individuals who had just been praying for help!* The overall growth of the preaching and disciple-making work despite fierce opposition in some lands has likewise been possible only with superhuman assistance.
"It rained once after I did a rain dance that's how I know it must work." That's about the same logic being used in this paragraph. They make the classic of mistake of assuming that a correlation means causation. Firstly, since these supposed angels are invisible and unwilling to testify there is no way to verify their involvement. Secondly, the fact that "many" (a rather vague amount if I do say so myself) cases have a publisher calling upon someone who has just prayed does not prove angelic direction, especially when one takes a moment to consider numbers that are involved. With several million people spending almost two billion hours year (over 5 million man hours a day) then a number of them are bound to come across people who have been praying recently.
The last sentence of the paragraph likewise makes no sense, there have been many unpopular ideas that manage to flourish for a time despite intense opposition from superior forces. ISIS is one that comes to mind, there are many countries right now trying to destroy them, but so far their efforts have failed. Does that mean that ISIS is also receiving "superhuman assistance?"
Onward to the final piece of evidence.
15 Reliance on God’s Word. (Read John 17:17.) Consider what occurred in 1973. The June 1 issue of The Watchtower asked the question: “Do . . . persons who have not broken their addiction to tobacco qualify for baptism?” The answer was: “The Scriptural evidence points to the conclusion that they do not.” After citing several relevant scriptures, The Watchtower explained why an unrepentant smoker should be disfellowshipped. (1 Cor. 5:7; 2 Cor. 7:1) It said: “This represents no effort to act in an arbitrary, dictatorial manner. The strictness really proceeds from God, who expresses himself through his written Word.” Has any other religious organization been willing to rely fully on God’s Word, even when doing so presents a real challenge to some of its members? A recent book on religion in the United States notes: “Christian leaders have regularly revised their teachings to match the beliefs and opinions gaining support among their members and in the larger society.” If those of the Governing Body allow God’s Word rather than popular opinion to guide their decisions, who is really leading God’s people today?
I certainly don't need to tell you people that the Society is by no means the only organization who attempts to make their views fit the Bible, and in the end, this largely comes down to which sections are interpreted literally and which are interpreted figuratively, and which scriptures you tack a mountainous stack of guidelines onto (like the concept of disfellowshipping for example.)
Well, I grow tired of this exercise in critical evaluation and now leave the results to be examined by my peers. As always I welcome your comments and critiques.
P.S. Sorry that this in two posts, I got a weird refresh error in the middle of writing this.
When you teach salvation though association and works, it really doesn't matter what you say after that.
That's splitting hairs. To me it's very simple: the WT is full of --it.
To me it's very simple: the WT is full of --it.
Yes, that does seem to be the case, but I like to conclusively prove things where possible. Plus I imagine that this article may actually make some people stop and think, so it might be helpful to have some reasonable arguments laid out for them to consider. We certainly know they won't get that kind of mental stimulation at the meeting after all.
You make some very valid points. I wish the average JW could hear them, but they won't. They will just cover their ears and run.
Saethyyd, I liked your analysis and intelligent breakdown of their "evidence".... Thank you for. We all know that WE no longer believe it, but is good to break it down the way you did for the very reasons you say, and because THEY believe it. (And the WT reasonings has as many holes in it as Swiss cheese!!)
Is it evidence of a benevolent spirit when the leaders consistently make decisions that are to the detriment of the members? Yes, it is joke-hova's butt-holy spirit, but that spirit is leading the masses to their own damnation. So, I would expect the Filthful and Disgraceful Slavebugger to make rules that are harmful to the souls of those trapped within the cancer.
For instance, early fall 2013--a washtowel study rag where they wanted everyone to throw away all their "excess" funds into the Worldwide Damnation Fund, and then quit their jobs or just work barely enough to sustain their field circus. Soon after, they insisted that everyone "needed" an electronic device to store littera-trash files. Those things cost money--"Go into debt" is the usual answer. Is debt good for your soul?
More recently, at the 2016 Grand Boasting Session, they had many parts glorifying hardship. You are not doing anything right unless you are enduring extreme hardships--multiple ones, not just one. Screw health, screw financial security, screw family--if you are not living a miserable life in every way, you are not doing anything right. I wonder how many people are going to suffer because of that. Not bad enough they just about banned college in the late 1960s, and again in 2007-08. Now, you are supposed to quit your job to ensure you make every single boasting session and go in field circus any time they f***ing want you out. This is consistent with a god that wants your soul for its purposes of enslaving the whole planet, then the whole universe. To Pleiades with your own self.
And do they really know what they are asking out of people? Traveling longer distances to attend boasting sessions just so they can save a few toilet papers does not sound like a benevolent spirit directing the organization. Nor does having to quit your job so you will be at the Friday session of the Grand Boasting Session, which could be 200 or more kilometers out of your way for no good reason. And how many people do they really expect to go to Israel, as they asked in 2015 and now 2017 and they are planning on making it yearly moving forward? To me, that sounds like a spirit Pleiades-bent on enslaving the whole world and making your soul suffer, not a benevolent spirit. (And I do not accuse joke-hova's butt-holy spirit of being benevolent.)
How can their be Gods people today if God doesnt exist ? And which God are you talking about ?
Isnt it presumptuous of christians to think/believe their God is the only true God ? or even the only God?
Isnt it written in their own scriptures Gen 3:22 " and jehovah God went on to say here the man has become like one of us ...." implying Jehovah had peers, Gods like himself.
@smiddy, obviously he was talking to his sons, including his only begotten son who would later sacrifice himself for the people his father just sarcastically dissed.