Comments You Will Not Hear at the 2-8-04 WT StudyReview comments will be in black and parentheses () WT quotes will be in red and quotes "" Quotes from other sources will be in blue LET ALL DECLARE THE GLORY OF JEHOVAH "Ascribe to Jehovah glory and strength. Ascribe to Jehovah the glory belonging to his name.".?PSALM 96:7,8.
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.?Psalm 96:7,8 (NIV)
Increase = God?s blessing.
No increase/decrease = Lack of God?s favor
So how is our congregation doing as a whole? Is the meeting attendance up? Are you seeing new faces or are they "new faces" from other congregations?
How about you personally? When was the last time you started a Bible study with someone? Did they get baptized? Who is getting baptized in your congregation? Children of JWs or people without a JW background that were contacted in the ministry?
Is there talk about combining congregations or circuits under the guise of simplification?
What about other religions?
Within Christianity, not all denominations have the same growth rate. Some annual growth rates are:
All Protestants: 3.3%
Roman Catholics and Others: 1.3%
Since the growth rate of humanity is above 1.4%, the "market share" of Roman Catholicism appears to be dropping.
Missiologist Ralph Winter estimated in early 2001 that there are 680 million "born again" Christians in the world, and that they are growing at about 7% a year. This represents about 11% of the world's population and 33% of the total number of Christians.
Sounds like the "born again" Christians have God?s blessing based on these statistics. Some of you may have other statistics, perhaps about the Mormons (LDS).
START OF ARTICLE
DAVID, the son of Jesse, grew up as a shepherd lad in the vicinity of Bethlehem. How often he must have gazed up into the vastness of the starry heavens in the stillness of the night while watching over his father?s flocks in those lonely sheep pastures! No doubt (not in the Bible, the writer?s imagination), such vivid impressions sprang to his mind when, inspired by God?s holy spirit, he composed and sang the beautiful words of the 19 th Psalm: "The heavens are declaring the glory of God; and of the work of his hands the expanse is telling. Into all the earth their measuring line has gone out, and to the extremity of the productive land their utterances.?Psalm 19:1,4.
2 Without speech, without voice, Jehovah?s awesome created heavens declare his glory, day after day, night after night. Creation never ceases to declare God?s glory, and it is humbling to contemplate this silent testimony going into "all the earth" for all its inhabitants to see. However, the silent witness of creation is not enough. Faithful humans are urged to join in with audible voice. An unnamed psalmist addressed faithful worshipers with these inspired words: "Ascribe to Jehovah glory and strength. Ascribe to Jehovah the glory belonging to his name." (Psalm 96:7,8) Those who have a close relationship with Jehovah are thrilled to respond to that exhortation. What, though, is involved in ascribing glory to God?
Once again, the WTS chooses not to quote the whole scripture at Psalm 96:7,8. Also note that already Jesus is out of the equation. Are they suggesting that the Jews "declared God?s name" by going door to door?
3 More is required than mere words. The Israelites of Isaiah?s day glorified God with their lips, but most lacked sincerity.
Have you seen the love Christ said would identify his followers in the KHs of the WTS? Or would they only "give you a cup of water" if you were attending meetings at the KH?
Through Isaiah, Jehovah said: "This people have come near with their mouth, and they have glorified me merely with their lips, and they have removed their heart itself far away from me." (Isaiah 29:13) Any praise uttered by such individuals was meaningless. To be meaningful, praise must spring from a heart filled with love for Jehovah and a sincere recognition of his unique glory.
And a "sincere" recognition of the WTS as God?s only channel to him on earth.
w9410/1 The Bible?A Book Meant to Be Understood
[Boxon page 8]
CHANNELTO UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE
Even as Bible prophecy pointed forward to the Messiah, it also directs us to the close-knit body of anointed Christian Witnesses that now serve as the faithful and discreet slave. It helps us to understand the Word of God. All who want to understand the Bible should appreciate that the "greatly diversified wisdom of God" can become known only through Jehovah?s channel of communication, the faithful and discreet slave.?John 6:68.
Jehovah alone is the Creator. He is the Almighty, the Just One, the epitome of love. He is the author of our salvation and the rightful Sovereign to whom everyone living in heaven and on earth owes subjection. (Revelation 4:11; 19:1) If we truly believe these things, let us glorify him with all our heart.
Who is the "author of our salvation" according to C. T. Russell?
Mankind?s Search For God book chap.15 p. 352 A Return to the True God
In 1878Russell had a major disagreement with one of his collaborators, who had rejected the teaching that Christ?s death could be an atonement for sinners. In his rebuttal Russell wrote: "Christ accomplished various good things for us in his death and resurrection. He was our substitute in death; he died the just for the unjust?all were unjust. Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man. . . . He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." He continued: "To redeem is to buy back. What did Christ buy back for all men? Life. We lost it by the disobedience of the first Adam. The second Adam [Christ] bought it back with his own life."
4 Jesus Christ told us how to glorify God. He said: "My Father is glorified in this, that you keep bearing much fruit and prove yourselves my disciples." (John 15:8) How do we bear much fruit?
First, by sharing whole-souled (buzzword) in preaching the "good news of the kingdom" and thus joining with all created things in "telling" about God?s "invisible qualities." (Matthew 24:14; Romans 1:20)
By linking 2 snippets from 2 totally different scriptures, the WTS has managed to write a new "scripture."
Also, be aware that buzzwords like "whole-souled" are not arbitrarily dropped into the article. They are meant to create guilt in the reader, that what they are currently doing is not enough to satisfy God; not enough to satisfy the WTS which can never be satisfied.
Moreover, in this way we all have a share?directly or indirectly?in the making of new disciples who swell the chorus of praise to Jehovah God. Second, we cultivate the fruitage produced in us by holy spirit and strive to imitate Jehovah God?s superlative qualities. (Galatians 5:22,23; Ephesians 5:1; Colossians 3:10) As a result, our daily conduct glorifies God.
Have you heard JWs beg off making RVs or conducting Bible studies because it was too confining, time-consuming? Were they content just to "indirectly" praise God? Too bad they can?t count the time they spend glorifying God with their "daily conduct.
"Into All the Earth"
5 Paul in his letter to the Romans stressed the responsibility of Christians to glorify God by sharing their faith with others.
Did they use magazines, brochures, books, tracts? Or did they use the Bible? Did they trot out hand-written copies of letters from Paul or the Gospels or did they use the Hebrew scriptures?
A major theme of Romans is that only those who exercise faith in Jesus Christ can be saved. In chapter 10 of his letter, Paul showed that natural Israel of his day was still trying to achieve a righteous standing by following the Mosaic Law, whereas, "Christ [was] the end of the Law." Hence, Paul says: "If you publicly declare that ?word in your mouth,? that Jesus is Lord, and exercise faith in your heart that God raised him up from the dead, you will be saved."
Then where is the "declaration" in the name "Jehovah?s" Witnesses, a name taken from Isaiah 43:10 which only applied to the Jews. Even in the WTS explanation of the 144,000 being "spiritual" Jews, it would only apply to those who identify themselves as "anointed" in the organization. For several years, the WTS did not identify those of the other sheep/great crowd/non-anointed as JWs!
6 Then Paul logically asks: "How will they call on him in whom they have not put faith? How, in turn, will they put faith in him of whom they have not heard? How, in turn, will they hear without someone to preach?" (Romans 10:14) Of Israel, Paul says: "They did not obey the good news." Why did Israel not obey? Their lack of response was due to lack of faith, not lack of opportunity. Paul shows this by quoting Psalm 19:4 and applying it to the Christian preaching work rather than to the silent witness of creation. He says: "Why, in fact, ?into all the earth their sound went out, and to the extremities of the inhabited earth their utterances.?" (Romans 10:16,18) Yes, even as the inanimate creation glorifies Jehovah, first-century Christians preached the good news of salvation everywhere and thus praised God in "all the earth." In his letter to the Colossians, Paul also described how widely the good news had spread. He said that the good news had been preached "in all creation that is under heaven."?Colossians 1:23.
Is the preaching working even keeping up with the increase in the population? What about China and the Muslim countries? Will they have an "opportunity" to hear the good news?
w659/15 pp. 575-576 Questions from Readers
Sincemillions of persons in China and other places have never heard the Kingdom message, will these people be preserved through the destruction of Babylon the Great and the war of Armageddon, or perhaps be resurrected later??H.S., U.S.A.
But some persons, appreciating that millions of people are to be resurrected and given an opportunity to serve God, wonder if the millions of individuals living today who apparently have never heard the Kingdom message preached will be everlastingly destroyed without ever having had a witness about God?s purposes?. So, if it is Jehovah?s will to have this message personally carried to the millions on earth who seemingly have not yet heard it, that will be accomplished. If he chooses, he could see to it that this message is spread in ways that we cannot yet imagine. Jesus did foretell that "this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come." (Matt. 24:14) We can rest assured that God will see that the preaching work is done to his satisfaction. After that "the end" comes.
7 Likely (buzzword), Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians about 27 years after the death of Jesus Christ. How could the preaching work have spread as far as Colossae in such a relatively short time?
(Guilt section)It happened because first-century Christians were zealous (and turned in their time), and Jehovah blessed their zeal. (If you aren?t having success, it is because you aren?t zealous and God isn?t blessing you.) Jesus had foretold that his followers would be active preachers when he said" "In all the nations the good news has to be preached first." (Mark 13:10) To that prophecy, Jesus added the command recorded in the final verses of Matthew?s Gospel: "Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19,20) Shortly after Jesus? ascension to heaven, his followers began to fulfill those words.
Have you ever wondered why the WTS avoids Matthew 28:18? Didn?t Jesus also foretell that his followers would be know for their outstanding love, not their "outstanding" preaching?
8 After the outpouring of holy spirit at Pentecost 33 C.E., the first thing the loyal followers of Jesus did was to go out and preach, telling the crowds in Jerusalem "about the magnificent things of God." Their preaching was most effective, and "about three thousand souls" were baptized. (A scripture the WTS uses to justify the use of time slips.) The disciples continued to praise God publicly and zealously (buzzword), with good results.?Acts 2:4,11,41,46,47. (Implied: Are you having good results, brothers and sisters?)
9 The activities of those Christians soon came to the attention of the religious leaders. Disturbed by the outspokenness of Peter and John, they commanded the two apostles to stop preaching.
Are they suggesting that we do the preaching in such a way that it "disturbs" the religious leaders? Why not do it the way the WTS did in the past, hand out tracts in front of the churches.
The apostles responded: "We cannot stop speaking about the things we have seen and heard." After being threatened and released, Peter and John returned to their brothers, and all joined in prayer to Jehovah. They courageously asked Jehovah: "Grant your slaves to keep speaking your word with all boldness."?Acts 4:13, 20, 29.
Note that the WTS makes no mention of their looking to Jesus for help or guidance. Hmmm? Were they followers of Christ? Did they come to be known as Jehovah?s Witnesses or Christians?
and, after he found him, he brought him to Antioch. It thus came about that for a whole year they gathered together with them in the congregation and taught quite a crowd, and it was first in Antioch that the disciples were by divine providence called Christians.
That prayer was in harmony with Jehovah?s will, as became evident a little later. The apostles were arrested and then miraculously released by an angel. The angel told them: "Be on your way, and, having taken a stand in the temple, keep on speaking to the people all the sayings about this life." (Acts 5:18-20) Because the apostles obeyed, Jehovah continued to bless them.
Translation: Disobeying the WTS, means God will not bless you.
Hence, "every day in the temple and from house to house they continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news about the Christ, Jesus." (Acts 5:42)
Wait, wait, aren?t they supposed to be "declaring the glory of Jehovah" per the theme scripture?
The same Greek phrase is used at Acts 2:46 as at Acts 5:42 yet it is translated:
And day after day they were in constant attendance at the temple with one accord, and they took their meals in private homes and partook of food with great rejoicing and sincerity of heart
Clearly(buzzword), determined opposition was completely unable to stop Jesus? followers (yet called Jehovah?s Witnesses not Christians) from publicly ascribing glory to God (or "declaring the good news about the Christ"?).
PICTURE PAGE 10Young Asian couple hold hands and praying. He is in a casual sweater with his wedding ring visible.
Seen later in the park talking to a young woman sitting on a bench. The sister has a long skirt on to the ankles (but open toed sandals!!!!).Caption: The preaching work and prayer are closely linked.
Translation: Not having success WTS style, you aren?t praying enough.11 Soon Stephen was arrested and stoned to death. His murder sparked bitter persecution in Jerusalem, and all the disciples except the apostles were forced to scatter abroad. Were they discouraged by the persecution? By no means. We read: "Those who had been scattered went through the land declaring the good news of the world." (Acts 8:1, 4) That zeal for declaring God's glory (not the good news about the Christ?) was seen again and again. In Acts chapter 9, we read that the Pharisee Saul of Tarsus, while traveling to Damascus to initiate persecution of Jesus' disciples there, saw a vision of Jesus and was struck blind. In Damascus, Ananias miraculously healed Saul's blindness. What was the first thing that Saul--later known as the apostle Paul--did? The record says: "Immediately in the synagogues he began to preach Jesus, that this One is the Son of God."--Acts 9:20.
Note that there is an underlying guilt-making comparison being made with JWs today and the Christians of that time. They weren't "discouraged" by persecution; they showed their "zeal" "again and again." Although struck with a disability and partially healed, JWs should "immediately" be preaching just like Paul, a man who had seen the resurrected Christ. He should be been out preaching "immediately" after that and being forgiven for approving of and instigating the killing of Christians.Everyone Share in Preaching 12 It is widely acknowledged that everyone in the early Christian congregation shared in the preaching work.
But is it "widely acknowledged" that it was door to door?Of Christians in those days, Philip Schaff writes: "Every congregation was a missionary society, and every Christian believer a missionary." (History of the Christian Church)
The sentence just before was:Christianity once established was its own best missionary. It grew naturally from within. It attracted people by its very presence. It was a light shining in darkness and illuminating the darkness.
Does that sound like the JW congregations?
What they leave out was this was written back in 1910. "Widely acknowledged" back them or now. What does "widely" mean? 50 percent, 70 percent, 30 percent?W. S. Williams state: "The general testimony is that all Christians in the primitive Church, especially those who had the charismatic gift [gifts of the spirit], preached the gospel." (The Glorious Ministry of the Laity)
This was written in 1936. Is this a case of 2 or 3 witnesses establishing a fact? Does this make it "widely acknowledged"?He also maintains: "Preaching was never meant by Jesus to be the exclusive privilege of certain ranks of the ministry."
Even Celsus, an ancient enemy of Christianity, wrote: "Wool-workers, cobblers, leather-dressers, the most illiterate and vulgar of mankind, were zealous preachers of the gospel."
So the WTS is trying to establish in whatever way their limitations allowed, everyone in the congregation talked about their faith with people outside the congregation. But is that defined by trudging from door to door trying to convince people to read WTS literature, not mentioning the kingdom or "Jehovah" while doing so?
What are the sample presentations like? Where is the Kingdom and Jehovah's name?Kingdom Ministry 10/01 p. 8 What to Say About the MagazinesThe Watchtower Oct. 15
"What would it take to create a better, happier world? [Allow for response.] Man has tried one type of government after another to improve things. But notice God?s view of this. [Read Jeremiah 10:23.] This article reveals ?The Key to a Happy World,? showing how this will soon come about."Awake! Oct. 22
"Would you agree that people today seem to live under more pressure than ever before? [Allow for response.] The Bible foretold this. [Read 2 Timothy 3:1.] Many people find life so hard that they give up. This magazine gives real encouragement. It shows how to fight despair and make life worth living."The Watchtower Nov. 1
After mentioning a disturbing news item, ask: "Why do people do such wicked things? We all should know right from wrong, but people still do bad things. Why? [After a response, read Revelation 12:9.] This magazine explains how to protect ourselves by safeguarding our conscience."Awake! Nov. 8
"Likely you agree that we live in violent times. [After a response, read 2 Timothy 3:3.] Often ?fierce? acts occur even in the family circle. This article, ?Help for Battered Women,? presents a message of hope. You may know someone with whom you can share it."13 The accuracy of those statements is seen in the historical record of Acts. At Pentecost 33 C.E., after the outpouring of the holy spirit, all the disciples, men and women, publicly declared the magnificent things of God. After the persecution following the murder of Stephen, all Christians who were scattered abroad spread the good news far and wide. Some 28 years later, Paul was writing to all Hebrew Christians, not merely to a small clergy class, when he said: "Through him let us always offer to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which make public declaration to his name." (Hebrews 13:15) Describing his own view of the preaching work, Paul said: "If, now, I am declaring the good news, it is no reason for me to boast, for necessity is laid upon me. Really, woe is me if I did not declare the good news!" (1 Corinthians 9:16) Clearly, all faithful Christians in the first century felt the same way.
Ironically, in today's JW congregation, the bulk of the preaching is done by all but the elders who are only likely to be reporting time spent giving public talks and studying with their minor children, at least reporting the time as if they did. They meet with the publishers and send them off to knock on doors as they leave in the cars to make RVs, shepherding calls, etc., mostly phantom. In one book study group, the conductor did not once work with the group in a 3-year period.14 Indeed, a genuine Christian has to share in the preaching work because it is inseparably linked to faith.
Genuine Christian?.has to?that makes me want to go right now. I can feel the love motivating me. Right!Paul said: "With the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation." (Romans 10:10) (or makes publications for salvation?whoops) Is it only a small group within the congregation--like a clergy class--that exercises faith and thus has the responsibility to preach?* Of course not!
*The English worlds "clergy" and "cleric" are ultimately derived from the Greek word kle'ros, which basically means "lot" or "inheritance." At 1 Peter 5:2,3, kle'ros is applied to all "the flock of God" as being God's inheritance.
(then does it apply to the great crowd who are not part of the spiritual Israel according to the WTS? Did you know that when the WTS identified the great crowd/multitude, it was not felt they had to get baptized or preach?)All true Christians (buzzword) cultivate a living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and are moved to make a public declaration (make publications) of that faith to others. Otherwise, faith is dead. (James 2:26) BecauseAll loyal Christians in the first century of our Common Era demonstrated their faith in this way,
a great shout of praise to Jehovah's name was heard.Whose name?Acts 2:38
Peter [said] to them: "Repent, and let each one of YOU be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of YOUR sins, and YOU will receive the free gift of the holy spirit.Acts 3:6
However, Peter said: "Silver and gold I do not possess, but what I do have is what I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Naz·a·rene', walk!"Acts 4:10
let it be known to all of YOU and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ the Naz·a·rene', whom YOU impaled but whom God raised up from the dead, by this one does this man stand here sound in front of YOU. Acts 8:12
But when they believed Philip, who was declaring the good news of the kingdom of God and of the name of Jesus Christ, they proceeded to be baptized, both men and women. Acts 10:48
With that he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they requested him to remain for some days.Acts 15:25-26
we have come to a unanimous accord and have favored choosing men to send to YOU together with our loved ones, Bar'na·bas and Paul, 26 men that have delivered up their souls for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This she kept doing for many days. Finally Paul got tired of it and turned and said to the spirit: "I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And it came out that very hour.
Do you see where the WTS is taking this? Yes, increase means God's favor. Then what about the increase in the Mormons and other religions that may not be perceived as mainstream? Their increase is greater, do they have God's favor according to the WTS?For example, Acts chapter 6 records a disagreement between Hebrew-speaking and Greek-speaking converts. The problem was handled by the apostles (was James an apostle?) . As a result, we read: "The word of God went on growing, and the number of the disciples kept multiplying in Jerusalem very much; and a great crowd of priests began to be obedient to the faith."--Acts 6:7
16 Later, political tensions developed between King Herod Agrippa of Judea and the people of Tyre and Sidon. The inhabitants of those cities made flattering peace overtures and in response Herod gave a public address. The assembled crowd began to cry: "A god's voice, and not a man's!" Instantly, Jehovah's angel struck Herod Agrippa, and he died "because he did not give the glory to God." (Acts 12:20-23)
Did you wonder why this is in here? Remember the title of the article?What a shock to those whose hopes was in human rulers! (Psalm 146:3,4) The Christians, however, went on glorifying Jehovah (Jesus?). Consequently, "the word of Jehovah went on growing and spreading" despite such political instability.--Acts 12:24.
See where this is going? Yes, the war in Iraq, etc.Then and Now 17 Yes, the worldwide Christian congregation in the first century was made up of zealous, active praisers of Jehovah God.(not Jesus?)
Worldwide Christian congregation translates to "organization." Zealous, active is to guilt the average JW into DOING MORE.All loyal Christians shared in spreading the good news.
JWs not turning in time are disloyal.Some met responsive ones and, as Jesus said, taught them to obey all the things he commanded (as interpreted by the one and only channel, the WTS). (Matthew 28:19,20) The result was that the congregation grew, and more and more individuals joined King David of old in ascribing praise to Jehovah (Jesus?). All echoed the inspired words: "I laud you, O Jehovah my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify your name to time indefinite, for your loving-kindness is great toward me."--Psalm 86:12,13.
18 In view of this, the words of theology professor Allison A. Trites are thought-provoking. Comparing modern-day Christendom with first-century Christianity, he said: "Churches today grow usually by biological growth (when the children within a local church family make a personal profession of faith) or by transfer growth (when a newcomer transfers his or her membership from another local church.) In Acts, however, the growth was conversion growth, for the church was just beginning its work." Does that mean that true Christianity is no longer growing in the way that Jesus said it should? Of course not. True Christians today are every bit as zealous in publicly ascribing praise to God as were Christians in the first century. We will see this in the following article. Concluding Comments
To conclude, let?s look at that quote in the last paragraph."Churches today grow usually by biological growth (when the children within a local church family make a personal profession of faith)"
Have you looked at the baptism candidates lately? Aren?t the vast majority children of current JWs? Out of ten, one maybe is someone contacted in the field ministry. At a service meeting last year, the PO said that in the last 10 years only one person had been baptized that was not a family member of a current JW. He was trying to shame the audience into starting Bible studies but his statistics were honestly accurate."by transfer growth (when a newcomer transfers his or her membership from another local church"
Have you looked around at the "new" people in your congregation? Aren?t most of them move-ins from nearby congregations? They either moved into the territory or found that their "spiritual" needs were better met there (translation: they didn?t along with the elders in their old congregation).
Recently, a brother from the congregation we last attended told us about all the "new" ones in the congregation. We asked, are they newly baptized or are they from another congregation? He admitted they were all move-ins. So much for being "new."
What about your area?
The next article is the statistics article. I will be on vacation and will post just a "Highlights from the WT Study" for 2-15-04.Blondie