I prefer the term "Spirit Bum-Steered".
Spirit Directed... what exactly does that mean?
It is curious, by the way, that the phrase "spirit-directed organization" only appears after 1984, around the time the baptismal vows were changed, though the concept of course is much earlier. I would guess that this phrase is used to basically assert the same authority as divine inspiration, but without the infallibility that is presumed to come with inspiration. The term inspiration, it seems, is basically restricted to the Bible, so that the Bible is both authoritative and infallible (as it is held to be "God's Word"), whereas men may be authorized by the Holy Spirit but are not necessarily infallible. This concept one-ups papal infallibility, since the Pope cannot be infallible and must stick to his "mistakes," whereas the Society can waver from one position to another and claim infallibility though each position may (even if erroneous) be held binding as authoritative.
There is no claim that the Watchtower writers are "filled with holy spirit," like the Bible writers, and I have not ever seen it described precisely how the Watchtower F&DS class is directed per se, other than it is an active leading rather than a passive one (that is, merely having Jehovah's blessing). They refer to the apostles as spirit-directed and the Bible writers are spirit-directed when they wrote down God's Word, and often treat "spirit-direction" as analogous to "inspiration":
*** w70 7/1 p. 393 Judges and Counselors of a New Order Society ***
In the first century C.E., during the lives of the twelve apostles, God?s law was made to stand out in its full clarity and purity. Those appointed as overseers of the Christian congregation were righteous men, directed by God?s holy spirit.
*** jv chap. 10 p. 123 Growing in Accurate Knowledge of the Truth ***
Some 40 humans over a period of 16 centuries were used to record what is in the 66 books of the Bible, God himself actively directed the writing by his spirit. The apostle Paul wrote: "All Scripture is inspired of God." (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20, 21)
*** g71 11/8 p. 27 The Role of God?s Spirit in Bible Writing ***
Being responsive to the leading of God?s spirit, the Bible writers were able to present just the right information, information that was always in harmony with God?s purpose. On at least one occasion the operation of God?s spirit resulted in the setting forth of material entirely different from that originally intended by the writer. The disciple Jude originally planned to write about the salvation that spirit-anointed Christians hold in common. However, circumstances that had developed in the Christian congregation indicated that other information was urgently needed. Immoral, animalistic men had slipped in among Christians and were ?turning the undeserved kindness of God into an excuse for loose conduct.? Hence, directed by God?s spirit, Jude provided exhortation to aid fellow believers to cope successfully with corruptive influences inside the congregation.?Jude 3, 4.
***g76 10/8 p. 7 Can We Trust God to Help? ***Yes, God?s powerful force, his holy spirit, inspired the Bible. After all, since God created the awesome universe, could he not be the author of a book? He is. By means of his active force or spirit he directed his servants to write the Bible as a guide for us. And that same spirit helps his true servants to understand it correctly.
This last quote is quite revealing because it clearly equates divine "inspiration" with divine "spirit-direction," and even extends that "spirit-direction" to Jehovah's Witnesses in the present-day in terms of understanding the Bible correctly, as through "that same spirit". This equating of spirit-direction with inspiration is done to confer authority on the Society, indeed exclusive authority in interpreting the Bible and governing the Christian congregation:
*** w73 7/1 p. 402 Praise Jehovah with His People ***
Consider, too, the fact that Jehovah?s organization alone, in all the earth, is directed by God?s holy spirit or active force. (Zech. 4:6) Only this organization functions for Jehovah?s purpose and to his praise. To it alone God?s Sacred Word, the Bible, is not a sealed book. Many persons of the world are very intelligent, capable of understanding complex matters. They can read the Holy Scriptures, but they cannot understand their deep meaning. Yet God?s people can comprehend such spiritual things. Why? Not because of special intelligence on their part, but as the apostle Paul declared: "For it is to us God has revealed them through his spirit, for the spirit searches into all things, even the deep things of God." (1 Cor. 2:10)
And because of this authority, serving Jehovah must also include submission to his organization (in practice, the Watchtower Society):
*** uw chap. 15 p. 118 How Does Jehovah Direct His Organization? ***
The organization is theocratic, or God-ruled. Jehovah provides direction for his people through the one that He appointed to be the invisible head of the congregation, the Lord Jesus Christ, and by means of His own inspired Word, the Bible....To please Jehovah, we need to accept the instruction he provides through this channel and act in full harmony with it....It is by means of his visible organization under Christ as appointed head that Jehovah is dealing with us today. So our attitude toward this organization demonstrates in a practical way the stand that we are taking on the issue of sovereignty. (Heb. 13:17) ....By cultivating wholesome respect for Jehovah?s organization and wholeheartedly doing the work that he directs, we give evidence that Jehovah truly is our God and that we are united in his worship.?1 Cor. 15:58.
*** w97 1/15 p. 22 What Does God Require of Us? ***
This brings us to the fourth requirement. We must serve Jehovah with his spirit-directed organization.
And yet, because they do not call it inspiration, and because they do not claim infallibility per se, they have flexibility in changing positions that the Pope does not have (I recall Penton made a similar point in Apocalypse Delayed).
Get outa here! Big Joe Rutherford was definetly "Spirits" directed. Bourbon I believe.
they have flexibility in changing positions that the Pope does not have
In the words of the reasoning Book: "Spirit directed organisation" - not a bible teaching.
they have flexibility in changing positions that the Pope does not have
But I thought they were against the soixante neuf?
Excellent points, Leolaia!
However, the Society's doubletalk on this subject is so subtle that it can be difficult to pick up. You quoted and commented:
: ***g76 10/8 p. 7 Can We Trust God to Help? ***
: "Yes, God?s powerful force, his holy spirit, inspired the Bible. After all, since God created the awesome universe, could he not be the author of a book? He is. By means of his active force or spirit he directed his servants to write the Bible as a guide for us. And that same spirit helps his true servants to understand it correctly."
: This last quote is quite revealing because it clearly equates divine "inspiration" with divine "spirit-direction," and even extends that "spirit-direction" to Jehovah's Witnesses in the present-day in terms of understanding the Bible correctly, as through "that same spirit".
Actually the quote doesn't explicitly equate inspiration with spirit-direction upon "his true servants" today. It certainly gives the impression that that's what's being done, though. This is a standard rhetorical trick that Watchtower writers often use. They juxtapose two ideas that are not necessarily related, and rely on the reader to make the obvious, but wrong conclusion because of the ambiguity and because they know what they're expected to believe. They do this to influence the reader to believe something that the Society wants them to believe but knows is false. By using this deceitful technique the writers can tell themselves that they didn't actually tell a lie.
This technique is especially evident when Watchtower writers discuss what Russell taught about 1914. They want to give the impression that everything Russell taught was correct, and therefore a product of spirit-direction. But they know very well that nothing he taught about 1914 came true, and so they'll juxtapose a sentence like "Jehovah's Witnesses know that Jesus began ruling in his Kingdom in 1914 when the Gentile times ended" with one like "C. T. Russell knew that the Gentile times would end in 1914 and so the Bible Students looked forward to the Kingdom." This implies to readers that Russell taught the same thing as JWs do today, but of course, that's false. And because the lying implication is not actually stated directly, the writer can excuse himself of lying.
: This equating of spirit-direction with inspiration is done to confer authority on the Society, indeed exclusive authority in interpreting the Bible and governing the Christian congregation:
: But I thought they were against the soixante neuf?
Only of the physical kind, LittleToe.
Can someone refresh my memory please? What is the scripture jws use to try to show that elders are appointed by holy spirit?
You might be thinking about Titus chap. 1 and 1 st Timothy chap. 3. The qualifications for spiritually qualified men are outlined there. To the extent that one meets these qualifications you could say that Holy Spirit directed their appointments since God inspired the scriptures used.
: But I thought they were against the soixante neuf?:
You must try the "71" some day.
It's the same as a 69, but with 2 people watching.