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Is it OK to Question the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society?

Is Independent Study and Thinking Encouraged?

The topics of whether or not it is OK to question the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, and if it is OK to do independent study of the Bible are directly related.  Here are some examples, many of these quotes elevates the Watchtower publications to that of the Bible:

According to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society publication, Jehovah's Witnesses - Who Are They? What Do They Believe? ©2000, p3, 4 Jehovah's Witnesses claim that their beliefs are based on the Bible and not man:

"It is of vital importance to them that their beliefs be based on the Bible and not on mere human speculations or religious creeds."

In fact they quote Acts 17:11 (NWT):

"They received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so."

The publication continues:

"Jehovah's Witnesses believe that all religious teachings should be subjected to this test of agreement with the inspired Scriptures, whether the teachings is offered by them or by someone else."

However, some would argue that Jehovah's Witnesses do not and have not held true to this statement.  After all, their publications throughout the years have flip-flopped on this viewpoint, and frankly have left many of us confused and afraid to ask questions.

"Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the SCRIPTURE STUDIES aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years-if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness." - The Watchtower, September 15, 1910, p. 298, Watchtower Reprints, p. 4685 (from www.4jehovah.org)

The Watchtower Magazine, May 15, 1930, p154 ©1930 Watchtower Bible and Tract Society - "To one who has a proper faith in God and his Word, the Bible is sufficient . . . The Bible is sufficient and needs no outside support or signs to demonstrate its truthfulness.  Paul says, 'The holy scriptures are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Jesus Christ." See 2 Timothy 3:15.

"Thus the Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible. For this reason the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah's visible organization in mind."- The Watchtower, October 1, 1967, p. 587 (from www.4jehovah.org)

The Watchtower Magazine,April 15, 1971, p239 ©1971 Watchtower Bible and Tract Society - "The Bible should be our primary textbook for study."   Yes, they got it right here - see 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.

The Watchtower Magazine, July 15, 1974, p441 ©1974 Watchtower Bible and Tract Society: "The point is that Christians have implicit trust in their heavenly father; they do not question what he tells them through his written Word and organization."  http://www.jwfacts.com/print/jw-studies-pamphlet.pdf

The Watchtower Magazine, August 15, 1981, p28, 29 ©WT 1981 Watchtower Bible and Tract Society  - "From time to time, there have arisen among the ranks of Jehovah's people . . .haughty ones . . .say that it is sufficient to read the bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home.  But, strangely, through such bible reading they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom clergy were teaching one hundred years ago."

"We all need help to understand the Bible, and we cannot find the Scriptural guidance we need outside the 'faithful and discreet slave' organization."- The Watchtower, February 15, 1981, p. 19 (from www.4jehovah.org)

"They say that it is sufficient to read the bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such 'Bible reading,' they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom's clergy were teaching 100 years ago…"- The Watchtower, August 15, 1981, pp. 28-29 (from www.4jehovah.org)

The WatchtowerMagazine, December 1, 1981 ©1981 Watchtower Bible and Tract Society - "But Jehovah God has also provided his visible organization, his 'faithful and discreet slave', made up of spirit-anointed ones, to help Christians in all nations to understand and apply properly the Bible in their lives. Unless we are in touch with this channel . . .we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much bible reading we do."

"On occasion opposers will question the various teachings that Jehovah's people hold in common… They will declare that all one needs to do is to read the Bible. But Christendom has been reading the Bible for centuries." - The Watchtower, March 1, 1983, p. 25 (from www.4jehovah.org)

"We must not lose sight of the fact that God is directing his organization… To turn away from Jehovah and his organization, to spurn the direction of 'the faithful and discreet slave,' and to rely simply on personal Bible reading and interpretation is to become like a solitary tree in a parched land."- The Watchtower, June 1, 1985, pp. 19-20 (from www.4jehovah.org)

The Watchtower Magazine, Oct. 1, 1989, p18 © 1989 Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, "So, if doubts, complaints, or apostasy threaten to contaminate you spiritually, cut them away quickly! (Compare Matthew 5:29, 30.) Get help from the congregation elders." http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/fear-cult-mind-control.php

The Watchtower, Feb. 15, 2009, p27 ©2009 Watchtower Bible and Tract Society implies that we should completely trust the Faithful and Discreet Slave, since Jehovah and Jesus trust them. http://www.jwfacts.com/print/jw-studies-pamphlet.pdf

 

The Opposite of Love is Fear

Having been raised in a fear-based culture, I now know that being coerced to practice a religion out of fear, is not loving.  1 John 4:18 (NWT), "There is no fear in love, but perfect love throws fear outside, because fear exercises a restraint.  Indeed, he that is under fear has not been made perfect in love."