What is the source of
Jehovah's Witness Beliefs,
the Bible or the Watchtower?
A Jehovah's Witness wrote:
"The rest of us like to look into the Bible and see if there is grounds for jumping, and then jump if it seems a good idea."
You seem to be saying that you look at what the Society says, evaluate their arguments in light of the Bible, and then either accept or reject the idea based on your understanding of the Scriptures. You are implying here that you are able to understand the Bible. I would say that your position on this is contradictory with the Societyís stated position concerning your ability to understand the Bible. (Iím assuming that you are not of the "remnant".) They hold that you cannot understand the Bible without their literature. How then can you evaluate their literature in light of the Bible since you canít understand the Bible apart from what the Societyís literature tells you? I will now document this with the following statements taken directly from Watchtower publications. I urge you to check out the quotes for yourself to make sure I am not misquoting them.
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 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. On the other hand, if he had merely read the Scripture Studies with their references, and had not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of the two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures. (The Watchtower; 9/15/1910; pp. 298)
But if each of us were left to himself just because he has a copy of the Bible and were to direct his movements independently as he thought he understood the Word, what? It is likely, or possible, that there would be a great deal of confusion or working in competition among us. Hence, besides individually possessing Godís Word, we need a theocratic organization. Yes, besides having Godís spirit of illumination, a Christian needs Jehovahís theocratic organization in order to understand the Bible. (The Watchtower; 6/15/1951; pp. 375)
The world is full of Bibles, which Book contains the commandments of God. Why, then, do the people not know which way to go? Because they do not also have the teaching or law of the mother, which is light. Jehovah God has provided his holy written Word for all mankind and it contains all the information that is needed for men in taking a course leading to life. But God has not arranged for that Word to speak independently or to shine forth life-giving truths by itself. His Word says: "Light is sown for the righteous." (Ps. 97:11) It is through his organization that God provides this light that the proverb says is the teaching or law of the mother. If we are to walk in the light of truth we must recognize not only Jehovah God as our Father but his organization as our mother. (The Watchtower; 5/1/1957; pp. 274)
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 Jehovahís visible organization in mind. (The Watchtower; 10/1/1967; pp. 587)
Only this organization functions for Jehovahís purpose and to his praise. To it alone Godís Sacred Word, the Bible, is not a sealed book. (The Watchtower; 7/1/1973; pp. 402)
They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such ĎBible reading,í they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendomís clergy were teaching 100 years ago,... (The Watchtower; 8/15/1981; pp. 29)
No matter where we may live on earth, Godís Word continues to serve as a light to our path and a lamp to our roadway as to our conduct and beliefs. (Ps. 119:105) 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 of communication that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do. (The Watchtower; 12/1/1981; pp. 27)
We have the opportunity to show love for our brothers who take the lead in the congregation or in connection with Jehovahís visible organization worldwide. This includes being loyal to "the faithful and discreet slave." (Matthew 24:45-47) Let us face the fact that no matter how much Bible reading we have done, we would never have learned the truth on our own. (The Watchtower; 12/1/1990; pp. 19)
Channel to understanding the Bible... All who want to understand the Bible should appreciate that the "greatly diversified wisdom of God" can become known only through Jehovahís channel of communication, the faithful and discreet slave. (The Watchtower; 10/1/1994; pp. 8)
Based on these statements, I believe your claim of evaluating the Watchtowerís beliefs in light of the Scriptures is impossible within the authority structure of the Watchtower religion since the Society teaches that you cannot understand the Bible apart from their guidance.
A Probing Question for Jehovah's Witnesses:
One last question for you concerning this topic and then I will be done. Iím curious to know exactly which, if any, doctrines of the Society you have rejected based on your analysis of the Scriptures on a given point. Iím wondering if you can demonstrate that you really do disagree with the Society on something or if what you said earlier has never actually given birth to a difference. To say that you could disagree without ever actually disagreeing shows that it is somewhat of an empty theory.
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