FAITHFUL AND DISCREET SLAVE
know that the rulers of the world have power over them, and the leaders have
complete authority, this, however, is not the way it shall be among you." –
Jehovah's Witnesses look to the faithful and
discrete slave class as an entity that God employs to give both spiritual and
practical guidance to all true Christians. It is believed that this composite
group of individuals comprises a divinely appointed channel of communication
between God and mankind. It is also alleged that failure to recognize and submit
to the teachings of this channel leads to God's disapproval. We read the
"No question about it. We all need
help to understand the Bible, and we cannot find the Scriptural guidance we need
outside the faithful and discreet slave' organization."
"Your attitude toward the anointed
is the determining factor whether you go into everlasting cutting off or
everlasting life." WT 8/1/1981, p. 26
Recognition of that governing body
and its place in God’s theocratic arrangement of things is necessary for the
submission of headship to God’s Son" WT 12/15/1972, p. 755
"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." WT 12/1/1981, p.27
Appreciating the reverence
Jehovah's Witnesses accord this entity, it is my sincere desire to broach the
subject with respect and dignity. I ask that what I say be considered for its
truth value and not as a diatribe against Jehovah's Witnesses.
Having met and associated
with several members of the governing body, I am persuaded that the majority of
them are sincere God-fearing men. I am equally convinced, however, that their
claim to divine authority is unsubstantiated in light of scripture, Christian
history and the Watchtower's history.
examination of the Watchtower's premise-teaching of the faithful and discrete
slave is the only logical starting-point in considering Watchtower doctrines and
claims. In fact, the preponderance of the Watchtower's unique teachings (which
are allegedly necessary to believe for salvation) stems from this foundational
doctrine. Therefore, this critical analysis is not a "rehash of the past" as
much as it is an effort to examine the cornerstone of the entire Watchtower
structure. If the premise is secure, it should logically lead to the conclusions
embraced by Jehovah's Witnesses. If the Watchtower's claim of divine
authority were true and solidly founded on fact, there would be nothing to fear
from such an examination. To the contrary, such would result in a confirmation
of the truthfulness of their divine claim.
The only way one can arrive
at historical truth is to go to the origin of the particular truth claim that is
being asserted. This in fact is the entire task of the Christian - who must
prove that there was a man named Jesus who died and rose from the dead. Indeed,
Christianity stands or falls on the truthfulness of that historical claim alone.
As the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:13-14:
If there is no resurrection of the
dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised,
our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
One could not argue
backwards, as it were, and say that because there are a billion Christians today
it follows logically and of necessity that Christianity be true. The antecedent
claim of Christ' life, death and resurrection must be proven first before
such a conclusion can be considered as a viable possibility. I make this
important distinction because Jehovah's Witnesses will often point to the
"unity" or size of their organization as empirical evidence that the faithful
and discreet slave (as taught by the Watchtower) is used by God as his sole
channel of communication. In effect, they argue their case backwards. They
refer to the present to establish the past - that is, they inverse the order of
true historic inquiry.
Extraordinary claims demand
extraordinary evidence. Man can make no greater claim then to speak for God. It
behooves us, therefore, to test such an extraordinary claim with soberness of
mind and intellectual honesty .
It is alleged that Jesus
examined his earthly temple between the years 1918-1919 to ascertain who was
worthy to be given all the earthly belongings of the master. The Watchtower
establishes Jesus Criteria in making this decision as follows:
"The serving of food,
the right sort of food, at the proper time was the issue. It had to be according
to this that a decision must be rendered by the returned master...Down to 1919
C.E. they had endeavored to give food at the proper time' to the household of
faith' or the domestics' of the heavenly Master...but the quality of the food
itself was to be considered. In this respect the body of hated, persecuted
Christians, who always sought to be faithful slaves of Jesus Christ, met the
God's kingdom of a thousand years p. 350
Here we see that the first
criterion that Jesus had in regard to selecting his faithful slave was that he
find that slave serving "the right sort of food." In fact, it is asserted that
the very quality of this food was under examination. What sort of food was the
slave serving God's household at the time and what was it's quality so as to
distinguish it from all other Christian provender?
A cursory glance at the
publications of the Society during Jesus' alleged examination period gives a
good idea of the nature of the spiritual food that was being served . In 1917
the watchtower had published the book The Finished Mystery. Consider
the quality of the teaching of that book.
speaking of leviathan as:
wilt lengthen out leviathan [the locomotive] with a hook [automatic coupler] and
a snare [coupling-pin] which will cause his tongue [coupling-link] to drop down"
Speaking of Revelation 14:20:
"By the space of a
thousand and [six] TWO hundred furlongs" is defined as "Shortest distance from
place where the winepress was trodden the Feet Members of the Lord" that is the
distance from Scranton, PA to Brooklyn, NY by way of the Hoboken Ferry. pg.230
"Even the republics will
disappear in the fall of 1920...Every kingdom of the earth will pass away, be
swallowed up in anarchy...The three days in which Pharaoh's host pursued the
Israelites into the wilderness represent the three years from 1917 to 1920 at
which time all of Pharaoh's messengers will be swallowed up in the sea of
anarchy...Also, in the year 1918, when God destroys the churches wholesale and
church members by the millions...the inheritance of desolation that will be
Christendom's after 1918 so will God do the successful revolutionary movement;
it shall be utterly desolated even all of it' Not one vestige of it shall
survive the revenges of world-wide all embracing anarchy, in the fall of 1920"
1917 Some interesting
developments in connection with the setting up of the Kingdom may occur in 1920,
six years after the great Time of Trouble began. It would not be strange if this
were so, when we recall that after forty years wandering in the wilderness the
Israelites came into possession of the land of Canaan after a further six years.
As these matters are still future we can but wait to see. We anticipate that the
"earthquake" will occur early in 1918, and that the "fire" will come in the fall
of 1920. [The Finished Mystery, 1917, p. 178, Comments on Revelation 11:13. [The
1926 ed. reads: "and that the 'fire' will follow in due course."])
1917 "And the
mountains were not found. Even the republics will disappear in the fall of 1920.
And the mountains were not found. Every kingdom of earth will pass away, be
swallowed up in anarchy." (The Finished Mystery, 1917 edition, p. 258)
1917 Pastor Russell's
mission, in large part, was to advise Christendom of its impending end, in the
time of world-wide trouble. It is the Divine judgment upon the nations. … There
will be no chance of escaping from destruction, through the nations. … The
trouble is due to the dawning of the Day of Christ, the Millennium. It is the
Day of Vengeance, which began in the world war of 1914 and which will break like
a furious morning storm in 1918." (The Finished Mystery, 1917, p. 404)
The Finished Mystery
It must be said that these
quotes from the book _ The Finished Mystery_ are not the exception. They are, in
fact, representative of the general fanciful flavor of the book as a whole.
In 1918, on the heels of the
publication of the Finished Mystery, the great "millions campaign" was promoted
by the society as "the truth of the hour." What sort of food constituted that
campaign? Did it evidence exceptional discretion and outstanding faithfulness so
as to merit a Christ-appointed divine office? We read:
"Based upon the argument
heretofore set forth then, the old order of things, the old world, is ending and
is therefore passing away, and that the new order is coming in, and that 1925
shall mark the resurrection of the faithful worthies of old and the beginning of
reconstruction, it is reasonable to conclude that millions of people now on
earth will still be on earth in 1925. Then, based upon the promises set forth in
the divine Word, we must reach the positive and indisputable conclusion that
millions now living will never die." Millions now living will never die pg.
1918 "Therefore we may
confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and
the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews
11, to the condition of human perfection." (Millions Now Living Will Never Die,
Millions Now Living Will Never
It should noted that the
society at the time was teaching a completely different chronology from the one
they teach today. As the following Watchtower informs:
"'The time of the end'
embraces a period from 1799 A.D., as above indicated, to the time of the
complete overthrow of Satan's empire and the establishment of the kingdom of the
Messiah. The time of the Lord's second presence dates from 1874, as above
stated. The latter period is within the first named, of course, and in the
latter part of the period known as "the time of the end." (The Harp of God, 1921
Notice the dogmatic manner in
which this erroneous chronology was preached.
chronology is not of man, but of God. Being of divine origin and divinely
corroborated, present-truth chronology stands in a class by itself, absolutely
and unqualifiedly correct...." (Watchtower, July 15, 1922 p. 217)
Having examined the quality
of some of the spiritual provender provided by the society at the time of
Christ' alleged selection of the faithful slave and the time period just there
after, can one imagine Christ Choosing the Watchtower's leadership as his
representatives of faithfulness and discretion?
It's interesting to note that
Jehovah's Witnesses today could never study even a single chapter of their own
organization's publications from the time period in which a purported divine
appointment took place, a period in which Christ is said to have made his
appointment based on the 'quality' of the spiritual food. The fallacious
undependable nature of these works has relegated them to the mere status of
memorabilia and invariably the recollection they stir is one of embarrassment.
A superficial analysis of the content of the said publications evidences that
the spiritual food found therein has, on every count, long reached its
expiration date. Contrarily, Christians can and do utilize the timeless
spiritual writings and Bible commentaries that faithful men of Christendom
penned during the same 1914-1919 period.
is the faithful slave?
According to the Watchtower
of March 1, 1981, the Faithful and Discreet Slave had its beginning in 33 CE
with the first century congregation. We read the following:
Jehovah understand that the "slave" is comprised of all anointed Christians as a
group on earth at any given time during the 19 centuries since Pentecost."
How did this 19-centuries old slave
perpetuate its unique teachings? That is, how was the "spiritual baton" passed
from one generation of the slave to the next? The Watchtower furnishes the
following reply in the January 15, 1975 Watchtower :
Jesus Christ is
the head of the congregation, his slave, and his words show that he would
strengthen them to feed his "domestics" right down through the centuries.
Apparently one generation of the "slave" class fed the succeeding generation
thereof, as well as continuing to feed themselves.
What was the nature of the
food dispensed? The Watchtower of July 15, 1960 defines it as such:
Down through the years
the slave like congregation has been feeding its true members faithfully and
discreetly, from Pentecost, A.D. 33, up to this very present hour] this has been
lovingly and carefully performed. Yes, and these "domestics" have been fed on
progressive spiritual food that keeps them abreast of the "bright light that is
getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established."
To summarize, The Watchtower
teaches that the faithful and discreet slave has existed since Pentecost 33 CE
and that each generation of this slave class has fed the succeeding generation.
The quality of the food dispensed, according to the Watchtower Society, has
always been of a superior nature than that of the previous generation. Or has
In speaking to Jehovah's
Witnesses I have noticed a disconcerting confusion on their part as to when the
slave had its beginning. In fact, among the rank and file there seems to be no
true consensus as to the time of its origin. This is because; contrary to what
we just read, the Watchtower has also said the following:
years later found a small group of men, not associated with the Adventists or
affiliated with any of the religious sects of Christendom, studying the Holy
Scriptures at Pittsburgh (Allegheny), Pennsylvania, U.S.A. ...They studied
independently so as to avoid looking at the Bible through sectarian spectacles."
God's Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached pgs
"The true doctrines of
the Bible had been so twisted throughout the period of apostasy that no clear
vision of Christ's second presence would be possible until these doctrines
themselves had been cleared up....It was not yet God's due time to bring about
his restoration of true worship."
Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose pg. 14
Here it becomes evident that
the society has taught two contradictory teachings about "the faithful and
discrete slave." On the one hand they claim that it has always functioned from
33 CE continually dispensing progressive spiritual food down through the
centuries, and on the other hand they claim that rather than a perpetual feeding
of healthful teachings, it wasn't until 1914 that true worship was
restored. This, however, flies in the face of the above-quoted
If the "slave" has nourished
Christians on essentially healthful spiritual food, and if it has done so
continuously and uninterruptedly down through the centuries, then why would the
great teachings of Jesus and the apostles need to be restored as claimed by the
Watchtower? Wouldn't they be perfectly in tact?
Lets say for arguments sake
that there really was a faithful and discrete slave class functioning down
through the centuries. The following questions would emerge:
1. After the post- apostolic period we
find that Christians were in a very wide spread area of the earth. Who formed
this one and only "Slave Class?" Who comprised this collective group that
allegedly served as God's sole channel of communication to supply the same
spiritual food for the genuine Christians of the second, third, and fourth
2. What about historically? Since history
is by no means silent on religious development down through the centuries, why
is it nothing can be found that acceptably fits the Watchtower Society's
description of a single on-going entity functioning down through the centuries
as the one and only feeding source for all true Christians in all places?
3. Why not point to the "slave class" in
the 18th and 19th centuries when information is more abundant and where history
can be found in minutiae?
4. If the Bible cannot be understood
without the "slave class," and if just private study of the Bible is deemed
ineffectual and contrary to God's historical way of providing understanding, why
didn’t C.T. Russell contact the 1900 year old" Faithful Slave" to understand his
5. Didn’t Russell act untheocratically by
striking out on his own in 1879 "independent" of the then existing "faithful
6. If one generation's spiritual light was
followed by even greater spiritual light in the succeeding generation, then it
only stands to reason that after 1900 years of ever illuminating light, this
light would be dazzling with a blinding brilliance! Why is it then that we find
C.T.Russell in 1879 heralding a false presence of Christ, a false resurrection
date, teaching that blacks will become white in the millennium, (Watchtower
4/1/1914 Watchtower4/15/1900) looking forward to going to the star Alcyone,
believing Michael the archangel to be the pope of Rome, (The Finished Mystery)
measuring the floors of the pyramid of Gizeh and making scores of prophetic
statements that would one and all prove to be utterly false?
7. Why is it that there is archeological
evidence to support the people mentioned in the Bible (which adds to the Bible's
credibility and authenticity) and yet such evidence is missing in regard to the"
8. Furthermore, if throughout two-thousand
years one is categorically unable to identify a composite body of believers who
fits the Watchtower's description of the faithful slave, how is it possible to
claim it ever existed - let alone define its teaching content as "progressive"?
Based on what data can one make such a qualification if one is unable to
identify "the slave" in the first place?
These questions merit answers. Jehovah's
Witnesses usually respond to such queries by saying that "there have always been
faithful men," or that "Jehovah knows his people." Such vacuous replies however
do not even approximate a valid answer. Just imagine if one were to respond in
such an imprecise and evasive manner if the historicity of Christ were called
In fact, Unlike the Watchtower's "faithful
and discrete slave" teaching which cannot furnish one visible body of
individuals over the last 2000 years as a historical link to it's alleged
modern-day counterpart, the succession of witnesses to the historical
event of the resurrection can be traced generation after generation to our
The chain of invisible
Interestingly, the Watchtower asks for
historic evidence when similar claims of authority are made by other
Under the heading Apostolic Succession
in the book _ Reasoning From The Scriptures_ (pg.37) we find that in an
effort to undermine the claimed authority of the Catholic Church, Jehovah's
Witnesses are encouraged to ask the following question:
Has an unbroken line of successors been traced from
Peter to modern day popes? (pg.41)
While putting the Catholic on the defense
to provide such "an unbroken line of successors" Jehovah's Witnesses are
unwittingly asking Catholics to provide the exact same evidence they cannot
furnish concerning their historic understanding of the "faithful and discrete
Promotion or Punishment?
The situation becomes more convoluted
when one considers the fact that there is yet another contradictory teaching
regarding the appointment of the slave.
So far we have learned that Christ was
so pleased with the quality of the Watchtower's spiritual food that he rewarded
them with all his belongings. In fact, the Watchtower uses the following
scripture to describe exactly what transpired between Christ and the 'faithful
slave' at that time:
"His master replied, "Well done,
good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put
you in charge of many things."
Matt 25:21 NIV
The Watchtower of WT 12/15/77 pg. 751
says the following:
"Their faithfulness and
spiritual wisdom in the Master's service determines their worthiness to be put
in charge of all the earthly belongings of their Master."
Yet here is where the
Watchtower's web tangles even further. This same period of time is also
portrayed as a time of divine chastisement. We read the following:
"But the Scriptures
describe them as having unclean garments because of their long association with
Christian apostasy. They had many practices, characteristics and beliefs similar
to the weed-like sects of Christendom. So from 1914 to 1918 a period of fiery
testing came upon them, not unlike the ancient period of Babylonish captivity of
the Jews back in 607-537 B.C.E...All this came to pass in connection with
transgression on their part in having the fear of man, not conducting themselves
in a strictly neutral way during the war years and being tainted with many
religiously unclean practices."
WT 7/15/60 pg 435, 436
This leaves us with a logical
dilemma. Either the Watchtower in 1919 had "met the test" and were thereby
faithful in "a few things" meriting Christ' commendation and his transference of
all earthly goods to them as a unique channel of communication between God and
man, or they were guilty of egregious transgressions and led into "babylonish
captivity" as a result.
The book God's Kingdom of
a Thousand Years (pg 352, 353) says the following about the year 1919:
"Similarly, in the year
1919...the Lord Jesus did return to his house and inspect the situation within
it. He did find there a "faithful and discreet slave" class...So the Lord showed
his favor...It meant their being retained in the service of their heavenly
It is reasonable to assume that before
promoting the backsliding slave class to a office of complete authority, the
master would expect it to correct the babylonish course that caused its
captivity in the first place.
What things on the part of the
Watchtower caused Jesus to permit the slave to go into babylonish captivity? The
brochure Jehovah's Witnesses in the divine purpose on page 9 informs us
that it was a series of wrong doctrines that provoked their captive-like state.
Yet as demonstrated by the chart below, the babylonish doctrines which caused
the society's captivity were not corrected until years after Jesus had
allegedly promoted the slave for its faithful course. Hence Jesus is said to
have both punished and rewarded the slave class - The latter he did while
permitting them to continue in their defiled state.
1914 Doctrines that
allegedly lead the faithful slave into "babylonish captivity."
The year the faithful
slave officially discontinued the "babylonish doctrines."
They had accepted
the earthly political government as the "superior authorities" that God
had ordained according to Romans 13:1; and as a result the Witnesses had
been held in fear of man.
(WT June 1929 pgs 163-169)
Many were putting emphasis on
so-called "character development
In 1919 the so-called "character
development" was still taught. Sometime later all articles about such
things as kindness, love, mercy, marriage development were no longer
written because these were considered "character development"
There was considerable creature worship in the organization.
"It was the published and accepted down
till 1927 that he (Russell) was "that servant" of Matthew 24:45"
such as Christmas were being celebrated.
Christmas continued to be celebrated
for years after 1919. In fact, the "Bethel family" celebrated Christmas
Even the symbol of the cross was
used as a sign of Christian devotion.
The Cross continued to be used on the
cover of the Watchtower until Oct. 15, 1931
Although the name
Jehovah was used from time to time, it was held in the background.
Jehovah's name did not take a
"forefront" until 1931 when the name change to Jehovah's witnesses
were still practicing the democratic style of local government.
Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose pg 127
The Watchtower makes the claim that
God uses the "slave class" by giving it a "progressive understanding" of
scripture. Yet, where
does the Bible incontestably teach that God would break with his historic method
of inspiring individual men (i.e. prophets) to communicate his divine
will and instead use a channel of communication comprised of thousands
of uninspired men that would have a "progressive understanding" of
Ironically, while not claiming to be
prophets in the "biblical sense," the Watchtower has consistently aligned
themselves with biblical prophets. Watchtower
leaders have unblushingly dubbed themselves the Ezekiel, Jeremiah
and John "class" after the great inspired prophets of the Bible.
They have arrogated the authority of such prophets while
conveniently exempting themselves from the accountability and responsibility
that accompany that divine office. They accomplish this by claiming to be God's
channel of communication while making an open admission to non-inspiration.
It should be noted, however, that any attempted parallel between uninspired men
and inspired men is nothing more than a false analogy; for
the differences far outweigh the similarities.
As proof of their office and divine
authority, the appointment of such men of scripture was invariably accompanied
by signs and portents. Hence, it was objective. Its objectivity was evidenced in
that even pagan nations often recognized such individuals as bona fide
representatives of Jehovah. As God's spokesmen they stood accountable for all
that they preached and foretold. That being the case, the faithful servant
of God had to weigh each of their prophetic declarations (be them predictive or
instructive) in light of God's expressed will.
The Watchtower's divine claim, however, is
unverifiable. In fact, it's based on an alleged invisible event. Yet, anyone can
claim that Christ returned invisibly in a particular year. The Watchtower
Society has claimed this twice in its 120 year history. (1874, 1914) Contrary to
the inspired prophets of the Bible whose utterances were to be weighed by each
individual Israelite, the Watchtower asks its devotees to humbly accept the
"spiritual food" they serve without reservation. In fact, failure to do so could
have grave consequences resulting in the questioner bearing the label of
apostate. Hence, the Watchtower's writings are never to be submitted to
scrutiny or openly challenged. To do so would evidence a prideful spirit and
lack of appreciation for "God's arrangement of things."
Judicial Committee Meetings
Did early Christians believe that they
would have a progressive knowledge of God's will? This question could be
answered with an emphatic no! Much to the contrary,
second and third century Christians proved their
beliefs by pointing back to what the apostles had unambiguously handed down to
them. They believed the apostles to be in possession of "perfect knowledge" and
that such knowledge was more than adequately articulated to their successors.
In the second century Iranaeus (a
prominent presbyter of Lyons) says the following in this regard:
“It is unlawful to assert that
the apostles preached before they possessed “perfect Knowledge,”
as some do even venture to say, boasting themselves as being improvers
of the apostles. For, after our Lord rose from the dead, the apostles were
energized with power from on High when the Holy Spirit came down upon them. They
were completely filled and had perfect knowledge. They departed to the ends of
the earth, preaching the glad tidings of the good things sent to us from God.”
(s. 180 E/W), 1.414
In the third century Tertullian
(a prominent presbyter of Carthage) said the following:
The heretics usually tell us that
the apostles did not know all things…. Exposing Christ to blame for having sent
forth apostles who had either too much ignorance, or too little simplicity. What
man of sound mind can possibly suppose that they were ignorant of anything, whom
the Lord ordained to be teachers? (c. 197, W), 3.253.
“When He, the Spirit of truth,
will come, He will lead you into all truth.” He thus shows that there
was nothing of which the apostle were ignorant, to whom He had promised the
future attainment of all truth by the help of the Spirit of truth. (c. 197, W),
While these statements were
admittedly made to the Gnostics who were claiming a further revelation regarding
Christ, the principle still stands - Christians of subsequent generations
unanimously believed themselves to be in possession of apostolic doctrine which
needed no accretions or crystallization. They viewed the deposit of faith given
to the apostles as a perfect amalgamation of the Hebrew scriptures and the Greek
Christian scriptures. They never assumed, therefore, that the apostles excluded
important aspects or failed to explain salient features of the good news of
God's Kingdom that would only be understood in latter days by uninspired men. To
the contrary, they contended for the faith that was delivered once and for
all times to the holy ones.
In line with that, the apostle
Paul says the following in his epistle to the Galatians:
"However, even if we or an angel
out of heaven should declare to you as good news something beyond what we
declared to you as good news, let him be accursed. As we have said above, I also
now say again, whoever it is that is declaring to you as good news something
beyond what you accepted let him be accursed." (What
is the good news?)
Upon reflection, it
becomes clear that there is nothing similar between God's historic method of
communication as found in scripture and history and the Watchtower's faithful
and discrete slave teaching. Furthermore, the New Testament does not remotely
justify a compulsory promulgation of error or a 'follow-the-leader' doctrinal
approach regardless of one's individual Christian's conscience. To the contrary,
the book of Romans says that it is sin to do or believe something without faith.
The Truth About The Watchtower's
As we have seen, the Watchtower Society's
teaching of a 1900 year-old progressive food dispensing Faithful and Discreet
Slave class is a fictional, contrived concept that collapses under scrutiny.
There is not a shred of evidence that the apostle Paul or any of his first
century brothers ever considered themselves as a composite "slave class," the
one mentioned in Matthew chapter twenty-four. Christian history attests to no
group or individuals remotely meeting the criteria of the Watchtower Society's
"faithful slave" or of anyone believing themselves to constitute such an
entity. Furthermore, an honest consideration of the Watchtower's own history
reveals that its leadership demonstrated a lamentable indiscretion for some
thirty years prior to the alleged selection of the slave, and that such
indiscretion persisted a decade subsequent to the 1914-19 period with the herald
of the return of the princes expected in 1925.
What is the truth regarding the "faithful
slave"? Has the Watchtower's spiritual food really been furnished by a composite
group of thousands of "anointed" Christians dispersed through out the world? It
might come as a surprise to learn that the Watchtower has functioned from its
inception as a monarchical arrangement and did so until the years 1975-1976.
In his first book appropriately titled
_Crisis of Conscience_ nine year former governing body member Raymond Franz
documents that all teachings from the period of 1879-1916 were the fruit of C.
T. Russell as he was the organization's sole theologian. The teachings from the
years 1916-1941 were the theological vagaries of none other than J. F.
Rutherford. And under the presidency of Nathan Knorr (1941-1975) the doctrines
that Jehovah's Witnesses came to embrace were fundamentally the theology of F.
"The Faithful and Discreet slave
situation can be better understood if viewed historically. Following in the
foot steps of Russell, for some years Judge Rutherford signed his name on all WT
literature. He sternly warned that the repudiation of Russell's fanciful
doctrines was tantamount to repudiating the LORD.
After the schism of Russell's devotees it
became apparent that Rutherford had to re-anchor the "divine authority" of the
Watchtower in someone or something other than pastor
Russell. Hence, "The Judge," recognizing his inability to fill the shoes of his
predecessor, sagaciously transferred the willing loyalty and submission
conferred upon Pastor Russell to the magic word and concept of "organization."
In true Wizard-of-Oz fashion Rutherford
then slipped behind the Watchtower curtain and continued his monarchical rule.
He would go on to anonymously author virtually all Watchtower literature
throughout his presidency. Jehovah's Witnesses from that point on would now
credit 'Jehovah' for the content found there-in. Rutherford had effectively
effectuated the Watchtower's transition from Russell's "cult of personality" to
today's "cult of anonymity."
authored a rainbow colored array of books that were considered the "Lord's
instruments." The Watchtower today, however, would not reissue as much as one
chapter of any of his, Russell's or Frederick Franz' books - their fanciful
content has relegated them to mere memorabilia.
It was between the years 1975-1976 that
the presidency was stripped of its all-embracing power. That power was then
shared among an elite body of men (12-16 at the time). Doctrines and policies
would then be formulated by a 2/3 majority-rule. So, for example; if 6 members
out of 12 felt blood transfusions should be a "conscience matter" the policy
could not be altered unless 8 or more - that is, the "super-majority" motioned
for a change. This "new arrangement" of governance was not won without force and
considerable power tensions at Brooklyn headquarters. In fact, Frederick Franz
gave a discourse to the Bethel family arguing strongly against the concept of
body of men sharing power. (Tape available)
Raymond Franz recounts that during the
governing body's private meetings the Bible was rarely appealed to, and that the
multiplicity of members provoked disagreement, sometimes on the very
foundational teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses such as the validity of 1914.
Hence, the "unity" demanded of the rank and file was not shared by the governing
body of Jehovah's Witnesses.
Why would the leadership of the Watchtower
mask the reality of this wizard-of-oz-arrangement by which a small group
of men assumes the right to determine not only what all the "anointed" but in
fact all witnesses will read, study, believe, and practice?
This fictional concept enables the real
authority structure, (which in reality is the dozen or so members of the
Governing Body) to ask for almost total obedience to their own directives
without appearing as arrogant or self-serving. By its stress on a "class" it
hides the real authority structure with anonymity, giving the appearance of a
wide global membership, which is simply not true.
The men behind the
By asking for constant submission and
loyalty to "The Faithful and Discreet Slave" and by issuing all teachings and
policies through that seemingly larger-than-life entity, attention is diverted
from a few men and directed to a faceless, nameless, world-wide authority, (at
least in the minds of Jehovah's Witnesses) which in its vagueness is impressive,
intimidating and easier to submit to.
Yet, what have recent developments in the
organization revealed about its teaching regarding the faithful slave? In order
to be eligible for the "anointed class," one *generally* is understood to have
had a pre-1935 baptism as it is in the mid-thirties that the gathering of the
"great crowd" is said to have begun. Such a proposition would mean that today
the youngest of the "anointed" would be octogenarians. (That is if we assume a
minimum age of 15 for baptism)
The Watchtower of January 1, 2000 informs
us that the number of anointed is "dwindling." How much has the number
diminished? The 1998 figures show that there were 8,756 partaking of the
emblems, while in 1999 only 8,755 partook. Rather than "dwindling," the
1999 figure shows an increase of 21 persons over that of a decade
previous! Yet, mortality rate studies estimate that out of 8,800 seventy and
eighty year-olds, more than 50% will die in the arch of a decade. Therefore,
the 1999 figure would be in the vicinity of 4,350 if the Watchtower's "anointed
class" truly reflected a realistic mortality rate.
Many Jehovah's Witnesses with whom I've
discussed this issue explain the unnatural mortality rate of the "anointed"
by claiming that members of the "great crowd" (who are considerably younger and
have a post -1935 baptism) have replaced unfaithful "anointed."
Yet, this is not possible as I shall demonstrate.
It is asserted that the standard for the "anointed"
and that of the "great crowd" are one and the same - that is, both groups must
prove faithful as God will not act partially toward either. Therefore, if the
unrealistic mortality rate of the anointed is explained away by assuming that
the numeric difference is comprised of "replacements," (i. e. younger "great
crowd" members) then what does that say of the "anointed" as a people?
It would mean that literally half of the 8,000
anointed have been replaced due to their unfaithfulness. But since far less
than half of the "great crowd" have been disfellowshiped since 1935, this would
translate to there being a higher rate of faithfulness among the "great crowd"
than among the "anointed. Thus the exhortations to submit to the "faithful
slave" would seem odd in light of the slave's less than sterling numeric record
of faithfulness as a class of people."
If the "anointed" found within the
Watchtower organization do not collectively constitute the "faithful and
discreet slave" class, then who does? What was Jesus trying to communicate in
Matthew 24 regarding the faithful and evil slave? This will be discussed in a