Monday, November 17, 2008

Roller Coaster Ride of Blood Fractions

"Certain blood fractions, particularly albumin, also come under the Scriptural ban." {AWAKE Sep 8 1956 20} [The ban dating from 1945, though albumin has many other sources.]
The prohibition against blood fractions was then reversed, allowing it in Watchtower Sep 15 1958, 575. Then banned again in Watchtower Sep 15 1961, 557. Then allowed again in Watchtower Nov 1 1961, 669-70. Then banned yet again with "Any fraction of blood considered as a nutrient not to be used in medical treatment" in Watchtower Feb 15 1963 123-4.
Then partially reversed in AWAKE Aug 22 1965 18. But AWAKE Feb 22 1975, 30 may have reimposed it. Then grudgingly allowed for haemophiliacs in Watchtower Jun 15 1978, 20 and expanded on in BSYL 27.
Finally, and many deaths later, came in 1982 "Witness religious understanding does not absolutely prohibit the use of components such as albumin, immune globulins, and hemophiliac preparations; each Witness must decide individually if he can accept these." {AWAKE Jun 22 1982, 25}? Also read Watchtower Jun 1 1990, 30, Watchtower Aug 15 1990, 29, WT Oct 1 1994 31, AWAKE Nov 8 1996, 30 for concessions and further rules]

37 comments:

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shawn said...

It makes you wonder why the God of the Watchtower Society hates hemophiliacs and leukemia victims so much. I'm really glad 'God' changed his mind for hemophiliacs, but I guess he still hates leukemia victims because they still have to 'choose' death over a life-saving medical condition.

*** g94 5/22 pp. 9-10 Youths Who Have “Power Beyond What Is Normal” ***

So it seemed for 12-year-old Lenae Martinez. ... She had been admitted there for what appeared to be a kidney infection. Tests revealed, however, that she had leukemia. The doctors treating Lenae determined that packed red blood cells and platelets should be transfused and chemotherapy started immediately.

Lenae said that she wanted no blood or blood products, that she had been taught that God forbids that...
After a long, difficult night, at 6:30 a.m., September 22, 1993, Lenae fell asleep in death in the arms of her mother.
***

*** g94 5/22 pp. 12-14 Youths Who Have “Power Beyond What Is Normal” ***

Lisa’s first night in Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children was worse than a nightmare. She checked in at four in the afternoon and was immediately given a series of tests. She didn’t get to her room until a quarter past eleven that evening. At midnight—well, let Lisa tell what happened. “At midnight a nurse came in and said: ‘I have to give you some blood.’ I cried out: ‘I can’t take blood because I’m one of Jehovah’s Witnesses! I hope you know that! I hope you know that!’ ‘Well, yes, I do,’ she said, and immediately pulled out my IV and shoved in the blood. I was crying and becoming hysterical.”

What callous and cruel treatment to inflict on a sick and frightened 12-year-old girl in the middle of the night in strange surroundings! ... She died peacefully at home, in the loving arms of her mother and father.
***

What 'heart-warming' stories about child abuse. These two twelve year old girls were denied the right to make their own decisions about their faith as an adult because their parents and the Watchtower Society convinced them to prefer death over a life-saving medical treatment.

Shame on the Watchtower Society - the blood blood of these innocent children is on your heads.

J said...

For the most part it would seem that sharing facts like these is pretty much the same as pissing in the wind.

Does anyone on this board know someone who just left as a result of using their brain?

It seems like it always takes an event to trigger the thinking process.

Granted once one is leaving this stuff is very helpful. But trying to reach those that are in is so stinking hard to do.

I only know one person that it just clicked for and they realized it didn't make sense.

Shawn said...

J said...

Does anyone on this board know someone who just left as a result of using their brain?
====================================

I left after discovering the discrepancies in the doctrine of the Watchtower Society. There was no 'event' that kicked it off.

It started with the fact that the starting date for the 'gentile times' prophesy, 607 BCE, was dead wrong. the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 587 BCE.

Next there was the use of the Great Pyramid to back up the claim that 1914 was the year when all human governments would be eliminated.

Then there was the revisionist history that the Watchtower Society printed in the 'Proclaimers' book which directly contradicts what they actually printed in their early days.

Then I realized the cult control techniques that the Watchtower Society used along with the fact that they didn't even have one qualified translator working on the New World 'Translation'

The list goes on. I could not in good conscience go on supporting such a disingenuous organization.

Bud said...

I have a friend who did not leave as a result of being treated unjustly. She decided to 'take a step back' and look at the WT Society. She is quite a deep thinker. I am too but had to be practically kicked out before I could think clearly enough to examine the teachings and recognized how I had been to conditioned to do things that are completely out of harmony with my belief system. I would like to hear of any success stories of helping family and friends to see the light. What works?

Shawn said...

Bud said...
I would like to hear of any success stories of helping family and friends to see the light. What works?
=====================================

Different things work for different people. The most effective angle I've seen is pointing out that the Watchtower Society has predicted the end over and over. Many JWs have no idea that Rutherford wrote that Abraham, Isaac and other faithful men of old would be resurrected in 1925 or that they can look up the article "Why are you looking forward to 1975" on their WTCD.
Contrast this with the failed prediction in most recent memory, the belief that the generation that saw 1914 would not all pass away without the arrival of Armageddon.

Keep in mind that JWs are trained by the Watchtower Society to believe that correlation implies causality meaning that if two things are related that one somehow causes the other.

For instance: When ice cream sales rise, so do shark attacks. Naturally, higher ice cream sales do not make sharks attack people. The real cause is probably that it's summer time and people are both buying ice cream and swimming in the ocean to keep cool.

The Watchtower Society likes to use correlation and causality to prove their doctrine, but you can also take advantage of this. Sometimes correlated events highlight the cause. If you were to point out the correlation between the 'new light' that is published and the failure of prophesy in a neutral way, a JW will automatically imply causality. You don't have to say that the Watchtower Society makes up new light every time one of their predictions is about to fail because they are conditioned to do automatically connect the dots... and if you aren't the one saying things against the Watchtower Society then, in their minds, they are the ones who came up with the idea that the Watchtower Society makes 'new light' up in order to cover over their failed prophesy.

Another thing that is common among cults and terrorist groups is the final chapter of their story. Both cults and terrorist groups exist to keep themselves in existence. More often than not, members of cults and terrorist groups don't have a clear understanding of what the outcome will be like when they accomplish what they've set out to do. Talk about how the Watchtower Society is God's visible organization. How the Watchtower Society will be responsible for organizing the clean-up effort after Armageddon. Then try talking about what's going to happen to all of those friendly lions in the New Order. Will they get new teeth and new stomachs? What happens to all of those gazelles that lions eat? Will we have a gazelle population explosion because they aren't being held in check by lions? How about rabbits? With no predators they will be everywhere! Engage JWs in a conversation about the New Order. Draw out what kind of a picture they really have about it... not just "Oh I'm going to learn to play the violin in the New Order", but really what will it be like to be in the New Order. Will people have jobs? Will there be waste water treatment plants? What plans are the Governing Body making to organize the clean-up of this catastrophe? I mean, if the end is really, really soon, then surely they have a plan for what to do with the billions of dead bodies that will be strewn over the surface of the earth.

If the Watchtower Society will be responsible for organizing the clean-up... and they've been preaching about how the end of this system is 'right around the corner' for over a century... wouldn't it make sense that they would have a plan for turning the earth into a global park? Surely, it would be prudent to have a plan in place for dealing with the 9/11 style rubble that will be left behind.

You see, the Watchtower Society doesn't have a plan for what happens after Armageddon because that isn't the real point. The point is to keep the organization alive, not to make it through Armageddon. With every failed prediction there's another yet-to-fail prediction that is just around the corner... repeat until the movement chokes, which is starting to happen.

Also keep in mind that JWs are trained to ignore Watchtower Society history past, so approach it from a nostalgic angle. Get scans of old Watchtower publications. Print out some amusing pages and some of the damning ones so you can chuckle about Rutherford saying that he confidently expects the faithful men of old to be resurrected in 1925 in the book Millions Now Living Will Never Die. As a side note ponder out loud how many people alive in the early '20s are still alive now - how many JWs alive then are alive now? Millions? even one million? Hmm...

C.T.Russel's Studies in the Scriptures also have one spiritual gem after another like measurements of the Great Pyramid of Giza standing as "God's stone witness" and the rants of some guy who had a nightmare about treasure and coffins supporting Russel's prediction for 1914. Don't attack the Society, just chuckle at how 'off' they were... and then continue right up through 1975. Then wonder out loud what future JWs will chuckle about when they read what JWs today believe.

The bottom line is you need to get the Watchtower Society's own words in front of your friends and family. The confidence with which they have predicted dates is stunning.

J said...

Good thoughts Shawn. Getting them to put it in their own mind. So it's not your thought. It's theirs.

J said...

I would agree with Bud. I would love to hear success stories.

trebor said...

bud said...I would like to hear of any success stories of helping family and friends to see the light. What works?

For me it was the issue I had with the blood fractions. It did not make sense to me. For years, I did not think about it much but made the decision along with my wife that we were not going to accept any sort of fraction. We knew for ourselves, even when we were Witnesses that the fractions allowance did not make sense.

Over the years the blood fractions concept really started to bother me. Performing research with the Watchtower CD Library I came across the Watchtower Society's previous stance on organ transplants being cannibalistic.

I knew something was terribly wrong, but still afraid to look at "apostate" sites. I was also scared to lose my wife and family. So, I searched more medical stances/information from the Watchtower CD Library. Once I came across the information on Rape I knew between that and their previous stance on organ transplants and their contradicting stance with blood fractions that supporting such an organization would destroy me from the inside out.

I started to think and really contemplate what ultimately brought me to decide to become baptized as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and it was the prophetic fulfillments the organization claimed. Once I researched the Watchtower CD Library focusing on that is when I came across their predictions for the end in 1975. I knew then they were false prophets and combined with my previous research I had to get out of what I discovered to be just as bad as any other religion. Regardless of the consequences, I could no longer be a Jehovah's Witnesses. The very thought of being one was making me sick. I had to stand for truth no matter what. I could not live a lie and support something which I discovered was so wrong.

After some more research, I put it all together and shared it with my wife first - Which thankfully, she also saw the Watchtower Society in the same light as myself. As for the rest of my family, I have no kids - Rest meaning parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, siblings - the reaction has been mixed. Those that have chosen to stand by the Watchtower Society either ignore the facts I showed them or are in complete denial of the information and just keep repeating it's God's organization and I am an apostate of it.

The doctrination of this organization is incredible, and I can only hope one day my entire family can break free of their bonds. I let them all know I love them and will always be here for them.

J said...

Trebor,
Great Post! Good Luck with helping the rest of your family.

kevin said...

Success stories...

My first inkling of doubt that I remember occurred while I was sitting in my brother Steve's dorm room at Watchtower Farm in Wallkill, NY. Steve mentioned that secular historians put the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians at 587 BCE; not 607 BCE. From that moment on, I had trouble telling people at the doors the "fact" of Jesus' invisible return in 1914. I still thought it was probably true, but I needed confirmation.

As a JW, I read through the entire Bible four times. I loved the NT, and eventually the difference in day-to-day experience of the first-century believers vs. my day-to-day experience as a JW began to bother me. I began to wonder about the "little flock" vs. "other sheep" doctrine, the 144,000, and particularly my personal relationship with Christ, which was virtually forbidden me as a member of the "other sheep."

Finally, in an effort to quell these unsettling thoughts and feelings, I embarked on a 5-month personal, independent Bible study. Through that, my JW worldview was shattered, then re-assembled into a form that mirrors that of traditional, conservative evangelical Christianity. I subsequently accepted Christ as my all-sufficient Savior, and renounced the WT as a man-made counterfeit (and rebellion against) orthodox Christianity.

My experience is unusual in that due to the nature of how I came out of the org, doctrinal questions were settled for me very quickly. And interestingly, after 24 subsequent years of study in systematic theology, philosophy, church history, etc., my worldview hasn't changed substantially, but has only deepened. I'm still a conservative evangelical Christian.

One suggestion for anyone who embarks on a similar path of personal Bible study: What worked for me was first discerning what the PLAIN sense of Scripture says, before deciding what it really means. The plain sense will say things like, "every eye will see him," "sealed from the twelve tribes of Israel," etc. The plain sense will present its own theology, not needing explanation by any F&DS, etc. And to me, that is part of the genius of the Bible, in that if anyone is willing to accept it and believe it as written, he will find God's intended meaning there, and it will revolutionize his life.

We had our first child, our son Aaron, 5 years ago, born at 24 weeks gestation (4 months early; on the cusp of viability). He needed several blood transfusions in order to survive. I thank God that I had left JW's before he was born; otherwise, my son would not be alive today. But now, he's in kindergarten, and doing just fine.

My brother Steve is still a JW, and has shunned me for these past 24 years. I've attempted to contact him, have sent him books, etc., but alas, if someone's personal security is wrapped up in the WT (rather than in Jesus), and if he believes it a sin to entertain a single thought contrary to what the WT teaches, then, there's not much we can do. This has been my experience, anyway.

I've been ministering, mostly through my web site and via e-mail, to JW's for the past 24 years. I've yet to find that "magic bullet" that is guaranteed to rock a staunch JW's world in a meaningful way. I've had meaningful discussions with hundreds of JW's and people studying with JW's. I am constantly amazed (and admittedly, often frustrated) that no matter how intelligent, educated and specially trained I am to refute JW's, if someone wants JW's to be right, for whatever reason, that person will be very hard, if not impossible, to reach.

kevinquick dot com

Sheeplike said...

Kevin said "I am constantly amazed (and admittedly, often frustrated) that no matter how intelligent, educated and specially trained I am to refute JW's, if someone wants JW's to be right, for whatever reason, that person will be very hard, if not impossible, to reach".

That is because the doctrines are Bible based. Even if 1914 is wrong, we still know that we are in the last days because Jesus gave us the sign of the times. Just read Matthew Chapter 24, or the other Gospel accounts.

Anonymous said...

sheeplike wrote: "That is because the doctrines are Bible based"

Every Christian religions has the same claim. Moreover, they believe their claims. They are sincere and have good motives.

How are you any different?

Your religion is based upon a UNIQUE INTERPRETATION of SCRIPTURE.

Repetition for Emphasis, folks. It might just sink in.

Do JWs Have Truth?

Bud said...

Shawn, Trebor and Kevin, I appreciate your insight. I'm going to give some thought about using the correlation implies causality tactic. I wrongly assumed that other JW's would react with the same outrage I felt when I told them what was going on, how people were being treated. Everyone has their own story or knows of someone who was also mistreated and yet they adroitly do the mental gymnastics necessary to make something horrible seem good and wholesome.
I am eager to hear everyone else's thoughts on how to frame a conversation in such a way that JW's can get the point.

Sheeplike said...

"UNIQUE INTERPRETATION of SCRIPTURE?"

As a teacher, I know that is not the case. From the 1st Century Christians to the Puritans, many others held the same basic beliefs: no trinity, no hellfire, no immortal soul, paradise on earth, etc.

Bible truth is refreshing.

steve said...

Sheeplike said:

'Even if 1914 is wrong, we still know that we are in the last days because Jesus gave us the sign of the times.'

Even if 1914 is wrong!! If 1914 is wrong the whole of the JW belief collapses like a pack of cards.

All the preaching work that has been done is in vein because JWs message is the Good news of the Kingdom, the teaching that Christ returned invisibly to become King in 1914. That is THE message.

No JW should even THINK that 1914 could be wrong. I think you are on the slippery slope. The next step is to say that to the elders at the Kingdom Hall... you are well on the way to coming out!

Anonymous said...

Did you hear the news today? 11/20/08 The news out of Chile, South America says as many as 40,000 unsuspecting patients who received tainted blood transfusions are now HIV positive. Very few to date have been notified at this time.

You can be sure of one thing, if they are contaminated they are NOT Jehovah's Witnesses.

Anonymous said...

someone said: "You can be sure of one thing, if they are contaminated they are NOT Jehovah's Witnesses"

Wrong again. Tens of thousands of JWs are disfellowshipped each year for sexual immorality.

HIV is often spread via unprotected sex.

There could be numerous JWs infected, if their immorality was committed with one of the infected persons.

You are merely assuming.

Anonymous said...

sheeplike wrote: "As a teacher, I know that is not the case. From the 1st Century Christians to the Puritans, many others held the same basic beliefs: no trinity, no hellfire, no immortal soul, paradise on earth, etc."

Dude, please read some history. WT cannot identify a single person that shares their beliefs, prior to the 1800's. No evidence whatsoever of a group of people that believed the same things you do today.

Fire up your WT Library and you'll discover that it's all ASSUMPTIONS. Again, no evidence. Mere assumptions.

Bible truth is indeed refreshing. Once you find them, you will truly be free of the cult.

Salvation is through Jesus, not a religion.

Shawn said...

Anonymous has left a new comment on the post "Roller Coaster Ride of Blood Fractions":

Did you hear the news today? 11/20/08 The news out of Chile, South America says as many as 40,000 unsuspecting patients who received tainted blood transfusions are now HIV positive. Very few to date have been notified at this time.

You can be sure of one thing, if they are contaminated they are NOT Jehovah's Witnesses.
===================================

This is another correlation/causality fallacy. There is no connection between Chile's poor blood screening practices and the Watchtower Society's ban on blood transfusions. You could apply this logic to lots of religious situations.

Orthodox Jews could claim that God is protecting them from every dying inside a car on Saturday because they observe the Sabbath.

You could argue that God is protecting Hindus from Campylobacter because they are vegetarians.

You could argue that Muslims are being protected by God from trychanosis since they don't eat pork.

There is, however, one big difference here.

Orthodox Jews don't put their lives in danger by not driving their cars on Saturday.

Hindus don't risk death by being vegetarians.

Muslims don't drop dead from not eating pork.

On the other hand, Jehovah's Witnesses regularly put their lives at risk by refusing to take blood transfusions.

Life is inherently risky. Risks can be mitigated, but not eliminated. The Watchtower stance that their members are somehow safer because they refuse to take blood is simply not true.

Shawn said...

Sheeplike has left a new comment on the post "Roller Coaster Ride of Blood Fractions":

"UNIQUE INTERPRETATION of SCRIPTURE?"

As a teacher, I know that is not the case. From the 1st Century Christians to the Puritans, many others held the same basic beliefs: no trinity, no hellfire, no immortal soul, paradise on earth, etc.

Bible truth is refreshing.

===================================

Neither the first-century Christians nor the Puritans believed that there would be an earthly paradise. The first-century Christians had a heavenly hope and the Puritans were trying to create their own isolated community that would be a spiritual paradise while they waited to go to heaven.

The concept that Jesus was not God didn't surface until the Arian apostasy in the third century.

The concept that there is no immortal soul is entirely unique to Watchtower Society doctrine. The closest any other sects of Christianity come is the concept of 'soul sleeping' where a person's soul is held in suspension until Judgment Day.

The only other sect of Christianity that does not believe in hell as a place of punishment in the spirit world are the Christian Scientists who believe we make are own hell through sinful living.

It's bad enough that the Watchtower Society has made up so many nonchristian teachings, please don't impose those teachings on other sects of Christianity.

Anonymous said...

Shawn, actually the first century 'Christians' did have an earthly hope. But many of them also believed that Jesus was just a human, and did not go to heaven.

The JWs have little in common with those closest to Jesus. They met by rivers, in homes, etc. They did not have infrastructure to their religion.

Shawn said...

Sheeplike has left a new comment on the post "Roller Coaster Ride of Blood Fractions":

Kevin said "I am constantly amazed (and admittedly, often frustrated) that no matter how intelligent, educated and specially trained I am to refute JW's, if someone wants JW's to be right, for whatever reason, that person will be very hard, if not impossible, to reach".

That is because the doctrines are Bible based. Even if 1914 is wrong, we still know that we are in the last days because Jesus gave us the sign of the times. Just read Matthew Chapter 24, or the other Gospel accounts.
===================================

The 1914 doctrine is not 'bible based' is indeed wrong as it is based on a prophesy that has already been fulfilled. There is no 'second fulfillment' of the prophesy of the gentile times.

Jesus words in Matthew 24 were not about our day, they were about the coming and final destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. That event has already taken place.

kevin said...

Actually, all reputable historians that I know of say that for the first two centuries, and into the third, virtually all Christians were chiliasts (millenarians). As with the disciples at Acts 1:6, they believed that Christ was soon to return to fulfill Dan 2:44, take over rulership of earth, set up his kingdom (seated on David's throne in Jerusalem), perform the first resurrection, and rule with the saints for 1,000 years. Justin Martyr even included chiliasm as a test of orthodoxy. The "spiritual kingdom" or "the church is the kingdom" idea didn't appear AT ALL until Clement of Alexandria around 250 A.D., and didn't become popular until his student Origen took it and ran with it. Since then, the church has been generally saddled with Origen's allegorical approach to eschatology, which, in my opinion, has been a big mistake (initiated by man's free will, but obviously allowed by God in His wisdom). I think the early church (including the apostles) had it right.

In my view, JW's are capitalizing on the church's allegorical eschatology, by pointing out that there WILL be a literal 1,000-year reign of Christ, a valid claim (from Rev 20, etc.). But, they allegorize Israel, turning Israel into the Watchtower Society. So, they are as guilty of allegorizing away the plain sense of Scripture when it comes to eschatology, as the church in general has been.

My personal opinion (shared by a fair number of the church's most capable theologians, including George Peters, Lewis Sperry Chafer, John Walvoord, Dwight Pentecost, Alva McClain and Norman Geisler) is that the most correct interpretation of Scripture, in the vast majority of cases, comes from the plain sense of Scripture, known in theological parlance as the grammatical-historical hermeneutic. The historic Christian church uses and has used this method on every major doctrine, including the deity of Christ, the personality of the Holy Spirit, Jesus' bodily resurrection, the personal return of Christ to earth, etc. Therefore, I believe they've been correct on these doctrines for the past 2,000 years, and genuine salvation can be had (and has been had by millions) by believing upon Christ in the way that the church has taught from the first century, up until today.

The only doctrine that the church has allegorized in an unwarranted way (in my opinion, and in the opinion of the scholars listed above) is the doctrine of the kingdom. And as mentioned earlier, the JW's are capitalizing on that. But, again, the first- and second-century Christians were all chiliasts (as were the third-century Christians up until Clement and Origen). Then, in the late 1800's, there was a fairly substantial revival of Chiliasm, which has extended into our present day.

So, JW's are not the only ones who believe in a literal kingdom of 1,000 years; I and millions of other premillennialists also believe it and teach it. There are currently millions of conservative Christians who believe that we're living in the last days, that Christ's return is imminent, and that when Jesus returns, He'll be taking the reigns of earth's government for 1,000 years.

By the way, my brother Shawn, I know you have an aversion to dispensationalism, and I respect your opinions on that; I hope we can discuss this topic more fully at another opportune time.

I hope more of you guys will get turned on to the grammatical-historical hermeneutic. It's the only method of Biblical interpretation that I've found that allows God to say exactly what He meant, allows the Bible to speak for itself, allows the common man to read the Bible, comprehend God's message, believe and be saved, and does away with any need for some super-smart or "anointed" Clement, Origen, Augustine, or WT F&DS to interpret the Bible's allegorical or "spiritual" message for us.

Anonymous said...

The problem I have is very simple and I thought that JW's provided the answer, but they do not as proved by their many wrong interpretations - the only question left as a JW is what else are they wrong about.

Back to the problem I have:

Why in the world is the Bible so hard to understand - even when one prays for God's help.

Why couldn't it have been written in a way that is not open to so many interpretations?

These questions are asked in all sincerity and all the discussions I see on this provide their own answer, but that doesn't necessary mean it's the right answer.

And, of course, the result of this is division in the form of the plethora of Christian religions, never mind the non-Christian religions. It just doesn't make any sense to me anymore.

If anyone is really honest with themselves, they can see why people of other religions believe the way they do (right or wrong). They may not embrace it, because they don't interpret things the way someone else does, but it always boils down to this - religious books will always be interpreted in different ways.

There is no way to know the correct interpretation... sorry if any disagree with this, but it's been my experience in life that brings me to this conclusion.

steve said...

'There is no way to know the correct interpretation...'

Exactly. I agree with all of your post. my experiences have lead to the same conclusions.

J said...

'There is no way to know the correct interpretation...'

I too sort of agree. I also agree with Kevin in a sense.

Although I think some things in the Scriptures are literal and some are not, the problem comes with reality.

Much of the Scriptures have value as does much of the Literature written over the last few thousand years.

But when you think it's from God you have to 'change' it to agree with reality. If you just accept it was written many years ago by men living then, it makes perfect sense. It is a history of many persons searching for God.

If you try to justify it and claim it agrees with modern science etc, then you get into issues.

Bud said...

Same here. Doesn't seem that God would make it so complicated we couldn't figure it out. Bottom line for now:
Micah 6:8 "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

kevin said...

Why is the Bible so hard to understand?

Yes, I've wrestled a lot with this same question, especially as it relates to Jehovah's Witnesses. My preference would have been for the Bible to have been written in such a way that there would be no way to misinterpret it. But then, I'm not God, and God has his own reasons. A few thoughts that have helped me, though...

1. Many of the Bible's books assume an understanding of the books that came before them. For instance, if you were a Jew living in the first century, and were well-acquainted with the land and throne promises given to Abraham and David, and were well-versed in the prophets Daniel, Jeremiah, Isaiah and Zechariah, then you knew immediately and accurately what Jesus and His disciples (the 12 and the 70) were proclaiming in their "kingdom is at hand" message, i.e., the restored theocracy of Israel, with the messiah sitting on David's throne. (This also explains why the 12 and the 70 didn't need much training on what the "kingdom message" was; the only thing new with their message was that the messiah was now present, and was calling the nation to repentance in preparation for the inauguration of the kingdom.) Reading the NT today, though, with little or no knowledge of the OT (or through an allegorical "interpretation" of the OT kingdom prophecies, such as provided by the WTS), it's extremely difficult to make sense of Jesus' kingdom message. So, my recommendation on this is to study the promises (sworn by oath) given to Abraham and David, and read the prophets; THEN it will be clear what the prophesied kingdom was going to look like, and what the kingdom was that Jesus and His disciples were preaching.

2. A whole lot of trouble can be avoided by not allegorizing Scripture that was never intended to be allegorized. Every passage of Scripture has a plain sense, that is obvious when you read it. I try to suspend judgment on whether or not the plain sense is the intended sense, until I at least acknowledge that the plain sense tells its own story, and paints its own picture. Again, in my personal Bible study as I was exiting the WT, this plain sense formed a theology of its own, quite foreign to that of the WTS, but in agreement with historic, conservative, premillennial Christianity.

3. Jesus Himself said that it was not given to the multitudes to understand everything. Jesus explained "everything" only to His disciples, in private. God appears to "enlighten" only those who are receptive to His message.

4. If not for the moral aspect of God's interaction with us, He could easily experientially overwhelm any of us with His love, glory and power. But, coercion is something that God, who is love, cannot use to draw us to Him. He created us with free wills, and He apparently will not override those free wills with irrefutable knowledge, or irresistible revelation of His Person to us. God has maintained a careful balance, wherein those who seek Him, will find Him, and those who choose to be independent of Him, will be allowed to do so.

5. The more I study the Scriptures, the more convinced I become that the problem is not with the Scriptures, which generally speak quite plainly, but with us, who are so slow to believe. For whatever reason, we don't like the Bible's message regarding the future of the nation Israel, or of homosexuality, or the idea of a fiery hell, so we refuse to believe. Russell, for instance, couldn't reconcile in his mind a good God and eternal punishment, so he rejected eternal punishment on that basis. He set his reason above God's revelation; I think that was a mistake.

6. It takes very little Bible knowledge to believe on Christ in the Biblical sense and be saved. Most people just have to switch from trusting in themselves to trusting in Jesus. But for those of us who have been previously trained in a cultic or anti-Christian way, we often have to un-learn a lot of stuff before we're willing or able to believe on Jesus in the Biblical sense.

Personally, one of my life's goals is to understand the Bible as well as I can possibly understand it. I've been studying it fairly intensively for the past 30 years now, and I'm convinced that yes, it IS possible to understand the vast majority of it, to be saved and know it (through Scripture, i.e. 1 John 5:13, and by an inner witness by the Spirit) and to be at peace with it's God and it's message.

Sheeplike said...

Anonymous said: "There is no way to know the correct interpretation... sorry if any disagree with this, but it's been my experience in life that brings me to this conclusion."

It is my experience that Jehovah answers my prayers. When I prayed to find the truth, the answer was given to me.

Bud said...

So, don't overthink it? Don't make it any more complicated than it is and we'll do fine. Sounds good.

Sheeplike said...

Bud said "Don't make it any more complicated than it is and we'll do fine. Sounds good."

I agree.
I used to be a Roman Catholic, and I think that that religion is a lot more complicated since it is not Bible based. It is confusing and contradictory.

Bible truth is refreshing and not contradictory. However, I could never understand everything in the Bible without the 'What Does the Bible Really Teach?' and the Insight books.

My eyes were opened. One cannot believe all the negative comments here.

kevin said...

Sheeplike,

From your comments, which reveal your preoccupation with man-made organizations and their publications, I would venture to guess that you've not yet heard the Shepherd's voice:

John 10:26, 27 “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me"

Even your name gives you away, sheep-like. Jesus' followers are His sheep, period. The Bible knows nothing of sheep-like ones, other than wolves in sheep's clothing.

Sheeplike said...

Did not the Shepherd also say not to judge one another?

The 'mark' of true Christians is love. John 13:35.

kevin said...

Jesus didn't mince words with the self-righteous scribes and Pharisees of his day. And Paul labeled certain men that he was acquainted with "false apostles, deceitful workers disguising themselves as apostles of Christ." 2 Cor 11:13

If I believe that you're lost in a man-made cult, and are going from door to door preaching a false gospel (Gal 1:8, 9), I think I have a moral and Scriptural obligation to you and to your neighbors to call your bluff, and to point out where you're wrong.

Please take this test yourself:

2 Cor. 13:5-6: Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you — unless indeed you fail the test? But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test.

All the "sheeplike" JW's that I've ever known fail this test. How about you?

As far as the "love" amongst Jehovah's Witnesses goes, it's a conditional, farcical "love." If you ever find yourself disagreeing with anything that the WT teaches, you'll soon find out how deep and genuine this "love" for you is!

kevin said...

Just to be perfectly clear on this...

Gal 1:8-9: But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.

If you are going door-to-door, teaching your neighbors that Jesus returned invisibly in 1914, and, if Jesus in fact did NOT return in 1914, then you have two very serious problems:

1. You're teaching a gospel other than the one that Paul preached.

2. You're preaching a false gospel.

In either case, according to Gal 1:8-9, you're under the curse of God!

This is serious stuff. It's what motivated me to reassess what I was preaching to my neighbors, and it's what prompted me to go deeper in my studies, to see how much validity there was to the 1914 doctrine. I didn't want to be under a curse from God for preaching a false gospel! God forbid! And, neither do I (nor does probably anyone else on this blog) want you to be under this curse.

Also, James 3:1:   Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment.

If you think there's ANY chance that Jesus didn't return in 1914, you have an obligation before God to STOP preaching it, until you make extra, extra sure of it.

spiritualbrother said...

If the Watchtower dropped the ban on blood transfusions, imagine the lawsuits.