Another Blog from UK Partnerships for Christ (www.upfc.org.uk)

The Watchtower and authority by John Stickland

With any belief system there is normally an authority that is intended to validate and justify it, and act as a reference for its adherents in their day to day living,
In the political world we have the example of Communism, having its authority and point of reference in the writings of its founders. Another example is Atheism, which puts its faith solely in the physical world we exist in, backed up by the pronouncements and theories of scientists, to justify a life lived without any reference to God.
Many more examples are found in the religious beliefs existing both past and present with their own unique writings.
For Christians, their authority is the old and new Testaments of the Bible, to whom the truth of its content and evidence of its Divine origin is very apparent.
For Jehovah’s Witnesses however, although their use of the Bible is much in evidence, closer contact with them will show their actual authority to be based on current Watchtower doctrine and pronouncements passed down to them by their leaders in Brooklyn New York. Key elements of Watchtower doctrine clearly appear to be justified by carefully selected verses taken either out of their immediate context or that of the relevant subject as a whole.
Unfortunately for the individual member of the organization, acceptance of every facet of the teaching is required, their continuance in the movement being dependant upon it.

Bible study then for the individual Witness is channeled through the regular Watchtower magazine and other publications. The Scripture chosen is interpreted to conform with current Watchtower doctrine and teaching and, together with individual pronouncements from Brooklyn, becomes the authority for all members.
The Watchtower representative that calls at the door therefore, in spite of the tutoring received, confident approach and expertise in bringing others from all walks of life into the Watchtower fold, has no understanding of the content of the Scriptures as a whole.
They therefore are unable to engage in any meaningful discussion outside the parameters to which they have been taught by their Watchtower tutors.
The authority of the Watchtower then is absolute. In any dialogue with them they are unable to make any concessions concerning the rightness of their doctrine when shown the falsity of it in the Scriptures. The organisation’s practice of working in twos helps to ensure this happens.
Enforcement of the authority is effectively maintained by identified offenders of non-conformance being disfellowshiped.
This is an exceptionally strong deterrent to an established individual within the organisation. The trauma of the rejection of all Watchtower friends and contacts and the prospect of being shut out of the future expected Watchtower paradise is for the majority a step too far.
For those Christians therefore who are reaching out to those who believe they have found the truth in the Watchtower system, it is important to have a thorough knowledge of what the whole Bible teaches.  However, equally important is the ability to be able to back this up by showing where the various relevant Scriptures can be found.
On the issue of Biblical truth, it was R. C. Chapman from the 19th century, who said that every error may be based upon some part of Scripture taken from its connection (or context); but no error can stand the test of all Scripture.

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