[From ws15/06 p. 25 for August 24-30]
“Your Father knows what you need.” – Mt 6:8
I grew up in an era when my religion shunned the idea of “creature worship”.[i] However, this is an outdated notion in today’s Organization, as evidenced by not one, but two members of the Governing Body gracing the title page of this week’s article. What exactly does the Governing Body have to do with the theme of living in harmony with the Model Prayer? As we’ll see, quite a bit.
The article opens with an account of a pioneer sister stranded because of an unexpected flight cancellation. She prayed that Jehovah would give her a chance to preach and then for a place to stay. At the airport, she encountered an old school chum whose mother kindly offered to put her up for the night, giving her a chance to preach to them.
Were these prayers answered by God or was this just the result of happenstance? Who can say? I, for one, do believe that prayers are answered, but I also believe that stuff just happens, and it is often difficult to distinguish one from the other. However, I have to ask whether Jehovah would cause a plane flight to be cancelled just so a sister could preach about the particular hope Jehovah’s Witnesses teach? After all, we’ve seen that 1914 is not a true doctrine and that the earthly hope which excludes people from being adopted sons of God is in conflict with Scripture. So would Jehovah help someone to preach such things? Would he help people to make disciples knowing that the teachings of the Organization are designed to get people to put faith in the words of the Governing Body?
“Give Us Today Our Bread for this Day”
There is nothing in this portion of the prayer to indicate that Jesus is talking about anything more than material provisions. However, the article in paragraph 8 speaks of spiritual bread as also being part of this request. It quotes Jesus as saying, “Man does not live by bread alone.” So if you don’t think about it very deeply, you can be persuaded to believe he is also telling us to pray for spiritual food.
Jesus knew that the uncertainty of life in this world could cause his disciples to become overly concerned about where their next meal would come from, and how they were going to pay their bills, and how they were going to provide for their families. So he was telling them that it was alright to pray to God to ask him for the necessary material things, but only for the needs of the day.
Did he also think they’d be concerned about where their next spiritual meal would be coming from? Do the uncertainties of the world threaten our spiritual provisions? Of course not. We could be out on the street, destitute, and still be fed from God’s word. So why does the paragraph end with “we should continue to pray that Jehovah will keep on feeding us with timely spiritual food”? What is the message? Why is this here when the Model Prayer doesn’t speak of spiritual food?
Well, who supposedly gives us timely spiritual food? The faithful and discreet slave. (Mt 25:45-47) And who is the faithful and discreet slave? The Governing Body.[ii] So who should we be praying for? Apparently, we should be praying that Jehovah keeps the Governing Body functioning and publishing.
Subtle, isn’t it? Now it makes sense why the pictures of two Governing Body members are featured prominently on the title page. According to them, Jesus told us to pray every day for the publications with which we are being fed.
“Do Not Bring Us into Temptation”
In explaining the meaning of this phrase, paragraph 12 explains:
“Questions needed time to be settled. For example, was something wrong with the way God created man? Was it possible for a perfect human to uphold God’s sovereignty regardless of pressures from “the wicked one”? And would mankind be better off independent of God’s rulership, as Satan implied?”
I was not able to find any place in the Bible were the first question was raised. Perhaps you, gentle reader, will be able to explain this to us. For the present, it seems this is a question the writer of the article assumes is on the table, but that does not appear to be the case scripturally. In other words, there seems to be no evidence that God has allowed 6,000 years of human rule to prove that there was nothing wrong with the way humans were created.
The second question is also not to be found in Scripture. If “upholding God’s sovereignty” is so important, one would expect the Bible to say so. However, the word sovereignty does not appear in the Bible anywhere. What does appear is the question of loyalty to God and faith in God. But these are placed in the person of God, not in some abstract concept regarding his right to rule. In short, the character of Jehovah God was questioned which is why the very first request of the Model Prayer is, “Let your name (“character”) be sanctified.” Therefore, the questions that have to be resolved relate to whether a human can be loyal to God and put faith in God. However, by focusing on the fabricated issue of sovereignty, the Governing Body has turned the question into one concerning loyalty to a concept, that of divine rulership. Once that is accepted, then it is possible for them to insinuate themselves into the chain of command and make loyalty to the Organization and ultimately to them part of the universal question.
This brings us to the third question. Obviously, being independent of God’s rulership—as Satan implied—would be a bad thing, and since God’s rulership is now expressed though his appointed channel of communication, aka the Governing Body, independence from their dictates is a bad thing.
Again, nothing is stated overtly, but the subtle implication is there to influence our thought processes.
This brings to mind a passage Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
“For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful by God for overturning strongly entrenched things. 5 For we are overturning reasonings and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are bringing every thought into captivity to make it obedient to the Christ; 6 and we are prepared to inflict punishment for every disobedience, as soon as your own obedience is complete.” (2Co 10:4-6)
Human thought is often wild. It needs to be captured. It needs to be brought into captivity. But that only benefits the human when the captivity is to the Christ. If we become captives of men, or captives to the concepts of men, then we are lost. It is only through critical thinking that we can guard ourselves. A Beroean Skeptic (try the anagram) will question all things in the light of Scripture, for we do desire to be captives, but only of the Christ.
[i] “And what creature worship was extended to Pope Paul VI when he visited the United States and the United Nations! A literal frenzy of adulation was showered upon him by 90,000 as he rode around Yankee Stadium in an open auto.” (w68 5/15 p. 310 Beware of Idolizing Creatures)
“Awake! protects us from the creature worship that worldly magazines encourage by featuring personalities.” (w67 1/15 p. 63 Why So Much to Do?)
“Many times failure to receive God’s spirit is caused by relying on men rather than God. Even in the days of the apostles there were some who were inclined to look more to the individual than to God or Christ. This is a form of creature worship.” (w64 5/1 p. 270 par. 4 Fortify Yourselves for Future Activity)
[ii] For a full discussion of this topic, see “Who Really Is the Faithful and Discreet Slave?”