The Governing Body Is Not Dogmatic!

– posted by meleti
In a recent morning worship program titled “Jehovah Blesses Obedience”, Brother Anthony Morris III addresses accusations made against the Governing Body that it is dogmatic. Quoting from Acts 16:4, he refers us to the word translated “decrees”. He states at the 3:25 minute mark:

“Now let’s bring it up to modern day here and, you’ll find this quite interesting – I did, I assume you might find it of interest – but here in verse 4, if you look at the original language about “decrees,” I notice the Greek there, the word “dogmata”, well, you can hear the word “dogma” there. Well, things have changed as to what it means in English now. It's certainly not anything we want to say the faithful slave is guilty of. Notice here what dictionaries have had to say. If you refer to a belief or a system of beliefs as a dogma, you disapprove of it because people are expected to accept that it is true without questioning it. A dogmatic view obviously is undesirable. One other dictionary says, if you say someone is dogmatic you are critical of them because they are convinced that they are right and refuse to consider that other opinions might also be justified. Well, I don't think we would want to apply this to decisions that come out from the faithful and discreet slave in our time.”

So according to Brother Morris, the Governing Body does not expect us to accept their teachings without question. According to Brother Morris, the Governing Body is not convinced it is right. According to Brother Morris, the Governing Body does not refuse to consider other opinions that might also be justified.
He then continues:

“Now we have apostates and opposers that would like God's people to think that the faithful slave is dogmatic. And they expect you to accept everything that comes out from headquarters as if it’s dogma. Arbitrarily decided. Well, this does not apply.”

So according to Brother Morris, we should not accept everything that comes out from headquarters as if it is dogma; that is, as if it is a decree from God.
That statement seems to be in direct contradiction to his closing words:

“This is a theocracy ruled by God. Not a collection of man-made decisions. This is governed from heaven.”

If we are being "ruled by God" and "governed from heaven", and if these are not a "collection of man-made decisions," then we must conclude that these are divine decisions. If they are divine decisions, then they come from God. If they come from God, then we cannot and should not question them. They are indeed dogma; albeit righteous dogma in that they are of divine origin.
What would be the litmus test?  Well, Brother Morris points to the decrees that came out of Jerusalem in the first century and applies them to our day.  In the first century, Luke reports: "Then, indeed, the congregations continued to be made firm in the faith and to increase in number day by day." (Acts 16:5)  The point that Anthony Morris III is making is that if we obey these instructions which he claims are from Jehovah, then we too will see a similar increase in the congregations day by day.  He says "congregations will increase, branch territories will increase day by day.  Why? Because as we mentioned in the beginning, 'Jehovah blesses obedience.'"
If you would take the time to scan the latest Yearbooks and look at the population-to-publisher ratio figures, you'd see that even in countries where we seem to be growing marginally, we are really stagnant or even shrinking.
Argentina: 2010: 258 to 1; 2015: 284 to 1
Canada: 2010: 298 to 1; 2015: 305 to 1
Finland: 2010: 280 to 1; 2015: 291 to 1
Netherlands: 2010: 543 to 1; 2015: 557 to 1
United States: 2010: 262 to 1; 259 to 1
Six years of stagnation or worse, of diminishment!  Hardly the picture he is painting.  But it's worse.  Looking at just raw figures in the 2015 Yearbook, there are 63 countries out of 239 that have either no growth listed or show negative growth.  Many more that do show some growth are not keeping up with population growth figures.
So based on Brother Morris' own criteria, we are either failing to obey the Governing Body, or we are obeying them, yet Jehovah is failing to bless us with daily expansion.
In July, Brother Lett told us that the Governing Body never has and never will solicit funds, after which he proceeded to solicit funds for the remainder of his broadcast. Now Brother Morris tells us that the decrees of the Governing Body are not dogma, while claiming that their decisions are not man-made but from God.
Elijah once told the people: "How long will you be limping upon two different opinions?"  Perhaps it is time for each of us to consider that question for ourselves.

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  • Comment by Deborah on 2015-09-21 20:11:01

    It brings no pleasure to hear these men.
    Seeing their faces on jw broadcasting brings revulsion.
    They are walking dead not aware of what they are.
    Thanks Meleti for the fine and accurate summary of another Watchtower death knell.

    • Reply by Deborah on 2015-09-21 22:41:52

      I am no longer the little girl in her twenties who once walked the promenade behind 124 Columbia Heights in love with the whole place. In love because I trusted that Nathan Knorr and Frederick Franz were who they claimed to be, of the anointed.
      Now I know that true brothers of Christ follow him in every way. They do not injure their brother, they do not add rule after rule, they do not rob their brother of his hard earned money, they do not become the slaves of materialism, they are not hypocrites, they apologize when wrong, they do not force compliance with their beliefs, they love their brothers and sisters as Christ loved them; in truth, humility, and with Godly compassion.
      What I see today in the Watchtower is what existed in the first century. Men who do not know God. Men who see only what they wish to see because it feels very good. Power, authority, recognition and a comfortable residence from which to wield that power and authority.
      Is there anything more a power hungry old man "in the world" would need?

      • Reply by katrina on 2015-09-23 02:23:50

        Lets see if I was to go to the elders and say I don't agree with 1914 or 1919, we will see just how dogmatic they really are.

  • Comment by Anonymous on 2015-09-21 20:52:03

    Well, isn't this precious. We have Tony Morris's assertion that "This is a theocracy ruled by God. Not a collection of man-made decisions. This is governed from heaven."
    Then, we have the often-cited Proverbs 4:18: "But the path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established." This verse is used to prop up the dogmatic teaching that the 'spiritual light' is getting progressively brighter because God grants His servants increased understanding over time. Never mind that the 4th chapter of Proverbs has nothing to do with increased spiritual light, but the benefits of making wise choices in life, including the choosing of good companions that are a good influence on us.
    Let us assume, for the sake of argument that the WT interpretation of Proverbs 4:18 were correct. What then to make of 1 John 1:5: "God is light and there is no darkness at all in union with him." and Hebrews 6:18: "it is impossible for God to lie"?
    So, WT faces a terrible dilemma. If Proverbs 4:18 truly means that God is granting humans increased spiritual light, then He is responsible for ALL "new light" that has been received. But, because that so-called "new light" has had to be "adjusted" and "refined" over time, it implies that older "new light" was incorrect. If so, that leaves no alternative other than God made a mistake and conveyed "new light" containing falsehood, and that the "new light" was (at some point, at least) darkness.
    Most Christians would find such conclusions totally unacceptable. However, if Proverbs 4:18 does NOT refer to increased spiritual light from God, then the teachings, doctrines, and (yes) dogmas issuing from WT are indeed "a collection of man-made decisions".
    I wonder if Tony Morris can see the irony in what he declared. To proclaim "This [organization] is governed from heaven" is extremely dogmatic. Does he leave even the slightest doubt about his belief in this? Or that everyone in the range of hearing him ought to believe the same?
    It is not only ironic, but the height of presumptuousness, to give an address on how one is not dogmatic, only to have every subsequent word out of his mouth conclusively confirm that that is exactly what he and his organization is.
    I am afraid Tony Morris has painted himself into a corner on this one, and I can't for the life of me see how he can extricate himself from it.
    Perhaps for his next trick, he can explain why it is that, if "Jehovah blesses obedience", why does WT need to ask for more money? As your statistics show, they are not really increasing all that much, and some cases, decreasing. There would seem to be no (honest) justification for needing or asking for more money. So, either the organization is not obedient, or Jehovah is not blessing it. Which is it?
    Finally, I love the line, "Now we have apostates and opposers that would like God’s people to think that the faithful slave is dogmatic." Tell me, Mr. Morris, how do you know that? Where did you get your information? Wouldn't you have to READ the literature and web sites of "apostates" to know such things? Are not such actions grounds for being disfellowshipped? They are for us. Why aren't they for you? And if you DID read such materials, why is it that the rules you lay down for others the same rules you yourselves follow? What, then, shall we say? Do as you say, but not as you do?
    Thank you, Meleti, for a masterful and devastatingly logical analysis.

    • Reply by Khaleesi O on 2015-09-22 12:37:20

      Anonymous: on your last paragraph well put, reminded me of Proverbs 20:23 "A double standard of weights is disgusting to the LORD {YAHWEH}, and dishonest scares are no good" (GOT)... Exactly how does Anthony Morris know about these things?

  • Comment by Christian on 2015-09-21 20:54:06

    Thanks for the morning worship discussion highlight. I stopped watching internet broadcasts some months ago. I found that I was beginning to loathe the site of many of the GB. Realizing that this was not benefiting me spiritually in my endeavors of building the 'Holy Temple' of my worship to my Father. I found it best to spend my time reading God's Holy Word. However I do sense that some of these men must be wringing their hands with despair in what they must realize is a Monster that they have helped to create. Do they dismantle all the Rutherford ramblings that they inherited? Do they stop bullying the brothers into believing doctrines that many are now having unsettled thoughts about? Will they ever admit that 1914 is a bust? And when will they allow the Holy Spirit to manifest itself through the rank-and-file brothers so that they can become the Gifts in Men that we are so sadly lacking. But, at present we only only recognize 'society approved' men many of whom become no more than part of a middle management group - 'elders' but sadly not the shepherds we so sorely need right now. How long Oh Jehovah? How Long?

  • Comment by search4truth on 2015-09-21 21:20:36

    Listening Anthony Morris babbling, one must question his sanity. We are not dogmatic because our decision are in fact from Jehovah. Did I get that right?

  • Comment by vinman on 2015-09-21 21:55:59

    I don't know what in the world is going on with these guys, but things are so different these days. They seem so haughty as well as desparate to hold their positions. I agree with Deborah. They need to get their faces out of the spotlight and do something productive. Like, maybe become humble like a child. Or perhaps glorify God and Christ. Can't people see the attitudes? Jehovah=GB, Jesus=GB, Kingdom=GB. I am so sick of these people. I can swear everyone knows the names of GB but not all 12 apostles!

  • Comment by Anonymous on 2015-09-21 21:59:26

    Dogma is a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. It serves as part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it cannot be changed or discarded without affecting the very system's paradigm, or the ideology itself.
    607/1914 is dogma and a house of cards, a teaching inherited from Nelson Barbour and William Miller. Remove that one card and the rest fall over. And you can be disfellowshipped for disbelief. Sounds like we have been dogmatic to me.

  • Comment by Buster on 2015-09-22 00:56:36

    I mentioned this a few months ago on the old site, I feel the Governing Body is up to something big I don't know why but it feels they know people ain't buying what they are Trying to Sell all the rank and file, I say all cause you know there are many that say these Guardian's of Doctrines (aka Governing Body)are speaking for the Big Man upstairs...... But onto this video and its comic gold. is interesting he mentions Acts 6:1-4 and if you think about this was the same scripture that Mr GB member Jackson had brought up in the Australia Court. And also it was the scripture he was totally wrong on. I wonder why they mention it here.....I wonder if they know a whole bunch of people saw the Trial on YouTube.
    2. Of course we are in Acts so you know The Governing Body of the first century of the Apostles will be spoken of. Where is the word Governing Body anywhere in the bible scriptures... No where, Wait they are in Acts table of Contents....Nice.
    3.The faithful slave is not Dogmatic or he used the word Dogma. Sure go tell the Elders that you think that Overlapping Generation Chart is 100 percent wrong... Let's see how fast you won't be called to the back office. Of course that would never happen.
    4.Why mention Apostates, no really why, i mean this whole year the Organization is been on that ban wagon riding it all year long. And how does Mr Morris know what they are saying about them. Wait if you were chosen by Jesus why in the World are you so worried and Afraid.
    5."So, this is obvious that this slave is a composite slave. The decisions that are made... by the... Faithful Slave today, are made collectively." .... Mr Morris said this about Matthew 24:45....How in all that is holy, does he come up with that Quote, I mean I know they saying this since 2013...But hearing it on TV makes it a comedy. So back to the scripture so Jesus was talking about a Composite Slave, I really Believe the Organization thinks they need to correct Jesus. I mean from this generation, to the composite slave, to making Jesus saying when I come back everyone will see me....Nope he was saying Invisibility... Really!!!
    6. "These decisions, if you want to call them a decree, are made collectively. So, when that direction comes out, to branch committee members, or when it comes out to the... congregations, if you want Jehovah's blessing on you as uh an individual or a family, certainly as a elder or a congregation, it'd be best to just ask Jehovah to help you understand it, obey, the decision. ..........WHAT.....WHAT !!!!????. Nope Not Dogmatic at All. I don't see it....Never..
    7.This is a theocracy, ruled by God. Not a collection of manmade decisions. This is governed from heaven......When I heard this I laughed for about 10 minutes and said out loud that is how you end a comedy skit.
    Ps. What is up with them having on the bottom of the screen John 21:17 they don't read that at all.
    Love to all.

  • Comment by menrov on 2015-09-22 01:48:23

    Thanks Meleti. Always wonder where you get the time from to read/view, interpret, analyse and publish. It is funny he keeps saying The Faithful and Discreet Slave....isn't that dogmatic in itself? Like said by others here, why do they bother in the first place? Why do they feel they need to justify themselves, defend themselves against so-called apostates and opponents? Are they not convinced they have the blessing of the Father or of their big brother (as sometimes this is used to refer to Jesus)?
    Could it be they are feeling the pressure from governments / regulators on their policies or even from inside (Bethel members)?Or the effect of internet on the knowledge among the R&F? Are they starting to suffer the consequences from their own acts like lower donations, little to no growth, financial claims etc etc.?
    Or as hinted as well on here, could this be the first step to a significant revision of a core doctrine like 607 or 1914 or 1919 or .....
    Finally, I was always taught that it is up to others to classify / characterize you. I mean, I can claim to be a very peaceful person but is it not up to the people around me to confirm this?

    • Reply by Buster on 2015-09-22 02:39:30

      No my friend, I am also a nice person, well I hope so. But I always go up to people and tell them I am super nice, and say you better believe it or else.....and then I say don't you agree with me. You better I say to them. It goes over really well. I think. :)

  • Comment by Alien Resident on 2015-09-22 04:18:49

    Your good Meleti, appreciate your time and analysis of this point. Finding it everymore difficult to take these brothers seriously, my problem is, that I want to give them the benefit of doubt, but by putting themselves in the limelight, There theme songs are increasingly sounding like lyrics to songs of Frank Sinatra's song ‘I DID IT MY WAY’
    …. ‘THE END is NEAR’ …. ‘ The FINAL CURTAIN ‘ …,, ‘I DID it MY WAY’ …as they head off to their new headquarters

    • Reply by Khaleesi O on 2015-09-22 12:08:48

      I definitely agree about the songs, my non-JW hubby went with me to the convention and said "music sounds like my Interstellar soundtrack" and then the song of "preaching the good news" on one of the videos sounded like the sunday morning mass chorus..... it disturb me when Anthony Morris says : “This is a theocracy ruled by God. Not a collection of man-made decisions. This is governed from heaven.” .... How did they receive the direction from Heaven? Did an angel came to minister to them?, they don't answer for certain how do you know 'it is govern by heaven'? I mean the growth figures shows the contrary....Great analysis Meleti.

  • Comment by JOE SMITH on 2015-09-22 07:40:36

    New Living Translation
    Now, however, Israel is led by drunks who reel with wine and stagger with alcohol. The priests and prophets stagger with alcohol and lose themselves in wine. They reel when they see visions and stagger as they render decisions.

    • Reply by Anonymous on 2015-09-22 09:32:56

      And, of course, we shouldn't be distracted by the literal wording of Isaiah 28:7. These priests and prophets were "drunk" in the same sense that a drunk driver of today, pulled over by the police, is unable to walk a straight line. The priests and prophets could not 'walk a straight line' in obedience to the Law, but deviated in one direction after another. In the case of the GB, their deviations are called "new light" and "refinements", but such innocent-sounding terms cannot whitewash over their failure to uphold God's word and the true example of Christ.

      • Reply by pearl doxsey on 2015-09-23 12:06:28

        "Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes's and Jambres's folly was also." (2Tim.3:8-9)

  • Comment by Father jack on 2015-09-22 11:49:56

    Dont know , what is he saying here that the brothers are ok to question the teaching of the governing body is this a ploy to flush those out who disagree with them , ? Just let them have thier way if thats what they want ! Is this theocratic warfare again

  • Comment by Anonymous on 2015-09-22 13:09:39

    Per Mr. Morris: "A dogmatic view obviously is undesirable. One other dictionary says, if you say someone is dogmatic you are critical of them because they are convinced that they are right and refuse to consider that other opinions might also be justified. Well, I don’t think we would want to apply this to decisions that come out from the faithful and discreet slave in our time."
    Per letter from WBTS of September 1, 1980 TO ALL CIRCUIT AND DISTRICT OVERSEERS (page 2) [fetched from JWLeaks]: "Keep in mind that to be disfellowshipped, an apostate does not have to be a promoter of apostate views. As mentioned in paragraph two, page 17 of the August 1, 1980 Watchtower, "The word 'apostasy' comes from a Greek term that means 'a standing away from,' 'a falling away, defection,' 'rebellion, abandonment.' Therefore, if a baptized Christian abandons the teachings of Jehovah, as presented by the faithful and discrete slave, and persists in believing other doctrine despite Scriptural reproof, then he is apostatizing. Extended, kindly efforts should be put forth to readjust his thinking. If, however, after such extended efforts have been put forth to readjust his thinking, he continues to believe the apostate ideas and rejects what he has been provided through the 'slave class,' the appropriate judicial action should be taken."
    It's notable that among the few actual references to apostates in the Bible, they all pertain to violent and wicked evildoers, not to persons merely holding different points of view. Such a concept (equating differences of opinion with wickedness and apostasy) NEVER appears in the Bible.
    It is further notable that, while there are just 17 references to "apostate" in the Reference Bible, there are 1,705 references to "apostate*" and 1,113 references to "apostasy" in the 2014 WT library. Someone sure is awfully worried about apostates. Maybe, paranoid about them?
    So, it's not necessary to promote or even speak about "apostate" ideas to be labeled as an apostate. All that is necessary is to 'abandon' or 'reject' the teachings of the faithful and discrete slave - even privately.
    And note VERY carefully: The label of "apostate" is NOT applied to any disbelief in the Bible itself. It is applied with regard to disbelief in the doctrines of the WT.
    That's right. We are not allowed to harbor even personal, private disagreements towards he WT, or else we will be expelled as apostates. We must totally believe the commands and doctrines of men without question - or else.
    And THAT is not being dogmatic? If it's not, perhaps someone could explain it to me, because I can't for the life of me describe their policy with any other word. Can you?

    • Reply by Anonymous on 2015-09-22 17:34:26

      Romans 14:1 - Welcome the man having weaknesses in his faith, but do not pass judgement on differing opinions.

      • Reply by pearl doxsey on 2015-10-01 12:11:32

        "But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.... But I have this AGAINST YOU, that YOU TOLERATE the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she TEACHES and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols." (Rev.2:14,20)
        "We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of strongly entrenched things." (2Cor.10:5,3-4)
        "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and OUT OF THE MOUTH OF THE FALSE PROPHET. For they are exhalations of demons, PERFORMING SIGNS, which go out to the "Kings Of The Earth", to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
        Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." (Rev.16:13-15)
        "For FALSE ANOINTED and FALSE PROPHETS will rise and PERFORM GREAT SIGNS and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand." (Matt.24:24-25)
        "And I saw the beast, the "Kings Of The Earth", and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse AND AGAINST HIS ARMY." (Rev.19:19),
        "These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; AND THOSE WHO ARE WITH HIM, ARE CALLED, CHOSEN, AND FAITHFUL” (Rev.17:14)
        "Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning." (Luke12:35)
        "Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house." (Matt.5:15)

    • Reply by pearl doxsey on 2015-09-23 12:01:57

      "He (false prophet) was granted power (Rev.9:1) to give breath (John 20:22) to the image of the beast (2Thess.2:4), that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast (Rom.1:23,25), to be killed." (Rev.13:15)

  • Comment by peely on 2015-09-22 17:54:28

    But when the sovereign master finishes judging Mount Zion and Jerusalem, then I will punish the king of Assyria for what he has proudly planned and for the arrogant attitude he displays. For he says:
    “By my strong hand I have accomplished this,
    by my strategy that I devised.
    I invaded the territory of nations,
    and looted their storehouses.
    Like a mighty conqueror, I brought down rulers.
    My hand discovered the wealth of the nations, as if it were in a nest,
    as one gathers up abandoned eggs,
    I gathered up the whole earth.
    There was no wing flapping,
    or open mouth chirping.” Isa 10:12-14
    Those who enact unjust policies are as good as dead,
    those who are always instituting unfair regulations,
    to keep the poor from getting fair treatment,
    and to deprive the oppressed among my people of justice,
    so they can steal what widows own,
    and loot what belongs to orphans.
    What will you do on judgment day,
    when destruction arrives from a distant place?
    To whom will you run for help?
    Where will you leave your wealth?
    You will have no place to go, except to kneel with the prisoners,
    or to fall among those who have been killed.
    Despite all this, his anger does not subside,
    and his hand is ready to strike again. Isa 10:2-4

  • Comment by Philip on 2015-09-23 02:33:42

    Hello Meleti and Everyone,
    With all the respect I wonder if perhaps you are misunderstanding what Brother Morris is trying to say. I think that you have to look at his comments and these matters from an inside point of view. The morning worship comment is an in-house discussion. If you don't believe the Governing Body is the divinely authorized teaching authority appointed by Jehovah and assisted by the holy spirit then I can see why you may have an answer-book view of the Governing body as if every formal teaching is equally central and lays the same claim on Jehovah's witnesses. Some teachings are provisional, others deal with prophecy. Also I think you are equating inspiration with the assistance of the holy spirit. The holy spirit works in and through the fallible christian congregation not apart from it nor does it dispense the human factor. Just as in Acts 16, the Apostles and Elders gave these decrees as the teaching authority not because of inspiration but because of the guidance of the holy spirit.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2015-09-23 08:33:54

      Actually, Philip, I think I was misunderstanding what he was trying to say. Apollos pointed this out to me as well. The subtlety of his words eluded us both at first, but Apollos was bugged by the sentence: "Well, this does not apply." I took that to mean he was saying that the Governing Body does not expect us to accept its teachings without question and that it does consider the opinions of others. Then Apollos got it. What Morris III is saying is that an accusation of dogmatism does not apply to the Governing Body because these are not their teachings. These are the teachings of God. They are merely feeding us what God has given them. That is why he concludes by saying, "This is a theocracy ruled by God, not a collection of man-made decisions. This is governed from heaven."
      This is actually far worse than simply being dogmatic. Many people, both inside and outside of religion, are dogmatic about some things. I've known sports fans who are dogmatic with their opinions on their favorite team. ("Fan", after all, comes from "fanatic".) However, the Governing Body goes beyond simply dogmatism. The reason their teachings cannot be questions, and the reason why good Christian brothers and sisters have been disfellowshipped, is that the Governing Body believes it is speaking with the voice of Jehovah. One does not question Jehovah God, after all. One obeys God.
      The reason this is so much worse is that it brings reproach on God's name whenever they make a mistake and have to take back a teaching. Since the teachings are from God, they make God responsible for the errors in teaching and judgment. If I cannot question, but must obey a teaching, because it is from Jehovah, then when the teaching on which I based important life decisions is changed, whom am I to blame? Not the Governing Body, obviously, because they are not dogmatic. That does not apply. "This is a theocracy ruled by God, not a collection of man-made decisions. This is governed from heaven."
      Where have we heard that before?
      “Then the people who were assembled began shouting: “A god’s voice, and not a man’s!”” (Ac 12:22)
      “He stands in opposition and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits down in the temple of God, publicly showing himself to be a god.” (2Th 2:4)

      • Reply by Anonymous on 2015-09-23 18:34:48

        Oh. I'm going to have to take my anti nausea pills and watch it for myself now. If what Apollos and now you say is true.... This is another brick in the wall.

    • Reply by Life2come on 2015-09-23 08:58:24

      The fact that it was publicized on JW Broadcasting no longer makes it an "in house discussion", much like the sisters talks in the Theocratic School, she may be counseling another sister but the lesson was meant for all in the audience. I believe A. Morris got his point across.

    • Reply by menrov on 2015-09-23 09:20:49

      Philip, I see what you are saying in it might well be the case but at the same time, it not uncommon for the WT to use double-speak, meaning for example that on the one hand they say something is green but explain it assuming that it is blue. Or more practical, they claim there are two groups of Christians but at the same time all Christians carry the same obligations.
      However, if Morris meant what you indicate, it is a terrible thing for the Father as over the last 100 years, they have revised over 100 doctrines / views / interpretations (I have complete list). It is like saying that the Father with the help of the Holy Spirit gave darkness, then provided so-called new light but that turned out to be darkness as it was revised again..... In addition, it means that child abuse victims should blame the Father and not the organisation for the applied policies.

  • Comment by Nemorino on 2015-09-23 07:37:41

    Thanks again Meleti; excellent commentary. This broadcast is another example of how much of a miscalculation it was when these GB is all of its divine wisdom decided to put these guys in front of a camera.

  • Comment by Anonymous on 2015-09-23 11:49:20

    In observance of the recent passing of New York Yankees player Yogi Berra, I offer the following "Yogi-ism" that somehow seems perfectly suited to the GB:
    "We have deep depth."

  • Comment by Philip on 2015-09-23 15:39:11

    Hello Meleti and Everyone,
    I hear your concerns and where you are coming from and it's hard to give my opinion in this matter because I don't think I’m able to express all the sensitivities without sounding confrontational. Brother Hayden C. Covington once said “ we have always striven to see that we have the truth before we utter it. We go on the very best information we have but we cannot wait until we get perfect, because if we wait until we get perfect we would never be able to speak.”
    If you believe Jehovah has appointed a teaching authority in the Congregation assisted by the Holy spirit to guide and help her form her conscience. Than part of the role of the GB is to interpret the faith as a decisive force in real life and to apply it to new human situations as they arise. What does God want me to believe and what does God want me to do ? How does God want me to live my life on earth that will be pleasing to him? The Governing body cannot allow themselves to be caught in the dilemma of either defining the issue or saying nothing at all. When there is confusion or doubt concerning matters as to what we are going to believe or practice, it is up to the Discreet Slave to provide the authoritative guidance that is needed at the time. Obviously they can only provide the answer which they are convinced is true, and they are obliged to make every effort to be sure that what they will say is true. But it will not always be possible to provide an answer that could not possibly be seen eventually to need correction.
    One question we may have to ask ourselves is if, Christ ever guaranteed to protect his Congregation from error in all practical problems of life. One analogy that might helps us it's that of a doctor. There is a remote possibility that he will misdiagnose or make a medical error, but that remote possibility is not an impediment to his authority and trustworthiness. The difference with the teaching authority in the Christian Congregation is that is of divine origin and as such it has the assistance of the Holy Spirit. When there is an error from the GB it usually can be traced to a consideration of the evidence or investigation is insufficient which will hinder the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Remember the Holy Spirit works in and through the fallible Christian Congregation not apart from it nor does it dispense the human factor.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2015-09-23 17:08:17

      Hi Philip,
      Your reasoning seems both balanced and sound. The question is, does it reflect the reality of the situation? Let us use the example you give of a doctor. We go to the doctor because we want his professional advice. We trust that he knows what he's talking about because he is after all the professional, a man who has spent years being trained in the field of medicine. However, we may choose not to follow his advice. We may even feel he is wrong about something. Upon learning how we feel, would the doctor stop talking with us and treating us? Would he go to all our friends and family telling them to have nothing to do with us because we had dared to disagree with him? This is precisely what happens if we openly disagree with any teaching of the Governing Body.
      Your argument is based on a premise that has not been proven. The premise is that Jehovah has appointed the Governing Body as the one and only teaching authority for true Christians in this day and age. But there is no evidence that He has done this either now or in centuries past. He has given us the Bible which is all we need. We do not need other men to interpret the Bible for us. True, more experienced brothers can help us understand it, but we must understand it directly. We must not rely on other men to interpret it for us and accept their interpretation as the word of God. If we need other men to interpret the Bible, then we put ourselves in their power. They then become the authority by which we live. They become our rulers, rather than the Christ.
      It is all well and good to say they merely interpret God's word, and it is God who is speaking to us through them, but that is the claim that every religion makes to this day. A faithful Catholic might argue that – to paraphrase your own words – "the role of the Pope is to interpret the faith as a decisive force in real life and to apply it to new human situations as they arise?" How would you prove to him that this is not the case, while proving to him that it is indeed the case with regard to the Governing Body?
      I have been publishing articles on this site for the past five years, and this question has come up many times. To date, no one has been able to provide scriptural proof to support the allegation that Jehovah God has appointed these seven men – or any group of men, for that matter – as his sole channel of divine communication to Christians today. If you can provide such proof, I would welcome it.

      • Reply by Anonymous on 2015-09-23 20:02:19

        You noted, "To date, no one has been able to provide scriptural proof to support the allegation that Jehovah God has appointed these seven men – or any group of men, for that matter – as his sole channel of divine communication to Christians today."
        There actually is proof of a sort, though not the kind you'd prefer. Consider
        Romans 6:16: "Do you not know that if you keep presenting yourselves to anyone as slaves to obey him, you are slaves of him because you obey him, either of sin with death in view or of obedience with righteousness in view?"
        So where does the "proof" come from? From the millions of JWs who present themselves as slaves of the GB to obey them. It is the very belief of all those followers that the GB is appointed by God that sustains the GB's existence, and it provides all the "proof" they need. If anyone should doubt this, we need only observe the great difficulty so many have of leaving the organization. Even in the face of hardships, battles with one's conscience, and in-depth knowledge of the organization's shortcomings, people stil find it extremely hard to let go.
        How can we put an end to this man-made god, and the idolatry they exact from their followers? Walk away, taking your worship (and also your money) with you.

      • Reply by Anonymous on 2015-09-23 22:00:20

        But wasn't the FDS appointed in 1914 and they are part of this overlapping generation Meleti? Isn't that proof? ;-) I have this strange feeling of going around in circles. Maybe that's why it's called circular reasoning ha ha

    • Reply by AFRICAINE on 2015-09-24 03:05:17

      I could live with the fact that men are imperfect and can make imperfect decisions etc etc However we now have a considerable body of information and evidence to demonstrate that there has been contrivance and a very deliberate attempts to mislead, lie, obfuscate and prevaricate around matters of "essential" doctrine. Furthermore, recognizing that you are prone to error [and with the internet we can quantify and qualify the "errors" over the years], don't be dogmatic. And don't coerce and force the membership to accept things as Truth knowing full well that this could change in the near future. Don't dis-fellowship because someone expresses a view that is different.
      The matter of the Generations Teaching is a very good case in point !
      Then for me personally there is still the question: Is this movement - I am in my 6th decade in the WTS - THE approved channel of God on earth today?

      • Reply by Anonymous on 2015-09-24 08:21:23

        Hi Africaine, you asked (open): Is this movement – I am in my 6th decade in the WTS – THE approved channel of God on earth today?
        The answer would be NO, not just because it is the WTS but no organisation at all can claim this as the NT scriptures simply do not support the idea of one organisation having as the only organisation the approval of God and as such is above all others. The bible shows that when there was still a Jewish nation, they, as a whole, could be blessed due to the good actions of their appointed leader.
        Since Jesus, only He [Jesus] is the head of all congregations. There is no scriptural support for a globally operating body or organisation, that should act as intermediary between Jesus and all the congregations globally. Nowadays (NT times), every believer can ask (pray) for the Holy Spirit and our Leader promised it would be given. As an Individual believer, one can be considered by God as righteous and as a child of God. Not because one is a member of an organisation. That view is not found in the NT scriptures.

  • Comment by 1984 on 2015-09-24 02:30:30

    This broadcast sounds more like a Jedi mind trick, with Anthony Morris standing in front of us waving his hands while saying "I'm not here, you can't see me." Well if you're not there Anthony, stop waving you hands!

  • Comment by Anonymous on 2015-09-24 11:59:13

    A cautionary tale about Tony Morris and eisegesis.
    From "Bible Study Methodology" on the Beroean Pickets web site: "This word [eisegesis] describes the method of study where we read into a Bible verse that which we want to see." Let us agree that to read into anything something that we merely WANT to see, when the facts don't support it, is a bad idea.
    As John Sheridan noted in the TV show Babylon 5, "The Vorlons have a saying: Understanding is three-edged sword. There's your side, there's my side, and there's the truth." Somehow, we need to avoid the two "bad sides" of that sword and get to the truth.
    What does that have to do with Meleti's article here?
    Let's start with the title: "The Governing Body Is Not Dogmatic!" We read that title, and a few words of the article, and what conclusion do we immediately jump to? 'The GB is claiming they are not dogmatic', and of course we all instantly disagree with that claim, and proceed to write volumes of words on the subject, which can be found below.
    But, that isn't exactly what was said, is it?
    Let's look extremely closely at what he actually did say:
    First, "Now let’s bring it up to modern day here and, you’ll find this quite interesting - I did, I assume you might find it of interest - but here in verse 4, if you look at the original language about "decrees," I notice the Greek there, the word "dogmata", well, you can hear the word "dogma" there."
    When a word in one language has a similar spelling and meaning in two different languages, they are called "cognates". For instance, "cat" is "gato" in Spanish. Is "dogmata" in Koine Greek the same as "dogma" in English? NO.
    According to Strong's, "dogmata" means "a decree, edict, ordinance".
    According to,
    - A "decree" is "a formal and authoritative order, especially one having the force of law".
    - An "edict" is "a decree issued by a sovereign or other authority; dictum, pronouncement; any authoritative proclamation or command".
    - An "ordinance" is "an authoritative rule or law; a decree or command; a public injunction or regulation; something believed to have been ordained, as by a deity or destiny".
    In contrast, "dogma" means:
    "1, an official system of principles or tenets concerning faith, morals, behavior, etc., as of a church; doctrine, teachings, set of beliefs, philosophy;
    2, a specific tenet or doctrine authoritatively laid down, as by a church; tenet, canon, law;
    3, prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group;
    4, a settled or established opinion, belief, or principle; conviction, certainty."
    What do we learn from this excursion through the dictionary? The Greek "dogmata" is an ORDER that others are expected to OBEY. The English "dogma" is a DOCTRINE or TEACHING that others are expected to BELIEVE.
    What's more, the English word "dogma" did NOT originate with the Greek "dogmata"! Making the incorrect assumption that two similar-looking words are related is called a "false cognate" or "folk etymology". It happens when untrained, uneducated individuals jump to conclusions that are not based in facts.
    We expect the GB, and the Beroean Pickets web site, and indeed we should expect from ourselves, to do better than this, and NOT jump to conclusions that are not substantiated by the facts.
    It turns out that in English, the word "dogma" originates with LATIN, not Greek.
    Here is the quote from regarding the origin of this word:
    "At the turn of the 17th century, dogma entered English from the Latin term meaning “philosophical tenet.” The Greek word from which it is borrowed means “that which one thinks is true,” and comes ultimately from the Greek dokeîn, which means “to seem good” or “think.”
    The origin of the word dogma acts as a reminder to English speakers that now established principles and doctrines were once simply thoughts and opinions of ordinary people that gained popularity and eventually found their way into the universal consciousness of society. Twentieth-century American academic and aphorist Mason Cooley concisely observed that “Under attack, sentiments harden into dogma,” suggesting that dogma is spawned as a defensive act. This idea implies that for every dogma that exists, there is a counter dogma. With so many “truths” out there, there is sure to be a dogma to conveniently fit every set of beliefs."
    Getting back to Tony Morris's statement, why is all of the above important? A close reading of all the Bible passages that contain the Greek "dogmata" show that they are decrees that were expected to be obeyed. They were NOT doctrines that were expected to be believed. It seems clear that those issuing said decrees couldn't care less whether people BELIEVED them. All they cared about was whether they were OBEYED or not. In that sense, we know that the GB is indeed "dogmatic", because what they really want is for everyone to shut up and do as they are told. The morning worship program was entitled, "Jehovah Blesses Obedience" - NOT that He blesses BELIEF. Since the GB likes to conflate Jehovah with itself, the true title of this program is more like, "The GB Blesses Obedience". They bless obedience by offering recognition and advancement in the organization, and by not disfellowshipping you and shunning you for disobeying them.
    So, why the "smokescreen"? Why did Tony Morris even bring up the subject of "dogma" when the Greek "dogmata" in Acts 16:4 isn't even talking about it?
    IT IS A RED HERRING, a tactic to draw attention from what he is really saying. And what would that be? Again, let's listen VERY carefully to his ACTUAL WORDS.
    "Well, things have changed as to what it means in English now."
    That is utterly untrue. "Dogmata" means "a decree, edict, ordinance". Has that understanding changed in any way whatsoever from the day it was written in the first century until now? NO. This is simply a throw-away statement, meant to cover over the fact that Mr. Morris is using baseless, errant folk etymology in trying to make a point, to further distract our attention.
    Next: "It’s certainly not anything we WANT to say the faithful slave is guilty of." (caps mine) FINALLY, Mr. Morris gets to the point.
    Tony Morris NEVER actually says the GB is not "dogmatic". Of course it is. He knows it, we know it, and probably every JW in the world knows it, although they may not have actually put two and two together and realized the concept in plain English. They all know they must obey without question, and that expectation is what being dogmatic is all about.
    The point is, Mr. Morris doesn't WANT himself and the GB to be LABELED as dogmatic.
    Let's continue with the rest of it:
    "Notice here what dictionaries have had to say. If you refer to a belief or a system of beliefs as a DOGMA, you DISAPPROVE of it because people are expected to accept that it is true without questioning it. A DOGMATIC VIEW OBVIOUSLY IS UNDESIRABLE. One other dictionary says, if you say someone is DOGMATIC you are CRITICAL of them because they are convinced that they are right and refuse to consider that other opinions might also be justified. Well, I DON’T THINK WE WOULD WANT TO APPLY THIS TO decisions that come out from THE FAITHFUL AND DISCREET SLAVE in our time." (caps mine)
    How strong is their desire to not be held accountable? Lest we harbor any doubt, note his closing words:
    "Now we have APOSTATES AND OPPOSERS that would like God’s people to THINK that the FAITHFUL SLAVE IS DOGMATIC. And they expect you to accept everything that comes out from headquarters as if it’s dogma. ARBITRARILY decided. Well, this does not apply."
    So, you have it straight from the Governing Body: They don't want you to say or think that the GB is dogmatic, because ONLY apostates and opposers think that way - and YOU don't want to be lumped in with those evil, despicable agents of Satan, do you?
    We should take away two things from this.
    First, we need to recognize this for what it is: A classic case of mind control. Don't even DARE to think the GB has any negative traits whatsoever, because if you do, you are just as bad as those apostates and opposers - and who knows? Maybe if you think the GB really IS dogmatic, it could be added to the long and growing list of "offenses" punishable by disfellowshipping.
    Second, we must be careful not to engage in self-deception, even if it well-intended. We cannot criticize eisegesis in others while (even innocently) doing so ourselves. In this particular article of Meleti's, the title "The Governing Body is Not Dogmatic!" leads the readers of this web site to incorrect conclusions. That this is so can be seen by reading all the preceding viewer comments, which prove that this is exactly the conclusion that people have come to about this subject, without reading Mr. Morris's ACTUAL words for what they REALLY SAY.
    I hope this cautionary note is kindly accepted in the helpful spirit in which it was given. Best wishes to all of you.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2015-09-24 12:29:29

      You do understand that in choosing the title I was engaging in irony, don't you?

      • Reply by Anonymous on 2015-09-24 12:46:54

        Yes, I do, after a fashion; but that is only after being mislead myself for a few days and having time to reconsider the matter. However, based on the many replies below, it does not appear that such understanding was shared by most of your readers. Rather, they seem to have viewed the title as though it's something Tony Morris was asserting, and then they all responded according to that assumption and not based on what he said, but mostly on the title alone of your article. It caused everyone to read into your article something that Mr. Morris didn't actually say. It is a subtle issue, but one we must be careful about.

        • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2015-09-24 13:58:21

          I take your point, and Apollos pointed out something similar to me. See this comment.
          However, I think you could have expressed this better without the overtone of condescension.

          • Reply by Anonymous on 2015-09-24 14:11:24

            There was no condescension intended, whether that be an overtone, undertone or otherwise. As I noted, I too drew the wrong conclusion at first, so if any condescension is merited, I would have to apply it to myself as well. That's why I started off my remarks with "A cautionary tale about Tony Morris and eisegesis." This is not an attack on you or anyone else; it is a caution. Just as the title of this Beroean Pickets article could lead one into a wrong conclusion, Tony Morris's remarks could lead us into a wrong conclusion about the GB.
            The point was that the GB is, on the one hand, making it appear as though they are denying being dogmatic without actually making any factual claims about it, and on the other hand they are using a 'guilt by association' smear technique to control the thinking of others, by making a link between apostasy and calling the GB dogmatic. It is a tactic to suppress independent thinking, by labeling anyone daring to question them as being evil. It's not a nice thing that they are doing, and it's more important to understand that fact and make it known than to bicker about whether the GB is or is not dogmatic, or whether you might have worded something incorrectly.
            There is more at stake than our personal feeling on the matter. We have to see, understand and make known the truth for what it is, not what we think it is. That's a lesson that applies to everyone.
            Saying so is not being condescending. It's just telling the truth.

            • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2015-09-24 14:53:25

              >> "it’s more important to understand that fact and make it known than to bicker about whether the GB is or is not dogmatic"
              By way of example, this carries the implication that bickering is taking place. I don't believe you meant that, and there is no evidence of it, so perhaps it was merely a poor choice of words. Please understand that I agree with the key points you are making. I'm only saying that the truth is more palatable when seasoned with salt. (Col 4:6) Also, as you could see from the comment link I provided, we were already on the same page as you when you wrote your first comment.

              • Reply by Anonymous on 2015-09-24 20:23:51

                Correct; I was not in any way attempting to characterize this exchange as bickering, a thing I dislike. None of my remarks were really intended to be personally directed to you, Meleti, except to the extent that you did in fact write the article in question that we have been discussing.
                An expression I read somewhere recently put it like this: "The important thing is not WHO is right, but WHAT is right." We will all grow old and die, sooner or later (in my case, sooner. But, there is at least a possibility that our words might survive us. In some cases, our words might even be worthy of surviving us, if we choose them carefully enough. That should always be our aim, for all of us.
                P.S. I am curious; how is it you can put letters in bold, when we cannot? Is there a 'secret decoder ring' that only the host of the web site has, to allow you to add formatting, or did I just miss that trick somewhere?

                • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2015-09-25 08:55:14

                  For formatting tips in making comments, check out the FAQ page.

              • Reply by Anonymous on 2015-09-25 00:46:01

                "I’m only saying that the truth is more palatable when seasoned with salt."
                Exactly . . . so while it might be true that the governing body is dogmatic, it should never be stated outright that they are. We need to describe their firmly held convictions and expectations of obedience, with more euphemistic language - "seasoned with salt". ;p

      • Reply by 1984 on 2015-09-24 19:28:44

        If there's any eisegesis in this article, personally I don't see it. As Meleti says, the title is ironic, so perhaps it should read "the GB IS dogmatic," (without the irony) which is exactly the point you make - that they are not denying they are dogmatic (although I'm sure they would if you charged them with it) but just don't want to be labelled dogmatic by opposers (which kind of amounts to the same thing anyway.) in other words, they reserve the right to be dogmatic but not to be held accountable for it. So the irony in the title is well made.
        I guess this is an emotive issue. As far as what we want to see, I, like so many others on here, came to this site to consider an alternative point of view after faithfully obeying the GB for 25 years. I wasn't raised a JW but joined whilst completing my university degree, but unfortunately I didn't go on to do what I had intended because it was 1994 and there didn't seem much point in pursuing a 6 year PhD. I made several other big changes and sacrifices at the time, as a young man, which have all come back to haunt me now. I have paid a HUGE personal price. Finally, I was removed as an elder for speaking up against gross wrongdoing on the body I was serving with (who closed ranks like the Pharisees because they were all implicated) as well as the society's policy on child abuse, disfellowshiping and other issues. So I appreciate the refreshing candor to be found here. I walked away from that body with PTSD, which six years later has morphed into GAD. With a family to support and no qualifications or prospects life is tough. Initially I blamed God, but now I see who really was to blame - the WBTS for their dogmatism, and myself for believing it uncritically. This site is part of the healing process for me now and helping me to rebuild my relationship with God and Jesus.
        It is interesting to me however that (even though I'm fading fast) of the dozen witness friends I have spoken to in the last week who have watched this download and think it is wonderful, like everything else coming out of JW.ORG, not a single one bothered to watch Geoffrey Jackson before the Royal Commission. In fact, when I even raise the subject they immediately get defensive and come out with all the cliches before I've said anything!
        Actually, for me, the word dog-matic is more closely related to Jesus words at Matthew 7:6, but that's just my own eisegesis. :)

        • Reply by Anonymous on 2015-09-24 22:29:24

          You story is very close to mine, brother

  • Comment by Buster on 2015-09-24 15:10:35

    Generation overlapping = Obey
    Blood fractions = obey (well it is still a personal choice)
    Send us Donation cause more money going out then coming in = obey
    Education is evil = obey
    We are the faithful slave ( aka only the Governing Body aka Guardians of Doctrines) = obey
    Fillout your time sheet correctly = Obey
    When Jesus said every Eye will see me....Nope he meant Invisibility = Obey
    1914, 1925, 1975 and other dates of error= obey
    I think I get the Picture, we should Not Obey that is what I got out of this list, I think I am a tad slow granted :)

  • Comment by Philip on 2015-09-24 18:13:50

    You are correct we won't be able to make head way if we don't address first our underlying assumptions and different interpretive paradigms on how we determine the meaning and interpretation of Scripture. Our respective approaches to Scripture are ultimately very different and they lie in our understanding of Ecclesiology. Not to make assertions but I believe the biblical, historical and philosophical evidence points us to a divine teaching authority in the Christian congregation appointed by God. From my perspective I have come to understand that is naive to think that all interpretive disagreements could be resolved through a scientific approach to exegesis and hermeneutics. Exegesis has not been capable of unifying Christians for the past 500 years who believe in the inspiration and authority of Scripture.
    Meleti, all appeals to Scripture are appeals to interpretations of Scripture. As soon as we appeal to scripture we become an authority, we can’t get around the idea of authority no matter how much we try knock it down or how much we try to avoid it we end up in the same place every time. The only real question is: Whose interpretation should be given the final say? Whose exegesis?
    Altough this question has been discussed for the past 32 years. (Who has the teaching authority to interpret scripture? )I believe it needs a good deal of attention and more can be said that will help us move forward in the right direction. I'm still working on my research, and I won't be able to engage in dialogue perhaps until a year from now. But I can direct you to a Brother that can dialogue with you on these matters. He goes by Rotherham and has been an elder for 40 years. Since you are a Jehovah's witness yourself he may prefer to have a private dialogue with you. Here's 2 links that deal partially with this question, his email should be in his website.
    Was there a governing body in the first century?
    Is the WT's interpretation of the faithful slave...accurate?

    • Reply by Anonymous on 2015-09-25 00:57:30

      I think that if someone tries to teach us a doctrine from the Bible we need to see if there is any agenda behind it. For example, if you read Jere 25:12 it is plain that the 70 years for Babylon were finished before the king of Babylon was called to account. Simple maths require the start of the 70 years to be prior to this date. Any normal person would read this and move on. Big deal. But if I'm now going to do a big extrapolated theory using extra-biblical sources like Ptolemy and go outside of the Bible to formulate a chronology that ultimately says that this determines whether I speak for God or not, this requires scrutiny. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. We need to be careful. We should never have to go outside the Bible. It speaks for itself. Prove 1914 with just a Bible? Pretty hard isn't it. Now prove the overlapping generation on top of that, using just the Bible. Can't do it, can you? If we read a good translation with our mind empty of preconcieved ideas the truth becomes apparent. The big problem is doctrine divides. Knowledge puffs up, love builds up.There are simply some things we cannot be dogmatic about, and someone could put up a good argument either way. Like Jesus being Michael, or being raised in his physical body or a different one. Look at our opposing interpretations of Luke 20:34-36 over the years. The problem can most definitely lay in having a preconcieved doctrine in mind and trying to mould the scripture around it. And in being ready to shun someone for not being able to accept our view. That's being dogmatic. Read Mark 9:38-42. The disciples were concerned the man was not "following" them. Jesus words are thought provoking. If religious leaders shun member due to wanting to guard doctrine isn't that potentially beating Christ's sheep? Our focus should be on following Jesus Christ our Saviour, for it is God's will that we recognise the authority he has been given, and follow his example to the best of our ability in our lives right now. Everything else will follow if we read the Bible with this in mind. Do we trust God to use his holy spirit to lead us into the truth? Aren't all things possible with God? 1 Cor 13 is good to reflect on. If we possess all knowledge but don't show love to others, we are nothing. Keeps me humble thats for sure. Sorry, this was a long post

      • Reply by Skye on 2015-09-25 06:35:54

        I think what can help us in our understanding of the Bible is to avail ourselves of different translations. We know there is no such thing as a perfect translation, and there are many ways of conveying the same words/statements. Also to keep in mind is the fact that the Bible is a Hebrew book, and some small knowledge of Hebrew culture is helpful of course.
        The important thing to remember is why Jesus came to the earth, Mark 1:14-15 "After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 'The time has come,' he said, 'the Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the Good News!'"
        Luke 4:43 "But he said, 'I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent."
        A good place to start, don't you think?

      • Reply by JOE SMITH on 2015-09-27 11:12:06

        Thanks for this contribution. One request - could you perhaps ID yourself with a tag eg Anonymous 007 etc so as to distinguish you from other Anonymi who may also be posting!

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2015-09-25 08:15:32

      Thanks for the links, Philip. They're extensive, so it will take me some time to go through, but after a cursory look, it would appear we are on the same page. We did a four-part series on this subject a couple of years ago. You can view it using this link:

    • Reply by Vox Ratio on 2015-09-25 09:01:31

      Hi Philip,
      If every appeal to Scripture is “merely” an appeal to an interpretation of Scripture, then what we are really confronted with is an appeal to authority, or more succinctly, the acceptance of argumentum ad verecundiam as a matter of faith. Of course, this ought to raise an intellectual alarm as it is a well-known informal fallacy and should not be admitted as evidence – neither in relation to the Scriptures, nor any other matter.
      Nevertheless, an even bigger problem is implied in that if all appeals to Scripture really do amount to appeals to interpretative authority, then it is the authority that mandates and not the Scripture. If now it is the authority that mandates, and not the Scripture, then why should the lay-person give regard to the Scripture at all? Moreover, if an authority appeals to Scripture in order to make a point, then does the Scripture make the point or does the authority? If it is the Scripture, then why sanction the authority? However, if it is the authority, then why sanction the Scripture? If, instead, it is both then the only logical recourse is for the lay-person to remain confused since there is no way for them to prove to themselves the conjunct of the two. They are stuck within an inconsistent dyad.
      Sadly, those who espouse an ecclesiastical magisterium in order to support doctrinal positions rely upon an unsupported assumption, namely that knowledge of the Scriptures have really only been given to a select few. Perhaps an authority might like to present such a narrative, but the Scriptures seem to portray a different story (cf. Dan. 12:4; Luk. 10:21). Ergo, we are behoved as Christians to test those who claim God’s agency and to obey the Christ prior to obeying those who claim his appointment. (cf. Rev 2:2; Heb 5:9, 13:17).

      • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2015-09-25 09:33:31

        Well put, Vox Ratio, well put.
        Thank you for a logical and reasoned response.
        It occurred to me that those who would accept both the Scriptures and an interpretive authority are attempting to serve two masters. (Mt 6:24) Eventually they side with one and hate the other. So many of my brothers have sided with the Governing Body in disregard for the weightier law of God.

        • Reply by Anonymous on 2015-09-28 17:28:04

          Hi Malati.
          I disagree. Vox Ratio’s Content might be excellent but I don’t know because of the ‘way it is said’. If you have to ref to a dictionary every time you read a post some will stop reading them. So, not well put Vox, not well put.
          argumentum ad verecundiam
          inconsistent dyad
          ecclesiastical magisterium

          • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2015-09-28 18:17:41

            First of all, it's "Meleti" not "Malati".
            Perhaps in the good old days before computers you'd have a point, but not now. If someone is reading a comment and there is a word or phrase they don't understand, all they need do is copy and paste it into and within seconds they've enriched their vocabulary. Yes, there are times and places when it is required for us to "dumb down" our vocabulary, but I don't see that applying here. Our purpose is to edify and enrich. True, it may require a little effort on our part, but the reward is a better educated mind.

  • Comment by Alien Resident on 2015-09-24 19:03:07

    Interesting quote from watchtower , I must of been blind as a bat not to see it".the Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization, not to individuals, regardless or how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible...the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah's visible organization in mind" (Watchtower, October 1, 1997, p. 587).

    • Reply by AndereStimme on 2015-09-24 23:29:01

      Your reference gets everything right but the year: 1967.

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