“O Jehovah, . . . the very essence of your word is truth.”—Psalm 119:159-160
[From ws 10/18 p.11 December 10 – December 16]
The contents page has the following summary relevant to this article:” How can we use our Teaching Toolbox to teach the truth in our ministry?”
Paragraph 2 states “To that end, we keep honing our skills in using the Bible, the principal tool that we use to teach the truth about Jehovah, Jesus, and the Kingdom”
Therefore, given that the Bible is (and should be) the principle tool that we use then one would naturally expect that to teach the truth of the Bible and following 2 Timothy 2:15 and handling the word of truth aright, then we would find the article discussing how to use the Bible better.
But do we? No. Rather than sticking to God’s inspired word, we get the following statement. “To help us succeed in our ministry, Jehovah’s organization has designated other basic tools that we need to be very familiar with. We refer to them as being in our Teaching Toolbox.”
Are they trying to infer we cannot succeed in teaching “the truth about Jehovah, Jesus and the kingdom” without the Organization’s designated tools? We would agree, certainly we cannot ‘teach the truth’ as taught by the Organization without their tools. Perhaps, that is the real problem. For example, would you understand just from reading the book of Daniel that the kingdom was established invisibly in heaven in 1914? Most Witnesses struggle to explain 607 to 1914 with the Organization’s literature, let alone without it.
If the ‘truth’ is so difficult to teach without the Organization’s tools then how did thousands of first century Jews and Gentiles become Christians? Was it not because they had the spirit of God to guide them to all the truth? (John 16:13)
Did Jesus not tell us at Acts 1:7 that “It does not belong to you to know the times or seasons that the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction”? Jesus did not say in answering their question, “Just read the prophecy of the great tree of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as related by the prophet Daniel and understand that it has a secondary fulfillment. This secondary fulfillment will allow you to know the times and seasons that God has placed in his own jurisdiction. Oh and the measurement for the seasons I will give you in about 60 years from now. Oh, and by the way, even though I said “every eye will see me, actually, I’ll be invisible.”
How about briefly examining what Jesus really taught about the Kingdom?
In Matthew 24:36 Jesus said “Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father”.
He also said in Matthew 24:26-27 “Therefore, if people say to YOU, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; ‘Look! He is in the inner chambers,’ do not believe it. 27 For just as the lightning comes out of eastern parts and shines over to western parts, so the presence of the Son of man will be.”
In far less words Jesus taught, you will see me [I will not be invisible] and no one except God knows when that time will be. So simple. No tools or interpretation needed.
Paragraph 3 then starts to discuss the “Teaching toolbox”. It says “During the remaining time that we have to witness, our focus must be on starting Bible studies and teaching people the truth”.
There are at least 3 issues with this statement.
The first issue is that the Bible gives no way of knowing when the day of judgement will come. So we could have a matter of days, weeks, months, years or decades.
The second is that the Organization is mandating our focus should be on Bible studies. Yet Jesus’ emphasis to his disciples in the last 24 hours or so before his arrest and death was to show love to one another, mentioning love nearly 30 times.
The third issue is the problem of truth. The Organization is convinced they have the truth and seem to have stopped following the counsel “Keep testing whether YOU are in the faith, keep proving what YOU yourselves are.” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Paragraph 6 discusses contact cards and makes the assertion “Thus far, over 400,000 online Bible study requests have been received on jw.org, and hundreds more are requested every day”. Now, in the past perhaps we would have accepted without question the implication that the contact card generates many Bible study requests.
Now we should raise the following questions:
- How many Bible studies did this result in?
- Is the amount of Bible studies increased compared to before the contact card?
- How long has it taken for the 400,000 requests to amass?
- Only with this information can one make a proper judgement of the success of the contact card. The fact that these vital facts are not supplied would tend to indicate they are putting the usual positive spin on a problem they want to hide.
Businesses have been using contact cards for years, and contact cards have been already used by other religions, such as the Mormons. Yet, the Organization makes it out to be some fantastic new ‘provision or tool from Jehovah’.
Paragraph 8 is encouraging us to to invite people to the meetings as “they will see a sharp contrast between the spiritually rich environment at our meetings and the spiritually devastated condition within Babylon the Great.”.
Certainly many Churches may be in a spiritual desert, but is that truly much different from the dumbed-down provisions that Witnesses receive these days?
Even the unverifiable (as usual) experience doesn’t discuss how well the invitations we are being asked to make actually work in practice, as this was a chance walk-in. Furthermore, this was “some years ago”. One has to ask, would they have the same reaction today, with the Theocratic Ministry school dumbed-down to a shadow of its former self? Or with the Watchtower Study only effectively allowing the brothers to regurgitate the material in the paragraph.
Paragraphs 9 & 10 promote the tracts which contain very little of substance.
In paragraphs 11-13 the magazines are highlighted. Yes, the ones that have been reduced from 32 pages every two weeks to 16 pages every 4 months (Awake), or 32 pages per month to 16 pages every 4 months (public edition Watchtower).
We then have two more unverifiable experiences to promote the suggestions.
This is followed by two more paragraphs promoting brochures and then books published by the Organization.
The final paragraph claims “But our objective is not just to distribute literature; nor should we leave literature with people who show no interest in our message”. This however, belies the whole thrust of this article which is to make more use of the literature produced either on paper or in electronic format by the Organization. Actual use of the Bible is not mentioned.
Let’s, for a change, give the last word to the Scriptures. Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is alive and exerts power and is sharper than any two-edged sword and pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of joints and [their] marrow, and [is] able to discern thoughts and intentions of [the] heart.”
Simply put, Why do we need any other tools when we have such a mighty all-purpose tool?
We should scrap the man-made tools and use the God-given tool if we wish to have success in helping others to understand truth from God’s word.