“Instruct me, O Jehovah, about your way. I will walk in your truth.” – Psalm 86:11
[From ws 11/18 p.8 January 7 – 13, 2019]
The opening paragraph alerts us to the facts that in many places people return up to nearly 10% of what they buy from shops and nearly 30% of online purchases.
“Perhaps the buyers found that the item did not meet their expectations, was defective, or was just not to their liking. So they decided to exchange the item or to ask for a refund.”
While many countries have legislation that gives consumers a legal right to return defective goods, only larger businesses tend to offer exchange for items not to a person’s liking. Recognizing that distance purchasing is more difficult as the consumer cannot see the product physically only virtually, there is often greater return/refund rights for such purchases.
Many if not all salesmen exaggerate the description, benefits, versatility, etc. of goods they sell. As buyers we have to be wary and discerning and question dubious claims, so that we are not duped. The same applies for Bible truth.
When they find out they have been duped, consumers can get very upset. But what if you’ve been duped into wasting or misusing years of your life?
It is true ‘we would never want to return, or ‘sell’ the accurate knowledge of Bible truth that we have bought.’ (Par. 2) To that end, as we awaken to the real truth about teachings we have learnt from the Organization, we need to be careful not ‘to throw the baby out with the bath water’ as the saying goes. We need to be able to carefully discard the untruth we were taught and believed while keeping hold of the accurate knowledge we gained from the Bible. That this is difficult to do—sorting the wheat from the chaff as it were—has to be acknowledged, but it is necessary if we are to please our Father and his designated King, Christ Jesus.
Paragraph 3 tries to convince us that, “Sadly, though, some of God’s people have lost sight of the value of the truth they obtained—and have even sold it.” This is grudging acknowledgement that many are currently leaving the Organization. The real problem is the continued sale and teaching of counterfeit “truth” rather than real “truth”.
Why and How some sell the truth (Par.4-6)
This section gives some reasons why many no longer remain Jehovah’s Witnesses. Let us list them and examine what is behind them.
- “Some were stumbled by an adjusted understanding of a Bible passage”. The presumption here is that the “adjusted understanding” is true. But if the adjusted understanding is a lie, then surely it would be wrong to “buy” it. Take, for example, the lie of the “overlapping generations” doctrine which is promoted without any scriptural basis and which stretches the English language to a ludicrous degree.
- “or by what a prominent brother said or did.” Could they be referring to the negative effect produced by Geoffrey Jackson’s misleading testimony before the Australian Royal Commission on Child Sexual Abuse.
- “Others were offended by Scriptural counsel they received” In my experience, the vast majority of elders rarely give true scriptural advice, it is usually their own opinion backed up with a few cherry-picked scriptures taken out of context. It is therefore not surprising if the recipients get offended.
- “or they let go of the truth because of a personality clash with a fellow Christian.” This raises the question, was the one who remained a Witness displaying a true Christian spirit? If so, then they would have a true Christian personality and it would be difficult to dislike or have a clash with such a person. If they were not displaying a true Christian spirit, then they have potentially stumbled the one leaving.
- “Still others took sides with apostates and other opposers who misrepresented our beliefs.” Given that neither the Organization nor Witnesses on the carts are prepared to engage and try to disprove the so-called misrepresentation, then this claim of misrepresentation is merely a matter of opinion. One might ask, why do they not list even a single belief that has been misrepresented? And exactly how are these beliefs being misrepresented?
This has resulted in “some deliberately…“drawing away” from Jehovah and the congregation. (Hebrews 3:12-14)”. This wording makes leaving the Organization synonymous with leaving Jehovah which is simply not the case. In fact, it is love for Jehovah which causes many to “sell” the false “truths” they were taught by JW.org.
The paragraph also goes on to suggest that leaving the Organization is synonymous with leaving Jesus. Yet, for so many of us, it was only after we left the Organization that we finally began to draw close to the Son of God, realizing that all the while we were in the Organization, we were minimizing his supreme role in God’s purpose. (Acts 4:12)
How can we avoid selling the truth (Par.7-13)
Paragraph 7 states “We recognize that we cannot pick which truths to accept and which to ignore. After all, we must walk in “all the truth.” (John 16:13)” That is a true statement about real Bible Truth. However, many things taught by the Organization are not Bible truth, but rather men’s opinions about the Bible. Given that the Organization’s version of “truth” changes regularly, we actually do need to pick and choose between true and false teachings so that we can walk in all the truth.
In fact, how can we obey John 16:13 and remain a full-fledged Jehovah’s Witnesses, actively teaching JW doctrines to householders met in the field ministry? Is there a single doctrine unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses that is scripturally true? Doctrines such as:
- the overlapping generation;
- the 1914 invisible presence of Christ;
- the 1918/1919 heavenly resurrection;
- the 1919 appointment of the Governing Body;
- the baptismal vow of dedication;
- the Other Sheep as friends of God without a mediator;
- the systematic rejection of the emblems;
- the shunning of child abuse victims who choose to leave.
(This list could go on for a couple of pages easily.) We’ve shown scripturally how these and other JW doctrines are false in the pages of this and the archive site.
Given this, how can one remain in all the truth and yet actively practice and promote JW theology?
What the Article is Really About
From the title, one might assume the article is about walking in God’s truth as explained in his word the Bible. However, this illustration from the opening page shows the true aim of the article.
Like so many articles before it, this one shows that the Organization wants its followers to spend their valuable time working for Organizational directives and projects. It wants them to avoid activities like browsing the internet that might lead them to learn about Bible truth and see how JW teachings are unscriptural, or that might reveal the social harm the Organization does through its policies on shunning and the mishandling of cases of child sexual abuse. Likewise, it wants Witnesses to break off all normal contact with the world by causing them to avoid even innocent or scripturally neutral celebrations and customs. It wants them to avoid education that might open their minds to critical thought and which might give them some financial stability, making them less vulnerable to mental manipulation. This is what “walking in truth” means within the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and this is what the meat of this article covers in paragraphs 7 thru 12.
This is not to suggest that there isn’t some valid Bible reasoning in these paragraphs, but rather that they have been bent to serve, not the purpose of the Most High, but rather that of men.
Strengthen yourself to walk in the truth (Par 14-17)
Next, the article correctly encourages us to:
“First, continue to study the precious truths of God’s Word and meditate on them. Yes, buy truth by regularly setting aside time to feed on the precious truths of God’s Word. You will thus deepen your appreciation for the truth and strengthen your resolve never to sell it.” (Par. 14)
“As we use the Bible to help others to buy truth and reject falsehoods, we embed God’s sayings in our own mind and heart” (Par. 15)
If only the Organization would heed its own advice and properly use the Bible, in context, to teach truth, instead of the Organization’s version of truth. Additionally, if the Bible does not make it crystal clear, why not leave it up to the individual’s conscience, instead of creating Pharisaical rules based on man’s wisdom which is essentially, the wisdom of the world, since it does not originate with God.
Although it may be hard work to filter out real truth from the Organization’s McTruth, the effort will pay huge and eternal dividends.
In conclusion, let us be firmly resolved to echo the words of King David when he said “I will walk in your truth.”—Ps. 86:11.