“We distinguish the inspired statement of truth from the inspired statement of error.” – 1 John 4:6.
[From ws 4/19 p.14 Study Article 16: June 17-23, 2019]
Another cherry-picked verse fragment taken completely out of context and misapplied as the theme text.
Please read the scripture in its full context. Both 1 John 3 and 1 John 4 are talking about showing love to one another and thereby pleasing God and Christ. Back in the 1st Century the early Christians had gifts of the spirit, which included prophecy, speaking in tongues, teaching and evangelising. However, it seems by the time the Apostle John wrote this letter late in the first century the demons were attempting to imitate the Holy Spirit. John therefore, gave them a few simple tips on how to make sure their “gift” was not from the demons.
Notice how the Beroean Study Bible reads:
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you will know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and is already in the world at this time. 4 You, little children, are from God and have overcome them, because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. That is why they speak from the world’s perspective, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. That is how we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception.”
The main test was simple. Did their spirit of prophesy, for example, confess or speak in agreement with the fact that Jesus had come in the flesh? John had first hand knowledge that Jesus had come in the flesh. Those who were God fearing truly would listen to John and his companions. This identified them as having the spirit of truth. Those not confessing Christ had the spirit of deception. John then continued talking about love, the second test.
Where does this article on the resurrection stand with regard to confessing the Christ? After all, Jesus Christ said to Martha in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life”. Therefore, the article would surely highlight Jesus often. Yet, a search of the article reveals Jehovah is mentioned 16 times and God, 11 times for a total of 27 times. However, Jesus is mentioned 5 times and Christ 5 times—a total of 10 times. Why is Jehovah mentioned 3 times as often as Jesus? Are they trying to emulate or become the Antichrist? Oddly, Satan gets mentioned 22 times! We leave you our reader to come to your own conclusion.
How did the Apostle John say we could identify “inspired error”? Was it not by what people did not believe and did not teach about Jesus?
The actual article contains very little of substance and is very general in content.
However, the following points were worth mentioning.
Paragraph 13 suggests, “If you are unsure about a certain custom or practice, go to Jehovah in prayer, asking in faith for godly wisdom. (Read James 1:5.) Then follow up by doing research in our publications”.
We would concur with “go to Jehovah in prayer”, but do not waste time researching in the Organization’s publications. They do not have a large or exhaustive selection of funeral customs and their origins. You would be better served by searching online encyclopaedias for customs relevant to your country or the nationality involved. Then you can research the origins of the specific custom. Then you can make a conscience-based decision, using a Bible-trained conscience and Bible principles instead of blindly following someone else’s opinion should the custom happened to be covered in a publication of the Organization.
This is how you will “train your “powers of discernment,” and these powers will help you to “distinguish both right and wrong.”—Heb. 5:14” (Par.13). Following their suggestion to “consult the elders in your congregation” is a means of keeping you under their control because of becoming dependent on them. It also encourages mental laziness.
Interestingly, paragraphs 6 and 20 make no mention of the first resurrection, but only the earthly resurrection. (Witnesses view this as the earthly resurrection of the righteous, but really, after the first resurrection, only the resurrection of the unrighteous follows). The JW distortion of the two resurrection hopes (Acts 24:15) cause unnecessary distress at times; certainly among Jehovah’s Witnesses married couples. This happens more frequently than one might anticipate; the author knows of two couples to which this happened and nearly a third. The upsets occur when one spouse claims to be anointed and the other spouse looks forward to the hope of everlasting life on earth.
In conclusion, for the most part a reasonable article, with the exceptions mentioned above.