“Stop being afraid. From now on you will be catching men alive.” – Luke 5:10
[Study 36 from ws 09/20 p.2 November 02 – November 08, 2020]
This week’s Watchtower Study article is aimed at trying to encourage Bible Studies to go preaching and get baptized.
Paragraph 3 mentions that “Jesus’ first disciples were motivated, knowledgeable, courageous, and self-disciplined.” and these qualities no doubt helped them to become effective fishers of men. So, how would you describe most brothers and sisters you know? Would it be “obligated, lacking knowledge of the Bible and many times, even understanding the Organization’s teachings, self-flagellating rather than self-disciplined”?
Is it true that “we preach because we love Jehovah” or because we feel obligated to preach the way the Organization instructs us so that we do it through F.O.G. (Fear, Obligation, Guilt). How many of us truly love(d) going from door to door? Or would we have preferred what is termed “informal witnessing” if only we were given more encouragement and help to do so?
A question to ponder is that paragraph 5 claims our love for Jehovah “is our primary motivation for doing this work”, so would you love a friend more than a kind loving father? Would it not be a kind loving father? Is it not reasonable to conclude then that may be part of the problem may be because we are (wrongly) taught by the Organization that we can only be friends of God, rather than sons of God?
Paragraphs 8-10 encourage us to deepen our knowledge of where the fish are! Is it not important to increase our knowledge of the Scriptures, so that what we learn from God’s word motivates us to talk to others? “Jesus gave clear instructions to his disciples on how to fish for men. He told them what to carry, where to preach, and what to say. (Matt. 10:5-7; Luke 10:1-11) Today, Jehovah’s organization provides a Teaching Toolbox that contains tools that have proved to be effective.” Did you notice the subtle shift from Jesus’ clear instructions and the Bible to the Organization’s tools? Should not Jesus clear instructions be sufficient for us? Or is it perhaps more that Jesus did not give clear instructions that were relevant to the future, and hence the Organization has had to make them up, so as to grow as a religion?
What about those tools provided by the Organization? They are:
- Contact cards: These have only been available for a few years from the Organization, yet contact cards have been used by businesses since the 17th[i]
- Invitations: These have long been used by the Organization, but they did not invent them. Invitations by individuals and Organizations have been in use since the Middle Ages.[ii]
- Tracts: The tracts referred to in the study article only date from 2013 onwards, although the Organization has used tracts almost since its start in the 1870’s. However, tracts are not unique to the Organization. Tracts have been in use since the 7th John Wycliffe used them widely in the 14th century and so did Martin Luther in the early 16th century.[iii]
- Magazines: Magazines of different kinds started back in the early 1700’s.[iv] The Watchtower started in 1879, and the Awake some 40 years later in 1919.
- Videos: The first video was invented and made in 1888.[v] VHS videos date from the mid 1970’s. The first video by the Organization was a VHS video and was released in 1978.
- Brochures: Brochures are similar to pamphlets and date back to the very start of printing in the early 16th
- Books: As with tracts and magazines, the Organization has published books from almost the beginning in the 1870’s. However, books in general, at least printed books, started with the invention of the printing press back in the early 1500’s. Handwritten copies started hundreds of years earlier.
Are these so-called Teaching tools anything as special as the Organization would like us to believe? No, if anything, the introduction of these tools has come long after the initial use by other Organizations and religions.
Paragraph 19 states “In such lands, a fisherman’s sense of urgency may intensify as the fishing season draws to a close. As fishers of men, we have this additional incentive to preach now: The end of this system is fast approaching! The time left to share in this lifesaving work is greatly reduced.”
True, the end of this system is approaching, but whether it is fast or slow is only a matter of personal perspective. It is approaching at the same rate as it has for the nearly 2,000 years since Jesus died. The date has not been moved forward or backward, indeed we do not know the day or the hour (Mark 13:32). Also, why should the closeness or distance be any “additional incentive”? If we are doing our best to serve God and Christ at all times, which we should be, we do not need an additional incentive. The wording in the quote in paragraph 19 is solely designed to try and put psychological pressure on the readers to do more than they reasonably should.
To give an example of how this psychological pressure affects brothers and sisters. A couple (who have since passed away) went “to serve where the need was great” in the early ’70s. They sold up their mortgage-free house, in anticipation that Armageddon would come soon. 1975 (when Armageddon was meant to come according to the Organization) came and went, their health began to deteriorate. They eventually ran out of money having lived off of the money from the house sale. They returned to their home country some 12 years later and had to live of off the state and were dependant on other brothers and sisters for monetary assistance to make ends meet until their deaths. The first part of their experience is in the Organization’s literature because it fits the Organization’s agenda, but the results this couple received because of heeding the Organization are omitted, no doubt because that would make others think twice before following such a course.