“Now the latter [the Beroeans] were more noble-minded than those in Thes·sa·lo·niʹca, for they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.” Acts 17:11
The above theme scripture is the scripture from which the Beroeans.net site theme is taken. The reason for this particular scripture is so important for all Christians is highlighted by the following examination of two JW Broadcasting broadcasts.
The June 2017 Watchtower Study Article entitled “Set Your Heart on Spiritual Treasures” on p.12 para 14 stated, “We must develop good personal study habits and do careful research in God’s Word and in our publications.”. This and similar phrases are oft-repeated throughout the publications of the Organization.
In addition, the Watchtower Study Article of August 2018 entitled “Do You Have the Facts?” on page 3 warned us that “Reports that contain half-truths or incomplete information are another challenge to reaching accurate conclusions. A story that is only 10 percent true is 100 percent misleading. How can we avoid being misled by deceptive stories that may contain some elements of truth?”. It is, therefore, very important to make sure that all speakers and writers research their material before presentation to those who accept what they say as truth.
In the November 2017 Monthly Broadcast on JW Broadcasting, David Splane spent just over the first 17 minutes[i] of the main broadcast of a total of 1 hr: 04 mins: 21 secs, near enough a quarter of the broadcast, discussing accuracy. He explained how the Organization ensures the accuracy of its reference material, citations, and quotations, by carefully researching everything. The following is an extract of the main points and the approximate elapsed time from the beginning in minutes and seconds (in brackets) when the point started to be mentioned in the broadcast.
- The aim is to be as accurate as possible. (1:50)
- Accuracy of statements required. (1:58)
- Accuracy is the responsibility of the article writer. (2:05)
- The writer has to supply references from reputable sources to back up the article. (2:08)
- The Research Department uses those resources to double-check everything. (2:18)
- The use of the most Reliable sources – latest editions of encyclopedias, books, magazines, newspapers, in that order. (Interesting the Bible itself does not get a mention!) (2:30)
- About the information. (3:08)
- Who is the expert who wrote the reference source?
- Does he work for a particular organization?
- Does he have a particular agenda?
- Is it from a dubious source or a special interest group?
- How reliable is the source?
- Any References – The research department requires a copy of the quotation and 2-3 pages on either side, to examine in context. (3:35)
- We cannot distort a quotation; we only use them in the proper context. i.e. We don’t imply evolutionist was supporting creation. (4:30)
- It is necessary to be picky about accuracy. (5:30)
- The article should be well documented with verifiable references. (5:45)
- The Organization goes to the original language to check any non-English quotes, retranslating to check. (7:00)
- Someone’s memory can fail, especially over time, so they always check dates and facts for example in experiences. (7:30)
- Research facilities improve all the time, the Organization has to keep up and check, check, check. (17:10)
- If we find updated information we have to adjust or tweak a statement. (17:15)
- We have to correct the information without hesitation as others rely on its accuracy. (17:30)
- The Organization takes accuracy so seriously. (18:05)
Before we continue, we should mention that Jesus himself warned us in Luke 12:48 “Indeed, everyone to whom much was given, much will be demanded of him; and the one whom people put in charge of much, they will demand more than usual of him.”.
Now, given that the Governing Body are self-proclaimed “guardians of doctrine”[ii], that they authorize all printed articles, and presumably the same for the monthly JW broadcasts, and in light of Jesus’ warning in Luke, one would expect them to be especially careful. In the November 2017 Monthly Broadcast discussed above, they gave a standard which they claim to follow and hence, by which they can be measured.
In addition, would it not be true that taking accuracy so seriously, then it stands to reason that when preparing and giving talks at the Annual General Meeting, which is often when so-called “new light” or “new truths” are revealed, then we would expect the Organization to be extra diligent and careful about the accuracy of all items.
Therefore, with these points in mind let us examine the February 2021 Monthly Broadcast which is part 3 of the Annual General Meeting. As we do so, note the comparison of the promised standard the Organization claims to hold to and the reality.
|Nov 2017 Broadcast Accuracy Claim, Point & Summary||Feb 2021 Broadcast Time, Statement \ Claim||Reality \ Verified Fact||Comment|
|3. Accuracy is Responsibility of Writer, Speaker||(30:18) Challenge with John Chapter 6||Speaker is Geoffrey Jackson (hereafter GJ), Governing Body Member and hence ultimately, he bears the responsibility of accuracy.||Did he prepare the material personally?
Or did the research department?
Whoever prepared the material, GJ is talking without notes to assist him.
|4. Supply references.
5. Research Department double-checks everything.
|(30:22) Look at Map 3B in the Appendix section.||The Map is 3B, but in the Appendix section A7 – Main Events of Jesus Life, of the NWT 2013 Edition.||A lack of accuracy of reference at the outset, which hinders the audience from quickly finding the map themselves.
From what follows neither GJ nor the Research Department, nor the Broadcast team double-checked this short talk of around 2 minutes for accuracy.
|6. Reliable sources?
11. Article should be well documented with verifiable references.
13. Do not rely on one’s memory.
|(30:45) Apostles traveled by boat to Magadan.
Of course, Jesus joined up with them when he walked on the water.
|Yes, but when and in what order? The Reference material, the particular NWT Map 3B he refers to does not make it clear.
He has ignored the Table of Events on the left which shows the trip to Magadan was after the Passover in 32CE, not just before the Passover as per John 6:4.
The bottom map to which he does not refer to is clearer in its timelines, but not referred to.
John 6:1-15 has Jesus up a mountain opposite Tiberius, which is on the West coastline of the sea of Galilee, feeding the 5,000.
John 6:14-21 has the people trying to make Jesus king, which Jesus avoids, and the disciples setting out by boat for Capernaum. (NW from departure NOT West to Magadan.)
Jesus walks on the water to them at this time.
John 6:22-27 states that the crowd found Jesus in Capernaum.
The account of John contains no mention of Magadan which lies to the south of the plain of Gennesaret on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.
|He is relying on source material (NWT 2013 edition) not known for its accuracy. It is not a reliable source, even though he may think it is.
The Big Problem is created by not quoting from the relevant Bible verses.
Big problem by speaking from imperfect memory!
The trip to Gennesaret and Capernaum occurs after the feeding of the 5,000. (Matthew 14:21-22,34)
The trip to Magadan occurs after the feeding of the 4,000. (Matthew 15:38-39)
The account in John 6 is a companion account to that of Matthew 14, NOT Matthew 15 which mentions Magadan.
|2. Accuracy of Statements required.||(30:55) According to John, Jesus started to teach the crowd as he was walking along the seashore.||Incorrect. Fiction.||The statement by GJ is factually incorrect. John 6 neither states nor suggests anything of the kind. The author was also unable to find any statement of this in Matthew 14 or 15 or Mark 6 or 7.|
|2. Accuracy of Statements required||(31:05) By the end of John 6, Jesus is speaking in Capernaum||Correct.||Yet 10% correct, is 100% misleading.
One of the few accurate statements in this entire clip.
|2. Accuracy of Statements required.
9. No distortion of quotation.
|(31:10) The question comes up:
What part of the dialogue was stated in the Synagogue in Capernaum?
and what part was stated along the seashore while walking along?
John 6:59 would indicate that John 6:25-59 takes place in the Synagogue in Capernaum (see John 6:21-71).
There was no walk while teaching, along the seashore of Galilee in the account of John.
|The question raised by GJ is misleading and nonsensical.
Jesus did not walk and did not teach along the west side of the sea of Galilee from Magadan to Capernaum in John 6.
This statement distorts the account of John.
|10. Picky about accuracy.||(31:30) Finding where the break was is the challenge||GJ suggests we go looking for a break that does not exist in reality. It is more than a challenge, it is a wild goose chase, doomed to failure!||If this is the standard of research for the Jesus Life video series, the whole series will be riddled with errors.|
|14. Research facilities improve all the time.
15. Updated information comes all the time.
16. The Organization corrects material without hesitation because others rely on its accuracy.
|After the release of the February 2021 broadcast, John Cedars \ Lloyd Evans Youtube video channel quickly released a video called Magadangate, which pointed out in detail the errors and an overview of the correct matching of the events between the various Gospel accounts regarding the feeding of the 5,000 and the 4,000.
Other ExJW you-tubers were also quick to point out the errors.
|Perhaps the GB needs to get Lloyd Evans to vet all their publications and Broadcasts for accuracy before release?
Why has the Organization not amended the Broadcast with either updated information or a statement of correction at the end? (This had not been done by 27/2/2021)
The material has not been corrected. Surely the reason for not correcting the material could not be because of the embarrassment of having to admit that a Governing Body member was corrected by an apostate atheist ex-JW could it??? Or could it?
On further investigation, it appears that Geoffrey Jackson has confused the events that surround the feeding of the 5,000 with those of the 4,000. The confusion led him to raise a spurious question. Although the author of this article stands to be corrected, a search of the Bible accounts for events surrounding both feeding miracles has not revealed any account related to either of these events which indicate that Jesus walked, preaching, along the seashore to Capernaum. According to the accounts of Matthew 16 and Mark 8, after Magadan / Dalmanutha, he went back across the sea of Galilee to Bethsaida (east of Capernaum), then north to the region of Caesarea Philippi, from village to village not along the western shore of the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum from Magadan.
The parallel accounts to John 6:1-71, of Matthew 14:34, Matthew 15:1-21, Mark 6:53-56 and Mark 7:1-24 do not mention Capernaum but do mention Jesus going to Tyre and Sidon after those events. This is where there is a slight difficulty lies in fitting in the account of John 6:22-40, but not for the reasons stated by Geoffrey Jackson.
However, an examination of the relevant sections of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John by the author reading and comparing them, which required little more than an hour to do so, gives the order of events as follows:
|1||Jesus heals and teaches in an isolated place.||14:13-14||6:32-34||9:10-11||6:1-2|
|2||Jesus feeds the 5,000.||14:15-21||6:35-44||9:12-17||6:3-13|
|3||Some try to make Jesus king||6:14-15a|
|4||Disciples are sent away by Jesus, board a boat, and go towards Capernaum.||14:22||6:45||6:16-17|
|5||Jesus goes up the mountain to pray.||14:23||6:46||6:15b|
|6||A storm arises and the disciples are struggling in the boat.||14:24||6:47-48a||6:18-19a|
|7||Jesus rejoins the disciples by walking on water.||14:25-33||6:48b-52||6:19b-21a|
|8||The disciples land on the plain of Gennesaret, just southwest of Capernaum.||14:34||6:53||6:21b|
|9||Jesus heals people.||14:35-36||6:54-56||6:22-40?|
|10||Pharisees and scribes question Jesus and his disciples about the washing of hands.||15:1-20||7:1-15|
|11||Jesus goes to the Synagogue at Capernaum and teaches there.||6:41-59,
|12||Jesus travels North-West to the coastal region of Tyre and Phoenicia||15:21-28||7:24-30|
|13||From Tyre and Phoenicia, Jesus travels to near the sea of Galilee||15:29||7:31||7:1|
|14||Jesus heals people.||15:30-31||7:32-37|
|15||Jesus miracle feeding of 4,000.||15:32-38||8:1-9|
|16||Jesus and his disciples go by boat to Magadan. (Mark: Dalmanutha, just north of Magadan)||15:39||8:10|
|17||Pharisees and Sadducees test Jesus asking for a sign from heaven.||16:1-4||8:11-12|
|18||Jesus and his disciples cross the sea of Galilee to the east shore once again landing at Bethsaida (east of Capernaum).||16:5||8:13-22|
|19||Jesus performs miracles in Bethsaida.||16:6-12||8:23-26|
|20||Jesus and his disciples leave for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.||16:13||8:27|
It can be seen that in less than 2 minutes Geoffrey Jackson broke nearly every principle on accurate information that David Splane proclaimed that the Organization followed.
How much trust can you put in such men as this Governing Body?
Where was the holy spirit helping him (and any researchers) to recall all things with accuracy?
How can they claim to spirit-directed?
This is more than imperfection, it is glaring incompetence, or arrogance or both, and shows an Organization corrupt to its core, an Organization which claims one thing and does another.
This two-minute clip potentially went through researchers, and at the very least video editing and no-one picked up this glaring error, or perhaps more worryingly if they did, they did not raise the matter. Perhaps, they wrongly assumed that Geoffrey Jackson would only speak accurate information and truth. How wrong they were!
What lesson can we learn from this?
Make sure you always have the true facts.
Do not settle for only 10 percent true, 100 percent misleading.[iii]
The author realizes and fully expects that at least one person may try to point out errors in this article as a result!
This article was prepared from the downloaded Broadcasts and using the NWT 2013 Edition Bible.
Do Beroeans.net articles sometimes contain errors of fact? It is possible as we are imperfect like everyone else, but we make every endeavor to be correct, and will happily correct if this is drawn to our attention. Another point to bear in mind is that the authors of articles on this site do not have a cohort of researchers available to assist them in double-checking everything. These Watchtower review articles are commonly done by ones in full-time employment, and probably family responsibilities to manage as well.
[i] Some 17:11 minutes – We cannot be more precise as it is one’s personal judgment as to exactly when this subject starts and ends. The main talk by David Splane begins at 01:43 and ends at 18:54.
[ii] GB member Geoffrey Jackson in testimony to the Australian Royal High Commission on Child Abuse (ARHCCA)
[iii] The ws 8/18 p.3 in the Watchtower Study Article entitled “Do You Have the Facts?” warned us that “Reports that contain half-truths or incomplete information are another challenge to reaching accurate conclusions. A story that is only 10 percent true is 100 percent misleading. How can we avoid being misled by deceptive stories that may contain some elements of truth?”