Tuesday, 26 February 2008

No Independent Study

In a Kingdom Ministry towards the end of last year the Question Box was:

“Does ‘the faithful and discreet slave’ endorse independent groups
of Witnesses who meet together to engage in Scriptural research or debate? -
Matt. 24:45, 47.”

The answer began very simply, “No, it does not.”

It then goes on to explain that not heading this advice there are, in various parts of the world, a few members of the organisation have actually formed groups to do independent research on Bible-related subjects. Some have even had the audacity to pursue an independent group study of Biblical Hebrew and Greek so as to analyse the accuracy of the New World Translation. Still others we are told have explored scientific subjects relating to the Bible and have then created websites and chat rooms for the purpose of exchanging and debating their views. They have even held conferences and produced publications to present their findings and to supplement what is provided at our Christian meetings and through our literature.

I know many churches that would be delighted that their people were searching the Scriptures. Indeed the very Bible that the Governing Body is said to feed people with tells us to check all things out carefully (1 Thessalonians 5:21) and that it was noble people in Berea that investigated what Paul had said to see if these things are so (Acts 17:11).

The answer went on to say:

“Under the guidance of his holy spirit and on the basis of his Word of truth,
Jehovah provides what is needed so that all of God's people may be ‘fitly united
in the same mind and in the same line of thought’ and remain ‘stabilized in the
faith.’ (1 Cor. 1:10; Col. 2:6, 7) Surely we are grateful for Jehovah's
spiritual provisions in these last days. Thus, ‘the faithful and discreet slave’
does not endorse any literature, meetings, or websites that are not produced or
organized under its oversight.”

If we examine this carefully we will note the contradiction in what is said. The guidance comes from the Holy Spirit and if each person is seeking the Holy Spirit he or she will come to the same conclusion because the Holy Spirit only teaches one thing. However, it is not whether the Holy Spirit approves or not it is whether they approve or not. This is not leadership but control. They go on:

“It is commendable for individuals to want to use their thinking ability in
support of the good news. However, no personal pursuit should detract from what
Jesus Christ is accomplishing through his congregation on earth today. In the
first century, the apostle Paul warned about getting involved in exhausting,
time-consuming subjects, such as ‘genealogies, which end up in nothing, but
which furnish questions for research rather than a dispensing of anything by God
in connection with faith.’ (1 Tim. 1: 3-7) All Christians should strive to ‘shun
foolish questionings and genealogies and strife and fights over the Law, for
they are unprofitable and futile.’-Titus 3:9.”

Now we have the red herring – when you check out God’s Word and what the original text means you are not spending time in genealogies that end up with further questions nor are you engaging in unprofitable actions – you are allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal to you richness and as it were breathe into you the very sayings that were God-breathed (1 Timothy 3:16) out in the first place. Rather than encouraging people to grow in God and seek His revelation, they are condemning them to second-hand information that may or may not be true.
Finally the answer gives some clear advice:

“For those who wish to do extra Bible study and research, we recommend that they
explore Insight on the Scriptures, All Scripture Is Inspired of God and
Beneficial, and our other publications, such as those that discuss the
prophecies found in the Bible books of Daniel, Isaiah, and Revelation. These
provide abundant material for Bible study and meditation, whereby we can be
‘filled with the accurate knowledge of [God's] will in all wisdom and spiritual
comprehension, in order to walk worthily of Jehovah to the end of fully pleasing
him as [we] go on bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the
accurate knowledge of God.’-Col. 1:9, 10.”
So there we have it; our words are as rich and fulfilling as the Lord’s Word. Study what we have said and you will get light and revelation but study the Scriptures themselves and you might end up disagreeing with us. I wonder why?

One Former Witness sent the article in with the following comment:

“An excellent example of the extent of the information control the Society now
insists on. Even studying Biblical Greek and Hebrew is frowned upon. It is
presented here as something wrong because the motive of those pursuing such a
study is to highlight inaccuracies in the NWT.

“I can remember a few
years ago thinking about studying Biblical Greek. My motive was never to
criticise the NWT, it was purely to have a better understanding of Scripture,
unfortunately as an elder I was on a treadmill of activity that didn’t allow
time to do this anyway.

“Surely others too have studied Hebrew and Greek
with the motive of having a better understanding of Scripture; I can’t imagine
that it’s too much of a wild guess to say that brothers have done this and then
found the inaccuracies of the NWT. Presenting such study here as wrong, the
Society obviously wants to prevent others from discovering these inaccuracies.

“Interesting too, the Revelation book and others are described as
'accurate knowledge of God’s will’, even though they keep having to change it
because it’s wrong, as seen with the recent alterations.”

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