“Be very careful to be accurate in all statements you make. Use evidence
honestly. In quotations do not twist the meaning of a writer or speaker or use
only partial quotations to give a different thought than the person intended…” - Qualified to be Ministers, WB&TS, 1967, p.199.
We have published a number of examples before in books such as Awake! to the Watchtower but we provide a new selection here.
The first quotations come from the Society's publication Reasoning from the Scriptures and are found under the heading of ‘Neutrality’, pp.272-275. It will be noticed from the first quotation that the Watchtower are so determined to prove the point of neutrality they even use a quote from someone who believes that parts of the Acts of the Apostles is fantasy. The parts that the Society have omitted are in BOLD CAPITALS.
“A careful review of all the information available goes to show that until the time of Marcus Aurelis, no Christian became a soldier; and no soldier after becoming a Christian, remained in military service. AGAINST THIS CONCLUSION IT CAN BE ARGUED THAT, ACCORDING TO ACTS (X 1-48), CORNELIUS, A CENTURION OF THE ITALIAN BAND, WAS BAPTISED, TOGETHER WITH OTHERS... THAT ACCORDING TO ACTS (XII 12), SERGIUS PAULUS, THE PROCONSUL OF CYPRUS, ‘BELIEVED’... AND FINALLY THAT THE JAILER AT PHILIPPI (ACTS XVI 23-34) WAS BAPTISED... STORIES IN WHICH SUCH MIRACULOUS EMBELLISHMENTS OCCUR CANNOT BE REGARDED AS SOBER HISTORY: WE HAVE IN FACT, SEEN REASON TO HOLD THAT, IN THE FIRST PART OF ACTS, FACT AND FANTASY ARE BLENDED SO AS TO MAKE A RECORD WHICH IS SOMETIMES ALLEGORY AND SOMETIMES LITERAL TRUTH.” - The Rise of Christianity, E.W.Barnes, 1947, p.333.
“The Christians stood aloof and distinct from the state, as a priestly and spiritual race, and Christianity seemed able to influence civil life only in that manner which, it must be confessed, is the purest, by practically endeavouring to instil more and more feeling into the citizens of the state... THOSE ON THE CONTRARY, WHO DETERMINED THAT IT WAS ALLOWABLE FOR A CHRISTIAN TO ACCEPT CIVIL AND MILITARY OFFICES... WHEN THEY APPEALED TO THE CASE OF THE CENTURION, WHOSE FAITH CHRIST HIMSELF HAD PRAISED (LUKE VII) AND OF THE BELIEVING CORNELIUS... EVEN TERTULLIAN HIMSELF, THE WARM OPPONENT OF ARMS AMONG CHRISTIANS, DID NOT FEEL HIMSELF AUTHORISED ALTOGETHER TO CONDEMN THOSE WHO, HAVING BECOME CHRISTIANS WHILE THEY WERE SOLDIERS, CONTINUED IN THEIR OLD PROFESSION, PROVIDED IT WAS UNATTENDED WITH ANY THING WHICH CAUSED THEM TO VIOLATE THEIR FIDELITY AS CHRISTIANS.” - History of the Christian Religion and Church During the First Three Centuries, Augustus Neander, 1848, p.168.
“BANNERS, STANDARDS AND ENSIGNS ARE FREQUENTLY MENTIONED IN THE BIBLE. ‘EVERY MAN OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL SHALL PITCH BY HIS STANDARD, WITH THE ENSIGN OF THEIR FATHER’S HOUSE.’ (NUM 2:2)... Early flags were almost purely of a religious character... The national banner of England for centuries - the red cross of St George - was a religious one; in fact the aid of religion seems ever to have been sought to give sanctity to national flags, and the origin can be traced to a sacred banner.” - Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1949, Vol.9, p.343.
The following quotes are taken from Reasoning from the Scriptures, pages 69-70 and 179-182 dealing with various festivals.
“The later Hebrews looked on the celebration of birthdays as part of idolatrous worship, a view which would be abundantly confirmed by what they saw of the common observances associated with those days. YET THE LANGUAGE OF JEREMIAH, TAKEN IN CONNECTION WITH THAT OF JOB, DOES FURNISH SOME GROUND FOR THINKING THAT BIRTHDAYS IN GENERAL WERE JOYFULLY REMEMBERED, JOB 3:3 &C; JER 20:14 &C.” - The Imperial Bible Dictionary, P.Fairburn, 1874, Vo1. 1, p.225.
“The reason for establishing December 25 as Christmas is somewhat obscure, but it is usually held that the day was chosen to correspond to pagan festivals that took place around the time of the winter solstice, when the days began to lengthen, to celebrate the ‘rebirth of the sun’... The Roman Saturnalia (a festival dedicated to Saturn, the god of agriculture, and to the renewed power of the sun) also took place at this time, and some Christian customs are thought to be rooted in this ancient pagan celebration... IT IS HELD BY SOME SCHOLARS THAT THE BIRTH OF CHRIST AS ‘LIGHT OF THE WORLD’ WAS MADE ANALOGOUS TO THE REBIRTH OF THE SUN IN ORDER TO MAKE CHRISTIANITY MEANINGFUL TO PAGAN CONVERTS... BUT ALMOST FROM THE FIRST, CHRISTIANS HAVE GENERALLY REGARDED CHRISTMAS AS BOTH A HOLY DAY AND A HOLIDAY. FOR CHRIST’S BIRTH BROUGHT A NEW SPIRIT OF JOY INTO THE WORLD…” - Encyclopaedia Americana, 1977, Vol. VI, p.666.
“There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the apostolic Fathers. The sanctity of special times was an idea absent from the minds of the first Christians... THE FIRST CHRISTIANS CONTINUED TO OBSERVE THE JEWISH FESTIVALS, THOUGH IN A NEW SPIRIT, AS COMMEMORATION OF EVENTS WHICH THOSE FESTIVALS HAD FORESHADOWED. THUS THE PASSOVER WITH A NEW CONCEPTION ADDED TO IT OF CHRIST AS THE TRUE PASCHAL LAMB AND THE FIRST FRUITS FROM THE DEAD, CONTINUED TO BE OBSERVED, AND BECAME THE CHRISTIAN EASTER. ALTHOUGH THE OBSERVANCE OF EASTER WAS AT A VERY EARLY PERIOD THE PRACTICE OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH…” - Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910, Vol. 8, p.828.