This blog is inspired by the MUST READ book "Crisis of Conscience" by former governing body member Raymond Franz,who is nothing but kind and respectful and matter of fact in this gem of a book.
"Today several millions of Jehovah's Witnesses believe and teach that Christ's invisible presence began in 1914.Very few realize that for nearly 50 years the WT society announced and heralded,in their role as prophet,that such invisible presence began in 1874.As late as 1929,15 yrs. AFTER 1914,they were still teaching this." p.183-184,"Crisis of Conscience"
1.the WT taught for DECADES that Christ began his kingdom rule in 1878.
2.The WT taught for HALF A CENTURY that the "last days" began in 1799
3.For more than 40 yrs. the WT taught that the resurrection of anointed Christians began in 1878.
4.From its beginning,the WT taught that the "harvest" would run from 1874 to 1914 and that by 1914 the destruction of all human institutions of this world would take place.
5.They say now that Babylon the Great fell in 1919.For FOUR DECADES they said 1878,with its COMPLETE destruction culminating in 1914 or 1918.
6.This list could go ON and ON.
The cause for the change?To quote Franz "the failure of their published expectations to be realized."
And those who didn't believe them were not only stumbled,but labelled and shunned.After all,how could they remain a JW unhypocritically if they didn't believe every ounce of information out of the mouths of the governing body since that is the society's dogmatic unjustified standards?To wholeheartedly,and without question,believe everything they say,no matter what ,to remain "acceptable".Otherwise,you would be a risk to the unity of the organization's followers,right?Well,the solution is to STOP BEING DOGMATIC about issues that have nothing to do with anyone's salvation,that Christ and the apostles did not teach as THEIR good news.And to actually read the bible and BELIEVE what it says about nonessential teachings and legalistic standards not being necessary for salvation,like the Pharisees believed they were.And to also believe Jesus when he said it wasn't up to us to know the dates or seasons.Keep on the watch by all means.But stop speculating specific dates that the bible says belongs ONLY to the father to discern.Jehovah's Witnesses often compare their false predictions to the apostles premature expectations as told at Acts 1:6 yet completely ignore what Jesus said rebuking them in the very next verse.There are no more excuses.
Acts 1:7:He (Jesus) said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.(NIV)
These false predictions weren't just passingly proclaimed as possibilities..they were emphatically & confidently declared for decades.Now THIS is part of the record you must consider,as the WT organization says you should,to determine whether they are a "modern-day prophet".And if they are,what kind of prophet are they if their predictions all failed?
The society has said that it is fallible and not dogmatic yet they dogmatically enforce their inferences as if they are infallible and people who don't adhere are not approved JW association.There is a discrepancy here that is inexplicable and again,dictates behavior on the part of supposed "good JW's" and the society itself that is the OPPOSITE of just.
Again,I am going to have to point out that if you had questioned these men in their error you would have been deemed all kinds of blasphemous names and titles,even though these dates were as false as the sun is bright..And this isn't nitpicking history.This is still going on.If a doctrine has the potential to become "new light" tomorrow that means:
1.It may have never been true to begin with.
2.It isn't stable to begin with nor should it be a dogmatism and enforced belief because of it's instability.
3.It is absolutely ridiculous to shun and label fellow Christians for questioning these speculations that are based on unstable biblical interpretations by men that don't even agree with one another to begin with unanimously,yet expect you to adhere to their faulty interpretations wholeheartedly in order to remain a "true Christian" and "acceptable".
The Society's recent publications infer that the serious expectations and dogmatic assertions in regards to all these dates and their fulfillments were the responsibility of the readers and the readers' inferrences from reading the literature!
From Jehovah's Witnesses and the Divine Purpose page 52:
"There is no doubt that many throughout this period were overzealous in their statements as to what could be expected.Some read into the WT statements that were never intended."
As genuine as this might SOUND,a true examination of the evidence reveals their glossing over the facts,their hypocrisy,and their shameless aversion of attention from themselves as the blame for their lies to OTHERS,like the JW's who trust them and even God himself.
"If any expressed doubts about the Society's chronology,the very quality of their relationship with God was subtly placed in question--along with their faith and wisdom.This is a form of intellectual intimidation,a practice that increased manyfold once 1914 had passed by,failing to fulfill the expectations published worldwide." p.198 "Crisis of Conscience"
As Franz points out,there was intense importance and constant emphasis placed on these false dates,in many cases for more than 50 years,being POSITIVELY proclaimed.Of course now in the publications,a picture is painted that minimizes the importance they attached to these dates,saying that they were predicted as mere "suggestions" or “possibilities.”
"Since the vast majority of their readers have no access to their earlier publications ,the articles can trade on their ignorance and can downplay the force of the predictions by a selective use of quotations and either gloss over or deliberately ignore other clear statements made." p.200 "Crisis of Conscience"
Some of the phrases the WT has incorporated to describe their false predictions were "God's dates","emphatically manifest","firmly established","established truth","definitely marked","already in progress"(in reference to the final battle that was to culminate in 1914),"proven"..etc..
But afterward and now they assert that they "merely infered".This is journalistic and intellectual dishonesty in the highest order.
Another aversion from the truth:
From "Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose" p 53
"SOME may make positive statements of what they know,and of what they do not know,WE NEVER INDULGE IN THIS."
To quote Franz,again.
"This is the picture the organization seeks to convey.Compare it with OTHER statements made in WT publications and magazines ,statements to which the Society's publications today make no reference whatsoever..Ask whether it is true that the responsibility for dogmatic claims rests outside the society,rests instead with those who "read into" the publications a certainty never intended,particularly as regards what 1914 would bring." p.193,"Crisis of Conscience"
Franz is honest here.We have some SERIOUS double-speak,concealing most of the information, playing with semantics to fool people,and blame thrown everywhere but where it really lies.
From "The Time is at Hand" p. 98-99
"We consider it an ESTABLISHED TRUTH that the final end of the kingdoms of this world ,and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God,will be accomplished at the end of A.D 1914"
Hmm.I would say that is,and Franz agrees with me,INDULGING in positive statements and needs nothing to be read into it at all to be dogmatic.
From 1892 Jan 15 WT
"The date of the close of that "battle" is DEFINITELY marked in scripture as Oct 1874."
From July 15 1892 WT
"We see no reason for changing the figures--nor could we change them if we would.They are,we believe,GOD'S DATES,not ours.But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning ,but for the end of the time of trouble."
Who cares if someone says they have an OPINION or the like if they are going to ,in the same breath ,say their opinion is God's?Who cares if someone never said they were inspired if they said they were God's mouthpiece?Who cares if someone never said they were infallibile if they said they are God's channel of communication and modern day prophet?You do not have the right to say you made a mistake but it is ok because you were uninspired and fallible if you are going to assert that these were God's dates,that you are a modern day prophet as God's sole channel of communication and that you are a mouthpiece for God.That just makes you desperate and duplicitous and deceptive.
When 1914 came and went and their false predictions were not met,Charles Taze Russell actually said that "The Lord overruled it for the blessing of his people."-"The Time is at Hand"
Wow!Instead of confessing and repenting of lies and errors that were shamelessly attributed TO GOD,he proceeds to blame God once again for "overruling" a date that was never true to begin with,as if it was always God's date,that he just decided to change his mind about.If you're not gathering by this point how the WT employs semantics to subtly fool its readers and strain itself out of blame,shifting it to others,(even it's own followers and God himself!), instead of confessing and repenting,then it's time to wake up.
"Frequently,in WT argumentation,a "red herring" is dragged across the path ,as in drawing attention away from the failure of the predictions by switching the focus to the willingness of many to stick with and support an organization despite its having fed them false hopes,while representing those who opted not to do as as being "spiritually weak", as "having grown weary in God's service",or being governed by selfish motives...This only accentuates what is perhaps The most distressing factor of the whole matter:the apparent lack of any genuine concern for the EFFECT such predictions had on the lives of people,those WT readers who viewed the predictive measures as coming from a God-directed source,as His divinely provided "meat in due season" for them.They were OPENLY encouraged to allow these predictive claims to serve as a basis for their hopes and expectations,and thus to mold their lives in conformity." p. 202 "Crisis of Conscience"
To quote Franz,who is quoting Charles Taze Russell here
"Merit is found even in the false predictions because of the "stimulating and sanctifying effect"(quoting CTR) produced,so that one may "praise the Lord--even for the mistake".That approach allowed for still more false predictions with their "stimulating effect".One is reminded of Isaiah 5:20: Woe to those who are saying that good is bad and bad is good, those who are putting darkness for light and light for darkness, those who are putting bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" p.205 "Crisis of Conscience"
After the death of Charles Russell,instead of rectifying and frankly admitting their errors,Judge Rutherford decided to justify their errors and propagate more,moving many of the things expected in 1914 up to 1918.Of course,everything failed.And since it did,why not just change the MEANING of what the dates entailed,after all an "invisible presence" can't be disproven.Keep in mind the bible said all things were handed to Christ when he ascended to heaven and that EVERYONE will know when he is present again,at the second coming.I don't deny he has been present from heaven "sifting" and such for a long time..but,again,the bible says it isn't FOR US to know the times,the dates,the seasons,so to speculate about a specific time is foolish,especially if you've failed TOO MANY times to count before & ruined lives in the process,seemingly from my observation without remorse..No new revelation from man that the apostles and Christ himself didn't preach is a "salvation issue."YET the organization continues to treat 1914 as such because their "entire range of teachings" is a REQUIREMENT to remain an acceptable Jehovah's Witness.If you can find the justice there,then you're a better scout than I.