Friday, June 17, 2011
Jehovah's Witnesses and Questioning Authority(excerpt from a Ray Franz book)
1 John 4:1:Dearly loved friends,don't always believe you hear just because someone says it is a message from God:test it first to see if it really is
The following book excerpt is from pp.16-18 of "In Search of Christian Freedom" by Ray Franz
"If indeed authority has been an ancient enemy of truth,it has also been an ancient enemy of freedom,for truth is a prime liberating source,able to "make one free."When compelled to confront truth in the field of combat,error finds its favorite weapon,and also its ultimate refuge in authority.All too often,the claimed authority has no more genuineness than does the error itself.
No matter how much evidence may be supplied,no matter how much scriptural testimony may be presented,no matter how much logic may be brought to bear on the points discussed in this book,these may all be rejected and discarded by those who place a particular human religious authority as their guide,as the determiner of truth.In fact,with the vast majority of Jehovah's Witnesses all such evidence and scriptural testimony will be rejected before it is even heard--because authority has decreed for them that they should reject it.Those under the authority are thus robbed of the freedom to decide for themselves whether the information is factual or false,beneficial or detrimental.
And the same is true of all persons who submit to any human religious authority as their supreme arbiter of right and wrong.If they choose to allow that authority to decide for them ,speak for them,think for them,then any alternative argument or evidence advanced has no hope of a fair hearing,for "against authority there is no defense."The authority has no need to respond ,no need to refute,or even to consider the evidence presented;it simply condemns.This is,I believe,the basic issue and unless it is first understood,little else can be undertsood.At least that has proved to be the case in my own experience.
Men can make no greater claim to authority than to claim to speak for God--even more than that--to claim to be his *sole channel of communication* to all mankind.To occupy such a position would be an awesome responsibility indeed,and one that should logically call for the greatest humility on the part of the imperfect humans if they were in fact assigned to fill it.
A fitting analogy might be that of a slave sent forth by a king to deliver a proclamation.If impressed with his own importance,lacking humility,the messenger might feel free to add to the message or make adjustments,while nonetheless insisting that all hearers should accept whatever he presented as a bona fide royal order.If people questioned him on certain points,he might become resentful,seek to awe them with his royal backing in order to override any doubts about the authenticity of his statements.
By contrast,a truly humble messenger would scrupulously avoid any alteration of what came from the royal source.He would not become resentful if asked for proof of full authenticity for what he said,nor would he criticize if some took steps to confirm that the message he presented was delivered just as given,free from embroidery or change.Rather than decry such investigation as an abusive lack of respect for himself(the mere slave),he would accept it,even welcome it,as evidence of the inquirer's concern and deep respect for the will of his master,the Sovereign.
The Watchtower society repeatedly states that its message has life and death importance.The organization claims its message has been sent by God,the supreme Sovereign,for all mankind,with ultimate destruction as the outcome for disobedience.Some other religions take a similar position.
Surely,any claim of such magnitude should never go untested.In fact,the greatness of the claim calls for,not less,but more caution,more careful testing.Simple respect for God should move us,actually compel us,to make sure that the message is genuinely His,free from additions or alterations.The deeper our respect for God,the more conscientious our effort in testing."
I'm not asking Jehovah's Witnesses to question God or Jesus.I'm asking them to question *imperfect men* who make the downright astonishing & remarkably lofty claim to be the "sole channel" of God's.See the difference?If not,then when were the lines blurred for you?According to the WT,to question them demonstrates the same kind of "independent spirit" Adam and Eve demonstrated in the Garden of Eden when they questioned God.The Watchtower,however,isn't God.