by Jefferson David Tant
The September 2007 Kingdom Ministry had a Question Box that said the Governing Body does not want Jehovah's Witnesses to meet privately to discuss the Bible. That’s strange. For people who claim to be devoted Bible students ... it seems that the leadership really doesn't want them to read the Bible ... unless, of course, they are reading it along with their Watchtower literature.
They claim that if a Witness reads just the Bible, he will in time stop believing Watchtower doctrine. Doesn’t that indicate that Watchtower theology doesn't agree with what the Bible says? This has been their view since the days of their founder Charles Taze Russell:
“Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the scripture studies aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years — if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness.“ [The Watchtower, September 15, 1910, p. 298].
It's hard to believe that this was written as the official position of the Jehovah's Witnesses organization. If this position is true, there are at least two conclusions to draw from it.
- Evidently, God wasn’t smart enough to give a revelation that mankind could understand.
- For over 1800 years mankind had no hope of salvation, as that only came when Russell pointed out the way!So, does a Jehovah's Witness study the Bible? He is encouraged not to, for if he studies only the Bible, he will cease believing the Watchtower doctrines, since they are in conflict with the Bible.
“We must not lose sight of the fact that God is directing his organization… To turn away from Jehovah and his organization, to spurn the direction of ‘the faithful and discreet slave,’ and to rely simply on personal Bible reading and interpretation is to become like a solitary tree in a parched land.”[The Watchtower, June 1, 1985, pp. 19-20].
If this is true, why didn’t God give the wisdom that he gave to Russell to the first-century writers —Paul, Peter, Luke, etc.? Why did He leave mankind without hope for 18 centuries? Would that be a just and loving God, who wants all mankind to be saved? If the Bible alone is basically worthless, why did He give it and preserve it through the centuries? According to what was written in the Watchtower, the Bible on its own is worthless, and reading it is actually dangerous to a Christian's spirituality.
This means that for over 1800 years, no one could understand the Bible until Russell came along in the 1870s and gave mankind its true meaning. Who can believe it? Note the words of Jesus in Matthew 4:4 “But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'" He did not say, “And I will give you the rest of My words in some 1800 years.”
As for me and my house, we will stay with God’s revelation, not Russell’s.