As shown in the quotes above, in the February, 2017 Watchtower article, “Who Is Leading God’s People Today?” the Governing Body admits to being error-prone and providing the wrong direction. Still, they claim to be the sole representatives of Jesus on earth, as his “faithful and discreet slave” to whom we owe our unquestioning obedience and total submission!
Since they cannot prove this by pointing proudly to their record of mistakes and fatally flawed direction, how do they attempt to prove their case?
Well, in that same article, under the sub-heading “WHO REALLY IS THE FAITHFUL AND DISCREET SLAVE?” they present three proofs of their claim:
1. Holy spirit helps the Governing Body.
The holy spirit has helped the Governing Body to grasp Scriptural truths not previously understood. For example, reflect on the list of beliefs clarified that was referred to in the preceding paragraph [“In fact, the Watch Tower Publications Index includes the heading “Beliefs Clarified,” which lists adjustments in our Scriptural understanding since 1870.”]. Surely, no human deserves credit for discovering and explaining these “deep things of God”! (Read 1 Corinthians 2:10.) The Governing Body echoes the apostle Paul, who wrote: “These things we also speak, not with words taught by human wisdom, but with those taught by the spirit.” (1 Cor. 2:13) After centuries of apostasy and spiritual darkness, can anything other than holy spirit explain the rapid increase in spiritual understanding since 1919?
(parg. 13, Study Edition)
Anybody can lay claim to being helped by an immaterial spirit. But how does one prove such an incredible claim? The Governing Body presents as their evidence a long list of errors that they have made! I, for one, find this evidence not only underwhelming, but actually tending to support an opposite conclusion.
The “Bible understanding” since 1919 has been a long series of fumbling blunders, waffling back and forth, and outright contradictions. Since 1919 there have been prophecies proclaimed by the Governing Body as “certainties” which were utter failures (such as the resurrection scheduled for the year 1925.) There have also been fatally wrong doctrines banning vaccinations, organ-transplants, and other medical procedures, which were claimed to have been “against God’s law.” These have since been retracted, so they could not have been “deep things of God” “taught by the [holy] spirit,” unless the holy spirit purposely misleads its followers to their deaths.
2. Angels help the Governing Body.
The Governing Body has the huge responsibility of directing over eight million publishers in the worldwide preaching work. Why has that work been so successful? One reason is the support of the angels. (Read Revelation 14:6, 7.) In many cases, the angels have directed publishers to a person who had just prayed to God for help! The preaching and teaching work continues to grow even where there is intense opposition. This also is only possible with help from the angels.
This is another claim of immaterial spirit help, and likewise requires some strong, clear evidence to back it up. The Governing Body cites the “success” of their preaching work, and claims that the only possible explanation is that angels are behind that success: sending “publishers” to people who have prayed, and supplying growth despite opposition.
But there are certainly other possible explanations.
There are other religions that engage in successful “preaching work.” Islam — not the Jehovah’s Witnesses — is the fastest growing religion. And even if you’re a Mormon, knock on enough doors and you’ll surely come upon a householder who has just finished praying. Yet the Governing Body would staunchly deny that Islam or Mormons were helped in any way by angels. So their evidence does not support their claim.
3. God’s Word guides the Governing Body.
Consider what happened in 1973. The June 1 issue of The Watchtower asked whether “persons who have not broken their addiction to tobacco qualify for baptism.” The answer it gave to that question was based on Bible principles, and it was no! The Watchtower cited several scriptures and explained why a person who will not stop smoking should be disfellowshipped. (1 Corinthians 5:7; 2 Corinthians 7:1) It said that this strict standard does not come from humans but comes “from God, who expresses himself through his written Word.” No other religious organization has been willing to rely so completely on God’s Word even when doing so may be very difficult for some of its members. A recent book on religion in the United States says: “Christian leaders have regularly revised their teachings to match the beliefs and opinions gaining support among their members and in the larger society.” The Governing Body, however, is not guided by what most people like. Instead, its members are guided by God’s Word, which proves that Jehovah is the one who is really guiding his people today.
The final bit of evidence presented by the Governing Body is that, based on their own interpretation of the Bible, they enforce beliefs and policies that may be difficult for their followers to swallow or comply with.
So, instead of joining humankind’s moral progress, the Governing Body stubbornly clings to the primitive morality of ancient barbaric peoples who had laws demanding that parents stone sassy children to death, and requiring the execution of non-virginal brides.
A good case in point is their trying to apply the Mosaic Law to modern-day situations, and ending up with a rule that disfellowships rape victims for “fornication” if they fail to scream!
The “two-witness rule” is another gem of an example. This keeps them from reporting child abuse, and permits known pedophiles to lurk within their congregations and prey upon children unbeknownst to their parents!
The best known example is that of their misinterpretation of the Bible which leads them to refuse needed blood transfusions for themselves and their children.
But let’s consider the example given in the article: refusing to baptize smokers, and disfellowshipping already-baptized smokers.
Nowhere in the Bible is smoking mentioned. Smoking was not a custom amongst the people and places mentioned in Bible times. Lacking any sort of rule against the practice, the Governing Body has tried to apply a “biblical principle” from Paul’s writing, to: “cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit.”
In refusing to baptize or threatening to disfellowship smokers, the Governing Body has “gone beyond the things that are written.” (1 Cor. 4:6) There is no biblical precedent for disqualifying a baptismal candidate on the basis of their personal habits. Can you picture John grilling Jesus with scores of questions (as Jehovah’s Witnesses do today) prior to agreeing to baptize him? No, but just like the Pharisees of old, who pissed off Jesus so badly, they have added their own made-up rules over and above the laws of the Bible. By doing so they have actually gone contrary to the Bible.
In the Bible Jesus is reported as saying: “Nothing from outside a man that enters into him can defile him” (Mk 7:15) According to that, tobacco smoke cannot defile one. So the Governing Body’s ‘biblical principle’ cannot apply.
Paul also explicitly wrote: “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” (1 Cor. 10:23 KJV) If ‘all things are lawful,’ then smoking is lawful, and the Governing Body has no right to refuse to baptize or threaten to disfellowship a smoker, especially when they believe that such actions impact their everlasting life.
Finally, in direct opposition to the Governing Body’s characterization of biblical beliefs and rules as being “very difficult” for their followers, Jesus reportedly said:
“Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for yourselves. For my yoke is kindly, and my load is light.” (Mt 11:28-30)
Why is true Christianity so “light and refreshing”? The Bible tells us there is really only one law for Christians to follow: the law of love:
“Do not owe anything to anyone except to love one another; for whoever loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law. For the law code, “You must not commit adultery, you must not murder, you must not steal, you must not covet,” and whatever other commandment there is, is summed up in this saying: “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does not work evil to one’s neighbor; therefore, love is the law’s fulfillment.” (Romans 13:8-10)
So, far from providing proof that the Governing Body is “being led by Jehovah,” their example of law-enforcement of made-up rules actually proves that they fail to follow the spirit of the Bible, and so are not recipients of any divine guidance.
We’ve now considered the Governing Body’s case, put forth to prove their claim of being the “faithful and discreet slave.” Once again they have utterly failed to establish their claim, and failed to earn our obedient submission.
Now for the counter-argument. To examine the case against the “faithful and discreet slave,” please see: