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Timeline of the 'Light Getting Brighter'

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1 hour ago, JW Insider said:

@Gone Away, I don't get it. It's actually much harder to be a back-seat driver when you are not in the same car.

That's the beauty of interpretation. It depends on how you look at it xD

How I am looking at it is from the drivers point of view.  I am assuming the backseat driver is mostly useless, because he can't see properly  (it's a lot easier to be useless than useful), but he may have the odd useful remark or reminder. But when he is not even in the car, how useful can he be then. He is totally useless and it's easy for him to be that way.

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On 3/7/2016 at 12:29 AM, The Librarian said:

Biblical infallibility. Early copies of Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence made reference to the Bible as God's "infallible Word".[71] (this has slightly changed in 2015)

This is supposedly a doctrine that has been unchanged since 1879, and it's mostly right. But look at the following quote from the Watch Tower, April 1, 1920, p.103:

  • "The Finished Mystery," as one of the series of seven previously announced by Brother Russell. The doctrines therein set forth are in exact harmony with those announced by the other six. That it contains some mistakes is freely admitted. Even the Bible contains some.

Here is another from the Watch Tower April 15, 1928, p. 126:

  • QUESTION: Is it proper for those who have been in the truth only a short while to go out and sell the Society's books? . . . Sometimes a member of a class will refuse to engage in the canvassing for the books because there are some mistakes in the books, and says his conscience will not permit him to put books in which there are mistakes into the hands of the people. Of course this is another method that the enemy adopts to confuse the minds and furnish an excuse for not being faithful to the Lord. As every one knows, there are mistakes in the Bible and there never has been a book written yet that is perfect that has been written by any human hand. . . .Those who engage in the service work are not supposed to stand on the street and preach, nor to give a technical explanation of the Scriptures.

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46 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

As every one knows, there are mistakes in the Bible

As everyone knows, the Bible is a collection of books and as such needs definition. We all know it has contained to a greater and lesser degree both copyists and translators errors over the years, even one or two blatant falsifications.That has not stopped it's circulation or reduced it's value even although certain texts have been for various reason in error. That is probably the spirit behind the argument that error in the text was no reason for not distributing the Society's literature.

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4 hours ago, Gone Away said:

We all know it has contained to a greater and lesser degree both copyists and translators errors over the years, even one or two blatant falsifications.

There is a surprising nuanced qualification to most of the items that are listed by @The Librarian above as doctrinal topics that are unchanged since 1879 (or at least since they were first mentioned. I'd think you are right that the copyists' errors and blatant falsifications such as in 1 John 5 were at the top of Rutherford's thinking.

  • Still, Rutherford said surprising things about evolution.
  • Russell said surprising things even about the Ransom that have been dropped or changed over the years.
  • "God's name is Jehovah" is actually not a teaching of the Watchtower. The earliest Forward to NWT and supporting Watchtower articles documented that "Yahweh" was considered to be the preferred choice to be closer to the Hebrew, but that Jehovah is used because it is more commonly known.
  • The fourth bullet point about what Russell taught about determining Christ's presence through the chronology of the 6,000 years and the "Gentile Times" is completely false. The 6,000 years was ended initially in 1872, and the Gentile Times were ended in 1914 and then 1915 and then 1914 again. So none of this tied to the fact that he started the "presence" in 1874.

There is actually a point to be made on every one of those bullet points supposedly representing unchanged doctrine, but I'm sure that wouldn't interest too many.

Back to the issue of the Bible contains mistakes.

This is kind of an obvious point as you made it. But the logic Rutherford used would have been a mistake on an LSAT or even some "Bar Exam" questions for barristers/lawyers. He mixes apples and oranges by NOT speaking of those types of problems (copyists errors and deliberate falsifications) in the 7th volume. Rutherford says he is referring to misapplications and misunderstandings. Reading the full quote without leaving anything out of that context, shows this:

Watch Tower, April 1, 1920, p.103:

  • "The Finished Mystery," as one of the series of seven previously announced by Brother Russell. The doctrines therein set forth are in exact harmony with those announced by the other six. That it contains some mistakes is freely admitted. Even the Bible contains some. By mistake we mean a misunderstanding or misapplication. It does not contain any erroneous doctrines. It does attempt to carry and, we will be pardoned for saying, succeeds in a measure at least, the measure which seems to be contemplated by the commission given to the six described in Ezekiel 9. The Society in its annual official meeting adopted it as Volume VII of the series of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES when, by an overwhelming majority, it required each officer to be elected to state that he accepted it as Volume VII: It was therefore in exact harmony with this that any ecclesia subsequently would ask its prospective elders and officers : "Do you accept the Seventh Volume and are you willing to teach it?" . . .  We prefer to have someone to teach us who is in harmony with the Society and its work."

Anyone who reads the Seventh Volume today will be surprised that you cannot go even two pages anywhere in the book without finding something else that you could be disfellowshipped for insisting upon today. There are literally hundreds of false teachings. Many more of its teachings are considered false today than those that might still be considered true. 

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17 hours ago, JW Insider said:

By mistake we mean a misunderstanding or misapplication.

As you point out, the 1920 WT article gives no examples of these.

Copyist and translator error, tampering, falsifications, additions etc. are still a possibility. Also, Luke 4:9-11 could be cited as a bona-fide misapplication. Luke 19:16 and Acts 1:6 are examples of genuine misunderstanding.

The erroneous logic process you refer to is an example in itself of how a mistake can be made, but, in the absence of a response from the writer himself, we can only assume or guess, (educated or otherwise), at what was meant by "misunderstanding or misapplication".

The basic argument in the WT appears to be that mistakes in text or explanation occur in all human writings. This is extended to include the Bible. The existence of such in the so called Vol7 of Studies in the Scriptures was not felt (at the time) to constitute sufficient reason for rejecting it outright, any more than the BIble would be rejected on the same basis due to any (unidentified)"misunderstanding or misapplication" .

On reflection, using the Bible as a basis for this argument without considerable clarification regarding what was meant seems risky. (I would have cited the Encyclopedia Brittannica as an example more easily identified with), but I can see that Rutherford was using a rather extreme example to support his point

An affirmed acceptance of the substance of that Bible study aid was seen at the time as a necessary criteria for those serving in a representative way within the publishing organisation of Bible Students ("The Society"). I believe it was a time when loyalties were being tested, with some similarities to the events recorded at 1Ki.18:1-40.

I have always liked the thought expressed at Ps 119:160 which seems to allow for the accumulation of a "patina" due to human imperfection, even in the transmission of the word of God: 

"The very essence ("substance" NWT 1984) of your word is truth,"
 

 

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Regardless of the terminology and methodology we use to logically lay the foundations of what is true or false, with a mistake
or without a mistake, correctly understood or incorrectly understood, and so on ... there is one more thing to be taken into account. That is: self-persuasion and self-deception.

Most of people, of us,  will think/thinks about self with believing that they are among those who are healthy, beautiful, smart, good, ... belonging to the right, true group, religion, politics, family, nation... etc.

And with more self persuasion and self deception we are more sure in fictitious, wrong, err, distorted picture about yourself, who we are, what we are, and by that about other people, who are belong or not belong in "our group" or in "our idea" of how other people should  be look like, think like, act like and all other likes.

Good thing in such "self" can be self confidence and similar "selfie" that help us to survive in society.

Bad thing is this. If we are wrong, and many times we are :)))), we are, because of our self persuasion and self deception in position to deceive other people because they can see our sincerity and our faith in "story" we talking about. Some will be sceptious but some will accept "our faith in truth", but  that is in fact "faith in error, misrepresentation, misunderstanding, mistake, misapplication ...". :))

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@Sreko Sostar. I think you are basically saying that sincerity is good, but one can be sincerely wrong and therefore at times a posssible danger to others who might be inclined to follow men.

The Scriptures consistently warn us about this , but, thankfully, reassure us that Jehovah and His Son Jesus Christ know their sheep, and will ensure that they are cared for, kept safe, and importantly, are forgiven for their errrors. Rom.14:4 is very good advice to keep us focussed on the "more important things", and to avoid the pitfall of looking to men for salvation.

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