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HollyW

When a teaching changes after baptism.....

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This came up during a discussion of some of the recent changes in JW beliefs:  I've often wondered, do you think that if a teaching has changed since you were baptized, you should still be required to believe it? 

If there's any interest in this, there are some follow-up questions I'd like to ask.

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Interesting question.

Baptism is a symbol of dedication to Jehovah, the Sovereign Lord of the Universe. It isn't dedication to a teaching but to a person. (some might want to argue that the forgoing statement is a teaching of course, but I am not going to get into a "who created God?" loop). 

So if I am dedicated to Jehovah, then I believe that no lasting harm can come to me if I fulfil the terms of that dedication. I am quite happy to comply with "teachings" that change from what I learned prior to dedication simply because I did not dedicate myself to a body of instructions. It's a bit like what Paul described at 1Cor.9:17.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

Interesting question.

Baptism is a symbol of dedication to Jehovah, the Sovereign Lord of the Universe. It isn't dedication to a teaching but to a person. (some might want to argue that the forgoing statement is a teaching of course, but I am not going to get into a "who created God?" loop). 

So if I am dedicated to Jehovah, then I believe that no lasting harm can come to me if I fulfil the terms of that dedication. I am quite happy to comply with "teachings" that change from what I learned prior to dedication simply because I did not dedicate myself to a body of instructions. It's a bit like what Paul described at 1Cor.9:17.

 

 

Doesn't The Baptism Questions Require You To Dedicate Yourself To The Organization?  

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1 hour ago, LloydSt said:

My Dad used to take me deer hunting when I was a teenager.  We'd go out when it was dark and be in a deer stand in a tree as the light began to come up.  At first you could make out precious little, but as the light slowly intensified, the tree stump that may have initially looked like a sleeping bear, became more easily identifiable.  Once the morning had broken, much more became clear.  Now if someone had asked me at that point if I felt I was required to believe that what I had thought was a bear really was a tree stump, the question would make no sense.  Of course, it was a tree stump.  Why would someone ask a person was required to believe it was tree stump when that was so obviously clear?

But what about the seedling that was growing out of the ground 30 yards away?  Well, at first, that was not even visible when  there was little light.  But then at mid-morning, one could see the seedling, but still it was unclear exactly what it was.  Likely a relative of a nearby plant or tree.  But upon returning to the sight a while later and doing some in research into the leaf shape, etc, we might come to some pretty good conclusions.  But even then, the passage of time made the identification more discernible. 

Of course, in some situations, identification of the plant could have been mistaken or need to be altered if one realized that there could have been a slight error at the initial or subsequent examinations.  

Likewise, JW's understanding of the scriptures continues to grow and mature.

This is one of the great advantage that Jehovah's Witnesses have over most other religions.  It is their willingness to change or adjust based on new insights or investigations.  That is in fact how science works (or at  least is supposed to).  How silly it would be to be required to, for instance, be bound to the beliefs astronomers had back in the 1900's.  As Hubble peers into space and other bits and pieces of information are discerned, our knowledge of the stars and space grows.  Likewise with the scriptures.  

The question as to whether we are required to believe the new insights might be best rephrased, "Does one want to progress in knowledge or not?"

By way of contrast, it is most apparent that most churches are mired in the doctrine of the third - sixth centuries. They cling to, for instance, the Athanasian Creed.  It's as if they are required to believe that the tree stump is really a bear!

Now as to which camp one chooses to belong, that is a choice for each individual.  But as for me and my household, we choose continual progress.

Thank you for your reply, Lloyd. :)

I know you probably worked hard on your illustration, but it seems to me to be out of harmony with what the Bible reveals at 1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.   

There's also this: James 1:17  Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

 Also, your illustration would not be in harmony with what Pastor Russell said about new light extinguishing older light in the February 1881 ZWT p.3:

If we were following a man undoubtedly it would be different with us; undoubtedly one human idea would contradict another and that which was light one or two or six years ago would be regarded as darkness now: But with God there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning, and so it is with truth; any knowledge or light coming from God must be like its author. A new view of truth never can contradict a former truth. "New light" never extinguishes older "light," but adds to it. If you were lighting up a building containing seven gas jets you would not extinguish one every time you lighted another, but would add one light to another and they would be in harmony and thus give increase of light: So is it with the light of truth; the true increase is by adding to, not by substituting one for another.  http://wtarchive.svhelden.info/archi...er/w1881_E.pdf

Last, but not least, your illustration doesn't reflect the reality of the WTS changes in teachings because you would have the light showing a bear at first, just as you've said, then the light showed a stump, also as you've said, but then the light was showing a bear again, and then a stump again, reflecting that they were going back to older light from time to time.  Would that not be illustrative more of regression rather than progression?

Ephesians 4:14 tells us, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine. 

 

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5 hours ago, Shiwiii said:

Doesn't The Baptism Questions Require You To Dedicate Yourself To The Organization?  

You're probably thinking of one of the questions asked just before being baptized:  "Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?" 

I wonder if maybe this is the reason they believe they are required to change their beliefs, this association their baptism identifies them as having with the WTS?  That would make sense, wouldn't it, that having been baptized into that relationship, they would expect to continue adapting their beliefs about what the Bible teaches based on what the WTS tells them it teaches, even if it cancels out what they believed when they were baptized.

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11 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

Interesting question.

Baptism is a symbol of dedication to Jehovah, the Sovereign Lord of the Universe. It isn't dedication to a teaching but to a person. (some might want to argue that the forgoing statement is a teaching of course, but I am not going to get into a "who created God?" loop). 

So if I am dedicated to Jehovah, then I believe that no lasting harm can come to me if I fulfil the terms of that dedication. I am quite happy to comply with "teachings" that change from what I learned prior to dedication simply because I did not dedicate myself to a body of instructions. It's a bit like what Paul described at 1Cor.9:17.

Thanks for the reply, Eoin.  I appreciate having your thoughts on this, though I'm not sure about the application of 1 Corinthians 9:17 to this subject.

Since the WTS does require acceptance of all of its teachings in order for you to be approved for other JWs to associate with, is that what you mean by fulfilling the terms of your dedication, to be willing to change your beliefs if and when your religious leaders tell you to?

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>"I know you probably worked hard on your illustration, but it seems to me to be out of harmony with what the Bible reveals at 1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. "

I"m sure you worked hard on your response as well, but I fail to see how my illustration conflicts with John 1:5.  You gave no explanation. What is true however is that though we may progress in our understand of the scriptures, that in no way conflicts with the fact that God is Light and in him there is no darkness.  I fail to see any connection between those facts and the fact that we try to progress in our understand of the scriptures.   

The same would be true as regards James 1:17 ( Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. ).  You seem to be trying to say that since Jehovah gives perfect gifts and good things means that our attempts at understanding the scriptures must be perfect from day 1, but that doesn't make logical sense nor does it harmonize with other scriptures.  Need I list scriptures wherein Biblical characters grew in knowledge?

And you misunderstand Russell.  He did said, "any knowledge or light coming from God must be like its author. A new view of truth never can contradict a former truth."  But he was speaking about truth and not about the attempts at understanding it.

Further, you misinterpret my illustration.  It simply shows that what may appear to be one thing in the darkness, may prove to be something else entirely in the light and upon a closer examination.

Moreover, does it really makes sense to you that Jehovah would "speak from the heavens", so to speak, on every little point?  Is that how you see him, as a micro-manager being sure that every single nuance of every single act at understanding the scriptures is rigorously correct at every point in time?  

Or is he not a God who let's folks grope for him and search for him.  Isn't he in fact a God who reveals things progressively, Jesus stating that there were certain things that the disciples were "not able to bear" at a certain point in time.

Doesn't progressive understanding make much more sense?  If pertinent, it would perhaps be wise to not allow pride to get in the way of logic and reasonableness.

 

 

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Hi again, Lloyd,

Let's take your illustration and in the light you and your father had at first, the stump looked like a bear.  Did your father require that you believe it was a bear in order for you to be approved association?  And did he require you to also teach others the stump was a bear on pain of shunning?  Of course not, so there's the difference in reality that your illustration does not speak to.  Obviously it was still too dark for either of you say the truth was that the stump was a bear.  This is where 1 John 1:5 comes in because the light you were using was not from God: This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. " This verse could not have been written by someone peering into the darkness and seeing a bear where there was a stump.

Look for a moment at the practical application of what Russell wrote.  In the first light that he had, he looked at the faithful slave and saw 144,000 persons.  Later he came to believe he had been looking at one person, himself, and so did all of his followers.  This could be a case of adding more light and showing that it was just shadows that made the faithful slave appear to be 144,000 people when really there was just the one.  For thirty years this was what everyone in the WTS was seeing, but then the next president of the WTS, Judge Rutherford, said the faithful slave was 144,000 person, not just one, in fact he said it did violence to the scriptures to exclude any of the 144,000.  Do you see how the light went back to what it had been in the beginning?  That means that if Russell's light had increased, Rutherford's light had to have dimmed or gone out.

The current governing body of the WTS has in effect put out both the light Russell used to see just himself as the faithful slave and also put out the light Rutherford was using to see the faithful slave as all of the 144,000, and have turned on another light that shows just themselves as the faithful slave, and only when they are meeting as the faithful slave.

If not turning light on and off the way Russell spoke against doing, it surely is showing a dimmer switch being used. ;)

You had felt I was misinterpreting your illustration but you offered it as a way to answer my question about being required to believe something that was not being taught when you were baptized.  You illustrated something being seen in the darkness.  1 John 1:5 shows that this could not be from God because in Him there is no darkness at all.  If the teaching that was changed was akin to what you pointed to as being seen in the darkness, can that teaching be said to be a Bible teaching that one must believe in order to be approved association?

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1 hour ago, HollyW said:

Hi again, Lloyd,

Let's take your illustration and in the light you and your father had at first, the stump looked like a bear.  Did your father require that you believe it was a bear in order for you to be approved association?  And did he require you to also teach others the stump was a bear on pain of shunning?  Of course not, so there's the difference in reality that your illustration does not speak to.  Obviously it was still too dark for either of you say the truth was that the stump was a bear.  This is where 1 John 1:5 comes in because the light you were using was not from God: This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. " This verse could not have been written by someone peering into the darkness and seeing a bear where there was a stump.

Look for a moment at the practical application of what Russell wrote.  In the first light that he had, he looked at the faithful slave and saw 144,000 persons.  Later he came to believe he had been looking at one person, himself, and so did all of his followers.  This could be a case of adding more light and showing that it was just shadows that made the faithful slave appear to be 144,000 people when really there was just the one.  For thirty years this was what everyone in the WTS was seeing, but then the next president of the WTS, Judge Rutherford, said the faithful slave was 144,000 person, not just one, in fact he said it did violence to the scriptures to exclude any of the 144,000.  Do you see how the light went back to what it had been in the beginning?  That means that if Russell's light had increased, Rutherford's light had to have dimmed or gone out.

The current governing body of the WTS has in effect put out both the light Russell used to see just himself as the faithful slave and also put out the light Rutherford was using to see the faithful slave as all of the 144,000, and have turned on another light that shows just themselves as the faithful slave, and only when they are meeting as the faithful slave.

If not turning light on and off the way Russell spoke against doing, it surely is showing a dimmer switch being used. ;)

You had felt I was misinterpreting your illustration but you offered it as a way to answer my question about being required to believe something that was not being taught when you were baptized.  You illustrated something being seen in the darkness.  1 John 1:5 shows that this could not be from God because in Him there is no darkness at all.  If the teaching that was changed was akin to what you pointed to as being seen in the darkness, can that teaching be said to be a Bible teaching that one must believe in order to be approved association?

you just want to cause trouble and yet give no reasons yourself

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