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    • By JOHN BUTLER
      I was going to add this to another topic but remembered we are told to start new topics, so I've done that.
      Hope this hasn't been added before but it would take me a month to go through all the topics to see if its on here.
      It is about the baptism of children, but I also thing it involves making children go on the ministry. 
      http://aawa.co/blog/baptism-of-children-the-issue-of-consent/?fbclid=IwAR1cwfrLr1EizagDGhW0Z_7IZV3TtWPq3CpjidqhiS6bqYZVWirxI-oK01s#comment-2071
    • By JOHN BUTLER
      This brings me to an interesting question then.
      Can anyone baptise anyone else ?  If not then it brings  us back to the Clergy Class once more. 
      So, does a person need to be part of an Organisation to be able to baptise others ? 
      If we go back to Russell or Rutherford, whichever one of them it was that said an Organisation was not needed, then did they baptise others, even though they were not part of an Organisation ?
      And another question. What makes a person a Minister of God's word ?  Or a person able to baptise others ? 
    • By The Librarian
      *** w1955 7/1 411    Christian Baptism for the New World Society *** 
      15 A Christian, therefore, cannot be baptized in the name of the one actually doing the immersing or in the name of any man, nor in the name of any organization, but in the name of the Father, the Son and the holy spirit. This shows, among other things, that Christianity is not a denominational affair, that sects have nothing to do with it. “Does the Christ exist divided? Paul was not impaled for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I am thankful I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name.”—1 Cor. 1:13-15, NW. 
      *** w1966 10/1 603-4  Serving with Everlasting Life in View *** 
      15 This is what we mean when we dedicate our lives to Jehovah. We do not dedicate ourselves to a religion, nor to a man, nor to an organization. No, we dedicate ourselves to the Supreme Sovereign of the Universe, our Creator, Jehovah God himself. This makes dedication a very personal relationship between us and Jehovah. 
      --------------------------------------
      *** w1958 8/1 478  Baptism *** 
      22 It is essential that with the mouth a public declaration of faith be made. Two 
      questions are therefore asked the candidates: (1) Have you recognized yourself before Jehovah God as a sinner who needs salvation, and have you acknowledged to him that this salvation proceeds from him, the Father, through his Son Jesus Christ? (2) On the basis of this faith in God and in his provision for salvation have you dedicated yourself unreservedly to God to do his will henceforth as he reveals it to you through Jesus Christ and through the Bible under the enlightening power of the holy spirit? 23 Everyone who can answer “Yes” to these questions is eligible for baptism and should take this step without hesitation or delay. 
      *** w1960 5/15 308  "What Prevents Me from Getting Baptized?" *** 
      23 The first question is: Have you recognized yourself before Jehovah God as a sinner who needs salvation, and have you acknowledged to him that this salvation proceeds from him, the Father, through his Son Jesus Christ? 
      24 The second question is: On the basis of this faith in God and in his provision for salvation have you dedicated yourself unreservedly to God to do his will henceforth as he reveals it to you through Jesus Christ and through the Bible under the enlightening power of the holy spirit? 
      25 Everyone who has answered “Yes” to these two questions is eligible for baptism and should be baptized at that same circuit or district assembly of Jehovah’s witnesses. 
      *** w1973 5/1 280  Baptizing Follows Discipling *** 
      we suggest that you consider the following two questions, which are asked of 
      candidates for baptism: 
      (1) Have you repented of your sins and turned around, recognizing yourself before Jehovah God as a condemned sinner who needs salvation, and have you acknowledged to him that this salvation proceeds from him, the Father, through his SonJesus Christ? 
      (2) On the basis of this faith in God and in his provision for salvation, have you dedicated yourself unreservedly to God to do his will henceforth as he reveals it to you through Jesus Christ and through the Bible under the enlightening power of the holy spirit? 
      If you find that you can answer “YES” to these questions, then it would be appropriate for you to speak to the presiding overseer in the congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses with which you associate, with a view to getting baptized. 
      ------------------------------------
      *** w1985 6/1 30     Subjecting Ourselves to Jehovah by Dedication *** 
      The first question is: 
      On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will? 
      The second is: 
      Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization? 
      Having answered yes to these questions, candidates are in a right heart condition to undergo Christian baptism. 
      *** w1987 4/15 12  Gaining Peace With God Through Dedication and Baptism *** 
      By baptism you identify yourself as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s worldwide congregation.
      *** w87 4/15 12  Gaining Peace With God Through Dedication and Baptism *** 
      Recently the two questions addressed to baptismal candidates were simplified so that candidates could answer with full comprehension of what is involved in coming into intimate relationship with God and his earthly organization.
      *** w1989 1/15 13  What Prevents You From Getting Baptized? *** 
      for the first of two questions the speaker asks them is: “On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?” Only if the individual answers in the affirmative and also understands that his dedication and baptism identify him as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization can he acceptably undergo water immersion. 
      *** knowledge 176  18 Make It Your Aim to Serve God Forever *** 
       Baptism ‘in the name of the holy spirit’ signifies that the baptismal candidate 
      recognizes Jehovah’s holy spirit, or active force, as God’s instrument for carrying out His purposes and for empowering His servants to do His righteous will in association with His spirit-directed organization.
    • By Jack Ryan
      Modern JW Baptismal question contradicts previous Watchtower claims
    • By JOHN BUTLER
      The JW Org / GB say that Armageddon is very close. They also say that Jehovah is speeding up the work in these 'last days'.
      Now, it seems I'm not one for knowing truth from lies, so people keep telling me, but this webpage/site seemed interesting to me.
       It seems to show more of a decrease in JW's, but more importantly it seems to show more of a lack of faith, or lack of action / 'works' of JW's. It also shows a large number of people leaving the JW Org. 
      If this video or page has been used before then I apologise for any repeat. But I thought it was of interest. 
      https://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/statistics.php
    • By TheWorldNewsOrg
      via
      A dispute broke out Thursday over whether the Ukrainian Orthodox Church should be independent from the Moscow Patriarchate after the Istanbul-based patriarch recognized several separatist churches and their leaders and gave them back control over parishioners.
      The Russian Orthodox Church described the proposed split as catastrophic for the Eastern Orthodoxy and millions of people in Ukraine and beyond. The Moscow-affiliated Ukrainian Orthodox Church said the synod’s decision was a hostile act and threatened the Constantinople patriarch with anathema.
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      I was told by some other sisters that I have to wear a black T-Shirt instead of the normal bathing suit. Is this true?
    • By Queen Esther
      Very  rare  and  never  seen  in  Europe...   a  SO  young  sister  before  her  baptism !
      But  I  saw  it  in  pic's  and  reports  -  its  really  true !!   I  will  soon  post  it  here...
      Its  great  -  how  mature  the  kids  in  Asia  and  Africa...    wow ! 
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
    • By Witness
      Each year in mid-summer the two little bergs in my area swell to the bursting point for a period of two short two days.  Ordinarily, the total count of inhabitants within a 15-mile range is less than 500 people.  But during what is called, the “Death Ride”, the entire county becomes a swarming nest of thousands of people and bicycles, along the major roads that traverse up the mountain passes in the area.  Many of its contestants spend every spare moment preparing for this race, and once the hint of warmth arrives in the spring, local bicyclers begin appearing along the highways in preparation for the big day. 
      For those who participate in the race, they live fully for the moment they succeed in reaching their goal of traversing their choice of 1, 2, or up to 5 mountain passes, and up to 129 miles. Everyone is a winner, according to the goal they individual set for themselves.   Even though it is considered a “killer”, the Death Ride is enjoyed for its momentary exhilarating challenge and pristine mountain setting. After this grueling bike race finishes, life returns to normal for local residents.
      Last summer, the JWs convention was entitled “Don’t Give Up” and showed a runner on the invitation to attend, which was distributed worldwide.  This year’s circuit assembly topics are “Don’t Give Up Doing What is Fine” and “Don’t Give up in Fulfilling the Law of Christ”.  What is the underlying drive behind these titles?  Well, a few days ago a JW revealed the true “race” that Watchtower members are participating in.  Within his statement, he included  “….brothers and sister that serve the org.….”    JWs, is the endurance of your faith measured by the selective avenues of the “race” you participate in when serving the organization; such as qualifying as a pioneer, or making all the meetings, or striving to be an elder, or serving at Bethel?  Do you believe reaching out to meet such goals is a ‘fine thing’, and your preaching work fulfills the law of Christ?  Ironically, this is exactly what your dedication at baptism expects of you.
      A new Watchtower magazine (3/2018) addresses baptism, just in time for this year’s upcoming summer convention.  It focuses on potential candidates but especially targets children; preparing them for the ritualistic baptism into the organization.  You must be aware, JWs, of Watchtower’s spurious and hypocritical teachings regarding this critical step, which they promulgate as entering the race leading to eternal life. 
      Watchtower quote: “Yes, it seems that hundreds of his followers were present when Jesus gave the commission to make disciples. Jesus thus revealed that baptism would be a requirement for those who accept the yoke of Christian discipleship. (Matt. 11:29, 30) Anyone who wished to serve God ACCEPTABLY would have to acknowledge and accept Jesus’ role in the outworking of Jehovah’s purpose. After doing so, that person could get baptized. THIS WOULD BE THE ONLY WATER BAPTISM HAVING GOD’S APPROVAL."
      Let that sink in a moment.  One’s dedication to God must not be enhanced in any form, by additional words of men, or it loses God’s approval by transgressing His purpose, and the law of Christ. 
      As the magazine states: “After all, it is each individual’s dedication, baptism, and FAITHFUL SERVICE TO GOD that will bring him in line for being MARKED FOR SALVATION during the coming great tribulation.” —Matt. 24:13. Par 16
      At one time many years ago, the organization followed scriptural direction when baptizing individuals, but since 1985 the questions had been altered to include dedicating oneself to the organization. Yes, deceitful men have added a footnote to your acknowledgments of Watchtower’s pagan ritual.    Under the article’s topic, “Baptism, Requirement for Christians” it addresses the first question only, asked of each candidate:
      “On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?”
      It then quotes Matt 16:24 “If anyone wants to come after me, let him disown himself and pick up his torture stake and keep following me”.
      What does it mean to pick up our “torture stake” and follow Christ?
       Pearl Doxsey’s article entitled “Dedication – Happiness” states:
      “Imagine that you hear, or read on the news,
      that a race is approaching which guarantees the winner a prize of unlimited wealth, health, a removal of all life's problems, and happiness. (2Cor.1:22; 5:5; Eph.1:14; Heb.6:10; John3:33; 10:10 B; 1Cor.2:9; Rev.21:4,5).

      You also learn that your father greatly desires for you to have this prize, due to his love for you (John3:16; Luke11:13; John16:27; 1John4:8; Isa.49:15). He promises to contribute his own resources to support you, guaranteeing success (should you accept the challenge) (Phil.4:6,13; 1Cor.1:8,9; 10:13; 2Pet.2:9; 2Chron.16:9 A; Rom.8:37; Heb.4:16).

      But then the race is described to you. It is grueling, long, and perilous (Acts14:22; Luke13:24; 2Tim.3:12; 2Cor.4:9; 6:4; 1Thess.3:3; Heb.10:32,33; Rev.1:9).
      It will demand tremendous dedication, self-control, endurance, and sacrifice (1Cor.9:25; 2Tim.2:5; 1Pet.1:13; 4:7; 1Thess.5:6,8; Titus 2:12).

      Does the race lead to short-term happiness? Certainly not!
      But then what if you heard that winning is possible and that everyone who crosses the finish line, wins? (2Tim.1:12; 4:7,8; James1:12; Matt.24:13)

      For those chosen by God (Isa.66:21; 1Pet.2:9), this race also includes accepting an assignment of work (2Tim.4:5; James2:17,20; 1Cor.3:8,13,14; Acts.10:42; Matt.16:27; 9:37,38; 25:19; 1Pet.2:5; Mark9:35; Luke12:35,43; Rom.12:6,7,8). That work must be done during the race. In addition, all runners must deal with an opposer and his cohorts, who constantly do all they can to make the road to the finish, impossible (Rev.2:10; Eph.6:12; 1Pet.5:8,9; Luke18:26,27). (4womaninthewilderness)
       
      When an individual joins the organization, the “race” one enters is not based on a dedication to Christ or the Father, but on serving an organization, which was made clear by the JW’s comment above.  However, Watchtower calls it, serving God; and they do it thusly:
      “When presenting themselves for baptism, such new disciples confirm that they have disowned themselves and are determined to serve God with all their strength, means, and abilities. (Rom. 12:1) FOR THESE REASONS, BAPTISM CANDIDATES ARE ASKED TO CONFIRM THAT THEY HAVE DEDICATED THEMSELVES TO JEHOVAH TO DO HIS WILL.”
      How is this asked of JWs?  The second question not mentioned in the article to the unknowing candidates is:
      “Do you understand that your dedication and baptism IDENTIFY you as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in association with GOD’S SPIRIT-DIRECTED ORGANIZATION? Having answered yes to these questions, candidates are in a right heart condition to undergo Christian baptism."
      Simply, this type of water baptism does not have God’s approval, but God’s condemnation.  I hope you can perceive this, JWs. Watchtower’s allegations go beyond Christ’s words, expecting your devotion to another Master.  Matt 6:24; Deut 4:2; 12:32; Rev 22:18   Please, notice how you are “marked”, not for survival but for slavery to men and their self-driven desires for unrighteous gains.  Jer 17:10-13 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matt+6%3A24%3B+Deut+4%3A2%3B+12%3A32%3B+Rev+22%3A18%3B+Jer+17%3A10-13+++&version=NIV
      From the 1950 Watchtower publication, “This Means Everlasting Life”:  “When a justified believer is baptized into the “body of Christ” and so becomes a member of the Theocratic organization, he comes under Christ Jesus the Head and so comes under certain responsibilities and cannot act independently of the one whom God as made Head of the organization to direct it.  HE MUST SUBMIT HIMSELF TO ORGANIZATION INSTRUCTIONS…”  p. 126
      I am appalled at these words I have come across.  They admit to the early beginnings of the “trampling” of the Temple of God – the anointed priesthood and Body of Christ. Matt 24:15;Dan 9:27;11:31; 2 Thess 2:3,4; Rev 11:1-3   Watchtower’s “theocratic organization” empowers a false priesthood to demand obedience to itself, as a “god”.  It is the counterfeit to the Body of Christ – the Body of Satan. 1 Pet 2:5,9; 1 Cor 3:16,17; Eph 2:20-22  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matt+24%3A15%3BDan+9%3A27%3B11%3A31%3B+2+Thess+2%3A3%2C4%3B+Rev+11%3A1-3%3B+1+Pet+2%3A5%2C9%3B+1+Cor+3%3A16%2C17%3B+Eph+2%3A20-22++&version=NIV
       Pearl Doxsey – “The GB has laid a new foundation for themselves...
      They have made themselves the cornerstone (Phil.2:6; 1Cor.3:11), being benefactor to a NON-anointed Organization of counterfeit priests (Rev.13:14,15; 19:20)...
      creating a foreign temple to a "foreign god" (Dan.11:37,38,39; Rev.9:11; 13:8,15; Eze.8:5,6,7,8,9,10).
      They have erected a counterfeit Mt. Zion (Rev.8:8; Zech.4:7,9), (Isa.2:2,3)
      and a decoy "Kingdom" while Satan yet rules.”
      (From “Discerning the Body-A God of Order”)  4womaninthewilderness
      Please, I ask you to consider, JWs; that you, and the authentic, anointed Body of Christ, have picked up the wrong torture stake.  Not until it is realized what “mark” you bear, does the real torture stake then present itself.  Your “opposer and cohorts” will come into focus, if you choose to enter the authentic race leading to life. Jer 17:1;  Rev 13:1,3,4,10-17; Exod 20:1-7; Luke 4:8 
      The race JWs presently run, their comparative “torture stake” in a “spiritual paradise”, is soon to come to an abrupt, and tumultuous end.   1 Thess 5:3; Rev 6:12-17; 8:8; Zech 4:7; Job 9:5,6; 14:18-22
      https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jer+17%3A1%3B++Rev+13%3A1%2C3%2C4%2C10-17%3B+Exod+20%3A1-7%3B+Luke+4%3A8%3B+Rev+6%3A12-17%3B+8%3A8%3B+Zech+4%3A7%3B+Job+9%3A5%2C6%3B+14%3A18-22++&version=NIV
      (Mark of Slavery 4womaninthewilderness)
      I wrote down these thoughts just this morning when reading James chapter 1:  
      When we wake up to Wt.’s deceptions, mulling over in our minds how to deal with them; we have two choices; to either step onto the course leading to life by slaving only for God, or settle with our conscience and continue running Wt’s categorized routes, explicitly showing faith in the organization as salvation.   Deut 6:6,8; 11:18; Exod 13:9  When this choice is apparent, it is then that the Beast/org.’s threatening stance looming over us, is perceived.  Can we bear being called a “loser” by the Beast and everyone we love if we draw out of the race? Matt 5:11; Rev 11:7;13:15  Who really is it, that loses out on eternal life?  
      Tonight, I find this comment regarding a JW “sighing and crying over the detestable things” in the organization (Ezek 9:3,4):
      “Whoever the bozo is that wants to quit...go ahead and do it loser. You are "already gone"
      “A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.  And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those WHO WORSHIP THE BEAST (organization) AND ITS IMAGE, (spirit-directed “Jehovah’s organization) OR FOR ANYONE WHO RECEIVES THE MARK OF ITS NAME.” 
      This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who KEEP HIS COMMANDS AND REMAIN FAITHFUL TO JESUS.”  Rev 14:9-12
      “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”  James 1:12
      “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.  For, ‘In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.’
      38 And, ‘But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.’  39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” Heb 10:36-39
       
       
       
    • By Bible Speaks
      VERY REVEALING PHOTOGRAPHY:
      THE PATRIARCH OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX SECTA, Kirill and the Minister of Justice A. Konovalov.
      BOTH PROTAGONISTS OF THE INQUISITORIAL PERSECUTION AGAINST THE ONLY TRUE CHRISTIANS IN RUSSIA, THE WITNESSES OF JEHOVAH.

    • By Jack Ryan
      In the Gospels we find John the Baptist baptizing people in the Jordan River. But where did the concept of Baptism originate? Was this a command from God that we are not told about? Did John develop the concept of Baptism? Was baptism being done before the New Testament? Why was John baptizing people in the Jordan River? Because the Bible is silent on these issues, Churches have created their own doctrines concerning baptism.
    • By Bible Speaks
      WHO'S THE EXTREMIST? RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH GIVES ITS BLESSINGS AND MUSIC ?- ???
      His legacy lies in his eponymous AK-47 assault rifle, one of the world's most popular and lethal weapons, and now Mikhail Kalashnikov's likeness looms over Moscow in the form of a 30-foot-tall monument, but not everyone is happy to see it.
      Kalashnikov's daughter, Yelena, unveiled the statue Tuesday at a square off Garden Ring Road, a busy thoroughfare in Russia's capital city, according to Reuters.
      The bronze Kalashnikov, the man, wields a bronze Kalashnikov, the weapon. The late Russian lieutenant general is casually attired, his jacket unzipped and the top button of his shirt undone.
      The words "I created a weapon for the defense of my fatherland" are etched on the pedestal.
      Tuesday's ceremony included military music and a blessing by a Russian Orthodox priest, The Guardian reports. Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky said the gun had become a "cultural brand of Russia." But not all Russians were on board with the tribute.
      NPR's Lucian Kim reports from Moscow that at least one protester was detained holding a sign that read "a weapons designer is a designer of death."
      http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/09/19/552044627/some-russians-fired-up-over-new-kalashnikov-monument?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20170919

    • By El Bibliotecario
      Si alguien sabe la ubicación e idioma de esta asamblea favor comentar :) 
      via El Bibliotecario
    • By The Librarian
      Around 2,000 people gathered at Saint Petersburg's Field of Mars to denounce plans to hand over the city's iconic St. Isaac's cathedral to the Orthodox Church. One of St. Petersburg's most popular attractions, it is feared that the handover will result in restricted access for tourists, lead to the neglect of exhibits on display, and deprive the city of extra revenue.
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Our brother is enjoying the moment with his parents after his baptism in Maui. 
       
       

    • Guest Nicole
    • By Outta Here
      This subject has arisen under another thread:
      As this issue takes the previous discussion off topic, a new question is asked here,
       
      see also:
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Our dear sister  lshe is happy to see her  mom and dad getting  baptized at the  Regional Convention, this makes her faith grow. 

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
    • By Bible Speaks
      The set of Likasi is regional French-speaking, Democratic Republic of the Congo in Katanga province.. We welcomed 41 new baptized to an audience of about 2,000 people.   Es el conjunto de Likasi expresión francesa regional, República Democrática del Congo, en la provincia de Katanga. Dimos la bienvenida a 41 nuevos bautizados a una audiencia de cerca de 2.000 personas. Merci beaucoup M!
    • By Bible Speaks
      The set of Likasi is regional French-speaking, Democratic Republic of the Congo in Katanga province..
      We welcomed 41 new baptized to an audience of about 2,000 people.
      Es el conjunto de Likasi expresión francesa regional, República Democrática del Congo, en la provincia
      de Katanga. Dimos la bienvenida a 41 nuevos bautizados a una audiencia de cerca de 2.000 personas.
      Merci beaucoup M!
    • By Bible Speaks
      @yngbld6 shares with us: “My son Aaron, @the.8ran.15, giving his Mom and me a big hug after his baptism at the Regional Convention in Huntsville, Alabama, USA.”
    • By Jack Ryan
      Seven and nine year olds making a life long decision which could mean their families may kick them out of the house in their late teens and shun them.
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Baptize Witnesses Today -- Men of Jehovah's Witnesses leaving beach to wade into water about 300 feet out for baptism by immersion. Scene was Orchard beach in Bronx. June 21, 1958. (Photo by William N. Jacobellis/New York Post Archives / (c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Minister of the Jehovah's Witnesses aid in the baptism of some of the 524 converts to the faith in a pool set up at Belmont Park Race Track. The baptism is a high-light of the four-day Witnesses Divine Sovereignty assembly, which ends tomorrow. August 08, 1975. (Photo by Nury Hernandez/New York Post Archives / (c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)
    • By The Librarian
      April 7, 2016  •  From theTrumpet.com

      The Russian Orthodox Church has replaced the Communist Party as the ideological glue holding Vladimir Putin’s empire together.
      By Andrew Miiller
      During the Soviet era, thousands of churches were destroyed and millions of Christians were persecuted. Communist textbooks called religion “the opium of the people” and Christianity “a perverse reflection on the world.” In the 24 years since the fall of the Soviet Union, however, Orthodox Christianity has made an astonishing recovery. While only a third of Russians identified as Orthodox in 1991, over two thirds now identify as Russian Orthodox Christians.
      Yet the rise of the Orthodox Church hasn’t brought religious liberty to Russia. It has simply replaced the Communist Party as the ideological state apparatus used to forcibly unite Russians!
      In a court case under way in southern Russia, Viktor Krasnov is facing up to a year in prison for writing “There is no God” on VKontakte (a Russian social media network similar to Facebook). The authorities became aware of this comment when an online user contacted them, claiming that Krasnov was offending Orthodox believers. Police raided Krasnov’s apartment and forced him to undergo a monthlong examination at a psychiatric ward. Once he was deemed fit for trial, he was charged under a Russian law that makes it illegal to insult the feelings of religious believers.
      It isn’t just atheists who are no longer granted religious freedom in Russia. Alexey Koptev was arrested in 2011 after undercover police officers established that he belonged to the Jehovah’s Witnesses Christian denomination. In 2009, the city of Taganrog banned the Jehovah’s Witnesses denomination for propagating the exclusivity and supremacy of its religion. This denomination now shares the same legal status as the Islamic State and the National Socialist Society.
      In 2002, Russia enacted an extremism law with a provision defining religious extremism as “incitement of religious discord” in connection with acts or threats of violence. Five years later, the law was amended to allow prosecution for inciting religious discord even in the absence of any threat or act of violence. Mormons, Scientologists and even Pentecostals are now coming under increasing government pressure.
      In return for public support from Russian Orthodox clergy, President Vladimir Putin attends church services and portrays himself as a defender of “Christian values.” Like the Byzantine emperors and Russian czars before him, he is using a de facto state religion to unify his empire!
      “The Orthodox revival gave Russians an identity after the years of uncertainty that followed the fall of the Soviet Union,” private intelligence company Stratfor wrote last month. “The Kremlin has used this to its advantage, so effectively portraying support for Putin’s government as a religious duty that the church is now seen as part of the state apparatus.”
      Post-Soviet efforts to remake Moscow into a representative government are failing. Russia has embraced an authoritarian leader driven to vaunt his nation back to the great power status he feels it deserves. This development has dangerous implications for the world. Russia is swiftly becoming a nuclear-armed czarist empire! ▪
       
      See also the Russian Orthodox category
       
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    • Just for interest, here is an interview with prince Andrew. It's acutely embarrassing the excuses  he makes and the denials....  
    • Yes. Just watched it. I like that you talk about the broad effects of the impact whistleblowing has had in this particular area. It's not just the Witnesses, but many institutions. Many guilty people would have probably got away with sexual abuse 20 years ago, but not so much today. Even royalty have been put under the microscope. History is rife with stories of rich dirty old men having sex with underage girls and getting away with it. When enough people make noise, it can't be ignored.
    • Maybe this was in the sense of these "bad elders" rejecting the counsel given by "good elders" who were quoting Bible books and the Mosaic Law (as transmitted through angels), or these "bad elders" were speaking out against sayings of Jesus and inspired writings of the apostles, as if they held no value to this time they were in, so many decades after Jesus originally spoke them. Also (less likely) Jude quotes the book of Enoch, specifically a part about the judgment of angels, and he appears to refer to another book about the "Assumption of Moses." We don't know how much more of those books were accepted other than the portions referenced, but these books were part of a genre that gave names to dozens of angels and referenced many more hierachies of thousands of angels. Good point! I doubt it. There are too many scriptures, and too much context that shows what Paul was up against in trying to get the congregations to accept and understand the concept of "grace" or "undeserved kindness." (Along with "law" "legalism" "works" "righteousness" "sin" "conscience" etc.) Paul had to write chapters, nearly whole long letters, on the subject, and it even put him for a short while at odds with the Jerusalem council. Probably it is sometimes. But the whistleblowing of the CSA cases all over the world have drawn attention to a lot of things that go on in the world where the abused victims felt powerless. In many institutions, including once-hostile work environments, this is actually changing for the better. The threat of monetary sanctions has made even rich men who could once get away with anything (as Trump claimed), think twice. It has definitely helped in some suburban schools and even corporations I once worked for. I suspect that many priests and elders who once thought they would get away with anything are now more apt to think again before abusing persons.
    • The old method of handling this was to use the expression "present truth." Many adventists including Seventh Day still use the expression. It's based on a mistranslation of 2 Peter 1:12 where the KJV said: Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. The tendency among 19th century Adventists was to see a "chronology" element or "time" element in the English expression that did not exist in the original Greek. Therefore, the idea was that: even when in the midst of learning or teaching falsehood, it was still "present truth" at the time, and what is now "present truth" could turn out to be false in the future, but it will always have been "present truth" because it's always the best we had at the time. From the Greek, this is better translated as "the truth that is present in you" (American Standard and NWT).  A similar rush to see a time element in the English translation was done by Barbour and Russell and others who had been associated with Adventists. Here's an example from Leviticus: (Leviticus 26:28) 28 I will intensify my opposition to you, and I myself will have to chastise you seven times for your sins. This was originally the primary source for Russell's 7 times = 2,520 years, and the 7 times of Nebuchadnezzar's dream about his own insanity was only a secondary source. But we have since learned that Leviticus here didn't refer to chronological "times" but the sense was "7 times as much" as in "I will hit you twice as hard, or three times as hard, or seven times as hard." This was already in the context, but chronologists and numerologists rarely notice the context until they have already formed a time related doctrine. (Leviticus 26:18-21) . . .“‘If even this does not make you listen to me, I will have to chastise you seven times as much for your sins. . . . 21 “‘But if you keep walking in opposition to me and refuse to listen to me, I will then have to strike you seven times as much, according to your sins. Now that we have noticed this, we have been stuck with using Nebuchadnezzar as if his wicked Gentile kingdom somehow represented Christ's Messianic non-Gentile kingdom. (Another contradiction between 1914 and the Bible.) We still tend to make a "chronology word" out of things having to do with time when we translate the Greek word for time as "appointed time" instead of what might better be translated as "opportune time." Note that it's the exact same word "time" in these two verses: (Ephesians 5:16) 16 buying out the opportune time for yourselves, because the days are wicked. (Luke 21:24) . . .and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled. Neither the word opportune nor appointed is found in the Greek, only the word time. But the more typical meaning is "opportunity" as in: Will you find the opportunity to do this? Will you find the time to do this? Not: Will you find the appointed day and hour to do this? We have added a more specific chronological sense that usually isn't necessary in the Greek.  
    • Elon Musk shows himself to rather out of touch with science. He is using his money to make a name for himself by driving forward with some outlandish plans. He is an embarrassment to his own employees sometimes when he quotes pseudo-scientific ideas that have been obsolete for decades. (One of these was the idea of using nuclear explosions to make Mars inhabitable.) But his optimism to get employees to "make it happen" will drive some scientific progress in spite of himself. Even here, however, he has often just attached his name to some idea that came out of Japan or China or some US or European scientific think tank that was never associated with Musk. He attaches his own unrealistic timelines to these ideas, however, and then begins to lose credibility.  This particular idea has some merit, but there is a lot more expense in creating the infrastructure than people realize. There is the mining of the elements that go into solar cells, the manufacture of solar panels, the trucking of materials to such a solar hub, the infrastructure to build out the lines from the hub across the USA. Currently these types of expenses reduce the ROI value of this particular type of renewable energy so much that it makes carbon (coal/oil/petroleum) seem much more desirable for generating power, and for which an infrastructure is already in place. When viable, I would like to see how close to Hoover Dam this could be built to re-use some power lines that emanate from there, and already reach to many southwest states. Perhaps an even better idea would be to find a place near Yuma or Mexicali, so that half of the power would be used to desalinate water for Mexico and the US by piping saltwater from the Gulf of California, then freshwater back out with a mountain or salt and minerals as a byproduct.    
    • I think that's exactly correct. But we know that as Christians we are still under under a duty to question, reflect, test, prove, meditate, and "make sure of all things." We must do this even if it were an angel out of heaven giving us the interpretation, according to Galatians 1 and 2. And Paul specifically applied that thought to the way the Galatian congregation(s) should have tested and made sure of the incorrect counsel coming from council of elders at Jerusalem, because evidently some were too quick to accept that counsel just because it came from those who seemed to be pillars in the congregation. To Paul, he said, it didn't matter who those men were, or what they seemed to be, and he even included Peter, James and John in that idea of who to question. John himself later wrote that we should test the inspired utterances (1 John 4:1). I have. And the Watchtower has also claimed to have found MANY previous misinterpretations of prophecy which interpretations they said came from God, and yet warranted a redefinition of that interpretation. In fact I quoted you one of several places where the Watchtower has admitted exactly what you say you have not found: *** ws17 June p. 13 par. 16 Set Your Heart on Spiritual Treasures *** At times, our understanding of a Bible prophecy or a scripture may be adjusted. When that happens, it is important to take the time to study the adjustment and meditate on it. (Acts 17:11; 1 Timothy 4:15) We not only need to understand the main differences between the old understanding and the new one, but we also need to pay attention to the details of the new understanding. I've seen you accuse others here of blasphemy, when they defended the Bible, and yet you are able to make a statement such as that! Yes, certain Bible Student congregations continued to follow the Barbour/Russell advent timeline, which included Rutherford and the Watchtower editorial board, up until about 1927, with some intermediate adjustments over time to what Russell had said about 1914, and 1915, and with some brand new ideas about 1918, and 1925. Russell's concerted effort to "finally understand his own chronology" barely changed a thing, except for a few changes to some Great Pyramid measurements, and some vacillations between 1914 and 1915, and a change around 1904 to push the period of tribulation to the few months after 1914 instead of the few months (or years) before 1914. I would agree that Edgar's pyramid scheme hardly influenced Russell. That's because Edgar only wanted to get even more details on the subject, and completed most of this work after Russell had already published all he had to say on the Pyramid. Also, Russell was already satisfied enough with the details he had borrowed from Joseph Seiss. You say: "Perhaps, that is where the confusion lies" but there is no need for any confusion at all. Russell's works include all the necessary details, and they are all easy to find. If we wish to discuss Russell's own published views, we don't need to worry about the many other groups that sprung from Barbour's and Russell's teachings. I think I know what you are talking about. I think the admins or moderators here consider it spamming when someone overuses a long string of a dozen or more dislike emojis at the rate of one per minute on the posts of people they dislike, and a string of a dozen or more "like" emojis at the rate of about one per minute on their own accounts of different names. I think once a person is caught doing this once, it's dangerous to keep doing this with even with a smaller string of up-votes and down-votes. Sometimes the give-away to the game is when the down-vote is simply a negative response to a Scripture or a direct quote from the Watchtower.
    • I would like to expand on the above quote. New truth/old truth......in the same WT in the preceding par (15) it says; "We discovered some priceless truths when we first began to associate with God’s people. These could well be described as “old,” in that we have known and appreciated them from the beginning of our Christian course. What do such precious truths include? We learned that Jehovah is our Creator and Life-Giver and that he has a purpose for mankind. We also learned that God lovingly provided the ransom sacrifice of his Son so that we might be freed from sin and death. We further learned that his Kingdom will end all suffering and that we have the prospect of living forever  in peace and happiness under Kingdom rule". So the "old" truths here are defined as old from the point of view of age. These are the backbone, basics, elementary, fundamental or key doctrines as JWI describes at the outset of this thread. These have not changed. Then there is the "old" as defined in par 16; "old understanding". So we are not talking about any new truth as in newly discovered truth, but an adjustment or new understanding of what has already been taught previously. In this case it really doesn't make sense to call something old truth and new truth because truth can only be one. If it's not truth, its falsehood. So in my opinion, unless something is "old" established truth, the backbone of our Biblical doctrine, then anything else that falls into the "viewpoint" category of "truth" (or the shadow that is thrown) should not have to be accepted as the "absolute Truth", and should it really become "a part of our collection of Bible truths"? (Of course with any kind of truth, whether relativism, universalism (absolute truth) etc. one can go into great depths of the philosophy behind these concepts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth) (Interestingly, JWI WT quote is from the simplified version. The normal study version does not say "a part of our collection of Bible truths" , but "our own treasure store".)        
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