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Governing Body Member Albert Schroeder Denies the Bible Applies to Jehovah's Witnesses

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In the thread Eight Governing Body etc on page 21, Anna asked me to post the following on a new thread. So here we go.

Governing Body Member Albert Schroeder Denies the Bible Applies to Jehovah's Witnesses

Consider the Bible passage at Luke 21:5-8:

<< 5 Later, when some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with fine stones and dedicated things, 6 he said: “As for these things that you now see, the days will come when not a stone will be left upon a stone and not be thrown down.” 7 Then they questioned him, saying: “Teacher, when will these things actually be, and what will be the sign when these things are to occur?” 8 He said: “Look out that you are not misled, for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The due time is near.’ Do not go after them. >>

The important part here is verse 8. According to most Bible commentaries, and the Society itself, the phrase 'I am he' means "I am someone important, someone to be listened to, someone with authority from Jesus and God to represent them". That obviously includes JW leaders since they directly claim to be Jehovah's representatives. The next part of the verse mentions such people as saying ‘The due time is near’ which obviously refers back to the time when "these things are to occur". Jesus, then, was warning his listeners that if they hear such persons claiming to represent God, and claiming that the due time for 'the end' is near, they should not go after them. Since this perfectly describes what JW leaders have done throughout their history and continue to do, it is obvious that Jesus himself said not to follow them.

In 1994 I had a phone conversation with GB member Albert Schroeder about his failure to follow up on some things he had promised to do. After he said he was reneging on his promise, I decided to challenge him with a question about Luke 21:5-8. I asked him, What do you think that passage means? He got out his NWT and read it out loud. After finishing verse 8, he was unable to speak. After a minute or so, I said, "Well? What does this mean with respect to applying it to JW teaching about the end?" After another two minutes or so of dead silence, he said, "It can't apply to us, because we're God's people!" Of course, you can imagine my reaction.

In 2009 I found myself living temporarily in Utah, in Mormon country. One Saturday morning a lone JW, a man of about 70, came to our door. After some pleasantries where we identified ourselves as ex-JWs, I challenged him with Luke 21:5-8 and asked him the same thing I did with Schroeder. He was silent for a bit, and then said that he understood what the passage meant, so I asked him if he intended to remain a JW, given that his Lord Jesus Christ specifically said "do not follow them". He said that he had been a JW all his life and was too old to change. Perfectly understandable, of course, but also perfectly unchristian.

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57 minutes ago, AlanF said:

After another two minutes or so of dead silence, he said, "It can't apply to us, because we're God's people!" Of course, you can imagine my reaction.

I believe you.

I worked for the man and know that he wasn't one to respond quickly to questions unless he was sure of the answer already given in the publications. He was a Gilead teacher and my father's KM school instructor, and was known to always look for the official answer. (If there was not an official answer, he saw this as an opportunity to come up with a solution. The research assignments I got from him were for areas where he was trying to develop a topic he could write a "new" article about. But he always wanted to be sure it was really "new" and that he could review anything previously "on the books" for any topic. His 1957 generation was a good case in point. He also wanted to develop a medical-based article tying together the Bible's use of "the heart." )

FWIW, I would have answered like this:

  • The verse says not to go after persons who say "I am he" AND who say "the due time is near." 
    • On the first point, we could say that we do not say "I am he" in the CONTEXT of Jesus' answer in Luke. "I am he" is most likely referring to "false messiahs." The problem with this is that the idea of "false messiah" in context sets a kind of trap that you point out, in that anyone who tries to predict the closeness of the destructive judgment is making himself a kind of prophet or Messiah, saying that they are speaking for Christ.
    • On the second point: "the due time is near," this would be much easier. Revelation has John stating that the due time is near.
      • (Revelation 1:1-3) . . .A revelation by Jesus Christ, which God gave him, to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place. . . . 3 Happy is the one who reads aloud and those who hear the words of this prophecy and who observe the things written in it, for the appointed time is near. (Revelation 22:20) . . .“The one who bears witness of these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’” “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.”

  • If we can extricate ourselves from the "I am he" then Revelation 1 & 22 give us the basis on which to say "the due time has approached."

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I should add that the meaning of 'persons who say "I am he" ' is probably best spelled out in Matthew's version:

(Matthew 24:23-28) . . .“Then if anyone says to YOU, ‘Look! Here is the Christ,’ or, ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will give great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones. 25 Look! I have forewarned YOU. 26 Therefore, if people say to YOU, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; ‘Look! He is in the inner chambers,’ do not believe it. 27 For just as the lightning comes out of eastern parts and shines over to western parts, so the presence of the Son of man will be. 28 Wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.

It is ironic that Russell put out a book called "The Time is at Hand" AND simultaneously taught that the solution to the "great mystery" doctrine was that those who were of the higher calling, including Russell himself, could rightly speak of themselves as "the Christ." The Christ was not just Jesus, but the full 144,001. Therefore, it was even possible for those who considered themselves of the 144,000, the Bride, the Higher Calling, to refer to themselves as:

  • "the Christ"
  • "the Saviour"
  • "the prophet greater than Moses"
  • "eternal Father"
  • "the Mediator"

FWF was said to have often hinted in the 1940's and 1950's that this doctrine was still in effect. It was one of the reasons that "great crowd" were not invited to the Memorial for several years. But in the 1960's the Watchtower clarified that the expression "The Christ" could not refer to the rest of the 144,000. Even after that point however, books written by FWFranz, including "Then is Finished the Mystery of God" used the expression 144,001, which had evidently been a reference to the older version of this doctrine.

*** w63 9/1 p. 539 Names for Christ and His Congregation ***
“THE CHRIST”
We come now to a consideration of those terms or titles that apply or are used to refer to Jesus Christ apart from his body members. . . .
But what about the expressions “the Christ” and “Christ”? Does the use of the article with “Christ” designate something different from when no article is used? Might it be that, whereas the term “Christ” refers to Jesus Christ alone, the term “the Christ” could also include the 144,000 members of his body? Do the Scriptures support this thought or distinction?
No, they do not. . . .
In fact, the expression “the Christ” of itself at no time includes the members of Christ’s body. So the title “Christ,” with or without the definite article, refers to Jesus Christ, the article serving to draw attention to or to emphasize his office as the Messiah.

And of course there was no little disruption when FWFranz yelled at all of us one morning at Bethel breakfast because a few (somewhere?) had been balking at a recent article that said Jesus was not the Mediator of the great crowd. The much earlier view that had not been repeated in many years was that the 144,001 WERE the Mediator.

 

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JW Insider said:

Quote

I believe you.

Good!

Quote

 

FWIW, I would have answered like this:

    The verse says not to go after persons who say "I am he" AND who say "the due time is near."
        On the first point, we could say that we do not say "I am he" in the CONTEXT of Jesus' answer in Luke. "I am he" is most likely referring to "false messiahs."

 

Correct. Remember that "messiah" and "christ" mean "anointed one", meaning "anointed by God". The term does not apply just to Jesus Christ, or even to someone claiming to be Jesus Christ returned, but to anyone claiming to be anointed by God.

Quote

        The problem with this is that the idea of "false messiah" in context sets a kind of trap that you point out, in that anyone who tries to predict the closeness of the destructive judgment is making himself a kind of prophet or Messiah, saying that they are speaking for Christ.

        
You're confusing two separate ideas. There is nothing scripturally wrong with expecting and hoping for "the end" to come soon. But predicting a specific time period for "the end" is a different kettle of fish. I need not repeat the many warnings given in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 against trying to predict "the end"; they're clear enough on their own.

Therefore predicting a specific date or narrow window of time is grossly unscriptural. Otherwise, what do the scriptural warnings mean?

Quote

 

        On the second point: "the due time is near," this would be much easier. Revelation has John stating that the due time is near.

            (Revelation 1:1-3) . . .A revelation by Jesus Christ, which God gave him, to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place. . . . 3 Happy is the one who reads aloud and those who hear the words of this prophecy and who observe the things written in it, for the appointed time is near. (Revelation 22:20) . . .“The one who bears witness of these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’” “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.”

 

Well, there is a lot that can be said about Revelation. What did John mean by "near"? If we say, "within a couple of decades", then Revelation can be dismissed as the ravings of a lunatic. If we say, "we don't know but we believe John was inspired", then it must mean "several thousand years". But that is extremely problematic since several thousand years is not "near" in any meaningful sense. One is then forced to interpret "near" in the virtually meaningless sense of "an unknown time in the future". And the meaning of "near" in Luke 21 is obviously not that.

Quote

    If we can extricate ourselves from the "I am he" then Revelation 1 & 22 give us the basis on which to say "the due time has approached."

The Society itself explained the "I am he" one and only one time, in the Nov. 1, 1964 Watchtower (p. 645). After some commentary it said:

<< The combined testimony of these faithful witnesses pointed to danger from within the ranks of professed Christians. The peril would be not so much from the openly avowed opponents of Christ as from those who would rise up claiming to be Christ or claiming to exercise the rights and prerogatives of Christ as his empowered representatives. >>

Now, who today among Jehovah's Witnesses claims "the rights and prerogatives of Christ as his empowered representatives"? The Governing Body. Therefore, by the Society's own argumentation, the GB is saying "I am he". Case closed.

 

Posted 8 minutes ago

Quote

 

I should add that the meaning of 'persons who say "I am he" ' is probably best spelled out in Matthew's version:

(Matthew 24:23-28) . . .“Then if anyone says to YOU, ‘Look! Here is the Christ,’ or, ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will give great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones. 25 Look! I have forewarned YOU. 26 Therefore, if people say to YOU, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; ‘Look! He is in the inner chambers,’ do not believe it. 27 For just as the lightning comes out of eastern parts and shines over to western parts, so the presence of the Son of man will be. 28 Wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.

 

That meaning is consistent with the Society's argument in the 1964 Watchtower: "Christ's empowered representatives".

Quote

It is ironic that Russell put out a book called "The Time is at Hand" AND simultaneously taught that the solution to the "great mystery" doctrine was that those who were of the higher calling, including Russell himself, could rightly speak of themselves as "the Christ."

Which is exactly why Russell and his successors must be among the ones that Luke 21:8 says not to follow.

Further titles were "The Kingdom Is At Hand", "The Approaching Peace of a Thousand Years", "God's Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached", etc.

All of this is so obvious that Albert Schroeder immediately realized its import, and almost panicked. This caused him to deny that the Bible applies to Jehovah's Witnesses. Otherwise he would have had to admit that the JW organization is fundamentally at odds with Jesus' teaching.

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Someone else, maybe @Witness  (forgive me if I'm wrong) mentioned that the GB were putting themselves in the place of Jesus Christ. I think the idea was dismissed. 

However @AlanF comment here :- claiming to exercise the rights and prerogatives of Christ as his empowered representatives. >> 

This is fantastic. It proves the point beyond doubt.  

I don't link on to anyone, just individual comments. And that comment makes a lot of sense to me. 

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45 minutes ago, 4Jah2me said:

Someone else, maybe @Witness  (forgive me if I'm wrong) mentioned that the GB were putting themselves in the place of Jesus Christ. I think the idea was dismissed. 

However @AlanF comment here :- claiming to exercise the rights and prerogatives of Christ as his empowered representatives. >> 

This is fantastic. It proves the point beyond doubt.  

I don't link on to anyone, just individual comments. And that comment makes a lot of sense to me. 

It certainly does make sense. After all, from the 1920s up through about 2013 JW leaders proclaimed that the entire worldwide body of "anointed ones" comprised "the faithful and discreet slave" which Jesus Christ "appointed over all his belongings" on earth in 1919. That, without question, fits the above bolded description. The current Governing Body claims the same thing for itself.

That the phrase "I am He" encompasses the GB's overblown claim is proved both by logical argument and by the Society's own 1964 argument.

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4 hours ago, AlanF said:

In 1994 I had a phone conversation with GB member Albert Schroeder about his failure to follow up on some things he had promised to do. After he said he was reneging on his promise, I decided to challenge him with a question about Luke 21:5-8. I asked him, What do you think that passage means? He got out his NWT and read it out loud. After finishing verse 8, he was unable to speak. After a minute or so, I said, "Well? What does this mean with respect to applying it to JW teaching about the end?" After another two minutes or so of dead silence, he said, "It can't apply to us, because we're God's people!" Of course, you can imagine my reaction.

Ha! Ha! Ha!

We are supposed to take the word of a disingenuous person that's track record is fabrication, good one. Show your proof and not just let out hot air. It stinks already. 😂

2 hours ago, JW Insider said:

It is ironic that Russell put out a book called "The Time is at Hand" AND simultaneously taught that the solution to the "great mystery" doctrine was that those who were of the higher calling, including Russell himself, could rightly speak of themselves as "the Christ." The Christ was not just Jesus, but the full 144,001. Therefore, it was even possible for those who considered themselves of the 144,000, the Bride, the Higher Calling, to refer to themselves as:

Try reading the book correctly. Russell mentions how the 144, 000 are part of the kings going to heaven. A prospect of him being one of them, not that he made a guarantee he was. No different with that of the GB, they have a heavenly HOPE. If you're going to distort Watchtower history like AlanF, at least try to appear intelligent.

1 hour ago, 4Jah2me said:

I don't link on to anyone, just individual comments. And that comment makes a lot of sense to me. 

I suspect you don't like education.

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1 hour ago, César Chávez said:

Try reading the book correctly.

Of course he mentioned how the 144,000 are part of the kings and priests going to heaven. And of course he knew of the possibility that he might personally not be "guaranteed" to be remain among that number. But he never said anything about NOT being a part of that number while he was writing articles, sermons, books, etc. In fact, the Watchtower's own BIOGRAPHY of Russell said that he privately admitted to being the "faithful and wise servant." 

Even more, Russell said:

but since the servant mentioned is to dispense food to the other members of the body, his fellow-servants, the term seems to be limited to some particular individual (R3355)

Who do you think this particular individual was supposed to be referring to?

This servant, if found faithful, would be intrusted more and more with the distribution of every feature of Present Truth as represented in the parable, by his being given the dispensing of the food in due season to the household. (R3356)

Can you think what person for as long he was being found faithful, considered himself to be dispensing every feature of Present Truth to the household of faith?

. . . the Lord at the time indicated would specially use one member of his Church as the channel or instrument through which he would send the appropriate messages, spiritual nourishment appropriate at that time; because at various times in the past the Lord has used individuals in such a manner. For instance, Peter used the "keys" of the Kingdom of heaven at Pentecost . . . . (R3356)

Who might Russell think it is? Hmmm. We don't have to worry about it, he tells us directly:

No, the truths I present, as God's mouthpiece, were not revealed in visions or dreams, nor by God's audible voice, nor all at once, but gradually, especially since 1870, and particularly since 1880. Neither is this clear unfolding of truth due to any human ingenuity or acuteness of perception, but to the simple fact that God's due time has come; and if I did not speak, and no other agent could be found, the very stones would cry out. (R3821)

Of course, I think you knew this already.

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1 hour ago, César Chávez said:

Try reading the book correctly. Russell mentions how the 144, 000 are part of the kings going to heaven. A prospect of him being one of them, not that he made a guarantee he was. No different with that of the GB, they have a heavenly HOPE. If your going to distort Watchtower history like AlanF, at least try to appear intelligent.

When AlanF distorts Watchtower history, I'll call him out on it. But you have said that I did not read Russell's book correctly. You pointed out how, but you were wrong about it. Russell did believe he was of the High Calling and therefore found it appropriate to refer to those with him sharers in "our High Calling," an expression he used dozens of times. He even explained how, while faithful, he was "perfect" and acceptable and justified in this calling:

Therefore because God has a "better thing" for us—our high calling to joint-heirship with Jesus Christ our Lord,. . . . so when we come to realize that we are justified we esteem it a privilege to "present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, our reasonable service." It is acceptable because it is holy; it is holy because it is justified; it is justified because Christ died.

To your second question I reply: It certainly is true, as you say, that none but perfect beings can keep God's perfect law, and I will go further and add that none but perfect beings are acceptable with God.   But as we have just proved we are perfect beings, being justified by Christ Jesus and therefore are acceptable with God by Jesus Christ. [R193]

But although you incorrectly addressed a minor point, I notice you avoided the actual point that I made, that Russell, for example, thought it was proper for those of the High Calling to be referred to as "The CHRIST" ("The Savior" "The Mediator" etc.)

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