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WATCHTOWER, 1991 - "HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT RELIGION"


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Many claim the organization teaches "present truth", which obviously shows it has an expected expiration date.  (John 15:16)

Teachings expressed by its leaders as Truth, come and go, and are discarded when the need for another LIE shows itself.

Well, the "proof of the pudding is in the eating", as they say. (I'm thinking primarily of "Beliefs Clarified")

Interestingly, part of this scripture is found in the Wt article pictured below, which I didn't realize until I pulled the article on my own:  

“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inside are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits: they do not gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles, do they? 17 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree is not able to produce bad fruit, nor a bad tree to produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 As a result, you will recognize them by their fruits." Matt 7:15-20

The article states:

Seeing the bad fruit of the world’s “great” religions, and even of the sects and cults that have sprung up, many sincere people are coming to view them all as ‘rotten trees,’ simply not good enough. But how can they find the true religion? (wt 1991/12/1 pp 6-8)

JWs believe they have found it!  But, according to the article, a religion that teaches lies cannot be true.

Unless Wt. has a different definition of truth, (actually, it does) the following are lies:

The ‘battle of the great day of God Almighty’ (Rev. 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced. "The Time is at Hand"  1907, p. 101

"We understand that the jubilee type began to count in 1575 B.C.; and the 3,500 year period embracing the type must end in 1925.. It follows, then, that the year 1925 will mark the beginning of the restoration of all things lost by Adam's disobedience."  Wt 1922/11/1

One could fill a few pages of wrong, failed, changed, discarded, shoved under the carpet, teachings by the Watchtower.  It is those who believe the lie, as 2 Thess 2:9-12  brings out, who have no prospect of receiving eternal life.   

It takes incredible gall for JWs to call those on the outside of their organization, "apostates" and "liars", who are  people that can see through the veil of deception.  (2 Cor 4:3)

 

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I don't think you're a bad example. I find your posts encouraging and I'm sure a lot of other people here do. I think some of the "complainers" may just be working out their own demons, or I hope they are. Jehovah knows we cause most of our problems just fine all by ourselves.

I have noticed that the desire to see God's promises fulfilled (nothing wrong with that of course), drives the human spirit to "predict" or "hope for" the end always in their life time. The pattern is clear: Russell hoped for the end in 1874 then 1914, Rutherford 1925, Franz 1975, the 80's GB by the end of the 20th century, today's GB between now and aprox. 2035. Each generation would say their children aren't going to make it to school....now those  children have children of their own...and g

One thing I've had hammered into me over the past decades of pioneering, studying w/mentally ill people, people who were out of jail, homeless people, professors of anthropology, teachers of farsi at the local mosque, chinese buddhists from hong kong (using me to practice english), professors of astrophysics, ranchers, ex-football champs, a hip hop artist and so-called normal people is that I'm not more worthy of survival than any of these. In fact many are arguably better people personalit

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Well I don't get into name calling, but I do think there are hierarchies of interests and hierarchies of concerns. But, to play the side which is presented we could suggest the same of many in the Bible. Take Jonah. Did Jonah preach a lie?

3  Then the word of Jehovah came to Joʹnah a second time, saying:

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 “Get up, go to Ninʹe·veh
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the great city, and proclaim to her the message that I tell you.”
 So Joʹnah got up and went to Ninʹe·veh
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in obedience to the word of Jehovah.
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Now Ninʹe·veh was a very large city
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—a walking distance of three days.
 Then Joʹnah entered the city, and walking a day’s journey, he was proclaiming: “In just 40 days more, Ninʹe·veh will be overthrown.” - Jonah 3:1-4

Now granted he got a direct message as the scripture says to tell Nineveh what would, in the strictest sense would be - a lie.

(But...they repent (now there was no conditional "Nineveh will overthrown in 40 days UNLESS you repent))

He even as much as said so later that he knew it was a 'lie'.

4  But this was highly displeasing to Joʹnah, and he became hot with anger.  So he prayed to Jehovah: “Ah, now, Jehovah, was this not my concern when I was in my own land? That is why I tried to flee to Tarʹshish

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in the first place; for I knew that you are a compassionate
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and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in loyal love,
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one who feels grieved over calamity.

So I think that you have a point in the strictest sense, but even in a courtroom the intent, the mens rea is taken into account.

Did the ones saying such things in 1907 not believe them to be true? If they did was it a lie? Is simply teaching something which one believes to be true (but isn't) equivalent in all ways to "teaching lies"?

I don't see it that way.

 

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2 hours ago, xero said:

Did the ones saying such things in 1907 not believe them to be true?

I agree with everything you say...but could this not be said of most religions? What they teach, do they not believe it is true? For example the trinity doctrine, do those who teach it not believe that it is true? (Now of course it would be a different matter if they believed it was false, but taught it as truth). So really, it seems that the WT is slightly erroneous in stating that "the truth" is what makes a religion right, and you have already highlighted the reason why this is erroneous.  What I see as more important is the second part, where Jesus says that those who are like greedy wolves are false teachers. So it is the behavior, and consequently the fruits of a religion, that identify it as true or false.

Also, I would say that being eager to correct previously held wrong beliefs identifies the true religion as well. 

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A - I would say expecially w/regard to the trinity, that you have to have (to get all epistemological about it in the Gettier sense), to have knowledge of something, to have true, justified belief (to have knowldege, it has to be true, you have to believe it and you have to have good justification for said belief).

To believe something is to be able to provide a rational belief, an account of your belief. If you say "I believe in the trinity", that's not proof of your belief. That's a statement. You have to provide justification.

If you say "I believe in the trinity because the Pope says it's true, or because my preacher says it's true, or because I don't want to be called names." We all know those are not valid reasons, any more than if a person were to say "The governing body says it's true, therefore it's true and those are my reasons". These may be reasonable in the sense of these "reasons" being correlated with the proposed belief, but to believe something you have to internalize the thing in which you ostensibly believe.

I see a cat. I believe I saw a cat. I touched the cat. I form a "catness" analogy in my head as to when something has passed into the zone of catness and when it's no longer a cat. My belief has boundary conditions, and is potentially falsifiable. But at the moment I say "I'm holding a soft, purring kitten" and you see it, and acknowledge it, then we have some grounds for saying we believe me when I say "I'm holding a soft, purring kitten".

The justifications are my sense data and your agreement w/my sense data.

What is it that this person is even talking about, when he says "I believe the trinity to be true."?

The word and it's use is so ambiguous as to require a lot of qualification. Most people are satisfied, like the reasoning book says when you say "I've accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and I believe Jesus is the Son of God and the Holy Spirit is God's power." (paraphrased) People will say "Mighty fine!, Mighty fine!". You could even preach a sermon in their church - take an outline like "God's View of Sex and Marriage" and give it in any nondenominational church and you'd get no argument.

So do they believe the trinity? I don't think they even have a clear idea as to what they're talking about. You can't teach what you can't clearly define any more than you can believe it. It reminds me of an 8 hour discussion I had w/a pentecostal minister one long Saturday - like playing whackamole w/scriptures. I ended up eating dinner w/his family - nice people and all, but at the end he just had a Mona Lisa smile on his face like some carnival worker who took all my money so I could finally get a stuffed pony.

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12 hours ago, xero said:

Take Jonah. Did Jonah preach a lie?

He preached what he heard. GB heard nothing! .... or they heard voices, still? :))

After some time Jonah heard something else. So, both voices came from same place (same person aka God) and what Jonah told people, "both news", were true as such. 

"Jonah message or truth" were not the result of a "light that shines more and more" in which the second stronger light replaces the first which shines less brightly. These were two completely clear messages with two contents. There, nothing depended on the spiritual-intellectual effort of the people to try to understand the "riddle".

2 hours ago, xero said:

To believe something is to be able to provide a rational belief, an account of your belief. If you say "I believe in the trinity", that's not proof of your belief. That's a statement. You have to provide justification.

If you say "I believe in the trinity because the Pope says it's true, or because my preacher says it's true, or because I don't want to be called names." We all know those are not valid reasons, any more than if a person were to say "The governing body says it's true, therefore it's true and those are my reasons". These may be reasonable in the sense of these "reasons" being correlated with the proposed belief, but to believe something you have to internalize the thing in which you ostensibly believe.

What is the rational belief of a child who sees a cat for the first time, not knowing it is a cat, but his mother telling him it is a cat? The child trusts the mother and that is why this statement is correct. 

Adult people believe other people how something is true. And in many cases they don't question it, they don’t check it. In WTJWorg was created special climate in which members “learn” how far they are allowed to question and doubt something. The "Rubicon" exists and is passed from generation to generation.

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True that there are people who go along w/things. I see this more in the "raised-in-the-truthers" where the "make the truth your own" is something they have yet to do. And true also that tyrannical elements exist in the organization as there were too in the 1st century. People said things, and "leaders" said and believed thing which weren't true.

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 However, brothers, concerning the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ
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and our being gathered together to him,
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we ask you
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 not to be quickly shaken from your reason nor to be alarmed either by an inspired statement
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or by a spoken message or by a letter appearing to be from us, to the effect that the day of Jehovah
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is here." 2 Thes. 2:1-2

Peter had to get straightened out by Paul. Priscilla and Aqulla had to strighten out Apollos. There were people pushing circumcision. There was a fascination with angelology. There was the "sect of Nicolaus". People came and went. I'm sure there were people who thought certain the end was in sight then and preached to that effect.

People get things wrong a lot. Especially where God is concerned. Some have problems admitting being wrong, and maybe today you have some overly concerned w/lawsuits (guess what, there were lawsuits in the 1st century too).

At any given moment you have people w/a certain spirit about them. Is it their desire to tell the truth, or to trick you? People fool themselves 1st before they fool others. It happens all the time.

That's why you have to keep testing the inspired utterances, because there will be utterances and you have to keep checking to see if you are really in the faith.

Me? I think I'm doing good sometimes and then ten minutes go by and I'm like pig-pen from the Charlie Brown cartoons. I spiritually floss one tooth and the others get loose. It never ends.

I think of this written by Paul and feel the same way....

"

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 I find, then, this law in my case: When I wish to do what is right, what is bad is present with me.
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    Hello guest!
 I really delight in the law of God according to the man I am within,
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 but I see in my body
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another law warring against the law of my mind
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and leading me captive to sin’s law
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that is in my body.
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 Miserable man that I am! Who will rescue me from the body undergoing this death?
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 Thanks to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So, then, with my mind I myself am a slave to God’s law, but with my flesh to sin’s law.
    Hello guest!

So to me w/organizations no matter what, you have yourself either alone and on your knees praying alone or you associate w/organizations who mostly appear to be doing their best.

Maybe some are being idolatrous w/organizations and maybe some are uncomfortable w/the ambiguity which comes from a living, breathing and imperfect faith and so they tighten up - well guess what? It's never stopped being that way and won't until Jesus intervenes in this system in a way that's undeniable to the entire planet.

 

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14 hours ago, xero said:

Now granted he got a direct message as the scripture says to tell Nineveh what would, in the strictest sense would be - a lie.

The message that Jonah gave the people, "in the strictest sense", was not a lie.  They heard the message that originated with God, and they repented.  Where is the lie?  

And the people of Nineveh believed in God, and they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth—from the greatest of them to the least important.

And the news reached the king of Nineveh, and he rose from his throne and removed his royal robe, put on sackcloth, and sat in the ashes. 7 And he had a proclamation made, and said,

“In Nineveh, by a decree of the king and his nobles:

“No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything! They must not eat, and they must not drink water! 8 And the human beings and the animals must be covered with sackcloth! And they must call forcefully to God, and each must turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his[f] hands. 9 Who knows? God may relent and change his mind and turn from his blazing anger[g] so that[h] we will not perish.”

10 And God saw their deeds—that they turned from their evil ways—and God changed his mind about the evil that he had said he would bring upon them, and he did not do it.  Jonah 3:3-10

Are you calling God a liar?  

 

56 minutes ago, Srecko Sostar said:

He preached what he heard. GB heard nothing! .... or they heard voices, still? :))

After some time Jonah heard something else. So, both voices came from same place (same person aka God) and what Jonah told people, "both news", were true as such. 

Yes!

3 hours ago, xero said:

So do they believe the trinity? I don't think they even have a clear idea as to what they're talking about. You can't teach what you can't clearly define any more than you can believe it.

Just as the organization doesn't know what its talking about concerning many of their doctrines.  "This generation" teaching is a complete failure;  but continues to mislead people with its variations on a theme - that being from the beginning, it has been a lie.

I like this quote:  “Lies require commitment.”  The Wt is committed to feed their lies, with more lies.

Thus says the YHVH of hosts, “You must not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They are deluding you with visions of their mind, They do not speak from the mouth of YHVH.  Jer 23:16

This is a command that hold true today.  If JWs continue to listen to men and their organization that  has prophesied lies, and still  prophesies lies, they will have to answer for it.  JWs speak the same lies they are taught, no?  THEY are as guilty of misleading others with lies, as are the leadership, since we stand as individuals before Christ in judgment.  

The good person from his good treasury brings out good things, and the evil person from his evil treasury brings out evil things. 36 But I tell you that every worthless word that they speak, people will give an account for it on the day of judgment! 37 For by your words you will be vindicated, and by your words you will be condemned.”  Matt 12:35-37

"visions of their own mind"..."worthless words that they speak". 

You've got two examples of delusionary teachings in the opening post, how many more would you like?  And how many excuses will there be, to dismiss a lie taught by the organization?

 

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The message that Jonah gave the people, "in the strictest sense", was not a lie.  They heard the message that originated with God, and they repented.  Where is the lie?  

If you were a prosecutor, the fact that this didn't happen was a "lie".

You see how people can play this game?

Reminds me of a scene from the Pink Panther.

 

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11 minutes ago, xero said:

If you were a prosecutor, the fact that this didn't happen was a "lie".

You see how people can play this game?

Reminds me of a scene from the Pink Panther.

  Are you playing the game?  Are your leaders playing the game? The "game" cannot be applied to God and His wishes.

"The Lord is not delaying the promise, as some consider slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not want any to perish, but all to come to repentance."  1 Pet 3:9

 

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3 hours ago, xero said:

A - I would say expecially w/regard to the trinity, that you have to have (to get all epistemological about it in the Gettier sense), to have knowledge of something, to have true, justified belief (to have knowldege, it has to be true, you have to believe it and you have to have good justification for said belief).

To believe something is to be able to provide a rational belief, an account of your belief. If you say "I believe in the trinity", that's not proof of your belief. That's a statement. You have to provide justification.

If you say "I believe in the trinity because the Pope says it's true, or because my preacher says it's true, or because I don't want to be called names." We all know those are not valid reasons, any more than if a person were to say "The governing body says it's true, therefore it's true and those are my reasons". These may be reasonable in the sense of these "reasons" being correlated with the proposed belief, but to believe something you have to internalize the thing in which you ostensibly believe.

I see a cat. I believe I saw a cat. I touched the cat. I form a "catness" analogy in my head as to when something has passed into the zone of catness and when it's no longer a cat. My belief has boundary conditions, and is potentially falsifiable. But at the moment I say "I'm holding a soft, purring kitten" and you see it, and acknowledge it, then we have some grounds for saying we believe me when I say "I'm holding a soft, purring kitten".

The justifications are my sense data and your agreement w/my sense data.

What is it that this person is even talking about, when he says "I believe the trinity to be true."?

The word and it's use is so ambiguous as to require a lot of qualification. Most people are satisfied, like the reasoning book says when you say "I've accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and I believe Jesus is the Son of God and the Holy Spirit is God's power." (paraphrased) People will say "Mighty fine!, Mighty fine!". You could even preach a sermon in their church - take an outline like "God's View of Sex and Marriage" and give it in any nondenominational church and you'd get no argument.

So do they believe the trinity? I don't think they even have a clear idea as to what they're talking about. You can't teach what you can't clearly define any more than you can believe it. It reminds me of an 8 hour discussion I had w/a pentecostal minister one long Saturday - like playing whackamole w/scriptures. I ended up eating dinner w/his family - nice people and all, but at the end he just had a Mona Lisa smile on his face like some carnival worker who took all my money so I could finally get a stuffed pony.

Nice dissertation xero 🙂. I suppose what you are saying is that those who teach the Trinity, (I am talking about spiritual leaders, not laity) do so not because they can "prove" it is true, but because it is "tradition", because that is what the church was founded on and decided upon in the 4th century. It is true, if you've read any of the secular books on the inception of the trinity doctrine you realize what a political scam it was. Of course, most of these books are written by authors who are against the doctrine. There are many books though written by those who defend the trinity and present arguments for it. These theologians surely must believe with all their heart that the trinity is true. After all, they present "proof”. What then? I think the criterion for ascertaining the genuineness of such a person is; how would they react when presented with simple Biblical proof against the Trinity doctrine? Just for the sake of example, if the Pope was presented with simple, and logical Biblical proof, would he still hold on to his belief tooth and nail? That perhaps would be the deciding factor whether I should join his religion, whether this religion was the right one. That is what I meant when I said that the true religion should be able to change their erroneous teachings when finding out that they were indeed in error. So in this case, the Pope would go ahead and declare the some 1600 year held doctrine null and void and introduce Biblical truth. Obviously, for something like this to happen is unrealistic, that is why it is a strictly hypothetical example just to illustrate a point.. (what is possible of course is for the Pope to resign, but this would not change Catholicism).
So I still think that the measuring stick to finding the true religion is its willingness to change its teachings, and not whether it is teaching the truth per se. As Witness* brought out, we have not always taught the truth. Not only that, but we are still learning. The Bible itself says the light will keep getting brighter, until full daylight. Perhaps full daylight will not be achieved till the new system? You may have noticed on this forum discussions regarding 1914. There are many discrepancies regarding this “doctrine” if one cares to look. Your average brother or sister will be teaching this from how it is presented by the GB, without questioning it, or without looking at evidence against it.   


(*Witness is no longer a JW herself, so naturally most of what she says is in direct and bitter opposition to what she used to believe to be the Truth). 

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Just now, Witness said:

  Are you playing the game?  Are your leaders playing the game? The "game" cannot be applied to God and His wishes.

"The Lord is not delaying the promise, as some consider slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not want any to perish, but all to come to repentance."  1 Pet 3:9

 

Are we not to be "imitators of God as beloved children"? I'm not a muslim who believes morality doesn't apply to God and that anything God does is by definition "good".

As to "playing the game" I'm saying that you're making accusations as if you have knowledge of the contents of another person's head. You don't, so you can't call it a "lie" unless you can prove the intent was to deceive.  The "game" is one you're playing. I just lobbed the ball back in your court and then you appear to be saying "See! You're playing the game!".

It could also be (like Jesus) that I'm answering you not for your benefit, but for anyone else who might be reading this.

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5 minutes ago, Anna said:

Nice dissertation xero 🙂. I suppose what you are saying is that those who teach the Trinity, (I am talking about spiritual leaders, not laity) do so not because they can "prove" it is true, but because it is "tradition", because that is what the church was founded on and decided upon in the 4th century. It is true, if you've read any of the secular books on the inception of the trinity doctrine you realize what a political scam it was. Of course, most of these books are written by authors who are against the doctrine. There are many books though written by those who defend the trinity and present arguments for it. These theologians surely must believe with all their heart that the trinity is true. After all, they present "proof”. What then? I think the criterion for ascertaining the genuineness of such a person is; how would they react when presented with simple Biblical proof against the Trinity doctrine? Just for the sake of example, if the Pope was presented with simple, and logical Biblical proof, would he still hold on to his belief tooth and nail? That perhaps would be the deciding factor whether I should join his religion, whether this religion was the right one. That is what I meant when I said that the true religion should be able to change their erroneous teachings when finding out that they were indeed in error. So in this case, the Pope would go ahead and declare the some 1600 year held doctrine null and void and introduce Biblical truth. Obviously, for something like this to happen is unrealistic, that is why it is a strictly hypothetical example just to illustrate a point.. (what is possible of course is for the Pope to resign, but this would not change Catholicism).
So I still think that the measuring stick to finding the true religion is its willingness to change its teachings, and not whether it is teaching the truth per se. As Witness* brought out, we have not always taught the truth. Not only that, but we are still learning. The Bible itself says the light will keep getting brighter, until full daylight. Perhaps full daylight will not be achieved till the new system? You may have noticed on this forum discussions regarding 1914. There are many discrepancies regarding this “doctrine” if one cares to look. Your average brother or sister will be teaching this from how it is presented by the GB, without questioning it, or without looking at evidence against it.   


(*Witness is no longer a JW herself, so naturally most of what she says is in direct and bitter opposition to what she used to believe to be the Truth). 

I've read a lot of writings from the preachers from the 19th century and they all fail when it comes to the Trinity. They argue for it, but when they get beat, the do like Spurgeon and say:

trinity.png?1529617094

Yes, willingness to change has to be there. The question is whether the change is coming from a more accurate understanding of scripture in context (biblical archaeology, textual analysis) or the change is coming from external forces in human society.
FYI

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The above is the text of a debate that took place in 1842 in Ridley, PA between Frederick Plummer and William McAlla - In it you can read the use of every argument for and against the trinity which I've ever read. (Of course I feel Plummer won hands down)

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      « Tu dois t’acquitter envers Jéhovah de tes vœux » (MATTHIEU 5:33).
      YIPHTAH était un chef et un guerrier courageux. Hanna était une femme humble qui prenait soin de son mari et de sa famille. Tous les deux adoraient Jéhovah. Mais ils ont un autre point commun : ils ont fait un vœu à Jéhovah et ils l’ont respecté fidèlement. Ils sont d’excellents exemples pour les chrétiens qui décident de faire des vœux à Jéhovah. Répondons maintenant à ces trois questions : Qu’est-ce qu’un vœu ? Faire un vœu à Jéhovah, est-ce sérieux ? Quelles leçons tirer des histoires de Yiphtah et de Hanna ?
      Dans la Bible, un vœu est une promesse sérieuse faite à Jéhovah. Par exemple, la promesse de faire quelque chose, d’offrir quelque chose, de commencer un certain service, ou de ne pas faire certaines choses. On fait un vœu volontairement, en utilisant sa liberté de choix. Personne n’est obligé de faire un vœu. Mais si on décide d’en faire un, Jéhovah le considère comme une promesse dont on doit s’acquitter. D’après la Bible, un vœu est aussi important qu’un serment. Un serment, c’est quand une personne jure de faire ou de ne pas faire quelque chose (Genèse 14:22, 23 ; Hébreux 6:16, 17). Que dit la Bible à propos du sérieux des vœux faits à Jéhovah ?
      Dans la Loi de Moïse, on lit que si quelqu’un fait un vœu à Jéhovah, « il ne doit pas violer (trahir) sa parole. Il fera selon tout ce qui est sorti de sa bouche » (Nombres 30:2). Plus tard, Salomon a écrit : « Quand tu fais un vœu à Dieu, n’hésite pas à t’en acquitter, car il n’y a aucun plaisir dans les stupides. Le vœu que tu fais, acquitte-t’en » (Ecclésiaste 5:4). Plus tard encore, Jésus a enseigné qu’un vœu fait à Jéhovah est quelque chose de sérieux, en rappelant : « Il a été dit à ceux des temps anciens : “Tu ne dois pas jurer sans tenir [parole], mais tu dois t’acquitter envers Jéhovah de tes vœux” » (Matthieu 5:33).
      C’est donc clair qu’il faut prendre très au sérieux toute promesse qu’on fait à Jéhovah. Respecter ou non nos vœux a des conséquences sur notre relation avec lui. Un jour, David a demandé : « Qui pourra monter à la montagne de Jéhovah, et qui pourra se lever en son lieu saint », autrement dit être accepté par Jéhovah ? Il a répondu que c’est celui qui ne fait pas de « serment avec tromperie » (Psaume 24:3, 4). Mais quels vœux Yiphtah et Hanna ont-ils faits ? Cela a-t-il été facile pour eux de s’en acquitter ?
      ILS SE SONT ACQUITTÉS DE LEURS VŒUX
      Yiphtah a fait sa promesse à Jéhovah avant de combattre les Ammonites, des ennemis du peuple de Jéhovah (Juges 10:7-9). Il a fait ce vœu (en résumé) : « Si vraiment tu me donnes la victoire, voici ce qui devra arriver : quand je reviendrai en paix de chez les fils d’Ammôn, la personne qui sortira de ma maison à ma rencontre, celle-là devra alors t’appartenir. » Jéhovah a répondu à la prière de Yiphtah en l’aidant à gagner la guerre. Quand Yiphtah est rentré chez lui, sa fille chérie est sortie vers lui. Ce serait donc elle qui « appartiendrait à Jéhovah » (Juges 11:30-34). Qu’est-ce que cela allait changer pour elle ?
      Pour respecter le vœu de Yiphtah, sa fille devrait partir servir Jéhovah à plein temps au tabernacle. Yiphtah avait-il fait son vœu sans réfléchir ? Non. Il savait sans doute que sa fille pourrait être la première personne à sortir vers lui. Mais qu’il l’ait su ou pas, cela n’a pas été facile pour lui de respecter son vœu, et pour sa fille non plus. En effet, en la voyant sortir, il a dit que cela lui causait un grand chagrin. Et elle, elle est partie « pleurer sur sa virginité ». Pourquoi ont-ils pleuré ? Yiphtah n’avait pas de fils, et maintenant sa fille unique ne se marierait jamais et n’aurait pas d’enfant. Le nom de famille de Yiphtah disparaîtrait. Mais tous les deux comprenaient que le plus important, ce n’étaient pas leurs sentiments. Yiphtah a dit : « J’ai ouvert ma bouche pour Jéhovah ; je ne [peux pas] revenir en arrière. » Et sa fille a répondu : « Fais-moi selon ce qui est sorti de ta bouche » (Juges 11:35-39). Tous les deux étaient des personnes fidèles : ils n’auraient jamais eu l’idée de casser un vœu fait à Jéhovah, même si c’était difficile de le respecter (lire Deutéronome 23:21, 23 ; Psaume 15:4).
      Hanna aussi a fait un vœu à Jéhovah dans un moment difficile de sa vie. Elle était malheureuse parce qu’elle ne pouvait pas avoir d’enfants, et qu’à cause de cela elle subissait des remarques méchantes (1 Samuel 1:4-7, 10, 16). En exprimant ses sentiments à Jéhovah, elle lui a fait cette promesse : « Ô Jéhovah des armées, si tu ne manques pas de regarder l’affliction (le chagrin) de ton esclave et si vraiment tu te souviens de moi, si tu n’oublies pas ton esclave et si vraiment tu donnes à ton esclave un descendant mâle, oui je le donnerai à Jéhovah pour tous les jours de sa vie, et le rasoir ne viendra pas sur sa tête. » (1 Samuel 1:11). Jéhovah a répondu à sa prière : l’année suivante elle a eu un fils, Samuel. Elle était très heureuse ! Mais elle n’a pas oublié le vœu qu’elle avait fait à Jéhovah. Après la naissance de son fils, elle a dit : « C’est à Jéhovah que je l’ai demandé » (1 Samuel 1:20).
      Quand Samuel a eu environ trois ans, Hanna a tenu sa promesse. Elle a amené Samuel au grand prêtre Éli, en disant : « C’est à propos de ce garçon que je priais, pour que Jéhovah m’accorde [...] ce que je lui demandais. Et moi, à mon tour, je l’ai prêté à Jéhovah » (1 Samuel 1:24-28). À partir de ce jour-là, Samuel a habité au tabernacle. La Bible dit que « le garçon Samuel grandissait auprès de Jéhovah » (1 Samuel 2:21). Cela n’allait pas être facile pour Hanna de respecter son vœu. Elle ne pourrait plus passer du temps chaque jour avec son fils qu’elle aimait tendrement. Ce serait dur de ne pas le voir grandir. Mais elle a pris son vœu au sérieux. Pour tenir sa promesse, elle a accepté volontiers de sacrifier des choses qui étaient importantes pour elle (1 Samuel 2:1, 2 ; lire Psaume 61:1, 5, 8).
      Parmi les vœux faits à Jéhovah, il y a le vœu de l’offrande de soi, le vœu du mariage et le vœu des serviteurs spéciaux à plein temps
      T’acquittes-tu de tes vœux envers Jéhovah ?
      LE VŒU DE L’OFFRANDE DE SOI
      Le vœu le plus grand qu’un chrétien puisse faire, c’est celui de s’offrir à Jéhovah pour toute la vie. Dans une prière personnelle, ce chrétien promet à Jéhovah d’utiliser sa vie pour le servir pour toujours, quoi qu’il arrive. En faisant ce vœu, il « se renie lui-même » : il promet de donner la plus grande importance non pas à lui-même, mais à Jéhovah (Matthieu 16:24). À partir de ce moment, il appartient à Jéhovah (Romains 14:8). Il prend au sérieux son vœu d’offrande de soi. Il pense comme l’écrivain des Psaumes qui a dit : « Que rendrai-je à Jéhovah pour tous ses bienfaits envers moi ? Je m’acquitterai de mes vœux envers Jéhovah, oui devant tout son peuple » (Psaume 116:12, 14).
      As-tu fait le vœu d’offrir ta vie à Jéhovah, et l’as-tu montré en te faisant baptiser dans l’eau ? Si oui, félicitations ! Rappelle-toi le discours de ton baptême. Le frère t’a demandé si tu avais offert ta vie à Jéhovah, et si tu comprenais qu’en te faisant baptiser, tu montrais « que tu devenais Témoin de Jéhovah ». En entendant ton « oui », tous les assistants ont compris que tu avais offert ta vie à Jéhovah et que tu pouvais te faire baptiser ministre ordonné de Jéhovah. Tu as certainement fait très plaisir à Jéhovah !
      Quand tu t’es fait baptiser, tu as promis à Jéhovah d’utiliser ta vie pour le servir, et de tout faire pour obéir à ses normes. Mais le baptême n’est qu’un début. Le temps passant, on doit tous continuer à s’examiner. Alors, demande-toi : « Ma relation avec Jéhovah est-elle de plus en plus forte depuis mon baptême ? Est-ce que je le sers toujours de tout mon cœur ? (Colossiens 3:23). Est-ce que je prie souvent ? Est-ce que je lis la Bible tous les jours ? Est-ce que j’assiste régulièrement aux réunions de la congrégation ? Est-ce que je prêche aussi souvent que possible ? Ou, au contraire, est-ce que j’ai perdu un peu de mon envie de faire ces activités ? » D’après l’apôtre Pierre, pour ne pas devenir inactifs dans notre service pour Jéhovah, nous devons nous efforcer de faire grandir en nous la foi, la connaissance, l’endurance et l’attachement à Jéhovah (lire 2 Pierre 1:5-8).
      Une fois que quelqu’un a prononcé le vœu de servir Jéhovah, il ne peut pas reprendre sa parole. S’il en a assez de servir Jéhovah ou de vivre en chrétien, il ne peut pas dire : « Je n’ai jamais vraiment offert ma vie à Jéhovah ; mon baptême n’était pas valable* » (lire la note). Si un chrétien commet un péché grave alors qu’il s’est offert à Jéhovah, il est responsable de sa conduite devant Jéhovah et la congrégation (Romains 14:12). Nous ne voulons pas ressembler aux chrétiens à qui Jésus a dit : « Tu as laissé l’amour que tu avais au début. » Au contraire, nous voulons qu’il puisse nous dire : « Je connais tes actions, et ton amour, et ta foi, et ton ministère, et ton endurance, et je sais que tes actions récentes sont plus nombreuses que celles d’autrefois » (Révélation 2:4, 19). Nous voulons faire plaisir à Jéhovah en nous acquittant avec zèle de notre vœu.
      LE VŒU DU MARIAGE
      Des mariés échangent leurs vœux de mariage
      Le deuxième vœu le plus important qu’on puisse faire, c’est celui du mariage. Le mariage est sacré. Jéhovah considère ce vœu comme quelque chose de très sérieux. Quand des mariés prononcent leurs vœux, ils font une promesse devant Jéhovah et devant les personnes présentes. Ils se promettent de s’aimer, de se chérir et de se respecter l’un l’autre aussi longtemps qu’ils vivront ensemble sur la terre dans le cadre du mariage tel qu’il a été institué par Dieu. Quelles que soient les paroles exactes que les mariés se disent, dans tous les cas, ce sont des vœux faits devant Jéhovah. En les faisant, ils deviennent mari et femme. Le mariage doit être une union pour toute la vie (Genèse 2:24 ; 1 Corinthiens 7:39). Jésus a dit que personne ne doit séparer ce que Jéhovah a uni (Marc 10:9). Un homme et une femme qui se marient ne doivent pas se dire que, si leur union ne marche pas, ils pourront toujours divorcer.
      Bien sûr, il n’y a pas de mariage parfait puisqu’il n’y a pas d’humain parfait. C’est pourquoi la Bible dit que toute personne mariée aura parfois « des tribulations (des problèmes) » (1 Corinthiens 7:28). Dans le monde d’aujourd’hui, beaucoup ne prennent pas le mariage au sérieux. Ils pensent : « Si ça ne marche pas, on pourra toujours divorcer. » Mais les chrétiens ne considèrent pas le mariage de cette façon. Ils sont conscients qu’ils ont prononcé leur vœu de mariage devant Jéhovah. S’ils cassaient leur vœu, ce serait comme s’ils lui mentaient. Or Jéhovah déteste les menteurs ! (Lévitique 19:12 ; Proverbes 6:16-19). Les chrétiens mariés doivent se rappeler ces paroles de l’apôtre Paul : « Es-tu lié à une femme ? Cesse (arrête) de chercher à t’en détacher » (1 Corinthiens 7:27). Paul a pu dire cela parce qu’il savait que Jéhovah déteste aussi les divorces quand ils sont des trahisons (Malaki 2:13-16).
      Jésus a enseigné que la seule situation qui donne une raison de divorcer, c’est lorsqu’un mari ou une femme commet l’adultère (est infidèle à son conjoint) et que le conjoint innocent décide de ne pas lui pardonner (Matthieu 19:9 ; Hébreux 13:4). Par ailleurs, peut-on se séparer de son conjoint ? La Bible est claire à ce sujet aussi (lire 1 Corinthiens 7:10, 11). Il n’existe pas de raison biblique de se séparer de son conjoint. Mais parfois un chrétien (ou une chrétienne) pense que c’est absolument nécessaire. Par exemple, il est sûr que sa vie ou sa relation avec Jéhovah seront en très grand danger s’il reste avec un conjoint violent.
      Si des conjoints demandent conseil aux anciens de la congrégation pour rendre leur couple plus solide, les anciens pourraient leur demander s’ils ont regardé la vidéo Qu’est-ce que le vrai amour ? et s’ils ont étudié la brochure Le secret des familles heureuses. Ces documents montrent quels principes bibliques peuvent rendre un mariage plus solide. Des Témoins racontent : « Depuis que nous étudions cette brochure, notre couple est plus heureux que jamais. » Une sœur mariée depuis 22 ans pensait que son mariage allait bientôt se briser. Mais elle a regardé la vidéo. Elle raconte : « Nous sommes tous les deux baptisés, mais sur le plan affectif nous étions complètement différents. La vidéo est arrivée au bon moment ! Maintenant, notre couple va beaucoup mieux. » Vraiment, si un mari et une femme appliquent les conseils de Jéhovah, leur union devient plus heureuse et plus forte.
      LE VŒU DES SERVITEURS SPÉCIAUX À PLEIN TEMPS
      Au début de l’article, nous avons parlé des vœux de Yiphtah et de Hanna. Grâce à ces vœux, la fille de Yiphtah et le fils de Hanna ont passé leur vie à servir Jéhovah d’une façon spéciale. À notre époque, beaucoup de parents chrétiens ont encouragé leurs enfants à s’engager dans le ministère à plein temps et à concentrer leur vie sur le service pour Jéhovah. En fait, nous pouvons tous encourager ces jeunes frères et sœurs à tenir bon dans leur service (Juges 11:40 ; Psaume 110:3).
      Aujourd’hui, il y a des dizaines de milliers de membres de l’Ordre international des serviteurs spéciaux à plein temps des Témoins de Jéhovah. Certains servent au Béthel, ou dans l’activité de construction ou alors dans le service de la circonscription. D’autres sont formateurs aux écoles bibliques, pionniers spéciaux, missionnaires, ou serviteurs affectés à une Salle d’assemblées ou à un centre d’écoles bibliques. Ils ont tous fait un « Vœu d’obéissance et de pauvreté ». En le faisant, ils ont promis de concentrer leurs efforts sur toute activité qu’on leur donne au service de Jéhovah, d’avoir une vie simple, et de ne pas avoir un emploi payé s’ils n’en ont pas l’autorisation. Ce ne sont pas les personnes qui sont considérées comme spéciales, mais leurs activités. Ces chrétiens sont humbles, et ils sont décidés à s’acquitter de leur vœu tout le temps qu’ils resteront dans le service spécial à plein temps.
      Dans cet article, nous avons étudié trois vœux qu’un chrétien pourrait faire aujourd’hui à Jéhovah. Peut-être que tu en as fait un, ou deux, ou les trois. Nous savons que nous devons prendre nos vœux au sérieux et tout faire pour les respecter (Proverbes 20:25). Si nous ne respectons pas nos vœux faits à Jéhovah, les conséquences risquent d’être graves (Ecclésiaste 5:6). Faisons donc comme le psalmiste qui a dit à Jéhovah : « Je veux exécuter des mélodies pour ton nom à jamais (pour toujours), pour m’acquitter de mes vœux jour après jour » (Psaume 61:8).


      · 0 replies
    • K625XM

      Hello Twyla,
      I am not able to view the study materials.  Can you help me out pls ?  Thank you.
      · 0 replies
    • Claud's Lst  »  misette

      Bonjour ma sœur Misette. Comment vas-tu ? J'espère avec l'aide de Jéhovah toute la communauté et especialement toi vont bien. 
      Je n'ai pas reçu la réunion de cette semaine, est-ce qu'il y a un problème pour cette semaine ? 
           Bonne journée ou soirée 
                                   Agape 
      · 3 replies
    • folens  »  Eric Ouellet

      Bonjour Eric merci pour cet exposé.
      Bonne journée Michel
      1LE BATEAU.pdf
      · 0 replies
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