THE WATCHTOWER’S INDEFENSIBLE HYPOCRISY
The end result of the Catholic belief in papal infallibility is the same as the teaching of the Watchtower Organizations Governing Body as it pertains to obedience of their followers.
They both are founded on a belief they have a ‘special’ holy confirmation of some investiture in their positions that makes it incumbent for others not in their position, to accept their teachings to follow their instructions. It is the same teaching found in the Jewish Oral teachings. See: https://brotherjohnsite.org/2021/07/10/tracing-the-origins-of-the-watchtower-societys-view-of-apostasy/
In the end their word is to be obeyed even when it is in conflict with the Bible, the written word of God.
Let’s first examine the Catholic doctrine of the infallibility of their pope.
The Catholic Church’s teaching on papal infallibility is one that is generally misunderstood by those outside the Church. In particular, Fundamentalists and other “Bible Christians” often confuse the charism of papal “infallibility” with “impeccability.” They imagine Catholics believe the pope cannot sin. Others, who avoid this elementary blunder, think the pope relies on some sort of amulet or magical incantation when an infallible definition is due.
Given these common misapprehensions regarding the basic tenets of papal infallibility, it is necessary to explain exactly what infallibility is not. Infallibility is not the absence of sin. Nor is it a charism that belongs only to the pope. Indeed, infallibility also belongs to the body of bishops as a whole, when, in doctrinal unity with the pope, they solemnly teach a doctrine as true.
Vatican II’s Explanation
Vatican II explained the doctrine of infallibility as follows: “Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they can nevertheless proclaim Christ’s doctrine infallibly. This is so, even when they are dispersed around the world, provided that while maintaining the bond of unity among themselves…..and while teaching authentically on a matter of faith or morals, they concur in a single viewpoint as the one which must be held conclusively. This authority is even more clearly verified when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church. Their definitions must then be adhered to with the submission of faith” (Lumen Gentium 25).
(end of commentaries)
In summary, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that the pope is infallible when he speaks from his position of authority on a particular issue or doctrine (speaking ex cathedra). Ex cathedra is a Latin phrase which means “from the chair.” It refers to binding papal teachings which are promulgated by the pope when he officially teaches in his capacity of the universal shepherd of the Church a doctrine on a matter of faith or morals and addresses it to the entire body of Catholic membership.
Many interpret “papal infallibility” as indicating that everything the pope says is infallible. This is not what the Roman Catholic Church means by “papal infallibility.”
While Catholics acknowledge that the pope is a sinner like everyone else, it is inferred that by some spiritual investment, that he and bishops have a moral authority that means their “definitions” or interpretations must be adhered to. If a person does not, he or she is subject to excommunication from the group.
Both the Catholic hierarchy and the Watchtower hierarchy claim they speak for Christ and God.
The Catholic papacy claims a connection to the apostle Peter as his ‘successors whom they believe Jesus gave a singular special role among his apostles based on what he is quoted as saying recorded at Matthew 16:18.
There is no Biblical foundation for this asserted connection, nor that Peter was superior in authority in any way to the other apostles.
Now, let’s examine the Watchtower Organization’s view of it’s Governing Body.
Where do the Watchtower Society’s leaders claim to get their authority to oversee the interests of Jehovah’s Witnesses?
The answer is found in their interpretation of Matt 24:45, which reads: “Who is a faithful and wise servant (Greek δοῦλος (doulos) servant or male slave), whom his Lord hath made ruler over His household, to give them meat in due season?” (KJV).
This parable can also be found at Luke 12:42-44.
They make a self-declaration that they were appointed this role when as they claim, Christ returned “invisibly” in 1919.
Watchtower 2022 Feb p.4:
“Today Jehovah leads the earthly part of his organization by means of “the faithful and discreet slave.” … We show that we trust in Jehovah’s way of doing things by heeding the direction we receive from the organization and the elders.”
jw.org 10th Nov 2012 :
““The faithful and discreet slave” was appointed over Jesus’ domestics in 1919. That slave is the small, composite group of anointed brothers serving at world headquarters during Christ’s presence who are directly involved in preparing and dispensing spiritual food. When this group work together as the Governing Body, they act as “the faithful and discreet slave.””
Watchtower Organization leaders interpret this passage as meaning that Jesus predicted God would establish a special “servant” on the earth, having the sole spiritual authority to represent Him.
According to them, this servant would act as the sole interpreter of His word. This servant is called “the faithful and discreet slave” in the Watchtower Society’s New World Translation of the Bible.
“Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time?” (NWT)
They teach that this “faithful and discreet slave” is a designated class among its professed anointed believers that conveys spiritual knowledge only through the publications (and official representatives) of the Watchtower Society. They teach that this began with the first issue of the Watchtower magazine in 1879. There is no Biblical foundation for this assertion.
Nor does the Bible mention or indicate that there was some ‘governing body‘ in the first century Church although they claim the existence of one as the justification for their having formed one in recent times. They point to the convening of a group of elders as mentioned in the Book of Acts chapter 15 for the purpose of establishing doctrine concerning circumcision as justification.
The Book of Acts actually describes a large gathering comprised of the apostles, older men (elders), Paul and Barnabas, who were travelling missionaries, and others. This large group came together to decide on an important issue affecting the local congregations.
4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
Since they base this claim on an invisible second coming of Christ, none of this can be proven as fact any more than the Catholic clergy can prove a direct connection to the apostle Peter.
Again, there is no Biblical basis for the establishment of a governing body.
However, their claim of an ‘invisible’ second coming of Christ can be clearly shown to be an unbiblical claim.
Note what is written in the Book of Revelation concerning how Jesus’ second coming would occur.
“Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen”.
It says the same in their own Bible translation.
“Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, and those who pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief because of him. Yes, Amen”. (New World Translation)
This rules out any possibility of an invisible coming of Jesus Christ that would only be witnessed by some small group of faithful believers. This is something that can be proven by reading the Bible book of Revelation.
They also hold to the false belief that the end of the 2,520 year ‘gentile times‘ or ‘appointed times of the nations‘ foretold in the Book of Daniel, would mark the time of Christ second coming. The end of the gentile times was to mark the beginning of what the Bible calls “the last days“.
And, 1914 C.E. was not the date of the end of the appointed times of the nation either. Based on “Jehovah’s Witnesses” own beliefs, their leaders made an easy to see calculation error.
Based upon these lies and errors, the Governing Body of “Jehovah’s Witnesses” maintain their control and act as the communicator of God’s will to all “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. They ignore that Christ is God’s mediator between Himself and man.
1 Timothy 3:5:
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”
These words were the teaching of the apostle Paul, one of the men mentioned in Acts chapter 15 who assembled with the others in Jerusalem.
The Watchtower made the following statement in the Watchtower February 2017 (Study Edition) concerning the Governing Body at the top running the Watchtower Organization:
“The Governing Body is neither inspired nor infallible. Therefore, it can err in doctrinal matters or in organizational direction.” -Watchtower February study addition under “Who Is Leading God’s People Today?” page 26
In addition to stating the Governing Body is not ‘infallible’, it is admitted that its members are NOT ‘inspired‘.
In the Watchtower publication ‘Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand!’ the Watchtower designates itself as prophets referring to themselves as the “John” class.
Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand! chap. 12 pp. 58-65
14 In modern times, prophecies such as Isaiah 49:23 and Zechariah 8:23 have had a very significant fulfillment. As a result of the preaching of the John class, huge numbers of people have entered through the opened door into Kingdom service.
John was a prophet. Yet, they are not inspired by their own admission. Were God’s prophets inspired? Yes.
God foretold this through the prophet Joel:
28 After this I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will have dreams, and your young men will see visions.
29 I will even pour out My Spirit on the male and female slaves in those days.
Jesus promised his disciples that shortly after his ascension to Heaven, God would send the Holy Spirit to guide them and empower them.
15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commands.
16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.
17 He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you.
Days later, the apostle Peter quoted Joel’s words when disciples gathered at Pentecost received that blessing.
1 When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place.
2 Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying.
3 And tongues, like flames of fire that were divided, appeared to them and rested on each one of them.
4 Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech.
16 On the contrary, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
17 And it will be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.
18 I will even pour out My Spirit on My male and female slaves in those days, and they will prophesy.
The ability to prophecy as spokesperson comes from the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit according to the Bible.
They at one in the same time claim that Christ has made a special appointment of them, but that Jesus nor the Holy Spirit is inspiring them to follow his direction. What proof do they have of any anointment of Holy Spirit?
What this means that the doctrines “Jehovah’s Witnesses” adhere to can be false/wrong since they are nothing more than the guess work of imperfect man.
This is tremendous admission for the Watchtower leaders to make. In this article they further cite the Watchtower Publications Index that list over 100 doctrines that have needed correction since 1870.
The fact that over 100 of their doctrinal teachings have had to be modified or dropped all together, is proof that many are false and wrong.
The Bible warns us:
“Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help”.
“Stop trusting in man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for of what account is he”?
Yet that is what Watchtower leaders and teachers tell its member to do and they oblige.
While condemning the Assumption Dogma of Catholicism as a “fallible falsehood” appeared in the Watchtower, January 15, 1951, they have adopted policies that yield the same result. In this article is they themselves make the statement, “Not man’s word, but only God’s Word, the Bible, is infallible!—John 17:17”.
But they haven’t practiced what they preach have they?
Their actions in recent decades show that rather than fulfill Jesus’ words found at Matthew 24:45-47, they have fulfilled verses 48-51.
48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
49 And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
When their errant prognostications concerning Jesus’ second coming did not materialize when expected, they began to treat their fellow professed anointed brothers harshly and began a heavy-handed rulership over them. Not only them, but the entire membership of “Jehovah’s Witnesses”.
In their minds, instead of thinking their beliefs and expectations were the problem, they felt, “ My lord delayeth his coming”. After all, they expected the End to occur shortly after the year 1914 C.E. They expected to have inherited the Kingdom somewhere around 1975 C.E. Neither came true. Ever since gradually they have become more and more authoritarian in their treatment of other members of their group.
In January 1947, they were highly critical of the Catholic hierarchy for excommunicating followers for the same reasons they supported disfellowshipping their members in 1952. In other publications they have been critical of other religions who put men on a pedestal of absolute authority.
Using a lie, they laid a foundation upon which to claim an authority much like that of the papacy.
Note this statement found in the Watchtower 2001 Aug 1 p.14
“[A mature christian] does not advocate or insist on personal opinions or harbor private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding. Rather, he has complete confidence in the truth as it is revealed by Jehovah God through his Son, Jesus Christ, and “the faithful and discreet slave.”
This is a quite different view than expressed in the January 8, 1947 ‘Awake’ magazine. Of course, that was about someone else.
Lastly, it is of importance that throughout most of the Watchtower Society’s history, the faithful and discreet slave included all professed “anointed Jehovah’s Witnesses”. But during the 2012 Annual Meeting the Governing Body greatly increased their authority by announcing that only they were to be considered to represent the faithful and discreet slave.
They changed their stance because this was their only recourse to maintain control.
They have been hypocrites throughout their entire history.