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I am not a Jehovah's Witness nor have I ever been one. I have read many of your publications and I am always willing to talk with Witnesses. I am confused by a number of statements in your publications which appear contradictory.
Several Witnesses have taken offense at my questions, apparently feeling that I am persecuting them for asking these questions. However, Since your publications invite non-Witnesses to examine the teachings of religious organizations to see if their "teachings are in full harmony with God's Word" or whether they are based on the "traditions of men." I thought I should write directly to you with my questions.
The Dec 1, 1984 WT indicates that your organization has been criticized by outsiders because your "publications have, at times stated that certain things could take place on certain dates" It goes on to say that "some expectations that appeared to backed up by Bible chronology did not materialize at the anticipated time". You indicated in the answer that these were "mistakes" because of over eagerness' to see God's purpose accomplished ."
This position bothers me because of statements you have previously made concerning your organization being Jehovah's sole channel of communication today. For your convenience, I'll number my specific questions.
1. In Qualified To Be Ministers, Revised Edition of 1967, p 156, you say that if a person loves Jehovah he will:
"believe all things", all the things that the Watchtower brings out, inasmuch as it has been faithful in giving us a knowledge of God's purposes and guiding us in the way or peace safety, and truth from its inception to this present day."
Yet now it appears that some or your publications have been mistaken concerning interpretation of Bible prophecy. Specifically, which items do you now acknowledge to have been mistakes? How is a reader to know which prophetic interpretations are accurate and which are not?
2. The May 1, 1938 Watchtower p 143, referring to your organization and prophecy, states,
"The Interpretation of prophecy, therefore, is not from man, but it is from Jehovah; and Jehovah causes events to come to pass in fulfillment of the prophecy in due time"
The July 1, 1943 issue on page 203 states that Jesus Christ "merely uses the servant class to publish this interpretation after the Supreme Court by Christ Jesus reveals it".
Vindication III, 1932, p 250 states that your organization is instructed by the Lord through the use of angels, How is it possible that mistakes have been made in prophetic interpretation if these claims are true. Surely Jehovah is capable of mistake free communication through imperfect men since he has done so through the prophets in the Old and New Testaments.
3. Why is it wrong for Witnesses to study the Bible and make up their own minds as to whether or not The Watchtower is right (see the 1/15/83 WT, p 27) when you now admit mistakes on important matters such as prophecy? How is a sincere person to know when your publications contain the truth communicated by Jehovah and when they contain a mistake caused by over-eagerness on the part or the human authors?
4. The Watchtower of 5/15/30, p 154 states;
"Since the Bible was completed and "inspiration" is no longer necessary, a true prophet is one who is faithfully proclaiming what is written in the Bible" .
You go on to say that a true prophet's words will come to pass exactly as prophesied and that if it does not come to pass the prophet is a false prophet. That same magazine states :
"It matters not whether he proclaims his message with deliberate, willful and malicious intent to deceive, or whether he is the blinded and deluded dupe of Satan and hence unwittingly used of him. In either case, he is a false prophet and hence the agent of Satan".
Has your organization therefore been an unwitting false prophet by proclaiming future events in Jehovah's name which did not come to pass as proclaimed?
5. I have had Witnesses criticize me for asking questions concerning statements made in old Watchtower publications. They tell me it is unfair to dredge up old materials when there are more recent writings are available. Do you consider this unfair, if so, please tell me how far back it is legitimate for me to go in examining your doctrinal statements and prophetic Interpretations, one year, five years, fifty years? I would sincerely Iike to know which of your publications you still consider authoritative and which should be ignored as being honest mistakes or out of date. Since you claim to have been the faithful and discreet slave and Jehovah's sole channel of communication at Ieast since 1918,
I would appreciate knowing which of your publications can be relied upon without question by Witnesses, which ones cannot, and how one is to tell the difference without being considered to be "untheocratic" in studying your works.
6. Do you agree that your organization has unwittingly been a false prophet at times within the meaning of Deut. 18:22? If not why is your organization exempt from these words of scripture??
7. Many Witnesses have explained past mistakes of your organization as an example of the "light getting brighter and brighter" as we near the end. Do you endorse this explanation in view of the statement in the Feb. 1881 WT p 188 that new light can never contradict or extinguish old Iight?
8. Some Witnesses have told me you are not a prophet because you do not claim inspiration. Is this legitimate in view of the fact that inspiration is no Ionger necessary (see above reference), that you claim angelic direction and support (4/1/72 Watchtower), and that you claim to be prophets of God whose record should be examined for the proof (same issue)?