QUESTION: Does the Watchtower have its own unique criteria for ‘apostate’? As far I know from the Scriptures the criteria for apostasy is one who teaches a false gospel, but with the Watchtower this seems to extend to a broader meaning with which one can be classed as an apostate for merely disagreeing with their interpretation of scripture.


 

ANSWER: Basically, if any of Jehovah’s Witnesses voice even the slightest disagreement with the Watchtower, even over the most trivial thing, they are likely to be viewed with suspicion and possibly considered to be an apostate. It depends somewhat upon the disposition of the elders of the congregation, but the entire organization is inclined that way.

Take, for example, the experience of a reader of this website, who several years ago had shared an article I had written entitled Imagining Paradise. (This was before I was disfellowshipped) He thought it might be encouraging to someone in his congregation that was fighting discouragement, so he printed it out and shared it with that person. But the article did not have the desired effect. Instead, the recipient handed it to the elders and the brother who printed it out was disfellowshipped, all because I stated in the essay that a person should forget the Watchtower’s crude drawings of paradise and use their own imagination.

Apparently, merely sharing an article with someone that was not vetted by the elders and sanctioned from on high is considered an act of apostasy. It would not be far off the mark to say that not giving proper reverence to the Governing Body is the most grievous offense any of Jehovah’s Witnesses could ever commit.

The word apostasy only appears twice in the Greek Scriptures. Once in connection with Paul who was accused by the Jews of fomenting an apostasy against Moses. The other reference to apostasy is in the prophecy regarding the man of lawlessness and the ultimate manifestation of Christ. Paul asserted that the day of Jehovah would not commence until the apostasy came first.

According to its usage in this passage as well as in the Hebrew prophecies, apostasy comes from the top down. Individuals on the periphery may fabricate error and be unfaithful, but that is not the apostasy with which the Scriptures concern themselves.  For example, @ Jeremiah 23:15 God stated: “For from the prophets of Jerusalem apostasy has gone forth to all the land.”

The same is true today. The upper levels of the Watchtower Society is the source of apostasy. It is reflected in the lengths to which they will go to deceive Jehovah’s Witnesses as regards prophecy itself, which they claim to be the sole interpreters of. Does not the Watchtower claim to be the Jeremiah-class, the Ezekiel-class, and so on? And, of course, their secret ten-year partnership with the United Nations was a gross act of apostasy. No doubt going forward their apostasy will become much more apparent. That is because when Christ actually arrives a contingent among the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses will show themselves to be very much opposed to Jesus – antichrists.

The 32nd chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy depicts the return of Christ and his beginning to rule as king. Up until then certain senseless and unprincipled men will have been considered generous and noble by those who were blind. But all that will change with the manifestation of Jesus.

This perfectly describes the situation today within the Watchtower Society. Jehovah’s Witnesses have been overhasty in accepting everything coming from Bethel, and lavishing praise upon the faithful slave for his generous spiritual provisions. But as has been demonstrated in a recent series of articles critiquing the July 2013 Watchtower, the Society’s teaching is senseless in many respects. For example, in their attempt to explain the dragnet they claim that the angels have been responsible for dragging people away who were unsuited to become Jehovah’s Witnesses and have destroyed them permanently. Is this not an example of speaking against Jehovah what is wayward, as the Scripture below describes? And when someone speaks what is true and right are they not subject to being disciplined and crushed by those who are thought to be noble and principled?

“And the eyes of those seeing will not be pasted together, and the very ears of those hearing will pay attention. And the heart itself of those who are overhasty will consider knowledge, and even the tongue of the stammerers will be quick in speaking clear things. The senseless one will no longer be called generous; and as for the unprincipled man, he will not be said to be noble; because the senseless one himself will speak mere senselessness, and his very heart will work at what is hurtful, to work at apostasy and to speak against Jehovah what is wayward, to cause the soul of the hungry one to go empty, and he causes even the thirsty one to go without drink itself. As for the unprincipled man, his instruments are bad; he himself has given counsel for acts of loose conduct, to wreck the afflicted ones with false sayings, even when someone poor speaks what is right.”

 

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