Jehovah’s Witnesses and Theological Rationalism |

TBC Staff

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (WTBTS) routinely engage in spiritual “bait and switch” routines. Whether or not the person they meet at the door, or now by letter, actually knows much about the Bible and what it says, they probably believe the Bible’s teachings are central to Christianity. Therefore, the WTBTS ensnares their followers by claiming to be “teaching and explaining” the Bible, as though God’s word is central to their teachings. But it is most definitely not. Yes, the word Bible is prominent in the organization’s name, and the Organization even prints their own version of it, which has been “helpfully” modified to make it easier for people to understand the JWs’ unbiblical teachings. But when it comes to promulgating their doctrines and teachings, they usually employ a lot of verbal sleight of hand to fool people into believing that their teachings properly represent what the Bible actually teaches.

For example, they speak of the Resurrection, one of the Bible’s central doctrines, as though they believe, as the Bible teaches, that the actual person who dies will be raised from the dead. Their real belief and teaching, though, is that a deceased person – even Jesus Christ Himself – is dead forever and that God will merely make a copy of the dead person and simply “drop the dead person’s memories and personality type” into the copy. They use the word resurrection but utterly change its meaning. Why? Because obviously, in their thinking, it is impossible even for God to raise a person from the grave. Even Jesus was not actually raised from the dead. God merely created a new body and downloaded what we might call “Jesus-ness” into it. They explain that the empty tomb was just for the disciples’ benefit, so they would “think” the body of Jesus had been resurrected. Jesus, who had been Michael the archangel before His incarnation to human form, was just recreated as Michael the archangel, version 2.0. It is no problem that Jesus no longer exists because New Michael also has the “memories” and supposed “personality” of Jesus, i.e., “Jesus-ness,” along with “Michael-ness.”1

They do not deny all of the miraculous – just what they decide militates against rational thought. The Watchtower leadership are theological rationalists. Theological rationalism is defined as “the practice of treating reason as the ultimate authority in religion.” When they come across something about God, human existence, the resurrection, the omnipotence or Omnipresence of God, they build a supposed rational explanation as to why the Bible doesn’t actually say – or at least does not mean – what it clearly says and means. Just HOW could God be everywhere? How can God know everything? How can God be a trinity? And Why would He? How can a decomposing or decomposed body be raised up to live again? God knows the how and why of all these things but limited human beings do not. God asks us to believe what He has said. The Watchtower wants all to believe what they say is true.

But what if people read the Bible and come to a different view than the WTBTS? That cannot be allowed. Therefore, they claim that the Bible is an organizational book, written exclusively to their organization and more specifically to the small group comprising the “Governing Body” back at headquarters.

…Jehovah God has caused the Bible to be written in such a way that one needs to come in touch with His human channel before one can fully and accurately understand it. True, we need the help of God’s holy spirit, but its help comes to us primarily by association with the channel Jehovah God sees fit to use. 2

The Watchtower contends that most people, even individual JWs, cannot understand or interpret the Bible for themselves. As proof of that claim, they offer up all of the denominational differences out there in “Christendom.” They then compare that with their organization, where all followers hold identical beliefs. That is malarky, of course, since all authoritarian groups demand obedience and uniformity, which they then pawn off as “unity.”

Demanding absolute uniformity of thought among their adherents usually makes the individual JW blind and deaf to any answers given them by Christians, unless, of course, God intercedes to open their eyes. They must be completely obedient because they certainly do not wish to be rejected by God and consigned to death at Armageddon for being willing to entertain thoughts contrary to WTBTS teaching. The Governing Body tells them that it is the worst sort of rebellion to engage in independent thinking.