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TrueTheology.net • View topic - To Overture

To Overture

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To Overture

Postby Rotherham » Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:40 am

HELLO Overture,

I have to ask something before we begin.

Isee that much of your concerns center around the word "heiarchy". I am wondering, what would be your definition of that word? Also, is "hierarchy "considered something "negative" to you.

Thank you,
Rotherham
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JW Church Perspective

Postby Overture- Guest » Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:54 pm

Hello Rotherham,

Maybe I’m misunderstanding what your asking but I’m not committed to any position on this topic. I haven’t arrived at any conclusion. There’s so many perspectives out there and many misinformed people trying to explain the JW perspective that sometimes I feel like throwing up my hands. I’m approaching you because I have a better chance of getting an accurate answer and you seem to be familiar with your faith and able to evaluate arguments or questions. I’m just inquiring trying to understand the JW framework. I’m interested in sincere good-faith. I’m open to your explanations, so feel free to communicate or to lay out the evidence that supports your position. I would like to see positive case or an explanation to my questions. Hope you don’t think I’m demanding, just inquiring.

Like everyone else, I know that I don’t have a view from nowhere perspective. I understand I’m not theologically neutral nor objective. If it helps you to understand where I’m coming from, these are the sources that I have read about through out my life and the questions I posed to you. So, I guess it’s through these lenses that I’m coming from, but I’m willing to understand your framework on it’s own terms and not through any of these other theological frameworks:

These books or sources all make a case for a Reformed, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Calvinist, Anglican, Catholic, Evangelical, Baptist, Mormon, Anabaptist, Campbellite Perspective:

5 Perspectives on Church Government
https://www.amazon.com/Perspectives-Chu ... /ref=nodl_

Who Runs the Church 4 views:
https://www.amazon.com/Who-Runs-Church- ... /ref=nodl_

The Shape of Sola Scriptura:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DwX-Ow ... p=drivesdk

Christ founded a Visible Church:
https://www.calledtocommunion.com/2009/ ... te_13_1251

Reformed Response to Roman Catholic Ecclesiology:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/106bQEj ... nFHR05DanF

Standing Apart: Mormon Historical Consciousness and the Concept of Apostasy
https://www.amazon.com/Standing-Apart-H ... 0199348146

The Apostasy that Wasn't: The Extraordinary Story of the Unbreakable Early Church
https://www.amazon.com/Apostasy-That-Wa ... 1941663494


Landmarkism : Baptist Successionism: A Crucial Question in Baptist History
https://books.google.com/books?id=OiMRA ... 4Q6AEILTAB


Alexander Campbell: Restoring the First-century Church in the Twenty-first Century: Essays
https://books.google.com/books?id=VH9LA ... wQ6AEIQjAE

The Anabaptists and Contemporary Baptists: Restoring New Testament Christianity: by Malcolm B. Yarnell
https://books.google.com/books?id=QhRkA ... ok&f=false
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Re: To Overture

Postby Rotherham » Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:54 pm

Hello Overture

Thanks for the response. I will start to answer your questions as I have time to do so. I will ask for your patience as i go through these because your questions are many and diversified and I do want to cover them all. I should have the first response ready in a couple of days. Thankyou again.

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Re: To Overture=first response

Postby Rotherham » Wed Apr 01, 2020 3:34 pm

Hello Overture,
My responses will be between the &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&& characters'
The first question that you asked was:
1.) How do you explain your statement that "the governing element all but disappeared during those centuries of weed growth" . In light of what Jesus foretold that he would always be represented on earth by his faithful people, which would include men in positions of ecclesial authority? Matthew 13:24-43; 28:19-20; Ephesians 4:11-16; Hebrews 13:17.
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&
Whereas the indication of the scriptures you mentioned is that there would be members of the wheat class throughout history to the end of this system, thats not in and of itself an indication that there would be an organized governing element all the way through the same time period. The first century containd an organized governing element via the Apostles and older men centered in Jerusalem, primarily the Apostles. And Jesus would appoint a similar governing element during his parousia as demonstrated by Matthew 24:45-47. But as the parable of the wheat and the weeds bears out, when men fell asleep, which we would take as a reference to the passing away of the Apostles, that is when the weeds would be begin to flourish and be basically indistinguishable from the wheat until the harvest. the conclusion of this system of things.
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&
Next, you asked:3.) You have stated before that there would be no governing body during the great apostasy and darkness that befell the church and have stated that people could not tell the wheat from the weeds and that there was a melding of false with the true and that for centuries onlookers and others could not fully discern who the sons of the kingdom were and who the sons of the evil one were.

Do you mean that Christianity ceased to exist and suddenly pop back into existence circa 1919?
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&
No, the presence of the wheat was always there as individual anointed brothers of Christ, there simply was no organized governing body , like the Apostles in the first century, and then the great apostasy came, which was manifested primarily via the the clergy of Christendom (Catholicism and its many daughters). Due to that lack of guidance, it became difficult to discern truth from falsehood in many ways as time went on. So whereas the people of God during this time were more or less a mingled mess of false doctrines and practices, Christianity still existed, but in an unorganized and disjointed fashion until the time for the clear separation to take place during the harvest, the parousia of Christ as spearheaded by the appointed "faithful and discrete servant" circa 1919.

I will present more later, in a day or two.
Thankyou,
Rotherham
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Re: To Overture-second response

Postby Rotherham » Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:25 am

You commented:4.) Many affirm that a small hidden remnant of faithful survived in secret from the begin (1st century).

Others that:
A continuous but historically invisible group.
A secret unrecorded group of Christians.
A continuous sect of Christians entirely unnoticed by history.
A Church that existed secretly in unbroken continuity.

Is the JW position similar to these views or the baptist trail of blood? Or the radical reformers( Anabaptist) that believed the Church fell into apostasy in the 4-5th Century?

The Anabaptist deny that the Spirit left the earth and affirm a continual hidden remnant. The Reformers Luther and Calvin believed that the “institutional” Church had fallen into apostasy in the 11th century. I'm sure you are familiar with similar versions in the Restorationist perspectives of e.g. Menno Simons, George Fox, the Campbellites and Joseph Smith.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
I'm not sure what is meant by "survived in secret" because they certainly didn't hide who they were but were rather vocal about the failings and errors of the so-called "orthodoxy. They likely had to conceal themselves somewhat from the CHURCH due to rejection of many church teachings but they certainly weren't secret, they just weren't organized in their efforts or united in their exposes of the CHURCH.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%



You:
5.) There's a paper in a apologetics JW website titled, The Apostasy and Restoration by H. Flemings : http://www.jehovah.to/exe/general/apostasy.htm
Do you agree with this JW's historical~biblical explanation?
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
I read through it and I didn't see anything that I would take exception to although there is information I will add in relation to that topic below:

Evidence of the wheat and weeds qrowing together:

Will Durant, in his work entitled THE story-of CIVILIZATION pART III states that within a few decades of the death of the apostles, schisms were already evident among the Christians. He says: “Celsus [second-century opponent of Christianity] himself had sarcastically observed that Christians were ‘split up into ever so many factions, each individual desiring to have his own party.’ About 187 [C.E.] Irenaeus listed twenty varieties of Christianity; about 384 [C.E.] Epiphanius counted eighty.”—The Story of Civilization: Part III—Caesar and Christ.


Constantine favored the Eastern, Greek, side of his empire by having a vast new capital city built in what is today Turkey. He named it Constantinople (modern Istanbul). The result was that over the centuries the Catholic Church became polarized and split both by language and by geography—Latin-speaking Rome in the West versus Greek-speaking Constantinople in the East.


Divisive debates about aspects of the still-developing Trinity teaching continued to cause problems in Christendom. Another council was held in 451 C.E. at Chalcedon to define the character of Christ’s “natures.” While the West accepted the creed issued by this council, Eastern churches disagreed, leading to the formation of the Coptic Church in Egypt and Abyssinia and the “Jacobite” churches of Syria and Armenia. The unity of the Catholic Church was constantly threatened by divisions on abstruse theological matters, especially regarding the definition of the Trinity doctrine. Inreality, theentire Trinitarian controversy was based on erroneous ideas and teachings.

Another cause for division was the veneration of images. During the eighth century, the Eastern bishops rebelled against this idolatry and entered into what is called their iconoclastic, or image-destroying, period. In time they returned to the use of images.—Exodus 20:4-6; Isaiah 44:14-18.

A further big test came about when the Western church added the Latin word filioque (“and from the Son”) to the Nicene Creed to indicate that the Holy Spirit proceeded from both the Father and the Son. The end result of this sixth-century emendation was a rift when “in 876 a synod [of bishops] at Constantinople condemned the pope both for his political activities and because he did not correct the heresy of the filioque clause. This action was part of the East’s entire rejection of the pope’s claim of universal jurisdiction over the Church.” (Man’s Religions) In the year 1054, the pope’s representative excommunicated the patriarch of Constantinople, who in return put a curse on the pope. That split eventually led to the formation of the Eastern Orthodox Churches—Greek, Russian, Romanian, Polish, Bulgarian, Serbian, and other self-governing churches.

Another movement was also beginning to cause turmoil in the church. In the 12th century, Peter Waldo, from Lyons, France, “engaged some scholars to translate the Bible into into the langue d’oc [a regional language] of south France. He studied the translation zealously, and concluded that Christians should live like the apostles—without individual property.” (The Age of Faith, by Will Durant) He started a preaching movement that became known as the Waldenses. These rejected the Catholic priesthood, indulgences, purgatory, transubstantiation, and other traditional Catholic practices and beliefs. They spread into other countries. The Council of Toulouse tried to check them in 1229 by banning the possession of Scriptural books. Only books of liturgy were allowed and then only in the dead language of Latin. But the religious division and persecution wasn't over.

Persecution of the Albigenses
Yet another movement got started in the 12th century in the south of France—the Albigenses (also known as Cathari), named after the town of Albi, where they had many followers. They had their own celibate clergy class, who expected to be greeted with reverence. They believed that Jesus spoke figuratively in his last supper when he said of the bread, “This is my body.” (Matthew 26:26, NAB) They rejected the doctrines of the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, hellfire, and purgatory. Thus they actively put in doubt the teachings of Rome. Pope Innocent III gave instructions that the Albigenses be persecuted. “If necessary,” he said, “suppress them with the sword.”


A crusade was mounted against the “heretics,” and the Catholic crusaders massacred 20,000 men, women, and children in Béziers, France. After a lot of bloodshed, peace came in 1229, with the Albigenses defeated. The Council of Narbonne “forbade the possession of any part of the Bible by laymen.” The root of the problem for the Catholic Church was evidently the existence of the Bible in the language of the people.

The next step that the church took was to establish the Inquisition, a tribunal set up to suppress heresy. Already a spirit of intolerance possessed the people, who were superstitious and all too willing to lynch and murder “heretics.” The conditions in the 13th century lent themselves to the abuse of power by the church. However, “heretics condemned by the Church were to be delivered to the ‘secular arm’—the local authorities—and burned to death.” (The Age of Faith) By leaving the actual executions to the secular authorities, the church would supposedly be free of bloodguilt. The Inquisition started an era of religious persecution that resulted in abuses, false and anonymous denunciations, murder, robbery, torture, and the slow death of thousands who dared to believe differently from the church. Freedom of religious expression was stifled.

In the wheat and weeds parable, Jesus indicated that from the first century onward, there would always be some genuine anointed Christians on the earth. He compared them to “wheat” growing among “weeds.” (Matt. 13:30) Of course,no one knows for sure which individuals or groups belonged to the anointed wheat class, but we can confirm that there have always been some who have courageously defended God’s Word and exposed the so=called "orthodox" church’s unscriptural teachings. For example:

Archbishop Agobard of Lyons, France (779-840 C.E.), spoke out against image worship, churches dedicated to saints, and the church’s unscriptural liturgies and practices. One of his contemporaries, Bishop Claudius, also rejected church tradition and objected to prayers to saints and the veneration of relics. In the 11th century, Archdeacon Berengarius of Tours, France, was excommunicated for rejecting the Catholic teaching of transubstantiation. Also, he held that the Bible is superior to church tradition
.
The 12th century saw the arrival of two lovers of Bible truth, Peter of Bruys and Henry of Lausanne. Peter resigned from the priesthood because he could not reconcile with the Scriptures the Catholic teachings of infant baptism, transubstantiation, prayers for the dead, and worship of the cross. In 1140, Peter paid for his beliefs with his life. Henry, a monk, spoke out against corrupt practices in the church as well as the unscriptural aspects of church liturgy. He was arrested in 1148 and spent the rest of his life in prison.

About the time that Peter of Bruys was burned alive for daring to criticize the church, a person was born who would later have a powerful influence on the spread of Bible truth. His last name was Valdès, or Waldo. Unlike Peter of Bruys and Henry of Lausanne, he was a layman, but he valued God’s Word so much that he divested himself of his material goods and arranged for portions of the Bible to be translated into a language commonly spoken in southeastern France. Some were so thrilled to hear the Bible’s message in their own tongue that they too gave up their belongings and devoted their lives to sharing Bible truth with others. The church found this deeply disturbing. In 1184 these zealous men and women, later called the Waldenses, were excommunicated by the pope and banished from their homes by the bishop. This action actually served to spread the Bible’s message to other areas. Eventually, the followers of Waldo, Peter of Bruys, and Henry of Lausanne as well as other dissenters could be found in many parts of Europe. Other champions of Bible truth rose up in the centuries that followed: John Wycliffe (c. 1330-1384), William Tyndale (c. 1494-1536), Henry Grew (1781-1862), and George Storrs

Soon after the death of the apostles, apostate teachers from within the congregation began to take control of it. They spoke “twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.” (Acts 20:29, 30) As a result, many Christians ‘fell away from the faith.’ They were “turned aside to false stories.”—1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 4:3, 4.

By the fourth century C.E., says The New Dictionary of Theology, “Catholic Christianity had become the official . . . religion of the Roman Empire.” There was a “coalescence of ecclesial and civil society”—a merging of Church and State that was diametrically opposed to the beliefs of the early Christians. The same source states that in time, the whole structure and nature of the church, as well as many of its fundamental beliefs, was changed radically “under the influence of a curious and thoroughly unhealthy combination of O[ld] T[estament] and neoplatonic models.” As predicted by Jesus Christ, his genuine disciples were hidden from sight as counterfeit Christians flourished
This situation could not fail to disturb the ‘Son of man’s’ “slaves.” Jesus’ parable continues: “So the slaves of the householder came up and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow fine seed in your field? How, then, does it come to have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy, a man, did this.’ They said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go out and collect them?’ He said, ‘No; that by no chance, while collecting the weeds, you uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the harvest season I will tell the reapers, First collect the weeds and bind them in bundles to burn them up, then go to gathering the wheat into my storehouse.’”—Matt. 13:27-30.

Whether these worried “slaves” (verse 27) are identical with the “reapers” (verse 30) Jesus does not explain. If they are, this would mean that the angels were distressed by the abundant growth of “weeds” in their Master’s field. (Matt. 13:39) These “slaves” asked if they should immediately weed out the bearded darnel, symbolizing the “sons of the wicked one.” (Matt. 13:38) They feared that these counterfeit Christians, or “weeds,” maliciously sown by the “enemy,” the Devil, might choke the true “wheat,” the authentic “sons of the kingdom.”
But the “householder,” the “Son of man,” did not authorize his “slaves” to go out and collect the “weeds,” or pseudo-Christians, separating them from the “wheat,” true Christians. He said: “Let both grow together until the harvest.” And so it has been that true and false Christianity have grown together in the “field,” or “world,” of mankind. Nevertheless, the “harvest season” had to come. When? And how does this affect you?
[Footnotes]

The illustration of the “wheat” and “weeds” indicates that some servants wanted to separate before it was time. “They said to him: ‘Do you want us, then, to go out and collect them?’ He said: ‘No; that by no chance, while collecting the weeds, you uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. . . . The harvest is a consummation of a system of things.’” As we believe, the end of this old system of things has been manifest since 1914, and therefore not until after that time could the great separation work take place, dividing the “wheat” from the “weeds,” actually the “sons of the kingdom” from the “sons of the wicked one.”

I beleive that the above information should address this question that you asked: 6.)Is there a evidence of a great controversy between those persons remaining orthodox (the Church) and those falling into apostasy?

Actually, to us, it was the so-called ORTHODOX CHURCH, that fell into apostasy. The other above mentioned groups were attempting to challenge the church in regard to their adopted false teachings.

I am going to wait awhile before I start iin on the 1914 and 1919 information. All this together is just too much at once for me to handle effectively. So I will wait to see if the aove responses helped you out at all.

Regards,
Rotherham
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Overture's response

Postby Rotherham » Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:38 am

Thank you Rotherham for that further clarification. It was helpful. I have a request. Can you keep this private message private and just as background context for your further clarifications but not post it on the public forum? I don’t think I’m adding anything new nor am I criticizing or critiquing your position yet. I don’t mean to nitpick or be needlessly pedantic. I just want to not fall into error. The terms used in discussing ecclesiology seem fraught with vague or tricky definitions and ample opportunity for misunderstandings. I apologize if this seems pedantic, but I am not sure I understand what you are saying here, so I will restate what I said.

I need to see how you weave this explanation with the nature of the Body of Christ(Church) and my initial comments I posed to you about its nature. I’m not sure if you can answer this without getting into 1914/1919. Based on this, it seems to me Jehovah’s Witnesses rule out the possibility that the Church after the first century was right, on the basis of their “Fundamental teachings” criteria and the Matthew 13 parable of the wheat and the weeds. Are these two points the ones that carry all the weight? The sins of Heresy and Divisions are errors too serious to risk on the basis of a private judgment or a hermeneutical toss up between the Church’s doctrine and your interpretation of the Bible.

For example In Acts 20, Paul is speaking to the elders of the Congregation of Ephesus. His statement about wolves coming in does not mean that the Governing Body will fall away, but that certain elders from among them will do so. Nor does it entail that the Christian Congregation completely will be led astray. That’s also what Peter is saying in 2 Peter 2:1 and 3:3, and Jude in Jude 1:18. Predictions that certain individual leaders or particular Congregations will fall away is not the same that predicting that the Governing Body will fall away, or that the Congregation herself will fall away. Regarding 2 Thessalonians 2:3, this also does not mean that the Congregation will fall away, but that many will fall away from her. And nothing in Matthew 24 or 25 entails that the Congregation will fall away. Likewise, the apostasy Paul refers to in 1 Tim 4 is not an apostasy of the Congregation, but of individuals, some from the Congregation. 2 Tim 3:1-5 does not teach or entail that the Congregation will fall away. It refers to the godliness of the world, not the Congregation. And the existence of many antichrists does not entail either that the Congregation has or will fall away. Their existence is fully compatible with the Congregation remaining faithful to the end.

The thing is that none of these passages state that there is a late first century or a later institutional apostasy. The traditional Christendom interpretation seems fully compatible with these passages. This doesn’t seem to help resolve or answer the Apostasy question, or show the truth of the Jehovah’s Witnesses framework over that of other Christians. It comes across like Witnesses are reading this interpretation into these passages by way of their assumptions they are bringing to the text. This interpretation also seems to set up a faulty system for the spread of the good news that nobody gets it right until you and those who agree with you( Jehovah’s Witnesses) figure it out in the last decades of the ninteenth century/ early Twentieth Century.

Is this a justified assumption? That just because some overseers(bishops) fell into heresy that the governing body could do so as well(left the faith). Can there be heresy in the Church even among various Overseers(Bishops) without the Church herself ever falling into heresy? Can there be divisions within the Church without the Church’s essential unity be diminished or destroyed? It seems your explanation denies the very purpose of Christ establishing ecclesial authority in his Church. Is this the evidence(the one you point to) that Witnesses are drawing from, to demonstrate in a non question begging way that there was a first,second,third or fourth century apostasy in which the Congregation abandoned the gospel, and God abandoned the Congregation? That Christ let the Church lose the faith, his body. That he didn’t protect her thru his holy spirit guiding her into all truth but only individual christians. How does this harmonize with Christ’s promise that the holy spirit will guide them into all truth and that the Church is the Pillar and Ground of truth until he returns?

What is a principled distinction between development and apostasy in a non-question-begging way, how what happened during the first century after Christ was not development but was instead apostasy?

You refer in numerous post about locating and identifying the "Body of Christ" which is the church (ecclesia) to find those that are teaching truth and worshiping god. What do JW's mean by that? Is this phrase merely symbolic, a metaphor, or figurative language? Is it a visible body? Is it necessarily a Hierarchical Organized Body? Do JW's mean the church are the anointed members (144,000) spread throught out history? Do these members compose the "Body of Christ" (ecclesia) and are they distinct to the dedicated Christians which just associate with them (the church) (ecclesia)? Are the (non-anointed christians) only beneficiaries of this arrangement? Or are they just in a different sense also part of the congregation(body of christ) and participate by extension? How would you would describe this concept and relationship.

I understand that JW's believe that they are all brothers and their leader is Jesus Christ(theocratic) not any human. I understand that even though the governing body does take the lead, they prefer to refer to themselves as a servant(slave) of the congregation. But you can have authority and still be a servant at the same time,right? That is the purpose of the hierarchy, that those that have God-given authority, might serve those entrusted to them. So is the JW Church an egalitarian or non-egalitarian ecclesia? How does that square with the Concept of Governing Body, Elders and Overseers? Wouldn't it be a bad assumption to say that if there is equality, then there is not hierarchy? A husband and wife are equal as human persons, but there is an hierarchical order between them, on account of the natural order by God’s design.

As far as I understand every human society is naturally hierarchical, it has a visible leader, from the family, to the local community, to the state. It must be hierarchical if it is to be unified. That is a natural principle of a human society. It belongs to our human nature to be ordered. Isn't it an organism (body) unified in its hierarchy. Meaning the parts of a body are ordered hierarchically, in systems, organs, tissues, and so on. Not every part of the organism is the head according to Paul’s description of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12) If there were no hierarchy, then the whole would not be a body. Do you agree?

Are JW's comfortable using the term Hierarchy in their public preaching work? I understand that some theologians claim the word hierarchy means “government by priests,” and derives from the Greek words for “priest” (hierus) and “rule” (archē). To me it seems all the references in the Watchtower library under hierarchy are addressing a specific use of the word Hierarchy. I interpret them to mean the JW's are against the worldly fallen notion of authority of domination and tyranny.

Are you saying that the JW ecclesial structure is pragmatic in nature?(multitude of counselors principle). In other words accidental (non-essential), meaning (beneficial) that it works on a pragmatic basis just to maintain unity and order, but at some point it can be done away with, since it doesn't necessarily belong to the essence of the Body of Christ? Hence capable of being lost?(Great Apostasy). Can the Body of Christ(church) (ecclesia) cease to exist? If not, then how can it's visible hierarchical unity be lost ? Doesn't it belong to the essence of the Body of Christ to have a hierarchical unity? Are you implying that all believers are each one individually,directly, connected to the Body of Christ independent of the others, without a unified doctrine, unified worship, unified government? Isn't it the purpose of the members of the Body of Christ to participate in something the Body is already doing? So how can it's hierarchy disappear thru some great apostasy?

Thank you for everything. Regards!
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Re: To Overture

Postby Rotherham » Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:40 am

Hello Overture

I appreciate your participation in the discussion but I have a request of my own. There are so many questions out there from you, I honestly don't know where to effectively begin. I am sorry but you're going to have to break it down to a question or two at a time and allow me to respond and allow us to exhaust those questions before moving on. Otherwise I don't think I'm going to be able to-do this based on the current format and the time I have to do it. In other words a more point/counterpoint type of discussion instead of a mass of questions built around numerous doctrines or teachings.

As far as the request to keep things private, that really doesn't fit with purpose of the board unless displaying something publicly that would be inappropriate or otherwise offensive. This board is for the edification of its members and readers and that would be defeated by making discussions about doctrines, teachings and policies and related things private.

I hope you understand and can accept that. If so, please find a good starting point so we can progress more methodically, and please limit it to a couple of main points/questions at a time. That way I can respond more quickly and in the long run, I believe the overall process will be faster and less burdensome for the readers to follow and keep up with. Point/counterpoint has proven to be a very effective manner of edification and clarification, and for us on Truetheology that carries prime importance.

Again, Thank you,
Regards,
Rotherham
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Overture's response

Postby Rotherham » Sat Apr 25, 2020 12:50 pm

Rotherham,

This was just a personal inquiry of my own in trying to understand certain key issues and terms on eccessiology, that's all. If you are not open to answer personal theological questions from others and you feel that you rather spend your resources addressing a larger audience I understand. I would really value your input, and won't take for granted all of your assistance. But If you have a stance of suspicion or distrust concerning my motives I can't force you to answer, If somehow you think I have a hidden agenda or will try to make you look bad. I don't mean to make you waste your time on a single person. For me this is important, and I take it seriously . If you want to help others using my inquiry on a larger scale, I don't have an issue with that, but I'm not necessarily interested in the readers, or in picking someone's curiosity or appealing to an audience, especially on something I don't fully understand. I didn't think these issues were that involved or complicated since you seem to have a solid understanding of Jehovah's witnesses ecclesiology. I don't have that discernment. I don't think my questions involve any speculation. Obviously I'm not discerning things that are on the official online JW library, otherwise I wouldn't be asking. Perhaps It has to do with my different theological formation coloring my evaluation of the JW position. You can explain your answers in whichever method or way you want or feel best, and you can take as long as you want to exhaust the points depending on your available time. My previous message was just a clarification because I was afraid my initial questions were not posed as clear, that was a mistake on my part. You can disregard them and not answer them. I am not in a position to demand anything since you are answering things voluntarily. I'm not interviewing you or even engaging in dialogue, much less debate. You have full control to address anything before and without publishing it, I don't understand why it came across as me trying to overwhelm you. I guess I thought you knowing where I was coming from it might help you to answer those questions in a more tailored or specific way. This is why I prefer personal face to face dialogue, or inquiries. It avoids all this back and forth, where I could just inquire without coming accross as interrupting someone. If we were face to face you could probably answer all of this in 30minutes.

I don't think this was is about disciplining myself or been parsimonious with my words since these questions are all connected. These questions come down to the nature of the Church, that's all. If I have to wait a year to hear your response that's ok, but my intention is not to prolong this uneccesarily. I have to move forward everyday, with or without your clarifications, which I think this is the most important topic to address in everyone's christian life. Definitely worth someone's thirty minutes. The more time I spend in limbo unanswered,the more time it passes for me to act on it. It can be dissapointing and discouraging when you can't get a response. I know is not your fault or responsability,but I'm not inquiring about obscure topics. This is as fundamental as it gets. I guess ultimately all we can do is our best and whatever i'ts on our power, hoping God brings good out it. Maybe our interaction is just that and not an occasion to debate. You may have the last word if you wish. I think we got on the wrong foot. I do hope you can help me with my questions eventually. I can accept if your answer is no,or if you decide to stop our communication alltogether. My intentions were never to just drop by or bow out but I'm not going to elaborate further or break down things two-by two to an audience (this is personal inquiry for me) since you already have everything I have to say in writing. There's nothing more for me to break down or explain. Regards


Last edited by Overture on Sat Apr 25, 2020 1:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Overture's response

Postby Rotherham » Sat Apr 25, 2020 1:03 pm

Hello Overture

My responses will be between these marks . &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&.

[quote="Rotherham"]Rotherham,

This was just a personal inquiry of my own in trying to understand certain key issues and terms on eccessiology, that's all. If you are not open to answer personal theological questions from others and you feel that you rather spend your resources addressing a larger audience I understand.
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&
It has nothing to-do with only wanting to address a larger audience. I aim very much interested in personal tgheological questions. I think my history on line confirms that without question. I am simply asking, begging you to change format in the manner that I requested. if that can't be done I am afraid that I will have to tap out and hope that Heks or someone else can tap in.
Its just a format change, nothing more.

Respectfully,
Rotherham
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Re: To Overture

Postby HeKS » Sun Apr 26, 2020 12:19 am

Hi Overture,

I haven't had a chance to read everything yet but I just wanted to weigh in on Rotherham's request for a format change. His request is based on experience that we both share. As just one example, a few years back we had a discussion with someone on the proper translation and meaning of a single verse (Rev. 3:14). That conversation went on for weeks if not months, took up multiple forum pages over scores of posts and just my summary alone was 40 pages long.

You're asking a lot of interesting questions here, but the emphasis can be placed as much on the "a lot" part as the "interesting" part. For every question you ask in a single sentence it could take a paragraph - or much more - to provide a careful and properly nuanced answer. It's one thing to work through that a step at a time as part of an ongoing discussion, but the time it takes to answer such a firehose of questions all at once simply isn't sustainable. Why don't you try limiting yourself to one or two questions in a post, wait to get a response (which will probably come more quickly), and then work through the answer to that question until everyone is satisfied that we can move on? In other words, this would probably work better if it were structured as something resembling a discussion or conversation ... and I say this as someone who has written some truly epicly long comments.

Take care,
HeKS
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Re: To Overture

Postby Rotherham » Sun Apr 26, 2020 10:08 am

Hello Overture,

in addition to what I have presented in my posts above, I found an article that I think does a decent job of hopefully answering what seems to be your main inquiry about the nature of the church. I hope it is helpful.I will paste it below.Let me know if it is helpful:

One True Christian Faith​—A Reality
JESUS CHRIST set up just one church, or congregation. That congregation was a spiritual body, a spiritual family. By this we mean that it was a gathering together of people chosen by God’s holy spirit​—all recognized by God to be his “children.”​—Romans 8:16, 17; Galatians 3:26.

Jesus taught that only one way was used by God to direct people to the truth and to life. To illustrate that important truth, Jesus compared the way to everlasting life to a road. He said: “Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it; whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.”​—Matthew 7:13, 14; John 14:6; Acts 4:11, 12.

A Unified Congregation

We should not think of that first-century congregation as “a world-wide, universal, organized society such as we mean nowadays when we talk about the catholic church,” says The New Dictionary of Theology. Why not? “For the simple reason,” it says, “that such an organized, universal society scarcely existed.”

No one can rightly disagree with the fact that the early Christian congregation bore no resemblance to the institutionalized church systems we see today. But it was organized. Individual congregations did not operate independently of one another. They all recognized the authority of a governing body in Jerusalem. That body​—consisting of the apostles and older men of the Jerusalem congregation—​helped to preserve the unity of the congregation as the “one body” of Christ.​—Ephesians 4:4, 11-16; Acts 15:22-31; 16:4, 5.

What happened to that one true congregation? Did it become the mighty Catholic Church? Did it evolve into the denominational, fragmented Protestant church system that we see today? Or did something else happen?

“Wheat” and “Weeds”

To find the answers, let us carefully consider what Jesus Christ himself said would happen. You may be surprised to learn that Jesus expected his congregation to disappear from view and that he would allow such a sad situation to continue for centuries.

Identifying his congregation with “the kingdom of the heavens,” he said: “The kingdom of the heavens has become like a man that sowed fine seed in his field. While men were sleeping, his enemy came and oversowed weeds in among the wheat, and left. When the blade sprouted and produced fruit, then the weeds appeared also. So the slaves of the householder came up and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow fine seed in your field? How, then, does it come to have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy, a man, did this.’ They said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go out and collect them?’ He said, ‘No; that by no chance, while collecting the weeds, you uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the harvest season I will tell the reapers, First collect the weeds and bind them in bundles to burn them up, then go to gathering the wheat into my storehouse.’”​—Matthew 13:24-30.

Jesus explained that he was “the sower.” “The fine seed” pictured his genuine disciples. His “enemy” was Satan the Devil. “The weeds” were counterfeit Christians who infiltrated the early Christian congregation. He said that he would let “the wheat” and “the weeds” grow together until “the harvest,” which would come at “a conclusion of a system of things.” (Matthew 13:37-43) What did all of this mean?

The Christian Congregation Corrupted

Soon after the death of the apostles, apostate teachers from within the congregation began to take control of it. They spoke “twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.” (Acts 20:29, 30) As a result, many Christians ‘fell away from the faith.’ They were “turned aside to false stories.”​—1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 4:3, 4.

By the fourth century C.E., says The New Dictionary of Theology, “Catholic Christianity had become the official . . . religion of the Roman Empire.” There was a “coalescence of ecclesial and civil society”​—a merging of Church and State that was diametrically opposed to the beliefs of the early Christians. (John 17:16; James 4:4) The same source states that in time, the whole structure and nature of the church, as well as many of its fundamental beliefs, was changed radically “under the influence of a curious and thoroughly unhealthy combination of O[ld] T[estament] and neoplatonic models.” As predicted by Jesus Christ, his genuine disciples were hidden from sight as counterfeit Christians flourished.

Jesus’ listeners knew how difficult it was to tell genuine wheat from weeds, such as poisonous bearded darnel, which during the growing season has an appearance much like that of wheat. So Jesus was illustrating that for a while, it would be difficult to distinguish true Christians from the counterfeit variety. This does not mean that the Christian congregation ceased to exist, for Jesus promised to continue to guide his spiritual brothers “all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matthew 28:20) Jesus said that the wheat would continue to grow. Even so, through the ages, genuine Christians​—individually or in groups—​no doubt did their best to adhere to Christ’s teachings. But they no longer made up a clearly identifiable, visible body, or organization. They were certainly not identical with the visible apostate religious system that throughout history brought nothing but disgrace and dishonor to the name of Jesus Christ.​—2 Peter 2:1, 2.

“The Man of Lawlessness Gets Revealed”

The apostle Paul foretold something else that would mark this counterfeit religious system. He wrote: “Let no one seduce you in any manner, because [Jehovah’s day] will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed.” (2 Thessalonians 2:2-4) This “man of lawlessness” is none other than the clergy class that exalted itself into a ruling position over the “Christian” congregation.*

The apostasy started in the apostle Paul’s day. It accelerated once the apostles died and their restraining influence disappeared. It would be marked, said Paul, by “the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and portents and with every unrighteous deception.” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-12) How accurately that describes the activities of so many religious leaders throughout history!

In support of their claim that Roman Catholicism is the one true church, Catholic leaders say that their bishops have “a life-giving contact with the original apostles by a current of succession which goes back to the beginning.” In truth, this claim of apostolic succession has no historical or Scriptural basis. There is no credible evidence that the church system that arose following the death of Jesus’ apostles was ever directed by God’s holy spirit.​—Romans 8:9; Galatians 5:19-21.

And what of the other churches that sprang up following the so-called Reformation? Did they return to the model of the early Christian congregation? Did they restore the purity of the original Christian congregation? It is true that following the Reformation, the Bible became available to many of the common people in their own language. Yet, history shows that these churches continued to teach erroneous doctrines.*​—Matthew 15:7-9.

Note this, however. Jesus Christ definitely foretold that his one true congregation would be restored during what he called a conclusion of a system of things. (Matthew 13:30, 39) The fulfillment of Bible prophecies shows that we are now living in that time. (Matthew 24:3-35) That being true, each of us needs to ask, ‘Where is that one true church?’ It ought to become more and more clearly identifiable.

Maybe you feel that you have already found that church, or congregation. It is important that you make sure. Why? Because as in the first century, there can be only one true church. Have you taken the time to make sure that your church closely conforms to the pattern set by the first-century Christian congregation and that it loyally adheres to the teachings of Jesus Christ? Why not examine this now? Jehovah’s Witnesses will be happy to help you to do just that.​—Acts 17:11.
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