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Thread: Analyzing Jehovah's Witness Teachings

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    Post Analyzing Jehovah's Witness Teachings

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    For a home-spun religion whose origin is relatively recent, the Watchtower Society has done pretty well for itself. Beginning with one man shortly after the American Civil War, it currently numbers approximately 8.2 million active members spread out in approximately 118,000 congregations worldwide. (Congregations have been displaced and consolidated in recent years due to the Society liquidating a number of Kingdom Halls in order to settle its legal obligations.)

    My first encounter with a Watchtower Society missionary (a.k.a. Jehovah's Witness) occurred in 1969. At the time I was young and inexperienced; and thus assumed that the hewer of wood, and hauler of water coming down my dad's driveway was a typical Christian.

    But when I talked this over with an elder; he became alarmed; and urged me to read a little book titled "30 Years A Watchtower Slave" by William J. Schnell; whom the Society at one time demonized as an agent of Satan. I would not be surprised if it still does.

    After getting my eyes opened by Mr. Schnell's book, I was afterwards steered towards another book titled "Kingdom Of The Cults" by Walter Martin. No doubt the Society demonizes Mr. Martin too.

    Around late 1980, my wife and I attended a series of lectures sponsored by a local church titled "How To Witness To Jehovah's Witnesses". The speaker (call him Pete) was an ex JW who had been in the Watchtower Society system for near three decades before terminating his involvement; so he knew the twists and turns of its doctrines pretty good.

    Pete didn't train us to hammer the Society's missionaries in a discussion because even if you best them scripture for scripture, they will not give up on the Society. Their mind's unflinching premise is that the Society is right even when it appears to be totally wrong. They are thoroughly convinced that the Society is the voice of God, while your voice has no more authority than that of a squeaky little gerbil.

    Later on, I read a book titled "Why I Left The Jehovah's Witnesses" by Ted Dencher. I also read the Society's little brown book titled "Reasoning From The Scriptures".

    (This was all before the internet and the ready volume of information available on YouTube.)

    From all that vetting, study, and training I quickly discovered that although the Watchtower Society uses many of classical Christianity's standard terms and phrases, those terms and phrases mean something entirely different in the Witness mind than what you'd expect because the Society has re-defined the meanings of those terminologies.

    So your first challenge with Watchtower Society teachings is to scale the language barrier. That by itself is an Herculean task because you'll not only be up against a tangle of semantics, but also a Jumanji of twisted scriptures, double speak, humanistic reasoning, rationalizing, and clever sophistry.
    _

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    Post Re: Analyzing Jehovah's Witness Teachings

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    STARING INTO THE ABYSS

    Raymond Victor Franz was a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses from October 20, 1971 until his removal on May 22, 1980, and served at the organization's world headquarters for fifteen years, from 1965 until 1980.

    Mr. Franz resigned, and stated that the request for his resignation, and his subsequent dis-fellowshipping, resulted from allegations of apostasy.

    Following his departure, Mr. Franz wrote a book titled "Crisis Of Conscience" relating his personal experiences with the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, and his views on Jehovah's Witness teachings. It's a bit expensive in print form, but as of the date of this writing could be heard audibly for free on YouTube and/or as a free pdf download.

    Mr. Franz's book, and his interviews, are helpful aids for people wondering if they made the right decision leaving the Society's fold. It's also helpful for people thinking about becoming a Jehovah's Witness but not too sure whether they'd be making a really big, life-changing mistake not easily corrected.
    _

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    Those poor people.
    "Those who believe in Christ" are all the Christians, Catholic or not.

    @Nee_Nihilo

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    Post Re: Analyzing Jehovah's Witness Teachings

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    HOPE

    Many of the Jehovah's Witness missionaries going door-to-door throughout the world are honestly, and sincerely, hoping to enter the kingdom of God; which is why I'm convinced that Christians really ought to know something about New Testament hope before engaging JWs in a conversation about it.

    1Pet 3:15 . . Always ready to make a defense before everyone that demands of you a reason for the hope in you,

    The New Testament Greek word for "hope" in Peter's command is elpis (el pece') which means to anticipate (usually with pleasure) and to expect with confidence. Note the elements of anticipation, and expectation, and confidence.

    Webster's definition of hope as a verb is very similar: 1) to desire with expectation of obtainment, and 2) to expect with confidence and trust. Note the elements of expectation, and confidence, and trust.

    Webster's definition of hope as a noun is: 1) a desire accompanied by expectation of, or belief in, fulfillment, and 2) expectation of fulfillment or success. Note the elements of expectation, and belief.

    In other words: elpis hope is a know-so hope rather than a cross your fingers hope.

    So, unless someone knows for proof-positive, beyond even the slightest glimmer of sensible doubt, that they have a passport to the kingdom of God locked in and irrevocable, then of course it is impossible for them to comply with Peter's instructions seeing as they would not yet have the kind of hope about which he wrote.

    Rom 12:12 . . Rejoice in the hope.

    When people are praying for the best, while in the back of their mind dreading the worst, they have absolutely no cause for rejoicing; no; but they do have plenty of cause to fear the unknown.

    BTW: Elpis hope is one of the three principal elements of Christianity. (1Cor 13:13)

    It's also a calling. (Eph 4:4)

    When people are lacking the kind of hope described by the Greek word elpis, then I believe it's safe to assume that they have not yet responded to God's call; or worse, He has not called them; and quite possibly never will.

    Rom 9:15-16 . . He says to Moses: I will have mercy upon whomever I do have mercy, and I will show compassion to whomever I do show compassion. So, then, it depends not upon the one wishing nor upon the one running, but upon God, who has mercy.
    _

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    Post Re: Analyzing Jehovah's Witness Teachings

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    PASSPORT TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD

    It's both tragic and ironic that the Watchtower Society's rank and file missionaries go worldwide advertising a kingdom that they themselves will never be allowed to enter. Here's why.

    At John 3:3-12, Christ and a Jewish rabbi named Nicodemus discussed what Christ labeled "earthly things".

    The primary earthly thing discussed was the kingdom of God. The other earthly thing discussed was a spirit-birth requirement to enter it. In other words: God's kingdom on earth, and a spirit birth, are joined at the hip.

    The Watchtower Society's earthly class (a.k.a. the hewers of wood and haulers of water; viz: non-anointed JWs) aren't spirit-born now, nor do they ever expect to be-- not in this life, nor in the next --yet they hope to enter God's kingdom on earth. However, seeing as how the spirit-birth requirement is a must rather than an option; they will not succeed.
    _

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    Post Re: Analyzing Jehovah's Witness Teachings

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    THE WORD

    The Watchtower Society will never accept classical Christianity's teaching that Jesus Christ is Jehovah incognito simply because the Society's undying premise is that it is impossible for someone to exist as a spirit being and a human being simultaneously.

    According to the premise: Jehovah's spirit existence would have to be terminated before He could become a human existence; and I can easily guarantee that nobody is ever going to convince the Society otherwise unless they first prove that the Word of John 1:1-4 is impervious to death. In other words; in order to prove to the Society that it's possible for a spirit being to exist as a human being simultaneously, it is necessary to prove to the Society that the Word is an everlasting life; which is a kind of life that cannot die. Fortunately it's very easy to do because the apostle John did that part for us.

    1John 1:1-2 . .That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have viewed attentively and our hands felt, concerning the word of life, (yes, the life was made manifest, and we have seen and are bearing witness and reporting to you the everlasting life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us,)

    The Greek word for "everlasting" in that passage is aionios (ahee-o'-nee-os) which essentially means perpetual; viz: without interruption.

    The Word's human existence as per John 1:14 was as a mortal life and thus easily interrupted; but seeing as how the Word's spirit existence as per 1John 1:1-2 is an everlasting life, then it's impossible for the Word's spirit existence to be interrupted.

    Jehovah cannot interrupt His existence as God because Jehovah is an everlasting life (Gen 21:33, Rom 16:26). In the same manner, the Word cannot interrupt his existence as the Word because the Word is an everlasting life too. (John 5:26, 1John 1:1-2)

    The Word may have temporarily divested himself of his glory when he came to the earth to live and die as a human being, but he did not, and could not, divest himself of his spirit existence because in order to do that, he would have to die; which is an impossibility for everlasting life. If that were not so, then it would be possible to assassinate Jehovah. In point of fact, it would even be possible for Jehovah to commit suicide.

    Precisely how a non mortal being can exist simultaneously as a mortal being is one of the mysteries of classical Christianity that have to be accepted on faith because the human mind is just too limited to get it.

    NOTE: The human mind is produced by a 3-pound lump of flabby organic tissue, and not even all three of those flabby pounds are devoted to cognitive processes. On top of that, 60% of that tissue is fat; yet the Watchtower Society actually believes that it's fatty, flabby little organic mind is able to comprehend the complexities of somebody as supernatural as the Word while it cannot even comprehend something as natural as the infinity of space.
    _

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    JWs believe in Christ's Resurrection.
    "Those who believe in Christ" are all the Christians, Catholic or not.

    @Nee_Nihilo

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    Post Re: Analyzing Jehovah's Witness Teachings

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    CHRIST'S RESURRECTION

    Were John Q and/or Jane Doe Watchtower Society missionary to be asked if they believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, I can assure you they would answer in the affirmative. However, what you may not know is that you and they would not be speaking the same language as the conversation would be talking about two very different processes that go by the same name. In other words: you would find yourself thrown off by semantic double speak.

    The classical Christian understanding of Christ's resurrection is common throughout the gospels; viz: Jesus Christ's dead, crucified body was restored to life as per John 2:19-22.

    "Jesus said to them: Break down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Therefore the Jews said: This temple was built in forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days? But he was talking about the temple of his body. When, though, he was raised up from the dead, his disciples called to mind that he used to say this; and they believed the Scripture and the saying that Jesus said."

    You see, if Jesus' dead, crucified body had not been restored to life, that entire passage would be easily proven false. But according to the Watchtower Society's way of seeing things; Christ's dead, crucified body didn't return to life at all; and here's why.

    In Watchtower Society theology, an angel named Michael volunteered to come to the earth to die for humanity's sins. But in order to do so; he had to relinquish his angel existence to become a human existence seeing as how in Society theology it is impossible for someone to exist as a spirit being and a human being simultaneously. However, when Michael expired, he didn't go completely out of existence. Instead, his "life force" remained intact and was transferred to a human form.

    "the transferal of the life of his firstborn Son from the spirit realm to earth. Only in this way could the child eventually born have retained identity as the same person who had resided in heaven as the Word." (Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971, p.920)

    "He had to become a perfect man and yet not lose his continuity of life. His life-force was not to be extinguished but would be transferred to the ovum of the virgin girl, Mary." (Watchtower magazine, 2-15-82, p.7)

    But Michael's existence as a human being was only temporary. When his human form passed away on the cross, the Society claims that God transferred Michael's life force back into his angel form thus restoring him to his former spirit existence; leaving the corpse of his human existence in a permanent state of decease.

    NOTE: The Society teaches that death terminates existence; but apparently not entirely because the Society also believes that at death, an angel's life force was transferred to another form— in Michael's case, from a spirit form to an organic form; in effect, preserving a portion of Michael's existence so it could be re-transferred later when God went about restoring Michael to his former existence.

    It could be argued that Jesus lives on in the body of an angel; but that wouldn't be true seeing as how Jesus' life force was Michael's to begin with.

    The Society has to accept the obvious fact that their doctrine implies that Jesus Christ was never really fully human, rather, he was an amalgam of angel and human seeing as how it was the life force of an angel that kept Jesus' human body alive.

    In other words: the Society's Jesus wasn't an organic man in the normal sense, rather; he was an organic angel; because when you get right down to it; the nature of one's life force is what determines the nature of their existence. That's easily seen in the very first chapter of Genesis wherein all the various creatures were given a life force pertinent to the nature of their species

    FYI: The Society maintains that Michael's crucified human form had to stay dead so he could be an angel again. But that's not the only reason the Society gives for keeping Michael's human remains perpetually deceased. An additional explanation is given on page 237 of the April 15, 1963 issue of the Watchtower magazine; where it's stated:

    "If Jesus were to take his body of flesh, blood, and bones to heaven and enjoy them there, what would this mean? It would mean that there would be no resurrection of the dead for anybody. Why not? Because Jesus would be taking his sacrifice off God's altar."

    There is a really, really big flaw in the Society's theology; and that's Michael's human remains. In order to confirm that his crucified human body stayed dead, the Society is going to have produce it. A piece of evidence of that significance can't be allowed to just slip through a crack unnoticed as if it makes no difference. As Carl Sagan once said: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
    _

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    What a mess! They go to greater lengths than the Clavinists do, to explain away plain Scripture.
    "Those who believe in Christ" are all the Christians, Catholic or not.

    @Nee_Nihilo

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    Post Re: Analyzing Jehovah's Witness Teachings

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    POSITIVE PROOFS

    Acts 1:1-3 . .The first account, O Theophilus, I composed about all the things Jesus started both to do and to teach, until the day that he was taken up, after he had given commandment through holy spirit to the apostles whom he chose. To these also by many positive proofs he showed himself alive after he had suffered.

    The Watchtower Society's version of those "positive proofs" is interesting.

    In order to show his friends that their savior was back from death, an angel named Michael is alleged to have materialized an artificial Jesus that was in all respects just as physical, and just as functional, as the real Jesus.

    However:

    1• The New Testament never even one time, on any occasion, nor under any circumstances, nor in any situation, either attests, alleges, alludes, or states that an angel named Michael appeared in Christ's human form cloaked in a materialized body.

    2• The Society's Michael never once let on to his friends that he was an angel in disguise. He led them to believe that his avatar was the actual Jesus Christ they all knew prior to his crucifixion.

    3• Passing one's self off in the guise of a dead man is the lowest form of identity theft imaginable. People do it all the time; and it's what I expect from human beings, but that is not the kind of behavior I have a right to expect from an arch angel.

    4• A so-called materialized body is not a real person; it's an avatar.

    5• Neither Paul, nor Peter, nor John, nor James, nor Jude, ever even one single instance in any of their writings identify Jesus Christ as an angel named Michael: not once. You'd think that if Jesus Christ is currently an angel who goes by the name of Michael, those men would have said so because that would be a really big deal.

    Q: Why make an issue of the nature of Christ's resurrection?

    A: Were I the Devil, I would do my utmost best to disprove the resurrection of Jesus' crucified dead body because his crucifixion is only half enough to protect people from the wrath of God. Though his physical body's death obtains forgiveness for people's sins, its death doesn't gain people an acquittal.

    Rom 4:25 . . He was delivered up for the sake of our trespasses, and was raised up for the sake of declaring us righteous.

    The Greek word translated "righteous" is dikaiosis (dik-ah'-yo-sis) whjich means acquittal; defined as an adjudication of innocence.

    People merely forgiven still carry a load of guilt; viz: they have a criminal record. Christ's physical resurrection deletes their record so that on the books, it's as though they've never been anything but 100% innocent.

    This clearing of one's guilt that I'm talking about is obtained via the kindness and generosity of God through belief in the resurrection of Christ's crucified dead body. If the Devil can succeed in convincing people that Jesus' crucified body is still dead or, even better yet, make them question whether the man even existed at all; then they will fail to obtain an acquittal, and consequently end up put to death in brimstone because records are to be reviewed when people stand to face justice at the Great White Throne event depicted at Rev 20:11-15.

    Of all the doctrines invented by the Watchtower Society, I'd have to say that their resurrection story is the most insidious because belief in the recovery of Christ's crucified dead body is one of the essential elements of the gospel that must be accepted if one is to have any chance at all of escaping the sum of all fears.

    1Cor 15:17 . . If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
    _

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    Post Re: Analyzing Jehovah's Witness Teachings

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    THE FAITHFUL AND WISE SERVANT

    Matt 24:45-47 . .Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. Truly I say to YOU, He will appoint him over all his belongings.

    The core of the Watchtower Society-- the Governing Body --sincerely believes itself the faithful and discreet slave spoken of in that passage, i.e. believes that God chose the leaders of the Watchtower Society as His sole distributor of truth to mankind; thus explaining why John Q and Jane Doe Jehovah's Witnesses are taught that they need to submit unquestioningly to the Governing Body in order to associate with God, and for protection from doomsday, viz: the calamities depicted in the book of Revelation.

    "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." (jw.org, 10th Nov 2012)

    "That faithful slave is the channel through which Jesus is feeding his true followers in this time of the end. It is vital that we recognize the faithful slave. Our spiritual health and our relationship with God depend on this channel." (Watchtower, 2013 Jul 15, p.20)

    "We need to obey the faithful and discreet slave to have Jehovah’s approval." (Watchtower, 2011 Jul 15, p.24, Simplified English Edition)

    "[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." (Watchtower, 2001 Aug 01, p.14)

    However: paragraph 12, under the heading; "Who is leading God's People today?" of the Feb 2017 Watchtower--Study Edition, says:

    "The Governing Body is neither inspired nor infallible. Therefore, it can err in doctrinal matters or in organizational direction. In fact, the Watch Tower Publications Index includes the heading “Beliefs Clarified,” which lists adjustments in our Scriptural understanding since 1870. Of course, Jesus did not tell us that his faithful slave would produce perfect spiritual food."

    Just imagine the degree of confusion and insecurity that would pervade the minds of regular Christians had the authors of the New Testament scriptures attached a caveat to their writings similar to the above.

    NOTE: I've had JW missionaries tell me that The Watchtower magazine isn't an authority in matters of faith and practice. But the Jan 1, 1942 issue of the magazine, on page 5, speaks for itself as a trustworthy source of Watchtower Society theology by saying:

    "Those who are convinced that The Watchtower is publishing the opinion or expression of a man should not waste time in looking at it at all. Those who believe that God uses he Watchtower as a means of communicating to his people, or of calling attention to his prophecies, should study The Watchtower."

    In other words: the haulers of water and the hewers of wood-- viz: the rank and file --are not only expected to know what's in the Watchtower magazine, but they're also required to accept it as the God's truth.
    _

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    Quote Originally Posted by WeberHome View Post
    .
    . . . Of all the doctrines invented by the Watchtower Society, I'd have to say that their resurrection story is the most insidious because belief in the recovery of Christ's crucified dead body is one of the essential elements of the gospel that must be accepted if one is to have any chance at all of escaping the sum of all fears.

    1Cor 15:17 . . If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
    _
    I agree with you. Basically denying Christ's Resurrection, nullifies their faith. But I believe that Christ in His mercy can see through, that these people would believe in Him, had they been more properly catechized (taught) in Christian faith, and not led astray by false teachers, and would apply that faith in potential to their account, such that they will come to perfectly believe in Him, in purgatory.
    "Those who believe in Christ" are all the Christians, Catholic or not.

    @Nee_Nihilo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Idolater View Post
    I agree with you. Basically denying Christ's Resurrection, nullifies their faith. But I believe that Christ in His mercy can see through, that these people would believe in Him, had they been more properly catechized (taught) in Christian faith, and not led astray by false teachers, and would apply that faith in potential to their account, such that they will come to perfectly believe in Him, in purgatory.
    Purgatory? Hmmmmmm.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

    Jim Elliot

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bright Raven View Post
    Purgatory? Hmmmmmm.
    Well, we have to at some point before entering the eternal kingdom, believe correctly concerning its King, right? This'd at least include the proper belief in the historicity of Christ's Resurrection.

    Maybe that happens instantaneously, upon our bodies passing away, and maybe it doesn't occur instantaneously; and in this latter case, I call it purgatory. We will be pure before entering the eternal kingdom, one way or another. The process, I call purgatory.
    "Those who believe in Christ" are all the Christians, Catholic or not.

    @Nee_Nihilo

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    Post Re: Analyzing Jehovah's Witness Teachings

    .
    THE IN CROWD

    Rom 8:9 . .You are in harmony, not with the flesh, but with the spirit, if God’s spirit truly dwells in you.

    NOTE: The Watchtower Society does not acknowledge God's spirit as a sentient being, rather:

    "The holy spirit is the active force of God. It is not a person but is a powerful force that God causes to emanate from himself to accomplish his holy will." (Reasoning From The Scriptures, p. 381)

    I highly recommend avoiding debate with JWs over the personage of God's spirit because they will match you scripture for scripture and you're likely to just end up going round and round in circles without ever getting to the bottom of anything.

    Anyway; Rom 8:9 informs the Watchtower Society's elite class of 144,000 anointed Witnesses that they are in harmony with God's spirit; seeing as how it's alleged that the anointed class has God's sprit truly dwelling in them.

    At the same time; it informs the non-anointed class of Witnesses that they are in harmony, not with God's spirit, but with the flesh; and that is not a good thing seeing as they that are in harmony with the flesh are Jehovah's adversaries; unwilling to either please Him or comply with His wishes. If John Q and Jane Doe non-anointed Witness don't know this; then all I can say is: they've got some catching up to do.

    Rom 8:8 . . So those who are in harmony with the flesh cannot please God.

    There's more.

    1John 2:26-27 . .These things I write you about those who are trying to mislead you. And as for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to be teaching you; but, as the anointing from him is teaching you about all things, and is true and is no lie, and just as it has taught you, remain in union with him.

    In a nutshell: the anointed class is allegedly able to remain in union with Christ on their own by means of the one-on-one spiritual guidance that the anointing provides them. Seeing as how the non-anointed class doesn't have access to either the anointing or the anointing's one-on-one spiritual guidance; they therefore are incapable of remaining in union with Christ on their own.

    That, coupled with their resistance to God as per Rom 8:8, leaves John Q and Jane Doe non-anointed Witness in a defenseless spiritual condition; vz: they are susceptible to deception by means of clever sophistry, semantic double speak, and humanistic reasoning.

    There's more yet:

    Non anointed Witnesses sincerely believe they don't need the anointing because they obtain their spiritual instruction from anointed leaders. However, according to 1Cor 2:12-14, non anointed Witnesses will neither listen to, nor accept, instruction from an anointed teacher because a physical man does not receive the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot get to know them, because they are examined spiritually.

    FYI: "physical man" (a.k.a. natural man) is the Bible's terminology for non anointed people. Here's the way that non anointed people are described with language from a classical version of the Bible.

    "We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."

    Therefore; if non anointed Witness are receiving and accepting spiritual instruction from their leaders, it's only because their leaders are just as non anointed as they are, i.e. it is an actual, real-life case of the blind leading the blind.
    _

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