As we examine the defenses the Watchtower makes against claims that it meets the Bible’s definition of a false prophet, let’s look at the one it uses most often.
Watchtower False Prophecy Defense #3: Proverbs 4:18 says “the light is getting brighter and brighter.”
Proverbs 4:18 says, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” Accordingly, the Watchtower calls all of its doctrinal changes “new light.” It actually cites these changes as proof that Jehovah is continually straightening out his organization.
To that, I recommend that you respond by saying something like this: “The problem I have with using that verse is that anybody who teaches something that is wrong can claim that it applies to them. They just don’t have enough light yet. But was something that was untrue ever ‘light’ at all? If any person or organization uses that, my thought would be, ‘If you don’t have enough light so that you are frequently having to change your teachings, why are you saying that I have to believe and obey everything you tell me? Why are you claiming to be acting as God’s spokesman? Is God responsible for your errors or are you?’”
If necessary, take them through some of the specific false prophecies set out in earlier articles in this series. For example, there’s this statement from The Finished Mystery (1917, pp. 484-485): “Also, in the year 1918, when God destroys the churches wholesale and the church members by millions, it shall be that any that escape shall come to the works of Pastor Russell to learn the meaning of the downfall of ‘Christianity’” (emphasis added).
Ask, “Was this teaching light from Jehovah at all or was it were merely the mistaken predictions of fallible men?
Clearly, these is a confrontational question, but make clear that you would apply this same standard to any person or organization that claims to be God’s only channel of communication, his exclusive spokesman.
You can also quote the Witnesses this statement from an early Watchtower regarding the specific issue of “new light”:
If we were following a man undoubtedly it would be different with us; undoubtedly one human idea would contradict another and that which was light one or two or six years ago would be regarded as darkness now: But with God there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning and so it is with truth; any knowledge or light coming from God must be like its author. A new view of truth never can contradict a former truth. “New light” never extinguishes older “light,” but only adds to it. If you were lighting up a building containing seven gas jets you would not extinguish one every time you lighted another, but would add one light to another and they would be in harmony and thus give increase of light: So it is with the light of truth; the true increase is by adding to, not by substituting one for another (emphasis original. (Zion’s Watch Tower, February, 1881, p. 3).
Do you agree with what this article says?
- If you were to summarize this quotation, how can we know whether “old light” actually came from God or whether it was only the opinion of fallible men?
- Based on the changed teachings we have seen, how do you think the Watchtower measures up to this standard?
Have Witnesses ever defended the Watchtower to you by telling you that the light gets brighter and brighter? What do you think of my approach to this defense?
Share your thoughts in the comments.