In a recent morning worship program titled “Jehovah Blesses Obedience”, Brother Anthony Morris III addresses accusations made against the Governing Body that it is dogmatic. Quoting from Acts 16:4, he refers us to the word translated “decrees”. He states at the 3:25 minute mark:
“Now let’s bring it up to modern day here and, you’ll find this quite interesting – I did, I assume you might find it of interest – but here in verse 4, if you look at the original language about “decrees,” I notice the Greek there, the word “dogmata”, well, you can hear the word “dogma” there. Well, things have changed as to what it means in English now. It’s certainly not anything we want to say the faithful slave is guilty of. Notice here what dictionaries have had to say. If you refer to a belief or a system of beliefs as a dogma, you disapprove of it because people are expected to accept that it is true without questioning it. A dogmatic view obviously is undesirable. One other dictionary says, if you say someone is dogmatic you are critical of them because they are convinced that they are right and refuse to consider that other opinions might also be justified. Well, I don’t think we would want to apply this to decisions that come out from the faithful and discreet slave in our time.”
So according to Brother Morris, the Governing Body does not expect us to accept their teachings without question. According to Brother Morris, the Governing Body is not convinced it is right. According to Brother Morris, the Governing Body does not refuse to consider other opinions that might also be justified.
He then continues:
“Now we have apostates and opposers that would like God’s people to think that the faithful slave is dogmatic. And they expect you to accept everything that comes out from headquarters as if it’s dogma. Arbitrarily decided. Well, this does not apply.”
So according to Brother Morris, we should not accept everything that comes out from headquarters as if it is dogma; that is, as if it is a decree from God.
That statement seems to be in direct contradiction to his closing words:
“This is a theocracy ruled by God. Not a collection of man-made decisions. This is governed from heaven.”
If we are being “ruled by God” and “governed from heaven”, and if these are not a “collection of man-made decisions,” then we must conclude that these are divine decisions. If they are divine decisions, then they come from God. If they come from God, then we cannot and should not question them. They are indeed dogma; albeit righteous dogma in that they are of divine origin.
What would be the litmus test? Well, Brother Morris points to the decrees that came out of Jerusalem in the first century and applies them to our day. In the first century, Luke reports: “Then, indeed, the congregations continued to be made firm in the faith and to increase in number day by day.” (Acts 16:5) The point that Anthony Morris III is making is that if we obey these instructions which he claims are from Jehovah, then we too will see a similar increase in the congregations day by day. He says “congregations will increase, branch territories will increase day by day. Why? Because as we mentioned in the beginning, ‘Jehovah blesses obedience.'”
If you would take the time to scan the latest Yearbooks and look at the population-to-publisher ratio figures, you’d see that even in countries where we seem to be growing marginally, we are really stagnant or even shrinking.
Argentina: 2010: 258 to 1; 2015: 284 to 1
Canada: 2010: 298 to 1; 2015: 305 to 1
Finland: 2010: 280 to 1; 2015: 291 to 1
Netherlands: 2010: 543 to 1; 2015: 557 to 1
United States: 2010: 262 to 1; 259 to 1
Six years of stagnation or worse, of diminishment! Hardly the picture he is painting. But it’s worse. Looking at just raw figures in the 2015 Yearbook, there are 63 countries out of 239 that have either no growth listed or show negative growth. Many more that do show some growth are not keeping up with population growth figures.
So based on Brother Morris’ own criteria, we are either failing to obey the Governing Body, or we are obeying them, yet Jehovah is failing to bless us with daily expansion.
In July, Brother Lett told us that the Governing Body never has and never will solicit funds, after which he proceeded to solicit funds for the remainder of his broadcast. Now Brother Morris tells us that the decrees of the Governing Body are not dogma, while claiming that their decisions are not man-made but from God.
Elijah once told the people: “How long will you be limping upon two different opinions?” Perhaps it is time for each of us to consider that question for ourselves.