[From ws15/09 for Nov 23-29]

“We love, because he first Loved us.” – John 4:19

I almost passed on reviewing this week’s Watchtower Study article since there is nothing new there. It’s just the same old, same old.

Then something changed my mind. I opened the JW Library app on my iPad to do my daily Bible reading and I saw that it had been updated with new features. I thought to myself what a wonderful tool it is. But a tool, wonderful or not, is only as good as the work it is put to. How is this tool being used? With this week’s study content fresh on my mind, I noticed that the app sported a Videos section. I hadn’t noticed that before. Here we have an app for Bible research and study from an Organization whose stated goal is to teach the Bible and help people to gain accurate knowledge of God. (John 17:3) One would assume the app would be all about the Bible and that the Videos section would reflect that purpose.

The Videos section of the library is divided into 12 subsections:

  1. From Our Studio
  2. Children
  3. Teenagers
  4. Family
  5. Programs and Events
  6. Our Activities
  7. Our Ministry
  8. Our Organization
  9. The Bible
  10. Movies
  11. Music
  12. Interviews and Experiences

As you can see only one is directly related to the Bible.

Pretty much every subsection is divided into additional categories. For example, Children includes four categories: 1) Become Jehovah’s Friend [22 videos]; 2) Songs [20 videos] 3) Whiteboard Animations [4 videos]; 4) Feature-Length Movies [2 videos].

The Become Jehovah’s Friend category is full of Caleb and Sophia videos and gives children instruction about conduct and good behavior, and about how to participate in Organizational activities. It doesn’t teach them about Jesus Christ and it doesn’t prepare them to become children of God. It does teach them about becoming God’s friend which would be nice if that were a Bible teaching, but since there is nothing in the Christian Scriptures about setting friendship with God as one’s goal in life, and everything about striving to be his child, one has to question the motivation of those who are presuming to feed our children spiritual food by assembling this video montage.

Be that as it may, what does it have to do with this week’s Watchtower review? This: The Watchtower is the principle vehicle by which the Governing Body aka “The Faithful and Discreet Slave” dispenses food at the proper time according to the Organization’s interpretation of Matthew 25:45-47. What this particular Watchtower study typifies is the nature of that food. That this is not atypical is borne out by the contents of the Videos section of the JW.ORG web site. Under The Bible subsection, there are 5 categories.

  1. Books of the Bible, containing a single 3-minute video on the Book of Matthew
  2. Bible Teachings, the supposed meat of the topic. (We’ll come back to this one.)
  3. Bible Accounts, featuring only 2 videos; one to get us to obey God and the Organization, and the other to make us fearful of retribution if we do not obey.
  4. Apply Bible Principles, containing 14 videos all about conduct and behavior.
  5. Bible Translations, displaying 6 videos extolling the virtue of the new NWT.

Remember through all this that the purpose of the Organization is to organize and aid in the worldwide preaching of the Good News and to help mankind come to an accurate knowledge of God before the end comes. This is supposedly done through the Faithful and Discreet Slave that gives food at the proper time.

So what food is provided under the Bible Teachings subsection?

Four videos. That’s right, only four. One would suppose, given our stated mandate, that this section of the web site would be filled with videos explaining the Bible. In fact, even these four are not Bible teachings videos. One explains why we should study the Bible and another tells us why we can be sure the Bible is true. Of the remaining two videos, one attempts to provide us with a tool to explain the unscriptural teaching of 1914. That leaves us with one video—a single video—that teaches us something directly from the Bible, specifically, God’s name.

This week’s study is no better. Under the premise that we are going to learn how we can show that we love Jehovah, we are taught in paragraphs 5 thru 9 to show him love by offering him sacrifices like the Israelites did. For us, this means devoting time, energy and funds to the work of the Organization, such as pioneering, building Kingdom Halls, and donating money to the worldwide work.

In paragraphs 10 thru 12 we are taught to avoid “higher education and advanced learning” as a sure way to lose our faith. Instead, we are encouraged to be zealous in the preaching work as defined by the Organization. Our children are taught that the book the Organization has provided for them, Questions Young People Ask—Answers That Work, is proof that Jehovah loves them.

Paragraphs 13 thru 15 instructs us to be willing to accept any counsel, instruction and/or discipline which Jehovah gives us by means of his Organization.

The closing paragraphs (16 thru 19) reinforce the belief that only by being obedient and staying inside the Organization can we be safe now and ensure our future survival and salvation.

In short, this is yet another in a long line of articles that instruct us to “Listen, Obey, and Be Blessed” (copyright pending).

The subtext of that oft-repeated refrain is “Listen to us. Obey us. And then God will bless you.”

The Job of the Faithful and Discreet Slave

At Matthew 25:45-47 and again at Luke 12:41-48, Jesus commissioned his servants to provide food at the proper time. They were not appointed to govern, much less to lord it over their fellows. They had one job, and one job only: to feed the sheep. (John 21:15-17)

If you are going to be judged on how you perform one job and only one, you sure don’t want to mess it up, do you?

Jesus did not leave us without clear instruction as to what that food would consist of. With his parting words he told his disciples to teach the people “to observe all the things I have commanded you.” (Mt 28:20)

In this week’s article as well as in the Videos section of the WT Library we are taught next to nothing of Jesus, so we cannot really say we are teaching people to observe all the things he told us.

McFood at the Proper Time

I mean no disrespect to the Golden Arches. I’ve eaten at McDonald’s more times than I can count. But their menu is limited. As to its nutritional value, I will only state that it would not be healthy to make McDonald’s my only source of food.

The point is, the limited and repetitive fare which Jehovah’s Witnesses are fed week in and week out— as typified by this week’s study article—is clearly not what our Lord had in mind when he spoke of “food at the proper time”. Jesus does not run a chain of spiritual fast food restaurants.

What we are fed over and over is how to behave so as to reflect well on the Organization, and how to obey the Organization, and how to support the Organization, and how to not stray from the Organization, and how to promote the Organization to others. This has now become our message and the contents of the videos section of the jw.org web site confirms this beyond all doubt.

I would therefore put it to you that when Jesus returns to appoint his faithful and discreet slave over all his belongings, he will choose the slave that has been providing nourishing spiritual food in accordance with his direction.

It is not too late for the Governing Body to step up. But time is running out.