Unfulfilled Predictions And Changes In Doctrine In The WTBS

[From Wikipedia]

Statements of the Watchtower Society

The Watchtower Society has made a number of statements in its publications since its inception that have resulted in criticism, particularly from mainstream Christians and former Jehovah's Witnesses. These critics have highlighted a number of controversial statements, changes of doctrine, and failed predictions made by the Watchtower Society. Lists of controversial statements, such as those found below, are found in a number of books[54] and on numerous websites.[55]


Unfulfilled predictions

See also main article Eschatology of Jehovah's Witnesses

Predictions such as the following have appeared in various Watchtower publications:[56]

A number of Christian apologists have argued that in making predictions about the future, the Watchtower Society have acted as a prophet,[67] often citing Watchtower Society publications that use the word "prophet" in referring to the organization.[68][69] The Watchtower Society itself has condemned others for making false predictions about the future, stating that such people were "guilty of false prophesying".[70] The apologists argue, based on Deuteronomy 18:22:

When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. (ESV)

that the Watchtower Society does not represent God.

The Watchtower Society has stated as early as 1908, "We are not prophesying; we are merely giving our surmises....We do not even [assert] that there is no mistake in our interpretation of prophesy and our calculations of chronology. We have merely laid these before you, leaving it for each to exercise his own faith or doubt in respect to them."[71] They have also stated that they do not have the gift of prophecy.[72] More recently they have defended themselves against claims of "false prophesying", by saying that they do not claim to be inspired prophets,[73] and that their predictions have never been made "in the name of Jehovah" but rather are given only as an interpretation of Scripture.[74]

However, the Watchtower Society has also made contradictory statements asserting their predictions to be definite. "The date of the close of that ‘battle’ is definitely marked in Scripture as October, 1914. It is already in progress, its beginning dating from October, 1874."[75]; "Surely there is not the slightest room for doubt in the mind of a truly consecrated child of God that the Lord Jesus is present and has been since 1874"[76] (notably, this was written in 1923, indicating that 1914 was not taught as the beginning of Christ's presence until a later period, despite contrary claims by Jehovah's Witnesses that "The Watchtower has consistently presented evidence to honesthearted students of Bible prophecy that Jesus’ presence in heavenly Kingdom power began in 1914"[77]); "We see no reason for changing the figures — nor could we change them if we would. They are, we believe, God’s dates, not ours. But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble."[78].

For more on the topic see Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses by M. James Penton, professor emeritus in the Department of History at the University of Lethbridge and former Jehovah's Witness ISBN 978-0802079732


Changes of doctrine

History of Eschatological Doctrine
Last Days Begin Christ's Return Christ as King Resurrection of 144,000 Judgment of Religion Great Tribulation
1879–1920 1799 1874 1878 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920
1920–1925 1925
1925–1927 1914 1878 1878 within a generation of 1914
1927–1930 1918
1930–1933 1919
1933–1966 1914
1966–1975 1975
1975–1995 within a generation of 1914
1995-2007 imminent
2008 indeterminate

The Watchtower Society has made a number of changes to its doctrines since its inception. The controversy surrounding this issue is that the Watchtower Society has said that:

A number of changes in chronology have occurred, particularly in regards to dates for important events such as Armaggedon, and the return of Jesus to the Earth (see table, right). For example, prior to 1914, it was said that Armageddon would end in 1914. In a 1915 edition of the same book, it was said that Armaggedon would end that year. Today, Witnesses are taught to expect Armageddon imminently.

Other changes in interpretation of the Bible have been noted by critics. These have included statements about the Bible itself;[83] identification of persons in the Bible;[84] whether or not people receive a second chance after death;[85] and perhaps most controversially, their standing on blood transfusions.[86] The standing of the Watchtower Society on other matters such as the acceptability of vaccinations[87] or tertiary education[88] has also changed over time.

See also: Eschatology of Jehovah's Witnesses


Statements about itself

Critics of the Watchtower Society (or of Jehovah's Witnesses generally) often cite statements such as those listed above alongside other published statements that the Watchtower Society has made about itself; namely that:

These critics have used such statements to question the credibility of the Watchtower Society.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controversies_regarding_Jehovah%27s_Witnesses