Things That Drive You Crazy About the Faith—and How to View Them: Part 7
June 10, 2022
This is a multi-part series. See Preface, 2nd Preface, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Each part links to the next.
Other downsides of taking current knowledge by revelation? The perennially blaming of Babylon the Great for modern times of persecution, even when Babylon the Great had little to do with it. Often it is the work of secular anticultists. Religionists are largely licking their wounds these days. But Scripture says it is false religion, and so guys like me have to content themselves with statements like: “Well, if religion had done it’s job in teaching the truth about God, maybe those atheist anticultists wouldn’t be proliferating like weeds the way the are.”
Russia’s ban of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2017–just declared illegal by the European Court of Human Rights, 5 years later. Let no one say justice is quick, nor is it necessarily justice. Few are holding their breath for a quick cessation of persecution. At the time branch headquarters was seized in St Petersburg, Denis Korotkov wrote for fontanka.ru* that it was crazy. Russia would certainly have to give it back when the ECHR ruled against them, which it surely would, he said, and the legal costs, coupled with fines, would exceed the cost of the complex. Who could have foreseen that Russia would simply thumb its nose at the Court and withdraw from the European Union? Not Korotkov. Warring with Ukraine at the moment, the JW matter is relatively small potatoes anyway from the world’s point of view. [photo—Wikipedia Commons]
Did the Russian Orthodox Church originate the ban? Surprisingly, it did not. Not to say its clergy is not delighted (squealing like kids on Christmas morning, some of them), not to say they didn’t collaborate, but they did not originate it. We think they did because the Bible indicates religion makes mischief, but in this case it is a secular anti-religious movement that presses the attack.
‘Present knowledge via revelation’ guides how the Witness organization looks at government too. Scripture indicates that the superior authorities are “God’s minister to you for your good,” only a cause for concern “if you are doing what is bad,” since “it is not without purpose that it bears the sword.” (1 Corinthians 13:7) Therefore anything hinting at a more sinister role of government toward those governed can only be “conspiracy theory” and is dismissed out of hand.
When government declares a Covid 19 crisis that makes door-to-door infeasible, revelation determines how the ministry is carried out thereafter. Revelation indicates letter writing is good. Paul wrote letters. Peter wrote letters. John wrote letters. Face to face communication is obviously good, as was done back then. In times of emergency, telephone witnessing preserves the one on one aspect of face to face. But revelation has nothing to say about the internet. Isn’t that the “outside” where “the dogs and those who practice spiritism and those who are sexually immoral and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices lying” hang out? (Revelation 15:22) Revelation says “bad associations spoil useful habits,” (1 Corinthians 15:33) and it is not swayed by ‘empirical’ evidence that if you have something to advertise the very first thing you do is plan a campaign of interaction on social media.
Revelation indicates that the “things that were written beforehand were written for our instruction, so that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) Ignore the elephant in the room, therefore—the elephant that everyone else will see right away—as you cover passages like 1 Samuel 27:9, lauding David’s clever deception of the enemy: “When David would attack [the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites], he preserved neither man nor woman alive . . . Achish would ask: “Where did you make a raid today?” David would reply: “Against the south of Judah” or “Against the south of the Jerahmeelites” or “Against the south of the Kenites.” Okay. Got it. Valid point. You don’t have to tell every little bit of truth to those who want your head on a platter. But there are a lot of people in this passage whose deaths are presented as though dodgeball casualties—THAT is what most people will zero in on.
“Consider the example of Dan and Sheila,” another paragraph begins, serving up empirical evidence for something revelation says is true. They applied the Bible counsel under consideration and it turned out just hunky dory for them. What about Joe and Melanie who applied that same counsel and it blew up in their faces? someone thinks. That example remains unmentioned; they must have done it wrong, they must have built their house on sand somehow. It is a presentation of ‘knowledge by revelation.’
Not to be critical of earthly organization. Don’t misunderstand. Rather, the goal is to realize why some things are done the way they are done, that can otherwise drive a person crazy. ‘Oh, that’s why they reason this way,’ you can say. Overall the revelatory approach works well. Overall it is acceptable even in the short term. But it does have limitations. Even God, the originator of revelation, sometimes goes down to earth to take a look-see. How else can one account for Genesis 18: 20-21? “Then Jehovah said: ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is very heavy. I will go down to see whether they are acting according to the outcry that has reached me. And if not, I can get to know it.’”
Oh—and one notable excerpt of the ECHR ruling: “Even accepting that the texts [used to prove that Jehovah’s Witnesses were “extremists”] promoted the idea that the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses was superior to others or that it was better to be a Jehovah’s Witness than a member of another Christian denomination, it is significant that the texts did not insult, hold up to ridicule or slander non-Witnesses; nor did they use abusive terms in respect of them or of matters regarded as sacred by them.” [bolding mine]
That certainly is a result of present knowledge [of how to conduct oneself] via revelation. Jesus says that’s how you treat people, even those who scheme against you. I mean, it clearly is guided by revelation. This is the age of road rage. Normal human conduct when under assault is to do all those unsavory things—insult, ridicule, slander, and abuse. Often those means are used even when not under assault.
*Included in I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses: Searching for the Why
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