While reading a religious book recently I came across this line in reference to God’s organization on Earth: “she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.” This argument sounds awfully familiar to me. In fact, it is used many times by the Watchtower to argue their point that you must be apart of their group to be saved at Armageddon, as there was only one Ark in Noah’s day and so only one source of salvation for us. The above line is not from the pages of the Watchtower though, it is actually from the pages of the ‘Catechism of the Catholic Church’ outlining the importance of being apart of the Church. So my concern here is a simple one, how do you know that the scriptures that you use to ‘prove’ your organization’s prominence is actually referring to you and not some other organization?
(Note: (1), Notice that many JWs will use the ‘Noah’s Ark’ argument to try to convince you to rejoin their organization. In doing so they are unwittingly showing their belief that only JWs will survive Armageddon, which they usually deny believing in. Why else would it matter? If more than JWs could survive why stress the importance of being in ‘the Ark’? (2), the Catholic Church is not as strict in their interpretation as the Watchtower, as the ‘Catechism’ goes on to explain the analogy doesn’t apply to those who don’t know Christ or the Church. Even Protestants are not condemned and can still be acceptable to God. More remarkably, the second Vatican council even opened up the possibility that non-Christians might even attain grace through their religion.)
Let’s take an example that is close to everybody’s heart, that of shunning former members. JWs will cite one or two verses in their Bible to support their practice of complete shunning of even family members that have left their organization. For argument’s sake let’s assume that those verses really do validate the shunning policy as practiced by JWs. (This is absolutely NOT the case, as I have written about extensively here before.) Take 2 John verse 10, which JWs love to take out of context and use to justify not even speaking to family members that leave. Even if that really is what the verse is directing people to do (its not), you first have to start off with the assumption that it is YOUR organization that it is referring to. So a JW first has to assume that the Watchtower organization is the entity being referred to. A Catholic reading that will also assume it is speaking of his Church, a Baptist his, and so forth. To those ones, if the verse is applied as harshly as JWs do with it, it would prohibit any contact with other groups. A Catholic would never speak to ANY protestant. A protestant would never speak to later groups that broke off from them. And none of them would ever speak to groups like Mormons, 7th Day Adventists, or Jehovah’s Witnesses, as these groups formed in the 1800s and from other traditions which they rejected.
To be perfectly clear with my point here, 2 John 10 (and other verses the Watchtower uses) will only apply to my family not speaking to me IF you can prove that it is your organization (WTBTS) that is the true religion that I ‘went out from’ and ‘didn’t hold to its doctrines’. So really, you can argue all day long about what the scriptures say about this or that subject, however, if you cant prove that your religion is in fact the only true path and that the verses apply to your group, then it is a pointless argument. In the end everybody is somebody’s heretic. Those that are convinced that they and their group alone have ‘the Truth’, should be aware that there are others that view them as the heretic and apostate from their group. Which is how the entire Christian world views Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Take baptism for instance. If you were a baptized member of a church and then left that church and sought to join another denomination you would generally not be required to be ‘re-baptized’ by the new church (crazy fundamental churches aside). This is because most denominations in the Christian fold view and accept baptisms from other denominations as valid and as such in no need of being redone. Unless of course you come from what the majority of the Christian churches call a cult group. Guess what, JWs fall into that group. As such, a former JW would need to be re-baptized to officially join that church. That’s how low JWs are thought of by others. They are not even recognized by the larger Christian community to even BE Christians. So for a JW to ague that the Bible clearly says to shun those that leave their faith are indirectly proving why people slam the doors on them. Because to everyone else, THEY ARE THE APOSTATES.
So the only thing that matters is why should I listen to you (JWs) in the first place? Why should I take your view of the Bible over anyone else? What makes the Governing Body’s interpretation of the Bible more valid than say the Pope’s or whatever Mormons call their leadership? If you can’t prove that you really are God’s organization, none of the other things matter, including shunning.