The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society says that it doesn’t have tacking or going back and forth with it’s doctrines. The “new light” that this organization claims to have, does not apply here. I would like to spend time having a look at is this organization inspired or not? Inspiration in it’s most basic definition means that Jehovah is the one communicating. The organization is merely transmitting what has come from Jehovah. With that in mind, let’s see what the organization has said over the years starting in the days of Charles T. Russell:
We have not the gift of prophecy, and could not tell you in what form nor from what quarter the testing would come, for our adversary, the devil, is sure to bring the test from an unexpected quarter.
Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. January 1883 Reprints p. 425
This is good, they are openly stating they don’t have the ability to prophesy.
Nor would we have our writings reverenced or regarded as infallible, or on a par with the holy Scriptures. The most we claim or have ever claimed for our teaching is that they are what we believe to be harmonious interpretations of the divine Word, in harmony with the spirit of the truth.
Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. December 15, 1896 Reprints p. 2080
Looking at fallibility, this again is good, however, it’s a slightly self serving belief that everything is in harmony with the bible.
Nevertheless, we are far from claiming any direct or plenary inspiration. We believe, however, that there are many ways in which the Lord can guide those who are anxious to serve him, without directly inspiring or in any manner interfering with their free agency.
Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. July 15, 1899 Reprints p. 2506
Again, this is good they are not claiming any inspiration yet the Lord can interact.
Suppose that our chronological calculations (never set forth as infallible) should prove to be fallible and in error. Our conclusion would merely be that the error could not be very great.
The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. January 1, 1911 p. 4737
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract is the greatest corporation in the world, because from the time of its organization until now the Lord has used it as his channel through with to make known the glad tidings to many thousands.
The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. January 15, 1917 Reprints p. 6033
Notice we have a shift from the days of Russell to the early days of Joseph Rutherford. Whatever organization was used by the Lord prior to 1879 when the Watchtower was formed was rejected for this one.
Whereas the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, since its establishment, has been the only organization used by the Lord to feed and direct his people on the earth and thus aided them in finding the treasures to be had from his Word; its various activities through these many years have enabled many people to know Jehovah, and likewise today the people of God are being taught by him through this arrangement;
The Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. July 15, 1932 p. 223
Prior to this organization being formed, how were the people directly fed?
It should be expected that the Lord would have a means of communicating to his people on the earth, and he has clearly shown that the magazine called The Watchtower is used for that purpose.
Yearbook. 1939 p. 85
So what we have is the bible that isn’t good enough to use has been supplemented or in this case supplanted by the magazine. Remember this time period saw predominately the use of the King James Version of the Bible. Reading that alone is a no no….
Christ Jesus has caused the understanding of the prophetic dramas and pictures to be clear and set forth in the Watchtower publications.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. December 15, 1942 p. 376
Since the organization teaches that angels are messengers, that means Watchtower Jesus is taking the message from Jehovah and letting the people know. We also have shifted from Joseph Rutherford to Nathan Knorr.
The food that the Lord’s “sheep” feed upon and that their feeders must serve to them is the spiritual food provided by the great Life-giver, Jehovah. He gives it through his Good Shepherd, Christ Jesus. Jehovah himself is the great “shepherd and Bishop of your Souls.” He sees to it that it is the right food, in due season, and that it is served through his approved visible organization.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. June 1, 1943 p. 166
Proof that this organization was approved? The right food (doctrinal stances) in due season has changed at various times as well.
This pouring out of God’s spirit upon the flesh of all his faithful anointed witnesses does not mean those now serving as Jehovah's witnesses are inspired. It does not mean that the writings in this magazine, The Watchtower, are inspired and infallible and without mistakes. It does not mean that the president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is inspired and infallible, although enemies falsely charge us with believing so.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. May 15, 1947 p. 157
So we are going back to the old light. Notice also how blame is laid at those outside the organization and not the very pages of the publications printed by the organization itself.
So Jehovah’s visible organization under Christ is a channel for bringing the divine interpretation of his Word to his devoted people.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. July 15, 1950 p. 214
Going back now the organization is inspired yet again.
Hence the purpose of this magazine is to keep sharp and faithful focus on Bible truth, on world happenings that may fulfill prophecies, and on religious news generally. Sometimes it will tear down religious falsehoods, that Bible truth may be built up in their stead. Such two-way work is Scripturally commanded, and is beneficial for all persons of right heart condition. (Jer. 1:10; Heb. 12:5-13) However, The Watchtower does not claim to be inspired in its utterances, nor is it dogmatic. It invites careful and critical examination of its contents in the light of the Scriptures. Its purpose is to aid others to know Jehovah and his purposes toward mankind, and to announce Christ’s established kingdom as our only hope.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. August 15, 1950 p. 263
What happened that the organization is no longer inspired? What happens if you as an active Jehovah’s Witness performs a careful and critical examination of its contents and reports this to other members of the kingdom hall? Would this or would it not result in a judicial committee meeting?
How does Jehovah’s spirit help the “faithful and discreet slave” arrive at the truth of a matter? The Society does not claim infallibility or inspiration. How much is dependent upon the written Word? How can we be sure that this is the organization Jehovah is using when some things are published and later changed?—C. P., United States.
In regard to how the truth is brought forth through Jehovah’s organization, please note that if the Watch Tower Society were infallible there would be no need for future correction of viewpoints held; but because it is not infallible and has never claimed to be, from time to time corrections are necessary.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. October 15, 1954 p. 638
So we are back to having an uninspired organization….
The “slave” then became responsible not only for ministering to the needs of the anointed body members but also for taking on the responsibility of preaching the good news of the established Kingdom to people of all nations. (Matt. 24:14) Such is true not by their determination of it, but because God himself has so directed. “God has set the members in the body, each one of them, just as he pleased,” is the way it is pictured in 1 Corinthians 12:18 (NW). It is vital that we appreciate this fact and respond to the directions of the “slave” as we would to the voice of God, because it is His provision.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. June 15, 1957 p. 370
The slave is to be regarded as being an equal with Jehovah. Does this mean that the organization is greater than the angel Michael?
Whom has God actually used as his prophet?
By the historical facts of the case Christendom is beaten back in defeat. Jehovah’s witnesses are deeply grateful today that the plain facts show that God has been pleased to use them.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. January 15, 1959 p. 40, 41
Plain facts? What would these plain facts actually be?
The evidence of the holy spirit in the quality and content of the writings published by the Watchtower Society should be the thing that satisfies, that convinces, together with a comparison of these things with the inspired Word of God, the Holy Scriptures.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. October 1, 1959 p. 607-608
So this organization speaks of it’s material first then the word of God.
Abundant spiritual food and amazing details as to the doing of God’s will have been flowing through this unique channel actually as a miraculous evidence of the operation of the holy spirit.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. July 15, 1960 p. 439
Inspired prophesying today would be superfluous. The prophecies written in the Bible being complete as a guide to the congregation today, nothing needs to be added. (2 Tim. 3:16, 17; Rev. 22:18, 19) Accordingly, since God’s Word provides a perfect guide, there is no need to have the gift of discernment of prophecies in a miraculous sense, for there are no inspired prophets now authorized by God. Those things that “come out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the wild beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet,” or from others who speak so-called “inspired expressions” are quickly evaluated and proved false by means of the spirit-inspired Word of God.—Rev. 16:13, 14; 1 John 4:1.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. August 15, 1971 p. 504
However, Jehovah did not let the people of Christendom, as led by the clergy, go without being warned that the League was a counterfeit substitute for the real kingdom of God. He had a “prophet” to warn them. This “prophet” was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. They are still proclaiming a warning, and have been joined and assisted in their commissioned work by hundreds of thousands of persons who have listened to their message with belief.
Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a “prophet” of God. It is another thing to prove it. The only way that this can be done is to review the record. What does it show?
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. April 1, 1972 p. 197
What does the record show? How often has the organization been right?
For nearly 60 years now the Jeremiah class have faithfully spoken forth Jehovah’s Word. Of its own self that Word has not burned up the combustible organizations of Christendom; nor has it smashed to pieces the mountain like system of things. Yet the divine Word as proclaimed by the Jeremiah class is not a failure. When, at Jehovah’s due time, in the “great tribulation,” that spoken Word is carried out by him, then his own question will be answered affirmatively: “‘Is not my word correspondingly like a fire,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘and like a forge hammer that smashes the crag?’” (Jer. 23:25) So let us keep faith in that Word. Unlike the clergy class, those of the Jeremiah class have been sent by Jehovah to speak in his name.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. September 1, 1979, p. 29
True, the brothers preparing these publications are not infallible. Their writings are not inspired as are those of Paul and the other Bible writers. (2 Tim. 3:16) And so, at times, it has been necessary, as understanding became clearer, to correct views. (Prov. 4:18)
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. February 15, 1981 p. 19
So does correcting the view mean going back and forth?
All who want to understand the Bible should appreciate that the “greatly diversified wisdom of God” can become known only through Jehovah’s channel of communication, the faithful and discreet slave.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. October 1, 1994 p. 8
How much wisdom from the organization?
This is just a quick trip down memory road. This organization has been intent on not being sure if it’s inspired or not. Currently the organization says that it is not. However, when it claims to be spirited directed, isn’t that pretty much the same. There is pretty much one constant and that's the bible. Again, I don't recommend the New World Translation since it has had numerous changes, however looking at that is better than reading what the organization has printed.