The following was taken from jwfacts.com

“Therefore now with your mouth make a public declaration of your faith by answering these two questions that I shall ask you, and let your answers be hearable, that all those about you may be witnesses to the declaration that you solemnly make:

(1) Have you recognized yourself before Jehovah God as a sinner who needs salvation, and have you acknowledged to him that this salvation proceeds from him the Father through his Son Jesus Christ?

(2) On the basis of this faith in God and in his provision for salvation, have you dedicated yourself unreservedly to God to do his will henceforth as he reveals it to you through Jesus Christ and through the Bible under the enlightenment of the holy spirit?” Watchtower 1956 July 1 p.407

An important comment was made in 1955, something significantly contradicted in the arrangement introduced in 1985.

“A Christian, therefore, cannot be baptized in the name of the one actually doing the immersing or in the name of any man, nor in the name of any organization, but in the name of the Father, the Son and the holy spirit.” Watchtower 1955 July 1 p.411

“We do not dedicate ourselves to a religion, nor to a man, nor to an organization. No, we dedicate ourselves to the Supreme Sovereign of the Universe, our Creator, Jehovah God himself. This makes dedication a very personal relationship between us and Jehovah.” Watchtower 1966 October 1 pp.603-604

In total disregard for these previous comments and Biblical examples, in 1985 the baptism questions changed, with the candidate having to announce their desire to become associated with an Organization.

“At the close of the convention baptism talk, the baptism candidates will be in position to answer with depth of understanding and heartfelt appreciation two simple questions that serve to confirm that they recognize the implications of following Christ’s example.

The first question is: On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?

The second is: Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization? Having answered yes to these questions, candidates are in a right heart condition to undergo Christian baptism.” Watchtower 1985 June 1 p.30

I could add much to this but I thought I would leave it open to discussion.  What is your opinion on this change?  Why do you think this change was made?  Was this new light or something else?

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20 Comments on Watchtower changes Baptism Questions to include Dedication to Organization

  1. KevinAnthony says:

    Well my brother, there may be many theories made by others, but as a fellow JW Struggler, it may have more to do with a business, corporate mindset then anything else. From a legal standpoint it may protect the org against certain future retaliation. The reason I say this is that when I was disfellowshipped (reinstated in 2006) they said I was disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation. When I had discussions with a brother that still talked to me, he said they should have stated I was no longer one of Jehovahs Witnesses, per Watchtower direction. I think I’d like to rebaptized with the old questions, how do you think that would go bringing it to the Watchtower Society’s attention? “Dear brothers, I was baptized in a spirit contradictory to the advice of the 1955, 1966 Watchtowers I was perusing, therefore, in all good concience, I can no longer view myself as one of Jehovahs Witnesses until I am properly baptized with the questions pre-1985. Catch 22 for them I’d say.

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  2. belongingtojah says:

    Hi Greybeard,

    This is just another in a long list of things that the organization teaches that is truly unclean.

    2Cor 6
    17 “‘Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing’”; “‘and I will take YOU in.’” 18 “‘And I shall be a father to YOU, and YOU will be sons and daughters to me,’ says Jehovah the Almighty.”

    Micah 2
    10 Get up and go, because this is not a resting-place. Because of the fact that she has become unclean, there is a wrecking; and [the] wrecking work is painful. 11 If a man, walking by wind and falsehood, has told the lie: “I shall let [words] drop to you concerning wine and concerning intoxicating liquor,” he also will certainly become the one letting [words] drop for this people.

    It is important that we help as many as possibe to seek Jesus and Jehovah instead of looking to and being in fear of men.

    Just a few thoughts.

    Your brother in Christ
    belongingtojah

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  3. JWB says:

    As others here will probably know, this subject is of real concern to me, principly because of a very personal experience in connection with baptism according to the WTS’s current formula. I spent a lot of time and research writing my own observations on this matter (http://www.jwbaptism.blogspot......ptism.html).

    Section 9.1 of the Articles of Association (2000 amended version) of the WTB&TS of Britain state quite clearly how a JW is defined:

    “`Jehovah’s Witnesses’ means that body of Christians who recognise the spiritual authority of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses situated at 25 Columbia Heights Brooklyn New York, United States” (http://www.jwbaptism.blogspot......itain.html)

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  4. LonelySheep says:

    I read somewhere that somebody who was baptised in a church outside of JW’s was accepted as a Christian and did not have to be re-baptised. This I believe was back in the 30’s or 40’s.

    JWB – I followed your link but could not find the reference you mentioned regarding Section 9.1. Perhaps you could help me out?

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    • andrew says:

      Ray Franz in his book In Search of Christian Freedom pg. 115 footnote says “I recall my uncle, Fred Franz, when already the Watch Tower’s vice president, remarking to me that if his baptism in the Presbyterian Church had been by immersion (rather than sprinkling) he would have considered it still valid.”

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  5. JWB says:

    LonelySheep

    Follow the link provided and scroll down the page until you find the following text (which indicates the beginning of page 6 of the Articles of Association):

    [WTBATSOB AOA 2000-6]

    Here is an alternative link to a copy of the original page from the document:

    http://www.jwbaptism.talktalk......00/p6.html

    If you still have problems finding the information, please let me know.

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  6. Alden says:

    This is an obvious instrument to attach people to the Organisation. Henceforth, when someone protests against the mandates of this institution, this becomes a disfellowshipping offense, which would be more difficult to apply “legally” to those who answered the questions prior to 1985. I’ve used Matthew 28:19,20 in service with Catholics to prove to them that a Christian does not get baptized to the Catholic Church or any other church. I could just as well have said to the WTS neither!

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  7. JWB says:

    I thought folk here might be interested in this link, which reproduces what is claimed to be a “Letter from Watchtower lawyer, dated February 16, 1996”:

    http://marvinshilmer.blogspot......ptism.html

    If the letter is genuine then it clearly shows how the current second baptism vow forms a contract with the Watch Tower Society.

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  8. Jayme says:

    Here is another link which includes quotes claimed to be from a letter written by WT attorney Philip Brumley. Does anyone have information on where to find a scan or some other evidence of this letters authenticity?

    http://corior.blogspot.com/200.....ovahs.html

    Its amazing that in the letter he ascribes to secular law to legitimize and enforce their authority!

    II. APPLICABLE SECULAR LAW

    C. Relation Between the Congregations and its members. It is axiomatic that the essence of the relationship of a religious society with its members is held by the courts to be the agreement of the parties, and generally, a profession of faith, adherence to the doctrine of the religious society and submission to its government. 76 C.J.S. Religious Societies 11 (1952). A party having voluntarily assented to becoming a member of a congregation thereby subjects himself or herself to the existing rules and procedures of said congregation and cannot deny their existence. All who unite themselves to such a voluntary religious organization do so with the implied consent to this government and are bound to submit to it….

    Since you did not disassociate yourself from the organization, then under the law you gave implied consent to its government, subjecting yourself to the existing rules and procedures and being bound legally to submit to it. The theocratic government of the congregation to which you legally submitted includes specifically the legal agency of Jehovah’s Witnesses, known as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., and all their duly appointed representatives, including the elders of the congregation with which you were associated. The rules and procedures which you subjected yourself to include those of the judicial committee arrangement set forth in detail above….

    Note that the above legalese says that once a person joins the Witnesses, he has only two choices if he wants to leave: disfellowshipping and disassociation. These two choices are enforced by American law

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  9. Deborah says:

    The second question doesn’t say do you dedicate yourself to Jehovahs Witnesses it says,” Do you (understand your dedication)and baptism (Identify) you as Jehovah’s Witness. It sounds like what their trying to say is that once you have dedicated yourself to God you are to live as a christian in the congregation and the congregation expects you to live accordingly.

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    • greybeard says:

      Thank you for you comment Deborah,

      Whatever the case, In my opinion, this was an unscriptural change. Why was it needed? Notice the name used in the first century at Acts 11:26 “…and it was first in Antioch that the disciples were by divine providence called Christians”. Divine providence means God chose that name. They changed these questions for legal reasons. They want it to be made clear they are now dedicated “Jehovah’s Witnesses” and they are now under their direct control, not under Christ’s direct control or directed by Holy Spirit. Only the leaders/GB are “under Christ” and they are “directed by Holy Spirit” and we are to obey them. The hope proclaimed is Earth not a heavenly hope like they have. They have shut up the door to heaven before man for years. I believe in recent years they just opened it. Can man do that?

      If you don’t mind me asking, are you still an active JW? Do you still believe all that they teach? Just wondering.

      Your brother in Christ,
      Greybeard

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  10. e says:

    Hi.. RE: Baptism..Legally when a person becomes a member of any organization (voluntarily) he is bound by the EXISTING rules. However, such persons could claim Breach of Contract and have the baptism Contract annulled. Baised on the rules of membership changing. Not getting what was prommised. Eg: All members of JWs are “Ordained Ministers” after being Baptized. I like millions of others were told this (it is stated in the Baptism speach, and as well in countless articals in WT Mag. and other publications). When I asked for a Certification, I was told it was not needed nor was it given, I was not an Ordained Minister but only Ordained by Jehovah to Minister (or preach), This Odained Status was only recognized by JWs and could not be used or invoked outside of the JW Organization. Certificates of ” “Ordained Minister” have been issued in the past(1994 yearbook pg.251 and 252 and up untill the 1970s)These were issued to “Regular Publishers” to identify them as such, also to claim Ordained Status to avoid Military Service. My contract to become a Baptized JW has been breached on many accounts. Also accepting a Minor as a member of any Registered Corporation (espscially without Parental concent) can also be grounds for annullment. I was a young Minor (13 yrs old) when Baptized. I did not understand nor was anything explained as to the nature of the contract I was entering into. I have yet to receive any Certification, membership card or anything in writing idetifying me as a JW.

    2 more Legal issues: 1: How can one be DF’ed when there is no written record of membership? 2: Membership can not be revoked or Public Announcements be made as to removing a member once a member has resigned. Also a Strong Legal Argument could be made that JWs are Illegaly DF’ing members. In Canada… WTBTS (JWs) are incorporated under Ontario Laws.(available online) In which there are specific rules and guidlines that must be followed when removing a member from a NFP Corp. I do not believe this is the case. The above is my personal opinion based upon my pesonal belifies. Feedback?

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  11. Anonymous says:

    re:baptism

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  12. Reader says:

    It is Jehovah who Created
    It was Jesus who bled.

    The organization [of the time] FLED. It is on record.

    I count two.

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  13. Reader says:

    Beware of going beyond the thing written 1Corinthians 4 v 6
    Beyond what written, the written at: Matthew 28 v 19 “Father son & Holy Spirit” states there are three names only.
    Comments about the Society, FADS, & etc. are not fitting within the Baptismal oath, but are presumptuous additions.
    Presumption best avoided
    Pharaoh’s Baker Genesis 40 v 16 : Miriam Numbers 12 v 2 : Absolom 2Samuel 15 v 1
    : Haman Esther 6 v 6,7 : Peter Matthew 26 v 33
    Christ’s instruction on demeanour to his servants Luke 14 v 8-11
    Apostles comment: 1Corinthians 4 v 8
    WT could correct this at a stroke, though the damage might take longer to heal. As Jehovah is the Deity, should WT or anyone other than Jesus be on the “same podium” at Baptism?
    B
    check good intentions: 2Samuel 6 v 6

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    • Chris says:

      “As Jehovah is the Deity, should WT or anyone other than Jesus be on the “same podium” at Baptism?”

      A very good point, and another example of the WTS presumption of its own importance.

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  14. Freethinkerinjah says:

    Thanks reader, that comment on the “3”mentioned in the scriptures is spot on! How awesome to have the scriptures to prove truth!

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    • JJ says:

      Regarding Matthew 28:19 there is some convincing evidence that the original text read only “In the name of the Lord”, and the mention of the three was added later. There are several theories as to why that verse has been tinkered with, one being that the expression “baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” appears NOWHERE in the Bible, yet a number of scriptures talk about baptizing people “In the name of Jesus” (Or the Lord, kurios, in Greek)

      This only strengthens the conviction that many of us share that only in Jesus’ name can we be saved or baptized, not by a group of men or an organization.

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  15. bill says:

    e your publisher record card is a record of your membership to the organisation, and that will establish to any court that you voluntarily joined a club so to speak and agreed to all the rules. this reasoning in short is why the us supreme court has upheld disfellowshipping . as a lawyer from patterson related.

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