APOSTASY AND SO CALLED “APOSTATE LITERATURE” – WHAT IS IT?
The w86 3/15 likens apostate literature to reading pornography. Paragraphs 3-5 state the following:
“Their propaganda is designed to weaken our faith, to cool our love for God, to sow doubts in our minds—yes, to make the spiritual paradise appear to be no paradise at all…Then the only satisfaction, of a perverted kind, may come in beginning to beat one’s fellow slaves with slander and half-truths. (Matthew 24:45-51) …Yes, we could not only lose the blessings of the spiritual paradise now but, more seriously, also lose the hope of living eternally in the earthly Paradise.”
So here are some legitimate questions: What is the definition of “apostate literature”? What if an active JW wrote it? What if a former JW wrote it? What if it is written by a person that has never been one of JW? Who decides? What is the content? Is there a list of titles that are “banned books” that we shouldn’t read? Should there be? The above-quoted article gives part of the definition when it says it would be “propaganda designed to weaken our faith, and cool our love for God”. How would anyone profit from reading that? We tell people in our ministry to examine other religious ideas and be willing to question their religion in light of the Bible. We tell them that their beliefs should be able to stand any test. The Awake 1984 11/22 p. 8 An Open Mind Wins God’s Approval says:
“Avoid Religious Prejudice
These views, and others like them, tend to close the mind and cut off investigation before it has begun. It is prejudice at work.”
However a study article (W 2/15 2004 p28) addressed to the congregation says the opposite:
“It would be a mistake to think that you need to listen to apostates or to read their writings to refute their arguments. Their twisted, poisonous reasoning can cause spiritual harm and can contaminate your faith like rapidly spreading gangrene.”
Why should we encourage people in our ministry to examine their teachings and question them, but not be willing or even allowed to do the same? Isn’t that being hypocritical? The article to the congregation continues and admonishes us this way: “You may even reason: ‘It won’t affect me; I’m too strong in the truth. And, besides, if we have the truth, we have nothing to fear. The truth will stand the test.’ In thinking this way, some have fed their minds upon apostate reasoning and have fallen prey to serious questioning and doubt.”
But again, we tell the public the exact opposite in the Awake 11/22 1984 p4:
“A closed mind…could even be a sign of uncertainty or doubt. For example, if we are unable to defend our religious views, we may find ourselves lashing out against those who challenge our beliefs, not with logical arguments, but with slurs and innuendos. This smacks of prejudice and of a closed mind.”
The “slur and innuendo” used by some of Jehovah’s Witnesses is the absolute worst word they have in their vocabulary: “APOSTATE!”
SO THIS IS THE EXACT SCENARIO THAT CAN AND HAS ARISEN:
A brother named Bill Smith loves Jehovah and Christ, his family, the congregation, the Bible, is well spoken of within the community and in the congregation, conducts a regular family Bible study, is active in preaching and meeting attendance, etc. He has been one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for 32 years and served in many capacities- as a pioneer and a servant, etc. It is at this point in his life that he learns or studies something that his conscience tells him is true. Something that he never knew or believed before. We can stipulate that he could be correct on the point, or he could actually be dead wrong on it– but in all sincerity Brother Smith feels that through prayer and careful research it is the truth. Is the label “Apostate” the only fair and accurate name to now give him? Is he now liable for death in Jehovah’s eyes? Or only in the Organization’s? A label put on someone can be a heavy sword carried in the mouth and the pen of someone else, with the intention being to hurt, discredit, or even physically kill the target. The Jews, People of Color, Native Americans, and even Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves, have all been victims of other people cruelly labeling them as “sub-human”, “lazy”, “savages”, “crazy”, etc. This is the very essence of “slurs and innuendos”. With this in mind, consider the following quote regarding those labeled as apostates:
“In The Watchtower of July 15, 1992, page 12, such dissidents are described as “enemies of God” who are “intensely hating Jehovah.” The Witnesses, therefore, are urged to “hate” them “with a complete hatred.” This exhortation was repeated in The Watchtower of October 1, 1993, page 19, where the “apostates” are stated to be so “rooted in evil” that “wickedness has become an inseparable part of their nature.” The Witnesses are even told to ask God to kill them, in imitation of the psalmist David, who prayed of his enemies: “O that you, O God, would slay the wicked one!” In this way the Witnesses “leave it to Jehovah to execute vengeance” Such rancorous attacks on former members of the organization reflect an attitude that is exactly the reverse of that recommended by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount.—Matthew 5:43–48.” (The Gentile Times Reconsidered, by Carl Olaf Jonnson)
So should we intensely hate this aforementioned brother? Is he “rooted in evil”? Does he intensely hate Jehovah or still love him? Is he a coward or is he showing courage of conviction? This is the problem with labeling everyone an “apostate” that doesn’t believe everything exactly the same as we do. Are there true apostates? Yes- ones that deny Christ are called the “Antichrist” in 1 John 2:22. What about those that follow Babylonish customs and beliefs, those that are mean and angry people that want to tear down and beat their fellow slaves? Avoid these ones. But can’t there be any middle ground? Or does it always have to be “unity at all costs” as the Walsh court case showed us, and death to anyone labeled as an “apostate” by their expanded definition of the word?
Some have said that if something was written by a former one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, they would never read it, even if when the person wrote it they were in good standing in the organization. By this definition, we should never read a word that King Solomon wrote. He became an apostate later in his life, so everything he ever said or did is now invalidated according to that reasoning, right? Jesus was expelled from the synagogue by the Jewish leaders, and started a new religion. He too was an “apostate” by the Pharisee’s definition, as was the apostle Paul, who was also a former member of their faith.
So each of us has to decide for ourselves, using our own Bible-trained conscience, what we will read. Paul said this:
However, the spiritual man examines indeed all things, but he himself is not examined by any man. (1 Corinthians 2:15, NWT)
When you see an animal crossing the road you generally know automatically what kind of creature it is. Likewise when you come across something “apostate” you will know- your own heart and mind will tell you. Then follow the scriptures and your conscience on what to do after that. It is the opinion of many thousands of regular visitors here that this website and the pages in it will not undermine your faith in Jehovah or his appointed king Christ. It is not intended to be a place that tears down but rather a place that builds up and supports those that are in need of encouragement.