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How can you say the Watch Tower Society is a false religion for changing its doctrines if the Catholic Church has also done so?

Full Question

Catholics claim that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are following a false religion because of changes the Watch Tower Society has made in its doctrines. Such refinements are nothing more than the Society moving closer to a proper understanding of Bible prophecies, as Proverbs 4:18 states. Besides, the Catholic Church itself has changed doctrines, but you would not label it a false religion, would you?

Answer

Let’s be quite clear on a few matters. First, the Catholic Church has never changed any defined doctrine or anything else that is part of the deposit of faith. Disciplinary matters—such as priestly celibacy and abstaining from meat on Fridays in Lent—can and do change, but these items are not part of the deposit of faith. The Church may change or dispense with these matters as it sees fit.

For changes in Catholic teaching to be grounds for accusations of false religion, those changes necessarily would have to involve a contradiction between two infallibly defined propositions. This simply has not happened in the Church’s entire history, just as Christ promised (Mt 16:18).

Now, in the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation Bible, Proverbs 4:18 reads, “But the path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established."

A close look at the preceding verses shows that the passage is contrasting righteous people with wicked people. The “path" in this context refers to their respective lifestyles or life situations, not to the development of doctrine as the Watch Tower Society (WTS) would have us believe.

The “bright light" represents the righteous person becoming increasingly obedient to God’s commands and living a virtuous life. There is no warrant whatsoever for claiming this passage deals with an increased understanding of Bible prophecies.

Second, what the WTS calls “refinements" or “adjustments" are in actuality instances of it having made false predictions or having taught false interpretations of Bible passages. When this fact comes to light (no pun intended), the WTS scrambles to disguise these blunders, alleging that its understanding was not fully developed and thus needed an “increase of light."

In other words, when the WTS changes a doctrine (by reversal, flip-flop, or outright elimination) or when it wants to slough off a false prophecy, it asserts that “new light" has been received and has enabled it to better “understand" a teaching or prophecy. The former teaching (“old light") is then discarded, and the “new light," which is called a “refinement," supposedly brings the WTS to a fuller understanding of the prophecy or teaching in question.

In the case of the WTS, however, we do see current teachings contradicting earlier teachings and doctrines going back and forth between opposite interpretations. This is not maturation but mutation.











12 comments

  1. Bob Reply

    Priestly celebacy can change? Are you saying that it is possible that the Church could one day allow priests to marry?

  2. Mark Reply

    They could do that tomorrow. So yes.

  3. Kim clark Reply

    So it’s ok for the pope to get involved in politics, the cuba thing thats going on now? Oh wait the catholic church has been involved in politics all along check out the first two world wars.

    1. Phyllis meske Reply

      Why has the Catholic c taken God’s name out of the Bible and why does it worship idols and where does it say your going to heaven. Why do Catholics follow a mere man and not Jesus? JW follow God’s Word not man. Why can’t the priests work instead of asking for money ?why do they make you sign a paper saying you will baptize your kids as Catholics before their even born ? I know I was Catholic once. Not once was I given a Bible, just prayer book and to make a small child go to confession and confess sins they didn’t even know they had.

      1. Bob Reply

        I’ll tell you what I tell every misguided uninformed anti-Catholic. Get a copy of the catechism and see what the teachings of the Catholic Church really are. If you don’t and keep spreading anti-Catholic propaganda, then you are being willfully ignorant. Catholics do not worship idols. The Church strongly forbids this. Now you know. Now you can never say that again. Catholics follow God’s word above all else. Now you know. Now you can never say that again. Why can’t priests work??????? You evidently don’t know any priests. They work harder than anyone I know. Now you know. Now you can never say that again. I have two kids. I never had to sign a piece of paper saying I will baptize them Catholic. The Church does not require that. Now you know. Now you can never say that again. When I became Catholic, the first thing, even before converting, that was given to me by the Church was a Bible. Everyone that converts is given a Bible. Every cradle Catholic in my kid’s school is given a Bible by the Church. Now you know. Now you can never say that again. Of course the Church helps people, even small children recognize what sin is and especially if they are committing them and don’t even know it. That is the job of the Church, to give everyone a chance at heaven. Now you know!

  4. Linda Strang Reply

    Potatoes potatas.. all you are really saying is that when Catholics do it, it is ok. When JW’s do it, it is not ok. We have not changed our ‘defined doctrine’ either. Jehovah is still God and Jesus is his Son, not part of a Trinity. You Catholics had better change your teaching about that if you want to survive Armageddon. You are spitting out the gnat but swallowing the camel..

  5. Jess Reply

    Under neath it all. You know that Jehovah’s witnesses know the truth and gods true name which is Jehovah at Psalms 83:18 but why do they take it out their bible. Why speak latin???? Speak the language that everyone can understand. You don’t I want them to understand because that means no power knowledge means power. Just like Jesus and the scribes and the Pharisees they wanted power they did not want Jesus to speak the truth because it will take people away from them and they’re all doctorates. Same thing is going on today by the Catholic Church they don’t tell people the truth they know the truth but if they did if they feel they will be giving up their power. But they know what Jehovah’s Witnesses are teaching is 100% true and correct all their teachings are bible-based from God himself not man. People do the research they’ve been doing this for years and adopting Pagan beliefs into the church to get more followers meaning more power knowing the word again is it means fall not true so why would a church adopt Pegan and believe into the church knowing it is not true it’s false they have to have an alternative motive

  6. Alef Rodriguez Reply

    Does anybody is the Catholic religion preach as did Jesus? Do you spread God’s word to the public? Did Jesus not tell his disciples to spread the Word of his father? Door to door and in any other way…Jehovah’s Witnesses do regardless of the persecution they may face, they do it weekly at the minimum. The Bible also states for us not to idolize any images, figurines, etc yet Catholics love wearing the cross and praying to it. So Catholics idolize a symbol(the cross) in which God’s son was killed? Do we as a people idolize objects that kill our loved ones? Like a car or a gun? This is idolatry, condemned in the Bible. Do you see Jehovah’s Witnesses idolizing any symbols or figurines? And where in the Bible does it state for us to celebrate Christmas, Thanksgiving(a massacre, btw), birthdays, Halloween (the day of the Devil??), Valentine’s Day..etc? Where? How many Catholics smoke cigarettes, get tattoos(desecrate their bodies), have sex and kids before marriage, do drugs etc. The Bible bans all of those things as it makes us unclean and disrespectful to God’s creation. No Jehovah’s Witness partake in any of these things. Catholics are hypocrites, the epitome of false religions. You have also had the name of God removed from your Bibles. If God had the prophets put His name in the Bible it was for mankind to get to know the name of the true God. His name appears more than 7,000 times. Now if I told you my name 7,000 times it must be because I want you to know and use it, don’t you think? God’s name IS Jehovah and that is why Jehovah’s Witnesses have that name. They gave witness that Jehovah is the true God and Creator of all things and they warn of the end of the system of things as it says to do so in the Bible. I don’t see Catholics going out trying to increase the number of people to be saved on the day of Armageddon. Which religion is false?? Pick up a real Bible and read it and follow it’s instructions, I dare you.

  7. stacy Reply

    I’m just wondering….my Dads whole family is Catholic. And yes they do consent to idolatry. Here is the definition: i·dol·a·try

    noun: idolatry; plural noun: idolatries

    worship of idols.
    synonyms: idolization, fetishization, fetishism, idol worship, adulation, adoration, reverence, veneration, glorification, lionization, hero-worshiping
    “the prophets railed against idolatry”

    An extreme admiration, love, or reverence for something or SOMEONE.
    “we must not allow our idolatry of art to obscure issues of political significance”
    synonyms: idolization, fetishization, fetishism, idol worship, adulation, adoration, reverence, veneration, glorification, lionization, hero-worshiping
    “the prophets railed against idolatry”

    That would also describe the way they view the Pope. People literally worship that “man”.

    1. Bob Reply

      Hi Stacy, Your dad’s family is not practicing their Catholic faith in accordance with the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church absolutely forbids idolatry. It is a grave and mortal sin. Don’t confuse what your dad’s family does with what the Catholic Church is. There are many sinners in the Church, no doubt. Count me among them. That is why the Church is here. It is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.

  8. Mike Reply

    Learn the truth! JW.org

  9. Thomas Reply

    The Medieval Inquisition, replaced by the Spanish Inquisition which was part of the broader Christian Inquisition along with the Roman and Portugese & Goa Inquisitions. All of these imposed Catholic sins forced false doctrines and faith on commoners.

    Then from Galileo to Turing the Catholic Church persecuted thinking men, falsely claiming what scientists were doing was against scripture, when in actuality it was a challenge to their control over the scriptures. Complicity with Satan to keep the common man from knowing what was truly the Word of God. (Just one example: Michael Servetus [1511-1553] Servetus was a Spanish physician credited with discovering pulmonary circulation. He wrote a book, which outlined his discovery along with his ideas about reforming Christianity — it was deemed to be heretical by the Catholic Church.)

    On and on, one could name ‘whys and wherefores’ of how the Catholic Church not only changed doctrines, but piled up sins against God (Revelation 18:4).

    Thankfully, the JWs teach people that the “Great Apostasy” was foretold by the Apostle Paul. They are not in the dark about world events as are most Catholics! Furthermore, the Bible clearly shows that that apostasy would end and the Gentile Times would cease along with the spiritual part of Babylon the Great (of which the Catholic Church is a major part) losing all grip on true Christians regarding spiritual enlightenment.

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