Continued from part #3 (see also parts #1 & #2) with this part #4 of my multi-part reply to your comment on my post "`What Does the Bible Really Teach?' pp.7-14." Your words are bold to distinguish them from mine.
[Above: "Modern-Day Theocratic Organization of Jehovah's Christian Witnesses," The Watchtower, December 15 1971, p.749. Source: Glen T. Winstein, "GTJ Brooklyn 1: An examination of the Jehovah's Witnesses' Governing Body's claims."]
As depicted above, the "`Faithful and Discreet Slave' Class," is effectively the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society's "Governing Body":
"As foretold at Matthew 24:3, 45-47, the Master, Jesus Christ, has appointed `the faithful and discreet slave,' made up of anointed Christians, to care for all his belongings on earth during this day of his presence. That faithful and discreet slave is represented today by the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, which has as its publicity agent the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. Most appropriately, that faithful and discreet slave has also been called God's channel of communication." ("Jehovah and Christ-Foremost Communicators," The Watchtower, September 1, 1991, pp.15-19, pp.18-19. My emphasis).
which is is claimed to be be "God's channel of communication" (i.e. the sole channel of communication-see below) from "Jehovah God" via "Jesus Christ" to mankind. This makes the Watchtower Society effectively God to JWs.
>My god is not the WT but Jehovah God.
The Watchtower Society claims to be God's "ONLY" and "SOLE" "channel of communication" (my emphasis below):
"It is only through his channel of communication that Jehovah now is using that an individual obtains accurate knowledge of the truth ...." ("Baptism," The Watchtower, August 1, 1958, pp.472-478, pp.473-474).
"The facts show that during this time and up to the present hour the `slave' class has served as God's sole collective channel for the flow of Biblical truth to men on earth." ("Staying Awake with the `Faithful and Discreet Slave'," The Watchtower, July 15, 1960, p.438-444, p.439).
"... in interpreting Bible prophecy God has seen fit to use an earthly channel of communication. ... we must conclude that God uses only one channel at any one time ... That Jehovah is using such a channel today and that it is associated with the New World society of Jehovah's witnesses the facts unmistakably show." ("Understanding the Beasts of Revelation," The Watchtower, December 1, 1962, pp.725-727, p.726).
"Never has God had more than one channel of communication at one time. Failure to recognize and associate with his anointed witnesses would certainly indicate that one is not in Jehovah God's organization and under his spirit." ("The Value of Right Association Through Congregational Meetings," The Watchtower, January 15, 1966, pp.41-47, p.44).
"Bear in mind that our heavenly Father has an appointed channel of communication, `the faithful and discreet slave.' That `slave' has the responsibility to determine what information is made available to the household of faith, as well as `the proper time' for it to be dispensed. This spiritual food is available only through the theocratic organization. We should always look to God's appointed channel for reliable information ...." ("Avoid the Pursuit of `Valueless Things'," Our Kingdom Ministry, September 9, 2002, p.8).
Also the Watchtower Society claims that it alone determines what the Bible says (my emphasis below):
"Just as we look to God's channel of communication for instruction in his Word, so we should seek the organized discussion of those instructions for their fullest comprehension." ("Training Your Perceptive Powers," The Watchtower, May 1, 1961, pp.270-276, pp.272-273).
"But Jehovah God has also provided his visible organization, his `faithful and discreet slave,' made up of spirit-anointed ones, to help Christians in all nations to understand and apply properly the Bible in their lives. Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do." ("The Path of the Righteous Does Keep Getting Brighter," The Watchtower, December 1, 1981, pp.26-31, p.27).
"God had a channel for communicating Revelation in John's day, and John was the earthly part of that channel. Likewise, God has a channel for giving spiritual nourishment to his `slaves' today. ... Jesus identified the earthly part of this channel as `the faithful and discreet slave ... He uses this John class in unlocking the meaning of the prophecy." ("Revelation: Its Grand Climax At Hand!," Watchtower Bible & Tract Society: Brooklyn NY, 1988, p.16).
"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 Bible-A Book Meant to Be Understood," The Watchtower, October 1, 1994, pp.4-8, p.8).
"Jehovah gives us sound counsel through his Word and through his organization, using the publications provided by `the faithful and discreet slave.' ... How foolish to reject good advice and insist on our own way! We `must be swift about hearing' when Jehovah, `the One teaching men knowledge,' counsels us through his channel of communication.." ("The Lips of Truth Will Endure Forever," The Watchtower, March 15, 2003, pp.26-30, p.27).
And the Watchtower Society demands that a JW must obey without question whatever it says (my emphasis below):
"`The spirit that now operates in the sons of disobedience' ... can cause us to think that we do not need guidance from Jehovah's organization. ... We need to guard against developing a spirit of independence. By word or action, may we never challenge the channel of communication that Jehovah is using today. .... And should we not strive to be obedient and submissive to those taking the lead in our local congregation?" ("Treasure Your Place in the Congregation," The Watchtower, November 15, 2009 11, pp.13-17, p.14).
"Make haste to identify the visible theocratic organization of God .... We cannot claim to love God, yet deny his Word and channel of communication. ... Therefore, in submitting to Jehovah's visible theocratic organization, we must be in full and complete agreement with every feature of its apostolic procedure and requirements." ("Following Faithful Shepherds with Life in View," The Watchtower, October 1, 1967, pp.591-597, pp.591-592).
This means that the Watchtower Society is effectively God to a JW.
That is, the Watchtower organization is effectively "Lord and Savior" to a JW, "By ... presenting itself as the essential means [of] salvation and the final authority to be obeyed," as ex-JW elder David Reed points out:
"The Organization As Lord And Savior Christianity has been defined as a relationship with a Person, namely Jesus Christ. ... We choose to follow Jesus as our Lord; He becomes our Master, Teacher, Leader-the One we obey. For Jehovah's Witnesses, however, the rightful position of Jesus Christ has been usurped by the Watchtower organization. It, in effect, is the one they taught to look to as lord and savior." (Reed, D.A., 1989, "Behind the Watchtower Curtain: The Secret Society of Jehovah's Witnesses," Crowne Publications: Southbridge MA, p.117. Emphasis original).
"One can become a Christian by turning to Jesus Christ in prayer before ever entering or joining an organized church. It is a spiritual relationship .... Individuals have been known to become Christians after reading the Bible all alone in a jail cell, in the wilderness, or on an isolated island. But becoming a Jehovah's Witness is not that simple. One must first receive and study Watchtower literature in order to `properly' understand the Bible. There must be a formal study program conducted by a Jehovah's Witness in good standing with the organization. Then the newcomer must begin attending organizational meetings and participate in `field service'-knocking on doors with Watchtower literature. Finally, after undergoing a doctrinal quiz from the book Organized to Accomplish Our Ministry (Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1983), he is acceptable for baptism and recognition as a Jehovah's Witness." (Reed, 1989, pp.117-118).
"Unlike Christian baptism, which is performed in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, candidates for baptism by Jehovah's Witnesses must answer `yes' to the following two questions: On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will? Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in association with God's spirit-directed organization? - The Watchtower, June 1, 1985, page 30 Somehow, the organization has inserted itself into the baptism formula." (Reed, 1989, p.118. My emphasis).
"And the organization continues to insert itself into the life of the Jehovah's Witness, taking the place of Jesus Christ. For example, people are invited to `come to Jehovah's organization for salvation'. (The Watchtower, 11/15/81, p.21) The organization is portrayed as their savior. Moreover, followers are told: `Jehovah is using only one organization today to accomplish his will. To receive life in the earthly Paradise we must identify that organization and serve God as part of it.' (The Watchtower, 2/15/83, p. 12) There is no salvation or life apart from the Watchtower organization, according to these teachings. Likewise, the organization requires unquestioning obedience from its followers-obedience such as is due only the Lord Himself. Witnesses are told to `Avoid independent thinking ... questioning the counsel that is provided by God's visible organization." (The Watchtower, 1/15/83, p. 22) Any who fail to obey are put on trial, expelled, and cut off from their family and friends." (Reed, 1989, pp.118-119. My emphasis).
"By thus inserting itself into God's plan of salvation, presenting itself as the essential means [of] salvation and the final authority to be obeyed, the Watchtower Society usurps the position of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. This actually borders on idolatry, since the organization is portrayed in terms that rightly apply only to Deity. Strangely enough, the Society itself has acknowledged in the past the possibility of people becoming `idolatrous worshippers of a man-made organization'-writing in regard to some other organization, of course, not their own. (The Watchtower, December 1, 1971, p. 723) How does this happen? How does one become an organization-worshiper? Note the Society's own answer: `If one renders obedient service to someone or some organization, whether willingly or under compulsion, looking up to such as possessing a position of superior rulership and great authority then that one can Scripturally be said to be a worshiper.' The Watchtower, September 1, 1961, p. 525 What more perfect description could there be of the relationship of Jehovah's Witnesses to their own organization? Their definition of `idolatrous worshipers of a man-made organization' fits no one better than themselves. Yes, by looking to it for salvation and by obeying it as their lord and master, J.W.'s in effect deify their organization. While pointing the finger of accusation at others, they themselves have fallen into the snare of idolatry." (Reed, 1989, p.119. My emphasis).
>The Bible tells you not to put man before God and I don't.
See above. If you are Watchtower-obedient JW then you do "put man [the men who comprise the Governing Body of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society] before God." Indeed they effectively are God to you, because: 1) whatever the Watchtower says is what God says to a JW; 2) God cannot say anything that the Watchtower does not say to a JW; and 3) what God in the Bible says that disagrees with Watchtower doctrine, the Watchtower overrides.
That the Watchtower overrides God's speaking through His Word, the Bible, is evident in the Society's claim that it is God's sole ... channel for the flow of Biblical truth to men on earth" and that it alone can "understand and apply properly the Bible" (my emphasis below):
"... up to the present hour the `slave' class has served as God's sole collective channel for the flow of Biblical truth to men on earth." (WT, 7/15/60, p.439).
"God has also provided his visible organization ... to help Christians in all nations to understand and apply properly the Bible" and "Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication ... we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do." (WT, 12/1/81, p.27).
"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." (WT, 10/1/94, p.8).
"Jehovah gives us sound counsel through his Word and through his organization, using the publications provided by `the faithful and discreet slave.'" (WT, 3/15/03, p.27).
As David Reed pointed out, the Watchtower thus "elevates the organization above the Bible [and therefore above God] and makes gaining everlasting life contingent on following the Watchtower Society":
"Matthew 24:45-47 Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. Truly I say to you, He will appoint him over all his belongings.' (NWT)
This is a key text for Jehovah's Witnesses. They attach a unique interpretation to the parable. Instead of seeing it as an exhortation to each Christian to be a faithful and diligent `slave' for Christ, they believe that their organization represents the faithful and discreet slave, divinely appointed to dispense `spiritual food' to the household of faith. This interpretation gives Watchtower headquarters tremendous power and authority in the eyes of the average Witness. For example, note how The Watchtower of December 1, 1981, elevates the organization above the Bible and makes gaining everlasting life contingent on following the Watchtower Society:Jehovah God has also provided his visible organization, his "faithful and discreet slave," made up of spirit-anointed ones, to help Christians in all nations to understand and apply properly the Bible in their lives. Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do [p. 27]. Favored indeed are all those who serve loyally with the "faithful and discreet slave" organization, Jehovah's visible agent of communication! Theirs is the wise choice, for their pathway leads on to the precious goal of everlasting life ... [p. 31].Perhaps I should mention here, as a personal aside, that the above statements, especially the one on page 27, which elevates the organization above the Bible, became `the last straw'-the straw that broke the camel's back-in my relationship with the Watchtower Society." (Reed, D.A., 1986, "Jehovah's Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, Thirty-first printing, 2006, pp.58-59).
That the Watchtower Society overrides the Bible (and therefore effectively is God to a JW), is evident in its warning to JWs that if they "read the Bible exclusively" then they will come to believe what Christianity (not what the Watchtower) teaches:
"From time to time, there have arisen from among the ranks of Jehovah's people those who ... say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such 'Bible reading,' they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom's clergy were teaching 100 years ago ..." ("Serving Jehovah `Shoulder to Shoulder'," Watchtower, Aug 15, 1981, pp.28-29, p.29).
As Ex-JW Gordon Duggar reflected, for "the devout Witness ... The organization is Jehovah":
"By now the devout Witness finds the words `Jehovah,' `faithful and discreet slave,' `organization,' and now `world government' to all be one and the same. The frantic message that strikes fear in their hearts is clear and plain. There is no place for safety outside the organization. The organization must be the base. The organization is Jehovah." (Duggar, G.E., 1985, "Jehovah's Witnesses: Watch Out for the Watchtower!," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, p.14).
Continued in part #5.