Scholastic Dishonesty Of The Watchtower Society
By B. J. Kotwall
The crafty arguments found in Watchtower Society's (WTS) publications are often convincing to the uninquiring mind.  These arguments are generally taken at face value by the followers of WTS,  The Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs).  After all has not the WTS told its followers that The WTS is "Jehovah's prophet", and the "modern Jeremiah".
(Watchtower (WT) 1959 October 15 pp. 40-41.)

The WTS, to buttress its arguments, has resorted to deception and ridiculously based contentions and theories.  I will examine some of these false and specious reasonings. Only one example in each of the categories is provided, although scores of examples can be easily cited in each of the instances.

"Strawman" is described as a spurious argument put forward so that it can be easily knocked down and an easy victory claimed.  A classic example of this is the WTS argument that 1 John 5:7 is used by trinitarians as one of "the main scriptures used to support the trinity doctrine".
(Let God be True 1952. p. 102)

Since this verse is not found in the oldest manuscripts of the Greek New Testament, and is accepted as an insertion at a later period, no reputable scholar - trinitarian or otherwise - would use the verse as "proof-text" of the trinity doctrine. It is omitted in all modern versions of the translation of the Greek New Testament, and most Bibles which have notes concerning the text point out the insertion.
(e.g. The Companion Bible p. 1976.  The Scofield Reference Bible p. 1325.)

Rear-view method of prophecy fulfillment
What the WTS does on an ongoing basis is to look for certain world events in the recent past. They then scour around in the Bible to find some texts somehow to fit these events, after which the happening in question is victoriously claimed as a fulfilled prophesy! An example of this rather primitive ruse is The WTS's interpretation of Revelation 11:11-13. These verses describe two prophets, who after being killed were revived. According to WTS this prophesy was fulfilled in 1919 when their second president Rutherford  and some other leaders of WTS were released from jail!
(You May Survive Armageddon into God's New World 1955.  pp. 116-120.  New Heavens and a  New Earth 1953. pp. 255-256.  Revelation - Its Grand Climax At Hand! 1988. pp. 169-170.)

Knight-jump exegesis
Dr Anthony Hoekema in his book The Four Major Cults (1963) describes the way the WTS "jumps from one part of the Bible to another, with utter disregard of context to 'prove'  their points". (p. 251-253)  A typical example of this is the calculation of the 1914 date arrived by the WTS.  They have taken different unrelated Bible passages from Luke, Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation and arrived at the 1914 date as the time of establishment of Christ's Kingdom in heaven.
(Let God Be True 1952. pp. 250-154. From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained 1958.  pp. 250-251, 173.  The Truth Shall Make You Free  1943. p. 241.)

This is not Biblical hermeneutics, this is dishonest nonsense. As Hoekema, after explaining the WTS's methods of Scripture interpretation, says that "Given the methods can draw from the Bible any doctrine his imagination can concoct.  These doctrine may be interesting novel and appealing - but they suffer from one fatal defect: they do not rest upon the authority of God's Word, but upon the fabrications of man's mind!"

False parallelism
 WT of December 1, 1981 p. 27,  dishonestly states that WTS has not actually made any adjustments back to "previous point of view."  Next to this denial is an illustration of a sailboat traveling a zigzag course, which is compared to the doctrinal flip-flops of the WTS.  This is a prime example of false and deceptive parallelism. To compare the WTS, claimed as God's approved channel of communication to the world, with a sail-boat tacking in the wind due to unfavorable conditions is an absurd analogy.  It is however surprising how many JWs have gleefully pointed out this WT article to this writer in complete confidence that this explanation firmly exonerates the WTS of any and all false prophesies and doctrinal somersaults!  Moreover it also does not occur to the JWs that the WTS has very often completely reversed their position and have reverted to their former teachings.  This is not "tacking" but rather could be compared to drifting at sea without a compass or any other aid to guide them!  Nautical tacking is expected  to result in progress and carries the vessel forward from its original starting point.  In fact a Biblical analogy for the WTS's teachings can be found more appropriately in Ephesians 4:14 "...tossed about as by waves and carried hither and thither by every wind of teaching by means of trickery of men, by means of cunning in contriving error."

Absurd typology and Circular reasoning
The parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16: 19-31), according the WTS, tells us nothing about the state or condition of persons after death, but only pictures two classes existing on earth today.  The rich man represents the selfish clergy and Lazarus depicts the WTS's faithful remnant of the "body of Christ."  (Let God Be True 1952 p. 98.)   In addition to beggar Lazarus depicting the faithful remnant of the WTS, they present a partial list of 79 Biblical credentials which identify their remnant  since 1919.  (WT 1981 March 1 p 27) With what stretch of imagination can a person while reading the Bible would relate say "Noah's wife, Gen. 7:7" or "King's daughter  Ps. 45:13" or for that matter any of the 39 types to the WTS's remnant! This list is an insult to the imagination of even devout JW's who are expected to take these arbitrary and random listing from the Bible as "overwhelming credentials" for the remnant! To highlight the absurdity of such ridiculous claims the full list of these "overwhelming credentials" is reproduced below from WTS's


The "faithful and discreet slave" has abundant credentials. Following is a partial list of Scriptural and prophetic designations applying to or being represented in the remnant of Jesus Christ's anointed followers since the notable year 1919: (1) Noah's wife, Gen. 7:7; (2) angels sent to Lot,
Gen. 19:15; (3) Rebekah, Gen. 24:64; (4) Joseph and Benjamin, Gen. 45:14; (5) gleanings left behind, Lev. 19:9; (6) two spies to Rahab, Josh. 2:4; (7) Barak, Judg. 4:14; (8) Jephthah, Judg. 11:34; (9) Naomi and Ruth, Ruth 2:2; (10) David's Israelite warriors, 2 Sam. 18:1; (11) Jehu, 2 Ki. 10:11, 15; (12) Mordecai and Esther, Esther 4:13; (13) Job, Job 42:10, 13; (14) King's daughter, Ps. 45:13; (15) men of loving-kindness, Ps. 50:5; (16) intimate group, Ps. 89:7; (17) Shear-jashub, Isa. 7:3; (18) light of the nations, Isa.60:3;  (19) big trees of righteousness, Isa. 61:3; (20) ministers of our God, Isa. 61:6; (21) cluster preserved, Isa. 65:8; (22) servants called by another name, Isa. 65:15; (23) men trembling at God's word, Isa. 66:5; (24) new nation born, Isa.66:8; (25) Jeremiah, Jer. 1:10; (26) Jehovah's people in the new covenant, Jer. 31:33; (27) enduring watchman, Ezek. 3:16-27; (28) man in linen, Ezek. 9:2; (29) cleansed people, Ezek. 36:29-32; (30) dwellers in center of earth, Ezek. 38:12; (31) the host of heaven, Dan. 8:10; (32) sanctuary restored (cleansed), Dan. 8:14; (33) they that are wise, Dan. 11:33; (34) the happy one who is keeping in expectation, Dan. 12:12; (35) all flesh receiving the spirit, Joel 2:28; (36) Jonah, Jon. 3:1-3; (37) apple of Jehovah's eye, Zech. 2:8; (38) liberated remnant, Zech. 2:7; (39) a Jew, Zech. 8:23; (40) sons of Levi, Mal. 3:3; (41) wheat, Matt. 13:25; (42) sons of the kingdom, Matt. 13:38; (43) workers for the vineyard, Matt. 20:1; (44) those invited to marriage feast, Matt. 22:3-14; (45) chosen ones, Matt. 24:22; (46) eagles, Matt. 24:28; (47) faithful and discreet slave, Matt. 24:45; (48) discreet virgins, Matt. 25:2; (49) brothers of the king, Matt. 25:40; (50) little flock of sheep, Luke 12:32; (51) beggar Lazarus, Luke 16:20; (52) sheep in "this fold," John 10:1-16; (53) branches of the vine, John 15:4; (54) royal palace of David, Acts 15:16; (55) heirs with Christ, Rom. 8:17; (56) the remnant, Rom. 11:5; (57) branches in the olive tree, Rom. 11:24; (58) holy ones or saints, 1 Cor. 6:2; Rev. 16:6; (59) temple, 1 Cor. 6:19; (60) new creation, 2 Cor. 5:17; (61) ambassadors for Christ, 2 Cor. 5:20; (62) congregation of God, Gal. 1:13; (63) part of Abraham's seed, Gal. 3:29; (64) Israel of God, Gal. 6:16; (65) body of Christ, Eph. 1:22, 23; (66) soldiers of Christ Jesus, 2 Tim. 2:3; (67) house under Christ, Heb. 3:6; (68) holy priesthood, 1 Pet. 2:5; (69) holy nation, 1 Pet. 2:9; (70) association of brothers, 1 Pet. 2:17; (71) seven congregations, Rev. 1:20; (72) twenty-four persons of advanced age, Rev. 4:4; (73) spiritual Israel, Rev. 7:4; (74) locusts, Rev. 9:3; (75) two witnesses, Rev. 11:3; (76) two olive trees, Rev. 11:4; (77) seed of the woman, Rev. 12:17; (78) New Jerusalem, Rev. 21:2; (79) the bride of Christ, Rev. 22:17; 19:7; (80) Jehovah's witnesses, Isa. 43:10.
Manipulation of statistics
A fully documented 270 page book The Sign of the Last Days - When? by Carl Olof Jonsson & Wolfgang Herbst gives scores of examples of deliberate misuse and manipulation of statistics by the WTS to "prove" that we are living in the "last days" since 1914.  Words like "irresponsible", "superficial research", "far from honest", "shallow research", "irresponsible journalism", deliberate deception", "distortion of reality", "misrepresenting the truth", "deliberate bias", "sign of dishonesty",  "manipulation of facts" etc., are used by the authors to describe the tactics of the WTS in presenting statistics!  Let us just look at one example of a blatant lie.  The WTS has long maintained that the frequency and magnitude of earthquakes on the earth have increased dramatically since 1914. The Awake! magazine of 1982 July 8, p. 16 claimed that, "From the time Jesus gave his prophecy until 1914, history records five earthquakes that each took 100,000 lives or more...".  To prove how incorrect this statement is the authors listed 24 such "super earthquakes" of 100,000 deaths or more from the period AD 532 to 1914.  Full documentation and detail of sources were given by the authors.   After providing this information the authors have this to say about the WTS: "Comparing this information with the statement of Awake! writer earlier-quoted it becomes painfully evident how remarkably superficial the research of Watch Tower publications is, how utterly irresponsible the claims made actually are."

The above categories of scholastic dishonesty are by no means complete. Some of the other areas of the WTS's dishonesty are:

 Absurd literalism
 Flawed deductive reasoning
 Red herring
 Suppression/ignoring of unfavorable evidence
 Partial/out-of-context quotes
 Misrepresenting history (including their own)
 Surreptitious alternations in WTS publications, when their prophecies
 Downright lies
 Biased translation of the WTS Bible.
One really wonders how an organization, which claims to be God's mouthpiece, could be so devious and dishonest.  How is it possible for the leaders of the WTS, not to feel a deep sense of personal guilt and embarrassment at their shameful attempts to hoodwink their gullible followers.

B. J. Kotwall