FAITHFUL AND DISCREET SLAVE
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The Watchtower Society teaches that Jesus Christ returned, invisibly, in 1914. Along with this, they also teach that shortly after this He began to seek out the “faithful and discreet slave” referred to at Matthew 24:45-47. This Faithful and Discreet Slave would be the only group on Earth dispensing proper spiritual food to people at the proper time (a.k.a. “The Truth”). According to them, Jesus began His spiritual inspection in 1918 in earnest to find whom He should entrust with His “spiritual belongings.” He saw that the men in the Watchtower Society were the only ones doing so, and after they successfully passed a season of testing, Jesus blessed the Watchtower Society by choosing them to be the faithful and discreet slave in 1919, giving them responsibility as the Faithful and Discreet Slave spoken of in Matthew (The Watchtower, March 1, 2004, pp.16-18 para.15-19; Draw Close to Jehovah, 2002, pp. 312-313 para.9; Jehovah's Witnesses -- Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, 1993, pp.218-219).
HOW WERE THEY TESTED?
[NOTE: Jehovah's Witnesses were known as “Bible Students” prior to 1931] The Watchtower Society explains that the tests they “passed” included testing from within their ranks as well as testing from the outside. The testing from within centered around the loyalty of the membership: Who would remain with them after Russell's original predictions of 1914 failed? And not long afterward, who would remain with them after Russell died and Joseph Rutherford took his place? As for the testing from the outside, it centered around the public view of the Bible Students: Rutherford had published a book that contained scathing remarks against the clergy of Christendom; these remarks caused a violent public reaction against the Bible Students and resulted in the arrest of Rutherford and several other top officials of the Watchtower Society. Once they were released from prison, how many in the membership would remain loyal to the Watchtower Society? (Jehovah's Witnesses – Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, 1993, Chapters 6-7).
The Watchtower Society claims that, after passing this “season of testing” Jesus Christ recognized their work as the faithful and discreet and thus entrusted them with enlarged responsibilities (The Watchtower, March 1, 2004, p.12 para.18; Worship the Only True God, 2002, pp. 130-131, para.7-8).
Because Jehovah's Witness members are taught that their leadership in the Watchtower Society is the "faithful and discreet slave" of Jesus Christ, they are also taught to be obedient to them. They are told to “cooperate fully with the faithful and discreet slave” (The Watchtower, November 15, 2009, p.14, para.3); they are instructed to “obey the direction provided by the faithful and discreet slave” (The Watchtower, October 15, 2009, p.16 para.16); they are admonished to “submit to the arrangement that Jesus made for the faithful and discreet slave class to provide spiritual food at the proper time” (The Watchtower, March 15, 2008, p.5, para.11); and that “By submitting to the slave class, God's people also show their subjection to the Master, Jesus Christ” (The Watchtower, October 1, 2002, p.19, para.7) In essence, the Jehovah's Witness membership is expected to give their complete obedience to the “faithful and discreet slave.”
The entire foundation regarding their selection as the faithful and discreet slave hinges on the belief that only they were chosen after successfully enduring a period of testing through persecution as well as divisions within their ranks.
The biggest problem with this line of reasoning is that, in reality, they weren't the only ones to have endured such a “season of testing” for their beliefs. It is historical fact that the Protestant Reformers in the 1500's were severely tested for their beliefs, even to the point of being burned alive at the stake for their beliefs. When the Latter Day Saints (Mormon) movement began in the 1800's, they also endured harsh persecution, including the murder and rape of many members. And persecution against believers in Christ continues today, as any Christian group currently living in a Muslim country or communist country can claim further testings and trials. All of these who have been tested throughout time have endured dissension in the ranks and persecution from outsiders, and many have endured testing from within as well. The Jehovah's Witnesses are not unique in this regard. As a result, this severely weakens the claim as being the only ones designated as the Faithful and Discreet Slave, as based solely on these claims.
WATCHTOWER SOCIETY'S PROOF?
The Watchtower Society claims that the Bible upholds their position on this matter. By way of support, the Watchtower Society teaches that the scripture at Matthew 24:45-47 points to them as being this designated “faithful and discreet slave.” This passage of Scripture states:
It is their idea that, since this passage of Scripture is a part of the chapter in which Christ speaks on the signs of His presence, this choosing of the faithful slave would occur shortly after His presence in 1914. Remembering that the Watchtower Society considers their denomination as the only true Christians, it is their claim that Paul's reference of the Christian Congregation as being “members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:9, 1 Timothy 3:15), and that the faithful slave would come from that “household” (1 Corinthians 4:1-2) refers only to them. Thus, they perceive themselves as the chosen “faithful and discreet slave” mentioned in the book of Matthew (Insight On the Scriptures, 1988, Vol. 1, pp. 805-806).
FAITHFUL AND DISCREET?
Can the Watchtower Society rightfully claim to have been “faithful and discreet,” and dispensing “proper food at the proper time?” Let the facts speak for themselves:
And this isn't the end of it: There was a time when the Watchtower Society even heavily promoted 1975 as the year in which Armageddon was to begin (Our Kingdom Ministry, May 1974, p.3; Awake! October 8, 1966, pp. 19-20; The Watchtower, October 15, 1966, pp.628-629; Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God, 1966, pp.29-30), and when this prediction failed they proceeded to blame the membership for reading too much into the information (Awake! June 22, 1995, p.9). On top of all that, they continually “tweak” their teachings through time, claiming that their mistaken understanding of God's purposes becomes clearer over time (more on this here).
Can they truly be regarded as the “faithful and discreet slave” providing “proper food at the proper time” if they are continually breeding so much error throughout their length of existence?