Thursday, September 17, 2015

Enforcing the Seventh Volume?

In 1917 the book The Finished Mystery, the seventh volume of the series Studies in the Scriptures, was published by the Bible Students later known as Jehovah's Witnesses.

I've heard claims that if a Bible Student rejected it that this would result in being disfellowshipped from them.

In response, notice these comments from the April 1, 1920 Watchtower article Let Us Dwell in Peace, starting on page 103:

It was therefore in exact harmony with this that any ecclesia subsequently would ask its prospective elders and officers: "Do you accept the Seventh Volume and are you willing to teach it?" If he said, No, he was not disfellowshipped: no burden was put upon him. But he was told in kindness. ... On the same line of reasoning, it would be wholly improper to disfellowship one because he could not accept everything stated in the Seventh Volume. Let love be the controlling force, directing the actions of each one.
...
Our getting into the kingdom does not depend upon a clear vision of all the teachings of the divine plan; but it manifestly does depend upon the pure condition of heart of each one. God has promised to exercise his power in behalf of none other except the pure in heart. (2 Chronicles 16:9)
page 104:
FELLOWSHIP TESTS
The Society, therefore, has no desire to put a test upon any of the brethren, nor any purpose of putting a test upon any one except those who are offered for election as officers and servants of the Society; and this was clearly within its province when, in meeting officially, it put a test upon such, as heretofore set out. It has no purpose or desire and does not countenance the putting of specific tests upon any brethren relative to fellowship except that which is designated by the Scriptures. It has not made the acceptance of the Society as the channel a test of fellowship, nor the Seventh Volume, nor the V. D. M. questions.
...
there should be freedom of conscience and no attempt to put a test of fellowship upon another aside from the Scriptural requirement; that Volume VII, STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, and the V. D. M. questions have never been made a test of fellowship and should not be; that the basis of fellowship and unity in the church is and should be the relationship of the members to Jehovah through Christ.
So where does this leave the claim that it was a test of fellowship?

Credits:
Scan of the cover of "The Finished Mystery" by Pastorrussell - Own work.

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Dr. Stephen Meyer on the Age of the Earth


He also mentions his view of the age of humanity. He shares the Old-Earth Creationist (OEC) perspective which I sympathize with.

Young-Earth Creationism (YEC) errs by:

  • Combining the origin of animal and human death together.
  • Ignoring the growth-rate of flora from seeds.
  • Restricting the interpretation of the creation days to solar periods only, with a contrived rule that numbered days are solar (thus falling victim to the logical fallacy of circular reasoning).

The next speaker, Dr. Del Tackett, is YEC.

Dr. Stephen Meyer also mentions the need for Christian charity in conversations over issues that are secondary and tertiary, which he notes are sorely lacking in the OEC-YEC exchange within Trinitarian Christianity. This is a mature principle that I wholeheartedly agree with.

For further reading on why the creation days are not solar, as well as for the meaning of the creation refrain "evening and morning," see my article An Analysis of the Creation Week http://www.jimspace.000space.com/CW.htm.


In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity

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