Watchtower Baptismal Question Change

Note the following change in the baptismal questions made in 1985 to further attempt to isolate their members from Christianity by promoting loyalty to the Watchtower organization, rather than to the "elusive" Christ:

WT (The Watchtower) 1973 5/1 page 280 Baptizing Follows Discipling

(1) Have you repented of your sins and turned around, recognizing yourself before Jehovah God as a condemned sinner who needs salvation, and have you acknowledged to him that this salvation proceeds from him, the Father, through his Son Jesus Christ?

(2) On the basis of this faith in God and in his provision for salvation, have you dedicated yourself unreservedly to God to do his will henceforth as he reveals it to you through Jesus Christ and through the Bible under the enlightening power of the holy spirit?


WT 1985 6/1 page 30 Subjecting Ourselves to Jehovah by Dedication

…Thus the decision to be baptized is by no means a sudden emotional reaction. Rather, each one has ‘proved for himself the good and acceptable and perfect will of God’ and wishes to submit to that will.—Romans 12:2.

At the close of the convention baptism talk, the baptism candidates will be in position to answer with depth of understanding and heartfelt appreciation two simple questions that serve to confirm that they recognize the implications of following Christ’s example.

The first question is:

On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?

The second is:

Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?



[Added footnotes]

1 Those familiar with the WT procedure will know that some time prior to the day of the baptism, a number of questions are put to the candidates. However, according to the published list of questions, the above two questions are omitted. So these candidates are not given advanced notice of what could be the most important questions asked of them in their whole lives. Would this "sudden" imposition give them time for "understanding and heartfelt appreciation? Please notice if you read the whole article, from the above mentioned WT, that there is no explanation as to why the questions were changed.

2 Observe the crucial change of verb in Romans 12: 2. Paul was talking to baptised Christians: he entreats them, by saying "that you may prove (future) to yourselves" God’s will. The WT says: "has proved"

This change introduces a false premise, per se. But it is extremely wrong in its present context when introducing perhaps the most blatant U turn of all: the substitution of the "ORGANIZATION" for God’s Word the "Bible" and God’s "holy spirit". Furthermore, this is a secondary and not a main study article where the congregations have the opportunity to express their comments, even if closely monitored. Therefore it is not open for discussion.

Paul says, "may prove" and the WT says, "has proved"? What is the difference and is it crucial? The WT is addressing unbaptised ones. Paul is addressing baptised ones. He is inviting them to continuously "prove" the viability and efficacy of God’s will in their lives. The WT is trying to ‘ride two horses at the same time’ They want to be seen as applying the scripture but also they want to promote their own agenda. They are saying that these novices have already ‘ "proved" this for themselves’ in, maybe a few weeks of WT type study. Would this not be ‘suddenly’? It would be, relatively: the very thing that the WT has ruled out. Paul’s disciples are encouraged to apply Christian principles throughout their lives. Whereas WT disciples have been instructed in WT doctrine and have presumably proved it by academic study. Would the foregoing quotes from their magazine be representative examples of their teaching?

Martin Luther says on this verse, Romans 12:2:

" he [Paul] is preaching to those who are already Christians and godly through the faith in the new man, who are not to be forced with commands but to be admonished to do willingly what is to be done in regard to the sinful old man. For he who does it not willingly, solely as a result of admonition, he is no Christian, and he who compels it from the unwilling with laws, he already is no Christian preacher or ruler but a worldly clubwielder." A lawdriver insists with threats and penalties; a preacher of grace lures and incites with divine goodness and compassion shown to us; for he wants no unwilling works and reluctant services, he wants joyful and delightful services of God"

Please see Matthew 12: 34-37 (bold, italics and brackets added)

Charles Stanley