"… a body of learned Bahais"

Ivan Sakhnenko, The Anatomy Lesson

On a facebook group [The Baha'i Questions Forum], Don Calkins wrote:

“Obviously the House of Justice needs someone w/ an appropriate background to explain the Writings to them.” This was in the context of letters that showed the Universal House of Justice’s understanding of Bahai teachings evolving over time. I will give more details below.

I am sure the suggestion was well meant, but I think it is heading in the wrong direction entirely. It is clear that the Universal House of Justice does not always understand the Bahai writings correctly. If there was a guarantee that it would always be correct, the Guardianship would have been unnecessary. The Bahais could simply have elected a house of justice. The understanding of the Universal House of Justice evolves through interaction with the community, and it may at a particular point be not only incomplete but even incorrect. For example, one message written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice on 29 July 1974 says:

It is true that ‘Abdu’l-Baha made statements linking the establishment of the unity of nations to the twentieth century. For example [in the “7 candles”]: “The fifth candle is the unity of nations — a unity which, in this century, will be securely established, causing all the peoples of the world to regard themselves as citizens of one common fatherland.

This assumes that “this century” is equivalent to “20th century,” without any basis. It is incorrect, for reasons I have explained elsewhere.

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