The Watchtower regularly claims that the increasing number of publishers is evidence of God blessing them. This is obviously a rhetorical fallacy, as thousands of other religions increase in number, but apparently this is not evidence that God is blessing them. Furthermore, there are many countries such as Australia where Witnesses have not experienced almost any growth for over a decade. If growth is an indication of blessing, is stagnation or negative growth evidence that God has removed his blessing? Consider also that in the 15 years between 1994 to 2008 there were 4,458,350 baptisms, but average publishers only increased by 2,134,344, due to the high rate of turnover.
Because this is a poor line of reasoning, the Watchtower presents contradictory statements on this topic, at times saying publisher numbers cannot be used to determine God's divine favour.
Growth does not indicate God's blessing
Examining the Scriptures Daily 2002 May 19
"Of course, the number of those associated with Jehovah's Witnesses is not a criterion for determining if they enjoy divine favor."
Growth indicates God's blessing
Watchtower 2011 Oct 15 p.29
"The existence, work, and growth of the earthly part of Jehovah’s organization are truly extraordinary. Without the direction and help of God’s powerful holy spirit, it would be impossible for such a thing to take place in this world that is under Satan’s control."
Watchtower 2002 Jul 1 p.13
"Now is the time for Jehovah to express mercy to his anointed servants and their other sheep companions. The evidence that this is so is the extraordinary increase with which he has blessed them... Each year, hundreds of thousands of additional "foreigners" associate with Jehovah's organisation, and the way will remain open for many more to follow them. Jehovah says to Zion: "Your gates will actually be kept open constantly; they will not be closed even by day or by night, in order to bring to you the resources of the nations, and their kings will be taking the lead" (Isaiah 60:11) Some opposers try to close those 'gates,' but we know that they cannot succeed. Jehovah himself has said that one way or another, the gates will stay open. The increase will continue. There are still other ways that Jehovah has blessed his people, making them beautiful in these last days."
Watchtower 2009 Feb 15 p.27
“ … 4.5 million disciples were baptized in the last 15 years - an average of more than 800 a day. These spectacular increases are clear evidence that Christ is directing his anointed followers at their congregation meetings and is supporting them in their disciple-making work.”