Local Needs \Yearbook

What lessons can we learn?

That we should study and use the Bible, using any translation.

If one is a Jehovah’s Witness,  it may be beneficial to emigrate from Russia to avoid persecution, or decide if you value publications of men over your freedom to worship God.

Video – Avoid What Erodes Loyalty – Pride

This is an extract from one of the ‘bunker’ video’s from last year’s assembly.

It is very unrealistic. How many proud brothers or sisters do you know who evaluate how they responded to a situation, and determine themselves that they need to change? Close to none. Now one could argue this video is an attempt to change that, and if it encourages one person to do that then good, but it relies on them having some humility in the first place, not a common trait amongst proud people!!!

Sadly, also the video does not deal with the issue of whether the counsel was warranted. It just assumes that the counsel was warranted, and the implication is that if you reject counsel you are proud. Yet, as so often the case in these types of situation, it could well be unwarranted and unfair, possibly even from a brother or sister who enjoying bullying others, or who is trying to impose their personal opinion. How to deal with that scenario would have been far more useful and relevant.

Gods Kingdom Rules (kr chap 16 para 1-5) – Training Servants of the King (+ Section Intro)

Spiritual materialism.

What is it?

This is a term to describe the extraordinary desire for things perceived to be ‘spiritual’. Just as in ordinary materialism where a normal desire is allowed to grow out of control, in efforts to obtain the objects of desire held out by advertising to be vital for a happy life, so there can be spiritual materialism where extraordinary efforts are made to obtain objects of desire considered to be necessary for a satisfying life due to constant advertising by the organization.

As with material things that in general most cannot afford, so too with these perceived ‘spiritual things’. Most cannot afford the cost to obtain them, but are given the view that failing to strive to obtain them is a failure in a person’s spirituality.

Similarly just as many material things advertised are fake, and are not beneficial for the owner, so are many of the so- called ‘spiritual things’ we are pushed to strive for. These so called ‘spiritual things’ include:

  • Talks on an assembly program.
  • Pioneer Service school.
  • School for Kingdom Evangelisers.
  • Education through publications, meetings, assemblies, conventions and other organisation schools.

What did Jesus say was important in terms of spiritual goals?

John 17:3 shows the most important thing is taking in knowledge of God and his son Jesus Christ. Where do we find this knowledge? In his word the Bible.

Is it not better to go directly to the source? Anything else is second-hand at best, and potentially a fraud at worst.

The first century Christians were able to fill the whole world with the teachings about Jesus. (Acts 17:6). They did this without any publications, assemblies, conventions, pioneer schools, schools for Kingdom Evangelisers and the like. They also had no hoops to jump through in order to qualify for these supposed privileges, yet they were truly successful. Reaching out for JW.org “goals and privileges of service” can give one a superficial feeling of achievement, and many times a swollen ego, but how far we have gone from the original simplicity of the message of the good news.

So, to take in knowledge about God and his King, Christ Jesus we should discuss the following questions:

  • Are we ever assisted to study the bible in depth?
  • Are we trained to read the scripture in context?
  • Are we trained to understand the meaning of the original language words from the scripture passage?
  • Are we trained to reason on what the Bible passages actually say, or only what someone has interpreted them as saying?

Take the instruction mentioned in paragraph 2. Note the Watchtower study. It is exactly that. A study of the Watchtower magazine with the aid of the Bible. It is not a study of the Bible with the aid of the Watchtower. The majority of the time is not spent discussing God’s word, but rather parroting what is written in the paragraph.  Three or four Scriptures are read, but the discussion is limited to the application made in the magazine.  No time is provided to study the verses in context, to fully understand them. Nor is there the time to look up the root meaning of key words in their original language.

What about the Christian Life and Ministry (CLAM) meeting? It is almost all about the JW ministry, with an occasional token part about helping us to act in a manner befitting the behavior expected of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

In 1 Corinthians 2:14-16 Paul said that ‘the spiritual man examines indeed all things’ so that we could ‘have the mind of Christ’. In Philippians 2:1-6 Paul counselled us on the important things, ‘to have the same love’… ‘doing nothing out of contentiousness or out of egotism, but with lowliness of mind’.

Personal study of God’s word motivates us to love others, to desire to help them. On the other hand the so-called ‘spiritual things’ held out to us by the organization generate contentiousness and a spirit of egotism and pride. How often do we hear relatives of witnesses who have gone through this training, say things such as ‘my son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother, sister, mother, father, cousin, have been to pioneer school, are circuit overseers, are regular pioneers, are Bethelites,’ etc., as if they are superior to their fellow brothers and sisters?

Paragraph 4 reminds us that as per Colossians 3:16, the early Christians taught and admonished one another and sang praises to God.

Did they sing praises of the 12 apostles as we today are expected to sing praises of the faithful slave (aka, the Governing Body)?[1]

Did they have a scripted meeting, both in material discussed and carefully focused questions? No. Did they only listen to a handful of picked men teaching them? No. Rather they encouraged one another. To encourage someone else you usually have to speak to them. All were to participate. Today, only a limited number participate, and the ability to participate is controlled by those chosen few who run the congregations. Despite claims to the contrary, the current model of meetings followed by the organization is far from that of the first century.

Family Worship section

Once again, we see the subtle replacement of Christ’s instructions with the organization’s instructions. The section states “May 15, 1956 Watchtower urged all Christian families to have ‘a regular Bible study right in the home for the benefit of the entire family.’ Then it asked: ”Does your family study The Watchtower together some evening before the meeting?”

Now to be fair the Watchtower may have been urging both, but in the minds of most witnesses, studying the Watchtower is studying the Bible. Certainly the two are linked in the quotation as if they are one and the same. However as discussed above they clearly are not.

In the next paragraph, the claim is made that ‘one reason for the adjustment [of dropping the separate meeting for the Book Study] was to give families an opportunity to fortify their spirituality by scheduling a specific evening each week for family worship.’ This assumes (a) the family already attended the Book Study every week, and (b) would now use this evening or swap with another evening to have the suggested study. The other question that needs to be asked is, why were families not already having a family study? If they were then they would be less spiritually fortified as they had now lost 1 meeting per week. The logic of the reason does not add up. Yet, as no other reason is mentioned, most would conclude that this was the biggest and most important reason in arriving at a decision for the change. As with many changes in recent years in the organization, a glossy reason is given which on examination does not hold much water, and the real reason(s) is hidden. Why? What happened to being honest (and candid) at all times?

Annual Gatherings section

The first paragraph mentions ‘the development of the earthly part of Gods organization during the last days.’

Let us just think about that for a moment.

Did the nation of Israel develop during its time in Israel?

No. Jehovah provided all that was required for the Nation of Israel to function from the beginning, giving copious instructions to Moses, forming the Mosaic Law.

Did the early Christians develop during the 1st century?

No. Jesus Christ provided all that was required for the Christian congregation to function. The writings of the apostles merely confirmed or recorded what these instructions were.

So, if Jehovah’s witnesses were chosen as God’s organization in 1919, we need to know why Jesus as head of the congregation would have changed the modus operandi, by

(a) only giving partial instructions,
(b) not clearly inspiring humans to write a third testament,
(c) randomly with no apparent logic or order, gradually revealing new understandings, which often were a complete reversal of earlier understandings.
(d) constantly making, amending or creating new arrangements and understandings?
(e) ending up with an Organization whose current teachings bear no resemblance to what C.T. Russell taught?

Next weeks (kr) section will discuss the current meeting arrangement in more depth.

[1] Songs 126, 95, 49, 13