(Jude 9) . . .But when Michael the archangel had a difference with the Devil and was disputing about Moses’ body, he did not dare to bring a judgment against him in abusive terms, but said: “May Jehovah rebuke you.”
This Scripture has always fascinated me. If anyone deserves abuse, it would certainly be the Devil, would it not? Yet here we find Michael, the foremost of the heavenly princes, refusing to pass judgment in abusive terms upon the original slanderer. Instead, he recognizes that it is not his place to do so; that to do so would be to usurp Jehovah’s unique right to pass judgment.
To speak abusively of another is to revile. Reviling is a sin.
(1 Corinthians 6:9, 10) . . .What! Do YOU not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, 10 nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom.
Even if one is being reviled, one has no right to revile in return. Jesus is the best example of this course of conduct.
(1 Peter 2:23) . . .When he was being reviled, he did not go reviling in return.. . .
This has not always been our way, as is exemplified by the case of Walter Salter. The Golden Age of May 5, 1937 on page 498 carries an article full of invective and quite unbecoming of Jehovah’s people. I found it difficult to read, as did another good friend who was unable to finish it. It is so foreign to the spirit of Jehovah’s people now that is hard to imagine that it issued forth from the source we now claim was the first faithful and discreet slave appointed by Jesus in 1919.
I have posted the reference (hyperlink) in keeping with our forum directive of providing verifiable references to everything that we state. However, I do not recommend that you read this article as it is too discouraging for our modern Christian sensibilities. Instead, allow me to quote just a few excerpts so as to make the point of this post:
“If you are a “goat”, just go right ahead and make all the goat noises and goat odors that you wish.” (p. 500, par. 3)
“The man needs to be pruned. He should submit himself to the specialists and let them excavate his gall bladder and remove his inordinate self-esteem.” (p. 502, par. 6)
“a man who…is not thinker, not Christian and no real man.” (p. 503, par. 9)
There are those who would rather cover up this unsavory aspect of our history. However, Bible writers do not do that and neither should we. This adage is as true as ever: “Those who will not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”
So what can we learn from our own history? Simply this: Besides being a sin before God, reviling demeans us and undermines any argument we might be trying to make.
In this forum we are delving into deep scriptural matters. In doing so we have uncovered a number of aspects of our doctrinal teaching as Jehovah’s Witnesses that are not in line with Scripture. We are also learning that a number of these discoveries which are new to us, have in fact been known for many decades to prominent members of Jehovah’s people—those in a position to affect change. The aforementioned case of Walter Salter is but one example of this, for he wrote back in 1937 to many in the faith about the unscriptural teaching of 1914 as the beginning of Christ’s presence. Since this was revealed to God’s people some eighty years ago, why, we ask, does the false teaching continue to persist? The apparent doctrinal intransigence of our leaders[i] may cause us to feel great frustration and even anger. This may cause us to lash out at them verbally. There are many websites on the Internet where this is done on a regular basis. However, in this forum we must not give in to this impulse.
We must let the truth speak for itself.
We must resist the temptation to pass judgment, especially with abusive terms.
We respect the opinion of our readers and members. Therefore, if you find that we have departed from the aforementioned standard of conduct in any of the forum posts, please feel free to comment so that we can correct these oversights. We want to imitate the example of Michael the Archangel. We’re not suggesting that those who would lead us are comparable to the Devil. Rather, if even the Devil cannot be judged abusively, how much more so those are striving to feed us.
I like this article. Both in content and in the way we express it, we must show our condition of Christians
[…] against Rutherford from those inside the Bethel family such as Olin Moyle and Walter Salter (see Let Us Not Revile or Judge). These included accusations of reviling and misuse of alcohol. Of course it is acknowledged that […]
Your statement “it is so foreign to the spirit of Jehovah’s people now” is intriguing. The authors of WT literature now are not as blunt as Rutherford was, but they still indulge in reviling those whom they consider ‘apostate’. An example of this is the July 15, 2011 WT, page 16, where it says: “apostates are mentally diseased” (partially quoting the NWT version of 1 Tim 6:3,4). The surrounding paragraphs also contain a number of demeaning statements, including contracting some sort of spiritually infectious disease from ‘apostates’. Many so called ‘apostates’ are JWs who have consulted the scriptures and discovered… Read more »
You make an excellent point, JimmyG. A personal attack on an individual such as occurred with Walter Salter would be totally unacceptable to Jehovah’s people nowadays, Even reviling a group of individuals is taboo. We don’t make the kind of insulting attacks on the churches that we once did. But it appears we are not above reviling an amorphous groups of individuals. “Apostate” is a very handy label. Stamp it on the forehead of any one individual, and you no longer have to listen to him or deal with his arguments and reasoning. Anytime a troublesome individual cries out, “Yeah,… Read more »
”So we must conduct our Bible study and Bible discussions using anonymous identities, or behind closed doors with trusted friends. This is what our religion has brought us to and it is a sorry state of affairs.”
This is something I’ve also come to realize. I’m a physically healthy 31 year old but with a brain that keeps getting depressed. The atmosphere in ”the truth” lately doesnt help. But the comments of ppl on this site have truly helped me to get new strength from Gods Word. Heb 4:12
The attacks on Walter Salter and Olin Moyle were little as compared with the constant attacks with articles and cartoons on the Catholic Church often referred to as “The Hierarchy” (ironic relative to our own recent developments). They are too numerous to list here but one very strong example using a significant number of cartoons was the Golden Age issue, April 7, 1937. To quote “The Roman Catholic “religion” is merely a composite patchwork of all the heathen “religions”, and no more represents true Christianity than a tub of dirty water represents the Atlantic ocean”. See:-
Period pieces are always interesting. I particularly enjoyed the box on the last page, under the heading “Does the GOLDEN AGE make you shiver?”
In evaluating the work of the Society in this Stalinist/pre-WWII era, the recording “Enemies” denouncing the Papal/Axis power alliance speaks for itself. Who else or which other organization was so active at warning the world of this evil?
Will the purges and tactics of this decade (1930’s) return to WT Headquarters? Stayed turned. Perhaps we will hear it once again on WBBR.
Only a full reading of the documentation of the period will provide a balanced view of what was really going on. Rutherford’s denunciation of the axis powers was primarily a vehicle for his attacks on the Catholic church. In my opinion these attacks actually became very political in nature. Let us not lose sight that that democracy under the allied forces were just as much an enemy of Christ’s kingdom as the axis powers were. And yet there is no question that sides were taken in our publications of the period. However even before that happened Rutherford had tried to… Read more »
From the research I’ve done on this subject, you are absolutely correct. Our organization really must stop trying to rewrite history. I always enjoy your accurate and well-researched comments. You leave no stone unturned.