Identifying the Faithful Slave – Part 4

– posted by meleti
[Click here to view Part 3]

“Who really is the faithful and discreet slave…?” (Mt. 24:45) 

Imagine you are reading this verse for the first time. You come across it without prejudice, without bias, and without an agenda. You are curious, naturally. The slave Jesus speaks of is given the greatest reward possible—an appointment over all of the master’s belongings. You might feel an immediate desire to be that slave. At the very least, you will want to know who the slave is. So how would you go about doing that?
The first thing you might do would be to look for any parallel accounts of the same parable. You’d find there is only one and it is located in the twelfth chapter of Luke. Let’s list both accounts so that we can refer back to them.

(Matthew 24:45-51) “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. 47 Truly I say to YOU, He will appoint him over all his belongings. 48 “But if ever that evil slave should say in his heart, ‘My master is delaying,’ 49 and should start to beat his fellow slaves and should eat and drink with the confirmed drunkards, 50 the master of that slave will come on a day that he does not expect and in an hour that he does not know, 51 and will punish him with the greatest severity and will assign him his part with the hypocrites. There is where [his] weeping and the gnashing of [his] teeth will be.

(Luke 12:41-48) Then Peter said: “Lord, are you saying this illustration to us or also to all?” 42 And the Lord said: “Who really is the faithful steward, the discreet one, whom his master will appoint over his body of attendants to keep giving them their measure of food supplies at the proper time? 43 Happy is that slave, if his master on arriving finds him doing so! 44 I tell YOU truthfully, He will appoint him over all his belongings. 45 But if ever that slave should say in his heart, ‘My master delays coming,’ and should start to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that slave will come on a day that he is not expecting [him] and in an hour that he does not know, and he will punish him with the greatest severity and assign him a part with the unfaithful ones. 47 Then that slave that understood the will of his master but did not get ready or do in line with his will will be beaten with many strokes. 48 But the one that did not understand and so did things deserving of strokes will be beaten with few. Indeed, everyone to whom much was given, much will be demanded of him; and the one whom people put in charge of much, they will demand more than usual of him.

The next thing you might do is to identify the key elements in these two accounts. The trick is to do this without making any assumptions, sticking only to what is clearly identified in the verses. We will try to keep this at a high level in our first pass.
Both accounts contain the following elements: 1) A single slave is appointed by a master to feed his domestics; 2) the master is away while the slave performs this duty; 3) the master returns at an unanticipated hour; 4) the slave is judged on the basis of performing his duties faithfully and discreetly; 5) one slave was appointed to feed the domestics, but more than one is identified upon the master’s return.
The accounts differ in the following elements: While Matthew’s account speaks of two slaves, Luke lists four.  Luke speaks of one slave who gets many strokes for knowingly disobeying the will of the master, and another slave who gets few strokes because he acted in ignorance.
There is more in the parables, but going there at this point would require us to engage in some deductive reasoning and to draw conclusions. We are not quite ready to do that yet, since we don’t want bias to creep in.  Let’s get a little more background first by looking at all the other parables Jesus spoke that relate to slaves.

  • The Parable of the evil vineyard cultivators (Mt 21:33-41; Mr 12:1-9; Lu 20:9-16)
    Explains the basis for the rejection and destruction of the Jewish system of things.

  • The Parable of the marriage feast (Mt 22:1-14; Lu 14:16-24)
    Rejection of the Jewish nation in favor of individuals from all nations.

  • The Example of a man traveling abroad (Mr 13:32-37)
    Warning to keep on the watch as we do not know when the Lord will return

  • The Parable of the talents (Mt 25:14-30)
    Master appoints slaves to do some work, then departs, then returns and awards/punishes slaves according to their deeds.

  • The Parable of the Minas (Lu 19:11-27)
    King appoints slaves to do some work, then departs, then returns and awards/punishes slaves according to their deeds.

  • The Parable of the faithful and discreet slave (Mt 24:45-51; Lu 12:42-48)
    Master appoints slave to do some work, then departs, then returns and awards/punishes slaves according to their deeds.

After reading all these accounts, it becomes apparent that the parables of the talents and the Minas share many common elements with each other and with both accounts of the faithful and discreet slave.  The first two speak of a task assigned to slaves by the master or King as he’s about to depart.  They speak of a judgment made of the slaves upon the master’s return. The FADS (faithful and discreet slave) parable does not mention the master’s departure explicitly, but it seems safe to assume it took place since the parable speaks of his subsequent return. The FADS parable speaks of only one slave being appointed in contrast to the other two, however, it now seems safe to assume that an individual slave is not being spoken of.  There are two reasons for this. First, there is a commonality shared by all three parables, so the multiple slaves referred to in the first two would lend support to the idea that the FADS parable is speaking of an appointment over a collective slave.  The second reason for concluding this is even more powerful:  Luke speaks of one slave being appointed but four being found and judged upon the master’s return. The only logical way for one slave to morph into four is if we are not speaking of a literal individual.  The only conclusion is that Jesus was speaking metaphorically.
We have now reached the point at which we can start making some preliminary deductions.
The master (or king) Jesus is referring to in each parable is himself.  There is no one else who has departed who has the authority to grant the rewards being spoken of.  Therefore, it become apparent that the time of his departure must be 33 C.E.  (John 16:7)  There is no other year since then that Jesus can be spoken of as leaving or departing from his slaves.  If someone were to suggest another year other than 33 C.E., he would have to provide scriptural evidence that the Lord returned and then left again.  Jesus is spoken of as returning only once.  That time has not arrived, for when he returns it is to wage war at Armageddon and to gather his chosen ones. (Mt. 24:30, 31)
No man nor group of men has continued living from 33 C.E. onward down to this day.  Therefore, the slave must refer to a type of person.  What type?  Someone who is already one of the master’s slaves.  His disciples are spoken of as his slaves. (Rom. 14:18; Eph. 6:6) So let’s look for some passage in which Jesus is commanding a disciple or group of disciples (his slaves) to do a feeding work.
There is only one such instance.  John 21:15-17 shows the resurrected Jesus commissioning Peter to “feed his little sheep”.
While Peter and the rest of the apostles did much feeding of the Lord’s sheep (his domestics) in the first century, they could not physically have done all the feeding.  We are looking for a type of individual who has lived since 33 C.E. until now.  Since Peter took the lead in the congregation and commissioned others as older men to take the lead in the congregations, we may be looking for a group within the disciples or slaves of Jesus who are designated to feed and shepherd.  After all, the FADS parable says that the slave is “appointed over the domestics”, indicating some office of oversight presumably.  If so, would we be talking of the whole group of shepherds or just a subgroup of them; the shepherds of the shepherds if you will?  To answer that, we need more data.
In the parables of the talents and the Minas, we find that the faithful slaves are awarded responsibility and oversight over the Lord’s belongings.  Similarly, in the FADS parable, the slave is awarded oversight over all the Lord’s belongings.  Who gets such a reward?  If we can determine that, we should be able to determine who the slave might turn out to be.
The Christian Scriptures indicate that all Christians[i] are to receive the reward of ruling in heaven with Christ, judging even angels.  This applies equally to men and women.  Of course, the reward is not automatic, as indicated in each of the three parables.  The reward depends on the faithful and discreet activity of the slaves, but the same reward is held out to all, male and female alike.  (Gal. 3:26-28; 1 Cor. 6:3; Rev. 20:6)
This creates a dilemma, because we do not see women in an office of oversight, or being assigned over the domestics of the Lord.  If the faithful and discreet slave is a subset of all Christians, one appointed to oversee the flock, then it cannot include women. Yet, women get the reward along with men.  How can a subgroup get the identical reward that the whole gets?  There is nothing to differentiate one group from the other.  In this scenario, the subgroup gets a reward for faithfully feeding the whole, yet the whole gets the same reward for being fed.  It doesn’t make sense.
A good rule to follow when faced with a logical conundrum such as this is to re-evaluate one’s fundamental assumptions.  Let’s examine each premise our research is based on to find the one causing us problems.

Fact: Both male and female Christians will be ruling with Christ.
Fact: The faithful and discreet slave is rewarded by being appointed to rule with Christ.
Conclusion: The faithful and discreet slave must include women.

Fact: Women are not appointed as overseers in the congregation.
Conclusion: The faithful and discreet slave cannot be limited to overseers.

Fact: A slave of Christ is appointed to feed the domestics.
Fact: The domestics are also Christ’s slaves.
Fact: The appointed slave, if faithful and discreet, gets appointed to rule in heaven.
Fact: The domestics, if faithful and discreet, get appointed to rule in heaven.
Conclusion: The domestics and the FADS are one and the same.

That last conclusion forces us to concede that the difference between the slave and the domestics must therefore not be one of identity.  They are the same person, yet somehow different.  Since feeding is the only activity spoken of, the difference between being the slave or being one of the domestics must hinge on the element of feeding or being fed.
Before we go further in developing that thought, we need to clear away some intellectual debris.  Are we getting hung up on the phrase “over his domestics”?  As humans we tend to view most relationships in terms of some command hierarchy: “Is the head of the house in? Who’s in charge here?  Where is your boss?  Take me to your leader.”  So let us ask  ourselves, was Jesus using this parable to demonstrate that he would be appointing someone to lead his flock in his absence?  Is this a parable illustrating the appointment of leaders over the Christian congregation?  If so, why frame it as a question?  And why add the qualifier “really”?  To say “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave?” indicates that some uncertainty would exist as to its identity.
Let’s look at this from another angle.  Who is the head of the congregation?  No doubt there.  Jesus is well established as our leader in many places in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures.  We would not ask, “Who really is the head of the congregation?”  That would be a silly way to frame the question, implying that there might be some uncertainty; that a challenge could be mounted against the one who is our head.  Jesus’ headship is well established in Scripture, so there simply is no question about it. (1 Cor. 11:3; Mt. 28:18)
If follows therefore that if Jesus were going to appoint an authority in his absence as a governing entity and a sole channel of communication, he would do so in the same way his authority was established.  There would simply be no question about it.  Would this not be the loving thing to do?  So why is such an appointment not readily evident in Scripture?  The only thing used to justify the teaching of such an appointment in any religion in Christendom is the parable of the faithful and discreet slave.   A single parable framed as a question for which no answer is found in scripture—for which we must wait until the Lord’s return to have answered—cannot serve as grounds for such an exalted position of oversight.
It seems therefore that to use the FADS parable as a means to establish a scriptural basis for some ruling class within the Christian congregation is to misuse it.  Besides, the faithful and discreet slave is not shown to be either faithful nor discreet when he receives the appointment.  Like the slaves assigned to work with the master’s talents, or like the slaves given the master’s Minas, the slave in this parable is given his feeding assignment in the hope that he will turn out to be faithful and discreet when all is said and done—something only determined on Judgment Day.
So returning to our final conclusion, how can the faithful slave be one and the same with the domestics?
To answer that, let’s look at the work he is assigned to do.  He is not appointed to rule.  He is not appointed to interpret the master’s instructions.  He is not appointed to prophecy nor to reveal hidden truths.  He is appointed to feed.
To Feed. 
This is an important assignment.  Food sustains life.  We must eat to live.  We must eat regularly and constantly, or we get ill.  There is a proper time to eat.  Also, there is a time for certain types of food and a time for others.  When we are sick, we do not eat what we eat when we are well, for instance.  And who feeds us?  Perhaps you grew up in a household, as I did, where the mother does most of the cooking?  However, my father also prepared food and we delighted in the variety that provided us.  They taught me to cook and I took great pleasure in preparing meals for them.  In short, we each had occasion to feed the others.
Now hold that thought while we take a look at judgment.  Each of the three related slave parables contains the common element of judgment; sudden judgment actually because the slaves do not know when the master is to return.  Now he does not judge the slaves collectively.  They are judged individually. (See Romans 14:10)  Christ does not judge his domestics—all his slaves—collectively.  He judges them individually for how they provided for the whole.
How have you provided for the whole?
When we are speaking of a spiritual feeding, we start with the food itself. This is God’s word.  It was so in the day of Moses and it continues down to our day and always. (Deut. 8:3; Mt. 4:4)  So ask yourself, “Who was it that first fed me the truth from God’s word?”  Was it an anonymous group of men, or someone close to you?  If you’ve ever been down and depressed, who fed you God’s nourishing words of encouragement?  Was it a family member, a friend, or perhaps something you read in a letter, a poem, or one of the publications?  If you have ever found yourself deviating from the true course, who came to the rescue with food at the proper time?
Now turn the tables.  Have you also engaged in feeding others from God’s word at the proper time?  Or have you held back from doing so?  When Jesus said we are to “make disciples…teaching them”, he was speaking of adding to the ranks of his domestics.  This command was not given to an elite group, but to all Christians and our individual compliance to this command (and others) serves as the basis for our judgment by him upon his return.
It would be dishonest to give all credit for this feeding program to any small group of individuals since the nourishment each of us has received over our lifetime comes from more sources than we can count.  Our feeding of each other can save lives, including our own.

(James 5:19, 20) . . . My brothers, if anyone among YOU is misled from the truth and another turns him back, 20 know that he who turns a sinner back from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

If we all feed each other, then we fill the role of both the domestics (receiving the food) and the slave appointed to do the feeding.  We all have that appointment and we are all responsible for feeding.  The command to make disciples and teach them was not given to a small subgroup, but to all Christians, male and female.
In the parables of the talents and the Minas, Jesus highlights that the abilities and productivity of each slave varies from the next, yet he values whatever each one can do.  He makes his point by focusing on quantity; the amount produced.  However, quantity—the  amount of food dispensed—is not a factor in the FADS parable.  Rather, Christ focuses on the characteristics of the slave himself.  Luke gives us the most detail in this regard.
Note: The slaves are not rewarded for simply feeding the domestics, nor are they punished for failing to do so.  Instead, what qualities they display in performing the task are the basis for determining the judgment rendered to each one.
On his return, Jesus finds one slave who has dispensed the spiritual nutrition of God’s word in a manner that is faithful to the master.  Teaching falsehoods, acting in a self-aggrandizing manner, and requiring others to put faith not only in the master but in oneself, would not be acting in a faithful way.  This slave is also discreet, acting wisely at the appropriate time.  It is never wise to engender false hope.  Acting in a way that might bring reproach on the master and his message can hardly be termed discreet.
The excellent qualities displayed by the first slave are missing from the next one.  This slave is judged as evil.  He has used his position to take advantage of others.  He feeds them, yes, but in a way so as to exploit them.  He is abusive and mistreats his fellow slaves.  He uses his ill-gotten gains to live the “high life”, engaging in sin.
The third slave is also adversely judged, because his manner of feeding is neither faithful nor discreet.  He is not spoken of as abusing the domestics.  His error seems to be one of omission.  He knew what was expected of him, but failed to do it.  Yet, he is not thrown out with the evil slave, but apparently remains in the master’s household, but is severely beaten, and does not get the reward of the first slave.
The fourth and final judgment category is similar to the third in that it is a sin of omission, but softened by the fact that this slave’s failure to act is due to ignorance of the master’s will.  He too is punished, but less severely.  However, he loses out on the reward granted to the faithful and discreet slave.
It would seem that in the master’s household—the Christian congregation—all four types of slaves are even now developing.  One third of the world claims to follow Christ.  Jehovah’s Witnesses make up part of that group, though we like to think of ourselves as in a completely separate category.  This parable applies to each of us individually, and any interpretation that focuses our attention away from ourselves and on to another group is a disservice to us, as this parable is intended as a warning to all—that we should follow a life course that will result in our attaining to the reward promised to those acting faithfully and discreetly in feeding all who are the Lord’s domestics, our fellow slaves.

A Word About Our Official Teaching

It is interesting that until this year, our official teaching coincided to some extent with the foregoing understanding.  The faithful and discreet slave was determined to be the class of anointed Christians, acting individually for the good of the whole, the domestics, who were also anointed Christians.  The other sheep were merely the belongings.  Of course, that understanding restricted the anointed Christians to a tiny minority of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  We have now come to see that all Christians who have the spirit are anointed by it.  It is noteworthy that even with this old understanding, there was always the ubiquitous codicil that this faithful and discreet slave was represented by its Governing Body.
As of last year, we have changed that understanding and teach that the Governing Body is the faithful and discreet slave.  If you were to do a search in the Watchtower Library program on Matthew 24:45, you would find 1107 hits in The Watchtower alone.  However, if you did another search on Luke 12:42, the counterpart to Matthew’s account, you’d find only 95 hits.  Why this 11-fold difference when Luke’s account is the more complete one?  Additionally, if you were to do yet another search on Luke 12:47 (the first of the two slaves not mentioned by Matthew) you’d get only 22 hits, none of which explains who this slave is.  Why this odd discrepancy in full and complete coverage of this important parable?
Jesus’ parables are not meant to be understood in a piecemeal manner.  We have no right to cherry-pick one aspect of a parable because it seems to fit our pet premise, while ignoring the rest because to interpret those parts might undermine our argument.  Certainly if the slave is now reduced to a committee of eight, there is no place for the three other slaves to show up; yet they must show up when Jesus returns, because he has prophesied that they will be there to be judged.
We do ourselves and those who would listen to us a great disservice by treating Jesus’ parables as complex and cryptic metaphors that can only be decoded by some studious elite toiling by candlelight.  His parables are to be understood by the people, his disciples, “the foolish things of the world”.   (1 Cor. 1:27)   He uses them to make a simple, but important point.  He uses them to hide truth from haughty hearts, but reveal it to childlike individuals whose humility allows them to grasp truth.

An Unexpected Benefit

In this forum, we have come to analyse Jesus’ command to partake of the emblems when commemorating his death and we have come to see that this command applies to all Christians, not some tiny elect.  However, for many of us this realization has resulted not in joyous expectation at the glorious prospect now open to us, but in consternation and discomfort.  We were ready to live on earth.  We drew comfort from the thought that we didn’t have to try as hard as the anointed.  After all, they have to be good enough to be granted immortality upon death while the rest of us only have to be good enough to make it through Armageddon, after which we would have a thousand years to “work toward perfection”; a thousand years to get it right.  Cognisant of our own failings, we have trouble imagining we would ever by “good enough” to go to heaven.
Of course, this is human reasoning and has no basis in Scripture, but it is part of the collective consciousness of Jehovah’s Witnesses; a shared belief that is based on what we wrongly see as common sense.  We miss the point that “with God all things are possible.” (Mt. 19:26)
Then there are the other questions of a logistical nature which cloud our judgment.  For instance, what happens if a faithful anointed one has small children at the time Armageddon starts?
The fact is that for four thousand years of human history, no one even knew how Jehovah would make the salvation of our species possible.  Then the Christ was revealed.  Subsequently, he revealed the creation of a group who would accompany him in the work of restoring all things.  Let us not think that for the past two thousand years we now have all the answers.  The metal mirror is still in place. (1 Cor. 13:12) How Jehovah will work things out, we can only imagine—actually, we do well not to try.
However, the fact that there are slaves of Jesus in the FADS parable who are not cast out, but only beaten opens up possibilities.  Jehovah and Jesus decide who to take to heaven and who to leave on earth, who will die and who will survive, who to resurrect and who to leave in the ground.  Taking the emblems doesn’t guarantee us a place in heaven.  However, it is a commandment of our Lord and must be obeyed.  End of story.
If we can take anything from the parable of the faithful and discreet slave, we can take this: Our salvation and the reward we are granted is very much up to us.  So let each one of us labor to feed our fellow slaves at the proper time, being faithful to the message of truth and discreet in our manner of delivering it to others.  We must remember that there is another common element in both Matthew’s and Luke’s account. In each, the master returns unexpectedly and then there is no time for the slaves to change their course of life.  So let us use the time remaining to us to be both faithful and discreet.


[i] Since we have established elsewhere in this forum that there is no basis to believe in a two-class system of Christianity with a minority being considered as anointed with holy spirit while the majority receive no such anointing, we are discontinuing the use of the term “anointed Christian” as being redundant.

Archived Comments

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  • Comment by emilyjeff on 2013-09-01 16:07:09

    Meleti I must congratulate you on another masterful article on Identifying the Faithful Slave. There is no doubt left that the 8 men comprising the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses who claim to be that Faithful Slave are a sham. They are simply self appointed leaders of a restrictive religion whose record of wrong dates speaks for itself. They would be wise to heed the words at Matthew 24:24 “For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God's chosen ones.” They do not own the truth about the Good News of the Christ. That was given freely by Christ himself for all who listen to His voice. You make some very salient points on the equality in God’s eyes of men and women when we come before Him in judgment. We are all Christians and as you pointed our share in both feeding and being fed. The time is coming when true Christians will have to take a stand and free themselves from the chains that bind them to this religion. It becomes a matter of conscience at some point whether to stay and lend our support, even if it is by our silence. For some it is a fairly easy decision to make but for others there is much at stake and it becomes harder to resolve questions of conscience and accept the consequences. Each of us has to make that decision for themselves. I would like to quote Martin Luther:
    “Unless I am convinced by the testimonies of the Scriptures or by evident reason (for I believe neither pope nor councils alone, since it is manifest they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted, and my conscience is held captive by the word of God; and as it is neither safe nor right to act against conscience, I cannot and will not retract anything. Here I stand; I cannot otherwise; God help me. Amen”
    We also have the words of the apostles Peter and John when faced with the same issue of conscience nineteen centuries ago: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard. Acts 4:19,20

  • Comment by Dorcas on 2013-09-01 19:34:50

    "We are all Christians and as you pointed our share in both feeding and being fed. The time is coming when true Christians will have to take a stand and free themselves from the chains that bind them to this religion."
    Please excuse me, but I find this statement a bit confusing. First, you say we are all Christians. Next, you use the term "true Christians." We cannot all be Christian if some are designated as "true Christians" (as opposed to false Christians.) In your observation, who ARE the true Christians? Also, if we separate ourselves from religion, Jehovah's Witnesses or any other Christian religion, how can we be upbuilding and be a part of the feeding process?

  • Comment by emilyjeff on 2013-09-01 20:39:57

    Hi Dorcas. I’m sorry if you are confused by my post. When I say we are all Christians I am assuming that I am addressing the readers of this board who as far as I know are Christians. I don’t know who the “true” Christians are any more than I know who are the wheat and the weeds. That is for Jehovah to know. I am simply saying how long will we as JW’s continue to put up with the kind of spiritual food that we are receiving from the “Faithful and Discreet Slave’? By our silence we are giving tacit support to an organization that has strayed far from the message that was brought to us by Christ. It is certainly not my intention to pass judgment on anyone. I leave that in the hands of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    I think the feeding work can be done in many ways and in many settings. We as Christians should set an example by our kind, loving, behavior to all we meet. That was how Christianity was spread before it became a formalized religion. Once that happens the Good News is changed into a ritualized form and love is lost in the translation. Maybe we should find a better way. “Love never fails.”

    • Reply by Dorcas on 2013-09-01 21:54:38

      Thank you for clarifying this for me. I find I do agree with you. How long are we to put up with the kind of spiritual food we have been receiving is anyone's guess. I'm not sure what we can do about that other than what Meleti has chosen to do....give us spiritual food aside from that which we receive through our meetings. I believe there is nothing we can do to effect a change, organizationally speaking. We are not a democracy and the Governing Body is not open to change especially if the idea did not originate with them.

      • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2013-09-02 10:50:51

        Thank you Emily and Dorcas for your perceptive insights into this question. I like the point made about the effect of our silence. There is an adage in Latin: Qui tacet consentire, "silence gives consent". Are we consenting by not speaking up? Obviously, this situation is troubling the conscience of many. We want to be faithful to our Lord, but also discreet in how we dispense his truth. "For everything there is an appointed time...a time to keep quiet and a time to speak". (Eccl. 3:1,7) In line with this, Silas and Apollos have given me something to think about, but I'll comment on that below.

  • Comment by silas on 2013-09-01 23:13:35

    In my personal bible study I have come across a scripture that shows that there would be divisions even within Gods people. This should not surprise us, just as it did not surprise Paul at 1 Corinthians 11:18,19.
    " For first of all, when YOU come together in a congregation, I hear divisions exist among YOU; and in some measure I believe it. 19 For there must also be sects among YOU, that the persons approved may also become manifest among YOU."
    In context Paul talks about the observance of Christs memorial, however in the broader context of the congregation it also applied to their generally meeting together for worship at Christian meetings. As we know there were sects and divisions even within the first century congregation.
    The point is HOW are those approved manifest amongst such differing opinions?
    It's quite simple. The truth about our lord Jesus Christ must be able to stand any and all scrutiny. If there is a belief, teaching, or understanding that does not stand up to the scrutiny of Gods word then we must question it's validity.
    The challenge then becomes, what do we do if we are unsure? Jehovah gives us the answer in this instance..
    (Matthew 7:8-11) "8 For everyone asking receives, and everyone seeking finds, and to everyone knocking it will be opened. 9 Indeed, who is the man among YOU whom his son asks for bread—he will not hand him a stone, will he? 10 Or, perhaps, he will ask for a fish—he will not hand him a serpent, will he? 11 Therefore, if YOU, although being wicked, know how to give good gifts to YOUR children, how much more so will YOUR Father who is in the heavens give good things to those asking him?"
    Yes Jehovah our heavenly father will provide for us and satisfy our hunger for truth and knowledge of his will. Meanwhile we do as the scriptures encourage us to do:
    (Lamentations 3:21) "21 This is what I shall bring back to my heart. That is why I shall show a waiting attitude."
    (Micah 7:7) 7 "But as for me, it is for Jehovah that I shall keep on the lookout. I will show a waiting attitude for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me."
    Since we are living in spiritually perilous times, all of us need to show caution and rely heavily on Jehovah. In his due time HIS truth will become clear. We have the assurance in scripture at:
    (Daniel 12:4) 4 “And as for you, O Daniel, make secret the words and seal up the book, until the time of [the] end. Many will rove about, and the [true] knowledge will become abundant.”
    Meanwhile we continue to be students of Gods word and in due course all will be revealed.

  • Comment by apollos0fAlexandria on 2013-09-02 08:21:10

    We continue to find ourselves in a tough spot. Meleti's logical analysis of the scriptures is excellent as always. I continue to agree that Jesus gave this parable for all Christians to analyze their own actions, and that it has been hijacked to claim authority.
    Nevertheless, we still have to ensure that we don't fall foul of Jesus' laws on judgment, unless we are happy to be on the receiving end of it also.
    I can see the temptation to view the current authority as fair game, since they have put themselves in that position (or at least accepted the invitation from others). But at the end of the day we are all still brothers. Even if they might see themselves as elevated, and us as rank and file, that is their business. In time they will have to deal with the consequences of that. In the meantime the wicked one would love to lead us down the ugly road that results from a temptation to judge others. We have the free will and Christian knowledge to avoid that.
    All that having been said, we still have a duty to separate truth from falsehood. God's Word is truth. Christianity is truth. You are welcome to disagree with me as to what the message of Christianity is, who the Son of God really is, what the hope for Christians really is, etc. As Meleti says, we continue to look into the metal mirror. Will we be judged on every wrong understanding? The Bible doesn't say so (unless it is so fundamental as not to acknowledge the identity and role of the Son of God). But we know for a certainty that we will be judged if we judge others.
    I believe that Silas proposes a sound course, for now. At least that is what I currently think is best for me and my family. But, I continue to keep a watchful eye on how things are unfolding. Under all previous forms of worship, God's people as individuals had to make difficult decisions at some point. Will that be so with us? We will have to see.
    Allow me to give my opinion that the majority of the spiritual food dispensed by the GB in percentage terms is still based on scripture and is irrefutably good. This will always the case when anyone dispenses food based firmly on scripture. But there have evidently been persistent human errors in our teachings, and now there seems to be a recent trend to allow a more self-serving interpretation of scripture to creep in.
    The GB themselves have often pointed out that we would avoid a glass of water that has even a drop of poison added. I personally think that the analogy is bad in relation to the human dispensation of spiritual food. None of us are perfect in doing this. To some degree or another we tend to add to God's Word or take away from it based upon our own limited thinking. But we can't reject everything we receive as poisoned. Therefore there is a duty on the behalf of the recipient to also use God's Word as a touchstone to make sure of all things, and carefully examine the scriptures as to whether these things are so (Acts 17:11; 1 Thes 5:21). It is often more akin to throwing out the couple of rotten apples in an otherwise good batch, rather than a drop of poison that contaminates everything. However, if too many apples become contaminated then we have to make a decision. Is there any point in sorting through a batch where the majority are rotten? Can we be confident that even the good looking ones have not become contaminated in this situation?
    Things change, and we have to “keep testing whether [we] are in the faith” (2 Cor 13:5). The variables in this situation are 1) our own attitude and actions and 2) the “faith” that we are trying to adhere to. In theory the latter should never be a variable – it is Christianity. Nevertheless if we belong to an organized religion that creates its own “skin” on top of Christianity (and they all do), and that is at the same time changing its doctrine, then we necessarily need to keep an eye on #2 as well as #1.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2013-09-02 12:09:08

      Silas, I really appreciated your introducing 1 Cor. 11:18, 19 into the discussion. I had never considered that passage before in the light of our current discussion. Apollos, you make an excellent point about the need for us to avoid judging others. Judgment involves more than simply identifying wrongdoing, or even demonstrating that an individual is guilty of it. It extends beyond the action into the underlying motive. Fortunately, such judgment is reserved for Jehovah and Jesus who can see into hearts. Nevertheless, 1 Cor. 11:19 speaks of the reason Jehovah permits sects and divisions to exist. It is so that those who are approved can become manifest. The Greek word our translation renders as "manifest" is often translated as "evident". As an adjective, it means "apparent", "clear", "visible", and "manifest".
      Our Organization would undoubtedly apply this passage at a collective level. I'm sure the train of thought would go something like, 'Our approved status as an organization has become manifest due to the divisions and sectarianism in Christendom.' However, the judgment of a collective body, an organization, a religion, is not what Paul is speaking of. In his day, there was only one religion he could possibly be referring to, and that was Christianity embodied in the first century congregation. He's not speaking at an organizational level, but at an individual level. Individuals became apparently, clearly, visibly approved as a result of the divisions and sects that Jehovah permitted (and continues to permit) to exist in the first century congregation.
      Tying it all together, Emily and Dorcas's discussion raised the issue of our silence conferring tacit approval to our Organization's false teachings. Apollos shows that the majority of our beliefs are solidly based on scripture. So there is a mixture of truth and falsehood. In positions of authority, those who would support all our teachings as truth are in a majority and can make it very difficult for those who recognize the falsehood. We are currently coexisting. This indicates a situation in line with Jesus' parable of the wheat and weeds and this past week's Watchtower study that spoke of vessels of mercy and of wrath existing among Jehovah's people. While we should not judge individuals, including those who would govern us (judge so as to condemn — Mt. 5:22), we can see that which is obvious, evident, clear and manifest. This results as a consequence of tribulation within the congregation. Romans 5:3-5 speaks of tribulations that produce an approved condition similar to that spoken of by Paul to the Corinthians. James echoes this teaching by stating, "Consider it all joy...when YOU meet with various trials, knowing...that this tested quality works out endurance...that YOU may be complete and sound" (James 1:2) Peter speaks of the same thing at 1 Peter 1:7, "...YOU have been grieved by various trails, in order that the tested quality of YOUR faith...may be found a cause for praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." The word 'tribulation' occurs 39 times in our translation and in virtually every instance refers to stress and testing upon the members of the congregation. In the 2,000 year history of Christianity, how much testing came upon true Christians from outside the faith? Precious little, I'm afraid. Christians tested Christians, revealing as a consequence those who were approved, i.e., true Christians.
      From all of this, it seems evident that the situation we are undergoing is nothing new, but seems to be peaking as we near the end. Something good was born when Russell began his investigations, but the Devil has continued to corrupt it as he does all things that are pure. Apollos' illustration of the rotten apples is much more applicable than the Organization's poisoned beverage. We have to extract the good and discard the bad. Silas highlights Daniel 12:24. It seems to me that this process has been ongoing for decades now, perhaps centuries. However, there is a speeding up of it. We now have the means for true knowledge to become abundant. It is exciting to contemplate what the coming years will be bring.

    • Reply by mdnwa on 2013-09-02 20:05:06

      Your points are valid. That's one of the reasons I like this site since all are able to come and discuss and share different viewpoints without being labeled things when many just have a sincere desire to get questions answered or answers to doubts they've had in the past. Going along with your post I like to get your personal viewpoint on a few questions.
      1. How do you explain to non JW's your stance/ beliefs or direction from the GB in defense in your ministry/ general convo without coming across as judgmental?
      2. During your family study night how do you handle teachings/ new light that may go against your personal beliefs without it potentially confusing your family or causing division in your congregation?
      3. You mentioned there might be a time in the future Christians may have to decide if it's best to move away from certain religious orgs if the teachings become corrupted (you used the bad apple example) so when others point out certain things we teach are incorrect (some would think corruptible/ false teachings) or you personally notice it what would have to be the tipping point for you to move on? How would you then however fulfill the commandment to not forsake the gathering of ourselves and going to the older men to pray over us or shepherd us? How would you know this is the right move or if we're jumping the gun and not waiting on Jehovah?
      Others feel free to chime in but really interested in getting Apollos input as well.

      • Reply by apollos0fAlexandria on 2013-09-02 21:11:33

        Here are some responses to your points:
        1) As yet I've honestly never been put in a tight spot. Perhaps you could give an example and I'll let you know how I would respond.
        2) Thankfully I am able to have an open discussion with my immediate family. There is nothing that I have said on this site that I would not also share in conversation with them.
        3) Great question. I wish I had a definitive answer. It would make me feel far more settled about the future. I can only say that I am trying to not be anxious about the next day as far as this is concerned. Logically there must have been Christians any time after the first century who have had to face these challenges. There has been apostasy in the church ever since then. So we know that the answer cannot be “just keep sucking it up without question”. For example, if a Christian in the year 125 A.D. was observing the command to gather together and was enjoying the care of the shepherds, but then observed false teachings infiltrating the congregation, what would he/she have done? Such a Christian could not just go with the flow and retain a good conscience before God. So the support of the congregation and the first century commands that were given cannot be unconditional. Our primary command is to obey God rather than men.
        They are all good questions, and I would also be interested to hear what others have to say.

        • Reply by mdnwa on 2013-09-03 01:54:56

          Thanks for your response and answers to my questions. Very good additional input as well.
          As far as an example regarding my question #1, it's taught among all JW's that our org kind of copyrighted or patient exclusive claims on everlasting life and being the only deserving ones. But I believe we share common belief that all Christians who strive to serve Jehovah, obey his commands, and are acceptable to Jehovah are eligible (correct me if I'm wrong). But how would you answer someone who brings up our own teachings about our orgs common belief of exclusivity although you believe different, including in service with someone who you do not know if they share your same thoughts?
          Another example, when I'm teaching others about false religious teachings I will without fail get others bringing up the orgs misinterpretations/ failed understandings, or even teachings that you/ I might be in the grey area about (i.e. 1914, "generations", GB role/ beliefs they are the F&DS mentioned in the bible, WT defending it's stance on past mistakes, past/ current teachings, etc) how do you walk that fine line between not looking like we're going along blindly/ making excuses while also not judging other religions/ beliefs or come across as indecisive, holier than thou, or divisive?
          As much as I want to keep defending the org (and I do this a lot) it is VERY hard to defend teachings/ beliefs that change, go back, change again or just don't seem right interpretations but accept things out of "faith" and tell other non Christians to do the same based on our history. This after now it being pointed out by others I'm taking the word of men that came out last KM saying they are not inspired by God or as a group spirit driven. To question anything within the org is considered questioning Jehovah/ Jesus themselves which I would NEVER want to do so I REALLY want to get the right mindset but the more I study the more questions I have and sometimes I wonder... am I just sticking around "just in case they're right", which in that case Jehovah reads hearts so he would know regardless and I could be in sin but if I decide to just accept everything as fact then (1) how would I know outside of BLATANT false teachings when I would need to step aside or (2) how can I defend certain things even when I with limited spiritual knowledge compared to all here scratch my head about let along others who are on the outside looking in.

        • Reply by apollos0fAlexandria on 2013-09-03 07:40:46

          Hi mdnwa
          In other words when someone says “you believe that only Jehovah's Witnesses will be saved”. Is that the kind of challenge you mean? That seems straightforward enough to me. I can tell the person that I certainly don't hold that view, and that only Jesus will be judge of those who are saved. But can we agree the important point that some will be saved and some won't? (The person is probably of a Christian faith if they've raised this particular question). If so we can have a conversation about that. Matt 7 is a valid scripture to share to show that claiming to be Christian is not all that is required. Ultimately if I treat them as a fellow Christian with both of us in the position that we need to be clear about what salvation entails, and neither of us already guaranteed it, then I'm serving a useful purpose by witnessing to them. If given the chance I like to find out how a person feels that the good news should be preached by us as individuals. Some I speak to actually do give quite a bit of emphasis to spreading the gospel in various ways. Others clearly don't. Again this is not a wasted conversation.
          Although I do agree with you that the boundaries of salvation are not dictated by a specific denomination, that doesn't mean that I see all denominations as equally beneficial. I still feel that what we are taught morally as JW's, and the emphasis that we generally put on God's Word gives us a better opportunity to develop Christian qualities than many might currently be experiencing in their own churches.
          As far as the misinterpretations and failed understandings I think that if we genuinely don't have a judgmental attitude towards others in the first place, or a dogmatic view of our own doctrines, it's much easier to deal with this. We're all just trying to ensure that we do what God wants are we not? How do we do that in order to ultimately stand before the judgment seat of his Son with a good conscience. I've made mistakes. My religion has made mistakes. I haven't got everything figured out, and neither has my religion. However, I still believe that it is a beneficial path to take because ... etc.
          As I say I've never been pushed to the limit on any of this. All I can imagine is that if I keep answering honestly, viewing the other person the same as myself, then the holy spirit will help us to be upbuilding and productive in our conversation. As Meleti made reference to in his article, the Apostle Paul was not ashamed to admit that he (along with all Christians) was looking into a metal mirror. Why should I be ashamed of the same?
          I believe this has been a major failing of our movement. We are so determined to separate ourselves from the rest of Christendom that we have to claim that all our pet doctrines are absolute truth, otherwise we feel we really don't have anything useful to say. Well I think that's bogus. The core doctrine of the gospel is infinitely useful and we can take it to people with pride and enthusiasm. And if people believe that they already have the gospel, then as I've said there can still be much to talk about. Who knows what I myself learn from those conversations when I keep an open mind.

          • Reply by smolderingwick1s on 2013-09-03 12:19:01

            Hi Apollos and mdnwa. Just a small point on our movement. I carry the Pauline view as he departed Judaic Law and dogma, he learned to live in isolation, walking the fine line of becoming all things to all people while contending with the religious philosophies of his gentile converts. In many ways we are the same and history has only returned to teach us a necessary lesson.
            Organizationally we chose a time structure that we now see so clearly flawed we can barely justify the urgency given us to preach and teach. How are we to invite intelligent people to join us is we cannot honestly acknowledge within our brotherhood its gaping flaws? So many seasoned R&F are fading because of it, and the new blood is so buried in WT literature, they have little time for unencumbered Bible study and meditation. If I even suggest the research done here, I risk expulsion from their exclusive mindset.
            I truly believe we are in a season not unlike early Christians freeing themselves from old dogma while resisting the new.

            • Reply by apollos0fAlexandria on 2013-09-04 08:05:39

              I agree that it is a period of transition. But should it be?
              It's an interesting contrast the relationship of Christians to both dogma and doctrine. As you put it they were freeing themselves from old dogma while resisting the new. At the same time they were taking on new doctrine while letting go of the old. The GB seem to think that modern day Christians should constantly accept and absorb changing doctrine. This is a process that's been going on for well over 100 years in our org, to the point that our teachings would be virtually unrecognizable to C.T.Russell. But is the true gospel like that? Or once Christianity was established was it supposed to be complete right up to the harvest? In other words a gospel message that would work equally well in every century from Jesus' human existence.
              The Adventist mindset leads to date-setting and looking for signs. Jesus simply told his followers to be constantly on the watch. This clearly didn't mean that they should try to find our when the kingdom would be established, but just that they should be constantly on the watch in regard to their own individual standing, so that whenever it was established they would be found finally by him spotless and unblemished and in peace.

  • Comment by Kyp on 2013-09-02 12:24:09

    Dear Apollos,
    I really appreciate your point of view. As I once wrote, I like Meleti's and your way of thinking since sometimes it seems that there is no free thinking / inactive / ex JW left that has no hatred for the organisation and does recognice that there are many good and biblical things within our religion. And by the way - I completely agree with most of your statements. It seems to be simple Bible studie's result. I know many people that think the same way by simply studying the Bible.
    Jehovah bless You

    • Reply by apollos0fAlexandria on 2013-09-03 07:34:16

      Thanks for your reply Kyp. I appreciate the encouragement.

  • Comment by smolderingwick1 on 2013-09-02 19:12:32

    Dear Meleti,
    After several gruelling attempts my brain managed to get through your deftly deductive reasoning (sherlock I am not).
    Excellent. I sometimes don’t realize we’re all in the same page until I rethink how many different ways our brains were made to function—which is why the Hebrew word “functional” is rendered “good” in most translations. We were created perfect in that we are all functional (and teachable) from Jehovah’s perspective.
    Jesus was the master of communicating which is why his words carry so much more impact no matter how simple or complex our brains work. However, I should qualify that by saying from a spiritual perspective—since our minds all function so differently from the simple to complex. (1 Corinthians 2:14)
    So my first premise is, when I fail to see something, I ask myself, “What do I already know?” And if I am humble enough to admit what I don’t know—even what nobody needs or can know, I will learn by my own error by admitting I didn’t know. I then think how foolish I must appear to Jehovah and Jesus for presuming I did—especially in matters we were never meant to know (such as the knowledge gained by Adam—Genesis 3:22)
    So we can thank Jesus for teaching through parables. While truth might be stranger than fiction, fiction tells the truth better, as in the case of Nathan exposing David’s sin with Bathsheba since he was able to see himself so easily in the parable given him. (2 Samuel 12:1-9)
    Unfortunately, theologians were born to make more fiction out of fiction so that dogma is formed. Why else would Jesus proclaim so loudly, “I publicly praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intellectual ones and have revealed them to babes?!” (Matthew 11:25)
    Which goes with what you said: “A single parable framed as a question for which no answer is found in scripture—for which we must wait until the Lord’s return to have answered—cannot serve as grounds for such an exalted position of oversight.” Jesus never concluded a parable by targeting any person or group. For example, in his vineyard illustration of Luke 20:9-19, while he told the story, the scribes and chief priests could only “perceived that he spoke this illustration with them in mind” while seeking to “get their hands on him in that very hour.”
    Take, for example his conclusion at the end of another parable—“Nevertheless, when the Son of man arrives, will he really find the faith on the earth?” What kind of question was that—especially after telling us of the lawyerless widow given justice by a judge who could care less about God or men and how much more the long-suffering, universal judge of the universe would give justice to his chosen crying out to him day and night? So yes, another unanswered question reserved for “when the Son of man arrives—will he really find the faith on the earth?”

  • Comment by silas on 2013-09-04 07:16:51

    My previous inclusion of (Daniel 12:4 "Many will rove about, and the [true] knowledge will become abundant.”) was to make a point about avoiding certain traps.
    In our eagerness to see the day of Jehovah arrive, one trap would be to think that we know and understand how and when events will unfold in the future. The fact is that Jehovah's day is coming as a thief in the night. We just need to keep on the watch.
    Why? Because when it does finally come we will have prepared ourselves for that time.
    Unfortunately the Watchtower society has displayed such eagerness in the past by setting dates that relate to the end times. As a matter of fact they printed an apology in the Jan 2013 Watchtower (public edition) on page 8. Hence their reluctance to set any future dates.
    The lesson here for us is what 1 Corinthians 4:6 says  . .: “Do not go beyond the things that are written,” in order that YOU may not be puffed up individually in favour of the one against the other.
    When it comes to matters of doctrine such as who is Jehovah, His purpose for the future, the issue of universal sovereignty, Jesus role in the outworking's of Jehovah's purposes, the role of the holy spirit just to mention a few.... Then we defend the truth with great vigour. Thereby adhering to the things written.
    However when it comes to matters of future prophecy we adopt a waiting attitude in the full knowledge that Jehovah will provide needed understanding when it is necessary.
    As an example of this take a look at the following scripture: (Matthew 24:15, 16) 15 “Therefore, when YOU catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place, (let the reader use discernment,) 16 then let those in Ju·de′a begin fleeing to the mountains."
    Notice that true Christians in the first century were to take no action nor go beyond what was written until they saw the fulfilment of Jesus words. Once they saw the Roman armies encircling the city and then suddenly leave, what were they able to discern? That this was the exact moment that Jesus was talking about all along. They didn't need an organisation to guide them out of Jerusalem. No. As individuals they were all responsible to discern for themselves the importance of those events. Hence Jesus words "let the READER use discernment."
    Now getting back to Daniel !2: 4 Yes, true knowledge of future prophetic events will become abundant as we see these events happen. As we see the commencement of the Great Tribulation and all associated events. We will be able to clearly discern what is required of us as Christians. This will be on an individual level. We will all stand before Jehovah individually and be examined as individuals.

    • Reply by apollos0fAlexandria on 2013-09-04 07:42:42

      Your thought process is entirely consistent with scripture, and I agree with you wholeheartedly.
      The question remains as to what the Nov 15th WT is setting us up for. (This is covered in Meleti's other article about 7 shepherds, 8 dukes.) The GB evidently already have something in mind that we're not going to like. It seems possible that they believe they have interpreted scripture sufficiently to understand what the modern equivalent of fleeing to the mountains will be.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2013-09-04 08:06:38

      I agree with your reasoning, Silas. Just to be clear, in my previous comment, I wasn't suggesting that Daniel 12:4 refers to the capability to interpret prophecy, but rather that true knowledge of God would become abundant. I'm a firm believer that "interpretations belong to God." (Gen. 40:8)
      Since Jesus refers to Daniel's prophecy as being fulfilled in the last days of the Jewish system of things, it could be argued that Daniel 12:4 had a fulfillment back then as well. Certainly with the Christian congregation, 'many did rove about' and the 'true knowledge was abundant'. It wasn't complete, nor is it complete now. In fact, it will never be complete, because the purpose of eternal life is the acquiring of the true knowledge of God. However, as it relates to prophecy, I see your point and concur. We will know ahead of time what we need to know. However, as another system of things draws to its close, the knowledge needed to survive is becoming every more abundant as many rove about.

    • Reply by JimmyG on 2013-09-04 18:50:47

      Silas, what was wrtitten in the Jan 2013 Watchtower was not an apology. It was a justification.

  • Comment by Chris on 2013-09-04 21:14:40

    Silas, as Jimmy mentioned,The GB/WTS/FDS don't do apologies, its not in their psyche, or their vocabulary.
    It would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for them to make what they would consider a legal admission of error.
    Personally, I believe they are about to run of oil for their lamps, and any who look to them for light will be left in the dark.

  • Comment by Jude on 2014-01-11 10:51:20

    A great video on the subject which I'm sure all will enjoy:

  • Comment by on 2014-04-04 12:50:01

    Jesus asked, "Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time?"
    Giving food "at the proper time" or in "due season" requires loving care. To feed too much too early in the day could choke the spiritual life out of someone who is accustomed to eating strained foods in the morning.
    Those who would take the lead in the Organization away from the GB should carefully consider these things.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2014-04-04 13:54:01

      The same argument could (and has) been used by Catholics to dissuade us from preaching to their flocks. However, it is pleasant that you would consider us to be part of the faithful and discreet slave.

  • Comment by on 2014-04-04 14:44:12

    When JWs preach to Catholics they offer an alternative religious home, such as it is. To preach someone out of their home and not offer a viable alternative where Christian association for both adults and youngsters can be had is to leave people in the street.
    Christ did not criticize the Jewish leaders and simply leave his followers to fend for themselves in scattered faceless association. The Apostles knew the importance of fellowship, personal fellowship, for all Christians even those who may be only two or three.
    This is why it is best that the Watchtower continue as it is until a change in leadership can be made in order that the friends both young and old not be left in the cold as so many already have, those stumbled by exJW sites. Too many JWs have become atheists/agnostics for lack of careful learning. Much has been written but not enough that will save the stumbled who struggle to survive when the Bible's inspiration is questioned online.
    Few exJW Christians have addressed that issue and even fewer have found answers that will keep the stumbled in their faith. Ray Franz took many out but failed to keep them in their faith. Better a house with a leaky roof and broken windows than no house at all...the Watchtower is home to 7 million who are beginning to see the fire starting...the GB's demise, but are in need of a home not only for themselves but more importantly for their children!
    A change in leadership is needed not the destruction of the Organization. The first century Jewish system was faulty but it served a purpose until Christ came. So too the Watchtower is faulty but it serves a purpose until Christ appoints those whom he chooses. Those who will follow him and not men.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2014-04-04 15:53:29

      I believe the only change in leadership that can really benefit Jehovah's Witnesses would to accept Jesus as our leader. I know some have faith that that will happen. Personally, I do not see that as possible, but whatever Christ's wishes will happen. We share the truth from is word, because the truth sets us free. As for the rest of your thoughts, I would very much appreciate hearing from others.

  • Comment by on 2014-04-04 17:38:37

    At the moment it is not possible for the majority of Witnesses to trust anyone but the men taking the lead in the Organization. Yes, it's true that we should all put our faith in Christ and learn from him but it is also true that Christians have always had those who took the lead among them. And those who did, did so personally, visibly, face to face not "invisibly" as it is today on the internet.
    It is also true that the young in your congregation, and in my congregation, need fellowship, encouragement and association with those of like beliefs. Physical association is necessary for them to maintain not only their beliefs but also their joy!
    I read where you felt it becoming a burden to sit through a particular Watchtower. I agree, it is a burden but be careful that that burden does not become a blind to the real job you, and I, and all awake Christians have in the Organization: The loving care of the brotherhood- to help our fellows to maintain their faith in God and Christ even when being hit about the head by their leaders.
    It is nothing new to have a leadership that is not doing what is right. The ancient Jews suffered under the tyranny of bad Kings and Priests. The early Christians suffered under the tyranny of false apostles as well. This is nothing new to God's people. What held the sincere Jews together while their leadership went down the tubes was their love for God and brother. For Christians their love for their Father, for Christ, and their brother, helped them to surmount the obstacles of false apostles.
    Five of the seven congregations in Revelation received a rebuke from Christ. If the sincere elders in those congregations had left the flock to the mercy of rebels in those congregations many would have lost their faith. Paul did not tell those meeting with the superfine apostles to leave their congregation for if they did many of the little ones might have been lost.
    What is there to endure if we leave the congregation? What good is there when we leave the young behind in order to pursue a personal relationship with Christ? Is that what he taught? Or did he teach that we should carry the young on our shoulders?
    How good it feels to "understand" what others do not and to "see" what others in the congregation do not. Yet, while we "understand" and "see", if we at the same time allow what we know to blind us to the very real need in the congregation then what good are we?
    We show we are disciples of Christ by loving our brothers and sisters. By helping them to maintain their faith in God and Christ even though their leadership is faulty. In the congregation we emphasize the positive and leave out the negative until that day comes when Christ helps us to build a tent for them.
    Otherwise we are in danger of stumbling more than helping.
    Brother, this is important! Protect the young, keep them from losing their faith!

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2014-04-04 18:52:12

      >> "At the moment it is not possible for the majority of Witnesses to trust anyone but the men taking the lead in the Organization."
      That's a very sweeping statement to make Daytona. I'm not convinced it is true. But let me ask you this. When Russell began to preach, there was no congregation of Bible Students (as Witnesses were then called) so wouldn't your line of reasoning have precluded him from publishing his findings. There would have been no where for the young children of Catholicism or Protestantism to go. To apply your own words, it was not possible for the majority of Catholics and Protestants to trust anyone but the men taking the lead in their respective organizations. As you say, Christians (Catholics and Protestants) have always have those who took the lead among them, and those who did, did so personally, visibly, face to face, not "invisibly" as Russell did by publishing periodicals that were shipped around the world.
      I don't say this to be snide. But I want you to see the reality of the situation. I agree that the loving care of the brotherhood is critical. I agree that we need "to help our fellows to maintain their faith in God and Christ, even when being hit about the head by their leaders."
      Daytona, I know personal accounts of elders who tried to hold on to their positions so as to protect the flock, but were removed for teaching the truth, for standing up for what is right. I know of others who were disfellowshipped for the same thing. I am not advocating leaving the congregation. However, the reality is that if one stays in the congregation and teaches truth, one will be dealt with most severely and the decision will then be out of one's hands. If we were allowed to speak freely, we could transform the congregation from within, changing it into a true place of security and peace where Christians could worship their God and obey their Christ without fear.
      I know of those who have tried to do this carefully, not overtly, but judiciously, weighing their words and their opportunities to speak. Even such careful and discreet methods were quickly discovered and dealt with most severely.
      I would love for things to be as you say, but alas they are not.

  • Comment by on 2014-04-04 19:29:10

    My last post was mistakenly cut off by the "enter" button. But I believe the general idea was stated.

  • Comment by on 2014-12-30 14:37:44

    who is the faithful slave and the domestics are

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2014-12-30 17:41:54

      An excellent question. We have written extensively on that subject. Check out the articles under this category.
      I would recommend you read from the oldest to the most recent.

  • Comment by WT Study: “This Is the Way You Approved” | Beroean Pickets on 2015-05-04 11:42:44

    […] There is a final point under this subheading that deals with “our recent refinements in understanding”. The example given is the recent claim that the men on the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses are the “faithful slave” of Matt 24:45-47, and there is nobody else who can fit the bill, despite Jesus’ frequent use of “master/slave” parables to encourage all Christians to fulfil their appointments. (See “Identifying the Faithful Slave-Part 4“) […]

  • Comment by Identifying the Faithful Slave – Part 3 | Beroean Pickets on 2016-03-18 11:10:33

    […] Click here to go to Part 4 […]

  • Comment by Tasha on 2019-02-24 10:14:51

    I love this explanation. I was born into the jw religion. I am in my 30's now and have been fading for a couple years. I think my children and I are completely faded now. We did attend the memorial last year. I raised my kids in the religion. One thing I am unclear about is how to commemorate Jesus' death. My teen daughter asked how we will do that without going to a kingdom hall? How do others outside the jw religion do it? Is partaking something I should do even if I dont feel I have a heavenly calling? Do children partake? Thanks for any insight

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2019-02-24 18:43:50

      My email is If you care to email me, I'll send you the information that will allow you to join our online meeting which we use to host the memorial every year.

  • Comment by Tasha on 2019-02-24 10:17:45

    In addition to my previous questions; when should jesus' death be commemorated?

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2019-02-24 18:45:18

      We're working that out at the online meeting. I think the consensus is for April 18.

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