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“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.
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.
In addition to my previous questions; when should jesus’ death be commemorated?
We’re working that out at the online meeting. I think the consensus is for April 18.
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… Read more »
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
[…] Click here to go to Part 4 […]
[…] 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“) […]
who is the faithful slave and the domestics are
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.
My last post was mistakenly cut off by the “enter” button. But I believe the general idea was stated.
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… Read more »
>> “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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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.
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.
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.
A great video on the subject which I’m sure all will enjoy:
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.
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… Read more »
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.
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… Read more »
Silas, what was wrtitten in the Jan 2013 Watchtower was not an apology. It was a justification.
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… Read more »
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
Thanks for your reply Kyp. I appreciate the encouragement.
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
Apollos 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… Read more »
mdnwa 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… Read more »
Apollos 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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
SW 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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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.
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,… Read more »
“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… Read more »
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… Read more »