As I was sitting through yesterday’s Watchtower study, something struck me as odd. Since we deal with incipient apostasy so swiftly and decisively, why make statements like:
“Some Christians may have questioned why such individuals were allowed to remain in the congregation. Faithful ones might have wondered whether Jehovah really distinguishes between their resolute loyalty to him and the hypocritical worship of apostates.” (par. 10)
Another odd one is from paragraph 11:
“In effect, Paul was saying that even though there were counterfeit Christians in their midst, Jehovah would recognize those who really belonged to him, just as he did in the days of Moses.”
These statements give the impression that there may be apostates in the congregation spreading their message and causing sincere Christians to wonder why Jehovah puts up with them; that such ones will be tolerated until Jehovah in his own good time puts them out of our misery.
This is simply not the case, and never has been. Any hint at apostate thinking (which includes just questioning the scriptural nature of some GB teaching) is dealt with summarily. There are no situations such as those depicted in the illustration on page 9. The Circuit Overseers have just received the power to delete and appoint elders because they are likened to Timothy who was thus empowered by Paul. These so-called modern-day Timothy’s would not imitate their ancient role model by putting up with someone like the elder depicted in the illustration. In our day, he would be stripped of his “privilege of service” and likely be standing before a judicial committee faster than he could unfurl his scroll. The way we deal with any hint of dissent has everything in common with the way the Pharisees and Jewish priests dealt with it. It has nothing in common with first century congregation procedures.
So the whole thrust of the article makes no sense given the true climate in the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
This makes me wonder if this might be the JW-equivalent of High Priest Caiaphas’ temporary about face. (John 11:49-51) What he said, he did not say because he believed it, but because the holy spirit made him. I believe that there are faithful ones at all levels of the Organization. Sometimes one gets the impression that certain articles are written in a code intended for true believers. If you look at this article from the viewpoint of a genuine Christian, one who is “sighing and groaning over the detestable things that are being done in” Jerusalem, then it fits. (Ez 9:4) We ask, “Why are those who promote false teaching allowed to continue, even rising to exalted positions? Why does Jehovah not deal with those who are apostasizing by sidelining Jesus and replacing his teachings with their own?” If you feel that way, then you will find that key portions of the article are most encouraging.
This is only an impression of mine. I welcome your thoughts.
PS: Before leaving a comment, please check out mine by clicking here.
Hello, I just wanted to know if any overall review on the article “Renounce Unrighteousness” was posted here on this blog.
I would have a number of remarks, some of them very disturbing to me. I just wouldn’t like to make a duplicate comment, if any review exists and those points were raised, and I’d be interested in reading your review if you posted it.
Here’s the link to the article/post you’re interested in. http://meletivivlon.com/2014/09/07/wt-study-jehovahs-people-renounce-unrighteousness/
” I find that brothers will often seek out help from a former elder bypassing the currently appointed ones” I think this is very true Meleti…..and sad. I know that I went to an ex elder with a difficult problem many years ago because I felt he was approachable. He had been softened by a nasty (and completely unscriptural) mauling by the P.O. which left him slightly embittered for a year or two. Thankfully he regained his spiritual composure when he realized his qualifications as an “older man” were not conditional on the recognition of ‘superiors’. By regaining his composure… Read more »
Quote- JimmyG said: Excellent quotes Johnamos. I suspect though that the WT is applying quotes like these to other religions.- End quote Yeah, they expect those that they meet out in the door to door that belong to other religions to follow that counsel but if you try to apply it to making sure what the GB teach then the following applies: [9-1-02 WT- Our humility could likewise be tested. How? Well, how do we react to organizational refinements? (Isaiah 60:17) Do we eagerly accept explanations of Bible truth as provided by “the faithful and discreet slave”? (Matthew 24:45-47; Proverbs… Read more »
Thanks for your encouragement, Meleti. Now, I sit in the hall and cringe as I listen to the brothers, (especially the young go-getters, bless their hearts), rely more on what the GB says than on what the Christ says.
Excellent quotes Johnamos. I suspect though that the WT is applying quotes like these to other religions.
So, we’re being told to avoid apostates at all cost. How are we then to apply the words of 1 John 4:1: “Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired statement, but test the inspired statements to see whether they originate with God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” And if inspired statements are to be tested, how much more so the uninspired! How do we do this? We put the teaching to the test of God’s inspired Word and if it can’t hold up to the canon,(rule), we reject it. Try proving to a householder at… Read more »
Quote- Meleti Vivlon said: What I was trying to say is that I do not believe everyone in the writing department and in other responsible positions in Bethel has been corrupted into buying the ticket that the Governing Body is to be obeyed as God’s only channel of communication and that all they teach is from Jehovah.- End quote I agree with that and appreciate that someone in the writing department managed to get the following out. [11-1-11 Awake- A fundamental requirement for faith is “an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4) Only “the truth,” says the Bible, “will… Read more »
Thank you so much, JohnAmos for compiling this list of WT publication references. It will come in handy when helping well-meaning, but deluded friends to see the truth.
I was referring to the WT article not yours meleti, how many times I have heard b/s say to me personally they did not agree with the GB interpretation of the scripture in Matt 22:30, no one ran of the elders complaining what was said in private, now all this fear the GB is instilling into the congregation, is just dividing ones, making enemies out of friends and ones having to watch what they say in fear of being told they are having apostate thoughts or for some over zealous society ones apostate, and imagine if your not that popular… Read more »
”Quote- Meleti Vivlon said: What I was trying to say is that I do not believe everyone in the writing department and in other responsible positions in Bethel has been corrupted into buying the ticket that the Governing Body is to be obeyed as God’s only channel of communication and that all they teach is from Jehovah.- End quote I agree with that and appreciate that someone in the writing department managed to get the following out.” Hi. I’m new to this site, greetings. At the local translation centre one guy told visitors ”many new translators have so much respect… Read more »
I never showed up, I couldn’t handle it, the whole article was commanding and self indulgent.
I could not really withstand some of the paragraphs that I literally left the Kingdom hall midway, drove our car to a nearby gas station to load up gas, inflate the tires and had the engine oil checked. When I was back, only 3 paragraphs left. It was a relief study session was about to finish 🙂
I felt the same way, Mailman. Everything in the study is carefully scripted, leaving little or no room for God’s spirit to influence a brother os sister to say anything truly meaningful. I once thoguth about how refreshing it would be if the WT Study Conductor one day said, “Brothers, put away your magazines, and let’s just use the Bible to consider the theme we have for today.” I think the friends would offer their expressions more honestly and openly. Spiritual spontaneuos combustion! Of course, that’s never going to happen. Thank the Master, Jesus, for the Bible Highlights!
““Brothers, put away your magazines, and let’s just use the Bible to consider the theme we have for today.” I think the friends would offer their expressions more honestly and openly. Spiritual spontaneuos combustion!”
I wonder why there were very few hands, 1-2 brothers in our local congregation, raising their hands on paragraphs dealing with apostates? Either they thought it was such a sensitive matter that they don’t want to get involved in, or they felt uneasy to answer because they do not agree in full, or they simply didn’t understand. 🙂
I think you are right Meleti. The situation described in the Watchtower is almost unheard of among Jehovah’s Witnesses today. If you were average Joe Publisher and someone were to expose you to teachings that do not conform to what our official understanding is at the time, you can bet an elder is not going print out the 7/15 WT for you and tell you to “wait on Jehovah”. “when exposed to unscriptural teachings, regardless of the source, we must decisively reject them.” This line smacks of irony. Why not simply say “We must all decisively reject apostate teachings.” Just… Read more »
I can see the other side of the coin, and accept that these things may be possible.
Maybe such messages were conveyed in the material, and our congregation is just a particularly “tough nut to crack”.
To be honest meleti when i read the article i had similar thoughts it seemed ironic to me . The very counsel in the magazine has more of a true application when turned on its head . To me the article was telling me to stay as far away from those teaching at the meetings as i can possibly get .. Jesus did say to be on guard against the leaven of the pharisees . I think its common sense to believe your right about these opposing forces at bethell . . Whats the old saying you can fool some… Read more »
“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Apparently that comes from ole Ab Lincoln. It sure is true about JWs as well. Some will not acknowledge that some of our teachings are demonstrably false, not matter what you try to convince them. It is interesting that Korah and company stood their ground despite the evidence of their own recent history. They could have thrown themselves on the mercy of God and undoubtedly been forgiven, but they made no attempt.… Read more »
I know brothers who believe the Watchtower is on a par with the scriptures because it comes from Jehovah’s “channel of communication”. Every so often I try to bring additional reference material, (Vines Expository Dictionary; Keil & Delitzsch Commentay, etc), into my comments during the WT, but always feel the brothers don’t respect the references because the information doesn’t come from the FDS. Very frustrating, but I keep trying.
Well, I guess they don’t describe people who don’t believe in some dogma like 1914 openly, but people who say e.g. the field service report is unbiblical or making people dress like in early 1900s and damning everyone who doesn’t would be unbiblical. The more trivial things when you compare it to real Biblical issues.
On the other hand: You can believe that 1914, paradise earth for most Christians etc. is unbiblical and still remain in the congegration without any “privileges”. So maybe both kind of people are meant.
Alex. I take it you mean anointedjw.org? Notice I used the words ‘apparently’, ‘if’ and ‘may’. I agree, it needs verification from an independent source. I guess though, we all live in hope that the winds of change may happen at HQ someday.
Apparently 3 people from the Writing Dept have ‘resigned’ recently. Probably doublespeak for df’d and kicked out of HQ. Also, a witch hunt is underway against a former DO who has spoken to some at HQ questioning the 2 tiered hope. The GB who are unwilling to soil their hands directly, has been trying to appoint a committee to handle the matter, but those asked have declined to be involved.
If all these details are correct, it indicates that Meleti’s comments may be true.
I’m yet to see a shred of evidence for these wild stories made by ‘that’ site. If anyone else can back up any of their story Id be inclined to believe it, but despite extensive searching I couldn’t find another independent source. This is just like the time they claimed to have reporters inside the bombed mall in Kenya. Really?
I remember when the Peace & Security book was withdrawn and I asked why. An elder made the comment that an apostate element had influenced some publications and there had been a purge at Brooklyn. This would have been around the time of Ray Franz and the Spanish group etc It does seem to me that as with any man made organization or corporation there are always so called ‘subversive’ forces at work. Some good, some bad. Something I have always wondered is how does the “Society” in the strict sense work/vote etc? How do brothers become Society members or… Read more »
“How do brothers become Society members or for that matter how do the GB appoint another ‘pope’ to their hierarchy?”
While I am not an expert on these matters, I am a third generation Witness. On my father’s side my grandmother and her sisters were all Bible Students but left because of Rutherford’s shenanigans. Ahem.
All of my life I have heard about the “good ol’ boys club.” I’ve taken that to mean they were company men who knew some higher ups “in the club.” Maybe I should be stoned for this, but I still believe that’s how it works.
All of my life I have heard about the “good ol’ boys club.” I think that is exactly the way it works, but it is shrouded in a sense of self-righteousness and entitlement that makes them think it is God’s will. It’s that same sense of being chosen by God that infects religious extremists everywhere. In the WTS/GB’s case it’s the erroneous belief that that they were appointed by God in 1919. In this they miss the point entirely…as the Jews as a nation did. Even if the WTS/GB were chosen by God it is not a coupon that can… Read more »
I’ve recently given what you say, Christian, much thought. I recently stepped down, (not stepped aside), and am not currently serving due to health reasons. So, my former fellow elders no longer view me as an elder, but just as “another brother”. Therefore, no more “privileges”, (praying on behalf of the congregation at meetings, e.g.) That’s OK with me. I still consider myself an “unofficial” elder. I question by what authority brothers are appointed anyway. How does a group of fellow believers, uninspired men, come up with the idea that they can appoint or delete whomever they want because someone… Read more »
If I may add a thought, I find that brothers will often seek out help from a former elder bypassing the currently appointed ones. In my former congregation, no one went to the COBE for anything. So as far as being a shepherd, he was a lame duck. (Forgive the mixed metaphor) Whatever justification we may have for appointing some men while passing over others, the sheep are led by the spirit to those who can and will help them in times of need.
I just got a private email from one of the regular readers of the site which shows me how easily one’s words can be misunderstood. I take responsibility for this. It seems some may feel I was implying that Jesus is sending coded messages through the Governing Body. I was not. Additionally, I am not promoting the idea that the Watchtower Organization will be reformed by Jehovah. I think I’ve made that clear in other recent posts. I believe that Jehovah will save individuals, not organizations. In fact, I have come to the belief that Rutherford had it right–ALMOST. What… Read more »
There are occasional comments in our congregation too that cleverly but tactfully address sticky subjects and expose errors in context, or simply point out that our loyalty belongs to Jehovah and the Head of the congregation, Jesus and not to men. It’s quite funny to see the slight consternation on the face of the study conductor…. He can hardly disagree! I try to do the same and always thank those who make the comments that make me silently cheer. I hope that you are right, Meleti. For a few years now I have noticed an obvious change of tone in… Read more »
Just to clarify my own comment in the light of that – I did understand you just as you’ve presented it there. Maybe I’m just a pessimist, but I don’t think anybody in the writing department was somehow hoping people would get a more subtle message about Korah. I think it was full frontal. Nevertheless it seems will also depend how the material came across on a local level.
On the other hand, a message could only slip by if it was worded very subtle…
I did understand your article as well. I guess that it can be possible.as with most organisations where eventually a.split will occur, it.starts with a few who.object,.slightly a first.and.depart./.split.eventually. Thats what happened.with reformist movement.and the many denominations that nowadays exist but have their origins in mainstream christian organisation like the catholic church.
However, personally I think the article was as meant : refrain (avoid) from anything that is not ine line with or does not come from GB teachings.
“Coded messages through the Governing Body?” This is doublespeak (through ‘big brother’, not God or Christ)…..and it’s not new. I resigned almost 15 years ago from conducting the WT for that very reason. It was always a challenge for me to get a true Biblical discussion going with all the loyalty wildcards added. The ongoing battle between the writing department and GB left me with a motto to all conductors after me: “Beware of the two minds of the WT!” Same with speaking assignments. The more I tried to rework Biblical context, the fewer I got, which was just as… Read more »
Well said, I also try my best to keep my comments as scriptural as possible without alerting people to ”apostate thinking!”. But it can be hard at times
“Sometimes one gets the impression that certain articles are written in a code intended for true believers.” How many true believers would be able to work out the code – not many I should think. If a Christian has something that important to say, then IMHO, he should have the courage to stand up and say it, for all true believers to hear.
The article never gave a real defintion of “apostate”, so I think most of the friends took it to imply any disagreement with the GB. I made the comment that we have to understand what apostasy means. I said it doesn’t mean a difference of opinion over how a scripture may be interpreted, neither does it mean speculating about what the future may hold, because we all do that. Some of the brothers and sisters expressed appreciation for my having made that distiction.
Hi Meleti An interesting thought to be sure, but in my opinion it may be wishful thinking. To me the message of the article was clear enough: There are those in the organization who are bold enough to suggest the GB might be wrong, but we (the org) don’t have sufficient evidence to kick them out at present. Nevertheless don’t worry because they will get their just desserts (consumption by fire and earth swallowing) in due time. So when you hear anything that is at odds with what the GB say then just ignore it and remember that those who… Read more »
I have to agree with you, Apollos. My take away from this article was the same as yours. It was very painful for me to sit through this study. Things differ from congregation to congregation and the comments surely add light to the subject. I may be wrong, but I get the feeling that in our congregation great apathy has taken hold hence, any WT answers are basically straight word-for-word from the magazine. I don’t get any real insight as to what others believe, which in itself is very distressing to me. We seem to be on auto-pilot at present.… Read more »
“The point I got from this article is “be suspicious, be VERY suspicious…just don’t show it.”
You’ve nailed it. That’s exactly the way it came across to us.
And yes, much was made about the artists illustration of Timothy and many were eager to explain in great detail his thought processes on the basis of that picture, again completely absent of any scriptural support.
It’s one of my ‘bug-bears’ how manufactured pictures can become factual representations of what really happened, and how statements such as ‘ Timothy was LIKELY perturbed’ gets turned into the question ‘how DID the actions of apostates affect faithful ones in Paul’s day?’. It’s very clever but I despair at the lack of resistance to mind control by most…. Unless they’re just playing along for safety’s sake?