[This article was contributed by Alex Rover]
When we learn that our religious leaders have not always been honest with us, that certain teachings are squarely against what Scripture teach, and that following such teachings may actually lead us away from God, then what are we to do?
You may have noticed that so far we have steered away from advising whether to leave the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses or to remain in it. We acknowledge that this is ultimately a personal decision based on one’s circumstances and the personal leading of the Holy Spirit.
For those who remain, you may feel that you cannot afford to be found out, because life as you know it is at stake. Therefore, you must watch what you say and with whom you share your thoughts. If you are browsing articles such as this one at a meeting, you’ll be guarding that no one is looking over your shoulder.
Perhaps you have told yourself, ‘I’ll stay because I can do a good work for my brothers and sisters by carefully discerning those with whom I can share morsels of truth.’ Perhaps you try to give answers that are just under the radar of raising suspicion, in the hope that someone will start thinking for themselves?
Do you sometimes feel like an undercover agent?
I would like to introduce you to Esther, the undercover queen. The name Esther means “something hidden”. Basically Esther deceived the king about her identity and associated with him even though she knew he was not circumcised. Both of these things might easily cause our conscience to object, but it happened to be the circumstance Jehovah allowed her to be in.
As anointed Christians, we are part of Spiritual Israel, hence spiritually circumcised. Associating with ‘uncircumcised ones’ who are rejecting their adoption, and hiding our identity as anointed in fear of persecution is pretty much the situation Esther found herself in.
So controversial is the book of Esther that Luther once told Erasmus that it “deserves … to be regarded as non-canonical”. Likewise, in the eyes of some of our readers it may appear highly controversial that to this date the writers of this blog continue associating in the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Divine providence is a theological term which refers to God’s intervention in the world. We understand that our Heavenly Father himself is Sovereign and may even allow questionable things to take place for a time so that his purpose for new heavens and a new earth may come to fruition.
Even our Lord knew this when he said:
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” – Mt 10:16 NIV
What Luther failed to realize with regard to the book of Esther is the demonstration of “Divine Providence” through Esther. We may not understand why God has punished some over seemingly small sins, while continuing to use others guilty of far graver misdeeds.
Yet there is comfort in this, for whatever mistakes we have made in the past, we are exactly where God wants us to be today. It is often said that we can look at a glass as half full or half empty. Scripture encourages us to look at our tribulation as something joyful. This also is Divine Providence in our lives, that we may be used according to how he pleases in the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
By recognizing Divine Providence in Esther’s life, we can see that even though we have been in unfortunate situations throughout our life, we can allow Jehovah to use us in the position we find ourselves in.
Paul made this clear: “as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each person, so he must live”. So Esther found herself in the position of a queen when our Father intervened on behalf of the Jews and made appeal through her to accomplish his will.
“Let each remain in that situation in life in which he was called” […]
“Were you called as a slave? Do not worry about it” […]
“In whatever situation someone was called, brothers and sisters, let him remain in it with God” – 1 Co 7:17-24 NET
We recognize God’s Providence that he called us in a certain circumstance. What matters now is that we don’t BECOME slaves to men. Henceforth we do his will:
“Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Instead, keeping God’s commandments is what counts.” – 1 Co 7:19
If by following God’s lead we are eventually set free, then make the most of this freedom (1 Co 7:21). For some of you that is indeed the case, but others remain as Queen Esther and will be given opportunities to do much good. Getting “out of her” (organized religion) means that we no longer bow to it, we are already free even if we continue to serve as we are.
How we remain Faithful
The moment of truth for Esther arrived when she was tasked to put her life on the line for her brothers and sisters. She had to confess she was a Jew, and speak to the king. Both of these acts carried a risk of death penalty. In addition to that, she had to resist Haman, the second most powerful man in the nation.
Mordecai, her cousin, also had his moment of truth when he refused to bow before Haman. In the end, while Esther seems to accomplish her mission with the king, it looks like Mordecai will see death:
“Now Haman went forth that day pleased and very much encouraged. But when Haman saw Mordecai at the king’s gate, and he did not rise nor tremble in his presence, Haman was filled with rage toward Mordecai.” – Esther 5:9 NET
Then, on advice of Zeresh (Haman’s wife), Haman orders gallows to be made so that Mordecai could be hung to death the next day. Esther did not receive a prophet’s reassurance, she did not receive a vision. What could she do?
Remain faithful by trusting in Jehovah in such moments:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” – Pr 3:5 NIV
We don’t know what our Father has planned for us. How could we? Mordecai’s days appeared numbered and his life over. Read Esther chapters 6 & 7 to see how the story ended!
The moment of truth may also arrive for us, even as we remain in association with our congregation. When this moment arrives, we remain faithful by not bending our knee and not fearing for our well being. At such a time, we must fully trust in our Father. A Father never abandons his children. We must trust in him with all our heart and not lean on our own understanding. We must trust he will make things right.
“Jehovah is on my side; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” – Ps 118:6 NWT
We mustn’t judge others for the position our God has accepted them in. Let us simply stop bending our knee to Haman and if that leads us to a situation where we are set free from slavery then let us continue to use our newfound freedom for the benefit of our brothers and sisters.
We don’t know what our Father has in store for us, nor how he plans to use us. What greater privilege is there than to serve God according to his will?
Holy Father, let not my will but yours take place.
If I find myself a slave, I know that in your eyes I am free.
I will continue as I am for as long as you permit me,
and to no man, I shall bend my knee.
Please, Glorious Father by my side,
grant me boldness and courage,
grant me your wisdom and spirit to manage.
Truly – what might man do unto me –
when you open your mighty hand
Reblogged this on Old Wt and commented:
An incredibly encouraging article.
Brother Kev, I couldn’t agree with you more in many ways and I sense the love and care in your words. In actuality, I have found the most valuable fellowship I have ever experienced through online communication. I do reach out to those in physical proximity, as well as those dear friends I had when in the org. (of course, there is no return communication); and I’m sure you agree that being free from the org allows us to be free among all people in expressing Christian love. That is a liberating feeling that does not come from obligation –… Read more »
Respectfully, just where would one find any organized group of Christians who are not in some form or another contaminated with false teachings?
Who do you fellowship and worship with if I may inquire? Do you totally agree with everything taught?
I believe each of us has the responsibility to follow the scriptures and especially the perfect example of Jesus to the best of our abilities despite our imperfections no matter with whom or what building we find ourselves in association with.
Just a final thought on this point about staying in the religion . I have to say that actually i do agree with peely on this for the same scriptural reasons .but at the same time theres other reasons why one may hold off from this action . I think that each individual must evaluate how it is affecting them . While paul did say at 2 corinthians 6 to come out from the unbelievers . It has to be remembered that he probably had in mind those pagan religions which were steeped in idolatry . Also eating at the… Read more »
You make some very valid points.
Dear Friend in Christ, I have no one to fellowship with except those whom I meet through this computer that I type on. Believe me, I long for a physical fellowship; and perhaps someday in the near future it will happen, but I am on guard of the age old snag of man dominating man to his injury. I have been invited to a church since leaving the organization, but because of this known fact I won’t entertain it. This doesn’t stop us from sharing and living in the love of Christ: 14 Do all things without complaining or bickering… Read more »
Peely i do understand what your saying and i do sympathise with your stand ..I think it is true that all organised religion seems corrupted . And teach wrong things .and if we are not careful we find ourselves having to follow men and thier rules . I do think though that the JW religion is particularly bad for this and as a result many of us have been hurt . I feel the same way .and i know of others in my area who have said they would never again join another religion after the experience with the JWs… Read more »
menrov, I don’t know where this topic is that you refer to, but it is a sobering scripture to bring to our attention. Thank you. Wt. publication, lv, pg 88-89: paragraph 9 “Spiritual cleanness. Put simply, keeping spiritually clean means not mixing true worship with false. When the Israelites left Babylon to return to Jerusalem, they were to heed this inspired exhortation: “Get out of there, touch nothing unclean!….Keep yourselves clean.” Isa 52:11″ 10 Today, we as true Christians must be careful not to become contaminated by false worship. Caution is essential in this regard, for the influence of false… Read more »
Although each one should decide for himself and no-one is to judge except Jesus, there is a risk to remain within a religious organisation of which one is convinced the teachings are in correct. In Mat. 14 one can read: 14 Leave them! They are blind guides. If someone who is blind leads another who is blind, both will fall into a pit.
These words were spoken in relation to the topic of What defiles a Person.
Hey Kev – you are up North and I’m down South. What do you say about a bit of Skype-time? 🙂
I do feel sorry for you brothers staying in the religion . Because if your going through or have been through the rubbish i had to put up with its an absolute nightmare . It was more like the nazi party around here . It made me ill . The stress and the anxiety were intolerable . I would have had a breakdown if i had of stayed . Im healing now . . I hope you brothers and sisters are going to be ok . Kev
I appreciate this scripture based topic as it is near and dear to my heart and deals with the situation I find myself in for several years now. Sometimes it is easy to condemn our brothers who after realizing that much of what we once believed and taught others whole souled the majority of our lives turned out to be false, but have decided to remain in the “organization.” Those who make that choice may have convinced themselves that this is what Jehovah wants them to do for the time being and this may very well be true, who can… Read more »
Thank you for sharing these thoughtful comments. I’m sure they will be a help to so many.
“Like many others I could pull the plug, but at what cost and what would be my “end game”? I would be totally cut off from immediate family and lifelong very close friendships and would never have an opportunity to be there for them when Jehovah removes the “wheels of the organization’s chariot.”” I agonize over your struggles, brother. Consistent prayer will help you have strength to make a choice you know is right. But I must tell you, the “end game” of leaving the organization is everlasting life through Christ. Matt 19:29 – And whoever has left houses or… Read more »
Of course the main reason if we are honest .that we are having theses discussions about brothers staying in the religion even though they know its wrong seems to me to be because of the hold the religion has on close family members . I believe keeping our family together is of paramount importance . Ok if a family member tries to emotionally blackmail us into rejecting christ then we must obey god rather than men and stand on the side of christ . Make no mistake god wants us to love our family members . Love hopes all things… Read more »
Hi Laura, Yes I think ALL the Christian ORGANISATIONS/denominations are doomed and will fail. They all try to supplant Christ and say ‘come with us and be saved’. The body of Christ is not organisation, it is living and sentient. It is made up of individuals with its head – Jesus Christ. We stand as individuals within that body. From my observations there are many from various Christian denominations, who recognize the systemic way of worship is not from our Father and have moved away. For example I never forget seeing a Youtube documentary about two Amish men who came… Read more »
This is also my position for the moment, but I am preparing to write to everybody I know and we all know how that will end … But I know that I won’t regret being ‘killed’ for the Anointed One .. Everybody ha to choose for themselves .. I will continue to pray for borthers and sisters inside the Tower ..
Hi Alex, many thanks for all your efforts to share scriptural topics with us. Not always easy, I can see that. Regarding this topic. Well, I often read that Jehovah should somehow indicate what we should do. A sympathetic view, but as far as I can see, I am not aware of see any scripture in NT to support such a view. As Rom. 14:12 and Gal. 6:5 tell us, we are all accountable for our own actions. We have our faith, our mind and our love to discern what is right or wrong. This applies to what we eat,… Read more »
Hi Alex, Thank you for you the translation of 2 Cor 6:14. Good to know, yet I still can’t see remaining within the org, knowing real truth, and thinking we’ve got it all under control as a safe way to go. Are we placing our bets on God’s protection in such an element? What does fellowship within that scripture entail? I realize you know what I mean and struggle also with it, no doubt. 1 Cor 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 1 Cor 7:17-24 – But as God has distributed to each… Read more »
Isn’t the mere fact that we have reached a point in our spiritual journey that we can ASK these QUESTIONS of OURSELVES an indication of what GOD wants us to do? The brothers at the Kingdom Hall are incapable of looking in the mirror and therefore do not see that they are covered in excrement, from which they must cleanse themselves. Pro_30:12 There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes but that has not been washed from its own excrement. WE see that we stink and are filthy. Isn’t it time to step away from the sty… Read more »
stonedragon2k, just about all Christians are members of a Christian religion which has some cleaning up to do. Are they all condemned for it or does God judge us as individuals? Is Jesus today judging entire Christian religions? Or are we at this moment standing as individuals even perhaps righteous individuals (not because we ourselves are righteous but because Jehovah has on the basis of Christ’s blood forgiven our sins) in Christian religions covered in the stain of sin? There are many good people in all Christian religions including Jehovah’s Witnesses. I remain because this is where Jehovah wants me… Read more »
When do we partake in sins? When we accept people being disfellowshipped? When we listen to lies? When we speak lies? When we accept men holding our faith hostage? When we obey men instead of God? Where should we draw the line? Jesus told us not to worship in the temple or on the mountain .. (mountainlike org) ..but in spirit and truth! Could it be a matter of life and death?
BN, Jesus’ answer to the question of how to receive everlasting life was, (Matthew 19:16-21) “. . .Now, look! a certain one came up to him and said: “Teacher, what good must I do in order to get everlasting life?” 17 He said to him: “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is that is good. If, though, you want to enter into life, observe the commandments continually.” 18 He said to him: “Which ones?” Jesus said: “Why, You must not murder, You must not commit adultery, You must not steal, You must not bear false witness, 19 Honor [your] father… Read more »
But what happend ultimately to the religious system within the Temple and the Temple itself? And why did it happen? What is the greatest sin? Could it be religious fornication? Israel had taken another husband than Jehovah! (2Cor 11:2, 3) I think this IS our example and that it IS a matter of life and death ..IF we put men between us and Christ .. then we have taken another husband .. There are harlots and there are virgins .. It’s a battle between truth and lies .. Ultimately we have to choose .. who we listen to … which… Read more »
There will always be a “Samaritan” nation or style of Worship . This goes as far back as Adam.
I personally feel churches themselves that go beyond the normal “tent” are idolatrous.
Beautiful temples but idolatrous….
Revelation 18 v4 is interesting as it says get out of her my people that you may not SHARE IN HER SINS . Theres the line its when it gets the point that enough pressure is applied by organised religion that we are forced to partake in her sins . I believe the particular sins here spoken of are contained in chapter 17 namely spiritual fornication (idolatry) and severe persecution of christs true witnesses . . But it could be any sin . The pressure is increasing on the brothers to conform . if they try and force an individual… Read more »
Well put Kev
I think you’ve drawn the line in the sand, Anonymous. Thank you.
Your words: “Getting “out of her” (organized religion) means that we no longer bow to it, we are already free even if we continue to serve as we are.” I can’t wiggle around the meaning here. How does one “serve as we are” “get out of her” and partake of the table of demons all at once? Is the call to “get out of her” for a selected few? Or is it for all of God’s people to hear and obey? His Will is that we Get Out of Her. 2 Cor 6:17 – Therefore “come out from their midst,… Read more »
This is just a thought, Peely, but perhaps “getting out of her” (organized religion) is similar to being “no part of the world”. We are still physically present although not spiritually of it. We are to be a light in the world, but that requires us to be in the presence of those still part of the world. The same can be said for those who choose to remain in the JW organization. Esther was definitely used by Jehovah under unique circumstances.
Hi life2come, It is well known that the book of Esther is about the preservation of God’s people. Their destruction was imminent at the hands of “Haman the wicked”; and Esther recognized this disgusting thing, the man of lawlessness, standing in the midst of God’s people. She was well aware that she could lose her life by announcing destruction on her people. Dan 9:27 In the set of scriptures Alex refers to in 1 Cor 7, verse 9 says, “keeping the commandments of God is what matters”. Jesus said, in answer to what is the greatest commandment in the law… Read more »
I wrote way too fast. so sorry for all the mistakes
hi peely, for 2 Cor 6:14 translation matters: 1) do not ‘be’ unequally yoked with unbelievers 2) do not ‘become’ unequally yoked with unbelievers The best translation is #2. The strong word γινομαι 1096 is defined: 1) to become, i.e. to come into existence, begin to be, receive being 2) to become, i.e. to come to pass, happen 2a) of events 3) to arise, appear in history, come upon the stage 3a) of men appearing in public 4) to be made, finished 4a) of miracles, to be performed, wrought 5) to become, be made As you notice, I do not… Read more »
It seems to me that, if the wheat were to physically get out from among the weeds, there would be no need for the angels to ultimately separate the two.
In my case, when I needed help in making important decisions, I prayed for clear guidance and I got it. I have gotten no such clear indication that I should leave, though I’ve prayed on that too. I believe this is an entirely personal decision which should be based on sincere introspection, study and prayer.
I agree with you anderestimme, It takes sincere prayer and an unrelenting spirit. So, we rely on God’s word to help us out. James 1:6 – But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. Eph 4:14 – that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting Our faith is being tested more now than perhaps we have ever experienced. We… Read more »
I must strongly agree with this statement peely. When you are being called out… You will know it. It was unmistakable in my case that the Spirit was leading me out of her. At some point we will be viewed as sharing in her sins if we stay. But we should not judge the choice of others to stay. The way I see it these days we are entrusted with the gospel and our commission to preach it to others. This Angel’s commission is to sound this warning to God’s people to leave BTG . We should leave him to… Read more »
Thanks alex . But you have no need to explain yourself not to the likes of me anyway . What you do and the choices you make are your buisness mate . 1 corinthians 4 v3 .As far as i can see thats a major problem with jehovahs witnesses we have been used to an environment where others intefere in other peoples lives .1 timothy 5 v13 1 peter 4 v 15 . Its bad news . People need to look at thier own lives and get that sorted instead of slating others . Kev c
I agree 1 Thess 4:11 “and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business”. Still, many struggle with the idea of leaving or staying. The intent of writing this article wasn’t to justify our own choices to stay or leave, but to give a Scriptural point of view which our visitors can meditate upon considering their personal situation. I hope many readers can be encouraged to find that the Bible has advice for their situation.
Thats right alex its amazing how we can make the best of whatever situation we find ourselves in .by trusting in god . I often think of paul in prison probably feeling that it somehow hampered his ministry and yet the letters he wrote while under arrest have reached many millions down through the ages . The trick is to go with the flow of gods spirit and it all works out just fine . Thanks for your articles alex . Well done .kev