You Can Share in Strengthening Our Christian Unity—How?

– posted by meleti

[From ws3/16 p. 13 for May 16-22]

“From him all the body is harmoniously joined
together and made to cooperate.”—Eph 4:16

The theme text refers to the body of Christ which is the congregation of spirit anointed brothers of our Lord.  These cooperate out of love and truth.  In fact, the preceding verse says: “But speaking the truth, let us by love grow up in all things into him who is the head, Christ.” (Eph 4:15)

So truth is crucial.  Love is crucial. By truth and love, we grow up in all things into the Christ.

This is the idea behind Paul’s words to the Ephesians.  This article uses Paul’s words to promote Christian unity.  It follows that the way to Christian unity is through love and truth and that unity in this instance must center round the Christ.  So before we even get into the article, we should expect it to speak of love, of truth, and of unity with Christ.

We should not enter into this discussion thinking that unity requires truth and love, however.  The Devil and his demons are united.  Jesus uses logical reasoning that attests to this fact at Matthew 12:26.  Yet that unity of purpose is not due to love nor truth.

Sliding from Truth to Falsehood

The introductory paragraphs clearly emphasize harmony and cooperation within the anointed body of Christ.  Paragraph 2 concludes with questions on how we today can continue such harmony.  Is the writer suggesting that modern-day Jehovah’s Witnesses make up the anointed Christians comprising the body of Christ?  Apparently not, for the next paragraph slides in another idea:

“The figurative locusts that John saw well illustrate anointed Christians proclaiming Jehovah’s powerful judgment messages. They are joined now by millions of companions with an earthly hope.”—Par. 3

Let us assume for the sake of argument that the locusts do represent anointed Christians.  Let us also assume, again, for the sake of argument, that the fulfillment of these words is occurring in our day as JWs believe.  In that case, the eight to ten thousand anointed Jehovah's Witnesses who partake every year make up the cloud of locusts which is tormenting those who do not “have the seal of God on their foreheads”, to the point that such ones want to die.[i]  Okay, let’s accept that as well—for the sake of argument.  Where, in all this vision, is another group represented; a group so large that it outnumbers the locusts by close to a thousand to one?  How could such a vast group not be represented in John’s vision?  Jesus would certainly not have overlooked them.

If we are to comply with Paul and speak in truth, then we need proof.  Where is the proof that the locusts are joined by another group, by “millions of companions with an earthly hope”?

Without the proof, we can still be united.  But if our foundation is not truth, on what is our unity resting?

A False Premise

Paragraph 4 claims, in so many words, that only Jehovah’s Witnesses have the commission to preach the “good news” to the world.  (This presumes that the “good news” being preached is the true “good news” and not a perversion from men. See Galatians 1:8.) Paragraph 5 then says that “to share the message of the Kingdom good news with as many people as possible, we need to carry out our preaching in an organized manner.”

Please note that no Scriptural proof is provided for this assertion.  it is taken as a given by Jehovah's Witnesses, but is it really true?

This article would have us believe that if we are going to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and preach “the ‘good news’ worldwide before the end of this system”, we have to be organized. (par. 4)  This requires that “we receive directions.” These directions come “through the congregations around the globe.” (par. 5)

We are then asked:

“Do you strive to follow the direction to share in special preaching campaigns?” (par. 5)

What special preaching campaigns?  We will soon see that the distribution of invitations to special events is being referred to.  This direction comes from the men of the Governing Body.

So to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and preach to "as many people as possible" we must be organized, which means we must follow the directions of the Governing Body, which means we must distribute invitations in special campaigns, so that we can fulfill the commission to preach the good news of the Kingdom.

It appears that the premise on which this Christian unity is based is not love for each other and the Christ, nor is it based on scripturally established truth. It is based on unquestioning obedience to the directions or commands of men.

Look in your Bible and read the account in Acts.  Do you see that the key to the spread of the good news was due to organization?  Was it due to direction from a central governing body of men?  Is the word organization even to be found in the whole of Scripture?  (You may wish to do a search on the word for yourself in the WT Library program.)

Making a Mockery of Christian Unity

“What a thrill it is to read in the Yearbook the combined results of our activity! Think, too, of how we are united as we distribute invitations to regional, special, and international conventions.” (par. 6)

Apparently, the prime example of Christian unity of which we can be thrilled is the work of handing out printed invitations to JW events and gatherings!  Is this truly the culmination of the great work started by our Lord Jesus?

“The commemoration of Jesus’ death also unites us.” (par. 6)

What irony!  There is perhaps no event in the JW calendar that divides us more than the commemoration of Christ’s death.  The demarcation between chosen ones and those not making the cut is manifested publicly.  This divide is not found in Scripture, but was introduced by Judge Rutherford in the mid-1930s and is unique to the theology of Jehovah's Witnesses.  It is also completely false.  (See Going Beyond What Is Written)

“….attendance is not restricted to baptized Witnesses.” (par. 6)

Why is attendance not restricted to believers?  The first Evening Meal was a private and intensely intimate affair.  There is nothing in Scripture to indicate a change from that standard.  The Christians in the first century are shown as eating together, enjoying love feasts together.  (Jude 12)  Jesus intended us to commemorate his death because we are his brothers.  He did not intend the event to become a tool for recruitment.

Applying Paul’s Words to the Ephesians

The remaining paragraphs give counsel on being united and cooperating with one another toward a common goal. Such unity and cooperation is laudable, but the key is the goal.  If our unity is taking us down a bad path, then we are merely making it easier for one another to end up on the road to ruin.  For this reason, Paul spoke of truth and love, before speaking of cooperation and unity.  The fact is that truth and love will produce unity as an unavoidable, highly desirable, result.  For how can we speak in truth and love one another and not end up united?  So unity is not the thing to be sought. It is the thing that comes naturally when we seek for and find Christian love and the spirit of truth.

However, if a group or organization lacks truth, and if they do not have the love which is a fruit of God’s holy spirit, then they must seek unity by some other means. (Ga 5:22)  Fear is often the motivator in such cases. Fear of exclusion.  Fear of punishment.  Fear of missing out.  For that reason, Paul warned the Ephesians,

“So we should no longer be children, tossed about as by waves and carried here and there by every wind of teaching by means of the trickery of men, by means of cunning in deceptive schemes.” (Eph 4:14)

And the key to not being blown about by tricky teachings, to not being fooled by cunning deception?  Paul says, the key is to speak the truth and love one another and obey, not men, but the Christ as our head.

“But speaking the truth, let us by love grow up in all things into him who is the head, Christ.” (Eph 4:15)

He then says that our unity comes from him, from Jesus.  It comes from following the direction he gives us through Holy Scripture and the spirit, not by obeying the direction of men as if it were from God.

“. . .From him all the body is harmoniously joined together and made to cooperate through every joint that gives what is needed. When each respective member functions properly, this contributes to the growth of the body as it builds itself up in love.” (Eph 4:16)

Therefore, let us not judge whether we are in the true religion based on the perception of a unified front, because even the demons are unified. Let us base our determination on love, for love is the one defining mark of true Christianity.  (John 13:34-35)


[i] Only in the last few years has the number of partakers risen above the ten thousand mark, but the tone of the articles of late indicates that the Governing Body does not really accept that this rise represents a true calling of new ones to their fold.

Archived Comments

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  • Comment by Yehorakam on 2016-05-17 19:12:53

    I haven't read the article yet, and will probably have to add another comment later after reading it, but I thought I would share an interesting experience about unity. I have been going through the articles on the Beroean Pickets older website a little at a time. I found an article by Alex. I have never communicated with him and do not know anything about him (ie. background, age, nationality, real name...etc). It gave me goosebumps because I seemed to have the same experience and understanding as he described in the article. My understanding of the scriptures did a 180 after one of Christ’s brothers opened my mind to the timing of the first resurrection. As a result of accepting that teaching out of love for Biblical truth and rejecting what the GB had taught, the spirit opened up my mind to understanding pretty well all of what he wrote in the article without the help from any fellow human or organization. It’s nice to listen and learn from fellow Christians. Christ expects us to appreciate and listen to our brothers and sisters. I continue to learn from others. Yet, it overwhelming when you are completely on your own and the spirit opens up your mind to the truth and teaches you directly. I spent close to 2 years in isolation without hardly any contact with any fellow Christians. That time was very precious to me as the holy spirit taught me. As I said, it is mind boggling because it is a great privilege to be taught by the spirit. It left me feeling completely unworthy of such a grand privilege. Then comes the feeling of how to repay Christ for his interest in me. And now the clencher....the immense joy to discover that Christ has also taught others the same things through the spirit....UNITING us. I can only compare it to when Jehovah reassured Elijah that he was not alone: that there were in fact 7,000 fellow believers that had not committed idolatry. When he returned to Israel, what a joy it must have been to find some of these ones.

    For me, things like this are a testimony to Christ’s way of doing things. We can arrive at very similar or the same conclusions completely independently from one another, find one another, and discover that we are united in the same line of thought, discovering a brotherhood that Christ has created, not man. What a contrast to the unity that organizations have created by forcing their members to accept a doctrine and expelling them if they disagree with the current understanding. Man creates a forced and "enforced" unity. Christ creates a unity slowly and voluntarily among people that sincerely love truth more than all else, people that may not be known to each other…and he does it by means of holy spirit. The unity he creates depends on the fact that we have mutual respect for the differing views as we show patience towards each other, and patience with ourselves as we each progress in spiritual maturity and the holy spirit corrects and teaches us. What a beautiful thing Christ does.

    I have contemplated the question: If another person does not believe all the things I do, does that mean he is not my brother, that there is not unity? My answer is no. Perhaps he is struggling with previously held beliefs and is in the process of trying to accept the Biblical truths that are new to him. Maybe I am in the wrong and need to listen to the Biblical truths being expounded by the other person. That has happened quite often in my friendship with one of Christ's brothers. To me a key factor to determine if there is unity, is the mutual desire to humbly and honestly pursue and accept Biblical truth, doing it all in a spirit of love and letting the holy spirit guide us into the oneness. That allows for differences, but our goal is the same and foments unity.

    The articles in Beroean Pickets haven't necessarily always taught me something new (some have). The greater effect or impression on me is that it has given me solid examples that deepen my appreciation that Christ can create unity of thought without an organization. Perhaps the biggest challenge some of us face in our solitude is FINDING others that are like-minded and united in Christ. Christ doesn't put a outer label on our brothers and sisters. They are only known as "Christians" and identified by their fruits, not as belonging to a specific religion. It takes time to get to know others and see if they are truly Christlike and directed by love. It takes time to see if they are being brought to the truths by means of the holy spirit. In the meantime, it can be disheartening trying to find true brothers and sisters. To those that have left the congregations and feel lonely, please don't loose patience as Christ leads you into association with those that he considers his brothers and sisters. He will do it, and when it happens you will be thankful that he led you. If you're on this website, it is already an indication that Christ is leading you. That's how I feel anyway.

    Much love,

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2016-05-17 21:36:11

      You are so right about the spirit leading us and teaching us. When I began my own journey, it was with the help of a close friend, Apollos. We continue to sharpen each other.

      One thing that I wanted to avoid, having already suffered for so many decades under the influential teaching of men, was to repeat that mistake. So I avoided all other websites except for the gathering of hard data. Likewise, I avoided scholarly research, again with the exception of data gathering such as one gets from online concordances. My feeling was that if I could not understand the truth directly from God’s Word, if I had to rely on another man to explain it to me, then I had no way to protect myself from being misled yet again.

      It was only after a few years that I felt secure enough in my understanding of Scripture to read the first book that Raymond Franz published, Crisis of Conscience. I was astonished when I came to the page in which he lists the teachings that he and Dunlap and others had arrived at. With, I believe, one exception, we were matching down the line. That we could arrive at the same conclusions that another group separated by a half-century had arrived at helped to assure me that it was the leading of the Holy Spirit that had brought us to these truths.

      It is both exhilarating and humbling to realize the love of the Father that he should send us his spirit to guide us into all the truth. No man can take credit for what we have learned, nor can any man presume to guide us. Finally, after so much time wasted, we have come to the Christ, our one true leader.

      I should say that I so much appreciate your thoughtful comments and I hope you continue to share your insights with us.

  • Comment by LVReyes on 2016-05-18 00:55:18

    I love your commentary on the WT article. Very poignantly true.

    Enforced uniformity and conformity can never be even remotely close to unity in Christ through the Love God shows us, which we in turn can manifest for each other.

  • Comment by Yehorakam on 2016-05-18 02:41:41

    Thanks Meleti. I just wish I could give shorter comments like some of the others. Seriously! I mean Jesus said profound things in very few words, and I have yet to figure out how to do that. I really appreciate your hard work, that of the other writers, and a gathering place where comments are kept constructive. Funny how being led to Christ leads us away from organizations. Yet, there are repeated expressions in the WT that to follow him, we must follow those that he has appointed. Strange how they live in fear that they will loose their brothers and sisters (or loose control) if they just let them follow Christ without getting in between. I feel very comfortable and at peace that those that follow Christ will eventually end up walking in the same direction anyway. No need to control them. Christ will 'control in their hearts.'

    May he continue to direct your steps and others as you 'multiply your talents.'

    Much love,

  • Comment by billy on 2016-05-18 12:37:20

    For years I obeyed the GB even though things didn't seem right or ad up, now I realize I towed the line out of fear - when one operates from godly love and truth seeking it makes one attractive to those who feel the same way - they are drawn to each other - this should be the basis of their unity - that's what made Jesus so attractive

    I totally agree on your point about the memorial supper being an intimate gathering of christs followers

  • Comment by lazarus on 2016-05-19 08:44:26

    Thanks Meleti for the review, the "organisation " which is not found in scripture, is absolutely correct!! And good point on lords evening meal..the org. is comfortable using "buzz words" like unity, peace, same "teaching program worldwide " so totally agree..what Paul wrote and how you nicely explained these verses in context of Eph 4:12-16 vrs 16 makes sense!! As is cited brothers are supposed to build each other in up in love, the joints fitting together perfectly in harmony that the muscles of one’s body shows. If you lifts weights, you need train all your muscle groups, for obvious reasons! And for vrs 16 in part says "When each respective member functions properly, this contributes to the growth of the body as it builds itself up in love. ” , so there should be the development of and practice of the gifts that members have been given–whether those gifts include writing, speaking, or whatever other service. Are the GB brothers humble Enough and secure enough as to allow the brother's the full opportunities to develop their God-given talents with their full blessing and support? If the organisation is truly a functioning body I feel then it's not realising its full potential because of hindering brothers from truly growing, as many cant express their bible knowledge, can't attend a pioneer school unless they forgo much, list goes on. We're truly being stunted in growth. however if we've seen the light!! As we first did decades's like Jesus is preparing us for his return..,is that a fair statement to make!

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