[From ws1/17 p. 27 March 27-April 2]
“These things entrust to faithful men, who, in turn,
will be adequately qualified to teach others.”—2Ti 2:2
The purpose of this article is to encourage Witness youths to reach out for positions of responsibility. The modern trend appears to be that fewer and fewer youths see as desirable what the Organization calls “privileges of service”. The decades-long decline in new entrants into the clergy in the rest of Christendom is now manifesting itself within JW.org.
When Is a Privilege not a Privilege?
Paragraph 2 twice uses the term “privilege”.
“Spiritual assignments or privileges also identify people” and “If we have privileges of service, we likewise should value them.”
The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Reference Bible) uses the word six times. The Bible, however, does not use it even once! Each usage in the NWT is not found in the original Greek but has been added in by the translators.
Why isn’t the word used in the Bible? Why is it used so often (over 9,000 times) in the publications of JW.org?
Should the answers influence those giving due consideration to this article’s exhortation to reach out for greater service to the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses?
The word “privilege” means, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
- a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor : prerogative; especially : such a right or immunity attached specifically to a position or an office
One does not consider a slave or servant to be privileged. One does not refer to the lowest class of any society as the privileged class. If we speak of a man coming from a background of privilege, we understand him to be from a family of money and influence. One who is privileged is one who is exalted, placed in a class of people from which the rest are excluded.
We must therefore assume that the constant and frequent use of this term when referring to “assignments of service” within JW.org is intended to foster a view of acquiring a special status within the JW community.
Even when referring to roles within the congregation that are found in Scripture, such as that of overseer (episkopos) and ministerial servant (diakonos) the Organization wishes to promote the idea of privilege and status. This goes contrary to the teaching that Christ repeatedly (and at times frustratingly) tried to impart to his disciples.
“. . .But Jesus called them to him and said: “You know that the rulers of the nations lord it over them and the great men wield authority over them. 26 This must not be the way among you; but whoever wants to become great among you must be your minister, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. 28 Just as the Son of man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his life as a ransom in exchange for many.”” (Mt 20:25-28)
Lip service is given to this Bible passage, but it is rarely honored in the observance. The exalted status given to elders, circuit overseers, and those in so-called full time service has often proven to puff up the ego (1Co 4:6, 18, 19; 8:1) and given men the erroneous idea that they can rule over the lives of those in the flock of Christ. This has often resulted in men meddling in what does not belong to them. (2Th 3:11)
When Is Growth, not Growth?
Paragraph 15 claims:
We live in exciting times. The earthly part of Jehovah’s organization is growing in many ways, but growth necessitates change. – par. 15
This implies that the need for youths to reach out is due to growth within the Organization. However, last year JW.org went through an unprecedented downsizing of staff as 25% of its worldwide workforce was cut. The ranks of special pioneers were decimated. The construction of new Kingdom halls has slowed greatly, with new ones being built mainly to replace older ones that have been sold off. There has been an unprecedented Kingdom hall sell off over the past 12 months, with the money disappearing into the coffers of Bethel. This at a time that the majority of first world nations are experiencing a dwindling population of Witnesses.
Overall, there is a lot of good advice in this article. One could apply it to the Christian congregation or a large multinational corporation with equal benefit. For the Christian, applying this counsel with regard to training younger ones to take the load off older ones in the congregation is only truly beneficial if one is working within the framework of true Christianity. It is for each one to make that determination for him or herself.
From the WT article, par 3: “Sadly, though, from the days of Adam, each generation grows old and is replaced by another. (Eccl. 1:4)” How can a generation grow old? According to the current understanding, if a person grows old but has children then this generation is not old yet, right? But if these children grow old, then yes, then is their generation old. But wait a minute, what if they have children too? But these children are a different generation, aren’t they. On the other hand, they are children, thus in the same generation with their parents, which were… Read more »
A nice piece of reasoning, tyhik. Just one more we for us to defeat the idiotic overlapping-generations doctrine.
For a discussion re the WT’s abuse of “privelege” see…
Thank you for finding this. I am the author of the article on Perimeno’s web site. I contributed that article a few years ago and then lost it or deleted it by mistake. I forgot all about the fact that I put it there. I have been looking everywhere for it, and here you “dropped it in my lap”. Just like manna from heaven … Thanks
I’ve read that now Robert, it’s very informative and comprehensive.
The CO came to visit and in his first talk he mentioned the thousands of hours our cong put into the ministry work, the tens of thousands of placements, and mentioned dozens of pioneers experiences by name (I blushed). It sounded very impressive sure but the claps were delayed because everyone not just me were waiting for one important detail.. the results?? How many bible studies, publishers being baptised, anyone going to missionary school? Actually I know the answer, just one. One sister got baptised in our last circuit assembly, and she is a second generation witness. So, 1 baptism… Read more »
Very observant of you. There was a video on You tube of ex sister and brothers discussing the year book. If you look at the figure for Australia their average publishers for 2015 was 66,753, and for 2016 it was 66,689. So they actually lost – yes LOST 64 publishers and spent 12,056,551 hours to do that! So glad I am not wasting time pioneering . Have you come off now?
On the subject of growth, we listened to the UK branch visit talk over this last weekend. Emphasis on growth in pioneers, hours done, but no mention of the growth in publishers. I wonder why ?
If Kingdom Halls are sold off, and brothers have to travel further to each meeting,and in some cases quite a long way, how is this going to affect meeting attendances and the ability to invite newly interested ones ? The answers are obvious, but it all seems very strange.
Otherwise, many thanks for your observations Meliti, and a positive conclusion.