Gods Kingdom Rules (kr chap 15 para 29-36) – Fighting for Freedom to Worship
The main area covered in this week’s section is that of child custody (paragraphs 29-33).
It is difficult to comment on individual cases without knowing the specifics. Additionally as mentioned last week, there is no consistent bias against parents who are Witnesses compared to non-Witnesses. It is therefore not relevant to discuss this topic under ‘fighting for freedom to worship’ and should have been left out of the kr book. However the reason for this topic’s inclusion is highlighted in paragraph 34. “Parents, never forget that it is worth every effort to fight for your sons and daughters so as to provide a secure environment in which they will flourish spiritually.”
Therefore, on the one hand they encourage Witness parents ‘to show a spirit of reasonableness’ (Philippians 4:5) and then they encourage them to be litigious and fight to ensure they are able to bring up the children in their religion. Why? Because in the literature of the organization a non-Witness parent is portrayed by implication as being unable to provide a secure environment for the children to flourish spiritually. It seems a Witness parent, even a bad one, will be better than a non-Witness parent, however loving and God-fearing he or she may be. Is this attitude Biblically correct?
Many children, even when brought up by two Witness parents, turn out ill-equipped to handle any job or interactions with the real world, if the parents have chosen to bring them up in a cloistered environment, apart from the world. Such ones disregard the balanced view delivered by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:-9-11. This results in so-called ‘spiritual’ youths only because they have no option other than to be so. But in many cases they are simply going through the motions, putting on a face, doing what they are told. When the opportunity arises, however, away from the control of their parents, many act in a way that displeases God, either through naiveté or desire. So, if a single witness parent follows that same style of upbringing, would that truly be the best environment in which to be raised?
Many witnesses would say at this point, ‘but the child needs to be brought up in the truth, otherwise they would die at Armageddon’. This is a fallacy.
As Jesus states in John 6:44:“No man can come to me unless the Father draws him”. On the basis of this scripture, being raised as a Witness is not a guarantee of anything. Far from it, a large proportion of Witness children leave the organization on reaching adulthood.
If the organization has the truth then that child when it becomes an adult would be drawn to it. If it is not then it can only mean one of two things. (1) The organization does not have ‘the truth’ and therefore God does not draw them to it, or (2) the child has simply not been drawn by God. Galatians 1:13-16 gives the story of how the apostle Paul was called by Jesus, though one of the foremost persecutors of the early Christians.
It seems that this week’s kr study is yet another example of legal fights that resulted because of the Organization’s non-scriptural stand on custody disputes. Perhaps the chapter should have been entitled “Fighting for Freedom to Worship the Organization’s way”. Certainly the majority of cases highlighted in this chapter over the past weeks could have been avoided through a conscience-based approach by individuals instead of a prescriptive, overly strict and on many occasions, just plain wrong stance, governed by the edicts of the Governing Body.
We cannot and should not learn ‘the lessons of faith’ where the faith has been misguided or misplaced, because when we follow the dictates of men rather than God, we do not please our Father nor our Lord Jesus Christ as he himself reminded us in Matthew 7:15-23. We will individually be held responsible for our actions, therefore we need to train our own consciences from God’s Word. We should not meekly submit or delegate the training of our consciences to others who clearly do not have our best interests at heart, but instead their own.