2017, August 07 – August 13, Our Christian Life and Ministry

– posted by Tadua

Local Needs \Yearbook

What lessons can we learn?

That we should study and use the Bible, using any translation.

If one is a Jehovah’s Witness,  it may be beneficial to emigrate from Russia to avoid persecution, or decide if you value publications of men over your freedom to worship God.

Video – Avoid What Erodes Loyalty - Pride

This is an extract from one of the ‘bunker’ video’s from last year’s assembly.

It is very unrealistic. How many proud brothers or sisters do you know who evaluate how they responded to a situation, and determine themselves that they need to change? Close to none. Now one could argue this video is an attempt to change that, and if it encourages one person to do that then good, but it relies on them having some humility in the first place, not a common trait amongst proud people!!!

Sadly, also the video does not deal with the issue of whether the counsel was warranted. It just assumes that the counsel was warranted, and the implication is that if you reject counsel you are proud. Yet, as so often the case in these types of situation, it could well be unwarranted and unfair, possibly even from a brother or sister who enjoying bullying others, or who is trying to impose their personal opinion. How to deal with that scenario would have been far more useful and relevant.

Gods Kingdom Rules (kr chap 16 para 1-5) – Training Servants of the King (+ Section Intro)

Spiritual materialism.

What is it?

This is a term to describe the extraordinary desire for things perceived to be ‘spiritual’. Just as in ordinary materialism where a normal desire is allowed to grow out of control, in efforts to obtain the objects of desire held out by advertising to be vital for a happy life, so there can be spiritual materialism where extraordinary efforts are made to obtain objects of desire considered to be necessary for a satisfying life due to constant advertising by the organization.

As with material things that in general most cannot afford, so too with these perceived ‘spiritual things’. Most cannot afford the cost to obtain them, but are given the view that failing to strive to obtain them is a failure in a person’s spirituality.

Similarly just as many material things advertised are fake, and are not beneficial for the owner, so are many of the so- called ‘spiritual things’ we are pushed to strive for. These so called ‘spiritual things’ include:

  • Talks on an assembly program.

  • Pioneer Service school.

  • School for Kingdom Evangelisers.

  • Education through publications, meetings, assemblies, conventions and other organisation schools.

What did Jesus say was important in terms of spiritual goals?

John 17:3 shows the most important thing is taking in knowledge of God and his son Jesus Christ. Where do we find this knowledge? In his word the Bible.

Is it not better to go directly to the source? Anything else is second-hand at best, and potentially a fraud at worst.

The first century Christians were able to fill the whole world with the teachings about Jesus. (Acts 17:6). They did this without any publications, assemblies, conventions, pioneer schools, schools for Kingdom Evangelisers and the like. They also had no hoops to jump through in order to qualify for these supposed privileges, yet they were truly successful. Reaching out for JW.org "goals and privileges of service" can give one a superficial feeling of achievement, and many times a swollen ego, but how far we have gone from the original simplicity of the message of the good news.

So, to take in knowledge about God and his King, Christ Jesus we should discuss the following questions:

  • Are we ever assisted to study the bible in depth?

  • Are we trained to read the scripture in context?

  • Are we trained to understand the meaning of the original language words from the scripture passage?

  • Are we trained to reason on what the Bible passages actually say, or only what someone has interpreted them as saying?

Take the instruction mentioned in paragraph 2. Note the Watchtower study. It is exactly that. A study of the Watchtower magazine with the aid of the Bible. It is not a study of the Bible with the aid of the Watchtower. The majority of the time is not spent discussing God's word, but rather parroting what is written in the paragraph.  Three or four Scriptures are read, but the discussion is limited to the application made in the magazine.  No time is provided to study the verses in context, to fully understand them. Nor is there the time to look up the root meaning of key words in their original language.

What about the Christian Life and Ministry (CLAM) meeting? It is almost all about the JW ministry, with an occasional token part about helping us to act in a manner befitting the behavior expected of Jehovah's Witnesses.

In 1 Corinthians 2:14-16 Paul said that ‘the spiritual man examines indeed all things’ so that we could ‘have the mind of Christ’. In Philippians 2:1-6 Paul counselled us on the important things, ‘to have the same love’… ‘doing nothing out of contentiousness or out of egotism, but with lowliness of mind’.

Personal study of God’s word motivates us to love others, to desire to help them. On the other hand the so-called ‘spiritual things’ held out to us by the organization generate contentiousness and a spirit of egotism and pride. How often do we hear relatives of witnesses who have gone through this training, say things such as ‘my son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother, sister, mother, father, cousin, have been to pioneer school, are circuit overseers, are regular pioneers, are Bethelites,’ etc., as if they are superior to their fellow brothers and sisters?

Paragraph 4 reminds us that as per Colossians 3:16, the early Christians taught and admonished one another and sang praises to God.

Did they sing praises of the 12 apostles as we today are expected to sing praises of the faithful slave (aka, the Governing Body)?[1]

Did they have a scripted meeting, both in material discussed and carefully focused questions? No. Did they only listen to a handful of picked men teaching them? No. Rather they encouraged one another. To encourage someone else you usually have to speak to them. All were to participate. Today, only a limited number participate, and the ability to participate is controlled by those chosen few who run the congregations. Despite claims to the contrary, the current model of meetings followed by the organization is far from that of the first century.

Family Worship section

Once again, we see the subtle replacement of Christ’s instructions with the organization's instructions. The section states “May 15, 1956 Watchtower urged all Christian families to have ‘a regular Bible study right in the home for the benefit of the entire family.’ Then it asked: ”Does your family study The Watchtower together some evening before the meeting?”

Now to be fair the Watchtower may have been urging both, but in the minds of most witnesses, studying the Watchtower is studying the Bible. Certainly the two are linked in the quotation as if they are one and the same. However as discussed above they clearly are not.

In the next paragraph, the claim is made that ‘one reason for the adjustment [of dropping the separate meeting for the Book Study] was to give families an opportunity to fortify their spirituality by scheduling a specific evening each week for family worship.’ This assumes (a) the family already attended the Book Study every week, and (b) would now use this evening or swap with another evening to have the suggested study. The other question that needs to be asked is, why were families not already having a family study? If they were then they would be less spiritually fortified as they had now lost 1 meeting per week. The logic of the reason does not add up. Yet, as no other reason is mentioned, most would conclude that this was the biggest and most important reason in arriving at a decision for the change. As with many changes in recent years in the organization, a glossy reason is given which on examination does not hold much water, and the real reason(s) is hidden. Why? What happened to being honest (and candid) at all times?

Annual Gatherings section

The first paragraph mentions ‘the development of the earthly part of Gods organization during the last days.’

Let us just think about that for a moment.

Did the nation of Israel develop during its time in Israel?

No. Jehovah provided all that was required for the Nation of Israel to function from the beginning, giving copious instructions to Moses, forming the Mosaic Law.

Did the early Christians develop during the 1st century?

No. Jesus Christ provided all that was required for the Christian congregation to function. The writings of the apostles merely confirmed or recorded what these instructions were.

So, if Jehovah’s witnesses were chosen as God’s organization in 1919, we need to know why Jesus as head of the congregation would have changed the modus operandi, by

(a) only giving partial instructions,
(b) not clearly inspiring humans to write a third testament,
(c) randomly with no apparent logic or order, gradually revealing new understandings, which often were a complete reversal of earlier understandings.
(d) constantly making, amending or creating new arrangements and understandings?
(e) ending up with an Organization whose current teachings bear no resemblance to what C.T. Russell taught?

Next weeks (kr) section will discuss the current meeting arrangement in more depth.

[1] Songs 126, 95, 49, 13

Archived Comments

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  • Comment by Rufus on 2017-08-09 10:51:37

    Outright praise and adulation for the "faithful slave" is slipped into the second verse of these songs, like a white-bread sandwich of mind-manipulating baloney:

    Song 126 Verse 2
    Stay awake, and keep your senses,
    Always ready to obey.
    Stay alert to Christ’s direction
    Through his faithful slave today.
    Heed the counsel of the older men,
    Who protect his sheep and truth defend.

    Song 95, Verse 2
    Our Lord has appointed a trustworthy slave,
    Through whom He gives food in due season.
    The light of the truth has grown brighter with time,
    Appealing to heart and to reason.
    Our path ever clearer, our steps ever firm,
    We walk in the brightness of day.
    All thanks to Jehovah, the Source of all truth,
    We most gratefully walk in his way.

    Song 49, Verse 2
    Your slave, your steward here on earth,
    Declares your greatness and your worth
    And feeds us nourishment when due,
    To strengthen us your will to do.

  • Comment by Keepitsimple on 2017-08-09 11:29:07

    Tadua, very good meditation about Spiritual materialism, fake reward and hyper advertising from WT also you showed how to do a sound study of the bible to counteract our brainwashed mind.

  • Comment by Leonardo Josephus on 2017-08-10 11:42:11

    Rufus. Yucch. Not to your comments, but to the words of the songs that stick in my throat.

  • Comment by tyhik on 2017-08-10 16:59:32

    Big thank you Tadua for your thorough work!

    The video is unrealistic indeed. The guy the video talks about is an elder, presumably having decades of JW history under his belt. And his biggest challenge during that time has been what? Once failing to accept counsel from a fellow elder. That's not real. I could never trust such a person's judgement about himself. The video leaves me really wondering what was the aim of this part of the video. To show that (almost) failing to accept counsel from the Org even once is as big of a crime as, for example, entertaining oneself with things detestable to our Father over a period of time, as the boy did in the other episode of that same video?

    The spiritual materialism part was excellent!

  • Comment by Lucas Bridge on 2017-08-11 04:51:58

    This a very miniscule point, something i noted last night in the book study in the first paragraph john 20:19-22 is correctly qouted that Jesus gave the disciples holy spirit. Then acts 2:1-7 is used to show, it was Jehovah who "poured out holy spirit upon them" im slightly confused even though i've always prayed to Jehovah for holy spirit the bible clearly states it was Jesus who filled the disciples with holy spirit can someone clarify this point please?

    • Reply by Rufus on 2017-08-11 07:27:07

      Thank you for coming here and asking the question. A careful reading of the Christian scriptures reveals much about Jesus and holy spirit. A WT Library sentence scope search on "Jesus spirit" (without quotes -the space being an additive term search) reveals a greater flexibility of interaction than you may have imagined. If you use the NWT, you must realize that the word Jehovah never appeared in the original text, and the divine name was never recorded as an utterance of Jesus, who addressed his father as we all would, "Father" with adjectives at times, like Heavenly Father.

      Therefore, the NWT in many places attributes to Jehovah actions that come from our Lord, Jesus. That is another study unto itself, with 237 or so insertions of Jehovah into the translation, some without any basis except to avoid the appearance of control over spirit or over the congregations and preaching actually given to Jesus.

      Here are a few of the many "hits" produced in the NWT by "Jesus spirit" without quote marks:

      “38 He that puts faith in me, just as the Scripture has said, ‘Out from his inmost part streams of living water will flow.’” 39 However, he said this concerning the spirit which those who put faith in him were about to receive; for as yet there was no spirit, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.” (John 7:38, 39)

      “38 Peter [said] to them: “Repent, and let each one of YOU be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of YOUR sins, and YOU will receive the free gift of the holy spirit. 39 For the promise. . .” (Acts 2:38, 39)

      “7 Further, when getting down to Mysʹi·a they made efforts to go into Bi·thynʹi·a, but the spirit of Jesus did not permit them. 8 So they passed Mysʹi·a by and came down to Troʹas.” (Acts 16:7, 8)

      “8 Therefore those in union with Christ Jesus have no condemnation. 2 For the law of that spirit which gives life in union with Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8:1, 2)

      “. . .If, now, the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in YOU, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also make YOUR mortal bodies alive through his spirit that resides in YOU.” (Romans 8:11)

      “30 Now I exhort YOU, brothers, through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the spirit, that YOU exert yourselves with me in prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Ju·deʹa and that my ministry which is for Jerusalem may prove to be acceptable to the holy ones. . .” (Romans 15:30, 31)

      “. . .I for one, although absent in body but present in spirit, have certainly judged already, as if I were present, the man who has worked in such a way as this, 4 that in the name of our Lord Jesus, when YOU are gathered together, also my spirit with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 YOU hand such a man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, in order that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 5:3-5)

      “11 And yet that is what some of YOU were. But YOU have been washed clean, but YOU have been sanctified, but YOU have been declared righteous in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11)

      “14 The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham might come to be by means of Jesus Christ for the nations, that we might receive the promised spirit through our faith.” (Galatians 3:14)

      “15 That is why I also, since I have heard of the faith YOU have in the Lord Jesus and toward all the holy ones, 16 do not cease giving thanks for YOU. I continue mentioning YOU in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give YOU a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the accurate knowledge of him;” (Ephesians 1:15-17)

      “Now because you are sons, God has sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, and it cries out: “Abba, Father!”” (Galatians 4:6)

      You might consider further articles on the archive site, such as:
      Abide Sweet Spirit

  • Comment by Robert-6512 on 2017-08-16 17:32:16

    You wrote, "No time is provided to study the verses in context, to fully understand them. Nor is there the time to look up the root meaning of key words in their original language. What about the Christian Life and Ministry (CLAM) meeting? It is almost all about the JW ministry, with an occasional token part about helping us to act in a manner befitting the behavior expected of Jehovah’s Witnesses."

    What the CLAM is evidently NOT about is Christ. This topic is getting more coverage on the Beroeans site, but in looking over these meetings for the last year or so, Christ is almost never mentioned. There is the constant, redundant, nearly superfluous mentions of Jehovah, and the rest is about meetings, service, loyalty to men, obedience to men, etc.

    Doesn't anyone attending the CLAM see, or feel the need to point out, the irony in calling this Our CHRISTIAN Life and Ministry, when Christ has been sidelined and all but abandoned?

    Considering WT's relentless grab for power over other people and the elimination of Christ from the lives of their followers, a better name for this meeting might be, "Our Life and Ministry under the Subjugation and Control of the GB".

    But, seeing how that's kind of lengthy, we could shorten it to the name of a comic strip: Our Life in Hell.

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