[From ws11/17 p. 3 –December 25-31]
“It is good to sing praises to our God.” – Ps 147:1
The opening paragraph of this study states:
It is no wonder that singing is a prominent aspect of pure worship, whether we are alone when we sing or we are with the congregation of God’s people. – par. 1
Singing is also a prominent aspect of false worship. So the question becomes, how do we protect ourselves so that our singing is acceptable to our God?
It is easy to sing a song someone else has written, feeling that one is merely engaging in an activity, not expressing personal feelings or beliefs. That may be true for recreational singing, but in the case of singing praises to Jehovah, we should bear in mind that singing out loud so as to praise our God in song means that we’re accepting and publicly proclaiming as true the words coming forth from our mouth. They become our words, our feelings, our beliefs. Really, these are not songs, but hymns. A hymn is defined as “a religious song or poem, typically of praise to God or a god.” The Organization discourages the use of that word as part of its effort to differentiate itself from the rest of Christendom, but replacing it with the common word “song” fails to speak to its true nature. In reality, we do not have a songbook, but a hymnbook.
I could sing the main song from the movie “Frozen”, but when I say, “The cold never bothered me anyway”, I’m not speaking for myself, and anyone listening wouldn’t think I was. I’m just singing the lyrics. However, when I sing a hymn, I’m proclaiming my belief in and acceptance of the words I’m singing. Now I may put my own interpretation on those words, but I have to consider the context and how others within that same context would understand what I’m singing. To illustrate, take song 116 from Sing to Jehovah:
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.
Our path now becomes ever brighter;
We walk in the full light of day.
Behold what our God is revealing;
He guides us each step of the way.
For example, in the Kingdom Hall, all who sing this hymn accept that the “trustworthy slave” is the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They also acknowledge that the light getting brighter is a reference to Proverbs 4:18 which is understood to refer to the Scriptural interpretations of the Governing Body. As the hymn states, they believe that Jehovah is guiding the Governing Body “each step of the way.” So whatever you or I may believe, if we were to sing these words out loud in the congregation, we’d be telling everyone, including our Lord Jesus and our God Jehovah that we agree with the official understanding.
If we do, that is fine. We would simply be working within the bounds of our conscience based on our current understanding of truth. However, if we don’t agree, we would be going against our conscience which, based on the words of Paul at Romans chapter 14, would not be a good thing.
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Im more than glad to know you are from Nigeria. I wonder if its possible to email you
Hi Zugzwang. I’ll send James your email and he can contact you if he wishes.
Songs or hymns to God and Christ are in order, and almost all hymn in Christianity has sectarian or doctrinal bias.
My major dismay is the short time devoted to songs and prayers by jw- 5min.
There are no avenues to gather as a congregation just for songs, say 30mins, and the two or three stanzas of shorts songs.
@Zugzwang from Nigeria, I say good to know, I am too
The argument made here about song vs. Hymn is really pointless in my view. The definition is clear, and the two words are synonyms.
a short poem or other set of words set to music or meant to be sung.
synonyms: air, strain, ditty, melody, tune, number, show tune, track, anthem, hymn, chanty, chantey, ballad, aria; informalearworm
“a beautiful song”
It is perfectly fine for two words to be synonyms and still differ in meaning. From Merriam-Webster, (CAPITALIZATION is mine):
synonym : one of two or more words or expressions of the same language that have the same or NEARLY the same meaning in SOME or all senses
Hymn is a song of praise. So every hymn is a song, but not the other way around.
The point, Thaddeus, is that the Organization makes this distinction as part of their overall campaign to separate themselves from what they view as false religion. They don’t want the brothers to think they are just like every other religion out there, so they go out of there way to change the nomenclature. They say, “We don’t meet in churches, we meet in Kingdom halls. We don’t call on Jesus, we call on Jehovah. We don’t belong to a Church, we belong to the Organization. We don’t sing hymns, we sing songs.” If you’re doing the same thing, but want… Read more »
(Matthew 7:1-5) Be careful not to judge the truth By what we feel is right, For we were once lost in our youth, With feelings not so bright, We judged another for their part In growing in this world Presumption that divides the heart Of motives not unfurled, Like flags that are yet in disguise Of things kept out of sight, They are just weeds and fruitless lies That deserts grow by night, While only on this trail we trudged With all believed so true Before they told us all we judged Would fall upon us too, So guard our… Read more »
Hi Smoldering Wick,
Thank you for the mindresting gorgeous poëm. I will read it a few times at least, to calm those whirlwind of emotions I had . Due to feelings what is right and not.
The poëm puts it all in perspective.
One little nugget I use on my wife is one both my brother and I noticed years ago. There’s an obvious power in gospel music missing from our own library of songs. It also feels like the more simple the gospel tune is, the heavier it is. Our songs seem completely secular by comparison. The reason is you can’t duplicate soul. Your work either has soul or it doesn’t, and you can’t replicate it.
John 19:38 ► Verse (Click for Chapter) New International Version Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away… If Joseph could be awarded with the rare priviledge of caring for our kings body then i dont think anyone should be phased by an earthlings opinion.. lol. Our Judges appraisal of us and our efforts should be all that matters. I dont comment much but i felt compelled here. Humans beings are inherently… Read more »
Thank you, Zugzwang. I so appreciate what you have said here. I was just commenting to a friend last night how my own journey has benefited from the interaction with others on these sites. If you were to scan the comments on the original BP Site starting at the oldest articles and moving forward in time, you’d witness this progression yourself. I’m somewhat embarrassed by my JW-influenced wording at times, especially when dealing with the more confrontational commentors. It can still be a challenge, even now going on seven years. But I try to temper my evaluation of what a… Read more »
Thanks for that understanding comment, Meliti. While many here may have faded, others are fading, while others may be fairly in, at least in person. We are all trying to deal with this in the best way possible, and are affected by existing friendships and the position of spouses and relatives. May Jehovah bless everyone’s efforts to keep going, and thanks so very much Meliti for the strength you have given us, wherever you believe it comes from. A special hi to those in the UK, in the hope that one day we might meet up (though I have no… Read more »
If the Lord provides, I’ll be heading “over the pond” this coming year, so we’ll see if we can schedule a “regional convention”. Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Let us know which airport you are coming to. I might be able to meet you off the plane with a big MV card !
Will do, Leonardo!
Brain that is so good to hear, you have actually met someone who knows BP.
Mate that’s like finding a diamond in a pile of gravel, am a tad envious.
Warm greetings to all my brothers and sisters here on BP. I rarely comment but always read the watchtower discussion and comments. I found this array of comments quite interesting respecting the emotions involved and the reactions to one particular persons comments. (Robert) For all of you to understand where I am in respects to the organization. I am happy to say that I have successfully faded and have not attended meetings for several years now. Of my five believing children all but one has left the organization as well. The last remaining one (my oldest daughter) called me yesterday… Read more »
To Robert, …
“Real love amounts to withholding the truth, even when you’re offered the perfect opportunity to hurt someone’s feelings” – David Sadaris
Oh and also, …”Up your nose with a rubber hose!”, ripped from Vinnie Barbarino
Now back to our regularly scheduled program…
Wow ! What a lot of similar comments. All very encouraging to those of us here. Like many I have family, my own son, well in. My wife is about as in as I am and I will carry on while I must, for her and my son’s sake. Time will see what happens. As regards the songs, I trawled through the last song book, and there are relatively few which I would object to singing, although there are a few lines I do not like in some, while there are plenty about Christian qualities. Now I cringe at some… Read more »
I share ur sentiment. Sometimes I coin my own lyrics in replacements
So the other night as they were all singing “listen Obey and Be blessed” I was thinking very similar thoughts and as usual, Mileti puts thoughts to words better than I could ever dream of doing.
So many WT “hymns” are to the organization and they pretty much turn my stomach.
Like some others here I am stuck attending some meetings with my believing wife to keep peace. I just stand and look at the monitors and feel very awkward.
Well written Mileti!
What is said here is so true about singing, real singing gets to the emotions , beliefs and expresses them . As a matter of comparison, I went to a few Bible Student meetings. They still sing many songs that go back before Charles Russell. In their song book they have over 400 songs , most of which praise Christ. The other notable thing was all of them sang with gusto and all of them took turns in playing the piano for accompanyment, music and singing is a big part of their worship , rather enjoyed it.
Yes, and who are we praising if we sing these words?
I thought hymns, psalms and songs of praise were to praise God and Jesus Christ.
Self congratulatory loyalty hymns to the slave who has already decided they’re faithful don’t come high on my hit list.
I have to change the words to quite a few these days.
Or stand there In silent protest.
I thought this watchtower study was particularly condescending.
Hope you are feeling better. My wife and I had to go to the meeting today. We haven’t been at one for a few weeks. Some of our still-in family were giving us the business.
We were not singing the words to the songs either. We don’t agree with most of the lyrics. What a bizarre situation….
Hi Warp, It is bizarre isn’t it? Remember though that it’s the organisation has changed, not us. We’d rather be like our Father after all. James 1:17 I don’t recognise the sound of this music or lyrics. One thing about being brought up as a JW is that we know how to stand out from the crowd when it goes against our beliefs or conscience. I won’t bleat to their tune even if I have to be in the pen with them now and then. Thank you for asking how I am.? Still struggling to be honest… It seems I’ve… Read more »
And yet you stay.
Being a little judgmental, are we? Even after we leave the religion, the mindset still plagues us, like a virus that keeps coming back.
Ha! A virus that keeps coming back.
Very pertinent Meleti.
Prayers-in Love-for all of you here.Each individual answers,as the Scriptures plainly show,to Jah and Christ not men.Each day we’prove’ourselves,(Christ’s outlines).We do not know about tomorrow;will we be still alive?…or dead…Innately-understanding that there is free will; that none of us are living the others ex-periences;in James’ inspired counsels too,I chose/choose to stay.And yes,MM,I’m ‘faded’;quite a process,took about 3 yrs.I too also found the new songs (then)as’unable to listen to the voice of a stranger’.If only All of you on here knew..How much I desire wholesouled Peace for you;proving our Unity.(I always was the’go-between peacemaker’in the family;for others). Much Love,D.
Thanks Devora, ?
Dear Martha and others here,reading through all your more recent posts,shows a lot of uniquely-stressful & complicated;painful difficulties(we who have already’faded’ have gone through)of what You are currently facing+doing.You are Beautiful!in your candid revealings,of showing your Love and Care for others-still in,with such finesse, & compassionate ways.
I forgive you Robert because you don’t know my situation. We’re all at different stages of waking or leaving and some of us are stuck for the moment. I would be out like a flash with blazing guns declaring my objections and outrage, but if I did I would cause so much damage to people I love dearly. I need to extricate myself very carefully. A bit like an operation on a tumour. It’s a delicate operation not a savage hacking. Meanwhile i attend when I have to, but I would not consider myself to be staying. Not at all… Read more »
I find it interesting that both you and Meleti (and evidently others that have voted me down) believe that four little words constitute a “judgment”. Those words express, not a judgment, but a plain fact – and one I point out with regret, not judgment. It is one thing to avoid singing some lyrics you object to, or avoid commenting on some paragraphs at a WT study. It is another thing to leave. Staying while ‘your heart is not in it’ is still staying. Saying that you don’t “consider it staying” is only a case of being in denial. That… Read more »
I gave you 2 Thumbs up on that Robert cause thats all I got. I Like the langWiTch. IT tickles my “Ears”. breaker breaker
Robert, if you were not being judgmental, but merely stating a fact, then why ask for forgiveness?
I might comment to a friend, “You’ve gained a lot of weight. You’re very fat.” Technically, I’m just stating a fact. A fact that is obvious to all present and does not really need to be voiced aloud.
If my friend takes offense, would my best course of action be to try to justify my words, or engage in further judgmental discussion? Or perhaps the best course of action, the most loving course, would be to simply apologize?
Why? Beause I was not merely stating a fact, but an extremely important fact that I knew ahead of time would be controversial. Think of it this way. Suppose a married person came to know their spouse was unfaithful and unsuitable for several other reasons. They then confide in a friend about their situation. The friend replies, “and yet you stay”. Is that friend being judgmental or attacking them? Or, simply asking the ONE question that absolutely NEEDS to be asked? It does utterly no good to stick your head in the sand and tiptoe around this controversy, as if… Read more »
Robert, first of all, they are not my followers. I don’t have followers. They are followers of Jesus Christ and their own faith-based comments in each article attest to that fact. Now, you raise two examples to attempt to show you are not judging but merely speaking truth by stating facts. The first example is when you tell a friend with a cheating spouse “and yet you stay”. The second example is when you tell a married friend that they are being disloyal by having an affair. You seem to feel that stating a fact never entails judgment. Therefore, you… Read more »
Not knowing someone’s situation in life, their trouble, their personal problems it really would be a wise course not to offer advice or you own opinion on their matters. Like others I have aged parents that need care, and as I am the only one that can, and the only child not in a disassociated or disfellowshipped state I am the only one they will let help them in the family. Yes it might not be right but I stay for now to support my parents. If Jesus on the torture stake was worried about his mother, what does that… Read more »
Sounds like you basically have the same situation with your aging parents as we do. It can be very stressful trying to be supportive of them. Now is not the time to pull the rug out from under them though.
If somebody would have told us a couple of years ago that we would be facing this strange situation, we would have laughed. But now it is closer to crying.
May you have the strength to endure my brother….
Same to you. I can appreciate what you guys are going through and will include you in my prayers. And it is not my place to try and destroy my parents faith, so we do what we can. All that is ever asked is that we do our best. And every situation is different.
And you are so right, I never thought I would be where I am today. But I think it’s the proper guidance from our King that helps us daily. More prayer!! Lol.
I’m here with you all, same dilemma, same feelings.
Sending love and hugs to you all, and praying for wisdom and discernment for us all.
Thanks for all your support, it means a lot.
Traducción de Google: It’s easy to be afraid of the dictatorship … If you have a lot to lose. But you can rebel in secret. “Your father who looks in secret, will not pay you”? What do you say? In the Bible there are many examples of men and women who did not have to demonstrate externally their courage to face the apostasy or dictatorship in which they were (Isaiah 1:10, 2 Corinthians 11: 12-15, Galatians 2: 6) reminds Jonathan, the son of saul? Was he a coward for helping David secretly, or what about the 7,000 men who had… Read more »
“And yet you stay” That’s what you said. You don’t know anything about me except what I’ve said here on Beroeans, so to say I’m staying is a judgement of my status. I’m no more staying than a person stuck in an airport waiting for the opportunity to fly out is intent on living there. If it’s true, Robert, that you have never been a JW, and yet feel able to comment on those of us who are and have been all our lives… Then I feel you are speaking without authority. Only a JW will understand the unique situation… Read more »
There was nothing at all brutal intended, just the truth. Of course it is never easy. I never suggested otherwise. My point is that the question of why a JW would stay when they know for a certainty that the religion and organization they belong to is false is extremely important. You can’t pretend the problem doesn’t exist by chiding me with responses that amount to “how rude of you to point that out”. Every person on this forum ought to be asking themselves that question evert day. Wht’s more, the questions needs fo be debated on this forum. You… Read more »
Robert, please correct me if I’m wrong but I seem to remember when you first started posting here that you said you were never a baptized Jehovah’s Witness? I would also like to know in your opinion which church, or Christian Group would you consider it acceptable to be involved in even it’s just attending their services? Would it be fair to say we would find them all teaching something not supported by scripture or even blatant out right lies, yet we may continue associating for many other positive reasons that in our mind outweigh the negative. In reality millions… Read more »
Gogetter, since you asked, you are incorrext in the first point; I was in fact a baptized JW. Which religious group do I think is acceptible? At this time, none. If you wish to associate with some group, that is your business. I have deferred looking at all the replies concerning my comments, because its more important that readers answer the underlying question for themselves, than to react to me personally. That is, “why do you stay” is an extremely important question that every JW simply MUST answer, if not to others then at least to themselves. When people become… Read more »
Robert, You are stating that our lives depend on following your counsel about getting out of the organization. I’m not denying nor affirming whether that is true. However, since recently another group of men have claimed that our lives will depend on following their direction, I would ask you the question: What is the Scriptural basis for your assertion?
Meleti, you are mischaracterizing my words. I did not say that lives depend on following my words or getting out of an organization. I said that if you believe the religion you belong to is false but you dont leave it, the most important question to ask yourself is why. That is not “my direction” and I ask no one to follow my direction. As for you, you might not confirm or deny anything I say (and why should you; who am I?) but you ought to state for the record where you stand, since your followers look to you… Read more »
Robert, First of all, I’m going to grant you the benefit of the doubt and assume you skimmed over my previous response to you where I clarified that I do not have followers and that those who frequent this forum are followers only of the Christ. To say I have followers is to make me a spiritual leader, and one is out Leader, the Christ. Those who presume to lead in his place are sinning, and I hope you are not suggesting that I am a sinner who is trying to replace the Christ as leader. If I am mischaracterizing… Read more »
Traducción de Google : Dear brother robert: yes, you are right to ask “why stay” in fact I ask it every time I go to a hall of the kingdom (although it is very little). Will be able to find the opportunity to engage in an interesting conversation of the scriptures with some brave brother, in my case go “to the sheep losses” who do not know their way is important.you leave a seed it will grow (I hope not to speak like a JW;), you know that many of our brothers are in danger for the just done not… Read more »
Robert, When my wife and I started waking up about a year ago, we started formulating an exit strategy. My wife’s parents are in their 80’s and in poor health. They have been Witnesses for most of their lives. We have 2 adult daughters that we raised “in the truth”, and now 3 grandkids as well. Just like Martha, we knew we had to delicately extricate ourselves from the Org instead of going out guns blazing. Don’t get me wrong, we pretty much despise having to go to the KH every once in a while, but we also realize that… Read more »
You do make a point Robert . Ime sure the time will come to make a clean break, I handed a letter to the elders in my cong outlining 10 things I no longer accepted as truth, I did this in the belief they would disfellowship me , I was then going to take a recording device with me into the hearing , but it never got to that stage,and that was 5 years ago. I don’t go door to door, I don’t give money , and my wife who is still “in”hardly ever goes as I think she doesn’t… Read more »
Hello Wild Olive, We haven’t chatted in a while. Hope you and the family are doing well. I would agree that there may come a time to make a clean break from the Org. Right now it seems that most of us are in agreement that the time to do that varies according to our individual circumstances. I remember from some of your past comments that you had compiled your “10 Things you longer believe” and laid it on the elders. Now that took some courage! Almost unbelievable that they didn’t DF you on the spot. I really appreciate your… Read more »
Thanks Warp The family is doing fine, less time they spend at the meetings , seems the better they are, or maybe Ime biased? Since the command to ” get out of Babylon the great ” is found in the book of Revelation, a book full of symbolism, Ime not so sure it’s so cut and dried as is presented in WT literature, and as I once believed. I think it was Leonardo Josephus said that recognising that much is still unfulfilled puts one in a better position of understanding. It seems the 1st century Christians mixed regularly with people… Read more »
I think another think we should remember is that Paul continued to attend synagogue for some years after his conversion.