“Jehovah is a God who requires exclusive devotion.” – Nahum 1:2
[From ws 10/19 p.26 Study Article 43: December 23 – December 29, 2019]
Note:Article revised 28/12/2019
The first six paragraphs are basically beneficial and non-Organizational in nature. However, sadly as is very common this does not last for the whole study article. Let us see how.
Well-paying Job Bad, Preaching Good.
Paragraphs 7-9 contain the usual unverifiable “experience”. In this experience, the brother was finding his work stressful. He attempted to change the schedule, but his employer sacked him. He immediately started to pioneer rather than look for a replacement less stressful job. He followed the Organization’s advice, started doing janitorial work and pioneering. The issue with this is that janitorial work can be highly stressful, but this experience portrays it in the light of being a panacea to a stressful job. Admittedly if he and his wife could live on a tenth of their former income, then there was room to take a lower paying less stressful job without doing janitorial work. However, the problem with this type of work is that when recessions come, as they do regularly, these are the first types of jobs to be cut. It also furthers the view that many witnesses have, fostered by the publications, that if they lose their job, just pioneer and Jehovah will miraculously find them a job, and all will be okay. This is far from what happens in real life.
A dose of speculation
The opinion of the couple in the experience that “they have learned firsthand that he cares for those who put Kingdom interests first”, is sadly just that, their opinion. They have no proof that they were able to obtain other jobs due to Jehovah’s intervention. It is just personal interpretation of favorable events, and selective filtering out of unfavorable events. Indeed, many pioneers survive, (although not all) by learning how to guilt trip others into supporting them, with free meals, donations of clothes and money. Jehovah and Jesus Christ do not come into the equation. The questions we need to ask ourselves are, what does the Bible teach are Kingdom interests? and secondly, does God personally intervene today in the way suggested by the Organization?
Protecting the Organization
In addition, is the reasoning behind the counsel given not to miss meetings and field service to protect you, or to protect the Organization’s indoctrination of you. After all, while the scriptures encourage us not to forsake gathering together with like-minded Christians, it does not mandate or even suggest regular formal meetings, with prescribed format and material, nor the amount of field service required. Perhaps the worry is that if you missed some meetings and field service you might have some time to question what you are being taught and that would never do, would it!
Watching TV will harm you
The counsel in paragraphs 11-14 is good in general provided one does not implement it in an extreme way. Sadly, it seems the thrust behind this counsel is not to watch any “worldly entertainment” at all. No doubt they are concerned about brothers and sisters finding and being exposed to YouTube videos and TV \ cinema films exposing the hypocrisy, and double standards of the Organization. Rather, it is suggested that we should only watch carefully prepared material from the JW Broadcasting Studios. Additionally, as we are all aware watching TV and other media can also be time consuming. As a result, this could lead to less time spent in Organizational pursuits. Could this also be another reason for suggesting restricting ones TV viewing?
Watching JW Broadcasting could harm you! Official!
As for the claim by one sister “and I don’t have to filter the content”; maybe she does not filter the content, but if she has children, particularly young children, she should.
It is unlikely she was aware that recently the regional convention overseer of the Stockholm, Sweden convention of 2018 was fined in Sweden. Why? For showing unrated broadcasts and videos to young children at the assembly.[i] Showing a murder such as in this year’s Josiah drama, and frightening scenes of Armageddon, to young children without warning is wrong. Witness parents would object if it was any other Organization showing such images. Why should the Governing Body be exempt from the same restrictions and legal requirements applied to any other film or video broadcaster?
Watch your time
Paragraph 16 insists that “We must carefully control not only the type of entertainment we enjoy but also the amount of time we spend enjoying it”.
Why? So “That way you will have the time and energy you need for personal Bible study, family worship, congregation meetings, and serving Jehovah in the preaching and teaching work.”
Agreed it is beneficial according to the scriptures to take time to study God’s word personally, and to assist our families to practice Christian qualities. What should raise a red flag is that we are required to attend the Organization’s meetings and required to participate fully in the Organization’s version of preaching and teaching.
Is it done out of any genuine concern for our future or our spirituality? How much solid spiritual food is actually contained in the Watchtower articles and other publications? Does the material provided really build up your faith or is it more of an emotional appeal?
We would recommend any newcomers to the site to take a little time and search the Watchtower study articles for just one whole study article based purely on the scriptures where no application is made to any Organization activity, but only to how one should act as a Christian to non-Witnesses. You will likely struggle to find more than one article in the last twelve months, and perhaps one in the previous twelve months. Serving God and Christ according to the scriptures is about far more than attending meetings and preaching. Acts 19:23 and other verses show that early Christianity was initially called “The Way”. It is about living it on a personal basis in the way we are as persons.
Paragraph 18 quotes 2 Peter 3:14 “Beloved ones, since you are awaiting these things, do your utmost to be found finally by him spotless and unblemished and in peace”. The paragraph then comments: “When we obey that counsel and do our best to remain morally and spiritually clean, we prove that we are exclusively devoted to Jehovah”. Yes, it is the counsel of God’s word that is the most important to obey. We do not want to fall into the trap of following men’s counsel who suggest that if we do not follow what is written in the Watchtower then we are either not morally clean, or not spiritually clean, or we are not exclusively devoted to Jehovah. Nothing could be further from the truth.
To truly give Jehovah exclusive devotion as per the theme of this study article we need to (John 3:16) take in knowledge of his son whom he sent. We also need to ensure that we are Beroean-like in carefully ascertaining for ourselves that all we believe is based fully on God’s word and is not extrapolated and added to, like the form of worship that the Pharisees promoted (Acts 17:11). We therefore can take the principle of this article to heart, but it will surely benefit us if we ensure the application is different.
TranslatedText from Swedish newspaper:
“A 64-year-old man is sentenced to pay fines since he arranged a film show at the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ convention at Stockholm International Fairs this summer. The films were shown to visitors of all ages, but had not been reviewed for age limits by the Swedish Media Council. The man is ordered to pay a total of 43 000 SEK [4128 EUR] in fines and to pay a fee of 800 SEK [77 EUR] for the crime victim fund. According to SVT, several of the films that were shown contain messages such as that homosexuality is wrong and that one should not participate in democratic processes. At the Jehovah’s Witnesses website, there are hundreds of films with information about the community’s religious dogmas, where one has to learn, among other things, that having sex before marriage is wrong, not accepting blood transfusions, or people living in same-sex relationships will not be admitted to paradise.
The man argued in the court that he did not know that the films were subject to the requirement for age review. Furthermore, he claims that the judgment violates his right to freedom of speech and religion. However, in the judgment, the district court writes that the man must endure that his freedom to maintain worship and teach others in the doctrines of Jehovah’s Witnesses through public screening of film is limited by due diligence, as the purpose of the restriction is to protect the well-being of children under the age of 15.”