[w21/02 Article 7: April 19-25]
[From the WT article]
What is the role of sisters in the congregation? Is every brother the head of every sister? Do elders and family heads have the same type of authority? In this article, we will consider these questions in the light of examples found in God’s Word.
Now bear in mind that the theme of the article is “Headship in the Congregation”. So before getting underway, ask yourself if you can find any scripture that refers to congregation elders in any role that is a headship role?
Okay, with that in mind, let us begin.
Referring to the role of women in the congregation, paragraph 3 states, “We can deepen our appreciation for them by considering the way that Jehovah and Jesus view them.” Great words, but does the organization truly consider and view women as Jehovah and Jesus do? And why do they always have to say “Jehovah and Jesus”. To say, “this is how Jesus views women” is to say, “this is how Jehovah views women.” There is no need for the redundancy unless one wishes to draw attention away from Jesus’ godly appointed role.
After listing the true value of sisters within the congregation arrangement in paragraphs 4 thru 6, the article concludes, “As the preceding paragraphs show, there is no Scriptural basis for thinking that sisters are inferior to brothers.”
Again, great words. The organization is great in honoring women in word, but not in deed. As proof, consider that this series of three articles which is based on 1 Corinthians 11:3 makes no reference to the equality afforded women in both praying and teaching the congregation which is revealed just two verses farther on. 1 Corinthians 11:5 we reads, “. . .but every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered shames her head. . .” First century women both prayed and prophesied (sounded fourth the word of God) in the congregation. Why don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses allow their women to do the same?
Paragraph 9 states, “It is true, however, that Jehovah has appointed men to take the lead in teaching and worship in the congregation, and he has not given women that same authority.” (1 Tim. 2:12)
At a superficial reading it would appear that Paul in writing to Timothy is contradicting his own words written to the Corinthians. Of course, that cannot be, yet the organization makes no attempt to explain the apparent contradiction. To understand what Paul meant in writing to Timothy, see this article: The Role of Women in the Christian Congregation (Part 5): Does Paul Teach Women are Inferior to Men?
In carefully worded prose, the article is trying to find scriptural support for the authority which the Organization confers on elders.
“For example, Jehovah wants family members to obey the head of the family. (Col. 3:20) And he wants those in the congregation to obey the elders. Jehovah expects both family heads and elders to make sure that those under their care are spiritually healthy. Both also care for the emotional needs of those under their authority. And like good family heads, elders make sure that those under their care receive help in times of crisis.” (par. 11)
Notice how family heads and congregation elders are put on the same level. Yet, elders are not mentioned in the headship hierarchy found at 1 Corinthians 11:3. Yet, the Organization gives them an enormous level of authority, way beyond any authority the Bible confirms on such men. For example, there is no command to obey the elders. Hebrews 13:17 is translated “be obedient to those who are taking the lead among you…” but the word, peithó, in Greek does not translate as obey, but rather as “trust”, or “be persuaded”. That is a significant difference, isn’t it?
Paragraph 11 closes with the admonition “not to go beyond things that are written”. Then immediately, in paragraph 12, that is exactly what they do by stating erroneously that “Jehovah has assigned the elders to act as judges, and given them the responsibility of removing unrepentant sinners from the congregation.—1 Cor. 5:11-13.” Paul is there addressing the congregation, not the elders. He wouldn’t contradict the direction from Jesus at Matthew 18:15-17 which lays the authority for dealing with unrepentant sinners at the feet of the entire congregation, not a committee of three elders.
Finally, we come to the role of the Governing Body explained to us in a sidebar on page 18. It starts off telling us that “The members of the Governing Body are not masters over the faith of their brothers and sisters.” Really?! Again, great words which do not match the reality. A master tells the slave what he can do and what he cannot do. A master makes rules. A master punishes his slaves when they disobey his rules or contradict him. A cruel master does not allow himself to be admonished by his slaves. Such a master considers himself above his slaves. Do not those words fit the reality better?
Any international corporation needs a Governing Body. But the Body of Christ, the Christian congregation does not. It is for that reason that there was no first century Governing Body, and why neither the term nor the concept is found in the Christian Scriptures. For more information on this, see this series of articles: Identifying the Faithful Slave – Part 1