Now remember, these words are coming from people who consider themselves to be true Christians, and before I read them, I should add that they are representative of the reaction anyone will get who has decided to leave the organization, or who has simply begun to doubt the truth of its teachings, and the exalted power of the Governing Body.
Just to set the table, so to speak, this message was sent to my friend after this couple had paid her a visit to encourage her. As they left that evening, she expressed concern that perhaps she had hurt their feelings by the questions and issues she had raised. After arriving home, the elder sent her this message by text: (Please ignore the typos. I’m displaying it as it was sent.)
“You have not hurt our feelings. We are saddened to see you in the state you are. Never did I ever see you so upset than since you started listening to the apostates. When you first moved here you were happy and enjoying serving Jehovah. Now, you are upset emotionally and I see it affecting your health. That has nothing to do with the governing body, but rather the lies, half truths, deception, one sided stories and slander that you have been listening to. Now you believe the same as members of Christendom. The apostates have ruined your faith and replaced it with nothing. You had a beautiful relationship with Jehovah and now that appears to be gone. These apostates focus only on Jesus and not on the one who sent him. Both are involved in our salvation. Psalm 65:2 says that Jehovah is the hearer of prayer.’ Jehovah has not delegated that responsibility to anyone, not even Jesus. I can’t help but wonder ‘Who do these ones you are listening to pray to?’ They hate Jehovah, so who is listening to them? It’s sad when I see where you are now. We have always loved you [name redacted], always. These apostates could not care less about you, just as long as they ruin your faith. Why don’t you ask them if they will give you a hand to move when it comes time? Or how about asking them to run to the store to get medication for you? They will likely not even respond to your request. They will drop you like a hot potatoe. Jehovah’s organization has always been there for you. The only time you thought differently was after you started listening to these apostates. My heart breaks when I think of it. I feel so sad for you. The gnashing of your teeth will only increase. We have been praying for you regularly. However, if this is your decision, we will stop doing that. The door is still open, but once the nations turn on Babylon the Great, that door will slam shut. I honestly hope you will change your mind before then.” (Text message)
If you were to have been on the receiving end of this delightful little text message, would you feel encouraged? Would you feel cared for and understood? Would you be basking in the warm glow of Christian love and fellowship?
Now, I’m sure this brother thinks that he is fulfilling the new commandment given to us by Jesus as an identifying mark of true Christianity.
“By this all will know that you are my disciples—if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:35)
Yes, indeed. He thinks that he is writing all this out of Christian love. The problem is that he is missing a vital element. He is not thinking about what the previous verse says.
“I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also love one another.” (John 13:34)
You see, we think we know what love is, but Jesus knew that his disciples did not yet understand love. Certainly not the type of love that he was commanding them to exhibit, you know, like eating with tax collectors and harlots and trying to help them repent. That is why he added the crucial condition, “just as I have loved you.” Now, if we read this text message can we imagine that this is how Jesus would have acted? Is this how Jesus would have spoken? Is this how Jesus would have expressed himself?
Let’s take this text message apart, one piece at a time.
“You have not hurt our feelings. We are saddened to see you in the state you are. Never did I ever see you so upset than since you started listening to the apostates.”
This entire text of his is filled with judgment. Here, the elder begins with the assumption that the only reason that the sister is upset is because she has been listening to apostates. But she hasn’t been listening to apostates. She has been listening to the truth about the Organization and when she brought her findings before this elder, did he prove her wrong? Was he willing to reason with her from Scripture?
He continues: “When you first moved here you were happy and enjoying serving Jehovah. Now, you are upset emotionally, and I see it affecting your health.”
Of course, she was happy. She believed the falsehood that were being fed to her. She believed the lies and bought into the false hopes offered to all loyal members of the other sheep class. This elder is treating the symptom, not the cause. Her emotional upset is due to the realization that she has been on the receiving end of craftily formed lies for many years—based on false antitypical interpretations that form the basis of JW doctrine..
His prejudice shows with his next statement: “That has nothing to do with the governing body, but rather the lies, half truths, deception, one sided stories and slander that you have been listening to.”
He is wrong in saying that it has nothing to do with the Governing Body. It has everything to do with the Governing Body! But he is right in saying that it has to do with “the lies, half-truths, deception, one sided stories and slander that you have been listening to.” All he has got wrong is the source of those “lies, half truths, deception, one sided stories and slander.” They all have come from the Governing Body via the publications, videos, and meeting parts. In fact, he is living proof, because even here, he is participating in slandering people he doesn’t even know, categorizing and labeling them as “lying apostates.” Does he offer even one shred of proof to back up his slander?
He seems to get his exercise by jumping to conclusions: “Now you believe the same as members of Christendom.”
He throws this in as a slur. For Jehovah’s Witnesses, all other Christian religions make up Christendom, but only Jehovah’s Witnesses make up Christianity. Does he provide proof to back up this statement? Of course not. The only weapons he seems to have in his arsenal to defend his belief that he is in the one true organization is slander, innuendo, character slurs, and outright lies—the logical fallacy of the ad hominin attack.
Remember, to be identified as a disciple of Christ, a true Christian must exhibit love in the same way that Jesus did. How did Jesus exhibit love? In the JW world, the criminal on the cross who was crucified would have been shunned and not shown the forgiveness that Jesus gave him, consigned to the lake of fire. JWs would not talk to a known harlot, would they? They certainly wouldn’t allow repentance unless the elders authorized it. Also, their attitude is one of exclusivity, basically hating anyone who no longer wants to toe the line of the Governing Body as is evidenced by the next line from the “loving elder.”
He adds: “The apostates have ruined your faith and replaced it with nothing.”
Replaced it with nothing? Does he even hear himself? He is about to tell her that his apostates focus on Jesus. How can he claim her faith has been replaced with nothing? Is faith in Jesus nothing? Now, if he is referring to her faith in the Organization, then he has a point—though it wasn’t his cherished apostates that ruined her faith in the Organization, but rather the revelation that the Organization has been teaching her lies about Jehovah God and the salvation hope he has offered through his Son, Jesus Christ to everyone, yes everyone who exercises faith in him as we see in John 1:12,13: “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
Now he laments: “You had a beautiful relationship with Jehovah and now that appears to be gone.”
This is a very revealing accusation he makes. It reveals the truth that for Jehovah’s Witnesses, what matters isn’t your relationship with God, but with the Organization. This sister has never stopped believing in Jehovah God. She has told this elder all about her relationship with Jehovah as her “heavenly Father,” but it has gone in one ear and out the other. For him, you cannot have a relationship with Jehovah God outside of the Organization.
Now stop for a moment and think about that. Jesus said that “…no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) By his declaration, our esteemed elder unwittingly reveals the truth about how effectively the Governing Body has replaced Jesus Christ as the way to God. This is actually a very evident and dangerous apostacy that the Organization is exhibiting. We know the Bible prohibition to following men instead of our Heavenly Father.
Jeremiah referred to those who trust in men and follow men as being stunted shrubs:
“This is what the LORD says: Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land.” (Jeremiah 17:5,6 NLT)
Jesus says to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, the religious leaders such as those occupying the position of a self-appointed Governing Body: Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6 ESV)
“Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God. For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” (Mark 7:7,8 NLT)
So we must seriously ask ourselves who are the real apostates? Those who seek to do Jehovah’s will or those JW elders who have ignored his will and self-righteously follow men and get others to follow them too, upon pain of shunning?
“These apostates focus only on Jesus and not on the one who sent him. Both are involved in our salvation.”
Really. Both are involved in our salvation? Then why do Jehovah’s Witnesses focus almost exclusively on Jehovah? Why do they marginalize the role Jesus plays in our salvation? Yes, Jehovah is our savior. Yes, Jesus is our savior. But if you are a Jehovah’s Witness, you are required to believe that the members of the Governing Body are also your saviors. No? Don’t believe me? Think maybe I’m just another lying apostate filling your head with half-truths, deception, one-sided stories and slander? Then why does the Governing Body lay claim to being part of the salvation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The March 15, 2012 Watchtower claims that “the other sheep should never forget that their salvation depends on their active support of Christ’s anointed “brothers” still on earth.” (p. 20 par. 2)
I think it is worth noting Jehovah’s Witnesses turn God, the Father, into just a friend, while Trinitarians turn Jesus into God Almighty. Both extremes muddle and confuse understanding of the Father/Child relationship which is the goal of every Christian desiring and answering the call to be an adopted child of God.
By the way, when he claims that “these apostates focus only on Jesus and not on the one who sent him” I have to wonder where he gets his information from? Has he been watching what he would call “apostate videos” or reading “apostate web sites”? Or is he just making this stuff up? Does he read his Bible even? If he just took off his JW myopic eyeglasses and read through the book of Acts, he would see that the focus of the preaching work was all about Jesus who is “the way, the truth, and the life.” The way to what? Why, to the Father of course. What nonsense he writes by claiming “apostates” focus only on Jesus. You can’t get to Jehovah except through Jesus, though he erroneously believes that you get to Jehovah through the Organization. How very very sad that he does not exhibit a love of the truth that will save him. One can only hope that this will change for him. Love of truth is more important than having the truth. None of us have the whole truth, but we yearn for it and seek it out, that is, if we are driven by a love for truth. Paul warns us:
“This man [of lawlessness] will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.” ( 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 NLT)
Jesus tells us that “No man can come to me unless the Father, who sent me, draws him, and I will resurrect him on the last day.” (John 6:44)
One thing we can state for sure is that the Organization isn’t going to resurrect anyone on the last day. Isn’t that a fair and accurate thing to say?
This elder adds: ”Psalm 65:2 says that Jehovah is the hearer of prayer.’ Jehovah has not delegated that responsibility to anyone, not even Jesus. I can’t help but wonder ‘Who do these ones you are listening to pray to?’ They hate Jehovah, so who is listening to them?”
How nice. He has finally quoted a scripture. But he uses it to defeat a strawman argument. Alright, now here’s another scripture: “When anyone is replying to a matter before he hears [it], that is foolishness on his part and a humiliation.” (Proverbs 18:13)
He is making assumptions based on the propaganda he’s been fed by the Governing Body which has been ramping up its vitriol lately against those it wrongly calls “apostates.” Remember that the Jewish religious leaders also called the apostle Paul an apostate. See Acts 21:21
Would not a true Christian, a true lover of truth and righteousness, be willing to listen to all the evidence before passing judgment? One notable characteristic of the discussions I’ve had with elders, and which others have told me they’ve had, is that they are unwilling to get into any discussion based on Scripture.
This elder now continues: “It’s sad when I see where you are now. We have always loved you [name redacted], always.”
How easy it is for him to say that, but what does the evidence reveal? Has he pondered the meaning of Christian love (agape) as defined here: “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous. It does not brag, does not get puffed up, does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury. It does not rejoice over unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
In reading his words, do you see evidence that he is displaying Christian love as the apostle Paul describes here?
He continues on his tirade: “These apostates could not care less about you, just as long as they ruin your faith. Why don’t you ask them if they will give you a hand to move when it comes time? Or how about asking them to run to the store to get medication for you? They will likely not even respond to your request. They will drop you like a hot potato. Jehovah’s organization has always been there for you.”
Again, more rash and baseless judgment. And what irony, that he should say that these apostates will drop you like a hot potato! It is he who is threatening to drop our sister like a hot potato. She is taking a stand for truth, based on faith in Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. Now that she’s taken this stand, can she call on her “friends” in “Jehovah’s Organization” to be there for her when she needs something? Will her “loving” JW friends in the Organization even respond to her request?
He next says: “The only time you thought differently was after you started listening to these apostates.”
The only time the first-century disciples started to think differently was when they stopped listening to their religious leaders—the priests, scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees—and started to listen to Jesus. Likewise, our sister started to think differently when she stopped listening to her religious leaders, the Governing Body and the local elders, and started to listen to Jesus through his words recorded in Scripture.
With his next words, he feigns concern while lashing out with more condemnation: My heart breaks when I think of it. I feel so sad for you. The gnashing of your teeth will only increase.
Based on what this elder says farther on in his text message about Babylon the Great, I believe he’s referring to this scripture, though he doesn’t quote it: “That is how it will be in the conclusion of the system of things. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from among the righteous and will cast them into the fiery furnace. There is where their weeping and the gnashing of their teeth will be.” (Matthew 13:49, 50)
So, by his words he has passed judgment, which only Jesus has the authority to do, on our truth-loving sister calling her wicked along with all those he considers to be apostates. This does not bode well for him because Jesus says that “whoever addresses his brother [or sister] with an unspeakable word of contempt will be accountable to the Supreme Court; whereas whoever says, ‘You despicable fool!’ will be liable to the fiery Ge·henʹna.” (Matthew 5:22)
By the way, that’s not my interpretation of this verse in Matthew. That comes from the February 15, 2006 Watchtower on page 31.
It reads: “When using the expression, “gnashing of teeth,” Jesus was referring to the haughty, self-assured religious leaders of his day. They were the ones who disfellowshipped all the “apostates” that followed Jesus, like the man he healed of blindness who later rebuked the Jewish elders. (“. . .the Jews had already come to an agreement that if anyone acknowledged him as Christ, that person should be expelled from the synagogue.” (w06 2/15 p. 31)”
Isn’t it telling that one of the objections this elder parrots in line with the thinking of the Governing Body is that “apostates” focus on [or acknowledge] Jesus as Christ?
He next shows how out of touch he is with the spirit of Christ: ”We have been praying for you regularly. However, if this is your decision, we will stop doing that.”
An understandable position for them to take because they are following the commands of the Governing Body. This is more proof that Witnesses will obey their Governing Body even when its commands or commandments conflict with those coming from Jehovah though his one channel of communication, his Son, the Word of God, Jesus Christ, our only means to salvation through love:
“I say to you: Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you, so that you may prove yourselves sons of your Father who is in the heavens. . .” (Matthew 5:44, 45)
So while these elders (and other JWs) continue to “reproach [us] and persecute [us] and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against [us]” (Matthew 5:11) we will continue to obey our heavenly Father and pray for them.
The door is still open, but once the nations turn on Babylon the Great, that door will slam shut. I honestly hope you will change your mind before then.
This elder is correct. The door is still open. But will he walk through that open door? That is the question. He’s referring to Revelation 18:4 which reads: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.”
The criteria that the Organization has used in its interpretation to identify Babylon the Great is that it is made up of religions which teach falsehoods and which are disloyal to God like a wife who commits adultery.
If only this elder could see the irony. His is a classic example of projection –accusing others of the very things he himself is practicing. Let us never fall into this attitude because it does not originate with the Christ. It comes from another source.
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