Alex Rover gave an excellent summary of the changed state of affairs in our Organization in his comment on my most recent post. It got me to thinking about how these changes came about. For instance, his third point reminds us that in the “old days” we did not know the names of the Governing Body members and their images were never shown in print. That changed with the release of the Proclaimers book 21 years ago. My wife was bothered by that, feeling that it was inappropriate for these men to be so prominently featured in a publication. It was but one more small step in the decades-long progression toward our current organizational environment.
It is by a slow but steady increase in temperature that the frog is boiled.
This got me to wondering how these changes could have progressed, seemingly unnoticed, to the point where we now readily accept the Governing Body as the embodiment of faithful and discreet slave of Matthew 24:45. These seven men are self-proclaiming that they are part of the fulfillment of a 2,000-year-old prophecy and no one is batting an eye. I do not believe that such an understanding would have been possible under the old guard.
This led me to recall the revelation Raymond Franz made about the Governing Body of his day. A decision affecting policy or doctrinal interpretation could be passed based on a two-thirds majority. If that rule continues to exist—and I have no reason to think otherwise—it takes five of the current seven members to pass a vote. So even if two disagreed with the Governing-Body-as-Faithful-Slave interpretation, the teaching would still become official because of the five.
This thought led me to consider the nature of spirit guidance. We must recall that the Governing Body now claim to be the appointed communication channel of God. They claim to be spirit directed. This means that Jehovah speaks to us through them.
How does the spirit of God direct the congregation? Certainly the choosing of one of the 12 apostles would constitute an event of greater significance than the choosing of a Governing Body member, would it not? When the office of Judas had to be filled, Peter spoke to the crowd of about one hundred and twenty (the sum total of the Christian congregation at that time) laying down the qualifications the man would need to manifest; then the crowd put forward two men and they cast lots so that the holy spirit could direct the outcome. There was no vote by the apostles, either unanimous or of a two-thirds majority.
As for directing the congregation, whether that of Israel or the Christian congregation, divine revelation almost always comes through the mouth of one individual. Has Jehovah ever revealed his word through a voting committee?
True, the spirit can also become active on a group. For example, we can point to the issue of the circumcision. (Acts 15:1-29) The older men of the Jerusalem congregation were the source of that problem, so naturally, they would have to be the ones to resolve it. Jehovah’s spirit directed them—not a committee, but all those in the congregation—on how to resolve a problem they themselves created.
There is no scriptural precedent for rule by voting committee; certainly no precedent for a two-thirds majority rule, which is a way to avoid deadlock. The spirit is never deadlocked. Nor does the Christ exist divided. (1 Cor. 1:13) Does holy spirit direct only two-thirds of the brothers in the Governing Body? Do those with a different opinion not have the spirit during a particular vote? Does the interpretation of prophecy depend not on God, but on a democratic voting process? (Ge 40:8)
There is an old saying that goes, “The proof is in the pudding.” A scriptural equivalent might be, “Taste and see that Jehovah is good.” So let us look at the results. Let us taste this process that guides and directs us and see if it is good, and therefore, from Jehovah. – Ps 34:8
Those posting and commenting on this site have revealed many significant errors in JW doctrine, as well as flawed and disastrous policy decisions that have resulted in the unnecessary persecution and suffering of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Our former policy on how to deal with child molesters has resulted in the spiritual shipwreck of untold numbers of little ones; little sheep. (John 21:17; Mt 18:6)
As we look back on the policy decisions and prophetic misinterpretations that have resulted from this two-thirds majority rule, it becomes evident that it was not holy spirit that was doing the directing—for God’s decisions are righteous and the burden the Christ imposes on us is light and easy to bear. There is no deception under the rule of Jesus, no need to apologize for past mistakes—for there are no mistakes. Only under the rule of men are such things in evidence and they do indeed leave a bad taste in the mouth.