As I was sitting through yesterday’s Watchtower study, something struck me as odd. Since we deal with incipient apostasy so swiftly and decisively, why make statements like:
“Some Christians may have questioned why such individuals were allowed to remain in the congregation. Faithful ones might have wondered whether Jehovah really distinguishes between their resolute loyalty to him and the hypocritical worship of apostates.” (par. 10)
Another odd one is from paragraph 11:
“In effect, Paul was saying that even though there were counterfeit Christians in their midst, Jehovah would recognize those who really belonged to him, just as he did in the days of Moses.”
These statements give the impression that there may be apostates in the congregation spreading their message and causing sincere Christians to wonder why Jehovah puts up with them; that such ones will be tolerated until Jehovah in his own good time puts them out of our misery.
This is simply not the case, and never has been. Any hint at apostate thinking (which includes just questioning the scriptural nature of some GB teaching) is dealt with summarily. There are no situations such as those depicted in the illustration on page 9. The Circuit Overseers have just received the power to delete and appoint elders because they are likened to Timothy who was thus empowered by Paul. These so-called modern-day Timothy’s would not imitate their ancient role model by putting up with someone like the elder depicted in the illustration. In our day, he would be stripped of his “privilege of service” and likely be standing before a judicial committee faster than he could unfurl his scroll. The way we deal with any hint of dissent has everything in common with the way the Pharisees and Jewish priests dealt with it. It has nothing in common with first century congregation procedures.
So the whole thrust of the article makes no sense given the true climate in the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
This makes me wonder if this might be the JW-equivalent of High Priest Caiaphas’ temporary about face. (John 11:49-51) What he said, he did not say because he believed it, but because the holy spirit made him. I believe that there are faithful ones at all levels of the Organization. Sometimes one gets the impression that certain articles are written in a code intended for true believers. If you look at this article from the viewpoint of a genuine Christian, one who is “sighing and groaning over the detestable things that are being done in” Jerusalem, then it fits. (Ez 9:4) We ask, “Why are those who promote false teaching allowed to continue, even rising to exalted positions? Why does Jehovah not deal with those who are apostasizing by sidelining Jesus and replacing his teachings with their own?” If you feel that way, then you will find that key portions of the article are most encouraging.
This is only an impression of mine. I welcome your thoughts.
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