Hebrews 11:1,6: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” King James Version (KJV)
With a reading of the entire chapter of Hebrews 11, you will discover what faith is and what it was to many of the saints and patriarchs of scripture. The one thing you will notice that no where in scripture, nowhere, will you ever find faith defined as a religious system. The theocratic warrior would have you believe that their’s is not a man made system, rather, it is a God made system, a theocratic government established by God, not a hierarchy system established by man.
Before we get too deep into what the theocratic warrior really believes, lets just take a look at what faith is. This is important, because, later we will be discussing the the Watchtower’s shunning policy of disfellowshipping and their declaring a person an apostate.
Mark 11:23-24 “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” King James Version (KJV)
What we learn about faith is that it is the power that lay’s within you for the now. “Now faith is” Is what? Whatever you may need it to be while facing the situation that is before you. Jesus says faith can move a mountain, what is your mountain? It doesn’t matter to faith, when you have no doubt, when you speak the Word, when you believe, believe, believe, pray the (speak) the Word you have what you require. No religion can do this for you, only faith, and that faith is in God. He rewards those who believe Him.
Who has it, if no religion can give it, 1 John 5:1-5 “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” 5 King James Version (KJV)
Those who believe in Jesus are the ones of faith, they are the ones who know they have that mountain moving, world overcoming faith. The follow His commandments, which He summed up as love. Mark 12:29-31 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[b] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] There is no commandment greater than these.” New International Version (NIV)
There is nothing we can do to become a follower of Christ except believe in Him, no works of any kind has lead a person into the arms of God, no works of any kind have freed a persons spirit, only faith in Jesus, His Love walk, His word, has that power to grant us the kind of faith that pleases God. Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” King James Version (KJV)
Who can use this faith, a special select group of elders or leaders, pastors, or bishops only? No, it is summed up by the word “whosoever” that is you, that is me. We are, the whosoever’s, there may be many who come to your door who may not qualify as whosoever’s because they do not believe Jesus or His word, they have no faith, they have not received Him. Do we chase them away? No, of course not, we give them what they need, the Word of God, then perhaps, just maybe, they too will become whosoever’s. Hebrews 4:2 “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” King James Version (KJV)
Faith is a substance, something tangible, when applied to the need, it creates the solution so that a prayer is answered. Many religions blame God for all that is wrong in the world. Sickness, disease, destructive forces, wars, poverty, lack, every evil, God gets that blame. Faith teaches us this is simply not so. God is our Father, if He did these things, that would be child abuse. I was abused as a child in the name of God, Jehovah, do your kingdom work or get a beating. Get beat while you are in the “field” and come home to a beating for being in a fight. My God was never in the beating, just a evil religion, was in it. I could give you 50 pages of experiences of the evil things we endured as Jehovah’s Witnesses, from being stoned with rocks, beat with sticks and bricks, whipped with Weeping Willows branches, set on fire all in the name God, yet He was never in those things. They were not His will, even though we were taught they were, persecution is supposed to prove your faith. That is not what the word says, I you want to prove your faith you simply believe God. Acting holy does not prove faith, faith is only proven by pleasing God. If you are persecuted for your faith (as many in scripture were) then in your faith God will shine through, that’s the faith that pleases God, but never the persecution process, a beaten child should hurt the heart of a father, so too, does it with God. He has promised great things to those of faith, there is not one promise of something good to those of religion.
Hebrews 11:34-40: “Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” King James Version (KJV) Anyone may stand for God while facing any evil when it is done through faith.
We understand, we know, that as faith is released in our spirit, in a God pleasing action, by simply believing His Word. God has never established a religion, He has established faith, in His Word, He gave it into our heart. He speaks to every individual who will place their faith in Him. Religion says “trust us, follow our lead” God says, “Trust my Word, follow my Spirit” which one proves to have the kind of faith that is God pleasing. 2 Corinthians 4:13-14: “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.” King James Version (KJV)
Faith gives us an assurance that when we speak His Word it gets done. Many people bring problems to their religious leaders, they have no answers, when they bring them to God they will see the answer in one of His promises, then they know by faith He will do it, for He will not, cannot change His Word. Psalm 89:34 “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” King James Version (KJV) The name Jehovah actually means: “The God who keeps covenant and fulfill’s promises.” What promise has God spoken regarding your problem or situation, find it in His Word, He cannot change it, so then you can trust, for He is the God that keeps His Word. By faith it is yours, through religion, it is lost, choose faith, choose life. Deuteronomy 30:19: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” King James Version (KJV)
When we make faith, our final authority, we can take every stand that faith may demand of us. We must make faith the bases of our decisions, without faith we are not God pleasing. We meditate on God’s Word, then it is the first thing that comes from our mouths when we are in a dire situation. Whatever the Word says I am, the that is what I am, whatever the Word says I can do, then that is what I do. Religion will make a demand upon us, but if it is not Word based, then we have to choose not to follow it. Religion makes rules, laws, structure contrary to the Word of God, then demand you follow them or face very harsh judgement. We should never be concerned by what a man made religion may say to do, when we live by faith, we please God, it is He who justifies us, approves us. Galatians 3:11 “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.” King James Version (KJV)
The theocratic warrior says that their system is that which God rules, but is it one of faith, the answer is clearly no, especially in the case of the Watchtower. In fact their own lawyer made exactly that statement while in court, that they are a religion that is a hierarchy just like the Catholic Church and not therefore, a theocratic government. In a lawsuit dealing with who controls the assets in the Menlo Park congregation, California, a Watchtower attorney by the name of Calvin Rouse told a judge: “We are a hierarchical religion just like the Catholic Church.” Taken from the actual court transcripts found in THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF SAN MATEO CASE NO. CIV508137 PLAINTIFF, JASON E . COBB, VS . ERNEST BREDE, et a l . , DEFENDANT REPORTER’S TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE HONORABLE JONATHAN E. KARESH DEPARTMENT 20 WE D N E S D A Y , FEBRUARY 22, 2012 APPEARANCES: FOR THE PLAINTIFF: APPEARING IN PRO PER FOR THE DEFENDANTS: ANTHONY SMITH, ESQ. FOR ERNEST BREDE: CALVIN ROUSE, ESQ
So, according to the lawyer, they are “just like the Catholic church” then if you are to follow a religion, why not just become a Catholic, or a member of any other religion? Look at the transcript from the above quoted suit: page 4 beginning on line 18: “And I say “organization.” I am general counsel for the National Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses out of Brooklyn, New York. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be here, but this is one of our 13,000 congregations in the United States. We are a hierarchical religion structured just like the Catholic Church. And, when the order from the Pope comes down in the church defrocking a priest and kicking him out, he no longer has any say in any matter in the local parish priest.” So Jehovah’s Witnesses have a structure similar to the Catholic church:
Catholic Church Jehovah’s Witnesses via the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
Pope The Governing Body
Cardinals Branch Committees
Archbishops District Overseers
Bishops Circuit Overseers
Deacons Ministerial Servants
Establishing the fact that the Watch Tower Society is a hierarchy is noteworthy for two reasons. First, because a hierarchical structure goes against scripture, which is the reason they have always publicly declared themselves as a theocratic system, and secondly, because they condemn other religious organizations for using the exact same system. Does it really matter, the lawyer is either practicing theocratic warfare by lying in court , or, the organization is doing such to their average “publisher” by calling it a theocratic government. What does Jesus have to say, we find that He had a very strong feeling of dislike to the systems that man establishes, whether Catholic, or Watchtower, they both fall into the scribe and Pharisee category Jesus loathed.
Matthew 23:1-12: “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2 Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. 4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, 6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. 8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” King James Version (KJV) We must choose to allow the Spirit of God to teach us, lead us, you will always find that He will bring us to the Word to show us what we need.
Does that mean we should not belong to a church or a religious organization? Of course not, so how do you chose the right one for you, after all there are hundreds, if not thousands of so called “Christian” churches. Just as people have different personalities, so do churches, some take on a formal style of worship while others are more causal. Your challenge is to find the one where you fit and where you can offer your service in order to assist others within the congregation. You are your own “priest” so you are charged with the duties of one. 1 Peter 2:9-10: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” King James Version (KJV)
In deciding your church or group you have an obligation to both yourself and the others within the congregation, so before deciding on becoming a member you can do a few simple things to know that you belong in the place that God has chosen to place you.
After you have visited the place of worship, find whatever information you can about them, then read it. How do you feel about their worship and their doctrine? Are you in agreement, or do you disagree, if you disagree, do really think you would be happy there, likely not.
Does the church’s personality fit your belief’s, they are not about to change, can you, if not, do you belong there? Will the person with a quiet spirit be happy in a loud, noisy worship service, will the extrovert personality be content with the quite formal worship style? Some people love the crowd thus want a church that is larger, others do not want to get lost in the crowd so they prefer small congregations.
Then know what teachings, you are seeking, many people leave their church because they feel they are no longer growing, the teaching has become stale, the pastor teaches little newer or deeper insights or truths. Does the church have many outside reaches that you may become involved with, or, do you just want to sit and absorb for a while?
It’s okay to ask questions, so do so. Ask the pastor, the members of the congregation, even some who has departed, if you know them. Have a list of questions that are important to you, your desires, should be that you want to be a blessing to those who need your spiritual gift. By asking you will be able to know that you can do, fulfill what you have been called to do. Every pastor, leader, or elder has a desire to see the congregation grow, to touch the lives of those who are needful, by asking the pastor how you can help and fit, you compliment his ministry. If you’re questioning reveals doctrine you feel is not for you, or action of members that you’re not in agreement, then you quietly leave before you become one they depend on.
Find what they believe, what is their doctrinal statement? There must be certain doctrines that cannot be compromised, Christianity mustn’t be sullied, know your stand, then take it, if the church is not what they say are, or they will compromise their faith, then you cannot be there, you simply won’t fit. Do they teach the basic’s, that God is omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (all powerful), and omnipresence (everywhere at all times) that He is good, and that He exists in the Trinity as God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Make sure they embrace the idea of literal life after death. Be sure they have a love walk, meaning they live, (not just preach) practice the principals of love, acceptance and forgiveness. Finally, ensure they teach that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died and was supernaturally resurrected, and that He is the one through whom all are saved. For these are the bases of faith, as we have read already “without faith it is impossible to please God.” When these come together, then you will find that you “fit,” that you are at home in this congregation.
If you are looking for the “truth,” then look no further than to Jesus. He’ll teach you, he’ll guide you, use Ephesians 4 as your guide, you’ll not go wrong. Ephesians 4:10-24 “He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. 17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.“
Your walk in faith is of course subject to you, an imperfect person attempting to walk in a prefect system, you are going to come up short, you will have set back, even failures. You’ll hurt, even crush others as well as yourself on your way to the system, why? Because you (and I) tend to get in the way of what the Spirit of God is saying to our spirit. When we listen to ourselves over the Spirit of God we will make mistakes, fall into sin, or be terribly mislead. Getting back however is not difficult, the basic teachings in scripture regarding God and especially of Jesus, is the power of forgiveness. There is no other “Way” to walk except that in the way of Christ, He won’t get in your way but will wholly welcome you to His way.
When we fall, fail, or just get off the path which is the way, we must not act and react to the theocratic warrior style of dealing with the person who wanders, sins or gets lost in their confusion. They will quickly put in place the harshest of form of discipline, they called it disfellowshipping.
Watchtower 2015 April 15 p.29: For every 100 Jehovah’s Witnesses more than 1 is disfellowshipped each year; over 80,000,(1) with two out of every three never reinstated.(2) Being disfellowshipped results in serious emotional side affects because: those that continue to believe Watchtower doctrine are told that whilst disfellowshipped they are condemned to everlasting destruction.(3) those who become unbelievers, with no intention of returning to the Watchtower Society, realize they are unlikely to freely associate with Witness family and friends for the remainder of their lives.
The Watchtower explains: Thus “disfellowshiping” is what Jehovah’s Witnesses appropriately call the expelling and subsequent shunning of such an unrepentant wrongdoer.” Watchtower 1981 Sep 15 p.22
“… a simple “Hello” to someone can be the first step that develops into a conversation and maybe even a friendship. Would we want to take that first step with a disfellowshiped person?” Watchtower 1981 Sep 15 p.25
You will be disfellowshiped for violation of standards dealing with sex, money, possessions, drink, and the tongue. If “their sin standard” is minor, then you will be “marked,” however, for their big sins, you will be disfellowshipped. Marking is an identifying system for the “elders” or, leaders, of the congregation, they keep a special eye on you, should your way be corrective then nothing further is acted upon, however, should your way be deemed unsatisfactory, if you are unrepentant, you will be disfellowshipped, an announcement will be made publicly, from that point forward none except immediate family (and those only if you are living with them) may have any kind of dealing or relationship with you. As quoted above, a simple hello, is to be frowned upon.
“What if we have a relative or a close friend who is disfellowshipped? Now our loyalty is on the line, not to that person, but to God. Jehovah is watching us to see whether we will abide by his command not to have contact with anyone who is disfellowshipped.—Read 1 Corinthians 5:11-13.
Consider just one example of the good that can come when a family loyally upholds Jehovah’s decree not to associate with disfellowshipped relatives. A young man had been disfellowshipped for over ten years, during which time his father, mother, and four brothers “quit mixing in company” with him. At times, he tried to involve himself in their activities, but to their credit, each member of the family was steadfast in not having any contact with him. After he was reinstated, he said that he always missed the association with his family, especially at night when he was alone. But, he admitted, had the family associated with him even a little, that small dose would have satisfied him. However, because he did not receive even the slightest communication from any of his family, the burning desire to be with them became one motivating factor in his restoring his relationship with Jehovah.” Watchtower 2012 Apr 15 p.12
As stated above, this scenario seldom happens, two thirds never return after experiencing the rejection of this religion, 53,000 people every year never return to theocratic warfare. (I like to believe they have found the Love walk of Christ, and ask themselves, “how does one return to death after experiencing life”.)
Of course, this type of “discipline” has a tremendous crushing effect on both the close relationships of the disfellowshipped person and upon the on the shunned person him/herself. Many suffer depression, anxiety, loss of self esteem, physiological symptoms, leading to actual psychical pain, of anything from headaches to ulcers, back pain and so much more. The lack of a forgiving discipline can actually lead the disfellowshipped person in acting in a stronger harmful way to those who shunned him/her or upon self. I have a disfellowshipped brother who committed suicide due to his disfellowshipping. There is nothing in scripture to justify the hateful actions of a religion that can drive a child of God into taking their life. The theocratic system is a complete denial of being, a person that God loves. The Mafia has a saying, “you are dead to me,” I am sure they got that from a Jehovah’s Witness member, because the disfellowshipped person is as dead to all others, yet without any mourning or grieving for the one who is lost. The “no contact rule” must be complete and unwavering, whether friend or family, no contact means none, no exceptions. “Despite our pain of heart, we must avoid normal contact with a disfellowshipped family member by telephone, text messages, letters, e-mails, or social media.” Watchtower 2017 Oct p.16
“Really, what your beloved family member needs to see is your resolute stance to put Jehovah above everything else – including the family bond. … Do not look for excuses to associate with a disfellowshipped family member, for example, through e-mail.” Disfellowshipped family Watchtower 2013 Jan 15 page 16 Watchtower 2013 Jan 15 p.16
“And all members of the congregation need to be determined to avoid the company of disfellowshipped individuals.” Watchtower 2011 Nov 15 p.5
To shun a child in such a harsh way is tantamount to child abuse. In my own experience, my family has followed this policy for more than 45 years, my father died without speaking a word to me. Sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews any Jehovah’s Witness family member, everyone I grew up with, treat me as dead. Part of this of course is that the Watchtower had labelled me as as an apostate because of my stand for Christ, by preaching and writing about God and that those actions are not in their favor. Their shunning is by far worse than any persecution I suffered as a Jehovah’s Witness, yet persecution did not dissuade me from a stance that was wrong, why would their rejection of me change my mind when I am right. They have a strict format to follow when they take a disfellowshipping action and then declaring a person an apostate, they never followed that in my case. I was handed a letter, by a stepmother who took glee in doing so, that stated I was disfellowshiped for “conduct unbecoming a Christian”, yet, not one so called elder had a conversation with me. As far as being declared an apostate, they just made a national announcement in every congregation in Canada declaring me as such, (a slanderous action) yet again, not one elder had a conversation with me personally. These are not action’s of the love of God, but rather those of a cowardly group protecting their theocratic warrior ways. They forget the power of Love, in a God who gave His very Son for the forgiveness of sin. Based on the Watchtowers standard, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, all the disciples, should have been disfellowshipped, yet they are where they are because God says, no, I love you.
“Suppose, for example, that the only son of an exemplary Christian couple leaves the truth. Preferring “the temporary enjoyment of sin” to a personal relationship with Jehovah and with his godly parents, the young man is disfellowshipped. … the Bible says “to quit mixing in company with anyone called a brother that is a fornicator. … They also realise that the word “anyone” in this verse includes family members not living under their roof. … Our hearts go out to those parents. After all, their son had a choice, and he chose to pursue his unchristian lifestyle rather than to continue to enjoy close association with his parents and other fellow believers. The parents, on the other hand, had no say in the matter. … But what will those dear parents do? Will they obey Jehovah’s clear direction? Or will they rationalize that they can have regular association with the disfellowshipped son and call it, “necessary family business”? In making their decision, they must not fail to consider how Jehovah feels about what they are doing. … Today, Jehovah does not immediately execute those who violate his laws. He lovingly gives them an opportunity to repent from their unrighteous works. How would Jehovah feel, though, if the parents of an unrepentant wrongdoer kept putting Him to the test by having unnecessary association with their disfellowshipped son or daughter?” Watchtower 2011 Jul 15 p.31, p.32 There is no big sin, little sin, in eye’s of the Watchtower, sin is sin, all sin is treated with equality, although the sinners are not. The smoker may be disfellowshipped while the one committing adultery or worse will still receive elder status, having no knowledge as my own personal disfellowshipping (as they never had a conversation with me) yet, I have personal information of the elders who signed the letter, one a person who visited hookers each Friday, a child abuser, a embezzler, these are not actions unbecoming a christian? Clearly “liars” have a special status, after all the theocratic warrior is encouraged to lie. Here is a partial list that could lead one to be disfellowshipped, yet, for many items herein, every theocratic warrior should be disfellowshipped.
The 2010 Elder’s handbook titled “Shepherd the Flock of God” includes Chapter 5, “Determining Whether a Judicial Committee Should Be Formed.” This extends from pages 58 to 79 and lists reasons for which a person can be disfellowshipped. Page 58 clarifies that “This list is not comprehensive. There may be other matters that would also merit the attention of a judicial committee.”
The following categories and subcategories are as laid out in the book.
Murder or loss of life through carelessness or violating a traffic law
Por.neia: p.59 immoral use of the genitals with lewd intent.
Brazen conduct, loose conduct: pp.60,61 an insolent, contemptuous attitude made evident by a practice of these things:
– unnecessary association with disfellowshipped nonrelatives
– child sexual abuse
– pursue a romantic relationship with a person though not legally or Scripturally free to marry
– stayed all night in the same house with a person of the opposite sex (or in the same house with a known homosexual) under improper circumstances
Gross uncleanness, uncleanness with greediness: pp.61-65 vices that are not classes as por.neia but that could lead to ones being disqualified from Gods Kingdom.”
– Passion-arousing heavy petting or caressing of breast
– A practice of engaging in immoral conversations by telephone, in Internet chat rooms, or through similar electronic means
– An entrenched practice of viewing abhorrent forms of pornography that is sexually degrading
– Misuse of tobacco
– Extreme physical uncleanness
Misuse of addictive drugs: p.65
– Celebrating false religious holidays
– Participation in interfaith activities
– Deliberately spreading teachings contrary to Bible truth as taught by Jehovah’s Witnesses
– Causing divisions and promoting sects
– Continuing in employment that makes on an accomplice to or a promoter of false worship
– The practice of spiritism
Stealing, thievery: p.67
Deliberate, malicious lying; bearing false witness: p.67
Fraud, slander: p.67
Reviling: p.68 subjecting a person to insulting speech, heaping abuse upon him.
Obscene speech: p.69
Greed gambling, extortion: pp.69,70 Includes A Christian who greedily and unrepentantly extorts a high bride-price
Adamant refusal to provide materially for ones own family: p.70
Fits of anger, violence: p.70
So what is the action a true Christian should take when dealing with one who has fallen, lost their way, or is found in sin. Our action should be the same as Christs action was, forgiveness, love and acceptance. Jehovah’s Witnesses say’s two out of three never return after being disfellowshipped, why because, of the lack of love, the lack of forgiveness, the lack of acceptance. Luke 6:27-37 “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. 30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: “New International Version (NIV)
Jesus recommended a way to handle the person who is considered unrepentant: Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother or sister[a] sins,[b] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[c] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” New International Version (NIV)
How did Jesus deal with the tax collectors, and other sinners, by shunning them, by rejecting them, no, by loving them. By welcoming them to become his followers, he made one a disciple, had meals with others, protected the life of those in adultery, love, acceptance and forgiveness is His way. Matthew 9:11 “When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” New International Version (NIV)
Even Paul, who the Watchtower uses as the standard for disfellowshipping would have had major problems with the theocratic warrior doctrine. 2 Thessalonians 3:6 “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching[a] you received from us. 14 Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.” New International Version (NIV) Warning, discussions, no treatment of shunning, correcting with love, not shunning with disgust.
The theocratic warrior is encouraged to take the shunning to the highest level when they believe the person has gone from a disfellowshipped “brother” to an apostate, hate is the key.
“Haters of God and his people are to be hated, but this does not mean that we will take any opportunity of bringing physical hurt to them in a spirit of malice or spite, for both malice and spite belong to the Devil, whereas pure hatred does not. We must hate in the truest sense, which is to regard with extreme and active aversion, to consider as loathsome, odious, filthy, to detest. Surely any haters of God are not fit to live on his beautiful earth. The earth will be rid of the wicked and we shall not need to lift a finger to cause physical harm to come to them, for God will attend to that, but we must have a proper perspective of these enemies. His name signifies recompense to the enemies.” Watchtower 1952 Oct 1 p.599
Hate in the truest sense? I wonder how many returned to Christ when they were found loathsome, odious, filthy and detestable. They judge the apostate as a hater of God and command harsh treatment against them, do no physical harm, but everything else is welcome, is that the action that Jesus taught in handling those who were in disagreement with Him or even were enemies of Him? Matthew 5:44-45 “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” New International Version (NIV) Paul gave us the lesson of the love walk in dealing with those who are against us. Romans 12:17-21 “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[b] 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” New International Version (NIV) I have search the bible, I have found no lesson therein to hate. There are those who sow discord, no doubt, but the treatment of them is not a branding, a shunning, but an encouragement of walking with them in love, do not associate with them does not mean mark them, disfellowship them, you cannot warn a person of trouble, if you’re not in communication with them. 2 Thessalonians 3:13-15 “And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. 14 Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer. New International Version (NIV)
Because a group of weak and misguided men place a label upon a person means little to nothing, they see not the heart, have no concept of what lies therein, it can only be seen by God and His Spirit, we must never be quick to stand in judgement of another, we cannot know that person in their heart. Whereas, the Watchtower advocates hate, the Word cannot. 1 John 3:11-15 “For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters,[a] if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.” New International Version (NIV)
To advocate hatred of any, is clearly a violation of scripture dealing with the Love walk in Christ. I believe that such theocratic nonsense drives the works of the devil, God is about healing the broken hearts that the Watchtower and their theocratic warriors makes, 1 of every 100 witnesses are disfellowshipped, that means ten’s of thousands hearts hurt and broken (every year), not because of some fallen person unable to walk in the high standards, that most of the elders cannot, but because of a doctrine of destruction. In their guide for the elders “Shepherd the Flock of God” seven of twelve chapters are dedicated to disfellowshipping, why isn’t it 12 of 12 chapters dealing with the healing of the brokenhearted, we must ask, if you dedicate so much on cleaning the congregation, was it clean to begin with?
Jesus set the standard for a ministry, anyone that does not follow that standard is (in my opinion) not worthy of following or partaking therein. To disfellowship a person or to declare one an apostate is tantamount to oppress that person, it is persecution, it is all the things that the theocratic warrior preaches against, yet is most guilty of. It is not the ministry of Christ as He summed it up in Luke.
Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,” New International Version (NIV)
We will continue on this in the next writing.