Need for an org and need to be judged by one's works

by karola 16 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • karola


    I need some help reaching a friend regarding the faults of the Society and the control they have over us. I keep stressing that the NT insists that salvation is by faith and not by works and that those under works of law are in fact under a curse. (See Gal 3:10-11 and Romans 3:20-24)

    Romans Chapter 3

    20 Therefore by works of law no flesh will be declared righteous before him, for by law is the accurate knowledge of sin.

    21 But now apart from law God’s righteousness has been made manifest, as it is borne witness to by the Law and the Prophets; 22 yes, God’s righteousness through the faith in Jesus Christ, for all those having faith. For there is no distinction. 23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and it is as a free gift that they are being declared righteous by his undeserved kindness through the release by the ransom [paid] by Christ Jesus.

    When pointing to Scriptures such as these, he tells me the usual JW speech that in order show that we are faithful, it needs to be demonstrated in the works we do. He also points to the Scripture in 1 Cor 5:9-13, which is used to support disfellowshipping doctrine. And he says that someone has to keep the congregation clean. I try to point out that As imperfect humans, no one can judge one's relationship with God and even more tell us that we cannot gain salvation because of something that we did that accourding to the WT is against God's will. My efforts do not seem to reach him and I was wondering if anyone has any tips.


  • jstalin

    What works are required for salvation? Turning in time cards?

    How many people did Jesus shun?

  • karola

    I agree but how can explain Paul's command to not even eat with wicked men? My friend keeps telling me that obviously those older one in the congregation were making judgements as to who was wicked according to their works.


  • serendipity

    Hi Karola,

    Welcome to the forum! You have your work cut out for you. Paul wrote under inspiration, so would know about the wrongdoer. Does your friend feel that the GB is inspired? They don't claim to be inspired. Does your friend feel that elders or a judicial committee is inspired and would be able read heart conditions? Also it's interesting that the only df'ing Paul called for was for a man fornicating with his mother (in law?, step?) in 1 Cor., something that the "nations" didn't do. Paul frequently wrote about those creating divisions within the congregation, but he never called for their removal.

    You may have more success arguing points that he has doubts about.

  • jeanniebeanz
    I agree but how can explain Paul's command to not even eat with wicked men?

    Ask him to define 'wicked'. Many are disfellowshipped or leave over issues which simply cannot be called 'wicked'. Also, stick to the dictionary definition of 'wicked'. If he has to use a cult definition of the word to prove his point, ask him why.

    Hope this helps. It's worked for me.


  • Narkissos

    Welcome karola,

    The subject of "church discipline" in the NT is complex as there were many kinds of "churches" and practices. However, 1 Corinthians 5 clearly does not address to a "body of elders" who should form a secret "judicial committee" whose decision then should be obeyed by the church. Instead, Paul recommends that the whole ekklèsia ("church" or "congregation") deal with the situation (v. 4):

    When you are assembled, and my spirit is present with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

    Another case (which JWs mistakenly hold to be the same) in 2 Corinthians 2:5ff shows a similar policy. In that case only a majority of the church blamed the "wrongdoer":

    But if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but to some extent--not to exaggerate it--to all of you. This punishment by the majority is enough for such a person; so now instead you should forgive and console him, so that he may not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I urge you to reaffirm your love for him.
    Other Pauline calls for discipline similarly address the entire congregation. The Judeo-Christian discipline in Matthew 18:15-17 also makes the whole ekklèsia the final judge. On the other hand, the later Pastorals imply that discipline is administered by one man -- the episkopos, "overseer" or "bishop": this is not a committee system either.
  • Ingenuous

    Articles I've found helpful with the "need an organization" arguments:

    There are a number of good articles discussing disfellowshipping. I can't find my favorite one, but there are some links on this page:

    One thought: Although faith and works go together, there is nowhere in the Bible where anyone is given the right to determine what those works should be for anyone else. Works are supposed to be a natural outgrowth of faith, not an imposed system of standards for rating performance. The same way a body moves and breathes when it is alive, but is clearly dead without these outward signs, so works are a demonstration of a faith that is "alive", not a way to salvation in and of themselves. (James 2:26)

  • M.J.

    You need to look at it as it was written by Paul--personal letters relating to a situation there in the church.

    Say you were one of the founders of a movement to protect abused children. But then you find out that one of the chapters had known, practicing child molesters flagrantly passing themselves off as being part of the movement, and hey, everyone in that chapter was not only aware of it...they were even okay with it! Well that would really tick you off, wouldn't it? If you could go down there and straighten them out you would, but instead you have to write a letter...telling them to get their heads screwed on straight and kick these guys outta there! Remember, Paul didn't give a list of "disfellowshipping offenses" but listed types of people they gotta get rid of! It was obvious that the offending people were flagrant enough about it that the whole congregation knew what was up.

  • AuldSoul

    As is true today, anyone can judge for themselves whether they wish to associate with a given person. However, in the First Century there was no Judicial Committee and he can't find a Scripture that suggests one.

    As far as work, James indicates that "faith without works is dead." However, the context shows plainly that it is faith that motivates any works that can be considered as indication of live faith, not repeated carping in talks and letters about the reported hours being low. Works motivated by obligation or guilt DO NOT prove faith. Since no one but God can tell your motive, lack of works may prove a lack of faith, but works do not prove faith. Not according to the Scriptures, anyway.


  • Ingenuous

    The disfellowshipping article I was thinking of:

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