JW Shunning is it really Biblical?

by greendawn 16 Replies latest jw friends

  • dedpoet

    I was always uncomfortable with shunning, and I know of many otjers who were. Several of them are no longer jws, and are being shunned themselves now. It's like most of their doctrines, carried to the extreme, only it's one of the crueller ones. I could never find the scriptural reason for doing it either.

  • heathen

    I think what it is saying is that it all depends on peoples attitude , repentant or rebellious . 1st corinthians did say to not even eat with such ones that willfully practice sin . Of course people don't share their food as they did back in the first century but still it says do not mix in company, he also says those things to move people to shame which may lead to a repentant attitude and snatch some away from the fires of gehenna. Not to accept a public rebuke or reproof was a rebellious attitude that people were treated as treasonous .

  • serendipity

    To me it seems that some degree of shunning is scriptural, as indicated by the scriptures quoted above, for willful sinners. However, the problem is that the WTS has taken the idea of df'ing/shunning too far, regarding the procedures as well as the unscriptural reasons - YMCA membership, gambling, smoking, waiting too long to tell the elders about the sin, etc. Another problem is that the elders are supposed to determine repentence of the wrongdoer.

    Then there's the whole reinstatement process. That really isn't alluded to in the scriptures. 1 Corinthians contains Paul's instructions to remove the fornicator. 2 Corinthians has Paul's instructions to accept the fornicator back into the cong. since he stopped his wrongdoing. The WTS claims that both books of the Bible were written in the same year, so the person was shunned for less than 12 months. The WTS has all sorts of rules regarding reinstatement.

    I believe there is too much room for abuse, given the few details provided in the Bible. IMO, any shunning should be left to the individuals in the congregation without use of Judicial Committees. If the elders want to revoke "privileges" for someone engaging in scripturally condemned activities, that would probably be ok too. Then again, maybe an adulterer should be asked to read a WT article on adultery...

  • Forscher

    Yes, it does seem that the practice of shunning that the Jews carried on was adopted by the early Christian congregations for certain cases. I reseached the subject years ago and came to the conclusion that there were some very important differences in the way it was done then, as opposed to the way the Witnesses and a few other groups do it now.

    For instance, did everyone note the example from 1 Corinthians that was cited above? First off, the offender was openly practising a form of incest, something that would shock even people in our jaded culture today. It appears that his actions were well known, he was not some teenager who'd gotten a little out of control in the backseat of a car, or was only suspected of doing so (remember the injunction by the Society in the elders manual that in certain cases there can be a presumption of illicit activity and the elders need no proof that anything actually occured?). The case was so well known and notorious that Paul, at some distance from Corinth heard about it. And note that no secret committee met with the man, Paul ordered the action himself. Such open and aboveboard actions go right along with the ancient practice of a public trial at the city gates.

    Note also that the punishment of shunning was only invoked by the Bible writers for really serious sins, such as open immorality or subverting fellow Christians and the like. Christians were not expected to follow some long and constantly changing list of rules for which one could be cast out if violated. Honest disagreements over teachings does not appear to merit shunning. The impression I gleaned from reading the verses involved was that teaching which subverted the congregation (i.e. the teachings of Nicholias and "that woman Jezebel" mentioned in Revelation) merited shunning.

    The problem with the Dubs, Amish, etc. is that shunning is used as a tool to keep folks in line, not to protect them. Just like the Amish, a Dub can find him/herself shunned, in the extreme, at the whim of a powerful elder/bishop with no genuine recourse. There is absolutly no LOVE in the process. That is what makes shunning as those groups practice it unscriptural IMHO.


  • gumby

    Shunning should be applied to assholes, not normal people.

    If I was a loudmouth drunk who liked to bust in the kingdom hall and start yelling obsenities, pinching the sisters butts, and barfin on the floor on a regular basis, I could see people shunning me.

    But to live a good honest life and not causing fellow dubs any harm, there is no basis for them to shun others who wish to detach from them.

    The person in 1corithtians 5:11 was an asshole. He slept with his dads wife and bragged about it with others applauding him. I would have shunned him to............but these scenario's are rare and certainly not the types of things most who are shunned have practiced.


  • fairchild

    This is my take on shunning.. Without realizing it, a lot of Christian practices have slipped into our daily habits and customs. As mentioned above, early christians did get shunned as well. But then there is Jesus, eating with sinners. I think it is a matter of common sense. We all know people we don't want to "hang out" with, often because they are up to no good and they are known to be trouble makers. So, almost unconsciously, we shun them.But to DF and shun a person because he or she smokes? Give me a break! What if a person gets addicted to drugs.. should they be shunned? I'd rather say they should be helped and know that they are loved. What if a person has a weak spot for porn? Whose business is that and how would this affect a fellow Christian? If this person keeps to himself what he does in his free time, how would it affect anyone? I think that should be something between him/her and Jehovah and should not be addressed by the elders or anyone else. They have taken shunning so far that it is no longer "Christian", it is downright cruel. A Christian attitude should be one of love, it should include an urge to help people, not to treat them like a piece of dirt.

  • heathen

    I agree they do go over board with their shunning dogma . It was set up to motivate people into realizing the error of their ways not to embarass and humiliate people over any petty issue that came up . It did also sound to me like the apostle Paul was forcing a judicial hearing over the case by mentioning the fact that people would seek worldly justice by taking each other to court but with spiritual matters were not acting like they could deal with the problem .

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