Comments You Will Not Hear at the 6-4-06 WT Study (April 15, 2006 issue date, pages 17-21)(SHEPHERDS)
Review comments will be in redWT material from today's WT will be in black
Quotes from other sources will be in quotes boxes
w = Watchtower
g = Awake
jv = Proclaimers book
www.biblegateway.com/cgi-bin/bible (various Bible translations online)
www.reexamine.org (WT publications online)
www.silentlambs.org (child abuse)
www.ajwrb.org (blood issue)
http://www.randytv.com/secret/unitednations.htm (United Nations issue)
SHEPHERDS WHO ARE "EXAMPLES TO THE FLOCK"
"Shepherd the flock of God in your care...willingly..., eagerly..., becoming examples to the flock."--1 PETER 5:2,3
I will say that this whole article deserves a VOMIT ALERT!!!!!!!!!!
I will say that I have known many elders, young and old, many races, raised a JW/came in as a adult JW. Some were relatives, some contemporaries, one was even my husband. Some really tried to do the loving things but let the WTS mold them into its image; others gave up and stepped down as elders. This article is a veneer to give some JWs and those outside the semblance of being loving shepherds. New elders know from the first elders' meeting that this is just a cover; that the people elders are cruelest to is each other.
START OF ARTICLE
Q1, 2) (a) Jesus entrusted the apostle Peter with what privilege, and why was Jesus' confidence not misplaced? (b) How does Jehovah feel about appointed shepherds?
1) Some time before Pentecost 33 C.E., Peter and six other disciples were eating a breakfast that Jesus had prepared on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. This was not the first time Peter had seen the resurrected Jesus, and he was no doubt thrilled to know that Jesus was alive. But Peter may also have been anxious. After all, just a few days earlier, he had publicly denied ever knowing Jesus. (Luke 22:55-60; 24:34; John 18:25-27; 21:114) Did Jesus reprimand the repentant Peter for his lack of faith? No. Instead, he entrusted Peter with the privilege of feeding and shepherding Jesus' "little sheep." (John 21:15-17) As the Bible account of the history of the first-century Christian congregation shows, Jesus' confidence in Peter was not misplaced. Together with the other apostles and older men in Jerusalem, Peter went on to shepherd the Christian congregation through a period of intense trials and rapid expansion.-Acts 1: 15-26; 2:14; 15:6-9.
These are words the WTS uses to "expand" the Bible account. Obviously, God left out some important parts.
Did Jesus reprimand the repentant Peter
No, he was neither reproved publicly or privately, not "marked," nor disfellowshipped. And how much time transpired, 12 months, the WTS policy (sometimes many years before an elder body determines they are "repentant."
From Nisan 14 to Pentecost was 51 days................not even 2 months!
2) Today, Jehovah through Jesus Christ has appointed qualified men to serve as spiritual shepherds to lead His sheep through the most critical times in human history. (Ephesians 4:11, 12; 2 Timothy 3:1) Has such confidence been misplaced? The peaceful Christian brotherhood that exists worldwide proves otherwise. True, these shepherds are fallible humans, as was Peter. (Galatians 2:1114; James 3:2) Even so, Jehovah trusts them to care for the sheep that "he purchased with the blood of his own Son." (Acts 20:28) Jehovah has deep affection for these men, considering them "worthy of double honor." -1 Timothy 5:17.
Jehovah through Jesus Christ has appointed
If Jesus selected the 12 apostles who became the foundation stones of the Christian congregation, where is Jesus' in selecting ordinary elders, not even anointed men?
His sheep--refers to God not Jesus; where is Jesus' role as shepherd?
peaceful Christian brotherhood
Peaceful? The JWs that can't find peace with the other JWs that share their building? I can remember when the other congregation would not talk to those in the other congregation because of meetings times; or the elders that would not shake hands with the visiting African brother because they might catch AIDS.
Jehovah trust them--where's Jesus' trust?
"worthy of double honor"
I have heard elders say that they deserve more respect; I have also heard elders say that respect has to be earned...guess which elders are no longer elders?
*** w02 3/15 p. 15 par. 10 Christ Leads His Congregation ***
They also deserve our respect. "Let the older men who preside in a fine way be reckoned worthy of double honor," wrote the apostle Paul. (1 Timothy 5:17) How can we display our gratitude and esteem for the older men-elders, or overseers-in the congregation? Paul answers: "Be obedient to those who are taking the lead among you and be submissive." (Hebrews 13:17) Yes, we are to obey them and be submissive, to yield, to them.
or is that "earn"
*** w02 11/15 p. 25 "Shepherd the Flock of God" ***
Elders today likewise strive to be a source of refreshment and protection to the flock. Such men "prove to be like a hiding place from the wind and a place of concealment from the rainstorm, like streams of water in a waterless country, like the shadow of a heavy crag in an exhausted land." (Isaiah 32:2) Such kind protectors bring refreshment, earn the respect of the flock, and gain God's approval.-Philippians 2:29; 1 Timothy 5:17.
*** w03 3/1 p. 17 par. 17 Trust in Jehovah With All Your Heart ***
In addition, trusting in Jehovah means trusting those whom he trusts. For example, Jehovah has arranged for "the faithful and discreet slave" to care for the earthly Kingdom interests. (Matthew 24:45-47 NO PROOF) We do not try to go it alone, and we do not ignore that appointment, for we trust in Jehovah's arrangement. Further, elders serve in the local Christian congregation and, according to the apostle Paul, are appointed by holy spirit (HOW?). (Acts 20:28) By cooperating with the elder arrangement in the congregation, we also show that we trust in Jehovah.-Hebrews 13:17. (Translation: Elders = God)
Q3) How do spiritual shepherds maintain a willing and eager spirit?
3) How do spiritual shepherds maintain a willing and eager spirit, thus becoming examples to the flock? Like Peter and the other first-century shepherds, they rely on God's holy spirit, which gives them the strength they need in order to carry their load of responsibility. (2 Corinthians 4:7) Holy spirit also produces in them the fruitage of the spirit-love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, and selfcontrol. (Galatians 5:22, 23) Let us consider some specific ways in which shepherds can set an example in displaying this fruitage as they shepherd the flock of God under their care.
maintain a willing and eager spirit
rely on God's holy spirit
remember this is the only way they will have any status in the WTS
Love Both the Flock and Each Individual Sheep
Q4, 5) (a) How do Jehovah and Jesus show love for the flock? (b) What are some ways in which spiritual shepherds display love for the flock?
4) The foremost quality produced by God's spirit is love. Jehovah manifests his love for the flock as a whole when he provides it with an abundance of spiritual food. (Isaiah 65:13, 14; Matthew 24:45-47) Yet, he does more than just feed the flock. He feels a personal attachment to each individual sheep. (1 Peter 5:6, 7) Jesus too loves the flock. He surrendered his soul in its behalf, and he knows each sheep personally, "by name."-John 10: 3,14-16.
for the flock as a whole--implying that we aren't fed as individuals??? That is line up at the trough; that the only way to be fed is at the KH?
personal attachment to each individual sheep--like Jesus looking for the one lost sheep out of the 99 or does the sheep have to cry out to the shepherd?
*** w02 3/1 p. 16 How Precious Is the Truth to You? ***
In Scotland some young lambs were grazing in a pasture when one of them strayed to the side of a hillock and tumbled onto a ledge below. It was uninjured, but it was frightened and unable to climb back. So it started to bleat plaintively. Its mother heard it, and she too began to bleat until the shepherd came and retrieved the young lamb. Notice the sequence of events. The lamb called for help, the ewe added her voice to its cries, and the alerted shepherd sprang into action to rescue it.
5) Spiritual shepherds imitate Jehovah and Jesus. They display love for God's flock as a whole by "applying [themselves] to teaching" the congregation. Their Bible-based talks help feed and protect the flock, and their hard work in this regard is visible to all. (1 Timothy 4:13, 16) Less visible is the time they spend maintaining records, processing correspondence, making schedules, and caring for numerous other details in order to ensure that congregation meetings and other activities take place "decently and by arrangement." (1 Corinthians 14:40) Much of this work is done out of public view and may receive little recognition. It is truly a labor of love.-Galatians 5:13.
Translation: WT publication based talks with a few scriptures thrown in to make it look good.
Maintaining records, processing correspondence--mostly the elder who is the secretary which is a disliked responsibility.
May receive little recognition--definitely little from the other elders.
Blurb on page 17: Elders are motivated by love to serve the congregation; They also spend time with their families both in recreation ...; ...and in the
Q6, 7) (a) What is one way in which shepherds become better acquainted with the sheep? (b) Why is it sometimes beneficial to share our feelings with an elder?
6) Loving Christian shepherds endeavor to show personal interest in each sheep in the congregation. (Philippians 2:4) One way shepherds become better acquainted with individual sheep is by working side by side with them in the public preaching work. Jesus often had his followers with him in the preaching work and used such occasions to give encouragement. (Luke 8:1) One experienced Christian shepherd says: "I find that one of the best ways to get to know and encourage a brother or a sister is by working with him or her in the field ministry." If you have not recently had the opportunity to work with one of the elders in the field ministry, why not make arrangements to do this soon?
Loving??? endeavor to show personal interest in each sheep
I have been in congregations where elders do not know the names of children in the congregation who have been there 5 years and in the same book study group. I know elders who don't know where people live or their phone numbers and these people are in their book study. I know elders who have been in the same congregation for 20 years with people and neither one has seen the inside of the other's house. The only time personal interest is shown is when they think that person has done something "wrong."
Working side by side with them in the public preaching work
Why not make arrangements to do this soon--talking to the rank and file not the elders taking the lead in this!!!!!!
I was in one congregation and invited each of the elders to go in "field service" with me...always had a reason why they couldn't...after 10 years, I gave up.
7) Love moved Jesus to share in the joys and sorrows of his followers. For
example, when 70 of his disciples returned with joy from their preaching, Jesus became "overjoyed." (Luke 10:17-21) However, when he saw the effect Lazarus' death had on Mary and her family members and friends, "Jesus gave way to tears." (John 11:33-35) Likewise, caring shepherds today are not emotionally distant from the sheep. Love moves them to "rejoice with people who rejoice" and to "weep with people who weep." (Romans 12: 15) If you experience either joy or sadness in your life, feel free to share your feelings with Christian shepherds. Hearing of your joy will encourage them. (Romans 1:11, 12) Learning about your
trials will enable them to strengthen and comfort you.-1 Thessalonians 1:6; 3:1-3.
Jesus gave way to tears--when is the last time you saw an elder cry about anything?
not emotionally distant from the sheep--that's why they make so many shepherding calls. One elder told me that the elders hated these calls and when required to make an attempt because of the CO visit, they would do drive-by calls; drive by saying no one was home. Make an appointment???
feel free to share your feelings with Christian shepherds--and be prepared to be labeled as crazy and emotional, marked as bad association, find that you can't pin the elders down to another visit.
I heard of one congregation that never sent bereavement cards, never announced deaths of non-JW relatives, and never went to visitations unless the person was a JW. Why? Elder policy. Yes, share your feelings.
Q8, 9) (a) How did one elder show love for his wife? (b) How important is it for a shepherd to display love for his family?
8) The love a shepherd has for the flock is particularly evident in the way he
treats his own family. (1 Timothy 3:1, 4) If he is married, the love and honor
he shows his wife sets an example for other husbands to imitate. (Ephesians 5:25; 1 Peter 3:7) Consider the comments of a Christian woman named Linda. Her husband served as an overseer for more than 20 years before his death. She says: "My husband was always very busy caring for the congregation. But he made me feel that I was part of a team. He often expressed appreciation for my support, and he spent his spare time with me. As a result, I felt loved and was not jealous of the time he spent serving the congregation."
Love a shepherd has for the flock is particularly evident in the way he treats his own family
He has no time for his own family--he won't have time for you and yours
Love and honor he shows his wife--of course if he abuses her verbally, emotionally, or physically, it is her fault and she better not tell anyone.
Not jealous of the time--elder's wives learn to mow the lawn, fix the car, study with the children, have vacation day ruined because Sister ComplainsALot called and needs her hand held, or the PO calls and says her husband has to mow the KH lawn because he been invited to go fishing with the CO, BrotherDrinksTooMuch calls again in a drunken stupor at 3 a.m., there is another 2 hour elders meeting and elder hubbie won't catch a ride so she has to stay; hubbie hasn't worked d2d with her for 5 years because he always takes off with the other elders and leaves her with the kids..........
9) If a Christian shepherd has children, the way he lovingly disciplines and
regularly commends these little ones provides a model for other parents to
follow. (Ephesians 6:4) In fact, the love he shows for his family furnishes
ongoing evidence that he lives up to the trust conferred upon him by reason of his appointment by holy spirit.-1 Timothy 3:4, 5.
lovingly disciplines--screaming, spanking, leaving it to the wife because he is never thereregularly commends--like the WTS commends the rank and fileElders who abuse their families, verbally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically prove they were not appointed by holy spirit and that the elders, CO, FDS who appointed them are not led by the holy spirit.
Promote Joy and Peace by Communicating
Q10) (a) What can have a negative impact on the joy and peace of the
congregation? (b) What issue threatened the peace of the first-century congregation, and how was that issue resolved?
10) The holy spirit can produce joy and peace in the heart of an individual
Christian, among a body of elders, and in the congregation as a whole. However, a lack of open communication can have a negative impact on this joy and peace. Solomon of old observed: "There is a frustrating of plans where there is no confidential talk." (Proverbs 15:22) On the other hand, respectful and frank communication promotes joy and peace. For example, when the circumcision issue threatened to disrupt the peace of the first-century congregation, the governing body in Jerusalem sought the direction of holy spirit. They also expressed their differing views on the subject. After much lively discussion, they arrived at a decision. When they communicated their unanimous decision to the congregations, the brothers "rejoiced over the encouragement." (Acts 15:6-23, 25, 31; 16: 4, 5) Joy and peace were promoted.
A lack of open communication can have a negative impact on this joy and peace.
Can the rank and file dare to say openly what they feel? Is what you say kept confidential?
respectful and frank communication
Do the elders even respect each other? If you are or were an elder (or knew an elder that would tell you), what happens at elders meetings? How is the term "freeness of speech" interpreted? Basically, it means that the elders can say anything they want to each, accusatory, untrue, and you have to sit there and take it and watch other elders who privately supported you say nothing to support you at the elder's meeting. Do you expect them to be respectful with the rank and file? Have you had an elder scream at you or someone you love? If another elder was with him, did he step in and end it?
Q11) How can elders promote joy and peace in the congregation?
11) Likewise today, shepherds promote joy and peace in the congregation by being good communicators. When problems threaten the peace of the congregation, they meet together and openly express their feelings. They respectfully listen to their fellow shepherds' comments. (Proverbs 13:10; 18:13) After praying for holy spirit, they base their decisions on Bible principles and on guidelines published by "the faithful and discreet slave." (Matthew 24:45-47; 1 Corinthians 4:6) Once a Scripturally sound decision has been made by the body of elders, each elder yields to the direction of holy spirit by supporting that decision even if his personal opinion was not endorsed by the majority. Such modesty promotes joy and peace and sets a fine example for the sheep in how to walk with God. (Micah 6:8) Are you modestly cooperating with the Bible-based decisions made by the shepherds in the congregation?
Being good communicators...meet together and openly express their feelings...respectfully listen to their fellow shepherds' comments.
Base their decisions on Bible principles--one elder came prepared to one elders' meeting have done extensive research from the Bible and was told by the other elders that they had no time or interest in what the Bible said that the BOE letters from the WTS were what only mattered ("guidelines published by 'the faithful and discreet slave.'")
Yields to the direction of the holy spirit by supporting that decisionn even if his personal opinion was not endorsed by the majority
Was the decision regarding circumcision "by the majority" or "unanimous"?
Are you modestly cooperating with the Bible-based decisions made by the shepherds?
Translation: Are you supporting the DF and DA actions by the elders?
Be Long-Suffering and Kind
Q12) Why did Jesus need to be longsuffering and kind in his dealings with the apostles?
12) Jesus was long-suffering and kind in his dealings with the apostles, despite their repeated failings. For example, time and again Jesus tried to impress upon them the need to be humble. (Matthew 18:1-4; 20:25-27) Yet, on the final night of Jesus' earthly life, after he had just given them a lesson in humility by washing their feet, "there also arose a heated dispute among them over which one of them seemed to be greatest." (Luke 22:24; John 13:1-5) Did Jesus berate the apostles? No, he kindly reasoned with them, stating: "Which one is greater, the one reclining at the table or the one ministering? Is it not the one reclining at the table? But I am in your midst as the one ministering." (Luke 22:27) Jesus' long-suffering and kindness--coupled with his good example--eventually touched the apostles' hearts.
Jesus was long-suffering and kind...despite their repeated failings.
Did Jesus berate the apostles? No, he kindly reasoned with them...
His good example
Are the elders patient? Do they buy out the time to help the sheep? Do the elders recognize their own repeated failings? Do the elders kindly reason...or do they approach the situation that they are right because they are better...do they set a good example?
My experience is that one out of 10 elders is like Jesus and he is not rewarded by his fellow elders. If you only have 5 elders in your congregation, there may be no elders like Jesus.
Q13, 14) When especially must shepherds be kind?
13) Similarly, a spiritual shepherd may need to offer counsel repeatedly to a
person regarding a certain failing. The shepherd could become exasperated with the individual. However, keeping in mind his own failings as he `admonishes the disorderly,' he is able to show long-suffering and kindness toward his brother. That way he imitates Jesus and Jehovah, who show these qualities toward all Christians-including shepherds.-1 Thessalonians 5:14; James 2:13.
offer counsel repeatedly to a person with a certain failing--probably won't shave off that beard.
could become exasperated--could become?
keeping in mind his own failings--he will when they come home to roost and he uses the excuse that he is imperfect.
14) At times, shepherds may need to offer strong counsel to one who has
committed a serious sin. If the individual is unrepentant, the shepherds must remove the erring one from the congregation. (1 Corinthians 5: 11-13) Even so, the manner in which they deal with that person shows that they hate the sin, not the sinner. (Jude 23) A kind manner on the part of the shepherds may make it easier for a straying sheep eventually to return to the fold.-Luke 15:11-24.
offer strong counsel...serious sin...unrepentant...remove
Tell them that they are going to die at Armageddon unless they do what the elders say, how can elders tell if someone is unrepentant if they can't read hearts, the WTS likes to tell people that if they lived in Israelite times they would have been stoned to death.
*** w02 9/1 p. 21 par. 10 Imitate the Great Teacher ***
Unlike Jesus, we cannot read hearts.
Good Acts Are Motivated by Faith
Q15) What is one way in which shepherds imitate Jehovah's goodness, and what motivates them to do so?
15) "Jehovah is good to all," even to those who do not appreciate what he does for them. (Psalm 145:9; Matthew 5:45) Jehovah's goodness is especially evident in that he sends his people to preach the "good news of the kingdom." (Matthew 24:14) Shepherds reflect God's goodness by taking the lead in this preaching work. What motivates their tireless efforts? Strong faith in Jehovah and in his promises.-Romans 10:10, 13, 14.
those who do not appreciate what he does for them--are the elders the same as God?
Do JWs actually say anything about the "good news of the kingdom" at the doors? How often did you see an elder going d2d? Did he stay out long or disappear on some nebulous errand?
Blurb on page 20: Good communication among the elders promotes joy and peace in the congregation
Q16) How can shepherds "work what is good" toward the sheep?
16) In addition to working "what is good toward all" by preaching, shepherds have the responsibility to work what is good "especially toward those related to [them] in the faith." (Galatians 6:10) One way they do this is by making encouraging shepherding visits. "I enjoy making shepherding visits," says one elder. "They give me the opportunity to commend the brothers and sisters for their efforts and to help them realize that their hard work is appreciated." At times, shepherds may suggest ways in which an individual can improve in his service to Jehovah. In doing so, wise shepherds imitate the apostle Paul. Consider the way he appealed to the brothers in Thessalonica: "We have confidence in the Lord regarding you, that you are doing and will go on doing the things we order." (2 Thessalonians 3:4) Such expressions of confidence appeal to the good inclinations of the sheep and make it easier for them to "be obedient to those who are taking the lead." (Hebrews 13:17) When you receive an encouraging shepherding visit, why not express appreciation for it?
making encouraging shepherding visits...I enjoy...commend
He must be that 1 out of 20.......
The elders have this little trick they are trained to do, first commend, then hit them with their flaws.
Ask for a visit? I did that once for six months; then my husband put the pressure on; the visit consisted of being handed a photocopy of an article and being told to read it...total time...from entrance to exit...ten minutes.
Express appreciation???????? They were lucky I didn't slap them around the head with the article.
Mildness Requires Self-Control
Q17) What lesson did Peter learn from Jesus?
17) Jesus was mild-tempered, even when he was provoked. (Matthew 11:29) When he was betrayed and arrested, Jesus displayed mildness and great self-control. Impulsively, Peter drew a sword and retaliated. But Jesus reminded him: "Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father to supply me at this moment more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26:51-53; John 18:10) Peter learned the lesson well and later reminded Christians: "Christ suffered for you, leaving you a model for you to follow his steps closely. ... When he was being reviled, he did not go reviling in return. When he was suffering, he did not go
threatening."-1 Peter 2:21-23.
mild-tempered...even when provoked
So only the elders are provoked; can't elders be provocative?
Q18, 19) (a) When particularly must shepherds display mildness and self-control? (b) What questions will we consider next?
18) Likewise, effective shepherds are mildtempered even when they are treated unfairly. For instance, some whom they try to help in the congregation may not react favorably. If the individual in need of help is spiritually injured or sick, he may respond to counsel by "speaking thoughtlessly as with the stabs of a sword." (Proverbs 12:18) However, like Jesus, shepherds do not retaliate with sharp words or vengeful actions. Instead, they exercise self-restraint and still show fellow feeling, which may prove to be a blessing to the one in need of help. (1 Peter 3:8, 9) Do you learn from the example of the elders and display mildness and self-control when you receive counsel?
"effective" shepherds...even when they are treated unfairly.
What if they treat the rank and file unfairly?
the individual in need of help...speaking thoughtlessly
What if the elders speak thoughtlessly stabbing the sheep?
elders...do not retaliate with sharp words or vengeful actions
I have never been in a congregation without there being elders who do this; and the ones that don't stand by and let it happen.
19) Without a doubt, Jehovah and Jesus appreciate the hard work of the thousands of shepherds who willingly tend the worldwide flock. Jehovah and his Son also have deep affection for the thousands of ministerial servants who support the elders in `ministering to the holy ones.' (Hebrews 6:10) Why, then, may some baptized brothers hesitate to reach out for this "fine work"? (1 Timothy 3:1) And how does Jehovah train those whom he appoints as shepherds? We will consider these questions in the next article.
Jehovah and Jesus...Jehovah and his Son--nice of them to include Jesus finally.
Why, then may some baptized brothers hesitate to reach out?
Because they have been talking to the elders who tell them what "freeness of speech" really means at an elders' meeting. Because they used to be elders and stepped down because of the hypocrisy and abuse by fellow elders. Because the elders set standards for these brothers that they themselves do not meet.
Do You Recall?
- What are some ways in which shepherds show love for the flock?
- How can all in the congregation promote joy and peace?
- Why are shepherds long-suffering and kind when giving counsel?
- How do elders display goodness and faith?
Sorry, this is short; but even Blondie can only take so much crap. No matter how often the WTS has articles like this, the actions of the elders prove that they don't act like Jesus or shepherds. Saying it does not make it so. As more and more elders step down (or fade), it is the more Christlike ones that go and it is the "company men" that follow the WTS not Christ that remain. As fewer young men get baptized or stay beyond their late teens and early 20's, the pool of male JWs get smaller. In one congregation all the elders were 50 and over and the there were only 2 MS and they had shaky abilities. I started looking at the other congregations and the same pattern was developing. Now if this were Florida or Arizona, I might understand. The congregations in NYC and near Patterson and Wallkill always had a large number of elders. Maybe this downsizing of Bethel will prove to be a boon to many congregations with few elders.
Have a good weekend.