Requirement for JWs to report sins of others to the elders--need source

by cabasilas 8 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • cabasilas

    I'm looking for some pointed references that detail the requirement for JWs to report the sins ("disfellowshipping offenses") of fellow members to the elders. I have the "A Time to Speak--When?" article from 1987 but was looking for more concise and direct statements in WT literature. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • ButtLight

    I'd love to help you, but my books and literature are 22 years old lol! Good luck though!

  • blondie

    *** w97 8/15 pp. 27-29 Why Report What Is Bad? ***

    But what if you are not an elder and you come to know about some serious wrongdoing on the part of another Christian? Guidelines are found in the Law that Jehovah gave to the nation of Israel. The Law stated that if a person was a witness to apostate acts, sedition, murder, or certain other serious crimes, it was his responsibility to report it and to testify to what he knew. Leviticus 5:1 states: "Now in case a soul sins in that he has heard public cursing and he is a witness or he has seen it or has come to know of it, if he does not report it, then he must answer for his error."—Compare Deuteronomy 13:6-8; Esther 6:2; Proverbs 29:24.

    Though not under the Mosaic Law, Christians today can be guided by the principles behind it. (Psalm 19:7, 8) So if you learn about the serious wrongdoing of a fellow Christian, what should you do?


    the Matter

    First of all, it is important that there is valid reason to believe that serious wrongdoing has really occurred. "Do not become a witness against your fellowman without grounds," stated the wise man. "Then you would have to be foolish with your lips."—Proverbs 24:28.

    You may decide to go directly to the elders. It is not wrong to do so. Usually, however, the most loving course is to approach the person involved. Perhaps the facts are not as they appear to be. Or perhaps the situation is already being handled by the elders. Calmly discuss the matter with the person. If there remains reason to believe that a serious wrong has been committed, encourage him or her to approach the elders for help, and explain the wisdom of doing so. Do not talk to others about the matter, for that would be gossip.

    If the person does not report to the elders within a reasonable period of time, then you should. One or two elders will then discuss the matter with the accused. The elders need to "search and investigate and inquire thoroughly" to see if wrong has been done. If it has, they will handle the case according to Scriptural guidelines.—Deuteronomy 13:12-14.

    At least two witnesses are required to establish a charge of wrongdoing. (John 8:17; Hebrews 10:28) If the person denies the charge and your testimony is the only one, the matter will be left in Jehovah’s hands. (1 Timothy 5:19, 24, 25) This is done in the knowledge that all things are "openly exposed" to Jehovah and that if the person is guilty, eventually his sins will "catch up" with him.—Hebrews 4:13; Numbers 32:23.

    But suppose the person does deny the charge and you are the only witness against him. Could you now be open to a countercharge of slander? No, not unless you have gossiped to those not involved in the matter. It is not slanderous to report conditions affecting a congregation to those having authority and responsibility to oversee and correct matters. It is, in fact, in line with our desire always to do what is correct and loyal.—Compare Luke 1:74, 75.


    Holiness in the Congregation

    One reason for reporting wrongdoing is that it works to preserve the cleanness of the congregation. Jehovah is a clean God, a holy God. He requires all those who worship him to be spiritually and morally clean. His inspired Word admonishes: "As obedient children, quit being fashioned according to the desires you formerly had in your ignorance, but, in accord with the Holy One who called you, do you also become holy yourselves in all your conduct, because it is written: ‘You must be holy, because I am holy.’" (1 Peter 1:14-16) Individuals who practice uncleanness or wrongdoing can bring defilement and Jehovah’s disfavor upon an entire congregation unless action is taken to correct or remove them.—Compare Joshua, chapter 7.

    The apostle Paul’s letters to the Christian congregation at Corinth show how the reporting of wrongdoing worked toward the cleansing of God’s people there. In his first letter, Paul wrote: "Actually fornication is reported among you, and such fornication as is not even among the nations, that a wife a certain man has of his father."—1 Corinthians 5:1.

    The Bible does not tell us from whom the apostle received this report. It may be that Paul learned about the situation from Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, who had traveled from Corinth to Ephesus where Paul was staying. Paul had also received a letter of inquiry from the Christian congregation in Corinth. Whatever the source, once the situation had been reported to Paul by reliable witnesses, he was then able to give direction on the matter. "Remove the wicked man from among yourselves," he wrote. The man was expelled from the congregation.—1 Corinthians 5:13; 16:17, 18.

    Did Paul’s instruction bring good results? Indeed it did! Evidently, the wrongdoer came to his senses. In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul urged that the congregation "kindly forgive and comfort" the repentant man. (2 Corinthians 2:6-8) Thus the reporting of wrongdoing led to action that resulted in cleansing the congregation and restoring to God’s favor a person who had damaged his relationship with God.

    We find another example in Paul’s first letter to the Christian congregation at Corinth. This time the apostle names the witnesses who reported the matter. He wrote: "The disclosure was made to me about you, my brothers, by those of the house of Chloe, that dissensions exist among you." (1 Corinthians 1:11) Paul knew that this dissension, along with giving undue honor to men, had created a sectarian attitude that threatened to destroy the congregation’s unity. Hence, out of deep regard for the spiritual welfare of his fellow believers there, Paul acted quickly and wrote corrective counsel to the congregation.

    Today, the vast majority of brothers and sisters in congregations throughout the earth work hard to preserve the spiritual cleanness of the congregation by individually maintaining an approved standing before God. Some suffer to do so; others have even died in order to keep integrity. Surely to condone or cover up wrongdoing would show a lack of appreciation for these efforts.


    for Erring Ones

    Why do some who have fallen into gross sin hold back from approaching the congregation elders? Often it is because they are not aware of the benefits of going to the elders. Some incorrectly believe that if they confess, their sin will be exposed to the entire congregation. Others delude themselves as to the gravity of their course. Still others think they can readjust themselves without the aid of the elders.

    But such wrongdoers need loving help from the congregation elders. James wrote: "Is there anyone sick among you? Let him call the older men of the congregation to him, and let them pray over him, greasing him with oil in the name of Jehovah. And the prayer of faith will make the indisposed one well, and Jehovah will raise him up. Also, if he has committed sins, it will be forgiven him."—James 5:14, 15.

    What a wonderful provision to help erring ones to restore their spirituality! By applying soothing counsel from God’s Word and by praying in their behalf, the elders can help the spiritually ailing ones to recover from their erroneous ways. Thus, rather than feeling condemned, repentant ones often feel refreshed and relieved when they meet with loving elders. A young West African man had committed fornication and had covered his sin for some months. After his sin became manifest, he said to the elders: "How I wish someone would have asked about my involvement with that girl! It’s such a relief to bring this thing into the open."—Compare Psalm 32:3-5.

  • cabasilas

    Thanks, Blondie! Just what I needed!

    Besides stating that it is a "responsibility" to report, is there a direct statement somewhere that states if someone does not report something they face disfellowshipping themselves?

  • avengers
  • blondie

    I would check the elders manual and the old and new organized books.


    g70 12/8 p. 27 "You Must Not Testify Falsely" ***

    The stern fact that one who bore witness to the guilt of a wrongdoer had to take the lead in executing the guilty person may have inclined some not to want to bear witness against a guilty one. But the law of God did not permit one to hold back from giving testimony concerning wrongdoing when one was a witness to the act. Explicitly the law stated: "Now in case a soul sins in that he has heard public cursing and he is a witness or he has seen it or has come to know of it, if he does not report it, then he must answer for his error." Anyone who knew of serious wrongdoing and failed to report it became a partner to the wrongdoer. By pretending that he had seen or heard no wrongdoing, he was living a lie and was just as much in the wrong as one who under oath would testify falsely against his brother.—Lev. 5:1; Ps. 50:18.


    km 6/75 p. 3 Protect, Build Up the Congregation Through Loyalty ***

    In ancient Israel, those who were witnesses to wrongdoing were to tell the elders what they knew, in order to avoid sharing the blame for a possible wrong decision.—Lev. 5:1.


    km 6/75 p. 3 Protect, Build Up the Congregation Through Loyalty ***

    Accordingly, if you know about real wrongdoing—if persons are carrying on acts that could result in disfellowshiping—you should in true loyalty help the elders with all the factual information you have. This is not "squealing," as it is known in the old world. In love for such ones, you may first choose to admonish that they go to the elders themselves and reveal their wrong, but they should understand that, if they do not go, you will do so. Really, it is loyalty to erring ones to help the elders to know the full circumstances so that needed help can be given, with a view to aiding the erring ones not to lose out on everlasting life.


    Loyalty to God, coupled with the counsel of his Word, provides a climate of understanding and respect in which our relationships with one another can grow. It can help to keep us from imposing our conscience on others in personal tastes where there is no violation of Scriptural principles involved. For example, only where matters go to the extreme in clothing styles or grooming and things of this nature might the elders feel the need to provide Scriptural advice.


    kp p. 30 "Above All Things, Have Intense Love" ***

    To ‘cover’ sins does not mean to ‘cover up’ serious sins. Such matters are rightly reported to and handled by responsible ones in the congregation. (Leviticus 5:1; Proverbs 29:24) It would be most unloving—and unscriptural—to allow gross sinners to continue hurting or victimizing innocent ones.—1 Corinthians 5:9-13.

    *** it-2 p. 969 Sin, I ***

    Sharing in the sins of others. A person can become guilty of sin before God by his willing association with wrongdoers, by his approval of their wrongdoing, or by his covering over their conduct so that the elders do not know about it and take appropriate action. (Compare Ps 50:18, 21; 1Ti 5:22.)
  • Hamboozled

    I know there are some articles, but I will need to look them up on the CD ROM and get back to you. If I remember right it says if you catch someone in the act you need to talk to them first and convince them to seek help from the elders and you are to give them a reasonable time to do so and if they do not then you are to consult with an elder and let them take it from there.

  • opr83

    Check out the 87 wt 9/1 page 13 for a good section on this topic.

  • headmath

    IM a jehobo and IM okay I spy at nite and I preach all day.

    I cuts down sin, I skip and jump and dress up in wild flowers, On thursdays I go to the meetin in suspeders and a bra

    OH IM a jehobo and Im okay .. I spy at nite and I preach all day

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