No THEY are the Apostates..not you....
I have been Labeled
I always wonder why not attending meetings makes one an apostate. I thought you had to express some ideas contrary to the WTS.
Congratulations. Your name badge, decoder ring and pen & pencil set are in the mail.
*** w82 1/15 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***
My son, who was baptized as a teenager, is now married and has a family. Because of the pressure of earning a living he has cooled off spiritually and does not associate with the congregation. Should he be viewed as a "disassociated" person?
There is nothing in your description that would require such a viewpoint. The question may have arisen because of misunderstanding what it means to be viewed as "disassociated."
TheWatchtower of September 15, 1981, page 23, showed that there is a difference between (a) a Christian who becomes spiritually weak and inactive, and (b) a person who clearly renounces his being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, leading the congregation elders to announce that he has "disassociated" himself. It seems that your son fits the first description.
TheWatchtower mentioned that some Christians become weak in faith and spirituality. This occurred also in the first century. (Romans 14:1, 2; 1 Corinthians 11:30) It does not mean that they have ceased to be Christians. Even if they become so weak that they no longer share the "good news" with others and stop attending meetings, and they are not bringing reproach on the Christian congregation, they are still to be regarded as our spiritual brothers and sisters. We should want to help them lovingly, following the apostle Paul’s counsel: "We exhort you, brothers, admonish the disorderly, speak consolingly to the depressed souls, supporttheweak, be long-suffering toward all." While the elders often take the lead in this, it is to be noted that this counsel was directed to all "the congregation of the Thessalonians." (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 5:14) So the elders and others might offer loving help and encouragement, having in mind the advice: "Straighten up the hands that hang down and the enfeebled knees, and keep making straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather that it may be healed."—Hebrews 12:12, 13; Revelation 3:1-3.
It is quite a different matter with a former Christian who is "disassociated." This designation is applied basically in two situations:
First, though it is uncommon, a person might decide that he absolutely no longer wants to be a Witness. We do not mean a person such as is described above, a spiritually weak or discouraged Christian who may express some doubts. Rather, we mean someone who resolutely declares that he absolutely is no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Since in the past he voluntarily became a baptized member of the congregation, it would now be proper for him to inform the congregation that he is ending this relationship. It would be best if he did this in a brief letter to the elders, but even if he unequivocally states orally that he is renouncing his standing as a Witness, the elders can deal with the matter.—1 John 2:19.
The second situation involves a person who renounces his standing in the congregation by joining a secular organization whose purpose is contrary to counsel such as that found at Isaiah 2:4, where we read concerning God’s servants: "They will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore." Also, as stated at John 17:16, "they are no part of the world, just as I [Jesus] am no part of the world."—Compare Revelation 19:17-21.
In either of these two situations, the person by word and/or actions has clearly terminated his status as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, disassociating himself. Hence, the elders will announce briefly to the congregation that this individual has disassociated himself. Those in the congregation will accept the person’s decision and thereafter will view him as a former brother with whom they would not fellowship, in harmony with what we read at 1 Corinthians 5:11 and 2 John 9-11.
As can be appreciated, the spiritually weak and inactive son about whom the question was asked has not become a "disassociated" person in either of these two senses and no such announcement has been made in the congregation. So it still may be possible to aid him in the spirit of Romans 15:1: "We, though, who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those not strong."—See also Isaiah 35:3.
I too am labeled.
Blondie: I always wonder why not attending meetings makes one an apostate. I thought you had to express some ideas contrary to the WTS.
I see you also posted a question from readers, but it not specifically about the term apostate. I agree with ytour thought that you would need to express contrary ideas of WTBS.....Not so however...and I know you know this:
This term in Greek (a·po·sta·si´a) comes from the verb a·phi´ste·mi,literally meaning "stand away from." The noun has the sense of "desertion, abandonment or rebellion." (Ac 21:21, ftn) In classical Greek the noun was used to refer to political defection, and the verb is evidently employed in this sense at Acts 5:37, concerning Judas the Galilean who "drew off" (a·pe´ste·se, form of a·phi´ste·mi) followers. The Greek Septuagint uses the term at Genesis 14:4 with reference to such a rebellion. However, in the Christian Greek Scriptures it is used primarily with regard to religious defection; a withdrawal or abandonment of the true cause, worship, and service of God, and hence an abandonment of what one has previously professed and a total desertion of principles or faith. The religious leaders of Jerusalem charged Paul with such an apostasy against the Mosaic Law.
By this defination and standard....all you have to do is STOP for awhile....and you get labeled....me, I spoke out, but did still not get df'd.....look how many people just stop or fade and don't even know they are now apostate...............oompa
I said to my dad, who has never been a JW that the congregation will consider me an Apostate now that I have disagreed and left. My dad said " So what!"
Of course he doesn't understand...but his simple reply made me feel better.
xxx Strawberry Cake
I think we are all aware that one can be labeled in a congregation even though no official pronouncement has been made. There exists a "court of general opinion" among JWs that identify the "weak and unproductive" members. Gossip and rumors are wide spread in every congregation. And if one is seen as having even a taint of apostasy that person will be treated as an apostate by others.
It is just the opposite of what should happen in a real Christian organization. The "weak" should have the full attention and assistance of not only the leaders but the entire membership. (Remember the shepherd who leaves the entire flock to retrieve the lost sheep?) This type of love is the kind that Jesus said would identify his people. The fact that it is sadly lacking among Jehovah's Witnesses speaks volumes.
6 million JW's label you "apostate".
6 billion non-JW's label you "free".
I think you win!
You are now free to start your own religion and draw off people after yourself. I'm told that's what all apostates do. ;)
Being labeled didn't hurt so much but when they stuffed me in that mailbox...that hurt!