Non-Existent First Century GB / Council Quotes from Old Publications?

by Ultimate Reality 16 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Ultimate Reality
    Ultimate Reality

    I am looking for any references regarding the existence or (even better) the non-existence of a First Century Council / Governing Body in old Watchtower publications. It would most likely center on Acts 14 and 15.

    Many of us have heard the Fred Franz recording about how there was no such body in the First Century. Anybody have any pre-1970's quotes on this subject?


  • Satanus

    Tehy ewfwe to the apostles' creed a few times, but only to debunk it:

    *** g85 10/8 p. 23 Creeds—Any Place in True Worship? ***

    What, then, about the Apostles’ Creed? Because of its name, many people believe that it was actually drawn up by the apostles of Jesus Christ. In fact, some even claim that each of the apostles contributed a sentence in composing this creed.

    On this point, Professor G. C. Stead wrote in The Expository Times: “Anyone who has read at all extensively in early Christian literature is bound to come to a different conclusion.” He argued that if there was in existence a creed formally designed and approved by the apostles, it would be difficult to explain why there were so many different ‘confessions’ and ‘statements of faith’ in existence among the early churches. The fact is that “a statement of Christian belief which approximately agrees in wording with the Apostles’ Creed cannot be found in any surviving writing earlier than A.D. 340.”

    The Bible, in Acts chapter 15, does speak of a council of the apostles and older men in Jerusalem. But the purpose of that meeting was not to draw up or to amend a creed but to consider whether it was necessary for Gentile Christians to be circumcised.


  • exmocan

    Here is an example:

    Examples of Recognizing the Organization

    CONSIDER a number of good examples of properly recognizing the theocratic organization and its governing body. Not so long after the Christian congregation was organized at Jerusalem rabid persecution by the Jewish religionists scattered the congregation from the city, except the apostles, who remained as the governing body. Philip the evangelist or missionary carried the preaching of the good news north into Samaria and succeeded in establishing a congregation in the city, the members of which he baptized. One important thing the congregation lacked: the holy spirit with its miraculous gifts. Philip wanted the congregation of native witnesses to receive these. Recognizing the theocratic organization and knowing that the miraculous gifts of the spirit could be imparted only by the apostles of the Lamb or in their immediate presence, Philip sent word up to Jerusalem. That was an unselfish, loyal recognition of the theocratic organization by an evangelist or missionary. What was the outcome? The apostolic governing body sent down the apostles Peter and John. Then came the impartation of the spirit and its gifts to the baptized believers in Samaria. As it is written: “And these went down and prayed for them to get holy spirit. For it had not yet fallen upon any one of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they went to laying their hands upon them, and they began to receive holy spirit. . . . through the laying on of the hands of the apostles the spirit was given.”—Acts 8:1-19, NW.

    2 Later Barnabas and Paul, as missionaries to the uncircumcised nations, were greatly disturbed by the question of circumcision and the Gentiles. They both had the right understanding of the question, but when dissension arose in the Antioch congregation, “they arranged for Paul and Barnabas and some others of them to go up to the apostles and older men in Jerusalem regarding this question.” (Acts 15:1, 2, NW) Again this recognizing of the theocratic organization brought results. A special meeting of its governing body at Jerusalem was called, the question was thoroughly aired, James was used as God’s mouthpiece in calling attention to the fulfillment of Scripture and in stating the right conclusion to be drawn respecting the uncircumcised Gentile believers, the governing body backed by holy spirit drew up a letter setting out the basic requirements for such believers, and Paul and Barnabas left Jerusalem with the letter. This letter was read to many cities where the question was a moot one. As Paul and his companion traveled about through the cities that had believers, “they would deliver to those there for observance the decrees that had been decided upon by the apostles and older men who were in Jerusalem.” The effect of this was that, instead of the congregations’ continuing shaky and divided in opinion, “the congregations continued to be made firm in the faith and to increase in number from day to day.” (Acts 15:3 to 16:5, NW) Recognition of the theocratic organization is unifying, strengthening, productive of increase.

    w54 9/1 Examples of Recognizing the Organization p. 535

  • reniaa
    Acts 16:4-5 (New International Version)

    4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

  • blondie

    * ** w72 11/15 p. 703 Questions From Readers ***

    Why do we use the term "governing body" for the elders that preside over the work of Jehovah’s witnesses?—U.S.A.

    The term "governing body" as such is not found in the Scriptures. However, there is ample evidence that a body of elders serving in a governing capacity did exist in the first-century Christian congregation.

    or instead,

    Although Scripture does not give us a formulated doctrine of the "governing body," it contains all the elements (or ample evidence) out of which theology has constructed the doctrine."

    *** w84 8/15 p. 27 One God in Three?***

    In its article "Trinity," a Protestant work (TheIllustratedBibleDictionary) states: "The word Trinity is not found in the Bible . . . It did not find a place formally in the theology of the church till the 4th century . . . Although Scripture does not give us a formulated doctrine of the Trinity, it contains all the elements out of which theology has constructed the doctrine."

    *** w68 10/1 p. 581 Who Is God? ***

    Many religions of Christendom teach that God is a "Trinity," although the word "Trinity" does not appear in the Bible.

    Or instead

    The Watchtower Society (FDS) teaches that there is a governing body that led the Christian congregation although the words "governing body" do not appear in the Bible.

    Who has the WTS taught is the "governing body" from 1879 to 1971 and from 1971 to today?

    ** w71 12/15 p. 760 A Governing Body as Different from a Legal Corporation ***

    How did this governing body make its appearance in recent times? Evidently under the direction of Jehovah God and his Son Jesus Christ. According to the facts available, the governing body became associated with the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. C. T. Russell was patently of that governing body back there in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

    *** w50 8/15 p. 251 par. 8 Answering the Foes of His Government ***The Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, with main offices in Brooklyn, New York, acts advisorily as the governing body and servant of Jehovah’s witnesses in all lands.

    *** w50 1/1 pp. 10-11 par. 2 Reviewing the Past Year’s Work World-wide ***The Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, the governing body of Jehovah’s witnesses, has pointed out through its publications that the kingdom of heaven was established in 1914, and it has shown in its writings how the signs of the present day are fulfilling prophecy in proof of the establishment of that kingdom.

    *** w71 2/1 p. 81 par. 26 Proclaiming Good News World Wide ***This governing body is closely associated with the board of anointed directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania.

    *** w71 12/15 p. 755 A Governing Body as Different from a Legal Corporation ***At this meeting a question came up and was discussed from the platform. It was as to what the relationship is between the Board of Directors of the Society as a legal corporation and the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. Are they the same, identical, or are they different? Such questions were due to the fact that it has been published in print that the Governing Body of Jehovah’s witnesses at headquarters is associated with the Board of Directors of the said Society.

    *** w95 5/15 p. 22 par. 8 Part 2—Flashes of Light—Great and Small ***For many years the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses was synonymous with the board of directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, and matters were largely in the hands of its president.

  • isaacaustin
  • isaacaustin

    but Acts 15....hitting on the verses that say apostles and older well as 16:5 are used to try to justify that beleif in a 1st cent gov body. The WT ignores verse 4 where Paul and Barnabas are “received by the congregation and the apostles and the older men.” After some disputing, Peter rises up to speak on the matter, and when he finishes, we are told in verse 12, “At that the entire multitude became silent, and they began to listen to Bar'na·bas and Paul.” Obviously a meeting of the entire cong....not the apostles and some of the older men.

    Acts 16:5 is speaking of the meeting at Jerusalem of Paul, Barnabas and the entire cong at Jerusalem. No proof of any so-called governing body. This sort of council is never mentioned again anywhere in the NT.

  • wobble

    And of course the context is that the trouble makers who wanted circumcision for all,even converts to just Christianity and not judaism, CAME from Jerusalem,so the cong. in Jerusalem were looked to to resolve the issue, a one off happening.



  • isaacaustin

    correct Wobble. Paul and Barnabas went to the source of the problem to fix it. That is all there is to it.

  • the research lady
    the research lady

    When Kool Aid Man and I visited Brooklyn at the invitation of one member of the "Governing Body" Losch back in 2001 I asked him "Isn't it true that there was no such thing as a governing body until 1976"? HIs answer was YES.

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