Inactive = D/F in 3 Years

by Simon Morley 20 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • blondie

    The following is the only thing in writing in the publications that directly addresses being inactive and disassociation. I can find nothing newer in writing so this is considered the most current WTS opinion.

    *** 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."


    Watchtower 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.


    Watchtower 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.

    *** w81 9/15 p. 23 par. 13 Disfellowshiping—How to View It ***A Christian might grow spiritually weak, perhaps because of not studying God’s Word regularly, having personal problems or experiencing persecution. (1 Cor. 11:30; Rom. 14:1) Such a one might cease to attend Christian meetings. What is to be done? Recall that the apostles abandoned Jesus on the night of his arrest. Yet Christ had urged Peter, "When once you have returned, strengthen your brothers [who also abandoned Jesus]." (Luke 22:32) Hence, out of love Christian elders and others might visit and help the one who has grown weak and inactive. (1 Thess. 5:14; Rom. 15:1; Heb. 12:12, 13) It is another matter, though, when a person repudiates his being a Christian and disassociates himself.

    Blondie: BTW inactive refers to turning in time not meeting attendance.

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