I recently went thru every watchtower i have as PDFs searching the words 'disfellowship', 'apostate' and 'shun' to see if i could find a developing policy on disfellowshipping.
I believe i did.
I may highlight parts and make some observations but really i plan to let the WT speak for itself.
I would be interexted to read your comments...i will post them in parts to avoid a long thread.
It is admitted by some that going into the marriage is not translation, but there is a special reason in their minds for placing that going in yet in the future, and the coming of the Bridegroom. also in the future, even though they teach as do we that the tarrying time ended in 1874. That special reason is the basis of the new departure we have mentioned. Since the Autumn of l878. there has been a very clearly marked difference of opinion on the subjects of Atonement,
Resurrection and Restitution. While we have not felt disposed to disfellowship anyone on account of a difference of opinion on these things, or for any other opinion as long as we are of the Christian integrity of brethren, there has been difference enough to prevent the same hearty co-operation especially as there has been manifested a disposition to urge these disputed points as test questions. Paul and Barnabas separated in their work for a reason not half so important. but, Christ was not divided, and we do not read of either one calling each other hard names or disfellowshiping each other as Chrstians
But the example of the church of England showed what a prestige she had by reason of the voice of authority with which she commanded a reverence for her clergy and her teachings. This teaching by example was not lost. The various denominations felt, a necessity for some common STANDARD OF DOCTRINE which would be supported and upheld by all of them,
and thus give prestige to their teachings, and bring the combined influence of all AGAINST ANY FURTHER ADVANCE IN KNOWLEDGE or the development, of any different phase of TRUTH. Thus they would protect, themselves by being able to say-The combined opinion of all Protestants is against you; therefore you are HERETICS, and therefore we mill shun you, and not call
you brethren, but use all our influence against you. This was done by the formation in 1846,‘of the-“Evangelical Alliance.” It was stated to be one of the objects of the Alliance (and we believe the principal one) to “‘(Promote between the different EVANGELICAL denominations an effective co-operation in the efforts to REPEL COMMON ENEMIES and DANGERS."
Less than a year ago, and frequently since, we warmly commended to our readers a publication called “Zion’s Day
Star.,’ This we now regret, because that commendation makes necessary a statement to the opposite effect concerning that
paper. We are not of those who disfellowship Christian brethren on account. of some differences of opinion ; but when it comes to the point of denying the very foundation of all christianity we must speak out and withstand all such to the face, for they become “the enemies of the cross of Christ.”
I feel that these early references show a great reluctance to be like the nominal churches, indeed, some critical comments about the protestants for it, although they realize they themselves must 'do something'