Continuing the listing of all references to disfellowshipping and shunning so as to see if there is a noticable development of the policy and harshness. I hope somebody finds them of interest. oz
in discussion on shareholders meeting and appointment of officers of the society post Russells death...
A small minority who love the Lord might hold a different view. but the majority would not feel disposed to elect its officers and servants from such, because there could not be harmonious action. If some did not care to work in harmony with the Society thus constituted, that would be their privilege; yet that would not mean that there should be any ill feeling, nor that such should
be disfellowshipped. If the Iord started a work through a duly constituted organization or society, and that work increased and upon it the Lord’s blessing was made manifest, then it would seem that those, who wanted to be in harmony with the Lord would wish to cooperate in his arrangement. If others see it in a different way, that is their privilege. There should be full liberty of conscience.
Applying the same rule to the several ecclesias composing the entire body, suppose one ecclesia is composed of a hundred persons, sixty of whom say, We are not in harmony with the Society and its work; therefore we will elect as our elders and servants those from among the majority who hold our views. Certainly no fair-minded person would deny that they had the privilege thus to do. If they felt that the Lord would be better pleased with them and their action to follow that course. then it is their privilege to take it. On the other hand, suppose that sixty or even a larger majority said, We are in full harmony with the Society and the work it is trying to do. We believe that it has a commission from the lord and that it is in accordance with his will that we should work }harmoniously in the proclamation his message; therefore we will elect as our elders and servants only those who hold similar views and who will work in harmony with us. Would not that privilege be theirs? Surely no one can deny that fact, But what about the minority? Should they be disfellowshipped? Certainly not. They should be treated kindly, treaated as brethren, in harmony with the Scriptural admonition that we should do good unto all, especially mile those of the household of faith. Should they be greeted as brethren ? To be sure. Why should any one be treated unkindly because he could not see just as we see? Let each one exercise the spirit of love, the spirit of Christ, toward the brethren, because "if any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his".
page 103, discussing ''the finished mystery''...and V.D.M questions .
The society in its annual official meeting adopted it as Volume VII of the series of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES when, by an overwhelming majority, it required each officer to be elected to state that he accepted it as Volume VII: It was therefore in exact harmony with this that any ecclesia subsequently would ask its prospective elders and officers, "Do you accept the seventh volume and are you willing to teach it?" If he said, No, he was not disfellowshipped; no burden was put upon him. But he was told in kindness, We prefer someone to reach us who is in harmony with the Society and its work. This was no excuse or justification for any brother, elder or servant to take offence and withdraw from the class. The proper course would hve been and is to remain and strive to dwell together in peace in the study of God's word.
By way of illustration, there are yet a number in the classes in various places who do not understand the vital doctrine of justification and consecration and who cannot properly apply the doctrine. There are many who are unable to give the clear distinction between the ransom and the sin-offering; yet no one would think of disfellowshipping them because they are unable to do those things. On the same line of reasoning, it would be wholey improper to disfellowship one because because he could not accept everything stated in the Seventh volume.
Page 86; march 15
Where one brother has caused an offense to another the Lord lays down the principle or rule of action which must be followed. (Matthew 18:15-17) This divine code of procedure cannot be violated without following an unwise or foolish course. There are some offences committed against the church, and the church as a body should deal with such in the manner pointed out by the Word of God. Under certain circumstances the church properly would disfellowship a brother; but there is no place in the Bible that authorizes the church to inflict upon any member punishment with a view to injuring or disgracing him. The disfellowshlping is a punishment of course; but it is inflicted for one purpose and
one only, and that is to try to awaken the brother to his own danger and to help to get him away from theadversary’s influence and to fully recover him. There is no just cause or excuse or justification for doing injury to another in the church or out of it. Christians are commanded to do good unto all as they have oppor tunity, and especially unto the household of faith. Hence where a brother is properly disfellowshipped, the ecclesia should stand ready at any time when he shows a disposition to repentance and reformation to do everything possible to restore him. Satan is the one who would be interested in destroying the brother. Let no child of God render aid to Satan. Anyone who follows a course of attempting to drive a brother or a sister away from others of the Lord’s people is following a course directly opposite to divine wisdom. If a separation becomes necessary, let it be done in kindness and with purity of heart, and without indulging in vindictive or bitter speech.
NOT LOVING JESUS CHRIST
41 If a person who has, been consecrated does not now love the Lord Jesus Christ--what then ? Some enjoy in their minds a reverent sense of devotion to the unseen Lord or for his service and vainly think this to be love for him. This is a remake, because in other respects they do not do the sayings of Christ the Head, and because they do not manifest a proper and sincere love for their brothers in Christ, the body. St. Paul has a word to say about such. He declares that they are what is expressed in the King James translation of the Bible by a peculiar word. They are anathema. According to Dr. Strong anathema is "a (religious) ban, or (concretely) excommunicated( thing or person) :--accursed, anathema, curse." Another scholar makes these notes on anathema: "A Greek word meaning, Cut off from God. Accursed, with the curse which the Jews who call Jesus ’accursed,’ bring upon their own heads. It is as if the Apostle said: ’So far from sainting him, I bid him be accursed’."
42 This does not refer to persons outside the pale ofthe church, but to the once consecrated who have losttheir anointing and fail to develop sufficiently to beborn on the spirit plane--those who have lost all realagape for the brothers. Such do not have to wait for
church trial and visible disfellowshiping from the body. Christ has already excommunicated them; and in his holy sight they are accursed, candidates for the second death, however much they may cling to the little honors and preferments they have enjoyed in his church. In due time the Lord deals with such visibly and openly, and removes them from the fellowship in a sifting or through
some hurt of their sensibilities affording the excuse for withdrawing. This does not mean that all, by any means, who physically abandon the church of the fully consecrated are of this unholy class, but merely that such as are fully apostate will sooner or later be taken in hand by the great Head and set aside, where they can no longer do harm to the true sheep and lambs of the flock of the "Shepherd and Bishop of our souls." Of some at least, whose agape waxes cool and they leave the flock of God, the apostle John utters words which are a comfort to those that remain ; for they show the divine purpose in permitting or compelling such to go: "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." (1 John 2: 19) Whatever they may be of, they are not of us.
53 As angels at other times have been disapproved and expelled from the organization of the Lord, so it may be expected that such would be done at the end of the harvest period; and the Lord plainly says that it shall be done. His words indicate two divisions of the gathered out class; some who offend, and others who are iniquitous or lawless.
54 An offender within the meaning of this text is one who entraps, entices to sin, or ensnares another, either in conduct or in apostacy from the truth. This was the first mention i could find of apostacy applied to those among them rather than the catholic church etc
55 The lawless are those who willingly go contrary to God’s law, either in conduct or in service in his name. The one who offends is always a lawless one; but a lawless one may not always be an offender of some one else. For instance, one who sees that the King is present and that his kingdom is being set up, and who knows of the command of the Lord to announce his kingdom, but who fails or refuses to do so, and who utterly ignores the interests of the kingdom, would properly be classed as a lawless one. For one to be law-abiding or to act lawfully he must put forth an honest endeavor to do what the Lord commands.