WT development of Disfellowshiping. (part 7; 1943 to 1947)

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  • Aussie Oz
    Aussie Oz

    Watchtower 1943

    page 219

    the ’evil servant’" class form part of the apostate "’man of sin", "the son of perdition." In fact, having once been associated with Jehovah’s organized people and enjoyed a confidential relationship with it and then having rebelled and proved untrue, they are the most reprehensible part of the "man of sin" class,

    Watchtower 1944, May 15

    Study article ''Unity for the new world''

    pages 147 - 156

    Showing the change from the congregation getting to know the matter, to only the 'elders' ...

    Beginning on page 151 "DISFELLOWSHIPPING" after discussing disruptions:


    21 This brings up the questions: Is there anything in the Bible as to disfellowshiping brethren and as to a congregation’s taking a vote to have this done? Or, do the admonitions at Romans 16:17 and 2 Thessalonians 3:14 state the limit of what should be done, namely, to avoid those causing division and to have nothing to do with them? Such questions call for the consideration of the words of the Head of the church, Christ Jesus, to his disciples: "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican [a taxcollector]." (Matt. 18! 15-17) Jesus’ words corresponding to these are found at Luke 17": 3, 4: "Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I

    repent; thou shalt forgive him."

    22 The course above outlined by the great Peacemaker is for the purpose of keeping peace and unity among the brethren, rather than stirring up discord by talebearing and whispering. In times past those words of the Lord have been interpreted to this effect: That, where one member of the church sins against another, the matter is, after due process, to be brought before a whole congregation. There it should be discussed and argued out. Then a vote should be taken by stretching forth the hand of each member of the congregation in a democratic-voting manner. Thus the congregation must indicate its

    determination of what should be done with the one found guilty.

    23 Putting such a meaning into our Lord’s words, however, has served to cause more controversy and disruption among congregations in times past than almost any other thing. Undue heat of contrary opinions has been stirred up and undue measure of time and attention has been taken from the Lord’s work of preaching the good news of the Kingdom.

    Reasonably, that could not be what the Lord purposed by giving such instructions. When methods produce the wrong results, then it is wise and timely to examine the methods hitherto used to determine whether such are Scriptural or not.

    24 It must always be kept in mind that God’s organization of his people is Theocratic, not democratic. The laws of his organization come from himself, the great Theocrat, Jehovah, the Supreme One. The laws of the organization do not draw their strength and validness from the voice or vote of the congregation and are not applied because of the consent of the

    governed. "For Jehovah is our judge, Jehovah is our lawgiver, Jehovah is our king; he will save us." (Isa. 33: 22, Am. Start. Vet.) Quaintly put, a Theocratic organization is ruled from the top down (which means from the Most High God downward) and not from the bottom up (that is, from the people of the congregation upward). It is true that the Head

    of the church did say that the one sinned against, who fails to gain his brother, should at length tell the matter to the church or congregation. However, Jesus did not say that the entire congregation should sit like a body of Supreme Court justices of last appeal and should have the case fully aired, and then vote in democratic manner after hearing and arguing the case. The words of Jesus at Matthew 18: 15-17, as above quoted, go farther than the like words at Luke 17:3, 4, above quoted. Jesus’ words in both Scripture citations agree with the law at Leviticus 19 : 17, 18 : "Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

    25 At 1 Corinthians 6 : 1-8, the apostle Paul argues against taking matters of difference between brethren into worldly courts, and says that the saints shall judge the world and angels and hence should be able to judge matters between themselves. Yet that is not saying that the entire congregation is constituted to sit as a court before which the cases of sin among the brethren against one another are to be submitted for final adjustment. Paul did not say that the entire congregation must consume time, attention and nervous energy in trying such cases, thereby focusing their attention upon sin and the due punishment of it. The congregation is the Lord’s own. Therefore, when a brother has been sinned against by another and he finally brings it to the congregation and tells it, the Theocratic rule should be observed in the congregation.

    26 The matter for straightening out should not be aired before the whole congregation for judgment, and take up everybody’s time and consideration. It should be quietly laid before the representative members of the congregation or company, the ones that are charged with the responsibility for the spiritual welfare of the brethren and for the direction

    of their service to the Lord. The case recorded at Deuteronomy2 1 : 18-21 illustrates this way of proceeding in an orderly, Theocratic manner. The record reads: "If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; and they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear." According to this procedure, the hearing of the case and the rendering of the decision should be confined to the representative brethren, as pictured by the city elders, not elective elders as in

    religious organizations, but elders who are such due to Christian knowledge, growth and experience. Their decision must be according to Theocratic law. After they render the decision, the congregation may hear about the matter and may concur in the decision and in the action due.

    Watchtower 1946

    page 265

    article on not being spotted by the world.

    10 To quote his words, at 1 Corinthians 5 : 8-13 : "So let us celebrate our festival, not with any old leaven,not with vice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of innocence and integrity. In my letter I wrote that you were not to associate with the immoral. I did not mean you were literally to avoid contact with the

    immoral in this world, with the lustful and the thievish, or with idolaters; in that case you would have to leave the world altogether. What I now write is that you are not to associate with any so-called brother who is immoral or lustful or idolatrous or given to abuse or drink or robbery. Associate with him? Do not even eat with him .... Expel the wicked from your company." Moffaat.

    14 When a person solemnly agrees with God to do His will and is taken into His organization, then he

    should have repented of his aforetime impurity and also of sexual vice and sensual practices, if he indulged

    in such. However, these things try to cling to the repentant one after becoming a follower of Christ. Nevertheless, a person’s repentance should be proved by his forever turning away from such, and not trying to contaminate the Christian congregation with such. Offensive though it may be to our sensibilities, it was necessary for the apostle Paul to write this Corinthian congregation to disfellowship a man that had committed sexual impurity with his own father’s wife. (1 Cor. 5: 1-5).....

    Watchtower 1947

    For that reason Paul called upon the Corinthian church to purge out the fornicator that did not appreciate this point. This man committed fornication with the Wife of his own father, and now Paul called upon the church to uphold and safeguard its own integrity by putting this offensive, spiritually dangerous person from their midst. His conduct was

    not the fruit of God’s spirit, and the church must seek to preserve the spirit of the Lord within it by ’putting away from among themselves that wicked person’ and ’keeping no company with him’.--1 Cor. 5 : 1-13. This action, it appears, had a wholesome effect upon the professed Christian guilty of this vile conduct. It brought him to his senses. It made him realize keenly the enormity of his sin and the greatness of the grievance he had committed against the good name of God and of Christ and against the purity of God’s organization under Christ. It also made the congregation rally to the cause of God’s righteousness and thus clear itself of any appearance of conniving at the man’s fornication and indifferently approving of it. If this man is the one Paul referred to at 2 Corinthians 2: 1-11, then he repented and

    turned with great grief to Jehovah God for mercy through Christ. Then Paul, who had himself tasted of unspeakable mercy from God, exhibited mercy to this repentant and disfellowshiped man. He called upon the Corinthian congregation, all of whom had become Christians through God’s mercy, to show mercy to the repentant man and welcome him back reformed to their midst. "For that indivdual, this censure by the majority of you is punishment enough, and so you must now turn around and forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by his remorse. So I beg you to restore him to his place "in your affections. For that is why I wrote you--to find out how you would stand the test, and see if you would obey me absolutely. Page 122


    A special meeting was called for Monday evening at 7: 30. The pioneers were addressed by Brother Knorr, the subject being Gilead (the Society’s Bible school, located in New York state). Invitation was extended to the faithful pioneers of India to come to Gilead, where they could receive special training for missionary service a field. Ten filled out preliminary application forms. They were indeed anxious to come. They already had in their midst six Gilead graduates and had observed their devotion to the

    Lord. There had been some diffulculty in the Bombay company on the matter of disfellowshiping some brethren; so at eight o’clock the Bombay company assembled, along with the disfellowshiped brethren, and this matter was dealt with. Brother Knorr talked on "Mercy and Forgiveness", and then the various facts on the matter were explained and suggestions made to the company as to its further course of action. It is believed that in the future there will be more unity among the brethren serving the Lord in Bombay and vicinity than heretofore. The brethren who had been disfellowshiped had repented of their course of action and

    therefore the company was requested to invite them back to the fold, which was done by withdrawing the resolution

    disfellowshiping the brethren. After the meeting the brethren were happy that this special assembly had been called for the benefit of all concerned. It was a blessed evening.

    page 239

  • Joliette

    Aussie, thanks for all this info. I'm gonna have to print it out and read it when I get back to work. Thanks ;)

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