WT development of Disfellowshiping. (part 9; 1962 to 1966

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  • Aussie Oz
    Aussie Oz

    Watchtower 1962

    9/1 The benefits of subjection to authorities

    9 Worldly authorities render a judgment and punish persons, whether they are inside the congregation or outside, if they violate the laws of decency and good order. The violators have no right to complain at such punishment, as Paul showed by his words before Caesar’s judgment seat. (Acts 25:11) Hence the Christian congregation cannot protect any of its members if they steal, smuggle, commit bigamy, murder, libel, defraud, and so forth. The congregation must release such guilty members to punishment by worldly authorities. Since the guilty break the laws of the land and thus oppose the “authority,” they are taking a stand against God’s arrangement.

    10 The Christian congregation has no orders from God and has no right to protect such opposers and lawbreakers from the due punishment by the “authority” of the land. We cannot hinder, oppose or condemn the execution of the krima or judgment by aiding or shielding lawbreakers. To do so would put the Christian congregation also in opposition to God’s arrangement. Besides letting the krima or “judgment” take its course upon offending members who bring reproach upon God’s people, the congregation may disfellowship such law breakers. The congregation does not want to deserve a krima or “judgment” with the lawbreakers by siding or cooperating with them and opposing the worldly “authority.” It also wants no reproach.

    My note... interesting to notice that very often the above is not done, at least not these days.

    Watchtower 1963

    7/15 Family responsabilities in keeping Jehovah's worship pure


    Additional principles come into play where a disfellowshiped person lives in the same home and is part of the same family circle with Christians. Some of the Scriptural principles that need to be taken into consideration are (1) 1 Timothy 5:8: “If anyone does not provide for those who are his own, and especially for those who are members of his household, he has disowned the faith and is worse than a person without faith.” (2) Matthew 22:21: “Pay back, therefore, Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God.” (3) Matthew 19:5, 6: “‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh’ . . . Therefore, what God has yoked together let no man put apart.” (4) Colossians 3:18, 19: “You wives, be in subjection to your husbands . . . You husbands, keep on loving your wives.” (5) Ephesians 6:1, 2: “Children, be obedient to your parents in union with the Lord . . . ‘Honor your father and your mother.’”

    The Christian head of the house, the father, is therefore required to continue the physical association with, and to provide food, shelter and clothing for those in his household who are disfellowshiped. If the disfellowshiped one is a minor child, the parents cannot disassociate themselves from him. He is still part of the household. God’s laws require that the parental responsibility be carried out. Even Caesar’s laws require that minor children be provided for by the parents. So the parents are still under command from God to correct and discipline the child. This must be done by using Biblical principles. Parents should require that the minor attend the family study and listen, although he would not participate in the discussion with the group. The parents should strongly recommend his reading the Bible and publications explaining the Bible, such as the Watchtower and Awake! magazines and other Bible helps. If the disfellowshiped minor has questions to ask, he can ask one of his parents in private and he will be shown how to find the answers or be given the answer, but that is all. This, together with the minor’s attendance at Christian meetings, will aid in his restoration. (Jas. 5:20) Parents must appreciate the seriousness of their child’s dedication and baptism and realize that dedication to Jehovah puts the child under Jehovah’s corrective arrangements when his laws are violated.

    Regarding the relationship between husband and wife, Jesus’ words at Matthew 19:5, 6 must be adhered to. No one can set apart man and wife, not even if one of the two is disfellowshiped. The exception, of course, is where adultery has been committed. Then the innocent mate may depart if so desired. (Matt. 19:9) When attending congregation meetings at the Kingdom Hall, husband and wife, together with children, are to remain together and not be separated because one is disfellowshiped. There is no spiritual communication involved here. They are merely sitting together as a family. This family bond must not be tampered with. However, it would be improper for the mate in good standing to try to force the company of the disfellowshiped mate on other brothers in the congregation when conversing with them. While the family unit stays together, the excommunicated member of the family still may not associate with other members of the congregation.

    But does this principle of staying together apply if a man and woman are engaged to be married and one is afterward disfellowshiped? No, as the marriage has not been consummated. The Christian should sever the tie with the disfellowshiped one. “Get out from among them, and separate yourselves.” (2 Cor. 6:17) If the Christian disregards this by marrying the disfellowshiped one, he too can be disfellowshiped.

    Although established family ties in the household remain unbroken when one is disfellowshiped and the normal functions of the household are carried out daily as usual, there is something that is broken. This is the spiritual communication between the one disfellowshiped and others in the family circle. As with other examples previously mentioned, when one is disfellowshiped, discussion with him of matters involving worship must be terminated.

    Hence, if it is the wife that is excommunicated, the husband will continue to conduct the family Bible study with the children, and on appropriate occasions he may lead his children in prayer. The wife may sit in and hear the prayer or follow along in the study, thereby taking in valuable information, but she would not contribute to the discussion.

    If the husband is the one disfellowshiped, the wife and children are still in subjection to the head in family matters. This is not canceled out. The wife does not become the head of the house in carrying out the daily pursuits of life. But if the husband sincerely wants to do what is right, he will take the necessary actions to reconcile himself with Jehovah and his visible organization. He will realize that he is not qualified to direct family spiritual affairs. However, the wife, at some convenient time when the husband is not in charge of the situation, will arrange to study the Bible with her children.

    The same principle applies at mealtimes. There can be no spiritual association here. The disfellowshiped family head is not in position to lead his family in prayer, nor would he properly call on someone else present to represent the family in prayer, thus having them do so at his direction. Any who want to pray may do so privately. However, in his absence, faithful dedicated members of the family could join together in prayer.

    If the excommunicated husband insists on offering prayer at mealtimes, the dedicated members of the household would not say “Amen” to the prayer, nor would they join hands as some have the custom, as this would be participating spiritually. They could bow their heads and offer their own silent prayer to Jehovah. If he insists on expressing his views on religious matters, he cannot be prevented from doing so in his own house; but faithful Christian members of the household are not obligated to participate in a discussion. They show respect for the decree disfellowshiping the wrongdoer from God’s organization. “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.”—Acts 5:29.

    It is a serious responsibility for Christians to keep the worship of Jehovah pure. To do this the Christian will comply with Jehovah’s righteous requirements, even where members of his own family are cut off from God’s visible organization. Love for God comes first. The Christian takes appropriate measures to show he agrees with Jehovah’s ways, thereby pleasing Him and maintaining pure worship.

    Watchtower 1966

    9/15 Youths, parents and the Christian congregation

    It is not the responsibility of the mature brothers making up the committee in the local congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses to take over the raising of the children and to reprimand and correct them if they get into difficulty, and that is true even if those children are dedicated and baptized members of the congregation. The responsibility rests with the parents, particularly the father. If the child’s conduct put the congregation of Jehovah’s people in a bad light, then the parents should tell the congregation committee what they have done to handle the situation. But as long as they are shouldering that responsibility, the committee is not to step in and try to do the job. However, if parents let their dedicated children run wild and engage in loose conduct and do little or nothing to keep them in check, the congregation committee may inquire into the situation. Principally, however, they will endeavor to do this through the parents, since they are the ones responsible for the children. Yet, if the parents continue to fail to take firm hold of the situation, even after loving counsel has been offered to them, then the congregation committee may take what steps are needed in connection with the children to keep the congregation clean. Similarly, if a dedicated and baptized minor persists in serious wrongdoing, refusing to submit to probation imposed by his parents, the congregation will take action to disfellowship the persistently sinning youth

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