WT development of Disfellowshiping. (part 10; 1970 to 1977) inc smoking

by Aussie Oz 0 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Aussie Oz
    Aussie Oz

    Watchtower 1970

    7/1 Judges and counselors of a New Order Society

    My comment: I'm guessing this was in response to congregation curiosity as to how the wrong-doings are handled?


    15 To illustrate how the congregation today expresses judgment against wrongdoing, let us give an abbreviated report of an imaginary case that has come up in a certain congregation. You will notice that the procedure is simple, uncomplicated and informal. The purposes are: (1) To keep the congregation clean in Jehovah’s eyes and free from reproach; (2) to help the offender if possible. All involved are always treated with kindness. The situation involves a dedicated teen-age boy whose parents are Jehovah’s witnesses. He has gone contrary to the counsel of his parents and has fallen into the bad company of some neighborhood boys, leading eventually to stealing. The parents, on discovering this, know that it affects the reputation of the congregation in the community, because not only are the parents Jehovah’s witnesses, but also the son is a dedicated member of the congregation. They bring the matter to the attention of the responsible members of the congregation for correction, so that reproach can be erased from the congregation.

    16 The boy, whose stealing was discovered by his parents, had tried to cover up the matter. But before the congregation committee he sees the seriousness of the wrong he has done and confesses it, giving evidence of the spirit of repentance and of his desire to do that which is right. All the evidence, the circumstances and factors in the case are clearly brought into the open. The expressions of the parents, the injured party, and particularly of the boy are heard. It is one of the members of the congregation from whose home he stole some money, in order to go with his worldly friends to a bar and dance hall. The one from whom he stole is willing to forgive the boy because of evident repentance. Then the committee withdraws and discusses the application of God’s law to the facts of the case and speaks again to the family. We hear the congregation overseer, Brother Christian, addressing the boy, whom we will call John Waywardson. (Scriptures are cited to show the principles involved.)

    17 Christian: “John, the committee has considered the evidence in this case and all of the circumstances and factors in connection with it. Now, as you well know, the practice of the thing of which you are guilty could prevent you from entering into the kingdom of God. It’s that serious. [1 Cor. 6:9, 10] It is mandatory for the Christian congregation to keep itself clean from such things, so as to maintain the spirit of Jehovah upon the congregation. [Deut. 23:14] You were in bad company, John, in complete disregard of your parents’ counsel [Eph. 6:1] and even contrary to our warning [Prov. 10:17; 12:1] and thereby you were led into this sin against Jehovah.”

    18 The mother and father then talk to the boy about the seriousness of his failure to listen to their counsel and the bad effects of the crowd with whom he has been running. The conversation then runs as follows:

    John: “I’m sorry, Dad and Mother. I was altogether in the wrong. I looked for my associations in the wrong place and I admit it now and confess that I have sinned against Jehovah and the congregation. I want to continue serving God as a member of the congregation. I am willing to do whatever the committee says and to take any discipline that is coming to me that will help me to get back into good standing with the congregation, and into the right spiritual state before Jehovah.”

    Christian: “All right, John; you have been rebellious; you have sought association among the wrong people. You are nineteen years old now—certainly old enough to take a right course on your own. But you did wrong and tried to keep it covered, and you had to be brought to us by your parents. [Job 31:33] However, it is good that, when you saw how bad your position was before Jehovah, you confessed [Jas. 5:16], and we believe that now you show sadness in a godly way—real repentance. [Prov. 28:13; 2 Cor. 7:9, 10] We believe, too, that you see how bad your actions were and you want to straighten out matters before Jehovah.”

    John: “I realize that I didn’t use good sense; I don’t know what got into me to get so far off the track. I realize now that I was really unhappy with what I was doing. And, brothers, I really do want to stay with Jehovah’s organization if I may. As I said before, I am taking steps to pay back what I stole. I’m willing to cooperate with anything that you feel that God’s law requires of me.”

    19 Christian: “Well, John, it’s just as the Bible says: ‘Bad associations spoil useful habits’—it’s as simple as that. [1 Cor. 15:33] This should be a lesson to you. Even though you got into all this trouble you do show that you have a repentant attitude now, and you want to serve with Jehovah’s organization. Therefore, mercy can be extended to you on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice, to cover your sins. [1 John 2:1, 2] So the committee’s decision is not to disfellowship you from the congregation, John. [Jas. 2:13] But we are arranging for a probationary period for you.”

    John: “Brother Christian, I appreciate the opportunity to stay with God’s organization, and I’ll do anything you say to try to straighten things out to the extent possible. I know that I could have been disfellowshiped for what I did.”

    Christian: “Yes, but now you have come to your senses; you have confessed what you stole and the amount, and you have taken the first step toward doing what is right by agreeing to restore fully what you stole.”

    Father: “I’ll see that he does, Brother Christian.”

    20 Christian: “Very fine, Brother Waywardson. You should see that he works, either for you or for someone else, so that he himself earns enough to repay fully, with interest, what he stole. [Ex. 22:3, 7] . . . Now, John, according to God’s law your parents are responsible for you; therefore we are allowing them to supervise this matter and assist you to come back to a healthy spiritual condition. Your parents will need to restrict you on the matter of running with the gang of boys. [Prov. 22:15] They will also help to restore you by seeing that you attend the meetings of the congregation [Heb. 10:24, 25], and will assist you in other ways to make recovery. You will be required to report to me or to one of the other members of the committee once a month. This reporting is not altogether for the purpose of checking up on you, John. It is also that the committee can help you as well as to find what progress you are making [1 Thess. 5:14], in order that the congregation may not come under Jehovah’s disfavor for allowing wrongdoing to go on unchecked among its members. [1 Cor. 5:5, 6] You see, John, instead of being a slave of Jehovah, obeying his law, you actually became a slave to this bad crowd of boys that you were running with. [Rom. 6:16] You thought it was smart to do what they did, and didn’t realize the slavery you were actually in.”

    21 Father: “Yes, and just think, the way those boys drive their cars! Why, you could have been with them when someone got killed. You could actually have become bloodguilty before Jehovah!”—Num. 35:11, 25, 34.

    Christian: “That’s right, John. Well, Brother and Sister Waywardson, if John does what he says he has resolved to do, and if you give him very close attention and help, he should get along well, and how much happier all of us will be!”—Luke 15:7; Jas. 5:19, 20.

    22 This illustrates the simplicity with which such a case is handled. God’s law, so plain and simple, is adhered to. Wrongdoing cannot be condoned; yet mercy is to be extended if there is found a basis for it when the person’s attitude and the circumstances are taken into consideration. This is where the merit of Christ’s sacrifice comes in.

    23 If the boy recovers, he will be restored in time to full standing with the congregation. If he lapses back into his bad course of action and is a nonrepentant sinner, a thief or evildoer, or if he persists in consorting with others in wrongdoing, he will be disfellowshiped, that is, expelled from the Christian congregation.—1 Cor. 5:11-13

    Watchtower 1976

    2/15 You must be holy because Jehovah is holy

    16 More recently, Jehovah has brought to the attention of his “holy” people the need to disfellowship those dedicated, baptized Christians who refuse to break and give up the drug and tobacco habits. The idea that tobacco was a defilement of the “flesh and spirit” was not new. Down through the years in hundreds of different references in the Watch Tower Society’s publications it has been brought to the attention of God’s people how contrary to the teachings of the Sacred Scriptures smoking is. It was therefore time for God to remove those who refused to see the need of cleansing themselves of every defilement of the flesh and spirit. As of May 1974, in the United States alone, more than 2,000 had been disfellowshiped for not quitting this unclean practice. They were not “perfecting holiness in God’s fear,” as Paul had encouraged.—2 Cor. 7:1.

    Watchtower 1977

    10/1 The Christian congregation and its operation

    The elders of a congregation sit as required to hear cases in which there are disputes between members of the congregation, or in which charges of wrongdoing are involved. However, in this they are not to be viewed as harsh judges, but, rather, as loving brothers interested in the recovery of the wrongdoer. Their objective is to help those involved to work out their problem as God’s Word directs and to maintain the moral cleanness of the congregation, in harmony with the Scriptures. This assures God’s continued favor and also guards against reproach upon God’s congregation. (1 Pet. 2:15, 16) Mercy and the good spiritual standing of the congregation are therefore the primary factors. Every effort is made to ‘gain’ the erring one, helping him to readjust, to correct his way and get back into sound spiritual condition. (Matt. 18:15) However, if individuals seriously violate Scriptural principles and show no true repentance or inclination to turn away from a bad practice, the body of elders may act to “disfellowship” the offender. This action is a dissociation or breaking off of spiritual fellowship and social intimacy.—1 Cor. 5:9-13.

    Besides keeping the congregation free from the accusation of condoning wrongdoing, disfellowshiping may help the offender to come to his senses. (1 Tim. 1:20) Such a person, if he later repents and turns away from his wrong course and requests reinstatement, may be received back after the body of elders gives consideration to his changed course and attitude. (2 Cor. 2:5-8) While in the disfellowshiped state, the individual is not mistreated or abused, but is regarded in the way that Jesus counseled, “as a man of the nations,” that is, as one who is among the outside world, not a member of the Christian congregation.—Matt. 18:17.

    My comment: why then do the witnesses talk to 'men of the nations' yet not there own? That is in violation of the scripture to treat them as a man of the nations.

Share this