9/45 If a relative is disfellowshipped
28 Naturally, if a close relative is disfellowshiped, human emotions can pose a major test for us. Sentiment and family ties are particularly strong between parents and their children, and they are also powerful when a marriage mate is disfellowshiped. Still, we must recognize that, in the final analysis, we will not benefit anyone or please God if we allow emotion to lead us into ignoring His wise counsel and guidance. We need to display our complete confidence in the perfect righteousness of God’s ways, including his provision to disfellowship unrepentant wrongdoers. If we remain loyal to God and to the congregation, the wrongdoer may in time take a lesson from that, repent and be reinstated in the congregation. Yet, whether that occurs or not, we can draw comfort and strength from what David said late in life:
“All [God’s] judicial decisions are in frontof me;...And let Jehovah repay me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in front of his eyes.With someone loyal you will act in loyalty; with the faultless, mighty one you will deal faultlessly; with the one keeping clean you will show yourself clean...And the humble people you will save.”—2 Sam. 22:23-28.
Watchtower 1985 disassociate equals automatic apostate status (my comment)
Questions FromReaders ?
Did 2 John10, which says not to receive into one’s home or to greet certain ones, refer only to those who had promoted false doctrine?
In context this counsel concerned the “many deceivers” who had gone forth, “persons not confessing Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.” (2 John 7) The apostle John offered directions on how Christians back there should treat one who denied that Jesus had existed or that he was the Christ and Ransomer. John directed: “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, never receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him. For he that says a greeting to him is a sharer in his wicked works.” (2 John 10, 11) But the Bible elsewhere shows that this had a wider application.
At one time among the Christians in Corinth, a man was practicing immorality, and the apostle Paul wrote them to “quit mixing in company with anyone called a brother that is a fornicator or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man.” (1 Corinthians 5:11) Now, did that apply to former brothers who had been expelled only for the gross wrongs there listed?
No. Revelation 21:8 shows also that such individuals as unrepentant murderers, spiritists, and liars are included among those who merit the second death. Surely the counsel in 1 Corinthians 5:11 would also have been applied with equal force to former Christians guilty of these wrongs. Further, John wrote that some “went out from us, but they were not of our sort; for if they had been of our sort, they would have remained with us. But they went out that it might be shown up that not all are of our sort.” (1 John 2:18, 19) John did not say that they had been expelled for gross sin. Perhaps some of them just quit, deciding that they no longer wanted to be in the congregation because they disagreed over a doctrine. Others may have grown tired and given out.—1 Corinthians 15:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3; Hebrews 12:3, 5.
Of course, if a brother had begun to stray into sin, mature Christians would have tried to help him. (Galatians 6:1; 1 John 5:16) If he had doubts, they would have attempted to ‘snatch him out of the fire.’ (Jude 23) Even if he had become inactive, not going to meetings or in the public ministry, spiritually strong ones would have striven to restore him. He might have told them that he did not want to be bothered with being in the congregation, reflecting his weakened faith and low spirituality. They would not have badgered him, but they might occasionally have made a friendly visit on him. Such loving, patient, merciful efforts would have reflected God’s interest that none be lost.—Luke 15:4-7.
In contrast, John’s words indicate that some went further than spiritual weakness and inactivity; they actually repudiated God’s congregation. Someone may have come out openly in opposition to God’s people, declaring that he no longer wanted to be in the congregation. He may even have renounced his former faith formally, such as by a letter. Of course, the congregation would have accepted his decision to disassociate himself. But how would they then have treated him?
John says: “Everyone that pushes ahead and does not remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God. He that does remain in this teaching is the one that has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, never receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him.” (2 John 9, 10) Those words certainly would have applied to a person who became an apostate by joining a false religion or by spreading false doctrine. (2 Timothy 2:17-19) But what about those who John said “went out from us”? While Christians in the first century would know that they should not associate with an expelled wrongdoer or with an active apostate, did they act similarly toward someone who was not expelled but who willfully renounced the Christian way?
Aid toBibleUnderstanding shows that the word “apostasy” comes from a Greek word that literally means “‘a standing away from’ but has the sense of ‘desertion, abandonment or rebellion.’” The Aid book adds: “Among the varied causes of apostasy set forth in apostolic warnings were: lack of faith (Heb. 3:12), lack of endurance in the face of persecution (Heb. 10:32-39), abandonment of right moral standards (2 Pet. 2:15-22), the heeding of the ‘counterfeit words’ of false teachers and ‘misleading inspired utterances’ ( . . . 1 Tim. 4:1-3) . . . Such ones willfully abandoning the Christian congregation thereby become part of the ‘antichrist.’ (1 John 2:18, 19)”
A person who had willfully and formally disassociated himself from the congregation would have matched that description. By deliberately repudiating God’s congregation and by renouncing the Christian way, he would have made himself an apostate. A loyal Christian would not have wanted to fellowship with an apostate. Even if they had been friends, when someone repudiated the congregation, apostatizing, he rejected the basis for closeness to the brothers. John made it clear that he himself would not have in his home someone who ‘did not have God’ and who was “not of our sort.”
Scripturally, a person who repudiated God’s congregation became more reprehensible than those in the world. Why? Well, Paul showed that Christians in the Roman world daily contacted fornicators, extortioners, and idolaters. Yet he said that Christians must “quit mixing in company with anyone called a brother” who resumed ungodly ways. (1 Corinthians 5:9-11) Similarly, Peter stated that one who had “escaped from the defilements of the world” but then reverted to his former life was like a sow returning to the mire. (2 Peter 2:20-22) Hence, John was providing harmonious counsel in directing that Christians were not to ‘receive into their homes’ one who willfully ‘went out from among them.’—2 John 10.
John added: “For he that says a greeting to him is a sharer in his wicked works.” (2 John 11) Here John used the Greek word of greeting khai′ro rather than the word a·spa′zo·mai, found in verse 13.
Khai′ro meant to rejoice. (Luke 10:20; Philippians 3:1; 4:4) It was also used as a greeting, spoken or written. (Matthew 28:9; Acts 15:23; 23:26) A·spa′zo·mai meant “toenfold in the arms, thus togreet,towelcome.” (Luke 11:43; Acts 20:1, 37; 21:7, 19) Either could be a salutation, but a·spa′zo·mai may have implied more than a polite “hello” or “good-day.” Jesus told the 70 disciples not to a·spa′se·sthe anyone. He thus showed that their urgent work allowed no time for the Eastern way of greeting with kisses, embraces, and long conversation. (Luke 10:4) Peter and Paul urged: ‘Greet [a·spa′sa·sthe] one another with a kiss of love, or a holy kiss.’—1 Peter 5:14; 2 Corinthians 13:12, 13; 1 Thessalonians 5:26.
So John may deliberately have used khai′ro in 2 John 10, 11 rather than a·spa′zo·mai (verse 13). If so, John was not urging Christians then to avoid merely warmlygreeting (with an embrace, kiss, and conversation) a person who taught falsehood or who renounced the congregation (apostatized). Rather, John was saying that they ought not even greet such an individual with khai′ro, a common “good-day.”
The seriousness of this counsel is evident from John’s words: “He that says a greeting to him isasharerinhiswickedworks.” No true Christian would have wanted God to view him as sharing in wicked works by associating with an expelled wrongdoer or with one who rejected His congregation. How much finer to be a sharer in the loving Christian brotherhood, as John wrote: “That which we have seen and heard we are reporting also to you, that you too may be having a sharing with us. Furthermore, this sharing of ours is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”—1 John 1:3.
Webster’s NewCollegiateDictionary says “apostasy” is “1: renunciation of a religious faith 2: abandonment of a previous loyalty.”
Regarding the use of khai′ro in 2 John 11, R. C. H. Lenski comments: “[It] was the common greeting on meeting or on parting. . . . Here the sense is: Do not even give the proselyter this greeting! Already this makes you a participant in the wicked works for which he has come. John [refers] . . . to a greeting of any nature.”
*My note... this means also that seeing as a witness who accepts a blood transfusion is now considered to have 'disassociated' themselves, they are automatic 'apostates'
Questions From Readers ?
What is the fitting response of the congregation if some one leaves the true Christian faith and joins another religion?
Such a thing sometimes occurred in the first century. Thus it is understandable that it happens on occasion today. When it does, the congregation appropriately responds to protect the spiritual cleanness of the loyal Christians in it.
One dictionary defines apostasy as “renunciation of one’s religion, principles, political party, etc.” Another says: “Apostasy . . . 1 : renunciation of a religious faith 2 : abandonment of a previous loyalty.” Accordingly, Judas Iscariot was guilty of a form of apostasy when he abandoned the worship of Jehovah God by betraying Jesus. Later, others became apostates by deserting the true faith even while the apostle John and other early disciples were alive. John wrote: “They went out from among us, but they were not of our sort; for if they had been of our sort, they would have remained with us.”—1 John 2:19.
What is to be done when a similar thing happens today? The elders, or shepherds, of the congregation might learn of a baptized Christian who has ceased associating with Jehovah’s people and who has apparently become associated with another religion. In harmony with Jesus’ words about being concerned about any stray sheep, the spiritual shepherds should be interested in helping such a person. (Matthew 18:12-14; compare 1 John 5:16.) But what if the shepherds designated to look into the matter determine that the person no longer wants to have anything to do with Jehovah’s people and is determined to remain in a false religion?
They would then simply announce to the congregation that such one has disassociated himself and thus is no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Such a person would have ‘abandoned his previous loyalty,’ but it is not necessary for any formal disfellowshipping action to be taken. Why? Because he has already disassociated himself from the congregation. Likely he is not trying to maintain contact with his former brothers so as to persuade them to follow him. For their part, the loyal brothers are not seeking fellowship with him, since ‘he went out from them, for he was not of their sort.’ (1 John 2:19) Such a disassociated person who ‘has gone out from us’ might begin to send letters or literature promoting false religion or apostasy. That would underscore that the individual definitely ‘is not of our sort.’
The Scriptures warn, though, that some would try to remain among God’s people and there attempt to mislead others. The apostle Paul advised: “From among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.” (Acts 20:30) He pointedly warned Christians ‘to keep their eye on those who cause divisions and occasions for stumbling contrary to the teaching that they had learned, and avoid them.’—Romans 16:17, 18.
So if someone became a false teacher among true Christians, as did Hymenaeus and Philetus in Paul’s day, the shepherds of the flock would have to take protective steps. If the person rejected their loving admonition and continued to promote a sect, a committee of elders could disfellowship, or expel, such one for apostasy. (2 Timothy 2:17; Titus 3:10, 11) The individual brothers and sisters in the congregation would follow Paul’s direction to “avoid” the one who tried to “cause divisions.” John counseled similarly: “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, never receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him.”—2 John 10.
Watchtower 1988 6/15
Detest utterly the worlds disgraceful course
3 To maintain their high standard as a clean organization, however, God’s people sometimes have to reprove or even disfellowship the relatively few who allow themselves to be enticed into the debauched practices of this world. This is a cause for sadness, and we feel as the apostle Paul did when he saw a similar situation in the first century. He wrote: “For there are many, I used to mention them often but now I mention them also with weeping, who are walking as the enemies of the torture stake of the Christ, and their finish is destruction, and their god is their belly, and their glory consists in their shame, and they have their minds upon things on the earth.” (Philippians 3:18, 19) How can we, as individuals, avoid such a thing’s happening to us? By learning to imitate Jesus in loving Jehovah’s high standards of righteousness and by hating the uncleanness of this world.—Hebrews 1:9.
Guard against harmful gossip
20 Slander can lead to expulsion from God’s organization; a slanderer may be disfellowshipped, perhaps as an unrepentant liar. However, such action is not to be taken against those guilty of light gossip. Elders should weigh matters prayerfully, drawing a sharp distinction between mere gossip and vicious slander. To be disfellowshipped, the wrongdoer would have to be a malicious, unrepentant slanderer. Elders are not authorized to disfellowship anyone for trivial gossip that is motivated by human interest but that is not false or malicious. Matters must not be magnified beyond proper proportions, and there must be witnesses with substantial testimony to prove that slander is unquestionably involved. (1 Timothy 5:19) Unrepentant slanderers are expelled primarily so that malicious gossip will be quenched, and the congregation will be spared from becoming leavened with sin. (1 Corinthians 5:6-8, 13) But never should elders be so hasty that they expel anyone on unscriptural grounds. By means of prayer and counsel, they will often be able to help the person to repent, apologize or otherwise make amends, and make continued progress in taming the tongue.