Continuing on my objective sojourn through the latest Watchtower study editions, I thought I would write a few words about the article "God's Rest - Have You Entered Into It?" taken from the July 15th Watchtower. Incidentally, this Watchtower is the same one that I discussed on my previous post concerning the Society's latest bout of Apostate-bashing. The July 15th Watchtower could be described as being the "Watchtower of Hate" given that the witch-hunt against apostates is now broadened to encompass anyone who would attempt to stay in contact with disfellowshipped family members.
An astonishing comparison is drawn in paragraph 16 in which disfellowshipped teenagers are likened to Nadab and Abihu (Aaron's sons). Prior to this paragraph, the article discusses the mental and emotional anguish faced by parents in this position, and how they may reason among themselves that they need to continue to have a degree of contact with their son/daughter, justifying it as "necessary family business". However, paragraph 15 poses the following question to parents:
"In making their decision [to isolate thei child], they must not fail to consider how Jehovah feels about what they are doing. His purpose is to keep the organization clean and, if possible, to incite wrongdoers to come to their senses. How can Christian parents support that purpose?"
It goes without saying that nowhere in the bible does it say that Jehovah's purpose is 'to keep his organization clean', as the very word 'organization' has been super-imposed onto the Bible by the Society. However, notice what the society go on to say in support of this rigid stance towards young ones who are disfellowshipped:
"Moses' brother, Aaron, faced a difficult situation with regard to two of his sons. Think of how he must have felt when his sons Nadab and Abihu offered illegitimate fire to Jehovah and He struck them dead. Of course, that ended any association those men could have had with their parents. But there is more. Jehovah instructed Aaron and his faithful sons: "Do not let your heads go ungroomed, and you must not tear your garments [in mourning], that you may not die and that [Jehovah] may not become indignant against all the assembly." (Lev. 10:1-6) The message is clear. Our love for Jehovah must be stronger than our love for unfaithful family members."
Clearly this is a mind-blowingly flawed analogy to say the least. Aaron and his sons were acting in a capacity of authority over the nation of Israel, and as such were in a responsible position over their fellow believers. Any 'offering of illegitimate fire' was done, not only on their behalf, but on behalf of the entire nation of Israel. Jehovah therefore deemed it appropriate to kill them, as their position evidently made them liable for retribution for their acts. This scriptural example CANNOT therefore be likened to teenagers who make mistakes without initially expressing remorse, or even more so, towards family members who realise that the Society themselves, having assumed a position as intermediaries between God and men, have been offering illegitimate fire to Jehovah for decades and who therefore decide to have nothing more to do with the organisation. Therefore, I'm sorry to say Governing Body, your message is NOT clear, and you are wrongly applying scripture to enforce a completely unmerciful stance against family members who have been disfellowshipped from the congregation, and NOT from the family - according to the bible.
Before I get too carried away with emotional outbursts that may be provoked by this article, I will pres on and point to paragraph 13 which makes no sense at all (not that being understandable is a criterion for Watchtower articles)...
"On the subject of disfellowshipping, they [the parents] know, of course, that the Bible says 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 Cor. 5:11,13) They also realize that the word "anyone" in this verse includes family members not living under their roof."
I'll have to show some restraint here, because I can feel anger welling within me when I see scripture misapplied so freely. I think I'll resort to my bullet points to keep things relatively under control:
- How many parents out their (please raise your hands!) go around calling your son or daughter "brother"???! Obviously they are "technically" your brother if they are a fellow believer, but Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthian congregation, not to an individual family that was living somewhere in Corinth! Therefore, rigidly insisting that 1 Cor 5 applies arbitrarily to family members and not just to unrelated brothers in the congregation is a huge leap from the intended application of the scripture, and an unmerciful one at that.
- "They realize that the word "anyone" in this verse includes family members not living under their roof." - How can you possibly read such a specific criteria into the word 'anyone'?! Does the original Greek word for 'anyone' translate to 'any family members not living under a roof'?! Where do roofs come into it, all of a sudden?! How can they be merciful only to the extent that family members who are still under the same roof can be communicated with, but not those who have left home? Where is this principle expressed anywhere in the bible?
The article goes on to make the following summary:
"What conclusion should we draw? That we need to fight against the tendency of our imperfect hearts to rebel against Scriptural counsel. We must be absolutely convinced that God's way of dealing with our problems is always best."
So if a parent wants to talk to his/her disfellowshipped son or daughter, this is simply a 'tendency of their imperfect heart', and if they were to go ahead and actually talk to them, he/she would be a 'rebel against Scriptural counsel'. Well, Governing Body - here is some scriptural counsel for YOU, which you will no-doubt rebel against...
(1 Timothy 5:8) . . .Certainly 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. . .
(Matthew 9:13) . . .Go, then, and learn what this means, ‘I want mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came to call, not righteous people, but sinners. . .
I think I'll leave it there before I get too emotional! I hope this little "heads up" will help any of you who are disfellowshipped. It may be that (as with the apostate-bashing article) you are in for a rough ride after this article is discussed at the meeting between September 19-25.