Hi everyone, I am going through the Dec 15th Study edition of the WT thanks to a tip-off that this issue is now available online at jw.org.
In the article "Guided by God's Spirit in the First Century and Today" on page 25 there is a bizarre argument put forward by the Society about the difference between spirit-anointed and spirit-appointed.
This touches on a subject that I have often wondered about, which is this. Why are spirit anointed brothers and sisters (memorial partakers) not given positions of oversight in the congregation by default? I know it sounds like a stupid question, but please think about it for a moment. Old Sister Wrinkly has been divinely selected on account of her unique qualities to serve in the heavenly office of king and priest over the ENTIRE EARTH at some future date, and yet she has absolutely no say in what goes on in her own congregation, let alone what goes on at an organizational level. Does this not strike anybody else as being slightly odd, or is it just my twisted mind playing tricks on me?!
The Society attempts to resolve my question with the following explanation on page 24:
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but there is the same spirit; and there are varieties of ministries, and yet there is the same Lord; and there are varieties of operations, and yet it is the same God who performs all the operations in all persons.” (1 Cor. 12:4-6, 11) Yes, holy spirit can operate in different ways on different servants of God for a purpose. Indeed, the holy spirit is available both to Christ’s “little flock” and to his “other sheep.” (Luke 12:32; John 10:16) Yet, it does not always operate in the same way on each member of the congregation.
Elders, for instance, are appointed by holy spirit. (Acts 20:28) But not all spirit anointed ones serve as overseers in the congregation. What are we to conclude from this? Simply that God’s spirit operates in different ways on members of the congregation.
Well that's about as clear as mud. So let me try to understand this. Spirit-anointed ones have been selected by Jehovah to rule the whole Earth in God's heavenly government, but not necessarily to serve in a position of oversight in a congregation of 100-or-so individuals, "simply because God's spirit operates in different ways"?! Okay... I think what I need here are some hard biblical examples, and a strong cup of coffee.
The spirit that instills in anointed ones “a spirit of adoption,” or a sense of sonship, is the same spirit by which Jehovah raised his only-begotten Son from the dead to immortal life in heaven. (Read Romans 8:11, 15.) It is the same spirit by which Jehovah brought the entire universe into existence. (Gen. 1:1-3) By that same holy spirit, Jehovah qualified Bezalel for special work on the tabernacle, empowered Samson to perform deeds requiring outstanding strength, and enabled Peter to walk on water. Let us, therefore, not confuse having God’s spirit with being anointed with God’s spirit, the latter being just one special operation of the spirit. Spirit anointing depends on God’s choice.
But hang on, didn't God directly appoint Bezalel to do craftwork on the tabernacle, and didn't he directly empower Samson to have his super Tarantino-style powers? Also, both of those examples cited were in the pre-Christian era and surely can't be used to distinguish the difference between so-called spirit-anointed and spirit-appointed ones in the Christian congregation?! The example of Peter walking on water demonstrates that God's spirit can be used in different ways, but it doesn't explain how Sister Wrinkly gets to help in ruling the whole earth but doesn't get a say in what goes on in her own congregation!
Another oddity in this article is the claim that the anointed are still being actively recruited by God's spirit. I may be behind with the latest light on this issue, but my Society education taught me that the anointed stopped being "gathered" in 1935 because there were none who left who could conceivably be of the anointed after that date, apart from those who were anointed as late replacements (or stand-ins) for anointed members who had died unfaithful. Completely blowing a hole in this understanding is the following statement:
God’s holy active force has been operating in various ways upon his faithful servants for as long as he has had faithful servants, yes, for thousands of years before spirit anointing began. At Pentecost 33 C.E., that new operation began, but it will not continue forever. Baptism with spirit will cease [i.e. it hasn't yet ended], but holy spirit will continue to operate on God’s people so that they may do his will for all eternity.
Well that's put me back at square one I'm afraid. Having read this latest Watchtower (hot off the press) am none the wiser on why anointed heavenly king/priests don't necessarily perform any role whatsoever in the organization today (unless they're one of the elite 7 members of the Governing Body of course), and whereas I thought I had a grip on the Society's "scriptural" claim that the anointed have stopped being anointed, it seems like God's spirit is now anointing people again like it's pre-1935!