Some of the recent posts regarding the "anointed" got me thinking about some of the characters that I have met, or have known about, professing membership among this elite class of people.
One particular character I know of, even today espousing some, shall we say, interesting viewpoints on matters, had an even more interesting past. It seems that some years ago (c. 1970's) a typically subdued but otherwise ordinary Christian meeting was being closed with a prayer at a small Kingdom Hall in the North Eastern USA when it was suddenly disrupted by this individual (even then professing to be anointed) assaulting his wife at the rear of the Hall! He was pretty much disfellowshiped on the spot for his indiscretion. Some time later, however, he was reinstated and today is very much active (giving public talks etc.).
This whole idea of the anointed "falling away" and some even coming back leads to an interesting dilemma:
The number (144,000) of anointed Christians was supposedly "sealed," was it not? The explanation given for "new membership" among the anointed class is essentially that new "job openings" (my own metaphor) appear when anointed Christians fall away spiritually. So, the case of brother Wife-Beater presents a problem with one of two solutions:
1. Jehovah knew that this person would repent and return to the fold and thus his slot was left open in the interim.
2. Jehovah did not know whether this person would repent and thus immediately filled this slot by bringing a new member into the fold.
But there are problems with both of these scenarios.
The first contradicts the JW notion of free will. For if Jehovah knows in advance who will return, then the converse is also true, i.e. He knows in advance who will not return. However, if He knows who will not return then how can any meaning be found in the scriptures that say: "Jehovah does not desire anybody to be destroyed but He desires all to repent." If one's life course can be determined, then why would Jehovah desire something for all which can be known to be the providence of only some? For those inclined to respond that "God can choose, or choose not, to determine in advance the course of a person's life" (the infamous "radio station" analogy from the Reasoning book) then why would He not use this ability on the ones He first invites into the fold to save Himself the trouble of having to call another when one falls away permanently?
The second scenario is problematic because we have to consider what happens when such "prodigal sons" are welcomed back into the fold. Are there really 144,000 + n anointed (where n is the number of anointed whom fell away and then returned)? Do the new members get demoted back to the ranks of the "earthly" class when [formerly] anointed persons are reinstated? Or perhaps the [formerly] anointed are welcomed back into the organization but no longer have the "heavenly hope" -- they just don't know it yet!
Perhaps some among the "we are spotless, unblemished, our robes have been made white," "yet we like to chat with dissidents," "and by the way, we are among the 144,000" class can shed some light on this matter.
Inquiring minds want to know!