If this has been discussed I missed it.
I think the January study Watchtower is a concerted attempt to reduce the numbers claiming to be anointed. But I love the sneaky way they go about it this time. In the past they've accused many partakers of being mentally unstable. But that didn't discourage them. They took away their "faithful and discreet slave" status, and yet the number stubbornly kept creeping upwards. This time their attempt to control is a bit more subtle.
HAVE YOU BEEN CALLED?
15 Perhaps you are wondering if you have received this wonderful invitation. If you think that you might have, ponder some important questions. Do you feel that you have more than average zeal in the ministry? Are you a keen student of God’s Word who loves to delve into “the deep things of God”? (1 Cor. 2:10) Have you seen Jehovah’s special blessing on your ministry? Do you have a burning de- sire to do Jehovah’s will? Do you have a deep inner feeling of responsibility to help others spiritually? Have you seen proof that Jehovah has personally inter- vened in your life? If you answer these questions with a resounding yes, does this mean that you now have the heaven- ly calling? No, it does not. Why not? Be- cause these are not unique feelings ex- perienced only by those who have the heavenly calling. Jehovah’s spirit works with equal force in those who have the hope of living forever on earth. In fact, if you are wondering whether you have re- ceived the heavenly calling, that would in itself indicate that you have not received it. Those called by Jehovah do not won- der whether they have been invited or not! They know!
On the surface it looks like they are simply saying don't mistake "zeal" for being anointed. They said that before. But the specificity of their comments indicates more of an agenda. I reckon what they are really doing is setting a bar that people claiming to be anointed must now reach a minimum requirement. Do you do more than average ministry? Do you want to help others spiritually? (In other words are you an elder if you are male?) They say these things alone are not enough to prove you are anointed. Which seems suspiciously like saying these things are a minimum requirement before you even go any further.
Now many people who claim to be anointed are eccentric, the GB know this very well. Many of them are erratic at meetings, on ministry and misfits of the type who are seldom appointed elders. So if the suggestion now is that to be anointed you need to be doing above average ministry and you should be an appointed spiritual shepherd if you are a male, it would disqualify a lot of people claiming to be anointed. The GB may hope this WT will discourage free spirits from claiming to be anointed while giving the green light to a few loyalists. If the rank and file don't get this message clearly enough, maybe they'll start instructing elders in congregations to vet people claiming to be anointed, reasoning that if they are not zealous on the ministry or not appointed men then they shouldn't be counted in the anointed headcount.
They are saying: if you are company men with a record of loyalty and devotion to the organisation, on the ministry and appointment in the congregation, then okay you may consider being anointed if you really want to. But if you are a flake who comes and goes, a free spirit, or in any way suspect, you need not apply.