The Biblical reasoning behind a judicial comitee?

by CitizenofEarth 12 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • CitizenofEarth

    Hello there.

    I was wondering today what i would say if i ever were to be called to a judicial trial in the congregation, and my conclusion was that i didn't really have any biblical defense against it. So i was wondering what you guys would recommend. It seems far fetched to me that the Bible condones a 1 vs 3 biased trial (where you already have been judged beforehand), instead of one where you have a unbiased judge, a defense and a prosecutor/accuser. It doesn't add up with fx. the two-witness rule, because where are those witnesses in such a trial.

    Lots of confusion about it, and i know some of you know more, and have even tried being judged. Any recommendations appreciated, especially if some of you could show the Bibles perspective - doesn't matter if the Bible is right or wrong. But the Bible would be the only defense i would have in such a situation.



  • sir82

    There is no Biblical precedent for it, and the WTS offers no explanation. It's just the way it is.

    The point of the judicial committee is not to determine "guilt or innocence", but "repentance or no repentance". The judicial committee isn't even formed until there is "evidence" (confession or 2+ eyewitnesses) of a "sin".

    I.e., you are already "guilty" in the eyes of the committee before it even starts. They are there to determine if you are "repentant" or not.

    Of course, there is no Biblical basis that indicates any group of 3 humans are capable of judging someone else's "degree of repentance", nor any indication that God expects them to try - but that is a different topic.

  • Island Man
    Island Man

    There is no biblical support for a clandestine tribunal. In ancient Israel capital sinners were tried publicly at the gate. Watchtower has even said that the public nature of the proceedings served to dissuade unfairness on the part of the judges. So why are they intent on holding secret trials? What are they hiding? Aren't they interested in elders "trying" sinners fairly, in the presence of onlookers?

  • Island Man
    Island Man

    There is actually a scripture somewhere in one of the NT books that says to "reprove sinners in the presence of onlookers". What does that mean? Does it mean walking up to a stage and announcing "so and so has been reproved"? Is merely announcing that someone has been reproved, the same thing as reproving them in the presence of onlookers?

    By way of illustration: If a Mob boss tells one of his henchmen: 'Shoot Lenny publicly', are the police also shooting Lenny publicly, when they later announce at a press conference: 'Lenny has been shot'?

    It's pretty obvious that "reprove sinners in the presence of onlookers" means that gross sinners are not to be counseled and tried in secret but in the presence of others. This is what the passage in Matthew is alluding to when it says to take the sin to the congregation and if the sinner does not listen to the congregation then let him be regarded as a tax collector.

  • Londo111

    There is at least one example in the Bible...

    When the Sanhedrin tried Jesus.

  • sir82

    There is actually a scripture somewhere in one of the NT books that says to "reprove sinners in the presence of onlookers". What does that mean?

    Here is what it means it WT-world:

    If in a judicial committee, the elders determine that a "sinner" is "repentant enough" not to be disfellowshipped, the "sinner" is still considered guilty enough to merit "reproof".

    If no one else in the congregation knows about the "sin", the "reproof" is "private" and is just a scolding session based on a handful of scriptures more or less related to the "sin".

    If the 3 elders determine that the whole congregation, or a significant proportion of it, knows about the "sin" of the "sinner", then they will make an announcement at a midweek meeting, "Brother / Sister Sinner has been reproved".

    If the 3 elders determine that only a small number of persons know about the "sin", they will call in those persons into the little elder-judgment room, with the "sinner". Then, they will read a series of scriptures more or less related to the "sin", and use those scriptures as a basis to scold the "sinner". I.e., the scolding is "reproving", and the "onlookers" are the people they invited in to witness the humiliation.

    None of this, of course, has any remote link to anything found in the Bible. It is just the procedure dreamed up in WTS / governing body committee meetings and set down in writing in official documentation.

  • Hecce

    I remember reading that the idea of the modern judicial system of the WT is a copy of the Masonic discipline procedures, I don't know much about this but I read also that censure, reprimand and expulsion are part of both procedures. I guess that a lot of closed religions have similar arrangements.

    The Biblical support for the Committees is very thin.

  • ttdtt

    So the calling on the Older men to Grease your head with oil isn't a exact parallel of the modern Judicial Committee?


  • jp1692

    Here is a previous thread on the subject that you may find enlightening and thought-provoking:

  • Ray Frankz
    Ray Frankz

    You should argue that Jesus never set up a comitee procedure for dealing with sinners. Jesus told that things should be solved between the sinner and the victim, just in case the sinner didn't show regret the victim could call some others to testify he's trying to solve it, if it doesn't work the victim would tell the case to the congregation in order to back his next action that is restrict contact with the sinner. It's worth to notice that it wasn't all the congregation that was under the duty to restrict association with the sinner, but only the person affected by the sin. Mt 18:15-17

    Apostle Paul went all Rutherford and put add things as if what Jesus told wasn't enough. He said in 1 Corinthians to shun a person who holds the status of Christian and at the same time practice big sins. In this case any true Christian would not be willing to associate with such a hypocritical. 1 Cor 5: 9-13

    Even this more strict rule from Paul doesn't say anything about a judicial comitee. It says very well that what should guide the "disfellowshipping" of someone was each one conscience and love for the good.

    The judicial comitee is from the old testament, but since it isn't regarded in the new, it's logically because it doesn't apply to christians.

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