Very good points, as always, Blondie. When you say, “Elders can counsel other elders but not outside their own congregation without creating a rift that might last 20 years," you point out something that is simply human nature. No one wants to be criticized by peers or underlings. That's why I say the word “counseled" ought to considered esoteric in JW terminology.
Honest counseling, as I see it, would be as it was in The Godfather (which ought to be canonized I my view, but that's another discussion).
So it is when Vito Corleone counsels his son: “Barzini will move against you first. He'll set up a meeting with someone that you absolutely trust, guaranteeing your safety. And at that meeting, you'll be assassinated...it's an old habit. I spend my life trying not to be careless."
That's good counsel.
When Tom Hagen counsels the don, he defines the situation, then offers options and a recommendation. That's counsel. And when Calo says, “In Sicily, women are more dangerous than shotguns" -- that's good counsel! “Use more scriptures in your talks" is NOT good counsel! It can create rifts with a lot of people, and with good reason.
In Galatians 2, I see Paul's remarks as contention, not counsel. He was not offering Peter any useful advice as Peter was attempting to walk a fine line between his Jewish culture and the future Gentiles who were being courted, or proselytized. In this situation, both Peter and Paul were apostles, and both were led by revelation in those efforts (see verse 2), but Peter, as you state, held the binding keys on Earth and in Heaven. In my own opinion, Paul was out of line because he viewed Peter as a bit of a hypocrite. Instead of taking Peter aside and saying, “Look, I know what you're trying to do, but we're in danger of sending mixed signals. I propose we take the matter before the Lord and see what His will is so we're not telling the Jews one thing and these Greeks another." At that point he could have offered his own views on where to draw the line and yet respect Peter's seniority in letting him make the decision.
To me that would be counsel. But criticism is not counsel, especially dressing down Peter and others in public, then subsequently boasting of it in an epistle.
That's why I asked how the JWs view “counseling" outside it's ordinary meaning. From the way it sounds, it means imperfect, flawed people telling other imperfect, flawed people how to improve their lives and How they do things.
LongHair » I...think the religion opened this can of worms. Unfortunately, certain people want to get into the act and want to be treated "special". Then, everybody and their brother will start saying they're "anointed".
Yep, but why would the Society teach that all the first century saints were going to be part of that anointed class? Why did they rate that status? And since this “John-class" group is deemed to be symbolic anyway, with 12,000 being taken from each of Israel's twelve tribes, why does the number have to be literal (as many apocayptic scholars have suggested)?
The religion started to imply people might have psychological problems if they think they are anointed!
Yes, of course.
Just for your information, none of these people got any special respect from me and I tended to avoid them.
Well, I always say, if you can't beat them, join them! If you're going to buy into the religion, why not fly first class? Why should some reformed tax collector in the first century be part of the heavenly crowd while I have to gather sea shells and plan family reunions for trillions of years in a Paradise Earth? And that's only if I'm not destroyed during Armageddon, which I hope happens rather than being part of the great crowd.