Is the Governing Body the “one true source” of Spiritual Food? April 2018 Watchtower Study Review

This is a review of the “Questions from Readers” in the April 2018 Watchtower Study Review.  The primary statement in question is this: “By directing interested people to our official websites, we are connecting them with the one true source of spiritual food, “the faithful and discreet slave.”  This may be the strongest statement of authority the Governing Body has ever made.

 

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2 thoughts on “Is the Governing Body the “one true source” of Spiritual Food? April 2018 Watchtower Study Review

  1. Juan Rivera (@_JuanJRivera) says:

    Mike,

    I disagree with you that the Governing body is using poor tacticts that arouse curiosity in Witnesses to listen to apostates or opposers. The article is advising witness about those that want to entertain doubts. This is dangerous because we can start cultivating it. Investigations motivated by doubt are wrong for a person who has faith. Doubt is not the same thing as investigating  the evidence and arguments against the governing body. Doubt can motivate us do to so, but it doesnt need to be. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not fideist. We encourage every individual to study all and the best evidence from all the different points of view, because only if this person has good reason to believe that the Governing Body is the divine authority of the congregation can that person exercise faith in Jesus by trusting the guidance and teaching of the Governing body.  There is no other way.

    Yes Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

    For a Witness there is no competition between Scripture and the Congregation. The authority of Scripture is authority with respect to divine revelation. The authority of the Governing body, is interpretive authority with respect to that revelation. These are two different types of authority. They do not compete but complement each other and are mutually dependent.

    We believe Christ has given divinely appointed men the authority of stewardship and the gift of explaining the Scritures to His Congregation. The faithful and discreet slave is someone in charge,  not a butler. If they had no authority, they would be stewards in the same sense in which every Christian is a steward of the Scriptures and will be making their office a mere figurehead. If they didn’t have authority there would be no basis for us to obey and submit to them. The authority of stewardship or interpretative authority is not absolute. It doesn’t  mean that the interpreter has more authority than what is being interpreted. Just like the Apostles when they were giving testimony  to Jesus being the Christ, they were not taking away from Jesus authority. Because an authorized witness can give an authoritative testimony of an authority greater than himself. People were coming to believe in Jesus through the authority of the Apostles testimony.

    So the correct way of approaching Scripture is to learn and study it as informed by the guidance of the congregation. We read Scripture with the guidance of the Congregation just  like the eunuch. Philip was not getting his understanding of Isaiah from Scripture alone. Philip had already been instructed in the Congregation by the Apostles and passed that understanding he had attained from the Congregation to the eunuch. So our duty is to seek to understand and learn Scripture recognizing  that Christ thru his Congregation is giving us the Scriptures not so we can do our own thing, but so that we can participate in something His Body is already doing. When we do this we are accepting in submission the guidance and instruction of those he has authorized.

    So yes, the faithful and discreet slave is the true source of spiritual food. There is no contradiction between that statement and the activity that every witness participates in evangelizing…in a subordinate way we are participating in this unique authority they have in giving spiritual food.

    That is the choice Mike, either we are going to trust and follow Christ by following a divine appointed authority that interprets the faith or  follow Christ by determining for ourselves and relying on own our judgment on how it is to be interpreted.

    The person who wants to subject  the interpretive authority of the governing body to some other interpretive authority to hold them accountable is actually saying whether they realize it or not that they want the Governing body to be accountable to their interpretation of scripture. That person is taking that authority to themselves. And that is another way of showing that the requirement is actually a denial of his own need for a Governing body.

    In regards to authoritarianism. You have to understand the nature of the authority giving. To whom do you wish to make the Governing body accountable?  For a Witness there is no higher interpretive authority on earth than the Governing body of the Congregation. So the idea of subjecting them to something else falsely presumes that there is something else on earth that has greater interpretive authority than the Congregation.

  2. Juan Rivera (@_JuanJRivera) says:

    A serious problem that is affecting the  congregation and deeply troubles me is the state of well intentioned Witness who have abandoned the Congregation, created divisions and denied or rejected what it teaches. What I see is ignorance, confusion and people acting in good faith with a clean conscience but proudly thinking that they are justified in defying the governing body. Its a  pride portraited as zeal for God and the Good News  convincing them that they can intepret scripture better than the governing body, and its blinding them to see they should  conform to their appointed shepherds. I grant that they are following their concience as best as they can and  that they desire to know the truth and will sacrife to follow it.

    But even without the intention of doing anything wrong, and even if they don’t realize their conscience is in error (and they should seek to inform it).  Their actions are still evil and sinful. Apostasy, division and rejecting teachings with divine authority are a sin, and  the congregation has the right to impose sanctions.

    These Witness are fighting against the Congregation whether they know it intentionally or unintentionally  (god knows how culpable they are). They are just adding one more sin to the others, and by putting themselves outside the Congregation reform cannot take place.This is not the way to reform the Congregation if they are separated from her. Reformation can only happen from within. Also adopting an Apostate stance makes it hard for them to have access to informed Witness who can explain what’s wrong with their claims. A public setting is not the way for them to receive help. If they are open and  are looking for someone willing to listen to them , to understand them and empathize they should communicate thru the appropiate means the right way, time, context, and spirit.

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