Watchtower Study Review “Listen to Discipline and Become Wise” May 28-June3, 2018

Reviewing the March 2018 Watchtower Study Edition for the week of May 28-June 3.

Topics of discussion: Omitting Jesus, the Divine Name in the Christian Scriptures, the Organization, Disfellowshipping/Shunning, Judicial Committees, Second Chance Doctrine, the Atonement, the Governing Body

Subscribe to the JW Review in iTunes and please consider rating this podcast!

 

27 thoughts on “Watchtower Study Review “Listen to Discipline and Become Wise” May 28-June3, 2018

  1. Juan Rivera (@_JuanJRivera) says:

    Hello Mike,

    I don’t understand your objection in regards to Galatians 2. Can you follow up? Our history clearly tells us that individual governing body members can make mistakes and err. My understanding is that each governing body member attends a  different Congregation. When they teach in the Congregation they are not exercising their office as shepherds and teachers of all Witnesses. They are not defining doctrines to be held by the whole Congregation as when they do as a Body.

    Can they engage in private opinions or unofficial commentary  in their Congregations on certain scriptural issues or for not being straightforward about the truth of the gospel? Yes, at least I have one case in mind… Pastoral  public rebukes do have a place in the Congregation. But this is an extraodinary situation.Galatians 2  is the only time one apostle corrects another and it wasn’t for the purpose of embarrassing Peter, Paul wanted all to hear so that they will not fall into the same hypocrisy as Peter. The  brothers are aware that any public rebuke has to be well founded, and the offense should be serious enough. But this shouldn’t undermine the authority of the Congregation or cause scandal and turn witnesses away from doing good which is clearly out of bounds, otherwise it defeats the purpose of the public rebuke. Nowhere in Scripture is any member who lacks lawful authority ever praised for fighting against lawfully-ordained authority The rebuke has to be done by the appropiate person with authority. So Mike we do have a way of dealing with these matters.

  2. Juan Rivera (@_JuanJRivera) says:

    Mike,

    In my experience when I missed meetings and my faith was lacking, I did feel their love and pure intentions in trying to help me grow. They had a good heart and made a lot of efforts in  good faith. That being said, it doesn’t mean I always agreed with their counsel and wisdom. Or the ultimate value of their judgments and decisions they made. E.g. when I resigned as an regular pioneer and ministerial servant I would of wanted to be comprehended  by the CO and elders to disclose more of my personal difficulties and struggles.  In great part my lack of communication or being open was my fault, but it also had to do with the fact that there is a lot of misunderstanding from elders and CO’s regarding their responsability in presenting the official teaching in a sympathetic and comprehensive way.  In my experience I have seen circuit overseers alleviate this problem by  getting elders proper formation and ongoing education in their ministry. But I also think a lot of the problems we encounter in these circumstances have to do with us Witnesses not comprehending or having a good grasp of our own faith and the nature of the Congregation and the proper view of Dissent.

    You won’t find an argument from here. There is always room for improvement in the body of elders. But we have to move from an entitlement mentality to a servant mentality when we come into the Congregation.  If you study enough of what the Congregation actually teaches in her official publications, and search out solid and devout elders and Witnesses, then when you encounter bad elders, you won’t be moved away from the Congregation. You’ll recognize them as deviating from what the Congregation teaches, and you’ll be moved to pray for them that they would come to a better knowledge of the truth. When I began to comprehend this. I told myself I did not become a Witness because of the state of the Congregation. I became a Witness because of the identity of the Congregation.

  3. Juan Rivera (@_JuanJRivera) says:

    Mike,

    I don’t want to pile on or be argumentative. Don’t see this as criticizing your person but only your position. I’ve been prepared to listen to you in your podcast and whatever basis you may have, but so far it seems all of your claims depend on a protestant way of conceiving our doctrines. Critiquing  our articles doesn’t work Mike.  I don’t know exactly what you are trying to achieve with your weekly commentary.  But what you are doing in my perspective  is just asking questions and objections from your Protestant-paradigm to a Jehovah’s Witness as if our theological framework translates directly into yours. That’s not the case.  Our articles are for in-house discussions and your approach is inadequate and I will say futile to show that your interpretive framework is more reasonable and superior. In my opinion this approach will be question begging so long as we have methodological disagreements. I really want to get to the bottom of this and  what still divides us so we can all be in united.

    Regards,

    Juan

    1. michaeljfelker says:

      Juan-

      Thanks for your comments and i’m sorry if I won’t be able to get to them all. Your last set of points here seem to be more foundational to everything else, so let me start here. Yes, I do come from a Protestant perspective. But if critiquing your theology from this perspective “doesn’t work,” then what perspective would work? I totally agree though that your paradigm doesn’t translate into mine. And as you know, I do spend a great deal of my time here critiquing your framework. But I also see my other non-paradigm related arguments (e.g. critiquing the two-class theology) as quite effective. You may not think so, but it’s not just your opinion that matters. I get many, many emails and comments from those who have seen this work as being highly effective. And that’s the fuel that keeps this who project going. If it wasn’t helping anyone, i’d probably be doing something else.

      And personally, it doesn’t matter to me that your articles are for in house discussions. The articles are either right, or they’re wrong. And if my critique is wrong, then show me. But if it’s the case that everything just boils down to our respective frameworks and presuppositions, then let’s discuss those when it’s relevant to my post. I’m nearly certain i’ll be dealing with some of the more foundational topics, since the WT regularly brings up the governing body and how all Christians must believe everything they put in print.

      Hope this helps clarify my position. Like you, I don’t have anything against you as a person. This is all about critiquing positions, in hopefully a respectful manner 🙂

  4. Juan Rivera (@_JuanJRivera) says:

    I hear what you are saying. But I still don’t know what you are trying to achieve here.  I’m all for investigating other positions…it takes  courage, even a risk. But If you are trying to resolve our disagreements between us and not just sow doubts you need a different approach than your weekly reviews. You  mention weekly,  several teachings and practices with which you take issue… just focus with one particular teaching, especially if your time is limited, otherwise you are throwing a laundry lists of disagreements hoping something sticks. This a slow and careful procress don’t try  to evaluate our whole system without understanding it in its particular details. These questions  are complex as you start digging behind them. If you only have five minutes to type a response, it will more fruitful to commit to dialogue and engage about a particular. This way we won’t be spending time in trying to correcting several misunderstandings of our position and you can get to evaluating the soundness  of the actual arguments.

    I know you are fair and respectful in your dialogue but you also seem to be presuming dishonesty from the Governing body  and intent to deceive where there is none,  that is not charitable Mike. So far as I know you have not conceded a single point in the answers Witnesses have offered you, since you started this blog. I’m all for dialogue Mike, but if your intention is to sow doubts into Witnesses to get them to think who know very little about our history and doctrines, I don’t know how this helps us reach agreement of the truth.

    I didn’t have time to respond to your other points..but.will follow up!

  5. michaeljfelker says:

    Juan-

    Thank you for your advice, it really is appreciated. In terms of what I am trying to achieve, it’s basically this: teaching JW’s (and sometimes non-JW’s, and lots of ex-JW’s) how to compare weekly WT teachings with the Bible. From what i’m told, may in my audience are still attending meetings and still trying to work things out theologically. They tell me I point out things that they didn’t think about before. And most importantly, people are being encouraged by what I do. As I see it, this is not a “throw disagreements in hopes that something sticks.” Perhaps you feel it’s my primary intention to reach folks like you, Rotherham, and others who are 100% committed to anything the Governing Body puts in print? Not so. With a few exceptions here and there, you seem to be the only two who actively take exception to what I teach. Most others might ask me to clarify something or bat around various ideas, or just leave me with an encouraging comment. If my sole intention was to reach internet JW defenders like yourself or Rotherham, i’d probably be taking a different approach. Rather, i’m taking an approach that seems to be reaching more people.

  6. Juan Rivera (@_JuanJRivera) says:

    Although I defend my faith Mike, I don’t consider myself an apologist. I’m not here to  push my ideology…this apologist approach is inadequate if we are trying to dialogue. I have deep respect and admiration of other Witnesses like Rotherham and their apologetic work, but I respecfully disagree with them in regards to their approach and anonymity. Even though I hold my JW beliefs as true, I sincerely listen and consider other traditions like yours, because I’m also pursuing the truth and I want to mutually collaborate with you and others so we can reach unity… I understand  we have to raise criticisms of false positions and statements.  The  reason I take issue with your approach is because you are trying  to critique our beliefs, but in order to do that you have to understand them first, and to understand them you have to ask questions. Your weekly reviews jump right into critiquing many of our views, which leads you to make several misunderstandings we have to clear up. That’s why I suggested you focus in one particular we can discuss.

    If your trying to teach Ex-JW’s and JW’s who are still trying to work things out you are preaching to the choir. It’s not your fault, but your protestant approach is doing them a disservice. Poorly informed Witness should seek to understand their own faith, and inform their conscience, not criticize it. Many Witnesses do not understand that, and instead fall prey and are encouraged to follow their own interpretation of scripture along with others who share it with them. Yes, you are reaching more people, but this is not a good measure  since its drawing from people who are not sufficiently instructed in their own faith. Telling me I’m 100% commited to anything the governing body puts in print just points out you still don’t understand the act of faith and submission Witnesses give to a divine interpretative authority and its guidance and the proper view of dissent. The best way to understand it is to carefully study it and immerse yourself. I’ll be glad to tell you or answer your questions on this topic.

  7. michaeljfelker says:

    Juan-

    I’ll be totally honest here. Your recommended approach isn’t making much sense to me. Apparently, you don’t think I understand JW beliefs. Sometimes that is the case and I actually do ask a lot of questions in my podcasts. If I recall, I recently asked questions about elder confrontations and people’s experiences. But what’s wrong with jumping in and critiquing? If i’m critiquing something that I apparently don’t understand, then please point it out. Have I misrepresented JW beliefs and practices? If so, please point it out. Your example would be a good place to start. I stand by my claim that the Governing Body expects complete obedience to their teachings. Can you show otherwise?

    You may not know this, but I sat through books studies and attended meetings for several years in an attempt to educate myself on JW beliefs and practices. I really do try my best to accurately represent what you believe. But if I think JW’s are wrong, then it’s my duty as a Christian to offer correction and point them to the truth. You seem to be advocating a different approach. That’s fine, and we can just leave it at that. We could spend a ton of time going back and forth on methodology, but i’m just not seeing things from your perspective. I like things more cut and dry. If i’m wrong, then show me.

  8. Juan Rivera (@_JuanJRivera) says:

    Mike-

    I leave it up you to explain what is it about my approach that isn’t making much sense, if you want me to clarify.  But if you do see it and just disagree with my approach then it seems we have reached an impasse.  We have different objectives in mind and with that dialogue can’t take place. It may seem like we are engaging in the same activity but we are not. That is why your questions come out as critique, asking a question and calling into questioning are not the same thing, only one of them is seeking understanding. I did try answering a few of your objections and pointed out a few misunderstandings on some podcasts so we could dialogue. But that’s okay, I’m not in a position to make demands since you already explained your time is limited and also the nature, purpose and scope of your blog.

    In regards to your claim about being commited 100% to anything the governing puts in print and how the GB expects complete obedience to their teachings. This may not be a cut and dry as you like. Let me point you to a number of articles, since I’m relying on them to help you understand our official position rather than laying out the arguments here:

    Watchtower Online Library.
    Main heading : QUESTIONS
    First subheading:
    about a teaching or explanation: w08 11/15 14; w07 4/15 28; w06 7/15 22; w00 1/1 10; w00 9/1 9-10;w99 10/1 5; w96 7/15 17; w88 1/15 22

    When you read the references in context you can see Witnesses are allowed to dissent from official teachings. This is our position. I’ll let you explain your objection, and unpack what you mean.  I think what is happening is you might not be taking into account how understanding other key concepts also play a role in correctly understanding this teaching

    Thank you for your time, if there is something I can help you with let me know.

  9. Elmer says:

    Hello Juan,

    Your claim that Witnesses are “allowed to dissent from official teachings” is ridiculous. To my everlasting shame, I have chaired numerous Judicial Committees and disfellowshipped brothers and sisters who thought they could “dissent from official teachings” of the Org.

    You are either very new to the “Truth” or incredibly self-deceiving to make a claim otherwise.

    I am not trying to be a jerk, but get real Juan. Hopefully you will be my brother in Christ at some point, and I wish you the very best,

    Elmer

  10. Juan Rivera (@_JuanJRivera) says:

    The references I cited have a very definite type of appropiate dissent. Most of the cases that I have studied involving  Witnesses that unfortunately  were disfellowshipped, was due to their attitude and behavior. (e.g. not exercising responsible dissent, causing scandal in the congregation, undermining the authority of the congregation,  opposing official teachings publically). Now, that doesn’t mean I deny there have been cases where  Witnesses were wrongly disfellowshipped, but these are the exception, not the norm and they are deviations from what the Governing body teaches.

    Elmer-

    A public setting is not the way for you to receive spiritual help. If you are open to dialogue and  are looking for someone willing to listen to you who can explain what’s wrong with your claims, approach the appropiate persons (your elders or overseer).  And if they are not willing or capable to help you,  reach out to other informed elders, like Rotherham, or Brother Hal flemings or Edgar Foster. I don’t deny you are acting in good faith, and following your concience but I can’t help you while in this stance you have taken outside of the Congregation.

    1. michaeljfelker says:

      Juan-

      I don’t have time at the moment to go through all of the references articles. For our purposes here, we aren’t commending those who have dissented from the JW’s for reasons of morality (e.g. someone who wants to pursue a life of fornication and drugs, or a lesser extreme of someone who wants to move in before marriage). Rather, i’m Interested in those who dissent due to doctrinal disagreements. With that said, can you cite the specific WT where it says JW’s are “allowed to dissent” and what exactly that means? I’ve read many a WT and don’t recall ever seeing anything of the sort. Had I, you would probably see a blog or podcast going up as soon as possible. But i’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and see if you can clarify what you’re saying and back it up. I can’t imagine the WT meaning what I think you’re meaning, but i’m willing to be corrected.

      1. Juan Rivera (@_JuanJRivera) says:

        Mike-

        To say as you did that the “Governing Body expects complete obedience to their teachings”  is oversimplifying  the matter. Let me explain.

        We are expected to give our assent  to their teachings internally and also publicly.
        But there comes a time I believe rare and exceptional, that on the basis of personal research and reflection, we find a discrepancy and become convinced that a teaching is inexact, erroneous or in need of revision. Then we find that in conscience we cannot accept it or act on that teaching . Because this has to do with our intellect , our mind is incapable to assent to this teaching while retaining doubts whether it is true or not. This is what we mean by witholding  assent or “Dissent”.

        So we have:

        1. The Cong. teaches we have the duty to inform our conscience.
        2. The Congregation cannot force us to act against our Conscience.
        3. The Cong. teaches that we must follow our conscience. – w06 3/15 pp. 21-25.
        4. The Cong. has the authority to interpret the scriptures and explain doctrines
        5. The Cong. has the authority and right to enforce/impose discipline.

        How the person acts after witholding assent determines whether a sanction if any its imposed by the elders? If you want we can discuss the parameters or venues available to a Witness in which he can exercise his dissent and in what manner.

        Here is the quote that talks about witholding assent:

        Did You Disagree With a Teaching?

        “It may be that you left Jehovah’s organization because you had a different understanding of some Scriptural point. Just as the Israelites rescued from Egypt quickly “forgot [God’s] works” on their behalf and “did not wait for his counsel,” you may hastily have concluded that since the organization did not espouse the viewpoint you considered correct, you would sever ties with it. (Psalm 106:13) Perhaps the point has since been clarified, either being changed or established by further Scriptural research under the direction of God’s spirit. Would it not have been better just to have stayed with the organization, waiting on Jehovah?

        It is good to remember that Jehovah has always worked through one organization only. In our day, “the faithful and discreet slave” is dispensing spiritual food “at the proper time.” Note that this slave was to be ‘found doing so when the Master arrived.’ (Matthew 24:45-47) Really, who today realizes that the Master has already arrived? And who is busy with the work indicated? Only those associated with Jehovah’s organization of Christian witnesses!

        When others abandoned Jesus, the apostle Peter said: “Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life.” Peter knew beyond all doubt that Jesus was the Messiah. So when many disciples found some of Jesus’ words shocking, Peter realized that it would be unwise to leave the source of “sayings of everlasting life.” In time any doubt or misunderstanding would be clarified. (John 6:51-68; compare Luke 24:27, 32.) This is still the case today, as Jehovah progressively guides his servants in the way of truth”.​—Proverbs 4:18. – w88 1/15 pp. 21-23

        “Of course, if a person just has doubts or is uninformed on a point, qualified ministers will lovingly assist him. This accords with the counsel: “Continue showing mercy to some that have doubts; save them by snatching them out of the fire.” (Jude 22, 23) Hence, the true Christian congregation cannot rightly be accused of being harshly dogmatic, but it does highly value and work toward the unity encouraged in God’s Word.” – w86 4/1 pp. 30-31

      2. michaeljfelker says:

        Elmer-

        If you’re being notified on these postings, I’d be interested in your input regarding Juan’s post above, just to get an additional perspective.

        Juan-

        Thanks for your post. Let me evaluate and get back with you.

  11. Elmer says:

    Wow! Rotherham is an active Elder? That’s precious! He is very good at concealing his true identity. Here’s the deal with you Juan and Rotherham- stop being hypocrites! Also, please don’t presume to “counsel” me. If your advice is based on SOLID scriptural principles, I will gladly listen brother.

    The stark reality is that any advice you put forth is based on what the men, yes MEN, of the GB have published. I don’t agree with everything that Mike puts forward here, but at least he is having a dialogue based on Scripture, not WT publication opinions.

    At the end of the day, you and Rotherham know you are not even supposed to be here. If you want to prove otherwise, provide me the contact info. of your COBEand CO, and we’ll see in short order if your time here is endorsed by the Org.

    Again, there is nothing I would love more than to be able to fellowship with you guys in Christ.

    Stop being in denial- please,

    Elmer

    1. Elmer says:

      Hi Mike,

      Did you notice in the above article that if a person does not understand a particular point about something the “slave” has published, “qualified ministers” are to “help” them understand the point better?

      Translation: If one expresses a doubt the Elders have a ” back room meeting” at the Kingdom Hall.
      If that person still does not acquiesce, they are warned to not say a word of their doubts to anyone else. After that, if the Elders get a report from anyone that this person is now “sharing” his doubts with others, a Judicial Committee is formed on the charge of Apostasy.

      Even at the JC Meeting, that person is usually (depending on the personalities of the individual Elders on the Committee) given one more chance to “renounce” their “apostate” thinking. In my experience, most of the brothers and sisters who have gotten to that point are already “awoken” to the real truth, and are hence disfellowshipped for Apostasy.

      Hope that helps Mike,

      Elmer

  12. Elmer says:

    Another thought,

    This is the reason why Juan and Rotherham post here. They dare not express even the slightest “variation” in their understanding of Scripture lest they be expelled and shunned by their family and friends.

    Forums like this provide an outlet for them to talk freely about Scripture, something not allowed in the Organization.

    1. michaeljfelker says:

      Elmer,

      Thanks for your thoughts. You’re right in that it’s so often the case that the dissension is not with the Bible itself, but with the Governing Body’s teachings. What’s interesting about all this is that Juan and Rotherham are dissenting by just interacting on this forum. I’d be willing to bet that their CO’s or the Governing Body themselves would see their involvement here as dissenting. But to Juan’s credit, at least he’s brave enough to put his name and face on here. Can’t say the same for Rotherham.

  13. michaeljfelker says:

    Hello Juan,

    I wanted to sit on this for a day or two in order to respond more thoughtfully. But I have to say, my alleged “oversimplification” isn’t incorrect. All you’ve shown are various scenarios where doubt is dealt with. In the end, it seems to be “be quiet” or “believe us” or “get out.” But more importantly, I didn’t see anything in your citations where “appropriate dissent” is described, at least not in a way that really makes sense to me. Think about it this way. Is dissenting from Watchtower teaching ever really appropriate? Perhaps, what you are suggesting that dissent can be dealt with in an appropriate way. In this case, I could only imagine several situations as a JW:

    1. Keep it to yourself
    2. Talk to the elders about it
    3. Leave the organization

    At the end of the day, the Governing Body fully expects you to believe everything they say. They don’t want any dissension. The dissension itself is not appropriate. Something is wrong with YOU if you are dissenting. The problem just simply cannot be with the Governing Body themselves. That’s just the case by definition.

  14. Juan Rivera (@_JuanJRivera) says:

    Mike –

    I appreciate your careful and critical efforts in considering these WT articles and for allowing me to provide you an interpretation of them. With that said, let me try to clear some things up, to do that I’ll cite another reference:

    ” Consider another possibility involving the congregation. Suppose that a person finds a Scriptural teaching hard to understand and accept. He may have done research in the Bible and in publications available through the congregation and sought help from mature fellow Christians, even elders. Still, he has a hard time grasping or accepting the point. What can he do? Something similar developed about a year before Jesus died. He said that he was “the bread of life” and that to live forever a person had to “eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood.” That shocked some of his disciples. Rather than seek an explanation or simply wait in faith, many disciples “would no longer walk with [Jesus].” (John 6:35, 41-66) Again, had we been there, what would we have done?” ~ w07 4/15 28

    The Congregation encourages JW’s to study(seek understanding) evangelize and teach all under her guidance. So in doing this I’m following what the congregation is telling me to do. I’m not here to trade talk on what we are allowed and not allowed to believe based on unsubstantiated assertions. If someone looks at the evidence the conclusions I’m drawing are clearly demonstrated.

    I’ll be the first to admit that there are in-house disagreements between Witnesses (uninformed perhaps somewhat confused) as to what is allowed and between Witnesses that disagree over the interpretation of WT articles. So far the GB has not made a formal statement that makes things more cut and dry for you and others about how some of these articles must be interpreted, but we do have a framework within which we can interpret them correctly. Our documents and articles state positive and negative boundaries, and in that theoretical space between there is room to hold, express and exercise our conscience.

    I’ve had discussions with brothers, my elders and overseers and others over the years who believe our only legitimate response is to pray, suffer and wait. An honest expression of such concerns is automatically construed as illegitimate, disloyal or emanating from less than praiseworthy motives. I believe that this meek silence to everything and anything that comes from those taking the lead is misguided in light of the prerogatives we have from the GB in our publications and the bible.  I believe that it is clear biblically, historically and from our publications that there is an entirely legitimate place for honest dissent to be expressed. When properly understood, such expressions are at the service of the GB and the Congregation, they are not opposed to either. We will indeed pray and suffer, but in addition to these, we will also lift our voices up in the hope that our shepherds will hear and respond.

    Over time some questions do arise and call for answers especially if a controversy erupts. (Acts 15) I believe that it is the very disagreements among us that often leads us to the truth. In the end, it is what the Congregation OFFICIALLY teaches that is important, while our views may only act as an impetus for the GB to study the issue more deeply in order to come to a firm and official answer. Several adjustments made and clarifications from the GB have often come from years of dialogue within the Congregation. You don’understand this because you don’t know the Cong. you follow your own interpretation of scripture.

  15. Juan Rivera (@_JuanJRivera) says:

    In spite of what others may negatively think, the elders and overseers respect our freedom as far as possible and try to work in harmony with us by helping us perform our ministries. They prefer to yes to any serious request. But you also have to keep in mind they have a responsibility not primarily to control or be too restrictive but to correct and reprove false doctrines and defend the faith against any expurgated version. Even though these theological discussions have their place, we are a community of faith first and foremost. We are not a theology/debating club or a organization of explorers for those who take theology seriously. The Cong. was not established to provide an answer to every speculative question that any Witness could ever raise.

    The Governing body has a research arm of Witnesses in Bethel that are trained in different fields many who have degrees in those fields. We also have several researchers and scholarly brothers all over the world who are mature and informed who also have a specialty in different fields, philosophy, theology, biblical languages, church history some are university professors. Even though you may not know or are aware of it, they are in constant communication with each other. The apologetic field is not the only or formost way these Witness are active, although this is the one the majority of people like yourself are exposed.

    I dont know why a Witness will feel silenced when he could go to the best that have gone before him and help himself. Following the counsel set out in Scripture. (Galatians 6:1) and (Galatians 2:2) we reach out to them to make sure we are not running in vain or making a false step. We should make a patient effort to seek readjustment from brothers who have the spiritual qualifications and preparation to dissuade us. We have deep, smart, solid and generous brothers we can consult and learn from. They can guide and assist us with our theological concerns and dissent. It often happens that these dissenting views are examined in a scholarly way by the appropiate persons (mature, informed, scholarly brothers) then they are demonstrated to be untenable and are thus taken care of without the intervention of the elders, overseers or Governing Body.

    These discussions do not take place in a public setting like the media or internet, and sometimes by accident they have become public or their views have become popularized among Witnesses and thus the counsel you find in the KM article ( ~ km 9/07 p. 3) making clear to the Cong. that these are opinions and personal theories and although beneficial to the Cong. they are not spiritual food or the Cong. teaching.

    I agree that these lines of communication could be improved, there’s always room for that. These aids, resources could be more accesible to Witness, and I hope I can contribute to make that happen.

    I agree with the GB  that those Witness that are informed who have questions, doubts or are in a position of authority in the Cong. who know better should have an attitude of paternalism towards the Cong. and realize not everyone will share their personal difficulties. For any witness to voice their personal opinions to the Cong. is to let their own judgment replace theirs. Not only that, it could cause scandal, turn brothers away from doing good and undermine the authority of those taking the lead. The Cong. is not a democracy and this political concept of freedom of speech has no place in the Cong.  we are not free to say what we like. (1 Corinthians 11:23, John 7:16). We can raise questions, we can suggest and propose alternatives, we can engage and pursue prudent inquiries, we can offer conclusions as tentative hypothesis, but ultimately they will be judged by the Governing Body. In the end we must be willing to submit our findings to their judgment.

    There’s also a great potential for scandal when every JW with a keyboard and some zeal becomes an apologist and starts debating online, he can very well make poor arguments potentially badly. For these and other reasons it comes with cautions, recommendations and its not encouraged. Certainly, not everyone is called to publicly express or defend their faith in certain contexts (Media, Internet, debate,) But just as certainly, some, indeed are called.

  16. Juan Rivera (@_JuanJRivera) says:

    This notion that we must give assent to whatever any elder or overseer says is a caricature. Even the authority of the GB is limited because it cannot overturn what has already been settled definitely and by Scripture.

    Also, I will not be part of this psychological deconstruction about me, this is cheap and easy especially since I’ve already given theological reasons for my actions. If you truly want to know my status in relation to the Cong. and GB you need to ask my overseers. You have my name and picture. I have not remained anonymous, I have not hide my identity. I have revealed who I am, where I stand, and I take responsibility for my words by allowing them to be connected with my personal identity. At one point I disclosed to you Mike my congregation and the capacity in which I served…. I don’t mind doing it again, or give you the name of my Cong. Elders and Circuit Overseer. For me this is not a game. It is a sacred task because that with which it treats is sacred. If you or any person want to know what the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach consult our publications. And if questions remain in regards to this question of dissent consult the Governing Body.

    Regards,

  17. Elmer says:

    Hi Juan,

    You don’t mind giving the names of your COBE and CO but you won’t. I believe you come from a place of sincerity to a degree Juan, but the reality is that skirting the issue at every turn and putting up a post of hundreds of words to circle back to the same conclusion: There is NO DISSENT from Governing Body teachings.(Period).

  18. michaeljfelker says:

    Hello Juan,

    While I respect your attempt to explain your perspective, it was quite a lot. I still don’t see any evidence from the Watchtower that dissent is ever appropriate. Your citation from the 07’ Watchtower says nothing of the sort. Rather, it makes a very unsubstantiated parallel:

    1. The disciples had difficulty in understanding Jesus’ teachings
    2. JW’s sometimes have difficulty in understanding Watchtower teachings

    Do you see how contrasting these are? I could never equate difficulty in understanding Jesus to difficulty in understanding the teachings of men. And you can’t use the proposed solution for (1) as a solution for (2). At best, you showed an example where elders are to compassionately counsel someone who’s having difficulty with Watchtower teaching. But in the end, this person is either expected to keep quiet about it, change, or leave.

    You also expressed examples of Witnesses disagreeing with each other and this being ok as long as it’s within the bounds of organizational teachings (that is, areas where the GB hasn’t stated their expressed belief). That’s irrelevant as far as i’m concerned here. What we’re talking about is dissent from GB teachings. While there is an “appropriate” way to address one’s dissent (i.e. talk to elders) within the WT framework, I still don’t see any place where the WT deems the dissent itself as appropriate.

  19. Juan Rivera (@_JuanJRivera) says:

    Mike,

    You have misunderstood, perhaps I wasn’t as clear as I should of been. Let me try again.

    You are begging the question with your comment about “you could never equate Jesus Words” by pressuposing your protestant paradigm to falsify ours. For the sake of argument we are presupposing the JW paradigm to explain their Dissent on its own terms. This is what we have been doing.

    None of the references I cited tell Witnesses to keep quiet or leave the Congregation. It actually says the opposite. Separating is never justified. All the articles talk about working thru the appropiate means. You cannot reform the Congregation while being outside. None of the references condemn brothers for not agreeing with a teaching. By the fact that they are addressing this issue they are recognizing it will happen…why? Because our conscience comes into play, the same conscience that were are told is our duty to train and inform. The Govening Body is not infallible there’s a possibility some teachings could be revised, better formulated or discarded.  I don’t know how to make more clear to you how conscience works, how a fallible authority works and how reformation works. Maybe it will help you understand if you ask me questions or give me a scenario that we can use it to answer them.

    I brought up witnesses disagreeing with each other to point out I have experienced firsthand how from publishers to elders misinterpret the directives of the GB on this topic, and it usually was because they were not properly instructed.  That was the point. Poor treatment and formation from elders or publishers doesn’t negate dissent is legitimate.

    Hope this helps

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.