Sorry for missing the past few weeks. Hopefully now that i’m settled in with my move I can keep these reviews going consistently. I know to many, the workbook reviews may not be as entertaining as the Watchtower video reviews I do. But in a lot of ways, I enjoy this more because it allows for more depth. So let’s dig in to the JW Life and Ministry Workbook for the week of September 23-29.
Discipline – Evidence of Jehovah’s Love
A loving father disciplines his children, for he cares about the kind of people they will become. (Ephesians 6:4) Such a father may be firm, but he is never harsh in correcting his children. Similarly, our heavenly Father may at times find it necessary to discipline us. But God’s discipline is always given in love and is never abusive. Like his Father, Jesus was never harsh, not even when his disciples were slow to respond to needed correction.—Matthew 20:20-28; Luke 22:24-30.w12 3/15 29 ¶18
I agree with the Watchtower here. But there’s a fine line between Jehovah disciplining us through His word by means of His Holy Spirit and the discipline we may receive from other Christians. The former is infallible and the latter is not. And because Christians may make mistakes when seeking to discipline fellow believers, we still have to use discernment and test it against what the Scriptures teach.
However, if you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the discipline that comes through the organization must be accepted.
“Never be like Uzziah and let pride prevent you from accepting discipline from God through His Word and organization.” w91 7/15 p. 29-30
“We need to be on guard, always willing to accept discipline from Jehovah and his organization, and to conform ourselves to his will.” w81 8/15 p. 25
What if the Governing Body disciplines in an unjust manner? If you choose to reject the discipline on Scriptural grounds, you will likely be found to be prideful, just like Uzziah.
A loving father disciplines his children, for he cares about the kind of people they will become. (Ephesians 6:4) Such a father may be firm, but he is never harsh in correcting his children. Similarly, our heavenly Father may at times find it necessary to discipline us. But God’s discipline is always given in love and is never abusive. Like his Father, Jesus was never harsh, not even when his disciples were slow to respond to needed correction.—Matthew 20:20-28; Luke 22:24-30.w12 7/1 21 ¶3
The Governing Body would do well to heed this example, especially with regards to their disfellowshipping and shunning policies. Not only are the policies unbiblical; they are inhumane and cruel. I would assume that the above quote wouldn’t apply to disfellowshipped ones because they aren’t considered JW’s any longer. In other words, God’s discipline is “never abusive” when applied to JW’s in good standing.
The JW doesn’t think that disfellowshipping is abusive, but instead is necessary. Perhaps they would agree that it is harsh. And it’s the harsh treatment that should prompt the disfellowshipped one to want to come back to the organization. But the question is, even if one is disfellowshipped or leaves the organization, why would you not seek to apply the above example at the very least? After all, does not Jesus say, “let him be to you as a Gentile or tax collector?” (Matthew 18:17) And how did Jesus treat Gentiles and tax collectors?
18 Painful counsel. What if we are tempted to look back resentfully at some counsel that we received? This can be not only painful but also debilitating—causing us to “give out.” (Heb. 12:5) Whether we “belittle” the counsel because we reject it or we “give out” because we accept it and then give up, the result is the same—we do not truly allow the counsel to benefit and refine us. How much better to heed Solomon’s words: “Take hold on discipline; do not let go. Safeguard it, for it itself is your life.” (Prov. 4:13) Like a driver who obeys road signs, let us accept the counsel, apply it, and move forward.—Prov. 4:26, 27; read Hebrews 12:12, 13.w18.03 32 ¶18
All Christians must be careful to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1), even if it comes from those we consider to be authorities over us. There are no inspired Apostles or Prophets around today, so all human counsel and disciples should be regarded as fallible. But notice in Hebrews 12:5 that this is referring specifically to, “the discipline of the Lord” and being, “reproved by Him.” While the Lord may use fallible men to apply discipline to their fellow Christians, that discipline is not to be heeded unquestionably. In other words, if the discipline is not Scriptural, then it should be rejected.
APPLY YOURSELF TO THE FIELD MINISTRY
19 In a loving family, each member does his part to make the others happy. But imagine that one person rebels. Everybody in the family tries again and again to help him, but he rejects the help. He may decide to leave home, or the head of the family may have to ask him to leave. Something similar can happen in the congregation. A person may choose to keep doing things that displease Jehovah and harm the congregation. He rejects help and shows by his actions that he no longer wants to be part of the congregation. He may choose to leave the congregation himself, or he may have to be disfellowshipped. If this happens, the Bible clearly says that we should “stop keeping company” with him. (Read 1 Corinthians 5:11-13; 2 John 9-11) This can be very difficult if he is a friend of ours or a member of our family. But in a situation like this, our loyalty to Jehovah must be stronger than our loyalty to anyone else.—See Endnote 8.lvs 39-40 ¶19
Notice that the Watchtower does not cite Matthew 18:17, which would be the most applicable passage for such a situation. Jesus, nor the Apostles, shunned Gentiles and tax collectors. When a Christian is disfellowshipped, they need to be treated like an unbeliever that needs to be evangelized just like anyone else. According to Paul in 1 Cor. 5:13, such a one is an “outsider” that “God judges.” As far as the immoral one Paul is writing about, the Corinthian church had failed to remove this one from the congregation due to grossly sinful actions. That is why Paul calls him a “so-called brother.” Once removed, he would no longer be a “brother” at all.
2 John 9-11 is an odd example to bring up, especially since it has nothing to do with disfellowshipping. Rather, it has to do with false teachers seeking to enter your house.
“What man among you with 100 sheep, on losing one of them, will not leave the 99 behind in the wilderness and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he has found it, he puts it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he gets home, he calls his friends and his neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’”—Luke 15:4-6.
What application does Jesus make? He explains: “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous ones who have no need of repentance.”—Luke 15:7.jy chap. 85
It’s important that the whole chapter from the above quote be read. It overall contains great counsel on how to treat those who have left the congregation. The problem is, JW’s do not follow Jesus’ admonitions. In fact, they explicitly and deliberately do otherwise. If this sounds harsh, consider what Jesus says: “go after the lost one.” When a JW is disfellowshipped, no one is “going after” the lost one. Perhaps there is an elder visit on occasion. But if anyone besides an elder goes out to “find” the lost one, that one could also be disfellowshipped.
Notice too that there is rejoicing when the lost one is found. You won’t find any rejoicing happening in a Kingdom Hall when a disfellowshipped one returns. It can take quite a bit of time until anyone can approvingly communicate with this one, much less the time it takes for reinstatement. At this point, just read the whole chapter linked above and ask yourself if the JW religion really is following this as it relates to disfellowshipped ones.