Search Related Sites

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Organization and Obedience

Organization and Obedience

No one must ever compromise any of the essential, life-saving truths from God, but to truly be part of the "one body" required of Christians, everyone must compromise some personal beliefs, preferences, interpretations, etc.

The Jewish Christians at Rome were to become dead to the Mosaic Law (which they and their ancestors had lived under from birth) and become joined to another (Jesus). - Romans 7:4-6.

This went against their natural desire to continue under the Law and to continue the practice of circumcision, etc. To follow Paul's instruction, in fact, meant great hardship for them within their families and within the Jewish community they lived in. - Ro. 8:35-37.

"Paul knew that the chief opposition to Christianity at that time was coming from the Jews."

"It is obvious that his purpose was to settle the difference in viewpoint between Jewish and Gentile Christians and to bring them toward complete unity as one man in Christ Jesus."

"Paul very straightforwardly and directly outlined the position of the Jews, and showed that Jews and Gentiles are on the same level before God, which required him to say some things that might have been considered an occasion for offense by Jews." - ROMANS, LETTER TO THE; Insight -2 pp. 819-821

It is obvious that this required great pain and hardship for the Jewish Christians (Ro. 9:1-5) just as the complete separation from their former lives obviously caused great hardship and persecution for the Greek/Roman Christians.

Paul, writing to the Asia Minor Christians (also composed of both Jewish and ex-pagan Christians), stressed the unity required of ALL Christians regardless of culture, circumstances, hardships, etc.:

"There is one body and one Spirit ... one Lord, one faith, one baptism, ..." - Eph. 4:4-6. And, the body of Christ is to be "built up until we all reach unity in the faith ... attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." (:12,13). "You must no longer live as the gentiles do ..." - Eph. 4:17 NIV.

In spite of Paul's clear instruction there were some Jewish Christians who were still unwilling to let go of certain parts of the Jewish teachings and traditions and were causing disunity at Antioch because of it.

Unfair as it may seem to many today, the matter was to be decided by the "governing body" in Jerusalem made up of all Jewish Christians! Surprisingly, perhaps, these Jewish Christians reaffirmed Paul's teaching: the Mosaic Law and circumcision must not be a requirement for Christians. - Acts 15.

Should the Jewish Christians at Antioch have been upset because a few Christians in far off Jerusalem were forcing them to teach and follow a doctrine they personally strongly disagreed with? Weren't they also members of the "anointed" class? Wasn't Holy Spirit also guiding them? And yet they were in strong disagreement with the "governing body"! Should they have left the organization? (Some undoubtedly did. Some probably even wrote very convincingly about the "dishonest, unfair, Spirit-resisting" organization they had just left.) Should they have attempted to continue teaching their beliefs within that organization in spite of the "governing body's" clear decision to the contrary? Should they have been disfellowshiped if they continued to disagree publicly?

And should the gentile Antioch Christians have absolutely refused to allow those Jewish Christians in far off Jerusalem decide how they were to live "Gentile" Christian lives?

If the all-Jewish Christians of the "governing body" in far off Jerusalem were truly guided by holy spirit as the Bible claims, Christians of any culture/circumstances would have to follow their decisions! And no matter what decision they made, there would always be some who personally felt that particular decision was unfair or unreasonable in some respects!

IF the Watchtower Society today is guided by holy spirit and is truly God's organization on earth as it claims, then the governing body of that organization, even though composed of imperfect men* and based in far off New York, USA, has the right and the duty to make final decisions for all Christians worldwide. And all those Christians have the duty to obey that governing body unless it clearly goes against God's word in one of the essential areas that mean eternal life! At that point a person must leave such an organization just as the Israelites should have rejected Aaron's Golden Calf (or Jeroboam's Golden Calves) and separated themselves from those whose hearts had returned to the false gods of the Egyptian culture they had known so well.

Moses, imperfect human as he was, was God's appointed leader of that vast congregation. What Moses taught them and what Moses did gave the Israelites (and accompanying Egyptians) ample evidence that God had appointed him. So, in spite of the apparent reasonableness of Miriam and Aaron's complaint about the absolute authority of Moses, they were punished by God for opposing that God-given authority. - Ex. 12.

The same goes for the apparent reasonableness of Korah and his followers (Numbers 16:3-11), but look at the consequences of that continued resistance (Num. 16:31-35). Even after those terrible consequences some of the Israelites blamed Moses' leadership for the permanent "disfellowshiping" (death) of those "people of Jehovah" (16:41) who they sincerely believed had been merely striving for justifiable, reasonable, loving changes in the leadership of the congregation. And look at what the result of that dissension was (16:42-49)!

By contrast, Moses came to see that he could judge his people differently than he had been doing, and it would be better for him and them (Ex. 18:13-27). That did not mean that if certain Israelites had opposed him or severely criticized him for his earlier method of judging them they would have been accounted right. Their opposition would still have been seen in the same light as Korah's: disobedience. But as soon as Moses changed the judging system, then those who preferred the old system had better accept the new method without opposition, or they, too, would become like Korah.

Moses probably could have chosen many different methods of judging and leading (some undoubtedly more popular and considered more "just" or "loving" than others), but that is not the real issue. The manner in which Moses judged was not the essential truth. But obedience to his judicial decisions was an essential truth.

Obedience to proper authority has always been the issue. It was the first issue raised in the Bible, and it is still the main issue today. Satan has, from the beginning and for obvious reasons, concentrated on this particular issue more than any other.

Let's look at the very first example of rightfully-required obedience, its "reasonableness" or "fairness" to men, and its consequences.
Genesis 2:16,17 states, "Jehovah God commanded the man [Adam] saying,

`Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.'" - ASV.

Now Adam apparently did not understand why he was not to eat of that tree, nor did he have to understand why. It should have been enough that he had learned by now that Jehovah was the Proper Authority, and if He said, "Don't even touch that thing," it should be obeyed!

But man's (and woman's) reasonings, if not properly controlled by experience, faith, and obedience toward the proven proper authority, and if doggedly pursued, can (and often do) lead to disobedience and its awful consequences.

Notice how a man might "reasonably" consider Adam's situation:

"Sure, Jehovah is my `head' and has given me a lot of essential true knowledge and guidance. But this is going too far. He must not have been serious about my not eating that fruit or he would have given me reasons, sat down and lovingly explained things to me. Any information leading to decisions concerning me must certainly be open to my inspection. How unfair otherwise! If God really didn't want me to have this fruit, it was terribly unfair and even cruel of him to put it in the garden at all (let alone smack in the middle of the place)! Not only that, but, if it will help me to have a knowledge of what's good and what's evil, it will help keep me from accidentally falling into evil ways, and, therefore, it is something that can actually save my life. It is something I really need, and God is actually withholding this good, necessary thing from me!"

Any normal human being would agree (at least in his heart) with most such human reasonings. And if they kept dwelling on the issue, the odds are that the majority would, in time, let such reasoning and its consequent buildup of resentment and indignation lead to "righteous" disobedience. Isn't the obvious proper course (once the rightful authority has finally been identified) to let faith and obedience rule over human reasonings and emotion?

The consequences of insisting on being "right" (or insisting on one's "rights") were extremely grievous not only to Adam and Eve but to their entire family (including you and me). Certainly its placement as the very first "lesson" in the scriptures for us and the extreme severity of its consequences make this example of disobedience one of supreme importance to everyone!

We should also consider human reasoning on the only two real authorities offered in this example (and, really, in all things). Ultimately (then and now) everything boils down to whose authority are we willing to follow - no matter what - Jehovah's or Satan's? Anything that isn't Jehovah's can only be Satan's, no matter how "fair," "reasonable," "loving," etc. that it may seem to our imperfect minds.

So if we reason on that original situation, we may actually "reason" ourselves into sympathy (and even agreement) with the disobedient ones and their acceptance of an improper authority. Notice who appears to have the more loving concern for his "subjects": Jehovah lays down an "unreasonable" demand without giving any background or reason and, instead, threatens them with death if they don't blindly do what he demands.

Satan, on the other hand, takes the time to actually explain why God has made this "unreasonable" demand (Gen. 3:5). We can see by his "concern" for man's welfare that Satan would never punish man with death for such a "reasonable" natural act. We see him advising them for their own good to take the fruit which will benefit them for the rest of their lives. He strongly encourages reasoning and "truth". - - - So, after such truly human "reasoning" which of the two authorities appears the more fair and loving?
And, as a final test of proper authority, we see Satan disagreeing with a clear-cut statement made by Jehovah: "in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." - Gen. 2:17. And Satan said, "Ye shall not surely die [in the day that ye eat therof]." - Gen. 3:4. Well, Satan had spoken truly when he told Eve that eating the fruit would open their eyes and they would know good and evil. But what about the direct contradiction between Jehovah's and Satan's statements above? Well, Adam and Eve did not die in the day that they ate of the fruit as God had stated but lived many hundreds of years thereafter, thus "proving" Satan's statement literally correct and God's false!

Truly, man is incapable of ruling himself well even when he has all the information required (which he never does). To prevent "reasoning" himself into catastrophe (as we see all around us in a "free" society: schools; juvenile gangs/rebellion; legal system breakdown; universal crime; polluting and destroying the actual planet we live on; dissent, resentment, and rebellion against any and all authority whether school teacher, boss, parent, bus driver, government official, et. al.; and much more) he must have proper authorities which everyone must support and obey. It doesn't matter that human "reasoning" can make Satan appear more just and loving than Jehovah. It doesn't matter that such "reasoning" can even make Satan appear more truthful than Jehovah.

And it certainly does no good to bitterly complain (as those did after Korah's death) about the "excessive cruelty" of the punishment for Adam and Eve's "reasonable" mistake of merely eating a piece of fruit that God had placed in their own garden - when the only true cure is to return to obedience to proper authority. Bitterly complaining about that proper authority does not alleviate the situation but, instead, only leads others to more disobedience!

The Bible has clearly given headship to the husband and father, for example. His will is to be respected by his wife and obeyed by his children. This is to be the rule for ALL Christians regardless of country, culture, or circumstances. Reasonably, we can think of all kinds of exceptions. We probably know of plenty of instances where a man's wife is clearly more intelligent, knowledgeable, reliable, etc. than her husband. Reasonably, (and lovingly, for her and her children, perhaps) one would think the wife should be allowed headship in such cases. But scripturally it is not to be! To do so would constitute disobedience to the headship of God!

In some cultures the wife is the head, and it may be extremely difficult for the members of a Christian family in such a culture to adjust. Should such people be allowed to continue their matriarchy when they become Christians? The Bible says no, in spite of the great difficulties it may cause Christians in this one culture!

Polygamy is a terrible problem for the married person who becomes a Christian in a few cultures. But scripture demands it not be overlooked, despite any localized hardships. Look at how "reasonable" and "loving" many of the organizations of Christendom are in this regard. Is this really the sign of a Christian? Christendom's churches may be easing some truly severe hardships of their members by allowing polygamous marriages to continue, but they are doing so at the expense of obedience to God's Word and the unity of the "one body, one faith"! And yet it wouldn't take behavioral scientists or university studies to conclude that severe emotional and economic strains would be suffered by many wives and their children when Christian principles are properly enforced. Suffering is greatly increased in such cases and a study of such individuals would undoubtedly show a greater number of emotionally disturbed individuals and, maybe, even a higher suicide rate among the newly-dissolved relationships. Everything that can be scripturally done to help these families should be done, but God's most important command must not be violated in behalf of the next greatest command (Mark 12:28-31; 1 John 5:2,3).

Those first Christians who were in the military had to leave that profession in spite of the hardships it may have caused them and their families. They couldn't be obedient to God's word otherwise. It probably seemed very unfair to some that the soldier (or idol-maker) had to give up his livelihood, and the wine merchant, for example, could continue his lucrative profession. The first Christians, however, didn't make "hardship dispensations" in such cases. It took several hundred years before the "more loving" Christendom began making such dispensations. And today such dispensations aren't even needed in most of Christendom's organizations: they bless and encourage their many members serving in the armed forces.

A Christian slave had to obey his human master uncomplainingly whether he was a good or a bad master. He was to serve that master with sincerity of heart. If that master was doing wrong, he will pay for it. - Col. 3:22-25. This was required as a matter of obedience to proper authority as well as for the witness it made of the conduct of Christians. Titus 2:9, 10 explains how this proper authority is to be obeyed by the Christian slave:

"be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative ... but showing good faith" - NASB.

And why should Christian slaves behave this way even toward cruel, unjust masters?

"So that they are a credit to the teaching of God our savior." - Titus 2:10, JB. Also compare 1 Tim. 6:1.

Proper authority in government (whether truly just, good or bad) is to be obeyed by Christians in all things that do not clearly violate God's commandments. That means that true Christians do not become involved in movements to change (or even criticize or protest) that government. Even if we live in a dictatorship that does not allow us all the freedom or "unalienable rights" we sincerely believe we should have, we must not rebel against that government as the rest of the world does. If this behavior is required for Christians in their relationship with worldly leaders, then how much more must we obey the decisions of men appointed by God to be our spiritual leaders on earth! Even when we disagree with some of them (as long as they do not clearly ask us to break God's essential commands) we are to be humble and obedient so that the word of God may not be spoken of abusively (as it so clearly is because of the lack of obedience to proper authority by Christendom).

It's so much better to be accused of slavish conformity by the members of Christendom than to be so plainly divided into bickering, disobedient parties and sects as are even individual churches in Christendom. Even the strongest of them exists divided, certainly not "one body"! Clearly disrespectful and disobedient to the authority of their own church leadership in various areas. Such open display of disobedience, lack of humility, and divisiveness proclaims to the world what they think of the idea of obedience to "God's earthly representatives" (think of the average Catholic's "obedience" to the Pope's authority, for example), and therefore, obedience to God himself.
The unity of Christians cannot be overemphasized. And this unity can be achieved in no other way than through obedience. One of Christendom's more respected reference works, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, tells us

"there is one abiding will of God ..., and in conformity with the will of this one God there is one church composed of Jews and Gentiles." [And, on the same page, Jesus' unity with God is explained this way:] "Adam, the disobedient one, brought death; Jesus, the obedient One, brought life .... He is one with God the Father (Jn. 10:30; 17:11,21 ff.)." - p. 721, volume 2, Zondervan, 1986.

Jesus is "one" with the Father only through absolute obedience to that proper authority (1 Cor. 11:3). The Father does not conform His will to Jesus' to obtain this oneness. Jesus does not rebel, argue, complain, or murmur. He immediately adopts his Father's will as his own and is thus one with the Father.

Notice how another of Christendom's respected references, The NIV Study Bible, explains the above scriptures. John 17:11 in that reference work shows Jesus praying to his Father in heaven about his earthly followers: "so that they may be one as we are one." A footnote for this verse states:

"The latter part of the prayer strongly emphasizes unity .... The unity is to be like that between the Father and the Son. It is much more than unity of organization, but the church's present divisions are the result of the failures of Christians."

And the footnote for John 17:21 states

"The unity of believers should have an effect on outsiders, to convince them of the mission of Christ. Jesus' prayer is a rebuke of the groundless and often bitter divisions among believers."

And a footnote for 17:22 says:

"Again the Lord emphasized the importance of unity among his followers, and again the standard is the unity of the Father and the Son." - Zondervan, 1985.

Another highly respected New Testament scholar, Dr. William Barclay ("world-renowned Scottish New Testament interpreter [and] profound scholar and a writer of extraordinary gifts"), in his popular The Daily Study Bible Series, also comments on this oneness of God, Jesus, and true Christians. Commenting on the above scriptures in John 17, Barclay writes:

"Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples. Where there are divisions, where there is exclusiveness, where there is competition between the Churches, the cause of Christianity is
harmed and the prayer of Jesus frustrated. The gospel cannot truly be preached
in any congregation which is not one united band of brothers. The world cannot be evangelized by competing churches. Jesus prayed that his disciples might be fully one as he and the Father are one; and there is no prayer of his which has been so hindered from being answered by individual Christians and by the Churches than this." - pp. 215, 216.

"Further, as Jesus saw it and prayed for it, it was to be precisely that unity which convinced the world of the truth of Christianity and of the place of Christ. It is more natural for men to be divided than to be united. It is more human for men to fly apart than to come together. Real unity between all Christians would be a `supernatural fact which would require a supernatural explanation.' It is the tragic fact that it is just that united front that the Church has never shown to men." - p. 218, The Gospel of John, volume 2, revised edition, 1975, The Westminster Press.

When the Watchtower Society changed the elder arrangements, for example, they were changing a method (like Moses did) not an essential truth. And those many Christians who were stumbled by it (perhaps they were even correct that the old method was better in some respects) exchanged the much more essential life-saving requirement of humility and obedience to proper authority for the right to dissent in a "reasonable" and "just" cause. (Be sure to carefully read the "Obedience" article in the Aid or Insight book.)
If the governing body today is not giving proper consideration to the advice and recommendations from the local committees of brothers in the various countries/cultures before they make decisions or if they are exercising poor judgment in behalf of their brothers in certain areas, they are responsible to God for their actions.

"Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith." "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden ...." - Heb. 13:7, 17 New International Version.

If certain men within God's organization are being consistently false to Jehovah's spirit (as happened throughout Bible history even), they will be corrected eventually, or they will pay the awful consequences. God's faithful "slave" must not be abandoned or bitterly criticized because of the actions of certain individuals within it. - compare Col. 3:22-25.

It's doubtful if any decision made by God's leaders on earth hasn't been considered unfair or unloving by some. Imagine how some must have felt about 1 Tim. 5:9-16, for example, or about the woman and her children who, because of God's scriptural command, had to endure in silence the God-given authority of what sometimes seemed to be an unjust husband and father. And wasn't it terribly cruel to not allow those persecuted Gentile Christians (whose captors allowed them only food with blood in it) to eat such food in order to preserve their lives? And what would it have hurt to allow persecuted Christians to escape great hardship, and even torture and death, by merely burning a pinch of incense in front of the emperor's image? Wouldn't God have known that they did it unwillingly? And yet the "leaders" didn't allow it.

Do we really have the right to criticize those spirit-anointed Christian leaders because their decisions seem "unloving" or "unreasonable" to some of us? All of us can find places in the Bible that seem "cruel" or "unreasonable" to us. Should we grumble against the authority of the Bible? If we do, we have lost everything! If we do, we have become no different than Babylon the Great which has failed so completely to show the absolutely necessary oneness required by Jesus' prayer in John 17.

Jesus, of course, being the direct representative of God himself, and being the mediator between God and man, had the right and the duty to criticize the "governing body" of God's organization on earth. Those who are supposed to be led by that "governing body," however, do not have such a right. Notice how Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 23, really "ripped up" the "teachers of the law and the Pharisees" for their conduct even though they were the leaders and the "proper authority" at that time!

But although he was condemning the actions of these leaders, Jesus also told his followers this:

"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you."! - Matt. 23:1-3 NIV.

Yes, in spite of their "fruits" these men were, at that time, the rightful "proper authority" of God's organization on earth. Men were to obey them. God, through Jesus, was to correct them in his own good time.

However, if there is no single organization on earth today being directed by God's spirit (which would certainly be strange since there was always one single such organization from Moses through New Testament times, at least, and these critical last days certainly demand it, also), then it would not be out of line to question and criticize the leadership of any religious organization. But it would also be a waste of time. Why try to change an organization if it isn't directed by God anyway? Why be any part of such an organization?

On the other hand, if there is a single organization being guided by Jehovah's spirit (as would be expected if the Good News is truly to be spread completely and properly - see Barclay quote above), we would certainly not want to put ourselves in Korah's place when he questioned the authority and methods of Moses with the "reasonable" statement that the entire congregation was being guided by Jehovah, and, therefore, the entire congregation (or at least all the chief representatives of the assembly) should have equal authority with Moses and Aaron. - Num. 16:3-11.

Certainly this must appeal to the hearts of men of Western culture who are familiar with "Democracy" and representative forms of government. But is it really God's way? When it came to the hearts of the majority, we often saw God's people drifting away to pagan ways which they frequently defended as being forms of worship of Jehovah. For example, almost immediately after assenting at Mt. Sinai to be God's people forever, the majority decided they would "honor Jehovah" with a golden calf.

Notice other examples of "reasonable" mutterings against Moses' leadership at Numbers 14 and 21:4-6. These are specifically referred to at 1 Cor. 10:9-11 as " warnings for us" today to "not grumble" (NIV). We have, instead, the proper example of David to follow. He refused (even under extreme pressure) to go against Jehovah's properly appointed representative, King Saul, even though Saul was obviously acting improperly!

A study of scripture (and the history of the very first Christians) shows that Christians would not compromise. However, compromise began to be tolerated (not long after the death of the last Apostle) in the early Roman church. Different teachings/customs were more and more allowed to be incorporated into different local congregations in consideration of their own distinct cultural backgrounds. And, finally, the most popular of such compromises found their way into the official Roman Church doctrines and beliefs and were enforced on all "Christians."

Scriptural restrictions on blood, political/military service, pagan ceremonies, etc., for which early Christians would rather die than break, were now overlooked because they caused "hardships" for some.

The "worship" of Mary was tolerated in certain communities long before it became official Church policy. It just grew in popularity until the Roman church adopted it.

Many different popular concepts of God were tolerated in different communities until the Roman church officially compromised and worked many of them into its official "orthodox" trinity doctrine which now must be accepted, 99% of Christendom believes, or they will be "accursed"! What if the "governing body" of the "Church" had never tolerated divergent views of God in the first place? Then the blasphemous trinity doctrine could never have taken hold. In fact the early "Church" could have preserved original Christianity instead of destroying it if it had "cruelly" insisted on conformance to Bible teachings from the very beginning and ignored what the majority wanted.

The pronunciation of God's name came to be a strong issue in Jewish culture sometime before the 4th century A.D. It came to be extremely offensive to Jews to hear God's name spoken aloud. For Christians in or near Jewish communities, then, it would have been extremely difficult to continue to use the Divine Name (as scripture demands). And so we see God's name actually removed from the Christian Greek scriptures by the 4th century (as it was from the Septuagint, also) probably to accommodate this cultural "hardship".

Even today localized compromises with cultural demands are permitted by nearly all of Christendom. Polygamy, for example, is allowed (either openly or covertly) by many such organizations in certain cultures and not in others. Even compromises with such God-condemned things as Voodoo, ancestor worship, etc. are tolerated in certain cultures by the Roman Catholic Church (and others). And such things as abortion, fortune-telling, astrology, etc. which are taught to be sinful by the Catholic Church are almost universally overlooked by it! Christendom has obviously abdicated its authority and is a false leader. Anyone obeying such an authority is in company with Korah's followers or "the blind who follow blind guides" - Matt. 15:14.

The big decision has to be: which is the one organization that has come out of Babylon the Great and is preaching like Noah when the final days are winding down to the end? (There must be only one body, one faith, which alone of all the many religious "bodies" on earth is being guided by God's spirit.)

Even Christendom admits the necessity of God's organization on earth:

"God has commanded his people to organize themselves into distinct visible ecclesiastical communities with constitutions, laws and officers ... and discipline, for the great purpose ... of making known the gospel of that kingdom, and of gathering in all its elect subjects" - p. 134, Today's Dictionary of the Bible, Bethany House Publ., 1982.

The obviously essential teachings of the Watchtower organization should convince any interested person which organization is the one organization:

--- Exactly who is God? (Jn 17:3; 2 Thess. 1:7, 8, among others, show how essential such knowledge really is).

--- Who, alone, is proclaiming God's Name as He says must be done in the last days? (Ezek. 39:6, 7; Jer. 17:19-21).

--- Who, alone, is actively preaching the kingdom in the entire world as Jesus said must be done in the very last days? (Matt. 24:14; 28:19). Not all the nearly 1 billion members of Christendom combined are as active in "all the nations" as is the Watchtower Society, and no other organization even begins to approach the Watchtower organization in publications which further that "Great Commission." And certainly none of Christendom's organizations is actively preaching the kingdom message at all!

--- Who, alone, has come all the way out of Babylon the Great? You know, Babylon was a large city with very wide roads and huge gates. When Jehovah insists that all his people "get out of her, my people" (Rev. 18:4), he obviously does not mean for some to take a few steps toward the gate (or even only a hundred steps if they still haven't reached the gate and continued on out) and then stop! You must take all the steps required to retrace your entire route back along that broad, spacious road and on out through that huge gate, and then you must find the narrow gate and stay on the cramped road that leads to eternal life - Matt. 7:13, 14.

But what other organization has not stopped short of exiting that broad Babylonian gate? What other organization does not still retain at least some of those blatantly Babylonian doctrines/ ceremonies/ holy days, etc. whether they have taken a certain number of steps back toward that gate as "Protestant" organizations or not? Why, 99% of them can't (or won't) even rid themselves of the 3-in-one God concept which is so obviously part of "Babylon"! Or make any effort to uncover God's name which so many of them have knowingly helped bury!

-- Who alone has actually made a reality of the "one body ... one spirit ... one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all"? - Eph. 4:4-6. Who has really embodied a great crowd who sincerely strive for "complete lowliness of mind and mildness, with long-suffering ... earnestly endeavoring to observe the oneness of the spirit in the uniting bond of peace"? - Eph. 4:2,3.

This very solid unity or "oneness" which is so often criticized is, in itself, a necessity according to scripture (and reason). It is also unique among all the organizations claiming to be Christian today.

Of course you know that there are other important scriptural teachings which this organization lives by that other organizations either completely ignore or give only lip-service to. But when considering only these few essentials even, it becomes obvious that there is either only one organization today being guided by Jehovah's spirit or there is none!

As Peter said when even Jesus taught some things that stumbled his followers who didn't completely understand,

"Who shall we go to? You have the MESSAGE OF ETERNAL LIFE" - John 6:68 The Jerusalem Bible.

Many who became Jehovah's Witnesses came to this same conclusion in spite of some doubts about the certainty of various other teachings and scriptural interpretations by the Watchtower Society. Some of these teachings can seem quite important, but, even if wrong, these are not really the "messages of eternal life"!

Shouldn't these Witnesses hope to follow the God-appointed leadership on earth which has "the message of eternal life" even if it tells them a few things they personally find difficult to accept? Even if they believe they can prove it is probably wrong in certain of these secondary areas? After all, "Who else is there to go to?" Who else has the message of eternal life?
It's not worth being "right" (as Korah probably truly believed he was, or those stumbled by Watchtower organizational method changes believed they were) and losing everlasting life for it. There must be priorities in all things. Being right in one area does not compensate for being wrong in a greater area. Who would choose an operation to remove a small non-harmful blemish which may be causing some slight irritation when there is a distinct possibility that the operation itself will lead to death?

Look at this "truth" given by the NIV Bible translation committee, for example:

"Here is why we did not [use `Jehovah' in the NIV]: .... We are the victims of 350 years of the King James tradition. It is far better to get two million to read it - that is how many have bought it to date - and to follow the King James, than have two thousand buy it and have the correct translation of [God's name]." - WT, July 15, 1979, p.27.

It is probably true that using "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" would have drastically reduced the number of people who would have read it. And it is true that we should do our best to get as many people as possible to read the Bible. But profaning God's name in order to get more people to read the Bible is not a truth that will lead any one to eternal life. In spite of the fact that a majority of these "Christian" translators voted to translate in the King James tradition (yes, a number of them actually felt strongly that the Name should be honestly translated) it is plain that they have seriously sinned. Their sense of essential priorities is fatally flawed: they have exchanged an essential truth that means eternal life for a "reasoned truth" of much less value.

No one must ever compromise any of the essential life-saving truths, but to be truly part of the "one body" everyone must compromise some personal beliefs, preferences, interpretations, etc. because obedience to proper authority is one of those essential life-saving requirements. We can never be "one" with God and Jesus (John 17:21-23) without such obedience. And for those of us who have had the most difficulty in coming to fully accept such a requirement, we can expect the most severe testing to come in that area.


*(MANY people would have STRONG objections to this "prejudiced" exclusion of women from the governing body, and from a human viewpoint within THIS particular western culture it does SEEM unfair. I'll bet there are plenty of scholarly studies showing the "cruel injustice" and "psychological harm" caused by such "chauvinistic" treatment of women. But, in spite of such APPARENT harm done to our sisters through such "unloving discrimination" we MUST follow clear scriptural principles. And we MUST remain "one body". We cannot allow cultural/circumstantial differences to either violate God's Word in some parts of the world or to fragment the unity of the organization.)

For more, see:

Can't find what you're looking for in the search box? Try using the alphabetical list of topics below (for example, see "A" for "Angels"):
# A B C D E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L M  N O  PQ R S T UV  WXYZ