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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      The law allowing male Jehovah's Witnesses to avoid conscription was ruled discriminatory by Finland's Parliament.

      Parliament on Wednesday turned over a law that has allowed male members of Jehovah’s Witnesses to skip military or civilian service without facing a prison term. The exemption dating from 1987 has long been considered problematic from a constitutional standpoint.
      Last year, the Helsinki Court of Appeal ruled that the Finnish practice of allowing male Jehovah's Witnesses to avoid conscription is discriminatory. The ruling related to a discrimination case brought by a man who was imprisoned in 2016 for refusing conscripted service.
      Under current legislation Jehovah's Witnesses may postpone their entry into service for three years at a time (starting at age 18), until their obligation officially ceases at age 29.
      Proponents of the religious faction say their objection is rooted in their pacifist reading of the Bible. With the exception of women, who have never been legally bound to enter conscription, no other groups in Finland have had the same right.
      https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/jehovahs_witnesses_lose_exemption_from_military_service/10666555
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Two South Korean men who refused to do military service have had their convictions overturned in a landmark ruling against the government.
      Cho Rak Hoon and Kim Hyung Geun were freed by an appeals court in the southern city of Gwangju today. They had been sentenced to 18 months in prison for refusing military service at their trials, in June 2015 and May 2016 respectively, according to Amnesty International.
       
      http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/appeal-court-frees-jehovahs-witnesses-who-refused-to-serve-in-south-korean-military-p0x3gvdcn
    • By The Librarian
      Several hundred ultra-Orthodox Jews demonstrated in Jerusalem on Sunday to protest against a court ruling that could require them to serve in the army like their secular counterparts.
      The demonstration in an ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood of the city was organised by a particularly hardline group known as Eda Haredit.
      Rabbis gave speeches in Yiddish in the Mea Shearim neighbourhood, while a banner read: "We're Jews and therefore will not enlist in the Zionist army."
      http://www.france24.com/en/20170917-ultra-orthodox-israelis-protest-against-mandatory-army-service?ref=tw_i
      The ultra-Orthodox oppose serving for a variety of reasons, with the most extreme believing a Jewish state is not allowed before the coming of the Messiah.
    • By The Librarian
      There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
      2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
      3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
      4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
      5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
      6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.
      7 And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually;
      8 And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.
      9 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
      10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
      11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
      12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
      13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
      14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
      15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
      16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
      17 Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate,
      18 And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.
      19 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.
      20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.
      21 Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?
      22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.
      23 Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
      24 And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and he had called together his kinsmen and near friends.
      25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.
      26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.
      27 And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.
      28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
      29 Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?
      30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,
      31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
      32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.
      33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
      34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
      35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
      36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
      37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
      38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
      39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
      40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
      41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.
      42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
      43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
      44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
      45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
      46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
      47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
      48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
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    • True, however, testing the spirit does not include drawing one's own conclusions outside scripture. I have not found an insistence where the Watchtower has gone beyond what is written. Do they try to simplify certain things, yes they do. That doesn’t mean they are stepping away from the context. Another thing is with the comparison made. The GB are following the true spirit of God like the apostles. Therefore, they have NOT taken the position of the Jerusalem counsel. If you have, then you sit in Moses seat. Matthew 23:2 If the passion is to correct, as God corrected his people, Then I would suspect there is a resemblance to be equal to Christ as the Pope seems to indicate. The GB do not hold themselves in that high regard as to think, they can question God's motives for humanity. I would recommend studying the issue further. There are areas that haven’t been included with many presentations here. Since you claim the Watchtower is misrepresenting an issue that has become an obstacle to your personal faith, then I would make light of JTR and TTH comments about contacting the Watchtower directly. Feeding an assumption only emboldens the God of this world, no one else. Correct. There is only one way to view scripture. Anyone deviating from that is causing personal harm to the spirit of others. It doesn’t matter if those individuals hate the Watchtower, it’s by their own spoken words and actions of clear and concise misinterpretation of scripture, and misapplication of the Watchtower literature where they fail to see the difference. Removing themselves from the context of scripture to argue with the strength of hate and discourse is the sole definition of scripture when Christ clearly stated not to and to stay away from. Those are the dangers when we engage in an open forum. We like to think it is to discuss issues. However, the ever present danger will always be, the influence of the devil. It is one thing to defend the truth, but quite another thing to defend the truth when one’s heart is conflicted. Merely following that conduct disqualifies anyone from stating they are Christian. That is the kind of Christian Jesus spoke of as a danger. The confusion would lie with how the public perceives the Watchtower under the direction of the bible Student association. The word “association” should give anyone, pause to rethink, Russell and Rutherford belonged to the International Bible Student Association. A reason, Rutherford dismissed the edger pyramid scheme straight up. Russell, used it as a comparison, nothing more. Another thing that witnesses should consider, those works were made by not allowing Christendom’s view of scripture. Therefore, Russell essentially started from scratch. There are far more reasons why those dates were accepted. Mainly, by events of that time. Bible Students still believe, the Jewish nation has a pivotal role in the last days. According to Christ everyone became relative in the last days including the Jews. They are not the sole reason for the last days as Christendom exerts. Remember, even the most conservative view which is Bishop Ussher, his calculation referenced 586BC as the 3rd instance of judgment by Nebuchadnezzar. The third, not the first nor the second as historians and scholars claim, but the third. This is why history itself is flawed, since they continue to insist, there were only 2 campaigns against Judea and Jerusalem. Mainly 597-587BC. I will not beat on the bush with this one. I am confident we both know what limitations are imposed and previous actions taken.  
    • An interesting take with a lot to say for it. When Jude mentions these "rocks beneath the surface" for example, it always reminds me of the first time I read "Paul and Thecla" while at Bethel, but at the NYPL, via a book about Christian widows of the 2nd century. Paul and Thecla is an early Christian short story or novella with Thecla, not Paul, as the hero. It's one of a few stories of this type, probably written by and for women in the early Christian congregations. The antagonists of some of these stories are the 2nd century "circuit overseers" who would go from congregation to congregation saying all the right things from the "platform" but then they would also quietly worm their way into the houses of well-meaning sisters and widows, and try to take advantage of them sexually. I was quite surprised when the Watchtower last year mentioned Paul and Thecla for the second time in nearly 100 years, and was again surprisingly supportive of the work as containing possible reflections of true traditions believed in the 2nd century: *** w18 March p. 13 par. 3 Questions From Readers *** The Acts of Paul and Thecla was highly regarded in early centuries, as confirmed by the fact that 80 Greek manuscripts of it exist, as well as versions in other languages. Thus, our artistic presentations are in line with some ancient indications of what the apostle looked like. I personally have never experienced a "bad" circuit overseer. All of them have been exemplary and I have always looked forward to their visits, especially when hearing a new one for the first time. But I think all of us old-timers have had experience with congregational drifters, and we often look at them with the same kinds of suspicions. Sometimes it's a young brother who is very vague about his last congregation and who quickly latches on to an association with another eligible sister. Sometimes it's a more elderly brother, perhaps even a special pioneer, looking for an alternate congregation, hoping the trouble he caused in the last congregation won't get reported in too much detail. (Speaking from a real example, this elderly brother also latched onto a "relationship," and place to stay, with a family of sisters: a sister with an unbelieving and ailing husband, and a couple of daughters. It was a recipe for disaster.) The younger brother caused some heart-ache by getting engaged to a sister, and the engagement was later broken off.  It's hard for me not to imagine such cases when I read Jude. So, at first, it was hard for me to see them as drifters into forums like this one to cause other kinds of trouble, but I can definitely see a similarity now.  
    • I’m not really sure what “worshipful” means.  When celebrities come into town, they are mobbed by fans. Are those fans worshipful? I might say yes, but the fans themselves will just say they they are flocking to them out of respect for their accomplishments. If brothers pose for selfies with the GB members (much to the latter’s annoyance, I am consistently told, someone said with the possible exception of Lett) are they “worshipful?” It’s in the eye of the beholder, I think. Though I have a great many faults, admiring personalities is not one of them. I would love to have a GB member stay at my house so I could ignore him. “There’s your room—make yourself at home. If you’d like to visit, that works fine, but you have many things to do and if you ignore us completely that also works fine with us,”  Probably there are few words they could hear that would please them more. And no, @James Thomas Rook Jr., I wouldn’t present them with a list of my QUESTIONS that, as MEN of HONOR, they are obligated to answer,
    • Just for interest, here is an interview with prince Andrew. It's acutely embarrassing the excuses  he makes and the denials.... Read comments, they are entertaining  
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