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Juan Rivera

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  1. Ok. I posted this on the other thread yesterday. What do you think about the reasoning? https://www.theworldnewsmedia.org/topic/90798-what-is-our-scriptural-basis-for-refusing-transfusion-of-products-rendered-from-blood/?do=findComment&comment=189274 http://truetheology.net/forum-bkup/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=172
  2. Of course they can, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to find exactly that all throughout the New Testament. @Many Miles You can do as you like. You can keep psychoanalyzing and doing apologetics, while making assertions that will get you nowhere. Or you can engage in good faith dialogue and actually show how they both can’t be true. I understand the Blood teaching is a life and death issue. I take it so serious even to the point of white martyrdom (disfellowshipped, insult, derision) and death. But I’m not going to take your word for it on how to go about seeking reform. The stakes are far too high. Especially with someone anonymous, who doesn’t attend public meetings, who hides his identity and can’t take responsibility for his words by allowing them to be connected with his personal identity.The sins of Heresy and Division are errors too serious to risk on the basis of a private judgment or a hermeneutical toss up between the Congregation’s doctrine and your interpretation of the Bible. One does not slice up the Body of Christ on a maybe. One would have to be absolutely certain that one is right, that the Congregation is wrong, and that schism from the Congregation is justified, because one will have to stand before the Bridegroom and give an account for having carved up His Bride into pieces, and for having influenced others to do so as well by one's actions and example, and because one's eternal salvation is at stake. I would not want to have to stand before the throne and answer for having perpetuated schism on the basis of mere uncertain speculation. You can give up on your fellow Brothers like Bro. Hal Flemings and treat us with contempt. Or you can roll up your sleeves, and serve the Congregation, and help clean up the mess. Leaving the Congregation sets an example for others, that separating is permissible. In other words, separating only adds to the mess to be cleaned up, by creating a separation from the Congregation, and by creating a scandalous example to others, that division is ok when the going gets tough. In our fast food era, we want everything to be better, right now. But have to be prepared to live our whole lives, serving the Congregation in faithfulness, seeking reform, without seeing the changes we’d like to see. That’s because ultimately, it is not about us, or what we want, or what fulfills us.
  3. @Many Miles No. In very simple terms the Congregation cannot teach whatever she wants. And certainly cannot teach that the Old Covenant is somehow still valid or that we can be saved by it. We already said that she cannot contradict the faith that has been handed down. Cannot contradict the Good News that were once and for all established. Cannot contradict the primary teachings: Hebrews 6:1,2. Cannot contradict the core teachings. Cannot command us to violate our conscience. There are numerous explicit statements and teachings within the Bible.Such as: Jesus Christ is the Son of God. God is Almighty. God is the Creator. Jesus Christ died and was resurrected. Jesus Christ provided the ransom for the salvation of mankind. If the Governing Body came out and stated that the scriptures are no longer considered inspired of God or that Jesus Christ was not resurrected, that would be clear and defined stand against what the scriptures teach. That would be apostasy, and naturally any Bible believing Christian would walk away from an organization that would promote such and idea, and rightfully so. To do so would immediately disqualify them from any claim of being the body of Christ for that could not be the result of God’s spirit upon them, but rather the opposite.
  4. Is that what we say officially? I knew that we consider it a Christian law closely tied to the Salvational issues discussed in that Council. As I understand, in Acts 15 the Congregation was speaking with its teaching and interpretative authority role given by Christ, assisted by the holy spirit. As you know, some understand that Apostolic decree as a pastoral decision not a doctrinal one. A discipline/ prohibition/ stipulation/ dietary custom that could later be rescinded /relaxed. I need to read more about this. I thought this command was given to fulfill a particular need in the first century where there was no social system of assistance. Again, I would say it was given by the authority of the Congregation, in this case Paul. As to how the Congregation will interpret it today( a principle, prudential judgment, a policy, a local arrangement) it’s within the prerogative of the Congregation. Such measures could of been for a particular group, or a particular season, because of what was needed for a particular time or circumstance. Paul could be saying that this is what he believed Jehovah was calling them to do in that time for some particular reason. I have to look into it.
  5. Ok. Let me know how much we agree. As Witnesses we do not see the laws and rules and commands laid out by the congregation as a list framework or performance treadmill (as stuff you gotta do for the rest of your life) but rather we see them under the love framework. We forgive seventy times seven, we turn the other cheek, pray, confess our sins, repent, not forsake the assembling together with other believers, give to the poor, visit those in prison,(Matthew 24), submit and obey those in authority, provide for one’s family, honor our parents, work (or not eat), continue to believe and affirm the good news, not disbelieve any aspect, etc. But our love framework does not resolve into a list, because love does not reduce to a list. The love framework is not about getting rewards, but about giving everything we can to Jehovah, out of love for Him, just as you would give everything you owned, to help a person you loved very much. Jehovah Himself is our reward.This is the heartbeat of the Witness, to live so as to love Jehovah as much as possible in this present life. And those commands given by the Congregation helps us know how to love. So to see it as merely a list of rules is to see it apart from the love paradigm. But in our framework, receiving love does not mean doing away with the law. The law teaches us how live out the love we have received. We meditate on the commands. This is one way in which we examine our conscience daily. But it is not just a list of do’s and don’t’s, just as marriage is not a list of dos and don’ts. It is a relationship, a fellowship. There are do’s and don’ts in a relationship, but that doesn’t reduce the relationship to a list of rules. Same with the love framework, because marriage is a type of Christ’s union with His Congregation. Love therefore does not do away with the law, and the love framework does not do away with the list of laws. But in the love framework, love is not merely an aid for doing better at keeping the law. Love is the fulfillment of the law. We meditate on the law to deepen our understanding of and further conform our lives to the love that is already within us.
  6. I hear you. Here's where I'm coming from. In 1 Corinthians 9:9, for example, Paul says, “For it is written in the Law of Moses: “You must not muzzle a bull when it is threshing out the grain.” Obviously, Paul is not saying that the Mosaic law concerning oxen still has legal force, rather, Paul is merely extracting the Mosaic principle of providing for the needs of the worker, in this case, the preacher of the Good News. Likewise, I'm saying that whatever law is cited or practiced today in Christianity, whether it is natural law, Mosaic law, etc., it is only because the Congregation, under its own legal authority, decided to incorporate those particular principles into the New Covenant. At the present time, the Old Covenant’s purpose is to serve as a model, a precedent, a teacher, for the divine principles that will be needed to allow the New Covenant to function as efficiently as it possibly can. But there is only one covenant that has legal force, that can save and condemn and that Jehovah recognizes today.
  7. Rotherham: "Some have presented the notion that the Apostolic Decree to “abstain from blood” and the other abstinences mentioned were not commands for Christians to adhere to indefinitely, but were simply concessions made for the sensitivities of the Jewish populace among them. These ones appeal to 1 Corinthians 8 to prove this claim. We will take a closer look at this to determine the truth of the matter. The topic in Acts 15 specifically addressed what some JEWISH Christians felt the Gentiles had to do to be saved. That WAS the backdrop of the entire conversation as is clearly spelled out in the first verse and the verses to follow. Follow it through and you will see this clearly demonstrated. Notice the following that is interspersed throughout this chapter 15: Verse 1: The supporters of the circumcision claim that Gentile Christians must be circumcised AND observe the Law of Moses in order TO BE SAVED. Verse 2: The dispute escalates and they decide to take it to the Apostles and older men in Jerusalem. Verse 5: Again the Jewish faction states it is NECESSARY for Gentiles to be circumcised and follow the Law of Moses. In what sense were they using the word NECESSARY? In keeping with the context as established with verse one they were stating that is was necessary for their SALVATION to get circumcised and follow the Law of Moses. Verse 11: Peter clarifies the Christian position regarding SALVATION which is through the undeserved kindness (grace) of the Lord Jesus. Verses 23-29: After a decision is made regarding the issues, a letter is drawn up to inform the Gentiles what would be NECESSARY for them to do that had a bearing on the principles found in the Mosaic Law. Again, in keeping with the context, the word NECESSARY is used in regard to SALVATION as that is the entire backdrop to the dispute as is shown from verses 1, 5 and 11. To deny a connection with salvation is to deny the context. At this point I would like to address further the claim that this is merely a command given out of regard for Jewish sensitivities. There are a number of things which speak against such a conclusion. First, as I have demonstrated, the backdrop of the discussion was SALVATION. How could it not be in regard to Acts 15:1, 5 and 11 in the immediate context? Secondly, consider this: If such a command to abstain from things sacrificed to idols and things strangled and from blood was merely for the sensitivities of the Jews one could ask why the Apostles and older men did not recommend “circumcision” for Gentile Christians which was a MUCH MORE burning and divisive issue of that day? The circumcision issue was the CAUSE for the conference of the body at Jerusalem and the moving cause for writing the letter! There was strong opposition to the decree about circumcision by those Jews who falsely claimed to be Christian and insisted on staying under the Law. Notice the following passages: Galatians 5:3-6, 11, 12; 6:12-15; Romans 2:25-29; 4:9-12; Philippians 3:2-4. If anything should have been considered in regard to Jewish sensitivities it should have been that one, yet, why would the apostles conciliate them on the point of blood and things sacrificed to idols and raise greater opposition to circumcision, since we know that Paul in the very next chapter was willing to let someone BE CIRCUMCISED out of regard for the JEWISH SENSITIVITIES? (Acts 16:3) Surely, if the list in Acts 15 was merely for their sensitivities, circumcision would have been included since the next chapter shows how they handled circumcision in regard to Jewish sensitivities. With that considered and with the backdrop of the entire council being a connection with salvation, this should dispel the notion in anyone’s mind that it was not binding and lasting MORAL LAW. It WAS binding and lasting moral Law. The sensitivity argument does not fit the context and neither does the claim that the issues did not have to do with salvation. Furthermore, consider the following information in Insight on the Scriptures under “Blood” (published by Jehovah’s Witnesses): Noah and his sons were allowed by Jehovah to add animal flesh to their diet after the Flood, but they were strictly commanded not to eat blood. (Ge 9:1, 3, 4) God here set out a regulation that applied, not merely to Noah and his immediate family, but to all mankind from that time on, because all those living since the Flood are descendants of Noah’s family. Concerning the permanence of this prohibition, Joseph Benson noted: “It ought to be observed, that this prohibition of eating blood, given to Noah and all his posterity, and repeated to the Israelites, in a most solemn manner, under the Mosaic dispensation, has never been revoked, but, on the contrary, has been confirmed under the New Testament, Acts xv.; and thereby made of perpetual obligation.”—Benson’s Notes, 1839, Vol. I, p. 43. … [The Apostolic] decree rests, ultimately, on God’s command not to eat blood, as given to Noah and his sons and, therefore, to all mankind. In this regard, the following is found in The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended, by Sir Isaac Newton (Dublin, 1728, p. 184): “This law [of abstaining from blood] was ancienter [sic] than the days of Moses, being given to Noah and his sons, long before the days of Abraham: and therefore when the Apostles and Elders in the Council at Jerusalem declared that the Gentiles were not obliged to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses, they excepted this law of abstaining from blood, and things strangled, as being an earlier law of God, imposed not on the sons of Abraham only, but on all nations, while they lived together in Shinar under the dominion of Noah: and of the same kind is the law of abstaining from meats offered to Idols or false Gods, and from fornication.”—Italics his. …The Jerusalem council sent its decision to the Christian congregations to be observed. (Ac 16:4) About seven years after the Jerusalem council issued the decree, Christians continued to comply with the “decision that they should keep themselves from what is sacrificed to idols as well as from blood and what is strangled and from fornication.” (Ac 21:25) And more than a hundred years later, in 177 C.E., in Lyons (now in France), when religious enemies falsely accused Christians of eating children, a woman named Biblis said: “How would such men eat children, when they are not allowed to eat the blood even of irrational animals?”—The Ecclesiastical History, by Eusebius, V, I, 26. Early Christians abstained from eating any sort of blood. In this regard Tertullian (c. 155-a. 220 C.E.) pointed out in his work Apology (IX, 13, 14): “Let your error blush before the Christians, for we do not include even animals’ blood in our natural diet. We abstain on that account from things strangled or that die of themselves, that we may not in any way be polluted by blood, even if it is buried in the meat. Finally, when you are testing Christians, you offer them sausages full of blood; you are thoroughly well aware, of course, that among them it is forbidden; but you want to make them transgress.” Minucius Felix, a Roman lawyer who lived until about 250 C.E., made the same point, writing: “For us it is not permissible either to see or to hear of human slaughter; we have such a shrinking from human blood that at our meals we avoid the blood of animals used for food.”—Octavius, XXX, 6. Surely “fornication” was not being forbidden for the sake of Jewish sensitivities. It was forbidden absolutely, and the word “necessary” in verse 28 would certainly mean necessary in the same sense. The word “necessary” is applied equally to each thing in the list. Fornication in ANY form would not only cause offense, but would be a death-dealing sin against God. Likewise with the rest of the list. The word “necessary” would not apply to one item in the list differently then it would apply to the rest. Therefore, one of those things in the list is unquestionably a sin that if committed without repentance could cost us our salvation. What about the others though that are in that list? Do we see indication that those things are “sin” as well, or are they simply issues of sensitivity? Let’s take a look at the very word that others use to establish that what was really spoken of was just a sensitivity issue and not a sin that could cost us our salvation. That word used is “eidolothuton,” generally translated as “things sacrificed to idols.” Also another very pertinent phrase that we must include in this examination is “alisgema eidolon,” generally translated as things “polluted by idols” or “pollution of idols,” found at Acts 15:20. We will note first that the phrase “pollution” of idols in verse 20 is equated with the phrase “things sacrificed to idols” in verse 29. So, in this context, whatever was meant by the “pollution” of idols was also meant by what was stated in verse 29. It should also be noted that the word “meat” as is found in many translations of verse 29 does not occur there, which is a bit misleading to the overall context. The Greek word there used simply means “things sacrificed to idols.” There is no “meat” specified at all. So what was spoken of in verse 29 was a “pollution” of idols as is stated in verse 20, they being parallel statements. Therefore, we are not just speaking of “things” sacrificed to idols but the “pollution” that those things would create, which seems a clear reference to the fact this is speaking of “idolatry,” and not just items that might serve as idols to the pagan mind. Do we have any other biblical evidence to help us appreciate that even the phrase “things sacrificed to idols” could be understood in a “forbidden” sense to ALL Christians? Not just for sake of sensitivity issues but because of direct idolatrous connection? Yes we do. In fact, one of those occurrences is in the very chapter that most refer to as the passage that supposedly waters down the Apostolic Decree to a mere sensitivity issue. But first, before coming to 1 Corinthians 8, let’s look at another passage which clearly equates the phrase “things sacrificed to idols” with “sin,” not just an issue of sensitivity. In Revelation 2:14 and 2:20, it states in regard to the Pergamum congregation and the Thyatiran congregation that they were tolerating that woman Jezebel (obviously a symbolism for a Jezebel-like woman) and holding fast to the teaching of Balaam who leads them to “commit fornication” and to “eat things sacrificed to idols.” Both times the “eating of things sacrificed to idols” is listed with the undeniably deadly sin of fornication. Clearly, in these passages, the “eating of things sacrificed to idols” was the sin of “idolatry” that brought God’s condemnation to those congregations. This is undeniable when one looks up what happened in the incidents that are referred to in Revelation in connection with the teaching of Balaam. (Numbers 25:1-3, 31:15,16) With it established that the phrase “things sacrificed to idols” and “eating things sacrificed to idols” can be a clear reference to “idolatrous practices”, it would be no wonder then that Acts 15:20 parallels “pollution” of idols with “things sacrificed to idols,” which both could clearly refer to idolatrous practices, especially the phrase involving the word “pollution.” TrueTheology.net • View topic - Christianity and the Use of Blood
  8. @JW Insider What do you think about this explanation from Rotherham: "Now, what about then the 8th chapter of 1 Corinthians? Is the phrase “things sacrificed to idols” or “eating” things sacrificed to idols ever presented as a clear “sin”? Let’s go through each verse and then we can see of course that it is. “4 Now concerning the eating of foods offered to idols,” This use of the phrase is obviously referring to the non-idolatrous connection of eating something that had been sacrificed to an idol, as the argument that follows conclusively shows. To a Christian, an idol should mean nothing, and therefore eating something sacrificed to an idol should mean nothing. “…we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no God but one. 5 For even though there are those who are called “gods,” whether in heaven or on earth, just as there are many “gods” and many “lords,” 6 there is actually to us one God the Father, out of whom all things are, and we for him; and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and we through him. 7 Nevertheless, there is not this knowledge in all persons; but some, being accustomed until now to the idol, eat food as something sacrificed to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.” Here, it is clear that the phrase “eating something sacrificed to an idol” has direct idolatrous connection in the mind of the one eating, as the contrast that is brought out by stating, “there is not this knowledge in all persons.” So far then, twice the phrase “eating things sacrificed to idols” is used and once it refers to the “non-idolatrous connection” and the other time it refers to the “idolatrous connection” which would surely serve as a “pollution” of idols to a Christian, that which the Apostolic Decree forbids. “8 But food will not commend us to God; if we do not eat, we do not fall short, and, if we eat, we have no credit to ourselves. 9 But keep watching that this authority of YOURS does not somehow become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 10 For if anyone should see you, the one having knowledge, reclining at a meal in an idol temple, will not the conscience of that one who is weak be built up to the point of eating foods offered to idols?” Again the phrase “eating foods sacrificed to idols” is used in the sense of an “idolatrous connection” because this is what the “weak conscienced” brother would be “emboldened” to do. Surely, there would be nothing wrong with him being emboldened to eat WITHOUT the idolatrous connection, in fact, that would be fine, but here, it is the “idolatrous” POLLUTION that is spoken of again, something that the Apostles clearly condemned as it was listed with fornication which is clearly condemned in ANY context, surely not just in the context of protecting a weak person’s conscience. “11 Really, by your knowledge, the man that is weak is being ruined, brother for whose sake Christ died.” Ruined because he has committed an act of idolatry in his mind. So, it is clear beyond any doubt that the phrase “eating things sacrificed to idols” can be equated, and predominantly so, with the idea of “idolatry.” Therefore, there is no real reason for anyone to insist that what the Apostolic Decree was speaking of was not idolatry. In fact, there are many reasons to insist the opposite because of the inclusion of fornication in the list mentioned in Acts 15. To insist otherwise surely strains the context to the breaking point since the backdrop of the council was “salvational” and what was necessary in that regard. Obviously idolatry and fornication are salvationally necessary abstentions. Likewise therefore, that would be the case with the references to blood and things strangled. Frankly, we can see no other option without destroying the context of what is stated there. So, what happens is this: they misunderstand the point Paul was making in 1 Corinthians 8. The point is that if you emboldened your brother’s conscience to the point of eating meat sacrificed to idols with that ceremonial attachment in his mind, he not only would have violated his conscience but he would have violated God’s Law against “ceremonially” eating things sacrificed to idols, for it would have then been a form of idolatry, would it not? How could it not be? It is this understanding that keeps perfect harmony between 1 Corinthians 8 and Acts 15. Acts 15 was decided upon in the context of salvational issues, abstaining from things that could cost you your salvation, such as the “fornication” that was mentioned, and of course the “idolatry.” Abstaining from “blood” would have therefore been in the same category. The point of departure comes in not realizing that what the Apostles forbid in Acts was the “ceremonial” attachment to the idol. What Paul allowed in 1 Corinthians was not the “ceremonial” eating of meat in regard for the idol, which would be idolatry, but what Paul was talking about being acceptable was the incidental eating of the meat that had been sacrificed to the idol without the ceremonial attachment in the mind of the Christian. It is important to clearly understand this as it is crucial to the harmony and the differences between Acts the 15th chapter and 1 Corinthians the 8th. 1 Corinthians 8 just wasn’t about Paul’s view. It was the view of those “brothers” weak in conscience who might sin by “being emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols.” (Verse 10) If it was okay to do so, then why did Paul present this act as a sin in verses 9-13? One must discern the difference between incidental eating of something sacrificed to an idol and the ceremonial attachment of such in the conscience of a weak brother." TrueTheology.net • View topic - Christianity and the Use of Blood
  9. There is only one covenant that has legal force, that can save and condemn. There's a difference between obeying the law within the system of undeserved kindness and system of law (Judaic Law). As a Witness I assume you believe and hold to the official position of the Congregation's understanding about faith and works and the Good News, Justification and Salvation. Do you? If not, I fail to see how you identify as a Jehovah's Witness. I think I said that whatever law is utilized, it will be legalized and controlled by the New Covenant, not the Old. Unless I'm misunderstanding your point, I fail to see based on what I have said how it stands condemned? Can you restate your point?
  10. @Many Miles I'm going over some of the comments and concerns brought out in this thread It's not Judaization. If a Christian/Witness tries to use any of the Judaic/Mosaic law as the means to be declared righteous, he will be condemned. Being declared righteous does not come by observing laws but by Jehovah's undeserved kindness. The explanation I see is very simple. The key to deciphering the whole ball of wax is understanding that whatever law, stipulation, precept, principle, pastoral discipline, is cited or practiced, whether it is natural law, Judaic/Mosaic law, etc., it is only because the Congregation, under its own legal authority, decided to incorporate those particular principles into the New Covenant. Whatever is taken, is under its jurisdiction. Under the New Covenant, the Congregation has the power to legislate/decide based on the dictates of time and circumstance which doctrine and practices are most beneficial for the Christian community, leading her to incorporate various laws, although with her own modifications (Rom 13:1-10; Acts 15:28); while discarding others as useless (Col 2:16; Acts 15:10-12). The only question remaining is whether changing the law, stipulation, precept, principle, pastoral discipline is a wise thing to do. If the Congregation finds out it is not wise, she can restore them the way they were before. The idea that the New Covenant would borrow principles from the Old should not be hard for us to understand. Take for example the relationship of the US Constitution and the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta had some very beneficial insights concerning law and life. These were incorporated into the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Magna Carta itself became obsolete and was revoked, but whatever principles were borrowed from it, they became part of the Constitution, and it was only from the Constitution that those principles acquired legal force. In the same way, Scripture declares that the Old Covenant was legally revoked (Hebrews 7:18; 10:9) but its spiritual and moral principles were utilized in the New Covenant (Hebrews 10:16-18; Gal 5:14; 1Co 9:9; Rm 7:7-12). As a practical guide to life we have borrowed some ethical and worship principles from the Old Covenant. We borrowed from the Ten Commandments (although the New Covenant alters them a little to fit the Good News); we borrowed from some of the civil laws (paying just wages), and even have borrowed from some of the ceremonial laws. But whatever we borrow and practice, it is not because the Old Covenant, in whole or in part, is itself still legally valid, but because the New Covenant has the authority to incorporate any principle from the Old Covenant it wishes if it finds it helpful for Christian living. In that way, the Old Covenant laws are under the legal jurisdiction of the New Covenant, not the Old. Hence, the Congregation could legally abolish the entire Judaic/Mosaic law, but then take from the Judaic/Mosaic law those moral, civil or ceremonial principles that they saw fit for the Christian community.
  11. It's not Judaization. If a Christian/Witness tries to use any of the Judaic/Mosaic law as the means to be declared righteous, he will be condemned. Being declared righteous does not come by observing laws but by Jehovah's undeserved kindness. The explanation I see is very simple. The key to deciphering the whole ball of wax is understanding that whatever law, stipulation, precept, principle, pastoral discipline, is cited or practiced, whether it is natural law, Judaic/Mosaic law, etc., it is only because the Congregation, under its own legal authority, decided to incorporate those particular principles into the New Covenant. Whatever is taken, is under its jurisdiction. Under the New Covenant, the Congregation has the power to legislate/decide based on the dictates of time and circumstance which doctrine and practices are most beneficial for the Christian community, leading her to incorporate various laws, although with her own modifications (Rom 13:1-10; Acts 15:28); while discarding others as useless (Col 2:16; Acts 15:10-12). The only question remaining is whether changing the law, stipulation, precept, principle, pastoral discipline is a wise thing to do. If the Congregation finds out it is not wise, she can restore them the way they were before. The idea that the New Covenant would borrow principles from the Old should not be hard for us to understand. Take for example the relationship of the US Constitution and the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta had some very beneficial insights concerning law and life. These were incorporated into the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Magna Carta itself became obsolete and was revoked, but whatever principles were borrowed from it, they became part of the Constitution, and it was only from the Constitution that those principles acquired legal force. In the same way, Scripture declares that the Old Covenant was legally revoked (Hebrews 7:18; 10:9) but its spiritual and moral principles were utilized in the New Covenant (Hebrews 10:16-18; Gal 5:14; 1Co 9:9; Rm 7:7-12). As a practical guide to life we have borrowed some ethical and worship principles from the Old Covenant. We borrowed from the Ten Commandments (although the New Covenant alters them a little to fit the Good News); we borrowed from some of the civil laws (paying just wages), and even have borrowed from some of the ceremonial laws. But whatever we borrow and practice, it is not because the Old Covenant, in whole or in part, is itself still legally valid, but because the New Covenant has the authority to incorporate any principle from the Old Covenant it wishes if it finds it helpful for Christian living. In that way, the Old Covenant laws are under the legal jurisdiction of the New Covenant, not the Old. Hence, the Congregation could legally abolish the entire Judaic/Mosaic law, but then take from the Judaic/Mosaic law those moral, civil or ceremonial principles that they saw fit for the Christian community.
  12. I hear you. Perhaps this is what you are looking for: “As most any Bible student knows, there are teachings which are explicitly stated within the Bible where there is no ambiguity as to what is taught. For example: “There will be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous.”~ (Acts 24:15) No one can deny the explicit nature of that statement. They may debate over the implications and purpose of that resurrection, but they cannot deny the explicit element within that statement that unambiguously declares that there will be a resurrection for both the righteous and for the unrighteous. We would surely expect the Body of Christ to teach correctly the explicit teachings and fundamental or elementary teachings of Christianity. Those elementary teachings are listed for us in the bible itself at Hebrews 6:1,2: “Therefore, now that we have moved beyond the primary doctrine about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying a foundation again, namely, repentance from dead works and faith in God, the teaching on baptisms and the laying on of the hands, the resurrection of the dead and everlasting judgment.” They would surely be teaching the correct identity of God, the proper view of faith, the proper view of repentance, the correct understanding of baptism, the correct understanding of the laying on of hands, the correct understanding of resurrection and everlasting judgment. There are numerous explicit statements and teachings within the Bible that most will agree upon. Such as: Jesus Christ is the Son of God. God is Almighty. God is the Creator. Jesus Christ died and was resurrected. Jesus Christ provided the ransom for the salvation of mankind. Other teachings are not explicit in nature and present ambiguity to one degree or another, such as: prophecies, parables, symbolic language. Views are ambiguous or peripheral when they are not relating to the main or most important part, such as with a computer, a peripheral would be connected to a computer but not an essential part of it. Or in other words, the main part could exist and function without it, but it is enhanced with it. The understanding of the meaning of the one word “generation” is peripheral to the main understanding of the parousia and it’s expected events and results. In other words, the teaching concerning the last days could exist without it but is enhanced with it. The same is true with other changes. The main understanding is enhanced by the adjustments, but the main part does not change. Any truth that can be solidly established via the scriptures should be regarded as essential. And please remember, that if one has a different view on a peripheral issue, it is not the view itself that causes the problem, it would be the promotion of a view against the view of the body of Christ that would constitute a division. What about the teaching of the Faithful Slave? This teaching is connected together with the prophecy of the parusia of Christ. So the ambiguity starts as to how we are going to understand it. There are many eschatological elements that we first have to understand in that prophecy to get an idea of who represents the faithful and discreet slave. Many believe that the entire structure of Jehovah’s Witness beliefs rest in those verses of Matthew 24:45-47. But that’s not the case. You could remove those verses and nothing will change in the way witnesses see the authority of the Governing Body and it’s assignment. The identification and the doctrine of an ecclesiastical authority and a teaching authority in the Congregation is there, relatively it has remained the same, hasn’t changed, regardless of how you interpret Matthew 24. The adjustments throughout the years have been peripheral about minor issues. At the end of the day, the application and correct understanding of the Faithful Slave pales in comparison when compared to the fundamental teachings in Hebrews 6:1,2. Who is the slave and when would it exist, was and is a minor point in regards to the fundamental teachings.” It can be said that when it comes to the explicit teachings found in the Bible, the body of Christ would never find itself in contradiction of such. The body of Christ would unquestionably be led by the spirit of God and therefore would not find itself contradicting explicit Biblical statements and teachings. For instance, they would clearly never teach that Jesus Christ was not resurrected. For instance, if the Governing Body came out and stated that the scriptures are no longer considered inspired of God, that would be clear and defined stand against what the scriptures teach. That would be apostasy, and naturally any Bible believing Christian would walk away from an organization that would promote such and idea, and rightfully so. To do so would immediately disqualify them from any claim of being the body of Christ for that could not be the result of God’s spirit upon them, but rather the opposite. Therefore, we can use the scriptures to help us to identify who would be the true body of Christ on the earth today by comparing explicit Biblical teachings with what those groups who claim to represent the body of Christ are teaching. If a group or individual contradicts explicit Biblical teachings, or even a single explicit Biblical teaching, then they could not qualify as the body of Christ, for such an error would surely not be the result of the direction of God’s spirit upon that body. True, the body may reinterpret ambiguous elements on occasion as clarity is achieved through time and or better understanding of words and phrases found in the original languages of the scriptures, (1 Cor. 13:12) but when it comes to explicit teachings, they could not be found in contradiction of such and it still be possible that they represent the true body of Christ. They would be counterfeits.”— The Body of Christ and Identity of God ~http://truetheology.net/forum-bkup/download/file.php?id=58 What if the Watchtower went into apostasy? https://michaeljfelker.com/2013/01/18/what-if-the-watchtower-went-into-apostasy/
  13. No. My comment is narrowing the subject to what Paul said: the ”good news”. I understand the plurality “we” to be Paul and by extension his companions. The “whoever” in verse 9 is all encompassing. October 2023 Broadcast: What is the “good news”? https://www.jw.org/en/library/videos/#en/mediaitems/StudioFeatured/pub-jwb-106_1_VIDEO I said before that Paul is exhorting the Galatian believers to test the spirits against the good news that had been originally given to them.To see whether someone was teaching a novel good news, one would compare the message in question to the teaching universally received throughout the whole Congregation. If an overseer or elder like the Judaizers or Apostle came along teaching contrary to the good news that had been taught and believed throughout the Congregation, they should not follow him because he was a heretic. The good news that Paul and the others had preached was not defined as the individual Galatian believer’s own personal interpretation of Scripture. It was something much bigger than that. It was the public and communal shared good news received by the whole Congregation that was the standard, it wasn’t limited to the letters written by the Apostles. Paul is saying that the Galatians must not abandon the good news which he and all the other Apostles had preached to them. The foundation laid was absolutely true and therefore must never be torn up and re-founded on something different. That initial apostolic preaching is an irrevocable foundation. Paul’s main concern in the letter of Galatia is the infiltration of the Judaizers. They were preaching their Judaistic version of the Good News in Galatia. Paul got wind of their infiltration and heard of the apparent success they had in persuading the Galatians to abide by kosher laws that far exceeded the stipulations of the Jerusalem council. Paul knew that circumcision would be the next plateau they would seek to impose on the unsuspecting Galatians. Once it reached that level, the Galatians, according to Paul, would fall from the faith. His whole letter, was to stop the hemorrhaging occurring in Galatia.
  14. Any unity or society established by men is natural. The Congregation's origin, comes from Christ directly, it's his Body, established by him, not merely providentially. Yes, the Congregation is so human that one can walk right past it without recognizing it for what it is, because her members have no form or majesty that we should look at them, they are in some respects quite ordinary. But there is something unique about the Congregation, something that characterized Jesus: “He was despised and was avoided by men, A man who was meant for pains and was familiar with sickness. It was as if his face were hidden from us. He was despised, and we held him as of no account.” (Isaiah 53:3) "Well, at hearing these things, they were infuriated in their hearts and began to grind their teeth at him" (Acts 7:54) To find Jesus, we could have followed the loathing, hate and rage, and it would have led us right to Him. Likewise, to find His Body today, follow the same. Naaman, for example, did not like the muddy Jordan. He would have picked a cleaner river back home near Damascus. But the issue was accepting what God had said through His prophet, even though it wasn't the way Naaman would have ordered it up. Here's the Body of Christ, still with us, rent and torn, and we can be like the priest and Levite, who passed by on the other side of the road, or we can be like the good Samaritan, who stopped and bandaged up the wounds, pouring oil and wine on them ( Ephesians 5:29)
  15. @Many Miles You’ve asked a very good question at the beginning of this thread, having to do with a litmus test or limit of obedience. Something along the lines of: Does the duty of submission to those taking the lead carry with it an implicit understanding that the individual must obey his conscience if a delegated authority's call for obedience conflicts with the Good News and revealed will of God? Yes. As Jehovah’s Witnesses we have a duty to hold on to what has been given. In this way we come to know what those taking the lead cannot possibly say, and if an overseer including a Governing Body member were to say “x” that would be contrary to the Good News and Faith, it should not be accepted, just as Paul teaches in Galatians 1:8. So the Congregation is not requiring anyone to give more obedience to the those taking the lead than Paul did. The duty to submit to present interpretive authority is not incompatible with a duty to hold to what has previously been given; the two duties go together, and neither nullifies the other. We can get into the details and specific examples and application on how this understanding works in real life, but this is my position. I think in these conversations it’s important take into account the greater context of Galatians and Christianity. The pages of the NT do not show Jesus establishing a religion of the book, rather, they show Him constituting a new Israel. The one and only earthly program Jesus seems to have set in motion is the establishment of a Congregation. So we don't try to approach Scripture as if his Body, the Congregation has no role. As I have mentioned, the Congregation Jesus established was a new supernatural society capable of growing and adapting within human society, across cultural and linguistic boundaries. In keeping with the divine pedagogical pattern of cradling revelation within a unified historic society (the protective womb of the Hebrew society & culture), he transformed old Israel, by establishing a worldwide society by which the divine communication might travel to the ends of the earth while retaining its identity and integrity by developing within the bonds of the Congregation.
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