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  1. JW Insider

    The Latest Work on the Divine Name

    Like they say, if the shoe fittest. I'm sure he had a "lot" to be desired. Anyway, if this had been my own thread I wouldn't feel bad about sullying it with bad puns. But now I feel bad for @indagator who surely hoped this would remain a serious topic.
  2. JW Insider

    The Latest Work on the Divine Name

    LOL! Never heard of a real estate person yet who didn't have a 'square foot' fetish.
  3. JW Insider

    The Latest Work on the Divine Name

    I agree. It was well worth the read. Even though I had not read the book until now, the premise had been explained in material we had already been discussing here. I should not have ignored that premise during earlier discussions of the Divine Name on this very forum where IAO [Yaho] came up. In one of those previous discussions, I rather quickly began discussing how that name had been used in the magical papyri and on charms and amulets. Somehow I had also assumed that these evolved from sources in and around Elephantine from where they began to make a quick and direct link to the "mystical" audience. I now agree with Shaw's logic that the actual earliest confirmed uses of a IAO in "magical" circles were timed mostly to the second and third centuries CE. Of course, these same circles were just as interested in using the name Jesus for "magical" purposes, a fact that already shows up in the NT/CGS. It would not be surprising, then, that Christianity in several of its early languages, used the divine name based on IAO "Yaho." The evidence for continuous use of a vocalized divine name by various groups and individuals is solid. We can see this from LXX evidence and several other sources from the centuries before and after the start of Christianity. The evidence is solid enough to build upon, including this idea about who could have spread the divine name widely enough so that mystic usage also began to quickly parallel the widespread growth of early Christianity. While reading, I couldn't wait to get to points about whether the author thought the divine name was in the NT. I actually thought that I came up with some ideas about Revelation 1:8 and iota-alpha-omega myself, and wondered whether anyone else had done so, too. Turns out there was plenty of information on this very verse. In light of the new October JW Broadcast, and the unusually lengthy amount of time spent on the topic of the restoration of the divine name in the Christian Greek Scriptures, I think that this book is ideal as a way to clear up several understandings and misunderstandings. I thought that the "clue" about the definite article in front of KYRIOS was interesting. It's in the NWT Study Bible, Appendix C3, as Bro Geoffrey Jackson explains. He explains it as if it were more like a hurried, accident or error when the NT includes Kyrios without the definite article. That's not the explanation that scholars would give for how it is used in the LXX (and, by extension, the NT). In fact, it might be difficult to comprehend given our experience and explanation of the use of the definite article before theos in John 1:1. There we have: No definite article in front of theos is translated "a god" (therefore the "Word" or "Christ") and with the article, "God." But in the LXX the lack of a definite article can be seen (by some scholars) as a superlative, and some would want to see the usage in early Christian writing to therefore have it mean something like this: (although the data is inconsistent) No definite article in front of kyrios is translated "The Lord" (therefore "God") and with the article, "Lord" can therefore refer to "Jesus" or "Christ." A curious case of kyrios.
  4. Paul's letters to the Corinthians provide many real-congregation examples of ideas that did not have full agreement behind them. The factions for Cephas, Paul, Apollos, superfine apostles, and concern for who baptized whom, for example. The disorder amongst congregants regarding taking turns when speaking, teaching, interpreting etc. The talk of Paul's advice sometimes being rejected. Paul's words about sects coming in so that the approved will be more easily made known. etc. Even here in the context, Paul had just compared ALL [in the congregation] in a way that showed a sensitivity to the potential for exaggeration. As Holman translates the previous verse: Holman Christian Standard Bible If anyone has caused pain, he has caused pain not so much to me but to some degree  — not to exaggerate  — to all of you. And in the next verse, the wording is just as careful with a word telling us that it was "many, but not all"--more specfically, a majority. The possibility for your suggestion is there, but it's not the most straightforward or most likely reading. It requires the creation of an ambiguity which is not necessary as there are clearer ways of stating what you suggest. These kinds of ambiguities are always possible --and I don't think anything in the original Greek would forbid that understanding-- but when we rely on the least likely meaning too often, it smacks of "special pleading." There are some online commentaries available for this verse, and I've never seen one that that attaches the meaning you suggest. Although I don't doubt that one might exist. https://biblehub.com/commentaries/2_corinthians/2-6.htm Another way to look at it is that even if this particular verse means "all the rest of the congregation who were not involved in the immorality," or something like that, the basic point about individual shunning (as opposed to full congregational shunning) is still very likely even without the support of this verse. The quotes from Matthew 18 (and in some cases, even 2 Thess 3) can show that even just one individual may be involved in the shunning of one other individual. No reason to try to get others to join as it could be a matter between the two of them.
  5. When I first wrote that the point of this OP is not new and that a DF'd child should be shunned, I meant that this has been part of standard "policy" and therefore it is not an entirely "new point" that any Witness should be surprised at. I was also saying it's a rule that was evidently influenced by a different type of economic situation where children immediately moved away from the "roof" of their parents as soon as they could get steady employment. You have probably read some of the early discussions about disfellowshipping of family members in the Watch Tower publications and realize that the "rules" tend to map to the typical middle-class Anglo-American style of homelife that Bethel writers often imagined as an ideal target audience. What Brother Herd was saying was nothing totally new; we've said for years that children should be shunned. So that was the context of my post that you questioned. But I thought you were putting it in a different context, where you were asking me personally if I thought that shunning a child could ever be "authorized" or scripturally defended. And to those questions I answered that there could be circumstances where shunning a child could be the right thing to do, personally, although I do not think that most shunning that goes on among us is thought through. For most of us, it's a congregational decision following a set of rules reinforced bureaucratically from a central legalistic authority: the WTS. But in reality each of us stands on our own. In this regard none of us should be under any central authority except God and Christ. We should not shun because we are told to shun. Even in the Corinthian congregation, Paul expected that a majority would rebuke this particular man, given the circumstances. He did not expect 100 percent agreement about the way a "disfellowshipped" person was treated. Note the words I highlighted when I quoted this verse above: (2 Corinthians 2:5-11) 5 . . . not to be too harsh in what I say. 6 This rebuke given by the majority is sufficient for such a man, 7 so that, on the contrary now, YOU should kindly forgive and comfort [him], that somehow such a man may not be swallowed up by his being overly sad. 8 Therefore I exhort YOU to confirm YOUR love for him. 9 For to this end also I write to ascertain the proof of YOU, whether YOU are obedient in all things. 10 Anything YOU kindly forgive anyone, I do too. In fact, as for me, whatever I have kindly forgiven, if I have kindly forgiven anything, it has been for YOUR sakes in Christ’s sight; 11 that we may not be overreached by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his designs. Note also that Paul didn't expect to be the central authority for the Corinthian congregation, but that he would follow their lead in this matter. As they saw fit to forgive, Paul would obey their lead. I think a lot of Witnesses would see another phrase in that passage as the one to highlight where Paul says "also I write to ascertain the proof of you, whether you are obedient in all things." A lot of Witnesses would see this as a congregational directive from a central authority like Paul or the apostles or a "governing body." But looking at it in the context of what Paul is saying here and several times elsewhere in 2 Corinthians, he is really saying that we should NOT get caught up in any hard fast rules that are inflexible and unbending. The overriding rule to be obedient to "in all things" is the fact that Jesus is the true Head watching over the congregation, and Jesus taught us to be forgiving. Satan wants us to forget that and lose our "fellow feeling" lose our "humanity" lose our "natural affection." And trying to legislate love and forgiveness is a sure way to lose touch with the entire idea of Christ's love and Jehovah's undeserved kindness. If we are only following rules instead of a desire to imitate Christ, then we are being overreached by Satan. At any rate, this was my point, that we should not be expected to shun just to follow the rules imposed upon a congregation. We shun when it is appropriate, and the Bible tells us that there are times when this is appropriate. But it is our personal conscience telling us what we should do. Just because Lloyd Barry shunned Theodore Jaracz doesn't mean the rest of us should have, as it was probably based on the idea of Matthew 18 or 2 Thessalonians 3. When something is well known in a congregational setting then it is probable that many individuals will decide what to do, and most will do the right thing. If 5 people out of 100 are shunning a man for some reason, this does not necessarily the rest should. Even if a majority of a congregation has shunned someone this does not necessarily mean that the rest should either. (And I suppose this could occur in cases where family bonds should override the majority for certain individuals, too.) Shunning is a "rebuke" meant to say that Christians in the congregation do not approve of the way the conduct might reflect on the teachings of Christ. The reputation of the Christian congregation is the same thing, or should be. The congregation should reflect the teachings of Christ the Head. I know you thought I was overly concerned with the reputation of the congregation, but this is a scriptural concern, too. Note that in the same or adjacent context of how the Corinthians were handling an infamous case of incest, it appears that by not "shunning" the wicked one, it was giving the impression that the Corinthians were proud of putting up with such a thing. But just following this is another verse that appears to also speak to reputation: (1 Corinthians 6:3-6) . . .Then why not matters of this life? 4 If, then, you do have matters of this life to be tried, is it the men looked down on in the congregation whom you assign as judges? 5 I am speaking to move you to shame. Is there not one wise man among you who is able to judge between his brothers? 6 Instead, brother goes to court against brother, and before unbelievers at that! Yes, this idea gets abused, so that in some churches, even murderers and extortioners and other criminals find sanctuary, and child sexual abusers have been hidden and shuffled around in these same churches. Unfortunately even in our own congregations certain such crimes have been hidden. I don't condone this. Crimes are for the government to punish, those who hold the sword. But the civil matters can surely be adjudicated by wise trusted brothers who could at least do as well as the TV-star "Judge Judy" and her ilk. (You might actually be surprised at how many such "cases" are worked out through congregational elders.) Of course, what's a "civil" matter in some countries might be a "criminal" matter in another country: adultery, for example. The "superior authorities" of Romans 13 have that say, unless they are overstepping God's rulership. By the way, I don't mean to imply that shunning is only for the reputation of the congregation, looking at it from the outside. There are insiders looking at the reputation of the congregation, too. And another reason has nothing to do with reputation, directly, and that is the need to keep the congregation clean. The "spirit" or attitude of an entire congregation can be influenced, and specific individuals in the congregation could be improperly influenced. "A little leaven spoils the whole lump of dough." "One bad apple..." "Bad associations spoil useful habits." etc. Note that in Revelation 2 and 3, that the congregations reported directly to Jesus as Head as to whether they properly shunned the teachings or prophecies of certain ones affecting those congregations. Again, I'll repeat that our method of shunning can be based on our own personal conscience as individuals. But there is nothing unscriptural about it. There may be something unscriptural about the way many of us go about it, however.
  6. This was a Bethel "Family Night" (kind of a variety show with talented brothers showing their skills and with a couple of experiences). An older longtime Bethelite had been in charge of a clean-up before a city inspection of factories in this area of Brooklyn. The Squibb Pharmaceutical factory got a first place award and Bethel's printing factory came in second place. (Which is actually really amazing considering the cleanliness required of a pharmaceutical company compared to the much lower bar required of a printing factory.) When Brother Schroeder and Brother Gehring heard this in rehearsal, they whispered to each other and Brother Schroeder talked to the brother. I couldn't really tell if the brother was extremely upset, but he looked concerned as if getting some negative counsel. I was a few seats away and couldn't hear them. At the actual Family Night presentation, the brother who gave the experience changed it to "Both Squibb and the Watchtower each received a rating of 100 percent!!" The difference would have been striking to anyone who attended rehearsal which included about 50 people.
  7. I've heard of this type of thinking. My father was the presiding overseer when a wayward Witness was running around with a group that that got arrested for committing an armed robbery. My father called the Society's Service Department in Brooklyn for advice, and our Circuit Overseer called him back shortly and asked, in effect: "How quickly can you get him disfellowshipped?" To my father, this meant, how soon could you make contact with the arrested man, and ask the kind of questions that would allow this "fallen" brother to admit that he had recently been repeatedly committing sins without a proper level of remorse. Also, I think even in those days, my father would have to arrange for another "servant" in the congregation to be secretly listening in on the line. As I recall the idea of acting on this so quickly kind of fell through anyway. Even though this was around 1970, I was 13, and it didn't occur to me at the time that this was really not just. At that time, we were still saying that a disfellowshipped person would die at Armageddon by default. Another case like this, I recall from another congregation happened around 1978, and another one I was told about (unconfirmed, though) from just a few years ago.
  8. We should shun what is bad and hold on to what is good. I personally have the right to "mark" anyone I wish in the congregation to personally shun them, if I feel that I have tried to make amends with them, yet my association with them is not good for our spiritual goals. I even knew two members of the Governing Body, Brother Ted Jaracz and Brother Lloyd Barry, who had shunned each other since about 1949. They had both served at the Australian Branch where Jaracz had been sent in 1946 to be the new Branch Overseer, only to be rather quickly called back to the United States to serve as a Circuit Overseer for about 20 years starting in Missouri (where my own family had moved in '64 to 'serve where the need was greater' and an uncle of mine also served as a circuit overseer near his circuit). Brother Barry, in 1949 was sent to become the new Branch Overseer in Japan, which he did for the next 25 years, or so. They would barely speak together or be seen together even after both came to Brooklyn to serve on the Governing Body starting in 1975. Some could pick up on the "animosity" that still showed at Annual Meetings and a couple of Gilead Graduations well into the 1980's. (The 1990's too, I'm told, but I was never in a place to see it then.) This seemed to me to be an even more definitive form of shunning than the purpose of "marking" found in 2 Thess: (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15) 13 For YOUR part, brothers, do not give up in doing right. 14 But if anyone is not obedient to our word through this letter, keep this one marked, stop associating with him, that he may become ashamed. 15 And yet do not be considering him as an enemy, but continue admonishing him as a brother. Now, you might say, but these were grown men, not members of the same family, yet Jesus said, even of family members: (Matthew 10:34-36) . . .Do not think I came to bring peace to the earth; I came to bring, not peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to cause division, with a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 Indeed, a man’s enemies will be those of his own household. There are good procedures to handle issues of cleanliness and morality that come up in the congregation, and they include a process found in Matthew 18 to discuss issues with a brother who may have sinned against you personally. (Matthew 18:15-20) 15 “Moreover, if your brother commits a sin, go and reveal his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two more, so that on the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be established. 17 If he does not listen to them, speak to the congregation. If he does not listen even to the congregation, let him be to you just as a man of the nations and as a tax collector. 18 “Truly I say to you, whatever things you may bind on earth will be things already bound in heaven, and whatever things you may loosen on earth will be things already loosened in heaven. 19 Again I tell you truly, if two of you on earth agree concerning anything of importance that they should request, it will take place for them on account of my Father in heaven. 20 For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there I am in their midst.” So, we personally have a right, and in some cases an obligation to shun others if it is a part of keeping the congregation clean. But this does not mean that we shun to the extent that we are creating emotional blackmail. It means that we don't go out of our way to associate when that type of association could be interpreted as sharing with the brother (or sister) in their wicked works. We would never go out of our way to prove ourselves inhospitable. "Let him be to you just as a man of the nations and as a tax collector" just means that we have gone a little farther than marking them so as to admonish them as a brother. We are trying to not give the appearance that their conduct reflects on the type of conduct that the majority of the congregation condone. If we go too far, and forget our "natural affection" we have been overreached by Satan: (2 Corinthians 2:5-11) 5 Now if anyone has caused sadness, he has saddened, not me, but all of YOU to an extent—not to be too harsh in what I say. 6 This rebuke given by the majority is sufficient for such a man, 7 so that, on the contrary now, YOU should kindly forgive and comfort [him], that somehow such a man may not be swallowed up by his being overly sad. 8 Therefore I exhort YOU to confirm YOUR love for him. 9 For to this end also I write to ascertain the proof of YOU, whether YOU are obedient in all things. 10 Anything YOU kindly forgive anyone, I do too. In fact, as for me, whatever I have kindly forgiven, if I have kindly forgiven anything, it has been for YOUR sakes in Christ’s sight; 11 that we may not be overreached by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his designs. Assuming the person is no longer practicing a sin that brings reproach if the congregation were to condone it, then the rebuke by the majority was enough. If the person does not wish to come back to the congregation, that is their business. We are not in the business of keeping track of the injury and shunning just because they willingly went out from us. They are as a person of the nations, and we feel no animosity toward persons of the nations. (1 Corinthians 5:9-11) 9 In my letter I wrote you to stop keeping company with sexually immoral people, 10 not meaning entirely with the sexually immoral people of this world or the greedy people or extortioners or idolaters. Otherwise, you would actually have to get out of the world. 11 But now I am writing you to stop keeping company with anyone called a brother who is sexually immoral or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man. If the person no longer wishes to be a brother, we have no reason to keep shunning that person. They are just like any other person of the world, which we treat respectfully and civilly and with no hard feelings about their past. We simply don't wish to accidentally give the impression that someone who presents himself as a brother is representing the Christian congregation. Just how formal these processes need to be, might vary from congregation to congregation. Just how quickly a person is forgiven after a rebuke might vary too. The congregation is in a good place to know how a person's reputation and actions reflect on the reputation of the congregation itself. So, yes, I can think of reasons I might shun even a member of my own family. If he were a child abuser, for example, who drags down the reputation of the congregation I would shun my own family member. I would still deal with him as needed, and never ignore a cry for help or a phone call. I would check up on his well-being and might even make sure he continues to get the material help he needs, even spiritual admonishment. But this is after at least a short period of making my displeasure clear through [probably a short] period of shunning, and thereby making sure that our own conduct doesn't appear to condone the conduct and thereby reflect badly on Jehovah's name and the Christian congregation. That might be an extreme example to make the point, but if it's true of one form of conduct, then it is also true to some extent for other forms of conduct. The rebuke and punishment should fit the crime.
  9. This is an excellent point. I often wonder about the same. I even wonder, for example, what goes through a Catholic priest's mind when he has an affair with a parishioner or what goes through the mind of the parishioner when (she or he) has an affair with a priest. So you can imagine my wonderment at the state of affairs in the congregation. It's a bit of comfort to know that our faith itself and our dependence on Bible training will sharpen our conscience and sense of morality. Undoubtedly these factors help bring the majority of such issues to light. (Hebrews 4:12, 13) 12 For the word of God is alive and exerts power and is sharper than any two-edged sword and pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of joints from the marrow, and is able to discern thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is not a creation that is hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and openly exposed to the eyes of the one to whom we must give an account. (1 Timothy 5:24, 25) 24 The sins of some men are publicly manifest, leading directly to judgment, but as for other men [their sins] also become manifest later. 25 In the same way also the fine works are publicly manifest and those that are otherwise cannot be kept hid. (Ephesians 5:10-13) 10 Keep on making sure of what is acceptable to the Lord; 11 and quit sharing with [them] in the unfruitful works that belong to the darkness, but, rather, even be reproving [them], 12 for the things that take place in secret by them it is shameful even to relate. 13 Now all the things that are being reproved are made manifest by the light, for everything that is being made manifest is light. But why not all things in this life? Why 10 years? The following verse in 1 Cor 4:5 says that some "secret things of darkness" won't become revealed until "the Lord comes." (1 Corinthians 4:5) 5 Hence do not judge anything before the due time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring the secret things of darkness to light and make the counsels of the hearts manifest, and then each one will have his praise come to him from God. (1 Corinthians 3:13) 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the day will show it up, because it will be revealed by means of fire; and the fire itself will prove what sort of work each one’s is. (Hebrews 4:12, 13) [especially v. 13 already quoted above.] I have struggled with whether Ephesians 5:11 quoted above is saying that we each have a personal responsibility to reveal. I think it creates a divisive spirit in the congregations when everyone is ready to turn others in, yet it seems that sometimes it is up to us to "be reproving them" because the "things that are being reproved are made manifest by the light." When the ARC was active, I discussed the potential fallout with a friend of mine still at Bethel and he told me that one of the dangers or fears was going to be whether or not the name or position of one of the perpetrators was going to be revealed. In one of the very cases used as an example this brother in New York said that the perpetrator was a well-known brother who had also been the Australian Branch Overseer for decades. The brother seemed to have no doubt of his guilt, although I personally would not know, but I still think that using this particular case in the process was purposefully intended to put a kind of fear and humility into the WTS there, because it showed who had the upper hand and who held the "moral high ground." But hearing this, and knowing how the brother who told me was deeply concerned that the truth not come out, I wondered the same thing. I thought maybe it should come out. (Per Ephesians 5:10-13)
  10. That thought crossed my mind as I saw the picture, but then I held back from saying anything so that no one would get the idea that SuziQ's pretzel stick favorites were actually just "bite-size torture stakes." (Somehow "hot cross buns" seems like a much easier name for a marketing team to promote.) By the way, some people might think that when Space Merchant mentioned that he was a unitarian, that this was the same as claiming to be a non-Witness Unitarian. Witnesses are Unitarian believers. U·ni·tar·i·an ˌyo͞onəˈterēən/ noun THEOLOGY 1. a person, especially a Christian, who asserts the unity of God and rejects the doctrine of the Trinity.
  11. Found this: http://www.neighborhoodarchive.com/mrn/episodes/1477/index.html Fred Rogers' religious foundation becomes apparent in this episode as he hears an explanation of what a pretzel represents: Originally, pretzels were "given to children for knowing prayers" in Germany. As they are made, pretzels are first shaped "like a great big U. Take one [side] and cross it over the other. This is to represent children's arms praying to God. Then we take one and fold over the other. That represents your parents -- mom and dad. We pick up the ends and fold them on back." When Mister Rogers asks if there always has to be three holes in a pretzel, he is told that the three holes represent the Holy Trinity. Unlike other episodes from the post-1979 era, the opening does not show text of the week's topic.
  12. I personally don't remember anyone mentioning that rumor until near the end of his TV show run. I do remember a controversy in the 1980's about an episode where Mr.Rogers visits a pretzel factory and the episode presented the idea that the pretzel was initially a treat for children who said their prayers and it was twisted into a shape that supposedly represented a child saying his prayers, and when completed, the final shape had three "separate but equal" spaces (not his words) to represent the Trinity. I vaguely remember that this caused some controversy not just among local Witnesses, but that some Mid-Western church had brought it up. I didn't see the episode until my own children watched it in the 1990's. To their credit the WTS did not ban pretzels, although now I always look at them a bit like "hot cross buns."
  13. Your post was worth an up-vote just for this one point alone (about not participating in warfare). In general, it's my own favorite when discussing why Witnesses have a right to claim "authority" and "high ground" over other religions who feel we should have no right to try to convert others, or imposing our own view of the Bible as better than theirs. Other doctrines like Trinity and Hellfire are up there too, but this one should appeal most closely to the true practice of Christianity. Wisdom is proved righteous by its works.
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