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Diakonos
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The organization often uses the scriptures from 1 Cor 16 and 2 Cor 8 to appeal for us to make contributions to the world wide work. However, as you read these verses in context the contributions that were collected were for the material needs of fellow Christians who were undergoing poverty and famine. I am in no doubt that many of our fellow Christians in this world would welcome material assistance, especially in some of the poorer countries. Instead millions are spent on making the organizations headquarters into a palatial residence not to mention the millions that have already been paid out in settlements regarding sexual abuse cases !! I strongly feel that this is an abuse of those scriptures, making them say what the writer and ultimately the divine author did not intend. Agree or disagree ?

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@Diakonos I visited the Warwick property in the early summer, and I visited (and stayed at) the Patterson facilities two years ago. Warwick was still in a kind of torn up mess, and it was rainy/muddy, so it was hard to call it luxury at the time. Patterson, however, is gorgeous! I love the property, and I think it leaves a pretty good impression in the surrounding neighborhood. It both blends with and improves on the landscape.  If all of it had been for the purpose of building up new

Last Sunday for us. I am not sure what congregation you attend if that is not happening for you. Really, the contributions for the Worldwide work are managed by Jehovah's organisation with due attention given to relief measures where needed. And I read many reports regarding specific JW relief measures taking place in many parts of the world, in the international press, on jw.org, and even on this forum. The web page linked below is a good place to start if you want some detail. Hello

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Warwick didn't built itself. As for the child abuse payouts,well the media have covered that. My main point however was the fact that the context of those scriptures shows that the contributions were to assist the brothers who were materially suffering. When was the last time your congregation contributed money to feed your starving brothers? I know my congregation has never done that.

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@Diakonos

I visited the Warwick property in the early summer, and I visited (and stayed at) the Patterson facilities two years ago. Warwick was still in a kind of torn up mess, and it was rainy/muddy, so it was hard to call it luxury at the time. Patterson, however, is gorgeous! I love the property, and I think it leaves a pretty good impression in the surrounding neighborhood. It both blends with and improves on the landscape. 

If all of it had been for the purpose of building up new buildings to live and work in "luxury" this might have been more questionable, but I think the point was to make a beautiful and comfortable environment for the working brothers and sisters, and also visitors and those who stay for training or temporary assignments. I believe that the basic idea is to create something that is practical but also gives "homage" to the goals of the earthly hope. It was rather incongruous to run a worldwide religious organization from an upscale urban neighborhood when that organization emphasizes the idealized pastoral setting as an eternal goal. A setting that emphasizes the beauties of Jehovah's earthly creation is more appropriate than factories in the shadow of the Manhattan skyline. (Although I think that can be beautiful in its own way, too, and I loved my 10th floor corner apartment in the Towers Hotel.)

So I have no complaint about the appearance of "luxury," as long as the costs were kept down as low as possible by volunteer labor and volunteer donations. Quality workmanship, quality design, and constant maintenance and cleaning sometimes gives the appearance of luxury when that isn't the real goal. Also, a lot of the cost and expenditures of these new buildings was based on the anticipated sell-off of prime Brooklyn real estate, and could have been, in effect, zero cost.

I can defend it in another way, too, where I see the Organization as a practical business that operates efficiently in the world through its ability to gain economies of scale in purchasing power, and gaining respectability from governments as a legal and business entity through its size and appearance and "clout." In the world, this kind of respect is gained through sheer size, expenditures, purchasing arrangements, lawyers, property, etc.

(Luke 16:8,9) And his master commended the steward, though unrighteous, because he acted with practical wisdom; for the sons of this system of things are wiser in a practical way toward their own generation than the sons of the light are . . . 9 “Also, I say to you: Make friends for yourselves by means of the unrighteous riches. . . ."

So, it's not that I think any of this building activity is "necessary" in a Christian sense (the stones could cry out) but it is sometimes "wiser in a practical way" to use unrighteous riches in ways that will not always get all of these funds out to the poor.

(Matthew 26:8-11) 8 On seeing this, the disciples became indignant and said: “Why this waste? 9 For this could have been sold for a great deal of money and given to the poor.” 10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them: “Why do you try to make trouble for the woman? She did a fine deed toward me. 11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.

I'm not one of those people who confuses the Governing Body with Jesus himself, although I've met and conversed with some who apparently do make that mistake, and you might even meet one or two of them here on this forum. The reason I bring up the verse just quoted isn't to tie it to Matthew 25:40 (‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’) It's to point out that "voluntary" giving can go to whatever projects we "volunteer" to give it to. If we volunteer it to a building project during the time that we are aware of what's going on in Warwick, we know that's where it's going. Not even Ananias would have been judged for how he contributed his money, or how much he held back from contributing:

(Acts 5:4) 4 As long as it remained with you, did it not remain yours? And after it was sold, was it not in your control?. . .

Most who are giving at this time actually want to see it used for something "almost luxurious" or jewel-like in Warwick or at various other current Branch projects in the UK, etc.

Beyond these points just made however, I have also been disappointed that there have not been more opportunities for voluntary giving to specific areas where there is hardship that needs to be alleviated. There are places where Witnesses are undergoing extreme hardship, suffering, hunger, relocation, exile, etc., and I don't like to learn how bad it was a year later in the Yearbook. There are many things we can do locally with our funds and resources, or when we travel to "third world" lands and donate directly, but we also know that an international religious society could organize this more efficiently and find ways to directly provide what's needed to the right people. (The WTS often does this, too.) If too much is given for one relief project, then what's remaining can go to the next, and less is wasted. Rather than 1,000 haphazard donations which can be hit and miss and overlapping, each relief effort can be turned into a project that efficiently cares for everyone in need (and especially those related to us in the faith, so I don't think there is anything wrong with a focus on just JWs first, if the money came from JW donations).

(Galatians 6:10) 10 So, then, as long as we have the opportunity, let us work what is good toward all, but especially toward those related to us in the faith.

I agree with the sentiment that the primary "good works" that most early Christians were involved in referred to charitable works not spriitual work. It was fine and appropriate for a specific small group to be more concerned with "doctrine" than the work of "waiting on tables."

(Acts 6:2-4) 2 So the Twelve called the multitude of the disciples together and said: “It is not right for us to leave the word of God to distribute food to tables. 3 So, brothers, select for yourselves seven reputable men from among you, full of spirit and wisdom, that we may appoint them over this necessary matter; 4 but we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

The work of the ministerial servants here was the physical distribution of charity, and therefore the reason we do not forsake meetings is so that we can all know where to participate in the needed "good works" of charity.

(Hebrews 10:24, 25) 24 And let us consider one another so as to incite to love and fine works, 25 not forsaking our meeting together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you see the day drawing near.

Those taking the lead in the congregational context, the ones we "obey," are the ones who help us to prioritize and coordinate charitable relief efforts helping us to make the most of our "gifts" and our "ministry." We do better when we work together and encourage one another in this way. Our spirituality, our very religion, should be defined by love and fine works. Those "fine works" include ministering to the sick, the hungry, those who lack sufficient clothing. Naturally, not all the ministries are about charitable relief, but these are the most important ones for most of us:

(James 1:27) The form of worship that is clean and undefiled from the standpoint of our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation, and to keep oneself without spot from the world.

 

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18 hours ago, Diakonos said:

When was the last time your congregation contributed money to feed your starving brothers?

Last Sunday for us. I am not sure what congregation you attend if that is not happening for you.

Really, the contributions for the Worldwide work are managed by Jehovah's organisation with due attention given to relief measures where needed. And I read many reports regarding specific JW relief measures taking place in many parts of the world, in the international press, on jw.org, and even on this forum. The web page linked below is a good place to start if you want some detail.

    Hello guest!

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On 11/28/2016 at 1:36 PM, JW Insider said:

 

but I think the point was to make a beautiful and comfortable environment for the working brothers and sisters, and also visitors and those who stay for training or temporary assignments. I believe that the basic idea is to create something that is practical but also gives "homage" to the goals of the earthly hope.

I can defend it in another way, too, where I see the Organization as a practical business that operates efficiently in the world through its ability to gain economies of scale in purchasing power, and gaining respectability from governments as a legal and business entity through its size and appearance and "clout." In the world, this kind of respect is gained through sheer size, expenditures, purchasing arrangements, lawyers, property, etc.

 

 

 

 

A short comment to Eoin Joyce first -  your example of an entire congregation working together to help someone in need is truly rare.  What happens in entire congregations that are poor and can barely feed their own family?

Many years ago, I remember a family so poor that the couple lived in a tent with their five children.  The sister begged the elders for help, stating her family was hungry because her husband (not a ministerial servant at the time) was having trouble getting work.  This area was very depressed economically, but the elders turned her away saying it was her husband’s job to provide food.  I would not have known any of this if she had not come to my house in tears.  How many actually knew her desperate situation in the congregation?  If the word had been made known to all in the congregation, surely her family would have received the needed food, possibly even a place to live. 

We know this isn’t an isolated incident.  Both of your comments in defense of Warwick, show where the treasure is placed -  in the organization.  It appears that the workers at Warwick are more valued than those, say in Africa, who out of their want, serve the organization by donations and ‘field service’.  Do we really give homage to the goals of an earthly hope by building in Satan’s world, as the world does? 

I am not sure who you are defending JW Insider, God, or the organization.

How can those in the organization who are dedicated to this business, honestly say they follow in Christ’s footsteps when he explicitly said these words:

 Stop storing up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But keep on storing up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal, because where your treasure is, there your HEART will be also.  Matt 6:19-21

This dissolves homage to the goals of an earthly hope.  Receiving the earthly hope comes in time, but to reach that goal, Christ said we give homage to God, by worshiping in the spirit and the truth.  The Watchtower has created a mountain, after Christ clearly said our worship (homage) is only in spirit and truth!

We can’t take this scripture…  Jesus told her, ‘Believe me, dear lady, the hour is coming when you Samaritans will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.’”

…and surmise, “Oh, well, worship may not be in Jerusalem or Samaria, but it’s okay to build a corporation and call it the mountainlike organization – earthly Zion”  (nowhere in scripture is there such an identity)

He follows his words with, “Yet the time is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Indeed, the Father is looking for people like that to worship him God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”  John 4:23-24

Where are those true worshipers?  Are they in Warwick, slaving for earthly things?  How can they possible set their sights on “things above” while laboring on another ‘mountain’, a reasoning that is contrary to Christ’s teachings?

“The Devil also took him to a high placeand showed him all the kingdoms of the world in an instant.  He told Jesus, “I will give you all this authority, along with their glory, because it has been given to me, and I give it to anyone I please.  So if you will worship me, all this will be yours.”

 But Jesus answered him, “It is written, You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” Luke 4:5-8

Serving God only….NOT serving the needs of a corporation.  They can’t be blended together to make it acceptable to God.

“To whom, then, will you compare me, the One who isGod?
    Or to what image will you liken me?”  Isa 40:18

The concern that Diakonos has, can’t be explained away with such reasoning that you presented.  While those in Warwick live comfortably, the poor who believe they are serving God, live in discomfort.  Should they strive to work in Warwick and be relieved of their discomfort? Is it held out like a carrot as a privilege?  Why, yes it is.

Some Christians have the privilege to do building work, as did Noah and Moses. Some may help build Assembly Halls, Kingdom Halls, and branch offices. Whether you are renovating a local Kingdom  Hall or building the 

    Hello guest!
, cherish your privilege!  It is sacred service. W 10/2014 par. 7 

 Shouldn’t “our sacred service” be to love God with the whole soul, mind and heart, and “our neighbor as ourself”, by following Christ’s example in the appropriate way?  Matt 22:37-40  By following this path, the concentration of love would focus on the needs of each individual sheep – not on building a business.

“Therefore, if you have been raised with the Messiah, keep focusing on the things that are above, where the Messiah is seated at the right hand of God.  Keep your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth.”  Col 3:1,2

You used James 1:27 - The form of worship that is clean and undefiled from the standpoint of our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation, and to keep oneself without spot from the world.

This undefiled worship, is undefiled only because it isn’t shared with ANYTHING earthly, built within the world. 

Now, unless JWs feel that the organization is built on air, surely…surely… all must realize it is exists because of the advantages of Satan’s world.  As the organization buys, sells, and makes profits on their investments, are they truly “no part of the world”?  Are they really hated by those buyers and those with whom they invest their money into?

“If the world hates you, you should realize that it hated me before you.  If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as one of its own. But because you do not belong to the world and I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you.”  John 15:18,19

JWs, can’t you see that you are in the world just as much as any other centralized authoritative religion? Those today who are persecuted as Jesus was, are the anointed ones and all who leave the organization to follow him, and serve God whole souled.  They are those who worship in spirit and in truth.  They are hated by those “in the world”.  If they remained in the organization, they would be loved as one of their own. They strive to follow in Christ’s path by suffering persecution brought upon them for doing so, as Christ experienced at the hands of his own people.  Christ now calls everyone out; those who respond, are hated by family, friends, the entire congregation.  John 16:2; Rev 18:4-8; Matt 10:21-22

But, these particular outcasts have this hope:

Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.”  Mark 10:28-30

Submitting oneself to share in building an earthly empire, which rightly describes the organization, and identified as blessed by God, is idolatry; a fact supported by scripture that can’t be dismissed.  Matt 6:24; Ezek 14:4-8

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.”  Act 17:24-25

YHWH's Genuine Mountain - 

    Hello guest!

 

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, Witness said:

If the word had been made known to all in the congregation, surely her family would have received the needed food, possibly even a place to live. 

As far as I am concerned we are responsible to make such things known in the congregation, just as much as we are responsible for preaching the good news. As far as I am concerned, this is the real way in which we preach the good news: not by teaching doctrines, but by supporting one another in a way that is as loving as possible. The real way that the true religion is known is not by doctrine but by how we show love to one another.

  • (John 13:34, 35) 34 I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are my disciples—if you have love among yourselves.”

Various situations of the type you area speaking of will happen almost continuously in most congregations, but, in my experience, they are usually taken care of. Whose responsibility is it to make something as important as this known in the congregation? You admit that surely her family would have received what was needed if the word had been made known. That's the point, isn't it? We have the desire to do the right thing, and when we pitch in together, the right thing gets done. But each person plays a part in such service. Many will be willing to give, but not everyone has the skills to lead and organize and prioritize such giving. Some persons are better at "seeing" the needs, some are better at providing helpful services, some are better with the ability to direct.

Note what Paul says of the ideal congregation:

(1 Corinthians 12:14-13:1) 14 For, indeed, the body is made up not of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am no part of the body,” that does not make it no part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am no part of the body,” that does not make it no part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If it were all hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has arranged each of the body members just as he pleased. 19 If they were all the same member, where would the body be? 20 But now they are many members, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you,” or again, the head cannot say to the feet, “I do not need you.” 22 On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary, 23 and the parts of the body that we think to be less honorable we surround with greater honor, so our unseemly parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 whereas our attractive parts do not need anything. Nevertheless, God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that had a lack, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but its members should have mutual concern for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all the other members suffer with it; or if a member is glorified, all the other members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are Christ’s body, and each of you individually is a member. 28 And God has assigned the respective ones in the congregation: first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then powerful works; then gifts of healings; helpful services; abilities to direct; different tongues. 29 Not all are apostles, are they? Not all are prophets, are they? Not all are teachers, are they? Not all perform powerful works, do they? 30 Not all have gifts of healings, do they? Not all speak in tongues, do they? Not all are interpreters, are they? 31 But keep striving for the greater gifts. And yet I will show you a surpassing way. 13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but do not have love, I have become a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal.


The ideal congregation has thus been defined. Yet, we no longer see apostles and prophets, and powerful works, and gifts of healing, and tongues in the way that the first century congregation saw them. Even the "teaching" is essentially complete with the completion of the spirit-directed Christian Greek Scriptures. This means that the most necessary part of the current ideal congregation is that "its members should have mutual concern for one another." (v.25) The ideal congregation is foremost, therefore, an outlet for giving us opportunities to show our love through "helpful services" (v.28) and "abilities to direct" those helpful, loving services.

Jesus also seems to have anticipated that the primary concern of those of faith as judgment day approached would no longer be a big concern with prophesying and powerful works, but with practical love through helpful services.

(Matthew 7:20-23) 20 Really, then, by their fruits you will recognize those men. 21 “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of the heavens, but only the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. 22 Many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’

(Matthew 25:34-40) 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right: ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. 35 For I became hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you received me hospitably; 36 naked and you clothed me. I fell sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you visited me.’ . . . . 40 In reply the King will say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

This was always the primary focus of real Christianity. If we see that our congregation is not living up to the ideals of the kingdom in this way, then we should do what we can to make sure that these opportunities are taken advantage of. This is whether we are in a leadership position or not.

I may not have the same outlook as you, because my family has been the recipient of such kindness back in 1964 and 1965 when my father gave up a lot to move us from a comfortable place in California to a poor area of the Ozarks where there were very few in the congregation who cared that much to learn about the details of the new "Babylon" book at that time. But they could show love to strangers. They helped us find a place to stay, a small farm on 7 acres to rent, a place to work on the broken-down car, and to nearly live off the land where we raised a small number of cows and calves, a lot of chickens, and hand-tilled nearly an acre for corn, beans, peas, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, etc. We canned food, traded for other food. Traded eggs and milk for other necessities. Even though my father was an electrical engineer his first full-time job at the university paid only a four hundred a month [edited: $388/mo] for a family of 5.

My father's job grew 'slowly but surely' so that he could soon hire brothers to work for him at the university, which helped support others in turn. But we knew each other well in the congregation, and we knew the new ones coming in. (In just over a decade the one small congregation became 4 and by the 1990's was about 8 congregations.)

Today, I'll agree that many in the congregation don't know all the others as well. Some who have financial hardships don't want the embarrassment of admitting their troubles. They might pray and cry over the situation, but the solution is already built into the congregational arrangement.

What happens at Warwick, Patterson, Wallkill, Brooklyn, London, etc, is a different story, and I'll admit that it can sometimes seem to become too much of a priority. And yes, it can even become an idol. Humans have a tendency to idolize those who take the lead at the highest leadership positions, too. To avoid such mistakes, this is why we also have a teaching ministry, to keep ourselves aligned with the scriptural principles that should guide us. Correct teaching also helps us continue to give credit, not to ourselves, or to an organization, or its human leaders, but only to Jehovah and Jesus and the right spirit that should motivate us all. 

 

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6 hours ago, Witness said:

Many years ago, I remember a family so poor that the couple lived in a tent with their five children.  The sister begged the elders for help, stating her family was hungry because her husband (not a ministerial servant at the time) was having trouble getting work.  This area was very depressed economically, but the elders turned her away saying it was her husband’s job to provide food.  I would not have known any of this if she had not come to my house in tears.  How many actually knew her desperate situation in the congregation?

This is an extraordinary and tragic account despite the lack of detail. Presumably, although you don't record it, you were able to provide needed assistance to this family yourself, hopefully with the help of others whom you would have surely alerted to the situation. I would like to know what happened in connection with the woefully inadequate response of the "elders" you describe in this scenario. You must have been living in a rather deprived area, or indeed country, at that time.

I am glad to say that such a situation just would not occur in the area in which I live. And indeed, not in any congregation with which I have been involved.....................ever!

I have already directed you to information describing the higher level organised response to physical need in the congregation worldwide. And I am glad that arrangements on this scale are centrally coordinated by Jehovah's Witnesses organisationally, because neither I nor my local congregation could do this effectively. I am confident that the contributions to the Worlwide work are appropriately managed with due priority given to the various areas for which material resources are required. I am sure the $236 million (2015) spent on caring for the fulltime workers worldwide represents only a fraction of centrally contributed funds, to say nothing of the time and materials freely donated by all of Jehovah's people involved in such Christian activities.

This of course does not account for money and resources that are freely given by individuals in assisting their brothers and sisters locally, should they become aware of a need in harmony with Pro.3:27. We rarely hear detail of these actions unless we are directly involved in such kind acts either as giving or receiving. And rightly so, in harmony with Jesus words at Matt.6:1-4. I could list many examples of acts of kindness to fellow Christians that I am aware of or have been a party to over the years, but these are not matters for public broadcast. And neither are the needs of those who for one reason or another fall on hard times.

Jesus said that "you always have the poor with you". And it seems he maintained a fund which included resources to be given to the poor, of which treachorous Judas availed himself. (John 12:1-8). But nowhere in scripture do we find recorded specific examples of donations of that money to any needy individuals although examples of Jesus genorous spirit abound, such as his feeding of multitudes when necessary.

Obviously, specific needs requiring a more organised response locally are sometimes required, such as that recorded at Acts 6:1-4; 1Cor.16:1-4; or 1Tim.5:9. And if today, such arrangements are warranted due to some serious incident on a local level, this is coordinated appropriately with whatever level of needed publicity as I am sure you are aware if you followed the link I supplied earlier.

However, much Christian giving will be of the type exemplified by Dorcas whose example is recorded at Acts 9:36. I have met Christians with this spirit in my years of serving Jehovah, and they are an inspiration to all who associate with them, not least those who benefit from their kindness. These ones don't need public notification to prompt their deeds of mercy as their eyes and hearts are alert to their fellow Christians well-being. And just as their deeds do not go unnoticed by their heavenly father (compare Acts 9:39-40), the plight of those serving Jehovah who experience material difficulties do not go unnoticed either. Compare Ps.37:25.

I hope you now find yourself in less spiritually impoverished surroundings that that which you described in your scenario.

11 hours ago, Witness said:

What happens in entire congregations that are poor and can barely feed their own family?

This is a strange question for one apparently aware of Scriptural principles in relation to these matters? Do you have a specific circumstance in mind? And by that I mean where?, when?, who?, etc.

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I appreciate both of your comments – Eoin Joyce and JW Insider.  I can surmise that both of you have within your heart, a desire to help those in need.

Eion, In the situation with the woman I had mentioned, there were a few members who came to her aid.  If they were to have “taken the lead” in organizing a charity drive for her, the elders would have squashed such an action since their initial decision had already been made – a judgment of unworthiness, because of the father’s failure at obtaining work and providing for his family. With a few of us doing what we could considering our own family circumstances, this family still lived in a tent for almost a year, until the father was able to get work, save, and find suitable housing, which he eventually did.  This happened in California. 

I feel that perhaps you need to get out more, Eoin, although you mentioned you have been in more than one congregation.  There are several parts of the country that live in poverty, and this country I am speaking of, is the U.S.  Have you seen the chart that I am attaching from Pew Research?

 And after seeing this, surely all of us can magnify this frightful reality of poverty that exists in the organization, to other countries, and where other congregations have been formed. 

The opulence of Warwick could feed many.  I would hope that the scriptures posted earlier were acknowledged. If we don’t hear their impact, to whom are we listening to?

JW Insider, you appear to be somewhat of a rogue within the organization, a fish who on occasion, swims against the current, but then turns quickly back around.   I feel you endeavor to detach the congregation from the organization, but we both know this can’t happen.

While I see you grasp the proper mindset in serving God, unless we break free of the concept that the Watchtower is “Jehovah’s organization”, which is the greatest form of idolatry against God; as you say, the “perfect” congregation remains unreachable.

Although 1 Corinthians 12:14-13:1; Matt 7:20-23; 25:34-40  can be applied to all in the congregation in a sense, these scriptures specifically refer to the anointed ones. 

Paul, part of the foundation of the Body of Christ, was speaking to the Chosen ones who were part of that Body.  Today, we may not see apostles, but we see anointed ones, who are also part of Christ’s Body. Matt 16:18; Eph 2:20; 1 Pet 2:5,9; Rom 12:1; Eph 2:21,22; 1 Cor 3:16,17

They have become so obscured through Watchtower admonitions to remain anonymous, that they are forgotten.

 As far as prophets - “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”  Acts 2:17

And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” Rev 11:3

If we both agree that this Body is not perfect, how will it reach the point of perfection?  Certainly, not under any influence of a GB that rules over them, or obedience to elders who do not allow each anointed individual to proclaim Christ as their Head, and their only judge. Matt 24:48; 24:15; Dan 9:27; Rom 14:4,10   God’s anointed ones must shun any form of idolatry; ironically when they do so in the organization, they are then shunned. 

Matt 7:20-23 is also related to the teachings of anointed ones, (John 21:17; Mal 2:7; Heb 13:15) that each one of us must scrutinize.  Matt 25:34-40, which is recognizing these “little ones”, is impossible to do under required obedience to false shepherds.  Luke 17:2; Matt 23:13

They are each, a member of the Body of Christ, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Do you see?  In the organization, all of this is impossible since a theocratic authority rules. The road to  perfection begins for each Chosen one when leaving the teachings of bad fruit, oppression, “trampling”, and turning directly to Christ.  It is then that they find other brothers in Christ -  those who are also members of the Body.  This is where love is nurtured, through the blessing of Holy Spirit. In Christ's light, is where the Temple/sanctuary will be restored and finished – outside of “earthly things” which equates to idolatry. Phil 3:19; Isa 58; Zech 4:7

2 Thess 2:1-12

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Witness said:

I feel that perhaps you need to get out more, Eoin

This has to be one of the most opinionated responses I have ever experienced on this forum although you likely don't mean to give that impression. You have absolutely no idea of what my experience of congregations has been or, for that matter, where I have had those experiences.

5 hours ago, Witness said:

Pew Research

Yes I have seen this chart. It is open to a considerable amount of skepticism. The sample was only 208 people. Most Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs) I know do not participate in surveys. What is the criteria for one's claim to affiliation? An alternative factor could be the emphasis JWs place on spiritual over secular activities. I.E. many witnesses actually choose part-time or lower paid employment to free them for spiritual activity.

On the results alone I am pleased to see that JWs are separated which is always a good thing. As for them being bottom of the table this goes to show how much we accomplish from such an apparently low income base.  For example, The Journal of Contemporary Religion (Vol. 12, No2, 1997) noted that in the year 1993, the combined efforts of the Protestant Churches of US and Canada spent in excess of $2 Billion to support the work of 41,142 overseas missionaries. JWs spent $45 Million on supporting the work of 3,279,270 in the same period. A similar story would be told every year. As for results, which religious group would first come to mind as associated with God's name "Jehovah" or the biblical term "the kingdom of God"?

And on a strategy level alone, after leaving school at 16, I have spent my life in the bottom 2 sectors of the income table, yet was never without work or income, raised 5 children, own my own home (above average standard and mortgage-free), serve in full time ministry, organised finances to not now require an earned income whilst pioneering. I consider myself to be a fairly "typical"JW. Oh, of course I don't smoke, gamble, abuse alcohol or other substances and am not locked into a trend-pursuing lifestyle or other resource-draining indulgence. So, I wonder if these factors are a consideration in drawing conclusions based on comparisons related to this table?

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21 hours ago, Witness said:

JW Insider, you appear to be somewhat of a rogue within the organization, a fish who on occasion, swims against the current, but then turns quickly back around.   I feel you endeavor to detach the congregation from the organization, but we both know this can’t happen.

Witness, I hope it works to answer in this way. I'm just quickly interspersing my comments between your paragraphs, and will just turn your comments grey, so that you can tell where mine start and end.

With your statement you inspire me to defend my beliefs a little better. I would assume that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, like me. It was easy to find persons like me at Bethel, especially among the Writing Department, but not at all limited to there. In every congregation I have been in, there were always a few, who understand that it "goes against the grain" to question too much too loudly. However, I have seen big improvements in the organization in the past few years, and expect to see more in the future. 

While I see you grasp the proper mindset in serving God, unless we break free of the concept that the Watchtower is “Jehovah’s organization”, which is the greatest form of idolatry against God; as you say, the “perfect” congregation remains unreachable.

No JW who knows the actual teaching will claim that the Watchtower is "Jehovah's organization." Jehovah's organization refers to his overall organization of things in the heaven and things on the earth, specifically, Jehovah along with his Son, and all the myriads and myriads of heavenly angels in their proper assignments, and an administration that includes faithful followers on earth and a way to deal with and eliminate evil in both heaven and earth. With respect to humans, it includes those alive now and those in Jehovah's memory who are "in the Book of Life." Those chosen from earth to take their station in the heavenly part of that organization have been chosen over the past 2000 years, and the majority were likely chosen, therefore, before the Watchtower organization even existed. When the Watchtower speaks of the earthly part, or visible part of Jehovah's organization, it still does not specifically refer to the Watchtower itself, but to those who associate with and live their lives as sincere Christians. JWs do not officially believe that only JWs will be counted as Christians, although the hope is that we have found a way that attracts more people to a Christian way of life.

Although 1 Corinthians 12:14-13:1; Matt 7:20-23; 25:34-40  can be applied to all in the congregation in a sense, these scriptures specifically refer to the anointed ones. Paul, part of the foundation of the Body of Christ, was speaking to the Chosen ones who were part of that Body.  Today, we may not see apostles, but we see anointed ones, who are also part of Christ’s Body. Matt 16:18; Eph 2:20; 1 Pet 2:5,9; Rom 12:1; Eph 2:21,22; 1 Cor 3:16,17

There is nothing in principle about the anointed that cannot be equally applied to all Christians.

They have become so obscured through Watchtower admonitions to remain anonymous, that they are forgotten.

They have been asked to take a step back and allow themselves to be represented by a smaller group of anointed.

As far as prophets - “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”  Acts 2:17 And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” Rev 11:3

This began to be true "in the last days" which, according to Peter, began around 33 C.E. Revelation 11:3 seems to confirm that this referred to the first century. I have seen no forms of prophecy or powerful works in my lifetime of the type mentioned in the Bible. This leads me to believe that those particular forms were necessary until the Christian Scriptures took shape after the death of the apostles.

If we both agree that this Body is not perfect, how will it reach the point of perfection?  Certainly, not under any influence of a GB that rules over them, or obedience to elders who do not allow each anointed individual to proclaim Christ as their Head, and their only judge. Matt 24:48; 24:15; Dan 9:27; Rom 14:4,10   God’s anointed ones must shun any form of idolatry; ironically when they do so in the organization, they are then shunned. 

I don't expect the Body to reach perfection while on earth. (1 John 1:8) "If we make the statement, 'We have no sin,' we are misleading ourselves and the truth is not in us." Being declared righteous is not the same as being perfect. Also, I don't believe anyone who is truly anointed is confused about whether Christ is their Head and Judge.

Matt 7:20-23 is also related to the teachings of anointed ones, (John 21:17; Mal 2:7; Heb 13:15) that each one of us must scrutinize.  Matt 25:34-40, which is recognizing these “little ones”, is impossible to do under required obedience to false shepherds.  Luke 17:2; Matt 23:13 They are each, a member of the Body of Christ, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Not impossible at all to recognize these "little ones." The teaching about the "little ones" is that they are the same as "Christ's brothers" which are often considered to be limited to 144,000. But there is no distinction as to how the rest of the flock are treated. The entire flock, including "other sheep" are to be "one flock" under one shepherd. Notice how the "other sheep" will also come in through the door, that they may have life and have it in abundance. This is for "everyone having faith in him" not just a small remnant.

(John 10:7-16) . . .“Most truly I say to you, I am the door for the sheep. . . . I am the door; whoever enters through me will be saved, and that one will go in and out and find pasturage. . . .  I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance. 11 I am the fine shepherd; the fine shepherd surrenders his life in behalf of the sheep. . . . 14 I am the fine shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I surrender my life in behalf of the sheep. 16 “And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those too I must bring in, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.

Just because some feel they will be sons of God and therefore Christ's brothers in heaven does not discount the scriptures that speak of everyone who has faith being sons of God and therefore Christ's brothers. Heaven and earth do not constitute two different hopes. It is the same hope to have a place in Kingdom of God, for His will to be done in heaven and on earth:

(Matthew 5:3,5,9) 3 “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the Kingdom of the heavens belongs to them. . . .  “Happy are the mild-tempered, since they will inherit the earth. . . “Happy are the peacemakers, since they will be called sons of God.

(Matthew 23:8-10) . . .for one is your Teacher, and all of you are brothers. 9 Moreover, do not call anyone your father on earth, for one is your Father, the heavenly One. 10 Neither be called leaders, for your Leader is one, the Christ.

Do you see?  In the organization, all of this is impossible since a theocratic authority rules. The road to  perfection begins for each Chosen one when leaving the teachings of bad fruit, oppression, “trampling”, and turning directly to Christ.  It is then that they find other brothers in Christ -  those who are also members of the Body.  This is where love is nurtured, through the blessing of Holy Spirit. In Christ's light, is where the Temple/sanctuary will be restored and finished – outside of “earthly things” which equates to idolatry. Phil 3:19; Isa 58; Zech 4:7

I understand what you are saying. In our heart, if we dwell on spiritual things, then the earthly things do not get in the way. We can work with them and use our opportunities to learn from all things, and improve things where we see opportunity too. But we cannot expect to escape earthly things. The wheat and the weeds grow together until judgment day. (1 Corinthians 5:10) "Otherwise, you would actually have to get out of the world. "

(1 Corinthians 12:12, 13) 12 For just as the body is one but has many members, and all the members of that body, although many, are one body, so too is the Christ. 13 For by one spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink one spirit.

If you feel you have found a better way, then I hope this is good for you and your relationship with God and Christ. I have not been the kind person who believes it is my place to "jump ship" just because I see some problems on board or icebergs on the horizon. We are free in Christ, and free to be Christian, even if some doctrinal issues are not agreeable. It's possible to feel trapped, I suppose, if one gives too much attention to the imperfections of a human organization. But I think the principle in Paul's words give a perspective that is useful:

(1 Corinthians 7:20-24) . . .. 21 Were you called when a slave? Do not let it worry you; . . .  22 For anyone in [the] Lord that was called when a slave is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he that was called when a freeman is a slave of Christ. 23 YOU were bought with a price; stop becoming slaves of men. 24 In whatever condition each one was called, brothers, let him remain in it associated with God.

Thanks for your thoughts on the subject.

 

 

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JW Insider, thank you for your thoughts.  Your words are in green.  

When the Watchtower speaks of the earthly part, or visible part of Jehovah's organization, it still does not specifically refer to the Watchtower itself, but to those who associate with and live their lives as sincere Christians. 

I understand your view, but look closer.   Notice the comparison of the organization to the early temple.

"In the first fulfillment of these words back in the days of the return from Babylonian exile, kings and others from the nations did actually help in the rebuilding of the temple and the city of Jerusalem. (

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) In the modern fulfillment, the great crowd has supported the anointed remnant in building up true worship. They have helped to build up Christian congregations and thus strengthen the citylike “walls” of Jehovah’s organization. They also share in a literal building work—the construction of Kingdom Halls, Assembly Halls, and Bethel facilities. In all these ways, they support their anointed brothers in caring for the needs of Jehovah’s expanding organization! w/02/7/1 par 16

Aside from the fact that “true worship” cannot be built on a foundation of false teachings, and false prophesy, (Deut 18:19-22) an organization and all aspects of it, is considered God’s ‘House’ even down to the kingdom hall.  Not one JW (are you the exception?) can separate their spiritual worship from the established, defined organization.

 In truth, God’s house is God’s Temple  Acts 7:49,50

 God’s true mountain is God’s Temple.

God’s Temple ARE/INCLUDES the anointed ones. 1 Pet 2:5; 1 Cor 3:16; Eph 2:20-22,10  During the last days, at the completion of the “144,000”, all will then stream to this mountain. 

“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.” Isa 2:3

Is the temple, the house of God, completed yet?  No, thus this is not referring to the organization, but to the Body of Christ.

Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.  Isa 2:1

The organization cannot be the earthly part of Mount Zion, since Zion is represented on earth by God’s spirit within God’s Chosen ones – spiritual Israel, spiritual “Jerusalem”.   

"Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads."  Rev 14:1

“And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?  And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”2 Cor 6:15,16

Who make up the organization that calls itself earthly Zion?  The large majority are NOT God’s Chosen anointed ones; they are NOT spiritual “Jews”, but spiritual “Gentiles”.

For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Isa 2:3

This law is written on the hearts of God’s anointed/Chosen ones. Heb 8:10; 2 Cor 5:20; Rom 2:29; 1 Cor 6:2,3

Within the organization, spiritual “food” is produced primarily by those not anointed, while God’s Chosen ones who carry His laws somewhere in their suppressed heart, lay dormant.

There is nothing in principle about the anointed that cannot be equally applied to all Christians.

This is true, until we go against God’s arrangement of the “administration” that Paul spoke of, the Body of Christ. 2 Cor 9:10-15 The priests are required to teach truth from the knowledge given them. (Mal 2:7) The early temple priesthood foreshadowed the priesthood in God’s Kingdom.  Heb 7:11,12; 8:1,2,5-10; 9:11; 2 Cor 5:17; 1 Pet 2:10,9; Acts 7:48; 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19; Acts 17:24; Col 2:17; Eph 2:20-22; 1 Pet 2:5,9; Rev 5:9,10

Under the New Covenant we must recognize this administration, now. Heb 9:8-12, 15,23,24

Our glimpse of God’s heavenly Mt Zion is found in Matt 17:1,5,9.  Peter describes this vision:

 “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.  For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.  And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” 2 Pet 1:16-19

There is no prophesy of any other “holy mountain” in the scriptures to be found in the latter days called, “earthly Zion”, “Jehovah’s organization”, or the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. 

They have been asked to take a step back and allow themselves to be represented by a smaller group of anointed.

Who asked them?  God?  Christ?  Uninspired men?

1 Pet 4:10 -  As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

First and foremost, each anointed one is appointed as a steward of God’s word. They are to “look after” the truth they have received from Christ. This does not include any deviation of those teachings.  If another teaches a crooked path to Christ, should they accept this over the words of their Master? 2 Cor 11:2-4; Matt 24:4; 2 Cor 11:20

 A true steward or manager over a household gathers from all sources and provides it to those in need.  The GB who rules over the Body of Christ uses those not anointed , “Gentiles”, to write this “food”, while any suggestions written by anointed ones are discarded by the GB, thrown out, along with God’s priest. With the anointing comes knowledge (1 John 2:20,27). If one is not a Chosen priest to direct the people, there is no blessed direction in knowledge. (Rev.1:5-6; 5:9-10).  Since the anointed GB refuses to recognize this, they too, lack direction of Holy Spirit.  God’s will on these matters is ignored. 

This is the situation of oppression, the trampling, and the symbolic captivity spoken of in Revelation (Rev 13:10), to overcome the anointed ones during the time of the end, as well as the measuring, the scrutinizing,  of God’s “Temple” (each anointed one) within scripture.  Isa 5:13; Isa 46:2; Col 2:8; Luke 21:24; Rev 11:1; 1 Cor 3:16; 1 Pet 2:5; Eph 2:20-22; Rev 6:9-11

“ But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.”  Rev 11:2 (Matt 24:15)

The GB will tell you that there have been no faithful slaves until now.   Jesus asks,  “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season?  Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.

This household has been ongoing since Christ ascended into heaven.  Christ isn’t saying that there is only one historical group that will be found faithful, but is saying that among all “faithful and discreet slaves” (Matt 25:21) during any time period, which faithful one is appointed over the domestics?  BUT, the GB has come to the conclusion that from all of the thousands of anointed ones since Christ, THEY are the   only faithful and discreet slave among all of God’s Chosen slaves.  Thus, such a lie brings conclusive evidence from scripture, (Matt 24:48-50) they must also fulfill the wicked slave beating down their brothers in Christ into submission to teachings gleaned from those other than the members of the Body. (Ezek 44:6-8)

Since this Temple is built on Christ, surely one can see how precious God’s own Zion is to become – superior to any temple built by man. 

Just because some feel they will be sons of God and therefore Christ's brothers in heaven does not discount the scriptures that speak of everyone who has faith being sons of God and therefore Christ's brothers. Heaven and earth do not constitute two different hopes.

I agree.  JW Insider, my attempt is not to pump up a presumed superiority of Chosen ones, but to relate the realities of the importance of this priesthood, as well as the prophetic condition of God’s anointed ones in the organization.  So many lies have been told about them and their role, that it sickens me.  They are the “firstfruits” (James 1:18) of God’s children.  They give their lives as a sacrifice in the same manner as Christ– both this Bride and Christ will bring the promise of life to all who have faith.  To teach that the “144,000 “are not allowed to enjoy their inheritance of the earth from the earth, is blasphemy. John 1:51   Christ, the very firstfruit, received this inheritance; he, in turn gives it to his faithful brothers, and the Kingdom blessings bring this inheritance to all of God’s children who accept God’s arrangement. Matt 25:34-36; Gal 3:16; Ps 2:8; Heb 1:2 This means that God’s children will work together in respective roles; his kingly priesthood will work under their glorious High Priest, attending to the needs of the rest of Abraham’s seed, in servitude to the Father and Christ.  The Chosen one’s role is a blessing of sacrifice to mankind, not one of superiority that Anthony Morris so pompously boasted of.  No wonder no one cares to consider the role of the anointed ones.  Christ suffered and died for all of mankind, his brothers must do the same – for all of mankind. 

It is in God’s Kingdom where all faithful sons of God receive its blessings, when Mount Zion, God’s spiritual “Holy City”, comes down from heaven with the “144,000”.  Rev 21:2  They are the “new creation”, in imitation of Christ, who appeared in fleshly form to the disciples after his resurrection. 

I know I’ve posted much of this before, but this is the time when truth becomes abundant, not through erring doctrine, but through the blessings of the Marriage Feast.  Matt 24:27,28; 22:4; Rev 19:9; John 16:13; Rev 1:1; 22:6; 10:7

We are not free in Christ until we let go of all and everything that goes against God’s will.  Among His people, wolves in sheep’s clothing would not preach that we must turn to Christ, who is our salvation, but would preach we must be part of the work of man’s hands in order to obtain it.  Rev 9:20

“Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!”  Jer 7:4

The Presence of the Chosen Ones -

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