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what does it mean with the April 2017 study edition of the wt? Are all who were/are baptized still bound to this vow?


Shiwiii
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13 There is no way to undo a dedication vow, taking back what we promised God. If a person tires of serving Jehovah or of living a Christian way of life, he cannot claim that he was never really dedicated and that his baptism was invalid. * To all intents and purposes, he presented himself as one who was wholly dedicated to God. He will be accountable before Jehovah and the congregation for any serious sins that he may commit. (Rom. 14:12) https://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/watchtower-study-april-2017/what-you-vow-pay/#footnote2

 

Romans 14:10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[a]? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
    every tongue will acknowledge God.’”[b]

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

 

It appears that this is the case no matter if anyone likes it or not. So say someone who decided to stop going to the meetings and refuses to meet with the elders, are they still part of the congregation? They certainly cannot claim that they were not dedicated at some point. This leads me to a question of if a child (under the age of 16) participated in baptism, do they have the capability to understand what exactly that dedication means? Do they understand that they will not be able to claim it was invalid based upon ignorance?  

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8 hours ago, Shiwiii said:

This leads me to a question of if a child (under the age of 16) participated in baptism, do they have the capability to understand what exactly that dedication means? Do they understand that they will not be able to claim it was invalid based upon ignorance?  

No one should get baptized and be ignorant of what they are doing, what with the 100 or so questions, and the elders going through the questions making sure the person has a clear understanding of what they are committing to.

I suppose if someone wanted to go back on their dedication, and no longer wanting to be identified as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, it wouldn't be because of ignorance, but rather because the person changed their mind and no longer believes what they believed when they got baptized....even if they were a child.

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10 hours ago, Shiwiii said:

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

This is the key to discussion on this kind of a topic. Jehovah is the one through His son Christ Jesus, who will decide on a person's capability of making a dedication, the validity of that dedication and, whether they are living up to that dedication. Pro.16:2; Pro.21:2. And this should inspire confidence as we can be certain that Jehovah, “the Judge of all the earth,” will always do what is right, “for all his ways are justice.”—Gen. 18:25; Deut. 32:4.

If an individual "changes their mind" about dedication, then that is a matter between themselves and Jehovah. No one would really know this had occurred unless the person actually told others. They might exhibit a spiritual problem in their behaviour without engaging in a serious practice of sin. Christian elders obviously have a duty to assist a person spiritually if they become aware that an individual has decided to follow the disastrous course of reneging on their dedication. Gal.6:1. But in itself, it is a matter between the individual and Jehovah. If that person becomes involved in serious sin. elders have to take action and have additional responsibilties in keeping the congregation clean in this regard, (1Cor.5:12-13) . An unrepentant practicer of serious sin must be disfellowshipped. 

However, none of this would undicate necessarily that they had "changed their mind" about dedication, or sought to "undedicated" themselves, only that they had failed to live up to the terms of that dedication. And Jehovah has provide a means through Christ's ransom for those who sin, even though dedicated, to repent and return to Him. Surely that is the thought at Gal.3:13. 

As for an age limit on baptism, this has had lengthy discussion elsewhere on the forum, for example: 

 

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11 hours ago, Anna said:

No one should get baptized and be ignorant of what they are doing, what with the 100 or so questions, and the elders going through the questions making sure the person has a clear understanding of what they are committing to.

I quite agree, but what 13 year old understands the ramifications or implications of each of those 100 questions? A person of that age is not accountable in a court of law, nor behind the wheel of a car, alcohol, marriage, etc. you get the point. 

11 hours ago, Anna said:

I suppose if someone wanted to go back on their dedication, and no longer wanting to be identified as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, it wouldn't be because of ignorance, but rather because the person changed their mind and no longer believes what they believed when they got baptized....even if they were a child.

so then, does this article not point out the fact that the baptism is still valid and thus they are still connected to the organization? Their dedication isn't void because they changed their minds and decided to do/believe something else. Wouldn't you agree? 

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9 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

This is the key to discussion on this kind of a topic. Jehovah is the one through His son Christ Jesus, who will decide on a person's capability of making a dedication, the validity of that dedication and, whether they are living up to that dedication. Pro.16:2; Pro.21:2. And this should inspire confidence as we can be certain that Jehovah, “the Judge of all the earth,” will always do what is right, “for all his ways are justice.”—Gen. 18:25; Deut. 32:4.

so then what is the point of this article? Doesn't the article make the organization the one who makes the very determination you assert to Jehovah? Are they not saying that one cannot revoke their vow and claim an invalid baptism?

9 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

f an individual "changes their mind" about dedication, then that is a matter between themselves and Jehovah. No one would really know this had occurred unless the person actually told others. They might exhibit a spiritual problem in their behaviour without engaging in a serious practice of sin. Christian elders obviously have a duty to assist a person spiritually if they become aware that an individual has decided to follow the disastrous course of reneging on their dedication. Gal.6:1. But in itself, it is a matter between the individual and Jehovah. If that person becomes involved in serious sin. elders have to take action and have additional responsibilties in keeping the congregation clean in this regard, (1Cor.5:12-13) . An unrepentant practicer of serious sin must be disfellowshipped. 

 you are saying exactly the opposite of what this article is saying. The publication, produced by the organization, it saying that a baptism is valid, even if you don't like it. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Shiwiii said:

so then what is the point of this article?

To encourage Christians to appreciate the need to pay what they vow. This includes more than dedication. At a age when disloyalty characterises human society (2Tim.3:2), this would seem to be "food at the proper time".

5 hours ago, Shiwiii said:

The publication, produced by the organization, it saying that a baptism is valid, even if you don't like it. 

????? Actually, the article says "There is no way to undo a dedication vow, taking back what we promised God". Ecc.5:4-6. And to my understanding, as the dedication vow is between Jehovah and the individual making the dedication, well, that's where the dedication issue remains. 

Now, if a person wants to use "invalid dedication" as an excuse for engaging in a sinful course of life, bringing reproach on both Jehovah and the Christian congregation, that's a whole different ball game. Their course will need handling as a judicial matter and a decision made accordingly. That could include a determination on the validity of their dedication as noted in the Watchtower you refer to.

If a person wants to use that same excuse as a justification for no longer engaging in preaching and disciple-making or attending Christian meetings, well, attempts would be made (as previously posted) in harmony with Gal.6:1.

Humans are free to take whatever action they choose to take with regard to Jehovah's requirements. They have to also accept the consequences of the actions that they take.

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11 hours ago, Shiwiii said:

so then, does this article not point out the fact that the baptism is still valid and thus they are still connected to the organization? Their dedication isn't void because they changed their minds and decided to do/believe something else. Wouldn't you agree? 

The article is looking at it from different angle to what you assume. What it is saying is that a person cannot go back on their baptism using it as an excuse that they didn't know what they were doing, therefor their baptism didn't count. There must have been cases where a baptized Witness has claimed their baptism wasn't valid in order to avoid being disfellowshipped. So what the article is saying, that if you have once made a dedication and got baptized  and now have "tired of serving Jehovah or of living a Christian way of life" and want to go and fornicate etc. you will be disfellowshipped. What it boils down to is that someone who is known in the community as being one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and is also known to be fornicating, can no longer be called one of Jehovah's Witnesses, they are held accountable not only before Jehovah but before the congregation also. However, there exist situations where a Witness has faded and stopped associating with the congregation, and is no longer known as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in the community. Neither the elder nor members of the congregation go around policing those who no longer associate and so it is very unlikely that it will discover that this person is now living an immoral life and is celebrating all the holidays. In such a situation, they will no longer be held accountable before the congregation, but of course they will remain accountable to Jehovah (Romans 13:10 -12) Living an immoral life etc. does not undo what has already been done i.e. dedication and baptism. 

As for child baptism, Eoin has addressed that.

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16 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

Now, if a person wants to use "invalid dedication" as an excuse for engaging in a sinful course of life, bringing reproach on both Jehovah and the Christian congregation, that's a whole different ball game. Their course will need handling as a judicial matter and a decision made accordingly. That could include a determination on the validity of their dedication as noted in the Watchtower you refer to.

If a person wants to use that same excuse as a justification for no longer engaging in preaching and disciple-making or attending Christian meetings, well, attempts would be made (as previously posted) in harmony with Gal.6:1.

Would you think that those who sexually prey on children, but still want to be a part of the organization, fall into the first category you mentioned? If so, what judicial matter can determine the validity of the claims of child abuse if there is no other witness except the victim? Does this determine the validity of their dedication according to your statement? I mean there are plenty of child molesters who have NOT had their validity questioned because of actions like this and still remain within the organization as a MS, elder, etc. 

16 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

Humans are free to take whatever action they choose to take with regard to Jehovah's requirements. They have to also accept the consequences of the actions that they take.

I fully agree, we as humans can choose our sin, but we cannot choose the consequences! 

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10 hours ago, Anna said:

What it boils down to is that someone who is known in the community as being one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and is also known to be fornicating, can no longer be called one of Jehovah's Witnesses, they are held accountable not only before Jehovah but before the congregation also.

but this doesn't apply to child molesters? I mean known molesters are still being treated the same as they were before they were found out. These are also still wanting to be a part of the organization and have done so. So where does the organization hold them accountable if nothing is done? If one wants to sit back and claim " leave it in Jehovah's hands" then one must also accept a murderer, drunkard, fornicator within the organization just the same. Would you go out in service with a known murderer, alone? or allow your child to go out in service with a known child molester without you? 

 

10 hours ago, Anna said:

Neither the elder nor members of the congregation go around policing those who no longer associate and so it is very unlikely that it will discover that this person is now living an immoral life and is celebrating all the holidays.

I seem to recall a "return to Jehovah" brochure that did exactly that, policing those who have faded or become inactive.  

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7 hours ago, Shiwiii said:

Would you think that those who sexually prey on children, but still want to be a part of the organization, fall into the first category you mentioned

Which category is that?

There are all sorts of evil-doers who want to be a part of the organisation but who are excluded by their practices.

7 hours ago, Shiwiii said:

determine the validity of their dedication

I have known some get baptised without completing a Bible Study program and an assessment of progress made. Someone like that (at a later date) may feel they actually had not dedicated themselves to Jehovah at the time, do so on the basis of improved understanding, then resubmit for baptism. They determined the validity of their earlier dedication themselves. I would say that the incidence rate of this happening now would be comparatively rare.

I have known others who submitted for baptism having followed all procedures and have become a part of the congregation but were subsequently found to have ulterior motives and merely served as infiltrators, intent on some selfish objective. There may have been a relationship, sexual or otherwise, involved. I have heard of other instances in times of persecution or ban where informers have infiltrated. Truly determined evil-doers of this type may be difficult to detect, but I have confidence in Paul's words at 1Tim.5:24. In time, some of these ones remove themselves, or get removed, sadly, not without damage on occasion. It would be highly unlikely that any of the perpetrators in such scenarios made a dedication at all.

Another scenario was discussed recently in the Watchtower 15/2/2010 p23:

"At the time of baptism, for instance, an individual may secretly have been living in a situation or engaging in a practice that could have resulted in his being disfellowshipped if he had already been validly baptized. Could he make a dedication to God in such circumstances? Such an individual would have been in a position to make a valid dedication to Jehovah only if the unscriptural conduct had been discontinued." 

As for those who have engaged in serious wrongdoing prior to dedication, but who have repented and turned around, then 1Cor. 5:9-11 applies. And for those who lapse (or relapse) into such sin AFTER dedication, such a matter of itself would not render their dedication invalid. On the contrary, on the basis of their dedication, Jehovah will require an accounting. Rom.14:12.

So, the answer to your question "Are all who were/are baptized still bound to this vow?" is actually:

NO! Only those who have made an acceptible dedication to Jehovah are.

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Anna's words:  

 “I suppose if someone wanted to go back on their dedication, and no longer wanting to be identified as one of Jehovah's Witnesses…”

You revealed the problem. 

Is the baptism exercised by the organization “from heaven, or from men”?  Matt 21:25

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”  Matt 28:19,20

Baptize In the name of these three - the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.

Is this what the organization does?

"On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?" 

"Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in association with God's spirit-directed organization?"

Having answered yes to these questions, candidates are in a right heart condition to undergo Christian baptism."

Surely, this is a baptism from men. 

“Brothers, I have applied all this to Apollos and myself for your benefit, so that you may learn from us not to go beyond what the Scriptures say. Then you will stop boasting about one person at the expense of another.”  1 Cor 4:6

“But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that person be condemned! What we have told you in the past I am now telling you again: If anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that person be condemned!”  Gal 1:8,9

Are the above baptism questions “teaching” those to be baptized, observance toward all the things that Christ commanded us?

No.

How valid, then, is a baptism performed by the organization today?

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8 hours ago, Shiwiii said:

but this doesn't apply to child molesters?

Of course it applies to child molesters

10 hours ago, Shiwiii said:

I mean known molesters are still being treated the same as they were before they were found out. These are also still wanting to be a part of the organization and have done so. So where does the organization hold them accountable if nothing is done?

If you are going to make these statements then please back them up with evidence. How do you know known molesters are being treated the same way as they were before they were found out? How do you know nothing is done?

10 hours ago, Shiwiii said:

leave it in Jehovah's hands" then one must also accept a murderer, drunkard, fornicator within the organization just the same.

Indeed. If there is no proof of murder, drunkenness or fornication then not even the Law can do anything about it. The congregation leaves it in Jehovah's hands until there is evidence. You now the saying, "innocent until proven guilty".

10 hours ago, Shiwiii said:

I seem to recall a "return to Jehovah" brochure that did exactly that, policing those who have faded or become inactive.  

How is that policing???

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