QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
Regarding Elders | Overseers
♦ Is stepping down from a spiritual privilege in the Congregation an act that is contrary to God's will? [WT 4/15/14]
On June 29, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“Question: Is stepping down from a spiritual privilege in the Congregation an act that is contrary to God's will? The [Watchtower] Study article "Be of Good Courage Jehovah Is Your Helper!" has been discussed in our congregation this morning. Paragraph 16 covers a sister whose husband gave up serving as an elder because she had leave home to travel abroad for their family. The sister said: "So I really hope that Jehovah will bless this move." What now follows is an interesting (to some, disturbing) comment from said paragraph:
“Jehovah always blesses decisions based on faith in him, but how can he bless a decision that is contrary to his will, especially when it involves needlessly giving up sacred privileges?”
While reaching for or desiring a privilege (e.g. overseer/elder) is a noble task (1 Tim. 3:1), where in the bible do we see a verse that stepping down from a privilege or position is automatically contrary or not according to God’s will? The [Watchtower] supplied Hebrews 11:6 and 1 John 5:13-15 but none of these verses would even indicate a hint that resigning from a privilege is contrary to God’s will, much less a detestable thing that deserves unfavorable judgment from the Father.
Isn't it only God knows what is in the heart of a man (Luke 16:14)? He rightfully knows if the decision will do good for a man and his family or not. Not being an overseer or elder makes any Christian less or automatically diminishes his standing before God. He would never forget our fine works. Heb. 6:10 states: “For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name, in having served and continuing to serve the saints.” I think the WT should not impose subtly human organization precepts or understanding as though they are coming from the Father.
I have raised this question here since we have heard reports of brothers occupying sensitive privileges (e.g. District Overseers, Circuit Overseers and Elders) who have resigned or given them up after some awakening experience or after learning the real truth to shine over and above what the Society has taught them for years. Looking forward to your kind comments.”
To the author, thank you for your email. However, the brothers who have elected to step down from their positions of oversight, and those who are considering doing so, based on the plain and open teachings of Jesus are not misled by statements such as those you refer to.
They know that serving in positions of oversight in a congregation is not a ‘sacred privilege,’ but rather an administrative privilege. This is more true in the Kingdom Halls than anywhere else because, with only a few exceptions, modern day Elders and Servants have not heeded the call to sonship, and are therefore not members of the body of Christ and thus are not in the true Christian congregation.
Further, these brothers know that stepping down so as to avoid teaching untruths or taking the lead in the ministry of “another sort of good news” is in full harmony with God’s will.
As Paul wrote to Timothy:
“Do your utmost to present yourself approved to God, a workman with nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of the truth aright.”– 2 Timothy 2:15
These brothers are doing their utmost to please God by removing themselves from the shame of preaching a false hope. They desire to ‘handle the word of truth aright’ by preaching the things Jesus taught, not the ‘commands of men.’ And, as you well know, remaining under the oversight of the Governing Body precludes them from doing so.
Perhaps one might want to look at the Watchtower statement in a different light. For example, the brothers who are stepping down based on the plain and open teachings have made those decisions based on faith in God and Christ Jesus. Therefore, they can surely expect the Father’s blessing.
♦ Why don’t I hear about the numbers of Elders and traveling overseers stepping down on other blogs, and why do you have such a low count of activity on your site?
On September 23, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“Hi Brothers/sisters. I write with mixed emotions. First I felt this was something special for I have been searching for years. Baptized a [Jehovah’s Witness] in 1983, still attending but not believing it is truth anymore. 1995 was my turning point with change of generation teaching. From there I read Studies in Scriptures and thought “hmmmm is this the truth?” From there Restoration Fellowship. I studied that for 2-3 years but felt that did nothing for me. So back to [Jehovah’s Witnesses] "apostate" sites i.e, Perimeno, E-watchman, and JWStruggle was last one.
“Someone posted on there about anointedjw.org. That was about two years ago. I have enjoyed your articles, I think about sonship all the time but not convinced that you are telling the "whole" story. Why do I say this? Well you claim to have millions of "followers" (not the correct word). With all the ones stepping down, Elders, [Circuit and District Overseers] Pioneers, Bethelites, etc., there should really be a buzz thru the fellowship and others blogs. But I see nothing, only a few comments a year or so ago. Why do you have such a low count of activity on your website to support your claims. Any info can be found on the web. I have searched yours and others. With such wonderful articles there must be an explanation. Please help me with this. I pray for truth thank you!?”
To the author, thank you for your email. We are glad you are visiting our site and enjoying the articles. But it appears you are letting numbers effect your faith. If you find what we write to be accurate, to speak to your spirit, to help you develop your relationship with God and Christ Jesus, then what does it matter who else responds? We are encouraging our brothers to have the type of faith that allows them to stand on their own with one mediator, Christ Jesus, whether there are others standing with them or not. We are trying to teach religious self-governance as Jesus taught. When one is overly concerned about how many people believe as they believe, they are not being whole souled to God. This is something we would like you to think about. In the meantime, we will respond to your comments about the millions of ‘followers,’ and the idea that we have ‘a low count of activity on our website.’
First, we can tell you that of the over 11 million sons we know about (and rapidly growing) who have taken up the ‘plain and open teachings of Jesus’ in the past 2-1/2 years, only about 1.8 million are from the Jehovah’s Witness community. Our reports about Elders and other Overseers who have stepped down are accurate. But it is possible that you are not associated with congregations where this is occurring, or the congregations are not publishing the true reasons why these men are stepping down. We can tell you that the shift in the way the organization is dealing with Circuit and District Overseers is a direct result of the dwindling numbers of these men who no longer agree to follow the unsound directives of ‘the Slave.’
As for other blogs who do not mention our site, this should not surprise you. As we state, our Mission is to “uplift the spiritual conversation worldwide by re-introducing and expounding on the original, actual, authentic, plain and open teachings of Jesus Christ.” Many ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses sites are not interested in finding spiritual solutions to the problems in the Watchtower organization. Most just want it to be destroyed with little concern about the millions still inside. Some have become either self-appointed prophets in the likeness of Jeremiah or other Hebrew prophets who feel they are called upon to call down evil on the organization as a whole, or have become atheists and agnostics who find a website like ours that focuses on the plain and open teachings of Jesus as deluded. Mentioning our site only sparks interest in it and drives visitors to us. That is not what many of these websites want to happen. And so you will find silence about us for the most part. Though we can tell you that many visitors to those sites, and in fact some of the authors of those sites, are on our Email Alert list and receive regular updates on what we are doing.
Some ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses sites are upset with us because we do not allow them to utilize our site as a medium to publish their own ideas. We explain that we are not a social blog, we are an information site with a Mission. And so, yes, we do control the content. We do not open our site up for foolish ad hominem attacks. We notice that one brother who had a very nice site opened it up for others and in a short time, his site was completely dominated by the strange prophetic ideas of others and the well-intentioned site has been completely usurped. We don’t want that to happen to our site. As we said, we have a mission and an objective. But we do not interfere with others who are organizing against the Watchtower organization. We believe there is a large field under cultivation and any who wish can pick a spot.
Another factor you may not realize is that our ministry is not only conducted in cyberspace. We also conduct a personal ministry ‘in real life,’ though for health reasons, we are temporarily limited in how much we can do in that manner at this time. And there are thousands of people, even millions, who do not have internet access but who obtain our articles and information by printouts that are duplicated and passed around. You would be surprised at the numbers of large and small religious organization who use our articles in their own ministry. You would be surprised at how the information on our site is penetrating the jungles on the African and Australian continents, in Israel and the Middle East, in India, even in certain refugee camps. Of course, for the sake of safety and privacy, we cannot reveal the names of those organizations or the locations of the groups or refugee camps. Even with our discretion, we have learned that some have been attacked, even killed, as a result of standing for Christ based on what they learned from our website.
We suspect you are obtaining your information about the number of visitors to our site from independent internet tracking sites. Surely you must know that those sites are only estimating and only have limited information, especially when the websites they are seeking to analyze do not provide any inside information. And you may notice that the stats vary from provider to provider. We have seen some of the stats about our website and we find them amusing, but we have no desire to correct them. That is not our concern. We are only concerned with publishing the plain and open teachings of Jesus, and yes, we are having a great deal of success.
This, dear brother, is the explanation for the limited information you have received to date about the activity of our ministry and our website. If you have decided to participate in the ministry of reconciling man to God as their Father, and you find yourself in a area where there are few openly confessing sons of God, then you have a ministry! You have a work to do. So in leaving the things behind, stretch forward to the things ahead. (Philippians 3:13) Be a part of the solution. Honor the Son and let not his ministry have been in vain. Let people know the glorious good news that this life is only the beginning of a glorious heavenly career. You are correct that we have no ‘followers’ so you are under no obligation to report your activities to us or gain our approval. Just be about the Father’s business and He will give the reward.
And if we can be of any assistance to you in this regard, please do not hesitate to ask.