QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
10/31/12 Visitors inquire about our knowledge of and relation to Raymond Franz.
10/26/12 Visitor believes we are apostates and disapproved by the Governing Body.
10/19/12 Do you encourage people to partake in the Memorial even before God's calling?
10/08/12 Further inquiry about the “new light” about the Faithful and Discreet Slave
10/07/12-2 Inquiry about the “new light” on who is the Faithful and Discreet Slave
10/07/12 What is our opinion on the blood transfusion ban?
10/01/12 Visitor challenges explanation of ransom in Part 4 - Who is Jesus Christ?
(10/31/12) Over the past few weeks, we received a few inquiries concerning our view of Ray Franz. Here are a few of the comments:
“I noticed your reference to "Christian freedom." It made me wonder if you brothers have read Raymond Franz's "In Search of Christian Freedom." I would think that there are some things he has said that you can agree with.”
“Hi Brothers! I was reading the book called CRISES OF CONSCIENCE. Its by Brother Ray Franz. I was wondering if your familiar with his story life. It seems to me to that he didn’t agree with the governing body of Jehovah Witnesses. I know you may have noticed many flaws with the governing body of JWs too. I just wanted to know if u think it was fair for our dear bro Ray Franz to have been disfellowshipped by our governing body the way they did?”
“Your writing style is similar to Ray Franz. Were you associated with him?”
“[Ray Franz’s] way of presenting what he has to say lends credibility to what he has to say, which is quite similar to your way of presenting what you have to say. Would you explain why you have chosen not to read what Ray has to say? I assume that it is not because of the Governing Body's warnings to avoid anything to do with apostates.”
To all those who have inquired about our view of the late Raymond Franz, we thank you for visiting our site. Of course, we are familiar with Ray Franz – practically all Jehovah’s Witnesses are.
While we have not as yet read any of his writings, everything we hear about him and his writings are favorable. He appears to have been a sincere, honest man who was compelled to act in accord with his conscience. We cannot find complaint with that. We believe all of us must respond to the urgings of our conscience if we are to be true to ourselves. And unless we are true to ourselves, we cannot be true to the Father.
At the time of Brother Franz’ problems with the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, we were but babes, and of course, we followed the Society’s commands to avoid associating with disfellowshipped individuals or read literature that the Society viewed as apostate.
However, as we grew older and more sure in our relationship with the Father and confident in our hope and status as sons of God, those types of manmade commands have little impact on us. Our Christian freedom and spiritual acumen grants us the ability to discern whose association would be detrimental to ourselves and our families. We are now mature spiritual adults with trained perceptive powers. (Hebrews 5:14)
We do not need anyone telling us who we can and cannot associate with. (1 John 2:27) Our desire for freeness of speech before the Father is sufficient incentive for us to be cautious in all matters. But just because someone does not agree with something printed in a Watchtower magazine does not mean they are bad associates. And we would NEVER abandon or reject our family just because others do not view them as good association. But this is a subject for another discussion.
Our current reason for not reading Ray Franz’ books has nothing to do with his prior status as a disfellowshipped person. It has everything to do with how we choose to use our time. We have dedicated practically all of our waking time that is not associated with secular work, to this ministry. Our prime desire is to know the Father and Jesus Christ to the best of our ability, to follow in Christ’s footsteps to the best of our ability, and to endeavor to be faithful ambassadors of the Kingdom of the Heavens.
We feel the best use of our time is to take in knowledge of God and the one whom he sent forth, Jesus Christ. (John 17:3) He is our exemplar when it comes to our ministry, not any man, no matter how honorable. It appears that Brother Franz reached conclusions similar to our own. No doubt many others of our brothers who have come and gone, including Charles Taze Russell, and many now living, find commonality with our views. But we do not follow any man or take up anyone’s ministry except that of Christ Jesus.
Currently, we do not see a need to read Brother Franz’ books in order to understand the inner workings of the Governing Body. That does not interest us. We suspect that the behind-the-scene conduct of the Governing Body is much like that of any secular board meetings or legislative body – not very pretty. Those goings ons do not affect us. They are entitled to their privacy.
What concerns us is what the Governing Body does in the open, what they say publicly and what they print. As Jesus said, “These are the things defiling a man.” (Matthew 15:20) These are the only things that are our business. They will have to answer for their private affairs and inner workings to the Father, as will we all.
All that we can do is try to readjust our brothers when we SEE a need. (Galatians 6:1) We do not need to go searching, and we do not need to take the testimony of witnesses when we can see the error with our own eyes. Our governing brothers are no different than any other erring brothers. Our Father is one, and we are all brothers. (Matthew 23:8-9) We will continue to view them as such until they make it clear they do not want our association. We keep before us Peter’s counsel:
“Be as free people, and yet holding your freedom, not as a blind for badness, but as slaves of God. Honor [men] of all sorts, have love for the whole association of brothers, be in fear of God, have honor for the king.”
– 1 Peter 2:16-17
We respect Brother Ray Franz’ decision to separate from the Society; we respect Brother Ray Franz’ decision to memorialize his experiences in his books; and, not only him, but we respect all individuals who act in harmony with their conscience and their understanding of the divine will. We cannot take freedoms for ourselves that we deprive from others. Since we can openly speak of our own understanding of divine will, we cannot contest the open confession by others.
We hope we have provided enough information here to satisfy all inquirers about our interest and knowledge of the late Brother Raymond Franz.
On October 26, 2012, we received the following comments:
“You are apostates. You are going beyond the things that are written. The governing body does not support any of this. You are not the proper channel. The faithful slave is the governing body only. The slave is responsible only for spiritual food dispensing and preparing. Like Jesus apostles who fed the 4 and 5 thousand, many would be fed through the hands of a few. The anointed do not have special knowledge or extra favour or extra Holy Spirit. You are not inspired, so stop drawing attention to yourselves and direct all attention to the publications of the slave.”
To the author, we want to thank you for your email. You could have easily clicked away and we would not have had an opportunity to respond to you. And thank you for providing an email address. It indicates that you are open to hearing our view. After we provide our response, we hope to hear from you again.
Your first comment was: You are apostates. We wonder what it is that leads you to that conclusion. What have we published on our site that is inapposite to the Christ’s teachings? This is a serious charge. We certainly do not want to apostatize from the Christ. If you can provide some specific information on where we err, it would be greatly appreciated. We are open to your counsel.
You also commented: You are going beyond the things that are written. Again, please let us know where we have done this. The information on our site is supported by abundant scriptural references. And we are very careful to stay within Biblical teachings. We await your further clarification of this comment.
You also commented: The governing body does not support any of this. We wonder how you know this. We have been writing letters to the Governing Body since March 2012, but they have not responded. We have asked several times for them to let us know if they disapprove of our work, yet to date, they have remained silent. We interpret their silence as them taking a ‘wait and see’ attitude such as was recommended by Gamaliel in Acts 5:34-39. And we assume that if they found our site to be harmful to the association, they would at least let the local brothers know to avoid our site. This has not occurred either. So we are at a loss as to how you know the Governing Body’s view of our work. One of our number wonders if you are a member of the Governing Body or the Bethel family. If so, please let us know. Otherwise, it is only fair that the Governing Body be allowed to speak for themselves as to their approval or disapproval of our site – either to us or through their own channels.
You also commented: You are not the proper channel. The faithful slave is the governing body only. We believe you may have an erroneous view of a governing body. In our article The Governing Body Myth, we trace the origin of the teaching of a governing body and we find that there was no such arrangement in the first century Christian congregations. Nevertheless, we understand that an international organization must have leadership of some kind, and we do not oppose leadership. We simply wish our governing brothers would acknowledge that they are self-appointed rather than divinely appointed. That would make their role much easier to understand. If you believe something in that article is inaccurate or ‘goes beyond what is written.’ please write us back with your comments.
You commented: The slave is responsible only for spiritual food dispensing and preparing. Like Jesus apostles who fed the 4 and 5 thousand, many would be fed through the hands of a few. We believe that all disciples of Christ have the responsibility of sharing in the feeding work by preaching and teaching about the good news of the kingdom. We published an article on this subject entitled Feeding the Many where we look to see what the scriptures say about who is to take part in this work. Nothing we see in scripture points to the work being only in the hands of a small elect few. If you believe something in that article is inaccurate or ‘goes beyond what is written.’ please write us back with your comments.
You commented: The anointed do not have special knowledge or extra favour or extra Holy Spirit. We agree that the anointed do not, as a rule, have ‘special knowledge’ or ‘extra favour’ or ‘extra Holy Spirit.’ But the scriptures do tell us that God’s spirit only leads His children:
“For all who are led by God’s spirit, these are God’s sons.”
– Romans 8:14
The scriptures also tell us that we are given different types of gifts according to our abilities and the will of the Father:
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but there is the same spirit; and there are varieties of ministries, and yet there is the same Lord; and there are varieties of operations, and yet it is the same God who performs all the operations in all persons. But the manifestation of the spirit is given to each one for a beneficial purpose. For example, to one there is given through the spirit speech of wisdom, to another speech of knowledge according to the same spirit, to another faith by the same spirit, to another gifts of healings by that one spirit, to yet another operations of powerful works, to another prophesying, to another discernment of inspired utterances, to another different tongues, and to another interpretation of tongues. But all these operations the one and the same spirit performs, making a distribution to each one respectively just as it wills.”
– 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
As for knowledge, the amount and degree of knowledge and understanding one has is in direct proportion to one’s effort to attain such knowledge and understanding. If you have noticed that the information on our site is informative, that is because we are taking our ministry very seriously and we ‘keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking.’ (Matthew 7:7) You, too, can know what we know and even surpass what we know. In fact, we encourage you to do so!
Finally, you commented: You are not inspired, so stop drawing attention to yourselves and direct all attention to the publications of the slave. Our articles draw attention to the Bible. We believe that is the better direction. We also want to remind you that the ‘slave’ readily admits that neither are they inspired, so both the ‘slave’ and we ourselves should be directing attention to the Bible.
We believe we have responded to each of your concerns. You see, you may have overreacted. Our work is not at all at odds with the Christ or the Bible. And nothing we do constitutes apostasy.
It must seem odd to you that ordinary brothers could publish articles that are effecting such great changes in people’s lives. Therefore, we want to remind you that what we publish are the original, actual, plain and open teachings of Jesus. They do not originate with us. This is why the information is so well received.
Do not stumble over the fact that the Governing Body has not yet accepted our work. We hope and pray that their silence is temporary and that soon we will be serving the Father together, spreading the true good news to the most distant parts of the earth. If you have some private or inside connection to the Governing Body, we ask that you use your influence to encourage them to respond to our letters so that not only we, but all our visitors will know their stance and not have to assume or rely on hearsay.
In the meantime, we look forward to your response.
On October 19, 2012, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“I had the personal experience of being called by God's Spirit (known as anointing event). These days while reading your site I realize you make the point that everyone is God's son. I agree with it, indeed, I hope and pray our celestial Father calls others/everyone as well. My question is: Do you encourage people to partake in the Memorial even before God's calling? I say that because we are aware the fact that God calls his sons.”
To the author, thank you for your email. We are so pleased that you recognize and accept the calling of you. (2 Peter 1:10) And your prayer has already been answered regarding the Father’s generosity!
The Father calls us through his Son and the poured out Spirit of Truth. That was done centuries ago. He stands at the door ready for us to open. The only reason our brothers do not know they are sons is because they have not opened the door. They have not taken that leap of faith of believing that the gift of sonship has been offered to them. You might want to read the article we published, “Am I a Son?” – Conquering Doubt, for further discussion of that matter. Notice also Jesus’ words:
“Look! I am standing at the door and knocking. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into his [house] and take the evening meal with him and he with me.”
– Revelation 3:20
If Jehovah’s Witnesses were preaching the true good news when they called at a person’s door, that visit would constitute an extension of the Father’s calling to that person. Then, the question of “Have I been called?” would be a non-issue. Brother, there is no hope of survival outside of the Father’s calling. (See Who Are Led by Spirit?) Those that do not accept the heavenly calling are sure to die because the flesh is mortal:
“So, then, brothers, we are under obligation, not to the flesh to live in accord with the flesh; for if you live in accord with the flesh you are sure to die; but if you put the practices of the body to death by the spirit, you will live.”
– Romans 8:12-13
It is truly sad that the Society actually teaches Jehovah’s Witnesses not to accept the calling. Perhaps you know of brothers who believed they had the witness of the spirit but were talked out of it by men. Those men carry a heavy burden for shutting up the Kingdom of Heaven; and those brothers who followed men instead of the spirit must turn back to the spirit if they are to be saved. We are doing our part to let all men know that the door is wide open for all who desire it. The Father’s call is open and welcoming. It is up to us to take life’s waters free. (Revelation 22:17)
We hope that answers your question.
On October 8, 2012, we received the following comment and inquiries regarding the previous response (10/7/12-2):
“Many thanks for the link to your well-considered response. However, it doesn't appear to answer my direct question, which is are you disappointed by the news or not? Do you consider yourselves personally to be of the Faithful and Discreet Slave class mentioned in the scriptures (which many view as a parable) regardless of what the Governing Body says?
“It's difficult to read your response without detecting a degree of cynicism towards the Governing Body, but you don't give any clear answer as to whether you reject this new understanding (as it has been reported to you) or not.
“I understand your desire for diplomacy, but if you could be a little more transparent, I would appreciate it. ”
To the author, we understand your desire for a more direct response. Since we understand that you will be posting our response to your website, we wanted to make sure our brothers who visit us here will have this information. So, here are our further responses to your inquiries:
You asked: Are you disappointed by the news or not?
We are unaffected by the “new light.” At best, it is a red herring that would serve no purpose other than to distract our brothers from focusing on the true Good News – that we are all sons of God with a heavenly destiny. (Galatians 3:26; Philippians 3:20) What would disappoint us is if this “new light” discouraged our brothers and caused them to back away from the Father or their heavenly hope based on the “commands of men.” (Matthew 15:9)
You asked: Do you consider yourselves personally to be of the Faithful and Discreet Slave class mentioned in the scriptures (which many view as a parable) regardless of what the Governing Body says?
We are among those who believe Matthew 24:45-47 is a parable, not a prophecy. See Questions and Response 5/1/12 and Questions and Response 8/19/12. Nevertheless, we ALL should be seeking to prove ourselves faithful and discreet, as the parable suggests. To us, it is a personal invitation to ALL.
You wrote: I understand your desire for diplomacy, but if you could be a little more transparent?
Our response to this “new light” is diplomatic on purpose. Whenever a son of God defends his hope, he must do so “with a mild temper and deep respect.” (1 Peter 3:15) This is so that we will be honoring our Father and the Christ, not necessarily men.
Our purpose is to build up the spiritual house of anointed brothers and sisters in order for them to become sources of encouragement and spiritual lights to the congregations with which they are associated, and to uplift the spiritual conversation throughout the world. (See About Us.) Our mission has not changed. And this “new light” has no bearing on that work.
We want our brothers to understand that this is, at best, smoke and mirrors. No cause for alarm. We do believe, however, that if our brothers “rise up” in opposition to this “new light,” ‘their blows will be as striking the wind’ (1 Corinthians 9:26), and will only delay the work of the Spirit of Truth in their lives. We will do our very best to prevent such an effect.
The bottom line is that Jesus commissioned all of his followers to be ambassadors of the kingdom, completing the work that he started. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Matthew 28:19-20) We doubt the Governing Body will declare that they are the only ones authorized to act as Christ’s ambassadors. So there is no need for worry.
Finally, to all who are concerned, we want to remind you, we are sons, not slaves.
We hope this sufficiently responds to the author’s inquiry.
On October 7, 2012, we received the following comment and inquiries:
“Today there is a new post [on another website] commenting on the "new light" of the governing body about the identity of the "faithful discreet slave." I think this "new light" from the governing body is intended to weaken the new stand of witnesses who are partaking in the emblems. Maybe, this is an indirect answer to your site, or for any other ones who are feeling their heavenly hope. ”
To the author, we thank you for submitting your concern. This matter has been brought to our attention by a few different brothers, and we have done a little investigating ourselves. As it currently stands, the matter is only rumor, as we were not invited to the Annual Meeting, nor have we spoken with anyone who attended. We have seen what appear to be notes from the meeting and, assuming those notes are accurate, we see no need for alarm.
According to the notes we reviewed, at the Annual Meeting of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, held on October 6, 2012, a new understanding was given as to the identity of the Faithful and Discreet Slave referred to in Matthew 24:45-47. The note state that the “new light” is that the Faithful and Discreet Slave (the “Slave”) is now identified as “a small group of anointed brothers during Jesus’ presence serving at headquarters who are directly involved in the preparing and dispensing of spiritual food.” This seems to mean that “the Slave” is the 8-member Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This would be a change from the previous understanding, as recent as June 2009, that all of the anointed ones living on earth at any given time constitute “the Slave.” If these notes are accurate, we are certain the Society will soon be explaining the “new light” in an upcoming Watchtower magazine, and we will look forward to receiving it.
In the meantime, we see no cause for alarm. This type of “new light” would only define the Governing Body and what they must do. It would not define the anointed children of the Father and would not excuse us from carrying out our commission as ambassadors substituting for Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20) In fact, such “new light” would add greater responsibility to the 8-member Governing Body and could perhaps move them to do what we have been asking them to do for these past nine months – provide nourishing spiritual food to the anointed sons of the Kingdom. So if this rumor is indeed true, then we look forward to the Governing Body carrying out their newly understood responsibilities.
As for us, there would be no need for us to abandon our ministry. If the Governing Body steps up and begins to preach the true good news of the Kingdom and provide “food at the proper time,” we will then be able to direct our ministry toward other Christian associations to likewise encourage them to take up the ministry of reconciliation as ambassadors. We will thereby be doing our part in getting more workers into the harvest! (Matthew 9:37-38)
On a somber note, if the rumor is true, we sincerely hope the Governing Body diligently carries out its newly understood duties, otherwise when the Father comes to inspect His house, He need only look to 8 men who will bear the brunt of His disfavor. We will do our part to support the Governing Body so that such a fate will not overtake them. And we encourage all our brothers to do so as well. They will need our prayers.
To the author of this inquiry, and to all the brothers who have written us with concern, we hope we have alleviated some of your distress. And to all the brothers and sisters who have recently found your Father and who have decided to Stand Up at the 2013 Memorial Celebration, we hope you, too, are strengthened. You are sons of the most powerful personality in the Universe. Whatever role the Governing Body elects for itself, nothing can separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.
“Who will separate us from the love of the Christ? Will tribulation or distress or persecution or hunger or nakedness or danger or sword? Just as it is written: “For your sake we are being put to death all day long, we have been accounted as sheep for slaughtering.” To the contrary, in all these things we are coming off completely victorious through him that loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor governments nor things now here nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor any other creation will be able to separate us from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
– Romans 8:35-39
Gird your loins for activity and continue in your ambassadorship!
On October 7, 2012, we received the following comment and inquiries:
“Thank you for your answer, and I see your work very positive. However, as I see, you seem to be active Jehovah's witnesses. So, may be, it would be interesting to read your public opinion about the blood transfusion ban. You and I know that the current stand of the governing body in this issue is a double standard. I affirm that because as you know, currently, the governing body forbids the four primary components of the blood, but they do let the use of any blood fractions from these four components. You know that this policy lacks of a Bible principle. God did not divide blood in major or minor components. I am worry about the health of many brothers who need, for example, plasma, red cells, but they could die on account of a wrong policy without Bible support. I see that you have many readers, so you could help many brother by clarifying the truth about the blood transfusion ban. Congratulations for your website.”
To the author, we thank you for submitting your inquiry. While we refrain from getting embroiled in matters that do not related to articles posted on our site, we have elected to comment on this issue because lives are involved.
We hear your profound love for our brothers and your concern that the Society’s “current understanding” on blood transfusions will unnecessarily cost many lives. It is an undisputed fact that if the “current understanding” had been the Society’s position several years ago, many of our brothers and sisters, and many of our children, would probably still be alive today with clean consciences. And, based on the Society’s changing position on this issue, more lives may be needlessly lost if the bans in place today are no longer banned in the near future.
We are especially confused at how the Society has been able to reach a scriptural decision that certain components of blood may be “eaten” while other components cannot. No scripture that discusses the eating of blood makes any such distinction. For this reason, we share your pain and distress.
The main problem, as we see it, is that many of our brothers have abdicated their right to make personal spiritual and religions decisions, and instead choose the easier route of allowing others to make the tough decisions for them. As a result, they lay themselves bare to the errors of men and their ever-changing “understandings.” (Ephesians 4:14)
Therefore, the solution to the problem is not to focus on one particular doctrine or area of concern, but to strengthen our brothers in all matters by showing them that they are faith-sons of the most powerful personality in the Universe, and brothers and joint heirs with our Creator God, Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:17) When we understand this divine connection, the commands of men become secondary, and we can make spirit-led decisions on our own with a clean conscience.
The matter of taking blood transfusions, to us, is a personal decision, as are all matters of life and death. We understand that a Witness who takes a blood transfusion is subject to being disfellowshipped from the organization. So each individual Witness must make a decision as to what is more important to them – fellowship with the organization, or life. Whichever decision they make, we are confident that neither the Father nor his Spirit will leave them in their dark hour, though they may have to face the disapproval of men if they chose to remain in association with the Society.
Our hope is that the Society release its grip on the consciences of our brothers, recognize that they are mere fellow workers and not lords of our faith (1 Corinthians 3:5-9), and let us exercise our God-given freedom as we see fit, as long as our personal decisions do not harm the rights of others. Our brothers should be able to live or die, so to speak, on their own terms, not those of another (Philippians 2:12-13), so that when we stand before the ‘judgment seat’ of God, we can answer for ourselves, and not cowardly claim “It was the men you gave me.” (Genesis 3:12)
We know there are many brothers who are advocating for a change in the blood transfusion policy. Our prayers are with those brothers in their very important work. As for us, we will continue to focus on our work which is to make known that we are all sons of God through our faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26), and that we all have the hope of entering the Kingdom of the Heavens where all matters of flesh and blood will be as nothing. (1 Corinthians 15:50)
We are one with all of our brothers and sisters who are facing this very serious dilemma.
On October 1, 2012, we received the following comment and inquiries:
“I've read with interest your article "Who is Jesus Christ?" and in particular the section where you deal with the doctrine of the ransom. I share with you the same perplexity about the explanation that depicts Jehovah as being the captor and the provider of the ransom at the same time; But I find dumbfounding your explanation that there was no real need for a ransom for the atonement of sin from all mankind - that Jesus only allowed that the Jews understood his death as a sacrificial death because they had their beliefs formatted in a way that only a sacrificial life with blood shed could atone sins.
“In your article you disregarded texts like Colossians 1:13, 14: "He delivered us from the authority of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, by means of whom we have our release by ransom, the forgiveness of our sins." ; also Ephesians 1:7 : "By means of him we have the release by ransom through the blood of that one, yes, the forgiveness of [our] trespasses, according to the riches of his undeserved kindness." In both these passages, Paul connects the ransom with the atonement of sins and specifically with the blood shed. How come you have ignored these passages? Paul wasn't writing for the Hebrews here.
“You also ignored 1 Timothy 2:5, 6: "Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all" - yes, a 'corresponding ransom". Corresponding (or equivalent) to what? The only possible explanation is that is corresponding to the exceptional loss that Adam, by sinning, had- for him, and for all of us to follow. And not only to the Jews; Paul says: "For all". In the context, Paul was talking about his ministry for the nations. So it wasn't merely a dramatization to help the jews think out of the box. It was a real ransom, a real price that needed to be paid - not only for the benefit of the rigid-thinking Jews, but also for the gentiles who knew nothing about the sacrificial rites of the Hebrews.
“I also don't see any mention of Jesus' own words: "Just as the Son of man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many." (Matthew 20:28). “Dear brothers, the Scriptures encourage us to "test the inspired expressions" to see whether they originate from God. (1 John 4:1) While you don't claim to be inspired, nor do you propose your explanations as doctrinal teachings, I perceive that this particular explanation "fails the test.”
To the author, we thank you for submitting your comments. We suspect that there are others who share your concerns. The ransom doctrine is a deeply ingrained teaching that, we believe, has been misunderstood and may require time to resolve. Therefore, we will attempt to clarify the matter further.
First, you will find a reference to Matthew 20:28 in response to Question 2 of that article that serves as the introduction to the ransom explanation. Jesus did indeed come to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many, as the response to Question 3 explains.
As for each of the other scriptures you refer to, Colossians 1:13, 14; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Timothy 2:5, 6, please note that they were all penned by the Apostle Paul, who was himself a Jew and a prior Pharisee, and thus also a possessor of the entrenched Jewish mind. He was an outstanding apostle for sure, but he was still a man who had to work out his own salvation to the best of his ability. And he was doing so by explaining that Jesus’ death brought the Law Covenant to an end. Notice also what he wrote to the Corinthians:
“But their mental powers were dulled. For to this present day the same veil remains unlifted at the reading of the old covenant, because it is done away with by means of Christ. In fact, down till today whenever Moses is read, a veil lies upon their hearts.”
– 2 Corinthians 3:14-15
You will continue to have difficulties with doctrines that originate with the Law Covenant as long as you attempt your interpretation of Jesus and his ministry through that veil. The belief that we must reconcile the Christ through Moses is the error of pouring new wine into old wineskins. We are counseled not to get to caught up in the old wine:
“Moreover, no one puts new wine into old wineskins; but if he does, then the new wine will burst the wineskins, and it will be spilled out and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins. No one that has drunk old wine wants new; for he says, ‘The old is nice.’”
– Luke 5:37-39
We need to let go of the old ways and its partial understanding of God and his purposes. We must accept the new wine as brought by Jesus. We are people most to be pitied if after all Jesus taught, we still look at the Father as a vengeful God who wants blood. You might want to read the articles Foreordained from the Founding of World, Everlasting Life Now, and even Freedom of the Children of God. These articles will lead you to the new wine.
But more importantly, we do not believe you can dispute that the ransom doctrine is inconsistent with the loving God and Father that Jesus taught about. You even admit as much. So clearly the ransom doctrine as it is traditionally understood is the ‘inspired expression’ that ‘fails the test.’ However, if you have another explanation of how the ransom doctrine harmonizes with our loving heavenly Father that does ‘pass the test,’ please share it with us. We are open to your view.
In the meantime, as the article stated:
“If you have difficulty digesting this understanding, then we encourage you to pray for the Spirit of Truth to guide you in this matter. He will provide the needed conviction and understanding, and bear witness with your spirit as to its truthfulness. Until then, if you are so inclined, you are free to hold onto your belief in the ransom sacrifice of Jesus for all mankind, while at the same time continuing to serve God whole-souled. The ransom doctrine is a matter of theology, not salvation. Whether Christ died as a ransom sacrifice or for some other reason, the fact remains that your sins have been forgiven (1 John 2:12), that you are a child of God by having faith in the living Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26), and that you are an heir to the Kingdom of the Heavens. (Romans 8:17)
The bottom line, brother, is that we differ only in theology, not in spirit. The ‘fire’ will test all theological doctrines that we build on the foundation of the true good news – the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man with a heavenly destiny. And if in the end, our doctrines are revealed as worthless, we can still be saved.
“Now if anyone builds on the foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood materials, hay, stubble, 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. If anyone’s work that he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward; if anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved; yet, if so, [it will be] as through fire.”
– 1 Corinthians 3:12-15
Therefore, we remain in brotherly union with you, despite our current, and perhaps temporary, theological difference as we look forward to your response.