QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
On May 31, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“Hope you are both doing well. Your ministry has certainly skyrocketed! I pray for its continued development. In a recent letter you used the expression “soon to be defunct Governing Body.” Are you at liberty to explain this expression?”
To the author, as always, thank you for your email.
We made that statement in the article, Possibilities for the Father’s Acceptable Year. We wholeheartedly believe that when enough of the sons of God awaken to their true identity, the Governing Body, as it is now constituted, will be nothing more than a nagging appendage. They have no power over the true sons as anyone of the true sons will tell you. Given the choice to follow Christ Jesus or the Governing Body, the true sons will ALWAYS choose the Christ. That is what being baptized into HIS death means. The true sons do not fear those who cannot even kill the body!
True sons recognize the unseen Christ and know that he is in their midst. (Matthew 18:20) So if the Governing Body summons them for service, no true son would heed the call and leave the Christ. The Governing Body are just imperfect men, brothers, siblings. When the sleeping and slothful sons awaken to this realization, the power and position that the Governing Body now hold and the manner in which they wield their power will become ineffective – they will become defunct. We hope that this ministry of the plain and open teachings of Jesus will cause that effect.
It is our further hope that the individual men who make up the Governing Body come to appreciate the need for them to humbly abandon their roles and take on ones more suitable to their stature – namely, those who ‘need someone to teach them from the beginning the elementary things of the sacred pronouncements of God.’ (Hebrews 5:12) If they are honest about it, they know they need such help and we know of many Elders and Traveling Servants, former and current, who would be happy to assist them.
But, of course, this will only happen if enough brothers and sisters among Jehovah’s Witnesses accept their sonship with God as heirs to the heavenly kingdom, and unambiguously decide to ‘obey God as ruler rather than men.’ (Acts 5:29) Do Jehovah’s Witnesses have the wisdom, faith and courage to do this? Only time will tell.
On May 30, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“I just want to congratulate you for writing to the Governing Body with the same spirit as the Apostle Paul when he addresses the Apostle Peter Galatians, chapter 2. However, I would make a remark. When Paul takes Peter, he gives him counsel just in the form of a question. You go much further, although we are all brothers (Matthew 23:8-12 ), by dictating to them what they can write to the congregations of the world. You suggest they mentioned this unequivocal statement “We reached this decision based on the writings and expositions of the plain and open teachings as published on the website . These teachings have become abundantly clear.” I am very much afraid that some Brothers and Sisters might look at you as to the "New faithful and discreet slave” which would be a usurpation to Christ, for one is your Leader, the Christ. This thought may be hard to read, but I had to tell you. It took much boldness for me to write to you, I who am nothing but a grain of sand in the vast desert. Here are some thoughts that I wanted to tell you, but mostly it does not change our brotherhood that binds us with heaven.”
To the author, thank you for your email. You are far more than grain of sand in the desert. You are a son of the most high personality in the Universe and quite qualified to speak your mind to your brothers. And we accept and understand your counsel.
When we formulated the letter, as set forth in the article Leadership By Example, we hesitated as to whether we should include the statement that the Governing Body came to realize the need for change as a result of the information on our site. But that is the truth and we cannot hide from the truth. There have been, and continues to be, many, many websites that have challenged the teachings of the Governing Body, but it is only the presentation of the plain and open teachings of Jesus that are making a real difference in the Watchtower organization. And we believe that such an admission by the Governing Body will let the local brothers and sisters know what type of change they can look forward to.
As for your concern that we might be looked at as the ‘new faithful and discreet slave’ or a ‘new governing body,’ we certainly hope that does not occur. Those who look at us that way will be sorely disappointed. That is not our intention as we have expressly stated many times. We are not looking to become masters over our brothers’ faith. We are all about Christian freedom and are quite content with our roles as advisers and fellow workers. We have many things to do and must be about the Father’s business. That does not allow us to settle down as leaders of a religious organization.
What we have been saying all along is that the sons of the Kingdom do not need a governing body. These scriptures have real meaning:
“And as for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to be teaching you; but, as the anointing from him is teaching you about all things, and is true and is no lie, and just as it has taught you, remain in union with him.”
– 1 John 2:27
“Now I say that as long as the heir is a babe he does not differ at all from a slave, lord of all things though he is, but he is under men in charge and under stewards until the day his father appointed beforehand.”
– Galatians 4:1-2
“The hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you people worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, because salvation originates with the Jews. Nevertheless, the hour is coming, and it is now, when the true worshipers will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for, indeed, the Father is looking for suchlike ones to worship him.”
– John 4:21-23
We firmly and wholeheartedly believe this! We are here to help our brothers be the best they can be without the lordship of man. That was, and continues to be, Jesus intent. We believe his way is the right way and is a perfect teaching based on firsthand knowledge of what the Universal Father wants. We know better than to try to improve on perfection. So when he says the Spirit will teach us, and that we do not need to go to any special mountain and do not need any spiritual masters over us, we believe him and take it as 100% solid gold.
It is obvious that any new trendsetters would be looked to as leaders and that whenever something uncommon is introduced, the introducers will be viewed as teachers. But for followers of Christ, we are only teachers and leaders in the sense that we are training others to be teachers of those who, in turn, are adequately qualified to teach others. (2 Timothy 2:1-2) That is how the good news is spread – by means of a fellowship of teachers all teaching the plain and open teachings Jesus taught. It is only when such teachers set themselves up as the authority over what is true and what is false that they find themselves as usurpers of Christ and the Spirit of Truth. We want nothing to do with that, as our regular visitors most certainly know.
But we are not going to cower and shy away from our opportunities and obligations because others have mishandled theirs. Spiritual babes become mature men and women when their perceptive powers have been trained to discern right and wrong. (Hebrews 5:14) Jesus set the example and there is no need to change his example simply because some men have misrepresented it.
Those who have kept up with our writings know that we are not seeking to lord it over our brothers. Those who are mature have taken what we have written and begun their own ministry without asking for our direction or approval. They may use our articles as guides, but they look to the scriptures for themselves, apply their own powers of reason and allow the Spirit of Truth to bear witness with their divine indwelling spirit as to whether what we write is true and/or beneficial.
So we gladly accept our role as bold trendsetters and re-establishers of Jesus’ plain and open teachings, and it is our prayer that those who listen to us grow and even exceed our knowledge and understanding. God is not partial such that he would only give knowledge and wisdom to a small group of people. The Spirit of Truth is poured out on all flesh and guides all who humbly allow it. (John 16:13)
We cannot be accountable for the thoughts of others. Some will like us, some will love us, some with hate us. That is none of our business. Our job is to do the Father’s will and let the cards fall where they may. We hope you understand.
On May 26, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“Good evening! Many thanks for your last article about leadership. A spirit led reformation is truly what is needed if the Watchtower wants to survive as organization. When It comes to leadership I wonder if the rules and polices written by Paul, as well directed to ancient congregations, is the right way to go. For example Paul meant that leadership and teaching in the congregation was given to men and restricted for women. He gave specific instructions about who and whom to appoint or rule out as servants in the congregations. Paul explained how women should remain silent in the congregation and wear head-coverings etc. etc. Some things Paul wrote is for me like timeless principles but other things seem to be rules and practices that make me think that Paul was more influenced by the Jewish community of his day rather than the spirit. To the point, do you think that a reformation of the writings of Paul, specially dealing with leadership, is needed? Or do you think that a reformation of the applications of his writings is enough? Best regards.”
To the author, thank you for your email. You raise good and important questions so we are publicly posting your email and our response.
As you know by now, this ministry is about re-introducing the authentic, original, actual, plain and open teachings of Jesus. We are not reforming them, we are re-stating them as Jesus presented them, in their simple form. And we respect the ministry of anyone who attempts to follow Jesus’ plain teachings and example, both Bible writers and those whose writings are not included in the Bible canon. That would, of course, include the Apostle Paul as the foremost writer of the Christian Bible canon. Paul had special insight into heavenly matters that the remaining 11 faithful apostles did not have – information that he likely obtained in an “out of body” experience which he described to the Corinthians:
“I know a man in union with Christ who, fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know; God knows—was caught away as such to the third heaven. Yes, I know such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body, I do not know, God knows— that he was caught away into paradise and heard unutterable words which it is not lawful for a man to speak.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:2-4
However, as we showed in an earlier article, The Spiritual Equality of Women Part II, some of Paul’s writings were not concerning heavenly matters and were not direct teachings of Jesus Christ, but were influenced by his Jewish roots and traditions. Most of these additional teachings had to do with administrative and congregational arrangements, not with matters of godly devotion and salvation. They were quite suitable for their time and location, but many of those arrangements are out of step with modern society and life as it is lived in this 21st century.
However, if you take an unbiased look at Jesus’ teachings, you will discover that they were timeless and applicable by every generation everywhere; whereas some of Paul’s writing had limited appeal and application. That is because Paul was not only a teacher, but he was also a congregator. He formed congregations, and congregations need some kind of order. So Paul reached back to his Jewish roots and provided the needed order.
We further note that Paul’s writings were limited to the congregations in the surrounding territories that he started. The many congregations that were started by other Christians, who had been scattered by the persecution in Jerusalem to far distant lands, had their own congregational arrangements and mores that were suitable for their locale that served as effective guides in those regions. Yet we know that those writings were not included in the standard Bible canon when it was comprised in the 4th century by the Nicean Council.
For these reasons, we believe it is error to require the free sons of God to strictly adhere to antiquated outmoded mores such as the repression and suppression of women in the congregation setting as suggested by Paul. We further believe it is inappropriate to tenaciously hold onto ideas that science has long since proven false or inaccurate just because those in antiquity believed them. Past generations are no more closer to God than are we, for God’s spirit also dwells in us. (1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19)
The Father expects us to move forward and grow in our understanding of our world. That was the gist of the command to ‘subdue the earth.’ (Genesis 1:28) And it is what Jesus expects of us as illustrated in the Parable of the Talents, namely to ‘do business’ with the knowledge and understanding we have in order to have an increase and spiritual growth. (Matthew 25:14-30) Hence, it is expected that modern man have a far better understanding of our world, of God, of Jesus and of heavenly and spiritual matters than those who lived thousands of years ago. If we have not progressed morally, socially, religiously or spiritually any farther than the ‘men of old,’ then we are people much to be pitied. It is just this type of frozen ideologies that has caused the Christian community to be so far behind in their Christian Jubilee.
Jesus freed us from the rules and laws of men and allows us to establish new rules that comport with our advancements. Jesus taught matters of salvation and demonstrated what the will of God is. (See The Perfect Will of God.) He did not bog us down with specific rules on how a congregation should be arranged. And he certainly did not want us to imitate the Jewish religious system with its priestly overlords that he expressly condemned throughout his ministry. Yes, his ‘yoke is kindly and his load is light.’ (Matthew 11:30) So when we consider what is required in a modern day congregation, we should keep in mind these principles and not overburden the brothers with rules and regulations that put us so out of step with modern society that we appear to be backward small minded oddities instead of the free children of God.
We can surely take Paul’s suggestions to heart and consider the underlying principles, but it is up to us in this 21st century to create rules of conduct suitable to our time. Religions and religious people must keep up with the rest of society or else religion becomes dead weight holding back progress, as unfortunately it has. Much of the desired progress in our world is thwarted and stifled by those who relentlessly try to imposed antiquated standards of behavior ‘in the name of God.’ We can do much to improve our life on earth by helping others to understand the simplicity of Jesus’ teachings and the concept of spiritual freedom.
Taking all of this into consideration, we see no need to reform Paul’s teachings. We are not disciples of Paul. We were not baptized in the name of Paul. (1 Corinthians 1:13) And we, of course, would never try to reform the teachings of Jesus. However, what absolutely must be reformed are the teachings of men that go against Jesus’ plain teachings as well as the rules and regulations of men that burden the children of God. That is the only reformation we are concerned with in this ministry.
We would recommend that as free congregations are established, those taking the lead consider their locale and make rules and arrangements that do not overstep the commands of God or the teachings of Jesus, and are designed to support the ministry, not control thinking and behavior. Our godly devotion and our pursuit of the heavenly kingdom, augmented by the Spirit of Truth, are sufficient guides as to how we should think and behave.
The days of spiritual policemen over the sons of God should be long gone. In their place should be men and women whose only interest is in building up the brotherhood and getting on with the true Christian ministry. We should all be striving to do the will of God – the best and right thing under the circumstances – knowing that the errors and shortcomings that we have not managed to perfect will be perfected in the heavens by the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our Faith, Christ Jesus. (Hebrews 12:2) We will be writing more on this subject as we move forward.
On May 18, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“A while ago I asked if the two pictures on your home page had anything to do with the Urantia Book. You have not responded to my question. Since then I Googled "Urantia Book pictures." I was taken to a Urantia Book page which included the above pictures. Will you eventually be explaining the background of this Book and its influence on you, if any.”
To the author, thank you for your email. As always, it’s good to hear from you. We are sorry, but we did not receive any email from you inquiring about the pictures on our site. The last email from you was received on February 23, 2013. You can resend it if you like, but perhaps the response we provided to the other visitor, Question and Response 5/7/14, might address your concerns. Since you are a reader of the book yourself, you should know, without a doubt, that the Urantia Book contains no pictures or images. However, because it is in the public domain, there may be others who have created their own version or commentaries of the book with some pictures in it, just as the Watchtower Society has created their own version of the Bible and added their own pictures and commentaries. There is also a possibility that when you Goggled “Urantia Book pictures,” you were taken to pages containing pictures created by readers of the Urantia Book based on their understanding of what they read. But as you should know firsthand, The Urantia Book itself contains no pictures.
As for the pictures on our site, we think they are beautiful works of art that stir the imagination of what is possible from a God for whom nothing is impossible.
"Looking straight at them, Jesus said: “With men it is impossible but not so with God, for all things are possible with God.”
– Mark 10:27
We personally are quite fascinated with pictures of the universe, including those published on NASA’s website [who are knowingly or unknowingly conducting a study of the Kingdom of the Heavens], or other cosmically conscious websites that include actual photographs of the universe as well as pictures that originate in the imaginations of others. Man’s fascination with the heavens goes back thousands and thousands of years as is now being discovered through archeological digs around the world.
Gary Tonge, the creator of the two pictures on our site, is an extremely talented artist. You might want to visit his website: www.visionafar.com to see his beautiful works. A few of his pictures we believe were inspired by the Urantia Book, but most of them obviously were not. And think of the beautiful scenery in recent science fiction movies like Avatar, and some of the Star Wars movies. We would not be surprised if the creators of those movies might have also been inspired by the Urantia Book. But as we said, the most fascinating part of the book is Part IV concerning the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. That would be a great movie!
You also asked: Will you eventually be explaining the background of this Book and its influence on you, if any. Our answer is no, we will not be explaining the background of the book. We have no first hand knowledge of its background, and besides, that would be too far off purpose. This ministry is concerned with the background and teachings found in the Bible. And as we often write, we want our audience to pay more attention to the message rather than the messengers. We are not hypocritical in that view. And so with The Urantia Book, we are more interested in its content, rather than the writers of the content. We believe, across the board, that a better comprehension of the motive and intent of any writer is obtained by an examination of the contents of their writings rather than by their names, titles or places of origin.
As for its influence on us, we can tell you that the Urantia Book has enhanced our understanding and appreciation for the Bible. As we wrote you previously, we believe that before one can gain a real understanding of The Urantia Book, they have to first understand the nature and purpose of Bible. Gaining an appreciation of Jesus and the true personality of our Heavenly Father is paramount and preliminary to gaining any real benefit from The Urantia Book, and any other writing about divine spirit matters. In fact, in our opinion, it is this failure to truly understand Jesus and the Heavenly Father that causes even Bible readers to miss the beauty and understanding of true good news as taught by Jesus and recorded in the Christian Bible scriptures. And, in our opinion, it is also the reason so many people are so easily led astray by the convoluted machinations of man and his assumptions and interpretations as to what is true.
Since you are a reader of the Urantia Book yourself, you can form your own opinion. Our opinion is of little import. If you have accepted your sonship with God, then you can trust the Spirit of Truth to guide you into all truth. (John 16:13) If you have not, then your quest for truth will be significantly hindered and delayed because the spirit only leads the sons of God. (Romans 8:14) We wish you the best in whatever path you choose, but we pray that you begin your journey as a son of God with the power of the Spirit of Truth as the wind beneath your wings.
On May 17, 2014, we received the following comment:
“Thank you very much for your responses to this and my former inquiries. I never experienced anything supernatural, not demonic, not from father. So I'm much less euphoric when other's speak about fear of "demonic books" or something (at least demonic in their opinion). I think it's just fascinating when you write about being taught directly from the spirit of truth, I pray for it and believe in Jesus with my whole heart, but as I said - I never experienced anything which I could call divine or divine guidance. Maybe the gospel is all that is left on earth from God's spirit. Or maybe you are right. Maybe one day I will get more answers to my prayers. I don't know where my experiences and my knowledge will lead me (and of course, how many years I will live from now), but it's kind of exciting to read your encouraging thoughts. May the Father be with you”
To the author, thank you for your email. We wanted to tell you not to worry about supernatural experiences. Those are rare and only occur with express permission and for specific universal purposes. Our celestial family knows our frailties and will do nothing that could possibly disturb or frighten us, or that could be misconstrued. What might help you is to review information on how the Spirit of Truth works, such as these articles:
You are not correct in thinking that the Bible is all that is left of God’s spirit on earth. Dear brother, our planet is teeming with spirit and celestial life, in addition to the outpouring of the Spirit of Truth that continues to this day. The ‘age of miracles’ is not over. It is the ‘age of faith’ that is lacking. Once faith is restored, more and more people will experience and acknowledge spirit guidance, spirit direction and spirit influences. And ALL of these encounters will be positive and in complete harmony with the will of Christ Jesus and our Universal Heavenly Father.
Think of it this way. If we do not believe in the existence of angels or angelic beings, we have closed the door to their activity in our lives and surroundings. Should an angel provide assistance to a non-believer, that non-believer will likely ignore it, mislabel it, and possibly blaspheme it. So we see the wisdom in our celestial family remaining close at the ready just in case the human develops enough faith to receive their ministry. We have a slogan in this regard: “Give an angel a job!” What we mean is, open your heart to the possibility that God is concerned about 21st century mankind, and you in particular. Let our heavenly host know that you believe in their existence and welcome their intervention. And when your belief in them becomes real, then you can expect the unexpected.
At the same time, we want you to know that our celestial family is concerned about our eternal future – our heavenly career. It is not their place or responsibility to make sure that this preliminary earthly life – the prelude to the real life (1 Timothy 6:19) – is worry free. The trials and tribulations that we must undergo as mortals refine us and hopefully produce qualities in us that will lead to success in our ultimate destiny in heaven. However, when it comes to knowledge, guidance, and support, they are solid gold if you in all sincerity, open the door and believe in their existence. It is like the apostle Paul’s words to the Hebrews:
“Moreover, without faith it is impossible to please God well, for whoever approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.”
– Hebrews 11:5
From this, we learn that earthly things must be seen in order to be loved; whereas heavenly things must be loved in order to be seen. Contemplate these thoughts, and continue in your quest for knowledge, wisdom, understanding and above all, truth. And as you pursue this endeavor, the spirit’s guidance will become manifest.
On May 14, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiries:
“As a side note, I have been working through the Website Worksheets to try to read all of the content on AnointedJW.org. While reading the April 2012 articles, I noticed that the Dramatic Presentations of the 12 apostles seem to have been removed from the site. Is there any particular reason why those were removed?”
To the author, thank you for your email. We are happy to respond. The Dramatic Presentations of the 12 apostles were removed from the site because some of our visitors had a problem with the source. We commented on that in Question and Response 8/5/13, Question No. 6. Most Jehovah’s Witnesses are fearful of any Biblical or theocratic information or commentaries that do not originate from the Watchtower Society or are not a part of the canonized Bible. They immediately think those sources must be demonic and ‘a part of the world’ controlled by Satan, and so they reject them outright.
We are not of that mindset. We are very open spiritually, and take to heart Jesus’ counsel to ‘keep on knocking, keep on asking, keep on seeking.’ (Matthew 7:7-8) At the time Jesus said those words, there was no canonized Bible. He was telling his followers to go on a quest for enlightenment. We are following that counsel.
Having first come to understand the authentic Jesus Christ and the personality of our Heavenly Father, we believe we were then prepared to venture out. We believe we have adequately trained our perceptive powers and can discern what is right and what is wrong. (Hebrews 5:14) We believe we can hear the ‘master’s voice’ when reading and hearing about spiritual matters. (John 10:27) And we have absolute confidence in the ability of the Spirit of Truth to ‘guide us into all truth.’ (John 16:13) As a result, we are well read on many matters having to do with God, Jesus, the Bible, spirituality, theology, theosophy, physics, quantum physics, metaphysics, philosophy, sociology and things like these.
In all of our reading, we have seen a lot of what we believe to be error and we have seen much that we believe is true. The information on the 12 apostles came from a source that we find fascinating – The Urantia Book. And, at that time, we thought our readers would appreciate the information so we posted some information from the book on our site with a disclosure that it was from an extra-Biblical source and is being presented only as an interesting diversion. In response, we received emails of appreciation for the information, but we also received some emails from people who believe the book to be demonic. So for the sake of the consciences of those who were stumbling over the book, we removed the information from our site. We want our readers of this site to know that what we present here is soundly based on the Bible and so it was a small matter to remove the offending information. But for the record, we continue to think the information in The Urantia Book is fascinating, though we do not promote it on our site.
We will also tell you that the Urantia Book is very complex reading and not for the weak or faint of heart. Not all are mentally, intellectually or spiritually able to read and comprehend the book and will therefore be stumbled. But for those who ask, we are happy to share our own personal view of the book and how to we approach it.
We hope this adequately answers your question, but if you continue to have questions in this regard, please feel free to write us again.
On May 7, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiries:
“You know, I love the encouragement and comfort you gave to me. But whenever I speak about your articles with people who have a [Jehovah’s Witness] background (just like me), the topic "urantia" comes up. Even when you do a google pictures search for urantia, your website's photos comes up. This seems to be no coincidence, does it? You made a comment to the yet deleted article "the little known twelve", saying you don't use the urantia book anymore. But do you think it contains kind of a divine revelation? Please clarify your relation to the thoughts contained in urantia. I haven't read it, but as far as I overlooked it, some topics seem to be pretty similar to topics from you. Please don't see this as an offend, I really love you guys - when there was not much light anymore in my life due to the disappointment from the [Jehovah’s Witness] organisation, you gave me hope and strength to hold on to Jesus”
To the author, thank you for your email. It is always good to hear from you. Yes, we know that some people associate us with the Urantia Book. We don’t mind that because we find the book to be fascinating, especially Part IV concerning Jesus. But we understand the fear many Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Christians in general, have about any book that speaks about God, Jesus, heaven or related matters in an authoritative manner, so we make sure that everything we post on this website is fully supported by Biblical scripture. We think many people would be surprised to see how much the Urantia Book agrees with the Bible. Interestingly, those who condemn us for the similarities are, in fact, admitting the similarities between the two books!
But The Urantia Book is not easy reading. It can be quite intimidating to many who are not mentally, intellectually or spiritually prepared to tackle its contents. And the intimidation and lack of understanding can be stumbling. For that reason, we do not promote the book. However, to those who have the courage to undertake a sincere reading, we are happy to share our thoughts with them on how we approach the book.
And in case you have not seen The Urantia Book, we can tell you that there are no pictures in it. It is straight text from cover to cover. The pictures on our site were created by a gentleman who is apparently a reader of The Urantia Book who has created several works of art based on his understanding of what he read, along with other works that are not inspired by the book. Here is his website:www.visionafar.com. But the pictures are not found in the book itself.
We hope we have answered your questions adequately. If not, please do not hesitate to write us again. And if you find our answer difficult to accept, remember that even those who conduct a Biblical ministry have many different interests and hobbies. And as long as what we present in our Biblical ministry is based on the Bible, there should be no problem with the fact that we also enjoy reading and doing other things.
On May 6, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiries:
“Hello, I have 2 questions for you. What version of Bible do you use? I had recently found a facebook page for ex-jw's and it has infuriated me the last few weeks. I was raised a witness and for the past 7 years I have been disfellowshipped. I have spent the past 7 years with no friends, feeling guilty for not going back to the religion and then- reading peoples posts and realizing that I was lied to most of my life is very upsetting. I see the [Jehovah’s Witness] organization for what it is. Money. That is all. I am curious if you are all in this for Money? Thank you for your time.”
To the author, thank you for your email and for visiting our site.
On the website , we use the New World Translation and the Revised New World Translation because one of the main purposes of the site is to reach out to Jehovah’s Witnesses. On our new site, www.TheChristExperiment.org, we use other translations, primarily Today New International Version, because we are reaching out to all people and that is a widely accepted version.
As to your question about money, we have been asked similar questions before. We posted our response on the Questions and Response page under “Donations.” We understand your hurt and anger against the Watchtower organization, but it is not fair to paint everyone who carries out a ministry with the same brush. Part of the journey of a son of God is to train our perceptive powers to be able to discern right from wrong, and truth from error. (Hebrews 5:14) Unfortunately the Watchtower Society has done a great deal to poison our brothers against giving to anyone other than themselves, including all other charitable and philanthropic organizations, both religious and non-religious. Their doctrines are so fear inducing that many refrain from giving gifts to their own family and friends for fear of being accused of celebrating birthdays or holidays. So we do understand your paranoia against supporting a ministry of any kind.
We also understand that it takes time for these deeply ingrained wounds to heal. But there is a great need for true spiritual refreshment, especially among Jehovah’s Witnesses, so we choose to carry out this ministry tirelessly and unselfishly using our own personal resources, along with gifts from a few others who know how much we appreciate them. And we are not ashamed to say that a good work that one is benefitting from should always be supported, if one is able to do so. Nevertheless, whether those who benefit from the information on this site show their appreciation or not has no bearing on whether we continue.
We hope in time, the damage done by the Watchtower Society to the spirit of giving is assuaged by gaining a proper understanding of our loving and generous God and His Son Christ Jesus, and the true Christian spirit. (Matthew 6:2-4; Matthew 7:11; Matthew 10:42; Luke 6:38; Acts 10:1-2; Acts 28:10) As Paul wrote, ‘there is more happiness in giving than in receiving. (Acts 20:35)
On May 2, 2014, we received the following comment:
“First of all, I would like to offer a few comments regarding your article today, “Beyond a Friend." The terms "friend" and "son" convey relationships by the use of word pictures. The biblical usage of word pictures is well established among Bible scholars. Yes indeed, we Christians are sons of God! At the same time, we are referred to as friends of God and Jesus. "I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me." (John 15:15 NLT) Notice this verse uses the word pictures of "slaves," "master," and "friends." If we focus too exclusively on this scripture, we might get the impression that Christians would not be called "slaves," but only "friends." However, notice how inspired Bible writers refer to themselves as slaves. (Romans 1:1; Titus 1:1; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1) So it seems best that we don't "quibble over the meaning of words." (1 Timothy 6:4 NLT) It is certainly fine to "get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding", regarding words, without being "overrighteous, neither be overwise." (Proverbs 4:7; Ecclesiastes 7:16 NIV)”
To the author, thank you for your email. It is informative, however, we feel your counsel should be more directed toward yourself than toward us. Here is why we say that.
As we explain in the article Beyond A Friend, Jesus was clear in teaching that his followers are sons of God. While it is also true that the New Testament refers to his followers as his friends and slaves, it does so only in a relative, not an absolute, sense. Whereas our identification as sons IS absolute. We do not cry out “Abba Master” or “Abba Buddy.” We cry out “Abba Father!” (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6)
This is an important distinction, especially in light of Governing Body’s teachings as expressed in the February 15, 2014 Watchtower magazine which was scheduled to be studied this weekend (May 3-4, 2014) entitled “Jehovah – Our Best Friend.” That Watchtower article is designed to prevent our brothers from joining in union with Christ as his brothers and to promote alienation from God as heirs to the kingdom of the heavens. It is not a small matter.
Your email suggests that we are the ones who are ‘quibbling over words’ as referred to in 1 Timothy 6:4. We respectfully disagree. Let’s take a look at that verse in context.
“If any man teaches another doctrine and does not agree with the wholesome instruction, which is from our Lord Jesus Christ, nor with the teaching that is in harmony with godly devotion, he is puffed up with pride and does not understand anything. He is obsessed with arguments and debates about words. These things give rise to envy, strife, slander, wicked suspicions, constant disputes about minor matters by men who are corrupted in mind and deprived of the truth, thinking that godly devotion is a means of gain.”
– 1 Timothy 6:3-5
Here, Paul is exhorting Timothy to not get sidetracked from the teachings of Jesus Christ that lead to godly devotion by getting caught up in debates about words. Is that not the very thing you are doing in your email? You emphatically state “Yes indeed we Christians are sons of God!” So you agree with the point of the article, Beyond A Friend! Yet you then go on to elaborate about the various uses of the words ‘master’ ‘slaves’ and ‘friends.’ Is that not ‘quibbling over words.’ Is this not the epitome of a ‘dispute about minor matters’? We exhort you, brother, to ‘pay attention to yourself and your teachings.’ (1 Timothy 4:16) Learn to recognize ‘the more important things.’ (Philippians 1:10) And before you counsel others, first consider the ‘rafter’ in your own eye. (Matthew 7:3) Since you agree that we are all sons of God, then there is no real dispute and, thus, no reason for challenging our motives. Could it be you who is being ‘over righteous’ and ‘over wise’? It is certainly a matter worthy of contemplation.