Things that Drive You Crazy About the Faith—and How to View Them: Part 4
June 02, 2022
This is a multi-part series. See Preface, 2nd Preface, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3,
In general it is as 1 Corinthians 1:14-15 puts it: “A physical man does not accept the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot get to know them, because they are examined spiritually. However, the spiritual man examines all things, but he himself is not examined by any man.” The spiritual man has a greater grasp than the physical man.
But that doesn’t mean that the physical man has no grasp at all. Most of the aggravating disconnects that arise in the Witness world stem from a reliance on ‘knowledge by revelation’ for the short term picture as well as the long. That reliance conveys certain advantages but also disadvantages. Whoever has followed this reasoning up to here—will they find this conclusion as comforting as I do? It means that 100 annoyances are actually just one. And that one, while it can be bamboozling, is not a dealbreaker. It is simply a way of looking at the world. It overall compares favorably with other ways of looking at the world, and where it does not, one can see why and adjust.
I tiptoed around this way of looking at the world in ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why,’ not at that time fully appreciating just what it was that I was tiptoeing around. I attributed all to staying “no part of the world,” which is a factor but it is not the decisive factor. The decisive factor is ‘knowledge through revelation’—weighing in on almost any situation based upon what can be gleaned from the Bible.
“If [the Governing Body] ever misrepresents the non-Witness world . . . it is because they do not know it intimately themselves. They take their own counsel with regard to association. They have lived their own lives with the lesson of Haggai ever foremost: ‘clean will be contaminated by unclean’, not the reverse, and so they do not go there. Because they do not go there, they know certain things only through the lens of Scripture.
“If the Bible says, in effect, that the “world will chew you up and spit you out,” they assume that it does. If they find someone who says it in exactly those words, they eat it right up and broadcast it. And who is to say the words are untrue? Some get chewed up and spit out so promptly and decisively that no one would ever deny it, but with others? Who is to say the scriptures are wrong on that point? It may just take a longer time to get chewed up and spit out. Many seniors have encountered calamity, even contrived calamity, and have seen everything they had worked for drained away at their end. Even the powerful are not immune as their strength and faculties wane.
“The Governing Body chugs along, deferring to what the Scriptures say. They go wherever the Bible indicates to them that they should go. If it gets them in a jam with some component of the present world, they are content that God will somehow get them out of it. They are like the leaders of the first century who were loath to abandon teaching of the word so as to wait on tables. That’s what helpers are for. Should they shoot themselves in the foot, as low-key as possible they extract the bullet with a grimace at their own mistake, and carry on. They will refine and shift and ultimately something will come down through congregation channels and this writer will say, “Yep, it must work, or there would not be the 1,000 languages [standing for the success of their efforts to get the uncontaminated gospel message out there, 1,000 languages far exceeding what even the most innovative tech or media company has come up with].”
****** The bookstore
If I said your congregation had a nice elder body,,, would they hold it against me? (Pause for laughter).
This is an interesting series of posts. Witness culture can be frustrating at times. The bible presents different lenses to look at things through. An avid bible reader will appreciate how nuanced things can be and will try to thoughtfully approach things/issues. The spiritual man will think deeply about all things with the narrative of the bible being the backdrop for everything (mortality, limitations of knowledge, temporal nature of most things). Witness culture tends to oversimplify most things. Witness culture seems to point to a specific scripture and say “well, that settles that”,,, that can be unsatisfying. A lot of collateral damage when that happens. But, nothing will ever change. And that’s fine. It is what it is. With all its flaws, it’s still better than the church of Satan. Those guys don’t have a clue.
[Tom replies: Well said. Your final five sentences are pretty much exactly how this series will end. It’s as though you read ahead, even though you didn’t. When I get all done with this series, I’ll paste it all together to appear in some final format, probably a book chapter, maybe something in addition to that. I just feel my way as I go.]
Posted by: APB | June 03, 2022 at 11:25 PM
I appreciate you bro.
[Tom: I won’t argue with that one. Thanks. Reciprocal.]
Posted by: APB | June 09, 2022 at 08:31 PM