I think we have to accept that the primary influence on the earthly organization is going to be the Bible. Sometimes it seems the only influence. On a dozen different issues, you’ll want to say, ‘Come on! Open your eyes! Just look at THIS or THAT!’ We’re going to have to settle for the fact that they don’t. Moreover, it overall is their strength, even if there is a downside.
If they haven’t quoted that 2 Kings 22:7 verse about ‘trustworthy men’ not put under the microscope, that nonetheless will guide their thinking. How can it not? It is the Bible statement that most directly applies. As soon as they ‘cave’ and release SEC like line-item auditing, a thousand Rolfs come along and take issue with lines they don’t like. And they will be different lines for eachperson. Everyone will have his or her own unique beef.
These are not the days when people demurely state their point and, having done so, retire in peace. These are days when people go kamikazi for their cause. These are days when people try to stir up trouble with Norway because things are not going down to their liking.
I’m convinced that when it comes to government, the primary, if not only, consideration of the earthly organization, is what the Bible says about them. ‘They are your minister for good, to be obeyed in all things unless they try to impede pure worship. Barring that, they are nothing but your friend. The notion that governments themselves might be knowingly or unknowingly working against their citizen’s physical interests never seems to occur to the HQ brothers. How could they think such a thing of ‘God’s minister for your good,’ provided only they keep their hands off what is undeniably His, matters of worship? Therefore, if the governments take a stand on vaccines, it must be for a good reason, our people think.
It’s pretty much the same combination of strength and weakness when it comes to CSA. ‘What does the Bible have to say on child sexual abuse?’ is the gist of Tom’s question (that video of the priest/counselor/professor who became a Witness, had a ton of questions, and was impressed that the answer to each one came straight from the Bible). The answer is nothing. Does it? Specifically? In the scriptures? Settle for it being a form of pornea, to be governed as pornea is, and that’s about all there is. If anyone thinks Jehovah’s Witnesses were slow to adapt their child sexual abuse policies to today’s times, that’s no doubt the reason.
We’re going to have to decide that such a ‘Bible first (if not only)’ policy governing the organization’s outlook is a virtue to be cherished, even if it does expose ones to rabbit holes now and then. If you break from ‘Bible-first (or only)’ it will necessarily be a break into human wisdom. And then the inevitable question becomes ‘Which brand of human wisdom?’ I, who am in the United States—similar breakdowns are everywhere—have not reached the conclusion that all the evil people are Republicans and all the virtuous people are Democrats, or vice-versa. The reality is that there is more or less equal concern for righting the wrongs of society on both side, but it will be which wrongs take priority that drives their differences—differences that today flame into virtual civil war.
If the earthly organization strays from a ‘Bible first (or only’ worldview, you know they will ‘take sides’ one way or the other on societal issues, and they will quickly incur wrath from those who have taken the other side. And that’s assuming they can stay united themselves. They may not be able to if they were to forsake ‘Bible first (or only.’ How many of us have reflected that we probably would never know or like countless individuals in the faith were it not for the faith.
As can be seen from Geo Jackson’s talk at the annual meeting (monthly broadcast of January 2023) HQ is fixated on the divisive issues that would have torpedoed the lives of Christians living in 66 CE Jerusalem but for keeping their eye on the ball, and notbeing sucked into the hot societal issues of the day. It’s how they think on SEC auditing, on vaccines, and on CSA; the only guidance that must be heeded comes directly from the Scriptures. Beyond what the scriptures say on this or that, it’s probably a divisive side issue that will sink them if they pay it much attention.
We’ll have to defend them, even if we say (ideally, mostly to ourselves) ‘Boy, they sure stepped in it that time.’ Abandon Bible-first and the most precious quality of the brotherhood, it’s unity, vanishes.
I mean to comment on vaccines but it must be for another post. Already Oscar Oxgoad is saying ‘Oh my head, my head—the words!’ and Elisha is preparing his resurrection kit. Whyshould I impose on his time? “Skip a bit, brother.”
****** The bookstore