Sunday, July 31, 2011

Question #1

The WTS claims it uses the Bible as its "supreme authority". Where in the Bible does anyone count their time in preaching on a slip of paper and are assigned record cards of activity, determining this as a "gauge to their spirituality"? Where in the Bible are Pioneers, Auxiliary Pioneers, District Overseers, Circuit Overseers, Bethelites, and Kingdom Halls?

Source of 65 questions

Considering that all Christian denominations today practice things that would have been foreign to the 1st Century Christians, this question is a case of nit-picking and fault-finding in the way Jehovah's Witnesses operate on an organizational level rather than a search for truth.

To illustrate the point, 1st Century Christians didn't even possess personal copies of the Scriptures, which at that time were contained in dozens of unwieldy individual scrolls and letters that were copied and circulated among the congregations.  Also, the early Christians met in private homes and in public places. There were no churches, no cathedrals, and no kingdom halls. As proof of that, consider Paul's greeting at Colossians 4:15 to a woman named "Nympha and to the congregation at her house.

Incidentally, besides meeting at kingdom halls, Jehovah's Witnesses also used to regularly meet in small groups in private homes—like the early Christians.

As for the organizational structure of the early Christian church, at Ephesians 4:11 Paul wrote that God provided the congregations with various gifts in the form of men; "some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers." While all Christians are called upon to make a public declaration of their faith, some early Christians were outstanding preachers. Phillip, for example, was called "the evangelizer." The so-called pioneers among Jehovah's Witnesses are also referred to as full-time evangelizers because they spend a significant amount of time in their ministry.

Circuit overseers and district overseers today are following the pattern of the apostle Paul and Barnabas, in that the apostle and his companions traveled in a circuit, visiting and revisiting brothers and congregations and writing letters of encouragement and instruction. For that matter, Mark 6:6 reports that Jesus also "went round about to the villages in a circuit, teaching." One function of our modern CO (Circuit Overseer) is when he makes his semi-annual visit to each congregation; he not only teaches, but discusses the spiritual qualifications of any prospective elders in consideration of appointing them to an office. At Titus 1:5, Paul instructed Titus to do that very thing on the Island of Crete. It reads: "For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might correct the things that were defective and might make appointments of older men in city after city, as I gave you orders."

Jehovah's Witnesses have in many respects copied the model and methods of the original Christians. The actual organizationally-assigned names of various positions of responsibility may not be found in the record preserved in the Greek Scriptures, but the positions of responsibility can be found therein. The naming is merely a convention, exercised by all denominations.

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