Respect the Place of Others in Jehovah’s Congregation – Study 2020/35
The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you,’ or again, the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I do not need you.’” – 1 Corinthians 12:21
[Study 35 From ws 08/20 p.26 October 26 – November 01, 2020]
What kind of respect for the place of others in Jehovah’s Congregation does this study article really teach us. Blind respect, or respect based on their admirable example?
Show Respect for Fellow Elders
In paragraph 4 we have the misleading statement “All elders in the congregation are appointed by Jehovah’s holy spirit.” This claim was discussed in the previous week’s Watchtower article review. Please see here for that examination.
As for the following statement from paragraph 5, it is written in a way to suggest it actually happens, and that bodies of Elders do listen to one another. Brothers who have never served as an elder, and sisters, do not be fooled. I served on more than one body of elders over the years and had close contact with a large number of elders from other different bodies of elders, including ex-missionaries. None of them are anything like this in my personal experience. On the whole, bodies of elders are run by a strong-willed and strong-minded dictator-like personality, who often act like a mafia boss, never getting their hands visibly dirty, but up to plenty of dirty tricks to maintain their status. At least the statement “No one elder has the monopoly of the spirit within the body” is accurate. The holy spirit has never had a look-in on those bodies of elders, let alone being monopolized in reality. Is there an exception to this state of affairs somewhere, where all the elders actually endeavor to follow this counsel? Undoubtedly. But finding it is like digging up a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
Show Respect for Christians who are not married
The principles of the counsel in these paragraphs (7-14), that we should not try to matchmake single brothers or sisters, is very valid. However, the examples provided of single ones, all of whom are Bethelites or circuit overseers, actually shows the likely reason behind this counsel. The Organization does not want to lose more of its small pool of single brothers and sisters who are usually prepared to do more of its bidding than brothers and sisters who are married. That is, the Organization wants single brothers and sisters to devote their time free of charge to furthering its building projects and the like. It is not out of concern that these single ones could be pressured into unsuitable marriages, but rather that they could get married and hence not be able to serve the Organization with the same amount of time.
Show Respect for those who do not speak your language fluently
In many ways, it is very sad that this topic should need to be raised. It applies to two main groups of people. Those who either for genuine motives or selfish motives joined a foreign language congregation and struggle to learn and speak that language. The other group are those who have immigrated into a country and struggle to learn the national language. Arguably, should not normal Christian values mean we treat all people with respect? However, as so often with many principles, it is only applied in the narrow field of the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses. From this section one could infer, that as showing respect is only mentioned concerning the congregation, there is no need to show respect to such ones outside the congregations. First-century Christianity was all about helping all, not just fellow Christians.