Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Has The Governing Body Gone Too Far?

The 2013 revision of the New World Translation of Holy Scriptures, being referred to as 'the Silver Sword edition' is the latest revision of the Jehovah's Witnesses Bible. It is also the first Bible that the Jehovah's Witnesses have released that blatantly pushes an idea that is not in scripture.

Admittedly it has been seen in past revisions where subtle word, and grammar, changes were used to fit the doctrine of the Jehovah's Witnesses, but the 2013 revision openly pushes a doctrine which is not found in any biblical scripture of the New Testament.

The 2013 revision of the New World Translation gives an outline of each book, and says what selected verses are concerning. The picture below is page 1459 of 2013 revision of the New World Translation:

Making It Up As They Go Along

It states about Acts 15:22-29 concerns a "Letter from the governing body". Which is odd seems that the actual text (Acts 15:22-29) mentions nothing about a governing body in any way, shape, or form.

"Then the apostles and the elders, together with the whole congregation, decided to send chosen men from among them to Antioch, along with Paul and Bar'na·bas; they sent Judas who was called Bar'sab·bas and Silas, who were leading men among the brothers." (NWT, Act 15:22)

As can be seen clearly it was the apostles, the elders, and the whole congregation that decided to send chosen men. This would mean that everyone was involved in the decision and not just 8 men (the current number of members).

But what about the 'chosen men'? I hear you ask, surely it could be suggested that as they were 'chosen' they could be a form of a 'governing body'. Short answer: No. The reason that the 'chosen men' were indeed chosen is because Paul and Barnabas were already involved and their testimony may be seen as biased. So Barsabbas and Silas were chosen to accompany Barnabas and Paul to offer what would be seen by the Church of Antioch as unbiased testimony.

The men chosen was the decision of the whole congregation, not just a select few, and when the 'chosen men' had delivered their message to the Church of Antioch Paul and Barnabas went their separate way to preach, and Judas (aka Barsabbas) and Silas went back to the congregation that had sent them. 4 Men who were basically delivering a letter from a congregation, and once the task had been completed went about their own ways.

No mention whatsoever of a 'governing body'.

The Jehovah's Witnesses have stated that the apostles were the original Governing Body:

"While all anointed Christians collectively form God's household, there is abundant evidence that Christ chose a small number of men out of the slave class to serve as a visible governing body. The early history of the congregation shows that the 12 apostles, including Matthias, were the foundation of the first-century governing body." (Watchtower, March 15, 1990, page 11)

In the December 15, 1971 edition of the Watchtower, on page 749, the following diagram was used to show where the Governing Body was in relation to the organization:

Organizational Chart from 1971 Watchtower

The illustration clearly puts the Governing Body between Jesus and the Jehovah's Witness elders. Which goes completely against what Jesus himself said:

"Jesus said to him: I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (NWT, Joh 14:6)

Jesus did not say he was the way and nobody comes to the Father except through the Governing Body.

Even if there had been a first-century governing body using Acts 15 as scriptural evidence of a Governing Body just does not add up. The men chosen in Acts 15 were chosen by the whole congregation, whereas membership of the Governing Body is by invitation from existing members of the Governing Body. The complete opposite of what is described in Acts 15.

And if the Governing Body was such a central idea it has to be wondered why there was no need for a Governing Body from the beginning in 1884 until 1971. And why the number of members has changed: 1974-1980 (eighteen), 2010-2012 (seven), and 2012-Present (eight).

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