Search This Blog

JW.ORG and Watchtower Library in one search box:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses Use the Term 'Governing Body' and is There Scriptural Example?

First there is abundant evidence that Christ did in fact place a responsible group of men to serve as a
responsible governing body. The power to make authoritative decisions--"bind and loose" was first given to the "small group" of twelve apostles (Mt.18:15ff.). Jesus states that he would appoint a "steward" (manager--NIV) who would have authority "over" the majority (Lk.12:41ff.; Mat.24:45ff). In the first six chapters of Acts the apostles appear as a governing body to whom the congregations are subject. They held an "office" of oversight; an "apostleship" which required the congregations to "devote themselves" to this small group's teachings. (Ac 1:20,25,26; 2:14, 37, 42, 43; 4:35,37; 5:2; 6:2-6).

The accounts in Acts 6:2-6 and 8:5,14-17 then tells us that the twelve invested others with authority and position: "search out for yourselves seven certified men...that *we* may appoint them." In turn these appointed men were not independent; they reported to and received authority from the Governing agency (Ac 8:5, 14-17; 21:18-19).

The account of Acts 15 shows that local “churches” did not independently make their own determination on doctrine, but went to Jerusalem for a decision from the "Apostles and Older men" on the Jerusalem counsel. The Jerusalem Governing Body went beyond the original question of circumcision and unilaterally made an all encompassing "rule" regarding doctrine and the Mosaic Law and then appointed authoritative representatives (Ac 15:25) to travel to all congregations and report the binding decrees of the Jerusalem Governing Body. "Now as they traveled on through the cities they would deliver to those there for observance the decrees that had been decided upon by the apostles and older men who were in Jerusalem"(Ac 16:4 cf. Jn.13:16).

These *decrees* were not optional nor subject to approval by local congregations--they were binding! (Ac 2:42; Jude 17; 1Co 1:10; Ro 16:17). Those who were “overseers” of the Christian congregation were “appointed” to "preside/rule", "give orders," "command" and discipline/expel those who were disobedient in the local congregations: ((Ac 20:28; 1Th 4:1,2; 1Th 5:12; Tit 1:5; 1Ti 5:17; 2Th 3:14; 1Tim.1:3; Tit. 1:13; 3:10,11).

Obviously, Scripture makes it clear that authority was centralized around a small governing body and overseers appointed by them! There was an organizational authority within the Christian Congregation (Ac.14:23; Eph.4:11-13; 1Cor.12:18-31; Tit 1:5,9).

Witnesses pattern our organization after that indicated in the Bible: First, a "governing body" of experienced spiritual men oversee the worldwide evangelizing work (Ac.15:2,6,7,22-31; 16:4,5; 8:14; Gal 2:9). Each congregation is taught and organized by a group of spiritual men who are "elders" (PRESBYTER) or "overseers" (EPISKOPOS) and "ministerial servants" (DIAKONOUS) 1Tim.3:1-13; Tit.1:5-9; 1Pt 5:2,3).

Any religion which does not follow these mandates cannot be truly Christian.

However, we do NOT look to either the WTS nor the Governing Body as the final authority.

Witnesses believe that the Bible is the *final* authority on doctrinal belief and it cannot be overridden by any human or organization (w98 3/15 p.18; km 9/02 p.2; g80 9/22 p.12; it-1 p.1205; g75 10/22 p.22; g70 4/22 p.25).

The Governing Body itself has reproved Witnesses for even using terminology that would even appear to place the WTS as their authority on any subject, reemphasizing that JW's should use only the Bible as their source.--(w98 3/15 p.18)

The Witnesses actual teaching is very clear for all to read: "What God's Word has to say on any issue should be considered as final and binding on all members"--(w68 2/1 p. 84)

Just as in the first century Christian congregation, the decisions of these elders are not arbitrary but are completely based on Scriptures and the obvious direction of the Holy Spirit. Their decisions can be double-checked and verified by an examination of the Scriptures. So, confidence and obedience to these teachers in the congregation comes from personally confirming that the decisions are based ONLY on the Scriptures.

The only authority Jehovah's Witnesses give to Christian overseers is that which is mandated by Holy Scripture. Anyone who criticizes JWs on this arrangement must also criticize the Apostles, the first century Christians and the Bible itself.

All Witnesses do is to invite others to do the same, critically examine your beliefs in light of the plain and explicit teaching of Scripture and the evidence in the actions of your religion and its members, then choose to follow Christ closely (Rom.10:1-3; Eph.1:17).

Source: This is an answer given by Bar_Anerges to a question from Yahoo! Answers.

Also see:

GOVERNING BODY - Links to Information (INDEX; Watchtower Online Library)

How the Governing Body Differs From a Legal Corporation (w01 1/15 pp. 28-31; Watchtower Online Library)

“We Have Come to a Unanimous Accord” (bt chap. 14 pp. 108-115; Watchtower Online Library)

How Does the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses Today Look to Jehovah God and Jesus Christ For Direction in all Matters? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Does the Governing Body Really Claim a “Right to Rule” Over Jehovah's Witnesses as Some Opposers Suggest? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

If a Member of the Governing Body Leaves, Does That Really Mean That the Organization is a 'Failure'? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses