A Tactical Retreat

Recently I attended the midweek study at the kingdom hall. The last time I attended was awkward, with the elders questioning my motives (see my previous post, Warning: You Might Get Kicked Out of the Kingdom Hall by a Donkey). They confronted me about sharing my opinions with the members, implying that my purpose was to plant doubt in their minds. (Truthfully, that is one of my sub-purposes, but my main purpose is to get people to think critically about the Watchtower claims, and to discover for themselves the richness of all the kingdom privileges available to them in Christ.) So, this time I was determined to be good in their eyes. I interacted in a friendly manner with everyone I met, and kept the conversation to innocuous subjects, while still affirming my joy in Jehovah, and my care and concern for them. I dutifully refrained from bringing up any controversial subjects, such as the denial of kingdom privileges to the Great Crowd believers, God’s real name (Yahweh rather than Jehovah), the fallibility of the governing body, or any other of a host of topics. It took great amounts of restraint to resist doing what I enjoy.

When I talked with my friend Aaron, I brought up my desire to meet with him again, and assured him that if it needed to be with one of the elders, that would be fine. I also asked whether we should, “in light of the awkwardness of the past,” do a Bible study together, in effect starting fresh. He seemed very enthusiastic about that idea.

This was a tactical retreat on my part. I envision the three of us going through What Does the Bible Really Teach, following their agenda rather than mine. That little book will provide plenty of opportunities for me to bring up some of my favorite subjects, asking them tough questions, and getting them to think and consider scriptures that are unfamiliar to them. I’m excited about the opportunity, and will report on the results.

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2 responses to “A Tactical Retreat

  1. Hi, hadn’t been keeping up with your blog – good to see you’re still going 🙂 Really interesting and helpful. I look forward hearing how it goes with the bible study. I am still ‘studying’ with the two ladies who’ve been coming since the beginning of last year, we’re still plodding through What Does the Bible Really Teach, I think you’re supposed to do one section a week and practice the teaching system if reading in advance and regurgitating at meetings. But that doesn’t quite work with me as I ask too many questions, so we’re only do a little bit each time. They seem resigned to this now although they still seem hopeful about me getting in line and accepting their teaching. It does feel like going in circles but I know my questioning has caused a bit of a fuss on occasion. I think when they take those questions back, they are encouraged to try harder to get me to read ahead and regurgitate the answers. (One of them is a retired teacher and we agree it’s like English comprehension!) It is frustrating, not seeming to get anywhere, but I can empathise with them about what a huge deal it would be for them to make the decision to leave, it would feel the same as it would for me to give up my beliefs. I also feel humbled – by their hearts for mission, the training which enables them to offer relevant scriptures to people on their doorsteps such as Jer 29v11, (they say they’ve had a very good response to the recent Comfort watchtower publication) their resistance of ‘pagan’ festivals which although it seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, in some ways I can see the heart of it and feel challenged by how much of my Christmas celebrations are actually to do with Jesus. So what I’m saying is just that I have a lot of respect for them as individuals, and continue to view our interactions as people who are all learning. None of us is perfect, no religion is perfect, obviously there are some major theological differences which the Watchtower is wrong, or less right about, but we’re all trying to make sense of the bible and of what is happening in the world and it’s good to meet together to talk about that 🙂 And obviously continue to how and pray that the questioning lodges under the surface. We have agreed that some of the differences are exacerbated by the words and language we use? The Trinity being an example of that.
    I’d better go as I’m expecting them this morning. May the Lord bless you in all your efforts and continue to use all those who are gently infiltrating enemy lines. Amen x

    • Thank you so much for your honest comments. I agree that they deserve a lot of respect. In fact, they deserve our love. I do love them, and want them to be set free from their bondage to experience forgiveness and freedom in Christ.
      I too empathize with what a huge deal it would be for them to change. In fact, we cannot overstate it–it would be a bigger deal than for us to change, because if and when they do, they will lose all their JW family and friends and the “secure” world they think they have. For them to change will take a literal, real, actual miracle, a work of God, because as Jesus says, “No one can come to me unless the Father draws him.” For that reason we must PRAY for the power of the Holy Spirit to work through us and in them.
      Our differences are more than just a matter of linguistics. The differences are as radical as those between Jesus and the Pharisees. Theirs is a system of religion, while true Christianity is a relationship with Jesus. Their mediator is the governing body rather than Jesus himself. They strive to live by works, while Jehovah’s sons and daughters live by grace.
      Anyway, I’m so excited that you love and respect them, for that goes a long way to keep in relationship with them, which provides more opportunities for your love, God’s love, Scripture, and the Holy Spirit to influence them. Do all you can to keep that relationship with them for as long as possible.
      Jesus, please empower my sister to reach these dear ones with the real truth, as found in your Word alone, by the power of your Holy Spirit. Thank you, Jesus!

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