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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

How the Governing Body Is Organized

THE Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses consists of dedicated men who are anointed servants of God. They act as representatives of the faithful and discreet slave class, which has the responsibility of providing spiritual food and giving direction and impetus to the Kingdom-preaching work throughout the earth.—Matt. 24:14, 45-47.

Governing Body meetings are held each week, usually on Wednesday. This enables these brothers to work together in unity. (Ps. 133:1) The members of the Governing Body also serve on various committees. In caring for Kingdom interests, each committee has its area of oversight, as briefly outlined below. -

▪ COORDINATORS’ COMMITTEE: This committee is made up of the coordinator of each of the other Governing Body committees and a secretary who is also a member of the Governing Body. It makes sure that all the committees operate smoothly and efficiently. It also concerns itself with major emergencies, persecutions, disasters, and other urgent matters affecting Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide.

▪ PERSONNEL COMMITTEE: The brothers on this committee have been entrusted with oversight of the arrangements for the personal and spiritual welfare and assistance of Bethel family members earth wide. This committee oversees the selecting and inviting of new members of Bethel families and handles questions regarding their Bethel service.

▪ PUBLISHING COMMITTEE: This committee supervises the printing, publishing, and shipping of Bible literature worldwide. It has oversight of printeries and properties owned and operated by the various corporations used by Jehovah’s Witnesses. This committee arranges for the best use of funds donated for the worldwide Kingdom work.

▪ SERVICE COMMITTEE: Those on this committee have oversight of the preaching work and matters affecting congregations, pioneers, elders, and traveling overseers. It supervises the preparation of Our Kingdom Ministry and calls in Gilead School and Ministerial Training School students, later giving them postgraduate assignments.

▪ TEACHING COMMITTEE: This committee oversees the instruction provided at assemblies, conventions, and congregation meetings. It arranges spiritual programs for Bethel family members and has oversight of various schools, such as Gilead School and the Pioneer Service School, as well as of the development of audio and video programs.

▪ WRITING COMMITTEE: It is the responsibility of this committee to supervise the putting of spiritual food into written form for publication and distribution to fellow believers and the general public. This committee answers Bible questions and approves such material as drama scripts and talk outlines. It also oversees the translation work done worldwide.

The apostle Paul likened the congregation of anointed ones to a human body and emphasized the important places occupied by all members as well as their interdependency, love, and cooperation in doing God-given work. (Rom. 12:4, 5; 1 Cor. 12:12-31) The Head, Jesus Christ, supplies the body members with what is needed for good cooperation, coordination, and spiritual nourishment. (Eph. 4:15, 16; Col. 2:19) In such respects, the Governing Body is organized to take the lead as Jehovah directs them by holy spirit.

- Published by the WTB&TS in 2008

Someone may argue that the way the Witnesses speak about the Watch Tower Society—or more often just “the Society”—indicates that they view it as more than a legal instrument. Do they not consider it to be the final authority on matters of worship? The book Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom clarifies this point by explaining: “When The Watchtower [June 1, 1938] referred to ‘The Society,’ this meant, not a mere legal instrumentality, but the body of anointed Christians that had formed that legal entity and used it.” The expression therefore stood for “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matthew 24:45) It is in this sense that the Witnesses generally used the term “the Society.” Of course, the legal corporation and “the faithful and discreet slave” are not interchangeable terms. Directors of the Watch Tower Society are elected, whereas Witnesses who make up ‘the faithful slave’ are anointed by Jehovah’s holy spirit.

In order to avoid misunderstandings, Jehovah’s Witnesses try to be careful about how they express themselves. Instead of saying, “the Society teaches,” many Witnesses prefer to use such expressions as, “the Bible says” or, “I understand the Bible to teach.” In this way they emphasize the personal decision that each Witness has made in accepting Bible teachings and also avoid giving the false impression that Witnesses are somehow bound to the dictates of some religious sect. Of course, suggestions as regards terminology should never become a subject of controversy. After all, terminology is of importance only to the extent that it prevents misunderstandings. Christian balance is required. The Bible admonishes us “not to fight about words.” (2 Timothy 2:14, 15) The Scriptures also state this principle: “Unless you through the tongue utter speech easily understood, how will it be known what is being spoken?”—1 Corinthians 14:9. -

- Published by the WTB&TS in 1993

The Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses has decided (Oct., 2000) that the positions of President, Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, etc. in the legal corporations (e.g., Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.,) do not have to be filled by anointed brothers. Therefore, all of the brothers that were currently holding these positions, all of whom were on the Governing Body, have resigned. Brothers of the other sheep have replaced them. Therefore, Brother Don A. Adams is now the president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. Quite a lengthy discussion was given as to the reason this was decided and why it's okay. Essentially, it boils down to the fact that this allows the Governing Body to step back and deal primarily with spiritual matters, while these brothers of the other sheep handle day-to-day business operations of the legal corporations. Brother Max H. Larson has been serving as the president of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., for a number of years.

In addition, three new corporations have been formed: 1) Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, which will supervise matters of a religious and educational nature. This includes organizing the preaching work, holding conventions, etc. The directors and officers of this corporation are primarily brothers who work closely with the Service department in Patterson. Brother William Van de Wall is the president of this corporation. 2) Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses, which cares for matters pertaining to those in Special Full-Time service, including Bethelites, Special Pioneers, Traveling Overseers, etc. Brother Patrick LaFranca is the president of this corporation. 3) Kingdom Support Services, Inc., which handles design & engineering of buildings and holds titles to vehicles used by the Society.

Jehovah's Witnesses are not infallible. Their writings are not inspired!!!

Jehovah’s Witnesses, in their eagerness for Jesus’ second coming, have suggested dates that turned out to be incorrect. Because of this, some have called them false prophets. Never in these instances, however, did they presume to originate predictions ‘in the name of Jehovah.’ Never did they say, ‘These are the words of Jehovah.’ The Watchtower, the official journal of Jehovah’s Witnesses, has said: “We have not the gift of prophecy.” (January 1883, page 425) “Nor would we have our writings reverenced or regarded as infallible.” (December 15, 1896, page 306) The Watchtower has also said that the fact that some have Jehovah’s spirit “does not mean those now serving as Jehovah’s witnesses are inspired. It does not mean that the writings in this magazine The Watchtower are inspired and infallible and without mistakes.” (May 15, 1947, page 157) “The Watchtower does not claim to be inspired in its utterances, nor is it dogmatic.” (August 15, 1950, page 263) “The brothers preparing these publications are not infallible. Their writings are not inspired as are those of Paul and the other Bible writers. (2 Tim. 3:16) And so, at times, it has been necessary, as
understanding became clearer, to correct views. (Prov. 4:18)”—February 15, 1981, page 19. -

- Published by the WTB&TS in 1993

In his day (1884 - 1916) Pastor Russell was the Society

How did Russell view himeself: As we have been to some extent, by the grace of God, used in the ministry of the gospel, it may not be out of place to say here what we have frequently said in private, and previously in these columns,--namely, that while we appreciate the love, sympathy, confidence and fellowship of fellow-servants and of the entire household of faith, we want no homage, no reverence, for ourselves or our writings; nor do we wish to be called Reverend or Rabbi. Nor do we wish that any should be called by our name. The name of him who died for all--the name Christian--is quite sufficient to designate the spiritual sons of God, the true brethren of Christ; and whatsoever is more than this cometh of evil, of carnality, and tends toward more of the same. Nor would we have our writings reverenced or regarded as infallible, or on a par with the holy Scriptures. The most we claim or have ever claimed for our teachings is, that they are what we believe to be harmonious interpretations of the divine Word, in harmony with the spirit of the truth. And we still urge, as in the past, that each reader study the subjects we present in the light of the Scriptures, proving all things by the Scriptures, accepting what they see to be thus approved, and rejecting all else. It is to this end, to enable the student to trace the subject in the divinely inspired Record, that we so freely intersperse both quotations and citations of the Scriptures upon which to build. - Charles Taze Russell, December 15, 1896 Watchtower - WTB&TS