WHAT DOES ‘MARKING’ MEAN (2THESS 3:14)?

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They are disfellowshipped – The Watchtower 11/15/1952 p. 704 – Questions From Readers

The purpose of observing the disfellowship order is to make the disfellowshiped one realize the error of his way and to shame him, if possible, so that he may be recovered, and also to safeguard your own salvation to life in the new world in vindication of God. (2 Thess. 3:14, 15)

They are SHAMED – The Watchtower 9/15/1954 p. 565 par. 15 – True Love Is Practical

There are proper ways of shaming people with a view to their taking the right course. (2 Thess 3:14-15)

They are NOT disfellowshipped – The Watchtower 9/15/1965 p. 575 – Questions From Readers

At 2 Thessalonians 3:14, 15, was the apostle Paul discussing disfellowshiping?— Apparently not.

They ARE disfellowshipped – The Watchtower 4/1/1971 p. 224 – Questions From Readers

There may be an occasion when the presiding minister announces to the congregation that its representatives have had to expel an unrepentant sinner or had to offer strong discipline to someone because of his unchristian conduct. The members of the congregation are informed so that they can avoid that one altogether or be careful in his presence, as the case may require. (2 Thess. 3:14, 15)

They are NOT disfellowshipped – The Watchtower 5/15/1973 p. 319 – Questions From Readers

these “disorderly” ones were not committing grave offenses such as fornication, idolatry or extortion, offenses which could oblige the congregation to remove them, if unrepentant, disfellowshiping them.

They are marked by individuals in the congregation – The Watchtower 5/15/1973 p. 319 – Questions From Readers

…the members of the congregation individually would do the marking.

They are marked by the elders – The Watchtower 12/1/1976 p. 734 par. 17 – Giving Reproof “Before All Onlookers”

Thereby the congregation would be able to identify any who engaged in these as a bad influence against which to protect themselves.

They are marked by individuals in the congregation – The Watchtower 9/15/1978 p.13 par. 8 – What Does Jehovah Require…?

…individual Christians may have to determine whether the unruly conduct of certain persons associated with the congregation makes them undesirable companions.

They are marked by the elders – The Watchtower 4/15/1985 p. 31 – Questions From Readers

The Christian congregation today also applies this counsel. The Watchtower of February 1, 1982, page 31, stressed that marking is not to be done over mere private opinions or when a Christian personally chooses to avoid close association with someone. First the elders try repeatedly to help the violator by admonishing him. If the problem persists, they may, without naming the person, give a warning talk to the congregation concerning the disorderly conduct involved, even as Paul warned the Thessalonians. After that, individual Christians would keep the erring person “marked.”

They are marked by individuals in the congregation – The Watchtower 12/15/2013 p. 8 par. 9 – Avoid Being “Quickly Shaken From Your Reason”!

If ever someone attending our congregation meetings would try to entice us into discussions of personal speculations or critical conversations, we should definitely be on guard.—2 Thess. 3:13-15.

SHOULD THE DISFELLOWSHIPING ANNOUNCEMENT INCLUDE SIN DETAILS?

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YES – The Watchtower 10/1/1954 p. 595 par. 17 – Christians Live the Truth

If announcements are made to congregations concerning someone who refuses to pay debts or who is going around taking money or other things from individuals in the congregation, the congregation servant should be the one to make the announcement and he should be careful to avoid wording something in a slanderous way but merely report the facts as they exist or that a person has been disfellowshiped for dishonesty or fraud. Then those who are in the congregation can be aware of what is going on and will be able to protect their own interests and the interests of their brothers. “His wickedness shall be openly showed before the assembly.”

NO – The Watchtower 1/15/1996 p. 19 par. 17 – Jehovah’s Sheep Need Tender Care

When this action seems necessary, the body of elders will choose a judicial committee. If expulsion occurs, this brief announcement would be made: ” . . . has been disfellowshipped.”

CAN A MINISTERIAL SERVANT SIT ON A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE?

YES – Kingdom Ministry 9/77 p. 6 par. 37 New Arrangements for Congregation Organization

If a congregation is in an isolated area and it is not convenient to have elders from a distant place sit with the local judicial committee members, then a well-qualified ministerial servant may be selected to complete the judicial committee.

NO – Letter to Body of Elders July 11th 2014 (7/11/14E)

Ministerial servants should not be used to serve on judicial committees.

IS DISFELLOWSHIPPING LED BY HOLY SPIRIT?

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IT IS UNSCRIPTURAL! – The Watchtower 1/8/1947 p.27 Are You Also Excommunicated?

The authority for excommunication, [the Romans Catholics] claim, are based on the teachings of Christ and the apostles… In fact, it is altogether foreign to Bible teachings. The Encyclopaedia Britannica says that papal excommunication is not without pagan influence… Thereafter, as the pretensions of the Hierarchy increased, the weapon of excommunication became the instrument by which the clergy attained a combination of ecclesiastical power and secular tyranny that finds no parallel in history.

YES – The Watchtower 5/1/1957 p. 280 par. 3 Trust Your Proved, Faithful Brothers

If you think one of mother’s children needs a spanking, do not try to do it behind his back with your own tongue. Take it in the right way to our Father through his organization and let Him administer what correction may be necessary.

NO – The Watchtower 3/15/1959 p. 179 par. 26 – Helpers Toward Walking Wisely

Disfellowshipings are subject to appeal by the ones disfellowshiped who persist in believing that the committee exceeded itself. Appeals have been made to the Society at Brooklyn and some disfellowshipings have been reversed. This fact proves that some committees have been too eager to excommunicate. Either they have not had the needed witnesses with substantial testimony or have magnified the wrongdoing out of all proportions and have disfellowshiped oppressively and on unscriptural grounds.

YES – The Watchtower 7/15/1961 p. 435 par. 19 – Become Activated by the Spirit of Jehovah

Other manifestations of holy spirit from Jehovah involve the disfellowshiping and executing of criminals, as, for example, Korah, Dathan, Abiram, Achan, Judas Iscariot, Ananias and Sapphira.

YES – Paradise Restored (1972) chap. 20 p. 353 par. 21 A “Third Part” Preserved in a Purged Land

As a consequence any uncleanness as to religious teaching or as to moral behavior would be forced to pass out, under the driving force of God’s holy spirit. Persons spiritually and morally unclean must be disfellowshiped therefrom.

YES – The Watchtower 9/1/1988 p. 16 par. 12 Stand Firm Against Satan’s Machinations

Others are emboldened by Satan not only to commit gross sins worthy of disfellowshipping but even to resort to lies and deception in order to try to fool the congregation elders. Like Ananias and Sapphira, they think they can deceive the angels and God’s holy spirit.

NO – The Watchtower 9/15/1989 p. 18 Elders—Treat God’s Flock With Tenderness!

A person can appeal a decision to disfellowship him if he believes that a serious error in judgment has been made.

YES – Shepherd the Flock of God (2012)

p.6 When the body of elders discusses a matter, Christ, by means of the holy spirit, can influence any elder to make an expression that results in a wise decision.

p. 82 “Preparing Your Mind and Heart to Judge”

3. Serving on a judicial committee is a heavy responsibility. You are judging for Jehovah and are accountable to him for the judgment you render.

5. You can render a good judgment with Jehovah’s help. (Matt. 18:18-20) Pray for wisdom, discernment, and God’s holy spirit.

Note: At the start of a Judicial Committee Holy Spirit is prayed for. The elders then ‘bind on earth what has already been bound in heaven’ (Mt 18:18). So if it is God’s decision to disfellowship, why is there an appeal process that can and sometimes does result in an overturning of the decision? Does this mean that the judicial committee was not led by Holy Spirit but was merely the faulty decision of men? Would it not be the unforgivable sin to attribute something wrong to the Holy Spirit?

Likewise when it comes to reinstatement who decides that someone can or cannot be reinstated, is it the Holy Spirit, or like the disfellowshipping, is it just the view of a few imperfect men?