Monday, August 18, 2008

Was There A First Century Governing Body

The term "Governing Body" never appears in the scriptures so once again we see the Watchtower placing great emphasis on a term that does not exist in the bible. How then does the Watchtower justify an all powerful Governing Body? This is by reference to when the issue of circumcision was decided in Jerusalem, as discussed in Acts chapter 15.
There is only occasion that a gathering of brothers is ever mentioned to decide an issue; the scriptures never again mention a select group of brothers convening to establish doctrine. On this occasion it can not be said that the decision was made by an established Governing Body. Rather in Acts it says that "they arranged for Paul and Barnabas and some others of them to go up to the apostles and older men in Jerusalem regarding this dispute." (Acts 15:2) Rather than showing the existence of a Governing Body of a small number of leaders, Acts describes a gathering of all the apostles and older men in Jerusalem along with Paul and Barnabas, who were traveling missionaries, to decide on a important issue that was affecting the local congregations.
To show that there was no centralized Governing Body directing the early Christians it is interesting to read the history of the Apostle Paul. After Paul’s conversion he did not go to Jerusalem to receive an assignment. Rather, he immediately embarked on his missionary work without conferring with the apostles or any group of leaders. Three years after his conversion Paul made his first trip to Jerusalem and even then did not meet with a group of leaders, but just with Peter and James. It was not till a further fourteen years later that he went back to Jerusalem (Gal 2:1-3), possibly for the occasion described in Acts 15.
The early Christians were not directed by an organisation, but by the words of Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It was under the guidance of Holy Spirit that Paul did his work, as were all followers of Jesus.
(Romans 15:19) "19 with the power of signs and portents, with the power of holy spirit; so that from Jerusalem and in a circuit as far as Illyricum I have thoroughly preached the good news about the Christ."
(Acts 4:31) "… they were one and all filled with the holy spirit and were speaking the word of God with boldness."

8 comments:

frank said...

are you paying attention to what you are reading?

one question just one.
why is it that the congregations did not decide for themselves, why did they go to Jerusalem for the decision?

Go figure yakee yak.

Acts 16:4
4 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. 5 Therefore, indeed, the congregations continued to be made firm in the faith and to increase in number from day to day.

frank said...

oh by the way you haven't say anything about knowing the Real Jesus to be save.
think again
are you abeying the Real Jesus?

Governing Body Letters said...

Frank, they did not go to Jerusalem for a decision. They went to Jerusalem to discuss the matter because it was in Jerusalem that the controversy began. Afterward, they presented the decision to those interested for their OBSERVANCE.
-------------
What are you talking about, the real Jesus? I do not understand what you mean. There is only one Jesus Christ and he is the son of God. Do you know another Jesus?

Ronde said...

And we should care why?

Does it matter whether there was a first century GB?

I say no.

But what matters is that there is one now.

And what matters is that they are merely the overseers of the worldwide congregation.

You see, in Revelation Jesus writes to 7 congregations. Paul and Peter write to congregations.

Thus congregations was done then as now.

You see, each congregation also has older men overseeing it.

The religion of Jehovah's Witnesses has 101,000 local congregations that form one large congregation. That large congregation (which some call organization) is overseen by 9 older men that is termed the governing body. Thus rather than thinking of them as a governing body why not just think of them as the congregational overseers.

That way you don't worship them like you do.

frank said...

yes they went to Jerusalem for a decision, do you understanding what you are Reading? or you probably just want to understand it your own way, and not the way it is. the Truth is not complicated it is very simple.

Acts 16:4

4Now while they were passing through the cities, they were delivering (I)the decrees which had been
"decided", (decided, decided),

upon by (J)the apostles and (K)elders who were in Jerusalem, for them to observe.

let me think you still thinking about something else to say do you?
what part don't you understand?

I will not answer on that subject no more it is a waste of time.

yes there is more than one Jesus.
there is a Jesus part of a trinity
a jesus some say is equal to the father. and there's the real Jesus
The son of the living God, the one inferior to his dad.
The one the Bible talks about not human false doctrine.

to have everlasting life one should have faith in the real Jesus, the one the bible talks about. and also obey him.
are you obeying Jesus?

I guess you know the answer to that. go figure

Anonymous said...

I wonder why in 1975 Fred Franz the then vice-president of the WTBS gave a talk to a graduating Gilead class arguing against the existence of a governing body at Jerusalem before its destruction on 70 AD.

see

http://www.freeminds.org/history/franzorg1976.htm

For those really interested a recording of this talk can be obtained from Commentary Press at

http://www.commentarypress.com/Publication/English.html

I have other recored talks given by Fred Franz and this one was definitely delivered by him.

The issue of a governing body is important because it is seen as the original pattern for the present governing body along with other early Christian practice that are supposed to inform current practice such as women not directly teaching the congregation.

Letters From the governing body is correct in that Paul and Barnabas went up to Jerusalem because that is where the problem was not at the church in Antioch (Syria), Acts 15:1,5. There had previously been a problem in the Jerusalem church about the issue of converted gentiles keeping the mosaic law and circumcision when Peter returned to Jerusalem after the conversion of Cornelius Acts 11:1-3.
Incidentally the directions given to Peter to visit Cornelius were not given to hin by a governing body, see Acts 10 and 11.

In the Acts 15 account the problem is presented (verse 5) apostles and older men discuss the matter (verse 6) and then discussion takes place before the whole congregation (verse 12) and the whole congregation is involved again (verse 22).

With regard to Paul's missionary tours, these were blessed by and sent out from the Antioch (Syria) church under the guidance of the holy spirit Acts 13:1-4 and one of many examples of the continued guidance by the holy spirit and not a governing body is recorded at Acts 16:6-10.

Finally I would be interested if anyone could point to any bible commentator who regards the Jerusalem council of Acts 15 as a precedent for a governing body directing the gentile churches beyond Judea and Sameria.

Ronde said...

"I wonder why in 1975 Fred Franz the then vice-president of the WTBS gave a talk to a graduating Gilead class arguing against the existence of a governing body at Jerusalem before its destruction on 70 AD."

I don't have audio on that so I don't believe freeminds takes things in context.

But the governing body existed of the apostles and older men. It was not a permanent body sitting in one location like today. But it did not have to be.

"Finally I would be interested if anyone could point to any bible commentator who regards the Jerusalem council of Acts 15 as a precedent for a governing body directing the gentile churches beyond Judea and Sameria."

I am a bible commentator. It does not need to be a precedent. They had an issue and they resolved it by looking to what existed prior to the Law. They observed what was happening around them with the gentiles coming in to the Christian congregation.

Note, it is congregation, not church. Churches did not exist until Catholics. Since what the governing body back then stated made sense and it worked, those in the Christian congregation listened to it.

Anonymous said...

ronde said

I don't have audio on that so I don't believe freeminds takes things in context.

Well ronde if you have not listened to the talk you are not in a position to judge if the freeminds quotes are taken out of context or not. I think you may be showing a little bias here.