Does Holy Spirit appoint Elders in the Congregations
“A true friend shows love at all times.” – Proverbs 17:17
[Inspired by ws 11/19 p.8 Study Article 45: January 6 – January 12, 2020]
Does Holy Spirit appoint Elders in the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses today? That is a vital question that needs answering. It would be good initially to get some background as to when and how the Holy Spirit was given to servants of God and followers of Jesus directly from the scriptures. This will give us a scriptural background with which to review this question “Does Holy Spirit appoint Elders in the Congregations.
To assist you in gaining this background the following articles were prepared:
We hope these articles examining the record of how and when the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the Holy Bible will help all to see the contrast between the scriptural record and the Organization’s speculation and fabrication.
Does Holy Spirit appoint Elders in the Congregations?
After reviewing how Shepherds were appointed in the first-century Christian congregation (in the Holy Spirit in action – In the 1st Century Christian Times article) the reviewer drew the following conclusions:
The explanation given by the Organization as to how elders and ministerial servants are appointed in the congregations today bears little resemblance to what actually occurred in the first century Christian Congregation. In this present day, there is certainly no laying on of hands by the Apostles directly appointed by Jesus, or perhaps by particular ones they appear to have directly delegated this responsibility to, of whom Timothy appears to have been one.
According to the Organization’s publications, men are appointed by Holy Spirit, only in the sense that the elders review the candidate’s qualities against the Bible’s requirements.
November 2014 Watchtower Study Edition, article ”Questions from Readers” says in part “First, holy spirit moved the Bible writers to record the qualifications for elders and ministerial servants. Sixteen different requirements of elders are listed at 1 Timothy 3:1-7. Further qualifications are found in such scriptures as Titus 1:5-9 and James 3:17, 18. Qualifications for ministerial servants are outlined at 1 Timothy 3:8-10, 12, 13. Second, those recommending and making such appointments specifically pray for Jehovah’s spirit to direct them as they review whether a brother meets the Scriptural requirements to a reasonable degree. Third, the individual being recommended needs to display the fruitage of God’s holy spirit in his own life. (Gal. 5:22, 23) So God’s spirit is involved in all aspects of the appointment process”.
The truthfulness of the last (third) statement is debatable.
Point 2 depends on two important premises being true;
- that the elders pray for Holy Spirit and are prepared to allow themselves to be guided by it. In reality, the strongest willed elder(s) usually ensure they have their own way;
- Does Jehovah give bodies of elders Holy Spirit to make appointments? Given that there are instances where men appointed have been secretly practicing paedophilia, or married men being immoral having with a mistress, or government spies (such as in Israel, communist and non-communist Russia, Nazi Germany among others), it could be construed as blaspheming the Holy Spirit, to claim that it was involved in the appointment of such ones. There is also no evidence of direct notification or indication by the Holy Spirit in any way in such appointments, unlike in the first century.
The Organization’s actual view is not, however, how many brothers and sisters understand it. This is due in part to how the phrase “elders are appointed by holy spirit” is used in the publications. As a result, many believe God’s Spirit has directly appointed Elders in particular and as such appointees, they can do no wrong and cannot be questioned.
However, as the Organization adds its own requirements on top, there is a clear pharisaic addition. In the experience of most brothers who are awakened, it is the Organization’s requirements of a certain way and quantity of field service, along with favoritism that usually holds sway over any Biblically desired traits. For example, however abundant a man’s Christian qualities are, if he for example was only able to spend 1 hour a month in field service, the chance of appointment as an elder would be very slim to none.