Have No Dealings With Apostates
Watchtower, 3/15/1986, pages 12-14
"Do Not Be Quickly Shaken From Your Reason"
Have No Dealings With Apostates . . . "When a fellow human tells us, 'Do not read this' or, 'Do not listen to that,' we may be tempted to ignore his advice. But remember, in this case Jehovah is the One who tells us in his Word what to do. And what does he say about apostates? "Avoid them" (Romans 16:17, 18); "quit mixing in company with" them (1 Corinthians 5:11); and "never receive [them] into your homes or say a greeting to [them]" (2 John 9, 10). These are emphatic words, clear directions. If, out of curiosity, we were to read the literature of a known apostate, would that not be the same as inviting this enemy of true worship right into our home to sit down with us and relate his apostate ideas?" (Watchtower, Mar. 15, 1986, p. 13)
Comment: This is useful when dealing with Jehovah's Witnesses who like to tackle Christians. Are they being disobedient to the Watchtower Organization by having dealings with those who oppose the Watchtower? If so, they are being disobedient to God's organization.
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The apostle Paul expressed this concern: "I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent seduced Eve by its cunning, your minds might be corrupted away from the sincerity and the chastity that are due the Christ," (2 Corinthians 11:3). Paul found it necessary to write regarding some erroneous teachings that were circulating in his day. In his second letter to the congregation at Thessalonica, he wrote: "We request of you not to be quickly shaken from your reason nor to be excited either through an inspired expression or through a verbal message or through a letter as though from us, to the effect that the day of Jehovah is here. Let no one seduce you in any manner,"--2 Thessalonians 2:1-3.
Have No Dealings With Apostates [title in section of article--more below]
Now, what will you do if you are confronted with apostate teaching-subtle reasonings-claiming that what you believe as one of Jehovah's Witnesses is not the truth? For example, what will you do if you receive a letter or some literature, open it, and see right away that it is from an apostate? Will curiosity cause you to read it, just to see what he has to say? You may even reason: 'It won't affect me; I'm too strong in the truth. And, besides, if we have the truth, we have nothing to fear. The truth will stand the test.' In thinking this way, some have fed their minds upon apostate reasoning and have fallen prey to serious questioning and doubt. (Compare James 1:5-8.) So remember the warning at 1 Corinthians 10:12: "Let him that thinks he is standing beware that he does not fall."
With loving help from caring brothers, some having doubts sown by apostates have recovered after a period of spiritual turmoil and trauma. But this pain could have been avoided. At Proverbs 11:9 we are told: "By his mouth the one who is an apostate brings his fellow man to ruin, but by knowledge are the righteous rescued." Jude told fellow Christians to "continue showing mercy to some that have doubts; save them by snatching them out of the fire," (Jude 22, 23). Paul advised the overseer Timothy to instruct "with mildness those not favorably disposed; as perhaps God may give them repentance leading to an accurate knowledge of truth, and they may come back to their proper senses out from the snare of the Devil, seeing that they have been caught alive by him for the will of that one," 2 Timothy 2:25, 26.
Tragically, others have gone into complete darkness, even going back to Christendom's erroneous teachings. The apostle Peter wrote about the tragic outcome for some who first walked in the truth but then turned aside. He said: "Certainly if, after having escaped from the defilements of the world by an accurate knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they get involved again with these very things and are overcome, the final conditions have become worse for them than the first." Peter said they are like the dog that returns to its vomit and the bathed sow that turns back to wallowing in the mire.--2 Peter 2:20-22.
When a fellow human tells us, 'Do not read this' or, 'Do not listen to that,' we may be tempted to ignore his advice. But remember, in this case Jehovah is the One who tells us in his Word what to do. And what does he say about apostates? "Avoid them" (Romans 16:17, 18); "quit mixing in company with" them (1 Corinthians 5:11); and "never receive [them] into your homes or say a greeting to [them]" (2 John 9, 10). These are emphatic words, clear directions. If, out of curiosity, we were to read the literature of a known apostate, would that not be the same as inviting this enemy of true worship right into our home to sit down with us and relate his apostate ideas?
Let us illustrate matters in this way: Suppose your teenage son received some pornographic material in the mail. What would you do? If he was inclined to read it out of curiosity, would you say: 'Yes, son, go ahead and read it. It won't hurt you. From infancy we've taught you that immorality is bad. Besides, you need to know what's going on in the world in order to see that it's truly bad'? Would you reason that way? Absolutely not! Rather, you would surely point out the dangers of reading pornographic literature and would require that it be destroyed. Why? Because no matter how strong a person may be in the truth, if he feeds his mind on the perverted ideas found in such literature, his mind and heart will be affected. A lingering wrong desire planted in the recesses of the heart can eventually create a perverted sexual appetite. The result? James says that when wrong desire becomes fertile, it gives birth to sin, and sin leads to death. (James 1:15) So why start the chain reaction?
Well, if we would act so decisively to protect our children from exposure to pornography, should we not expect that our loving heavenly Father would similarly warn us and protect us from spiritual fornication, including apostasy? He says, Keep away from it!
But suppose we are preaching the good news and people raise questions or objections similar to those raised by opposers? Of course, if a person is not sincere and merely wishes to argue, usually it is best to excuse ourselves and go to the next door. But if someone sincerely asks about certain claims of apostates, what can be done? First, we can ask what, exactly, has caused the concern. It may be only one or two points. Then we can stick to these and answer from the Scriptures, from the Society's publications, and from what we truthfully know about the subject. We need not conclude that we have to read a book or a pamphlet that is filled with slander and half-truths in order to refute the false claims and teachings of opposers.
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