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Is Shunning A Teaching of Christ?

by R. Jerome Harris on October 27, 2014

In my opinion, one of the most heinous things anyone could do is discriminate against another person because of their race, religion, or national origin. Shunning someone because they do not or no longer hold the same viewpoint or beliefs as another is no different from the practice of racial discrimination as far as I am concerned.

The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society has a practice of shunning those who leave the organization by disassociation or by disfellowshipment. This shunning also places a heavy-negative-organizational-spun label and stigma upon the one disfellowshipped or disassociated. (Recall what Jesus taught about his yoke being kindly and his load light. Matthew 11:30). Religious organization places cruel and weighty loads upon its members, mentally, financially, and physically. Is this loving? Furthermore, is shunning something Christ taught and practiced?

What is shunning? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, shunning is:

The act or a means of getting or keeping away from something undesirable.

Shunning can be …

The act of social rejection, or mental rejection. Social rejection is when a person or group deliberately avoids association with, and habitually keeps away from an individual or group. This can be a formal decision by a group, or a less formal group action which will spread to all members of the group as a form of solidarity. 

First let me state that a true disciple of Christs mindset should not be  "What does 'The Bible' says about the matter of shunning but rather "What does 'Christ' says about the matter?"

All to often persons will say that "The Bible says this and that." It is rare, indeed nowadays to hear a person use the expression "What Christ says or teaches?" They make the Bible the rule book instead. This is a grave mistake because no book fashioned and named by men can be what Christ is exclusively: The Word of God. And, it is to him his true disciples listen to. The Bible, quite frankly, is of no consequence because it is not the Word of God. There cannot be two Words of God (The Bible and Christ) just as there cannot be multiple God's. There is only one God and there is only one Word of God.

The act of shunning and condemning others because of religion is not owned exclusively by Jehovah's Witnesses. Members of radical Islam, for example, shun persons who are not of their following. These could be persons who are Muslims, but of a different sect. They may take extreme measures against persons who are not within their organizations. Extreme measures such as making a public spectacle and example of the offender are employed as well as severe beatings. Among these extreme measures is death. This is cruel, unloving and disrespects that which God created: Mankind.

So what makes the Watch Tower organization or any organization within the religious system any different with regards shunning? There is no difference. It too, has its own set of rules and regulations that are imposed upon individuals designed to denigrate them and make them feel lower than the dust. This is cruel. Why would anyone or anything take such measures to downtrod people rather than elevate them? It is evil and it is shameful to hide behind religion and say that this is what God and Christ them to do. Christ, The Son of God NEVER treated anyone as the religious organizations claiming to follow him do. NEVER!

The evil agenda – as I see it – and common thread that runs through all of what men call Christianity (as well as the other religious systems) is and excercse of total POWER and CONTROL over mankind; and enslavement of it. If religious organizations can achieve such power and control over the masses, it can direct the masses to do that wich God and Christ never commanded "in the name of religion" such as killing one another and justifying deadly warfare; teaching that which is false; labeling others as outcasts, heathen, worldly or other negative labels; and engaging in the unloving act of isolation and shunning of individuals. I see no goodness in any religious organization. They are all deal with their images and "outward" appearances. In other words, on the outside they look chaste and godly but in the inside it is an entirely different matter.

Any claim by persons that there is a difference between say radical Islam and what men call Christianity spring from bias, the desire to defend ones religion, and the notion that what they believe is "the truth" and what anyone else has is false. I believe all of it is false. Why? Because men – not God – are the ones in the driving seat and steering this beast called religion. It is responsible for the death of billions. Religious organizations are literal killing machines and spiritual and mental torture chambers for those within them. There is no true freedom for any within them.

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society teaches its membership to have no association with persons who were once Jehovah's Witnesses; persons who may have been put out of the organization by disfellowshipment or persons who leave voluntarily by disassociation. Is this loving and is this something Christ taught or is it from men?

Did Christ Teach To Forgive or to Shun?

I would like to refer to the case of one of Jesus' disciples, Judas Iscariot. He was a chosen Apostle of Christ Even though Judas betrayed Christ, do we see any evidence of Christ shunning or condemning Judas?

There are many who use Matthew 26:24 as proof text that Jesus condemned Judas. Let's take a look at that Scripture and see:

True, the Son of man is going away, just as it is written concerning him, but woe to that man through whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been finer for him if that man had not been born.

In Matthew Chapter 26 Jesus already told his disciples that he would be delivered up to be executed. Now think: Whether Judas or anyone else had betrayed him or not, he would have been executed. Nothing would have prevented that and if his execution was prevented, no human of any time period would have the prospect of eternal life. So Jesus had to die and Judas was not the blame.

Too, one must think that all of the Apostles were imperfect men who has weaknesses and shortcomings. Thus, no matter what any of them would have done Jesus would have forgiven them an unlimited number of times as THAT is what HE taught. Jesus would be a hypocrite and a liar if he did not practice what he taught about forgiveness.

At Matthew 18:21-22 the Apostle Peter came to Jesus and asked:

Lord, how many times is my brother to sin against me and am I to forgive him? Up to seven times?

What did Jesus say in answer to Peter? Did he tell him that if his brother sins against him to shun him and condemn him? No! 

Jesus said in answer:

I say to you, not, Up to seven times, but, Up to seventy-seven times.

That is what Jesus teaches and I do not care what "The Bible" as a whole states or what religious organizations teach and practice in this regard. It is what The Son of God has spoken and taught out of his own mouth! Jesus did not shun or condemn Judas. So, where does this practice of religious shunning and condemning come from?

We must re-train our minds to accept that God did not send a book, He sent his Son and it is to that Son we are to listen to. The Bible has been imposed upon the world as the other "Word of God" and it is being pushed so heavily upon the world that it has superceded the sayings and teachings of the person who is The Word of God. R. Jerome Harris

It comes from men. Men love it when they are agreed with. They gather about themselves persons who agree and hold the same viewpoints and even skin color. Therein lies the problem. When Jesus arrived on the scene, he had to deal with persons of all sorts. Yet, one reads of not one instance where Jesus shunned or condemned anyone. 

We read about the adulterous woman that the Scribes and Pharisees condemned to death by stoning. Yet, Jesus did not condemn her. (John Chapter 8)

We read about Jesus practicing what he preached concerning his persecutors and executioners at Luke 23:34 where Jesus asked the Father to forgive them NOT to condemn and shun them!

Why do religious organizations shun and condemn? For several reasons. One, is because they do not have "the mind of Christ." They think and act as men would: Intolerant, quick to judge and condemn, and display acts of vindictiveness and revenge. Another reason is that shunning is an effective method of exercising power and control over those within a religious organization.

I know for a fact as a former Jehovah's Witness of nearly 30 years that most Witnesses are primarily fearful of "The Organization" itself. Fearful of being put out and detached from it. Thus, if the organizations leadership expels a member or if a member comes forward and announces that he ro she is no longer a Jehovah's Witness, the Watch Tower leadership warns all other members that they themselves face expulsion from the organization if they associate with those persons; even if those persons are family members! Is that loving?

This, in my opinion is a mental impairment! 

Just to show how deep this shunning act is embedded in the psychovicera, Witnesses have been made to believe that shunning those who are no longer Jehovah's Witnesses is a loving act! How so?

They believe by shunning them they are being "taught a lesson" that if they leave "The Organization" they will lose out on the prospect of eternal life. Now think about that very carefully. The Watch Tower organization is teaching that unless a person is within and remains within "The Organization" they will lose out on eternal life.

Thus, what "The Organization" is teaching is that it is the way, the truth and the life, No one comes to the Father except through it!"

The Watch Tower organization is teaching that it does not matter if an individual has attached themselves to the person of Christ (who is The Way, The Truth and The Life), if they are not within "Jehovah's Organization" (as they coin the expression), those persons will perish for all eternity!

Witnesses sincerely and really believe this! I did when I was one.

But the truth of the matter is that no one born since Adam – to include Adam – is in a condemned state and those of us who are alive today and who claim we follow Christ had better stop shunning and condemning others. We MUST do as Jesus did and taught: forgive an unlimited number of times.

That does not mean we have to condone bad behavior or even hangout and associate with persons who do bad. It DOES MEAN that we do not take a shunning and condemnatory posture towards persons because they are different, who may hold a different religious viewpoint, or who are no longer Jehovah's Witnesses.

I personally do not shun or condemn Jehovah's Witnesses because they do not believe as I do! Why? Because it is not my place! If one sinned against me I would forgiven them as my Master directed me to. If one continued to sin against me, I still would not shun and condemn I would continue to forgive.

When the shocking news that I disassociated myself from the Watch Tower organization, long time friends and some family members (who claimed love for me) turned any supposed love for me off like a light switch. Why? Because the Watch Tower organization directs it. Note: Jesus did not direct it.

I actually feel sorry for my former brothers and sisters because I know (and they know I know) that many of them deep down inside are not happy. I know that the smiles displayed are at the surface and not from the heart. 

When a person has been with the Watch Tower organization for many years and practices this "superficialism" it becomes "normal" behavior and one does not realize that it is superficial.

I remember many times attending large conventions and sitting in my seat before and after the program and watching "the friends" associate with one another. Something was missing. None of it was heart-felt but a "practice" acting like one is loving and concerned. The smiles and handshakes were missing something. Certain ones would only associate with those who where like them. Wealthier Whites did not associate with the poor Blacks or Hispanics. Whites congregated around Whites and Blacks around Blacks for example. Yes, Whites and Blacks did associate but in public places such as restaurants I did not see this so-called "Brotherhood" in action.

I personally know in private circles, the Black brothers and sisters complained about the "Whiteness" of the organization in every aspect. I witnessed many times deserving Black brothers for appointment to Ministerial Servant or Elder passover and the children of prominent White Elders appointed. In several cases I witnessed the sons of prominent White Elders disfellowshiped, reinstated and appointed as Ministerial Servants and later to Elder.

Unknown to the White Jehovah's Witnesses where mumurings about racial discrimination and practices within the Watch Tower congregation. Questions such as, "How in the world did that White brother who was disfellowship become an Elder so quickly and that Black brother over there who has been the congregation longer than most has been an exemplary and passed over?"

What I am saying here is that Jehovah's Witnesses are people just like everyone else and engage in gossip just like anyone else. And, the external covering (superficialism) I mentioned earlier is what's in operation. Thus, no one should be condemning or shunning anyone.

What Jesus stated at Luke 23:34 is prophetic and has nothing to do with Judas. It has to do with a time period well into the future AFTER Christs 1000 year kingdom has ended. That time period will be the period where mankind will face condemnation and loss of life. Why? Because in that future time period all will "know" right from wrong and they will "know" what they are doing. They will be without excuse for any unfaithful or disobedient act.

Today, we are with excuse because we "do not know what we are doing" and we do not know right from wrong.

The right and wrong many know is what men teach or have established as right and wrong. If men in different parts of the world say that chopping someones head off for adultery is "right" then that is "their" right. But it could be someone elses "wrong."

I maintain that religion of all sorts is an enemy of God and Christ and of mankind. Religion is a controller and director of men and women. The Watch Tower is also a controller and director of the lives of its membership. Christ should be our only Director, Master and Lord.

A family member – who is a Jehovah's Witness – was not interested in why I disassociated myself from the organization. The family member was more interested in me going back into the organization.

That "You should get back in as soon as possible." That was another way of saying that I do not know what I am doing and that I am wrong in what I did and that without "The Organization" I will perish.

Well, I will perish as I will never be taken captive again by religious organization or any mechanation of men.

My faith and hope is in my Master Jesus Christ. He is my salvation, not a religious organization.

Jesus said of himself at John 14:6: 

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Therefore, my prospects for eternal life is not up to humans and human agencies.

My God and Father and Jesus' God and Father commanded at Luke 9:35:

This is my Son, the one that has been chosen. Listen to him.

There is nothing in that command that tells me to listen to religious organizations. I will never again.

It is too bad that what God and Christ states clearly is ignored and not practiced by religious organizations and its membership. It is ignored because religious organization wants to control and direct something that it made no sacrifice for: Mankind.

No religious organization or human gave up life to save mankind from perishing. Yet, they act as if they did!

Religious organization has taken ownership of something that does not belong to them: Mankind.

The Apostle Paul states at 1 Cor 11:3:

But I want YOU to know that the head of every man is the Christ; in turn the head of a woman is the man; in turn the head of the Christ is God.

Wh is the head of man? Religious organization? No! Christ is. He owns us and as his slaves we are to take direction only from him and he did not direct us to shun anyone, but to forgive.

Come on now, does anyone really believe that the Son of God would shun someone because they are not a Jehovah's Witness or a member of any of the many religious groups? What that his pattern and teaching? 

It is men who have elevated themselves to lofty positions who have done this terrible thing and these men do not want any one to really listen to God and Christ (even though they themselves use their names) but rather listen to THEM instead. If one does not listen, obey and comply they get the boot.

If you find yourself in the situtation of being disfellowshipped or disassociated, count it as a blessing AS LONG AS you do not reject God and His Messiah. Stay as far away as you can from all religious organization on this earth. "Get out of them my people" says The Most High God.

Turn your attention to the person of Christ – though unseen – he is alive and able to teach us.

It is not easy to ween onself off of religious organization. Many cannot handle it and "go bad" quickly, becoming angry and disgruntled. That is the last thing one can do because they will find themselves consumed with getting back at the very thing that expelled them. This is a waste of time and energy best used in approaching God through His Christ in prayer.

Prayer is the secret. Asking the Father through His Son and receiving through His Son is the secret. This is how we gain the wisdom, understanding and knowledge OF GOD. We must not rely upon our own wisdom, understanding and knowledge. It is such things that religious organizations create and they dupe its membership to rely upon it.

Do what Christ asked of us: Ask the Father in his name for these three invaluable things. Nothing in a book of 1500 pages (The Bible) can compare to what The Most High will give you if you really want it.

Sadly, prayer is being used improperly and has become nothing but a ritual with no substance.

That is another article.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Candice August 6, 2016 at 7:50 pm

I stumbled upon your site a few days ago while researching JW and shunning. I grew up a Baptist, attended a non-denomination church for many years. A few years ago I became frustrated at all the foolery and false teachings in the churches and started using my Bible and the Internet to really start to study a few years ago. In December, I met a JW and started studying with them. This week I asked my "teacher" to explain their reason for shunning and to confirm "how" they "shun" someone. It was not biblical to me. We can have great doctrines but if we have not love then it's all in vail. This "shunning" practice has been my "deal breaker to stop studying. I am absolutely sure of my salvation and I want to fellowship with authentic folks not afraid to break away from traditions of man and seeking to be imitators of Christ. These religions are so far moved from what our Father and his Son intended them to be. I do understand from your reading that you do not subscribe to any religion and I totally understand that. My question is, how do fellowship with others striving to be disciples of Jesus Christ? Your thinking is outside of the box. I also hold many of your same views. For me it seems so hard to find a place of worship where I fit in and I am ready to stop going to "church" again all together. Perhaps I'm looking for perfection and something that truly does not exist. Perhaps my standards are too high. How do you handle this?

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R. Jerome Harris August 14, 2016 at 9:44 am

Hi, I can definitely relate to your situation. 

I no longer subscribe to any religion because The Most High God is not the authorizer of any of them. When The Most High dispatched His Son into the world of mankind, He did not send him here to establish a religion. If that were true, Jesus would have established one, but he did not. (Jesus never told his disciples to be known by a title called Christian or a religious system called Christianity) Rather, God sent His Son to establish a Brotherhood. 

Not only did the Most High God not authorize the establishment of religion, he did not authorize books that men name, title, authorize, make holy and call the Word of God. The Most High God has authorized only one: His Son has “The Word of God” and as holy. It is to this Son (Christ) that God “commanded” us to listen to. (Luke 9:35)

My points of contention has been with religion – and in our cases, the WTBTS – usurping the role of Christ. How so? 

1. At John 14:6 Jesus says that he is the way, the truth and the life. The Watch Tower organization subliminally teaches that it is all of those things. It teaches that it is “the way” by teaching that it is only through the organization that one can come to the Father (Jehovah). It teaches that it is “the truth.” How so? You may have heard JWs use the expressions “In the truth” or ask “Are you in the truth?” In other words, that if one is a member of the WTBTS, they are in the truth. It teaches that it is “the life.” How so? Because it teaches that those who join the organization are in a “spiritual paradise” and that if one is not within the “safety” of the WTBTS teaching, they will lose their life. So it teaches unless one is a member of the WTBTS, they will lose their lives. (The wording of baptismal vow all baptismal candidates take state is really a dedication to the Watch Tower organization as the way, the truth and the life.)

2. The 1914 teaching did not originate with the WTBTS. It was adopted by C.T. Russell when he was a Second Adventist. When he broke away from that movement to form his Bible Students Assosciation, he broght the teaching with him. The problem here is that the WTBTS teaches that it receives all truth from God through Jesus and through a Faithful and Discreet Slave. So the question is this: “Since the 1914 teaching originated with the Second Adventist in the mid 1800s, were Second Adventist that Faithful Slave?” This was an entirely different religious organization different from the WTBTS. According to the WTBTS, the Faithful Slave and truth comes only through the WTBTS. Additionally, and more importantly, Jesus said his disciples are not to concern themselves with times and seasons concerning his return. He said that his disciples do not know on what day (time period) he will return. What Jesus said nulls and voids the 1914 teaching. That the WTBTS prophetic foundation is built upon this teaching, anything built upon that foundation has to be false as well. Too, to teach something contrary to what Jesus taught speaks volumes. (Read what Jesus said about dates and his return at Matthew 24:36, Matthew 24:42, and Acts 1:7)

3. The WTBTS was being promoted more than Christ and his teachings. All one has to do is go to the official JW website at http://www.jw.org and you will not see links in the menu that read “Christs Teachings.” Instead, it is a book – The Bible – that is blasphemously promoted as “Teacher.” The menu link reads “Bible Teachings.” No book by any name or claim can be our Teacher. We have only ONE Teacher, Jesus Christ. (Matthew 23:8-10)

4. What Exactly Is The Good News Message? At Matthew 24:14 Jesus spoke of the Good News of the Kingdom being preached and then the end will come. The WTBTS would have you believe that field service, having bible studies and placing WT literature is “preaching the Good News.” It is NOT! The Good News message has not been given yet. And when it is given, humans will not be entrusted to preach (declare) it. This is stated at Revelation 14:6. There, we are told than “an angel” will be given the Good News message and he will declare it to all of the world. The WTBTS has created a false “Good News” message. Put JWs to the test. Ask them to show you exactly what the “Good News” message is and where is it stated in the Bible. They cannot. The Good News message will come from God is too perfect and important for imperfect humans declare. How can someone imperfect declare a perfect message. Also aks JW to explain 14:6. (They will go to the Revelation Climax book which attempts to explain that it is an angel directing the Good News preaching. But that is not what Rev 14:6 says).

One of the most difficult a true disciple of Christ will encounter today in this wicked world, is to find like-minded ones to fellowship with. True disciples of Christ are birds of a different color. They will not be found within religious organizations. Why? Because their Master Jesus Christ was never in one. We MUST follow our Master. His footsteps never took him inside any religious organization. His walk and path was a difficult one. Those who would follow him will have a difficult path as well because we exist in a world that rejected him and in a world where Satan is its god. The Apostle Paul understood this and wrote about it at Hebrews 13:13-14. There he speaks of “go to him outside the camp” as opposed to “going in” or joining a religious organization thinking Christ is “inside” of them. Christ exists “outside” of religious organizations (camps or cities). Also interesting is what Paul says Christ disciples do not have on the earth: “Here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” True disciples of Christ have no religious organization (camp or city) to go into. We are awaiting the one that is to come: Christs 1000 year Kingdom which is yet in the future. (contrary to what the WT teaches). I can tell you, I am one of the most sane and level-headed persons one will meet and I can tell you, I fully understand what Jesus taught about his kingdom not being a part of this world and being a sheep among wolves. The world’s pressure is tremendous in coming after those like me to get me to conform to the world or join some religious organization that it can control me to a way of thinking and teaching and ensure I do not deviate from their teaching (Jesus taught freedom for those who would be his disciples). Joining religious organizations do not bring freedom. They enslave the mind and punish you if you question or challenge them.

You ask how I handle it. First, I know according to what my Master Jesus Christ teaches (even now teaching) is that their are others in the world like me and I like them. The outpouring of Holy Spirit marks us. In time, world events will bring us together and reveal us as true faithful disciples because we will not worship the image of the Beast or accept its mark. That time is yet future as well. Secondly, I know that my Master is alive and still able to teach. There is no need to rely on the limited pages of a book. I can ask the Father for wisdom, knowledge and understanding and receive from Him through Christ. Thus, I am not limited by a book or any religious organization. If Christ is my Teacher and God says listen to him, then I must let Christ himself teach me and obey God by listening to Christ. This is a no-brainer for me. Yet, religious organizations want to be Teacher and want to be obeyed. Thirdly, I know that God cannot be worshiped sitting within religious organizations with their respective rules, regulations and policies. God is a Spirit and invisible and as Jesus taught at John 4:23-24 MUST be worshiped with spirit and truth. In other words, my worship to God involves faith because God (nor Christ who is the truth) can be seen. (Col 1:15 and Hebrews 11:1) Attending meetings and knocking on doors are external and visible things that can be seen by everyone. These are not reflections of what a persons true heart condition is. I know JWs who do 100 hours per month in field service, place tons of literature, make lots of comments at the meetings, etc. But off of the grid their lives do not reflect what they do while playing the part of a JW. God is not pleased with this.

By the world’s standards of belief, my thinking is “out of the box.” There is much truth in what you say. My thinking is “no part of this world.” (Outside of the box). Why is that? Because, I follow Christ and listen to his words. I do no longer listen to religious organizations. They are counterfeits and Jesus foretold the coming of “many” who would “truthfully” declare that he is the Christ, but would deceive many. (Matthew 24:4-5)

What I suggest: Trust God with all of your heart, mind and soul and show that you trust Him by asking Him for His Knowledge, His Understanding and His Wisdom. Do not out your trust in men an their organizations as they have not been given direction from God. Trust and follow the direction of Christ. (John 14:6) Ask these things in the name (official authority) of Jesus Christ. You ask the Father in Jesus’ name because Jesus is the only channel God uses to communicate with us. (It has never been through religious organizations or a book). If you ask of the Father through Christ you must expect receiving from the Father through Christ. God will not communicate/answer you through a book or a religious organization or some “other way.” Keep on asking as this brings you closer to God. If you are sincere, in asking, be prepared to receive what you ask for. It will be shocking as it will go against the prevailing winds of thought in this wicked world and its religions. It is OK to read the Bible but know what it is and what it is not. (It is not the Word of God). Do Not place it above Christ, who is the ONLY The Word of God (Rev 19:13)

This I do know: Initially, the truth is a difficult pill to take and digest. But it is the truth. Since Jesus is “The Truth” and sends us Holy Spirit you will become more full of Holy Spirt as you digest more truth.

Never allow others to get you to fall into a trap by viewing the Bible as The Word of God or some final authority. This is where many have deviated. ALWAYS keep in mind that it is what Christ teaches (not what the Bible teaches) that is what stands.

Yes, Christ is mentioned in the Bible and he is quoted in it, but that does not make the Bible “The Word of God.” If that were true then the Devil’s words – which are also quoted in the Bible – are God’s words. Well, we know that is not the case.

Get as far away as you can from all religion in this world and do not allow them to put a guilt trip on you. View leaving as a blessing from God and a release from captivity. Pray for those persons who remain and help them into the light, if they are favorably disposed to allow you to speak with them.

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