Is Leaving Really the Only Option?

Introduction: Putting Things Into Perspective

But he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved.—Matthew 24:13

WHEN you think of the word “endure” what images come to mind?

Do you imagine a runner, body beading with perspiration, breath coming in gasps, every muscle in the body screaming in rebellion to the stress, all the while the runner’s eyes locked on the finish line just ahead?

Do you think of the child who was forced to spend winter months in a concentration camp, barely clothed, barely fed, body emaciated from both the elements and starvation at the hands of treacherous prisoners? Or even the African family who daily must travel miles upon miles to the next source of water or food, children too weak to walk, mothers holding their dying infants in their arms?

Whatever the thought that comes to mind, it would be a rare instance, indeed, if you associated endurance with your continued association with a congregation or organization, wouldn’t it? Yet that is precisely what some are facing in these last days, contrary to what one would expect in association with fellow believers who share a hope of everlasting life.

The one place that we once thought our shelter from the constant onslaught of a perishing system of things somehow becomes our prison. Our deep-seated joy becomes a profound sadness. Our zeal transforms into discouragement. Where we once spoke freely from our hearts there is now an uncomfortable, forced muting of questions that we desire to ask. We feel an anger at the injustices that we see. And all the while, it may seem to us that Jehovah no longer hears our prayers because of the unrest in our heart and our growing skepticism at the Watchtower Society’s claim to being Jehovah’s organization.

The spiritual paradise that we have touted to the world on icy-cold winter mornings of field service as being found only among Jehovah’s Witnesses somehow, seemingly overnight, becomes eclipsed by scriptural errors and mishandling of authority and justice.

Maybe it began when we felt that certain detachment from those we once felt close to, when we desired the exact opposite. Maybe it was when we start noticing glances in our direction just a little differently than we did before. Perhaps it was when we heard something in a talk that didn’t quite match what we read in our own Bible, or we read something in a publication that we realized wasn’t the same as we had read according to our personal Bible study.

Whatever form it took, the feelings began to coalesce, to take shape, until a conclusion was formed in our mind: the only viable solution, it seems, is to stop going to meetings, to start realizing that we haven’t been on the road to Jehovah all along, that we’ve somehow been tricked into believing that this is “the truth” and that there’s any hope with remaining one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

After all, how could this really be Jehovah’s organization if some, or even most of what it is teaching is clearly in error? How can it be possible that every other religion is “false” when the Witness organization has as many faults as those others do? Isn’t it a matter of the “pot calling the kettle black”?

Isn’t leaving the ONLY option in order to prove that one’s faith is solely in Jehovah and not in some organization? Would we really be proving our loyalty to our Grand Creator by staying and appearing as though we are going along when we should be making a stand for what is right?

And isn’t it a proven fact that the only way one can stay is if they accept the entire body of teachings as indisputable Truth; anything less will result in one’s being viewed as “spiritually weak,” “poor association,” and even “weak in the faith,” resulting in further distancing between congregational devotees and congregational “doubters.”

Yet one question we should be asking ourselves is what any of this has to do with endurance, the type of endurance that Jesus described in the above-cited Scripture.

Does it actually have anything to do with endurance?

Or, perhaps, everything?

Only by a careful, prayerful search of our heart and the Bible will we be able to put things into a proper perspective. However, we will only get out of such an examination what we are willing to put into it. So, if we already have made up our mind that leaving is the only viable option, then we will act in accordance with that decision. This article will only appeal—and is specifically written—to those who remain open-minded enough to the possibility that it is possible to remain an active part of the Witness organization in spite of these things—without compromising one’s faith or conscience.

The how and the why we are to do so lie within the pages of God’s infallible Word, the Bible.

It is to such ones that I offer this article.

Part 1: What Does It Mean to Be "Stumbled"?

Copyright (C) 2002, Timothy B. Kline, Pathways Online
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