“The majority  judged  that  [Jesus]  was bad  because  he did  not  conform  to  their  ideas  of  how  the  Sabbath should be kept. But  the  real  reason  was  that  Jesus  ignored  these ecclesiastics [the Scribes and Pharisees];  and this  was a  cause  of  deep anger.  They excommunicated both Jesus and the man who was the recipient of his goodness.” (Watchtower 1926, February 15, page 60 paragraphs 11-12)

The logic of this article is sound, and it is well-written despite it being a very old quote. So have you ever thought of this notion before? And what does the fact that he was cast out say to us today as modern-day followers of Christ? That Jesus was “excommunicated” or “disfellowshipped” by the religious leaders of his day is not that shocking- we know that is one of the things the Pharisees did to maintain power and control over their fellow brothers and sisters. For anyone that opposed them, it was their ultimate weapon.  But why was he disfellowshipped by these ones?

“Because  he did  not  conform  to  their  ideas  of  how  the  Sabbath should be kept”

In a nutshell, he disagreed with their doctrinal teachings. These legalistic teachings had gone way “beyond the things written”. (1 Corinthians 4:6) Does this sound eerily familiar? Watchtower leaders also exercise the ultimate power and authority over the flock, and will allow no divergence of thought or Christian discernment in matters of policy, doctrine, and even personal conscience. If it becomes known that you hold a different viewpoint, it can escalate to spiritual execution if you are not willing to recant as did Galileo before his Catholic tribunal.  Notice what the 1961 Watchtower entitled “Do Your Ears Hear with Annoyance?” says in part:

“The ears of many people are annoyed each morning by their alarm clocks going off. But, although we hear that noise with annoyance, we heed its call and keep setting it each night. Why? Because we know that that annoyance is in our interests. We must get to work on time to keep our jobs and we must keep our jobs to keep on living!

But, unfortunately, not all persons are so realistic when it comes to hearing some new truth or truths that may at first annoy them. Then some are so thoughtless as to wholly ignore the “alarm clock,” while others go to the extreme of smashing it, as it were, rather than to heed its call. For example, the ears of the religious powers of Galileo’s day heard with such annoyance the truth that the earth was round that they not only refused to investigate it to see if it was true, but they arrested Galileo and even tortured his daughter to force him to recant; while his fellow astronomers refused to look into his telescope to prove for themselves that the moon was not as smooth as a billiard ball! The Word of God gives us many instances of truth bearers who suffered persecution because their message was heard with annoyance…Jeremiah had his life threatened and was thrown into a miry dungeon because the rulers of his day heard with annoyance the message he brought them from their God. Yes, in times of old there were many who “received their trial by mockings and scourgings, indeed, more than that, by bonds and prisons. They . . . were in want, in tribulation, under ill-treatment,” all because the ears of those to whom they were sent heard with annoyance.—Heb. 11:36, 37.” (W61 8/1 pp. 451-452)

So it is fair to say then that Jesus was wrongly excommunicated, or disfellowshipped, from the Jewish synagogue. We would most likely all agree with this. Should his apostles have then immediately ceased from associating with him, refusing to hear a single word he had to say from that point forward? That was Jewish law. Those were the religious rules of the time. The Jewish faith still had at least some of God’s backing and had not yet been completely cast off.  Or like Jesus himself, shouldn’t his followers have been willing to listen and get more information before they made such a rash decision? (John 6:52-69)  Likewise when someone refuses to hear or read a single word said or written by someone that has been disfellowshipped, they are playing into the power and the hands of those that “Lord it over them” (Matthew 20:25) and stifle any and all voices that are not in lock-step with their own.

What if that person was wrongly disfellowshipped, like Christ Jesus himself was? Would that warrant an exception? Many are removed from the congregation because of excessive wrongdoing, and this has a basis in Scripture. (1 Corinthians 5:1-13) But if God’s Holy Spirit was not in agreement with the action, what then?

There are many examples of this happening unfortunately. One that comes to mind is that of Brother Raymond Franz, former Governing Body member and author of “Crisis of Conscience”. He was a faithful Christian man who served God and Christ for his entire life, with over 40 years in the full-time service as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Yet then he was wrongly removed from the congregation and disfellowshipped under false pretenses. Why? “Because he did not conform to their ideas” and the Governing Body wanted to silence him.  This is a brother that wrote many Watchtower articles and other publications books, including co-writing much of the book Aid to Bible Understanding (Now Insight on the Scriptures) which is extensively used by Witnesses and Bible Students to this day. In this way many millions of active Witnesses have read and continue to read his writings to this day.  He was not seeking the limelight, not “beating his fellow slaves” and trying to ruin their belief in the spiritual paradise. He had no interest in starting his own sect, and repeatedly turned away journalists, simply referring them to Bethel headquarters.

Does this sound like the Christian freedom Jesus mentioned in John 8:32? He said “and YOU will know the truth, and the truth will set YOU free.” Why does it have to be this way? Isn’t there a better path?

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12 Comments on Was Jesus Ever Disfellowshipped?

  1. Andrew says:

    Good points JJ.
    No it doesn’t have to be this way. For a time after discovering that there was wrong doctrine and wrong policy, I thought JWs were still God’s only chosen people and the only true religion.
    Now, I see there is no reason to think JWs are something more special than any other christian denomination.

    I do believe perhaps there is a little more correct doctrine in JWs than in most denominations. And perhaps the average JW takes good behavior a little more serious, but there is lots of morality problems in the congs. But the JW are one of the most controlling denominations, as you say.

    I really don’t see anyway it can change either. If the Governing Body admits that they haven’t been appointed over the lives of all Witnesses, they will lose all credibility and the organization could almost just cease to be.


  2. JJ says:

    There is the possibility that we are in a Jeremiah-like time when the WT leaders have lost God’s favor and become the man of lawlessness. Perimeno’s website discusses this in length. This would explain a lot of things…but I’m not certain of much these days…


    • Andrew says:

      I certainly won’t say that’s impossible, but if the slave was not appointed in 1919 and the wheat are mixed in with the weeds just as they were say 300 yrs ago, why is this organization Jehovah’s exclusive people? (with the emphasis on exclusive)

      Are we Christians? Yes of course. Are we part of Jesus sheepfold? Yes. Are we the only ones? No.

      When Jehovah selected the nation of Israel as his exclusive people there was abundant supernatural proof. (the plagues, the miracles at mt. Sinai, etc.) When He switched his favor to the christian cong. again there was abundant supernatural proof. (healings, speaking in tongues, other miracles) What proof was there that Jehovah switched his favor from all Christendom to only the JWs? Was there miracles? voice from heaven? ability given to work miracles? No, there was and is no proof.
      If we reject other sincere christians from other denominations as not being our brothers, or as not being true christians, we are putting ourselves in a very very dangerous position. God could reject us based on our thinking we are somehow superior of more favored of God, just as Jesus rejected the Pharisees for thinking they were more righteous than everybody else.

      What is more we will be judged as individuals. We will not be able to say that we considered ourselves superior because that is what we were taught. We are personally responsible for rejecting our brothers of other denominations.

      I have begged Jehovah to forgive me for all the years I discounted other christians spirituality, or the times I thought my viewpoint on doctrine or christian living was the only valid one.


  3. Jayme says:


    Gradually I have found myself coming to the same conclusions. In a way it makes me happy to know that there are more than just the small number of JWs who are in a relationship with God. But it is also quite obvious that christians as a whole are just like the ancient nation of Isreal, and most dont even realize it.

    A study of the book of Joel details what lies just ahead for all who call themselves christians when God comes and puts us on judgement, to discipline and refine those who will repent. This is going to be a most difficult time, especially for those who go into it thinking that the judgement is already past and they are part of some cleansed organization or for those who think that they will be suddenly raptured and avoid these trials.

    There are many who are realizing these things. Some on a wide scope, such as we do, and others who realize it with relation to only their denomination, such as JWs. Why we have been enlightened to have these things revealed to us I do not know. I ask myself this everyday,…Why me?


    • Andrew says:

      Exactly Jayme, although as I’ve stated before I believe the rapture is a biblical teaching, the rapture won’t happen until after the Great Tribulation. I think the GT is a time of oppression for all christians. The book of Daniel and Rev. tell us that this time of oppression lasts 3 1/2 yrs.

      ALL christians will be put though a horrible time of persecution many will be martyred many probably considering the vast number of nominal christians will be unfaithful. After the GT but before Armageddon (yes they are different), the rapture will take place of true christians who have been refined by the oppression. (Matt. 24: 29, 31,40-42)

      I think my enlightenment came just by reading the bible by itself much more frequently and praying to Jehovah for understanding.


      • Jayme says:

        Thanks for sharing these things Andrew. You and I share very similar views. I too believe that the rapture is scriptural, although I have a differant take on it than some. Maybe we could start a topic on it sometime?


  4. Greybeard says:

    Good post JJ,
    I never thought of Jesus as being disfellowshipped but you are right. He was DFed to the point of being put to death. If people would have followed the Jewish religious leaders of Jesus day they wouldn’t have listened to Jesus. You make a good point Andrew about “supernatural proof”. What proof do we have Jesus chose the JW’s in 1918? Nothing as far as I believe.


  5. Amos says:

    I must agree with your comments brothers. It has been my greatest enlightenment, as stated by Andrew, to look intensly into God’s Word with the frequent use of prayer….asking that I be shown what God wants me to understand at that point in time. When we do this, we allow the Holy Spirit to direct our thoughts, & this will open up the scriptures to us.
    It is true, the wheat & weeds grow together until the harvest, & yes, I also believe that there are many within most “christian beliefs” that are called & chosen. I was only thinking about this the other day, that a person can still be within a “church” & remain a true follower of the Lord…it’s what’s inside their heart, their love of the truth, & their application of what they know & understand. In other words, it’s “what they do, with what they know”. BUT the vast majority in ALL systems are just part of a social club, so to speak.



    • Jayme says:

      Brother Amos said:
      “I was only thinking about this the other day, that a person can still be within a “church” & remain a true follower of the Lord…it’s what’s inside their heart, their love of the truth, & their application of what they know & understand.”

      I’ve been thinking about this too since we’ve been discussing it on the topic “Enlightened is our name-o”. One thing that came to mind was the letters to the congregations in the book of Revelation. These are the Lords congregations but they are not perfect, in fact they are full of weeds and erronious teachings but there are still many good hearted people within. The Lord is being patient and has warned us and continues to warn and to teach until he returns.

      We are rightly worried about being corrupted but might we by continuing to gather with our brothers actually be able to continue to “incite to love and fine works”? At least until we are thrown out or conscienciously cant take it anymore. These are things that we each must personally decide for ourselves.


  6. Dennis says:

    Amos said, In other words, it’s “what they do, with what they know”. Very true statement IMO. That plus Love of Jah, Jesus and your fellow man. These qualities are not exclusive to any one organization thus the wheat and the weeds grow together until the harvest.



  7. Amos says:

    Yes, it’s all summed up beautifully by the Master, at Matt.22:37-40;
    38“This is the great and foremost commandment.
    39“The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’
    40“On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”


  8. bruceguth says:

    Very good discussion. We think alike.


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