James 5:14-16, “Is there anyone sick among YOU? Let him call the older men of the congregation to [him], and let them pray over him, greasing [him] with oil in the name of Jehovah. And the prayer of faith will make the indisposed one well, and Jehovah will raise him up. Also, if he has committed sins, it will be forgiven him. Therefore openly confess YOUR sins to one another and pray for one another, that YOU may get healed.”

One might ask, “Since Jehovah is the one who forgives sins, why do I need to “call the older men of the congregation?”

The Watchtower, August 15, 2001 Issue, Page 30 explains:
“Since Jehovah is the one who can forgive our sins, why do Christians confess serious sins to the older men in the congregation Yes, it is Jehovah’s forgiveness of serious sins that a Christian needs to seek. (2 Samuel 12:13) But just as the prophet Nathan provided help for David , mature older men in the congregation can help remorseful sinners. Going to the elders is in line with the direction given at James 5:14.”

The Watchtower is correct telling us the “mature older men in the congregation can help remorseful sinners.” But is this always the case? Do most Jehovah’s Witnesses feel like they can gain forgiveness from going to the elders as James 5:14-16 tells us will happen if a sinner confesses to them? I strongly believed the elders would apply James 5:14-16 in my case and my sin would be forgiven but instead I was disfellowshipped. I’m not anymore… (crossing my fingers and toes) 😉 I had talked this scripture over with the presiding overseer before the elders meeting and he knew why I was so confused. He told me, “Jehovah has forgiven you but this is your discipline.” Say what? Where was the counsel and help? Where was the greasing me with oil in the name of Jehovah? I felt like this was all wrong. One reason was that I had already confessed to Jehovah like King David did, and felt he had forgiven me. Ps. 32:5, “My sin I finally confessed to you, and my error I did not cover. I said: “I shall make confession over my transgressions to Jehovah.” And you yourself pardoned the error of my sins.”

James 5:14-16 say’s nothing about disfellowshipping or discipline. I guess one might need to have the special secret elder book that only the elders are able to look at. Could it be that nobody else can read the elder book because they go way beyond what is written in the Bible? That is what I think. I am sure that book teaches how to tell if someone is repentant or not. I was told that from an elder. Where in the Bible does it talk about determining if someone is repentant or not? Can reading hearts be a skill taught to man? I thought only God could read hearts?

In my case, I had over drank again, so I was a repeat offender. That made it clear to them I was an unrepentant sinner.

Notice the comments in The Watchtower, June 1, 1992 Issue, Page 19:
“16 Some have been tempted to hide serious sins, perhaps reasoning: ‘I have confessed to Jehovah and repented. So why involve the elders?’ The wrongdoer may be embarrassed or fear what the elders might do. He should, however, remember that although Jehovah alone can cleanse us of sin, He has made the elders primarily responsible for the purity of the congregation. (Psalm 51:2) They are there for healing, for “the readjustment of the holy ones.” (Ephesians 4:12) Not to go to them when we need spiritual help is like not going to a doctor when we are sick.

17 Some who try to handle matters alone find that months or years later, their conscience is still severely troubling them. Even worse, others who hide a serious error fall into sin a second and even a third time. When the matter finally comes to the attention of the elders, it is a case of repeated wrongdoing. How much better to follow the counsel of James! He wrote: “Is there anyone sick among you? Let him call the older men of the congregation to him, and let them pray over him, greasing him with oil in the name of Jehovah.” (James 5:14) Go to the elders while it is still a time for healing. If we wait too long, we might become hardened in a course of sin.-Ecclesiastes 3:3; Isaiah 32:1, 2.”

Did you catch where it said, “Even worse, others who hide a serious error fall into sin a second and even a third time. When the matter finally comes to the attention of the elders, it is a case of repeated wrongdoing.” Oh my goodness! “Even worse… a second and even a third time.” We have a “case” here boys! We have a “case of repeated wrongdoing”! A “case”??? Is this some kind of court case? Don’t even think twice about it. YES IT IS. That is why they call it a “judicial committee”. Try to find that phrase in the Bible, “judicial committee”, you won’t. Try to find anything in the Bible about how to handle a “judicial committee” you can’t. Thus the need for a private book that only these judges can possess    and read themselves. This is truly going beyond what is written in the Bible. Is it any wonder many Jehovah’s Witnesses are afraid of the elders? Is it any wonder many do not seek their help and remain spiritually sick and depressed?

Proverbs 28:13 tells us, “He that is covering over his transgressions will not succeed, but he that is confessing and leaving them will be shown mercy.” Is that what happens with the elders? Maybe with one transgression, but “transgressions”? Well that’s a “case of repeated wrongdoing”- a totally different matter!

Remember the women caught in the act of adultery at John 8:3-7? The Pharisees brought the woman to Jesus and what did he say? Jesus said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” WOW, imagine that! Isn’t this the way it is supposed to be? However picture Jesus saying this, “Wait a minute, how many times did she do this? Three times? OK Stone her!” Or how about, “Well what we need to do here is form a judicial committee of three of us and get to the bottom of this matter so we can protect the congregation and keep it clean.” You may laugh but that is the way the JW’s do things. Totally opposite of Jesus Christ! They cast stones and kill the sinner repentant or not and they have their own little holy book to tell them how to do this!

I was a prisoner of this system for 40 years. I went to the elders for 40 years many times. I for one am glad I am out of that bondage. I have close brothers now that I can talk to without fear as James tells us to do, “Therefore openly confess YOUR sins to one another and pray for one another, that YOU may get healed.”

Your brother in Christ,
Greybeard

P.S. I recommend reading this: Watchtower’s Judicial System

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17 Comments on Is There Anyone Sick Among You?

  1. margarite says:

    when I was df. for smoking, 3 came to my house. 2 wanted to df me right away, 1 didnt. He wanted to try to help me. Of course he lost ,2 against 1. Im glad to be gone. but I still smoke. Cant find a way to quit. For many yrs JWs smoked, then they deemed it wrong. They make all the decisions on what is a sin or not. That job has been taken away from Jehovah also.
    Once you are a JW the lasting effects stay with you always. And they are not good. YOu will struggle all the days of your life.

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    • greybeard says:

      From what I hear, the Morman Church will actually help a person by getting them medical help. Far be it for any JW elder to offer anyone help that involves spending money or taking someone to the hospital. They are not anything like the good samaritan. Maybe few are but not many. I do know that smoking is one of the hardest habits to quite but a doctor can do wonders. There are many treatments today that wasn’t availably years back. I will pray for you and I am sure many others here will as well.

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  2. JWB says:

    Greybeard, nice post. One of the most enjoyable books I read (and of course later went through at the group study) was the “Commentary on James.” One verse in particular stands out for me from the book of James along with this paragraph of commentary:

    [James 1:27] “‘The form of worship that is clean and undefiled from the standpoint of our God and Father is this’ – The reference is to the worship that Jehovah God views as ‘clean,’ pure, holy and ‘undefiled,’ untainted by any badness. Besides being the God of Christians, Jehovah is also their Father, for he has begotten them by means of his spirit to be his sons. James is not trying to give a full definition of true worship with all its requirements; he is not saying that caring for widows and orphans and keeping unspotted from the world are all that true worship amounts to. He is showing that genuine service to God is more than a form, carried on according to a set of rules, but one that reaches the heart and takes in the entire person and encompasses everything in his life, including sympathy and love for others. (1 John 3:18)”

    On the subject of ‘tribunals’, I will just say that the term ‘judicial committee’ is notable by its absence in the Bible. However, Paul did have this to say (at 1 Corinthians 4:3-4):

    “Now to me it is a very trivial matter that I should be examined by you or by a human tribunal. Even I do not examine myself. For I am not conscious of anything against myself. Yet by this I am not proved righteous, but he that examines me is Jehovah.”

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  3. margarite says:

    Dont know where to put this now. But where is the Question page now?

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  4. DanielB says:

    The Scriptural idea behind approaching older men with our problems in order to get help, is to avail ourselves of the kindly corrective way that Jesus cares for his sheep. Do the elders reflect such love by holy spiritual aid? Why does the answer have to depend upon, “which congregation are we considering?”; or, “how much do they go by the book, (Watchtower policy, not the Bible particularly). There is certainly a lot to reflect on, when we realize we have a brain of our own, and YHWH is pleased if we use it.

    Yes, there are those sick among the older men. They need help, all of them, wheather they know it or not. If I could only speak heart to heart with those I have known, with audience. We will soon be to the point where they will all know truth. Amen.

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  5. chris says:

    JWB said “One of the most enjoyable books I read (and of course later went through at the group study) was the “Commentary on James.”

    This book has always been one of my favorite books because it lets the scriptures speak. It wasn’t till many years later that I discovered it was written by faithful Edward Dunlap, who many of you will know of. Its a shame that the GB hasn’t produced any other commentaries(that I know of),perhaps a commentary on Galatians for starters. Don’t hold your breath.

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    • DanielB says:

      I began a commentary on Galatians, and had an outline for the whole letter , chapter by chapter . I began the text , and before I got too far along , sent copies to the society for review . They didn’t respond much to this , though I did see some of the thoughts presented brought out in a Watchtower study article . The scriptural allusions from Galations are numerous .

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  6. JJ says:

    Chris

    Good mention about the James book. Many think that RF wrote this one and recently a longtime elder brought up apostates and of course began mentioning the mythical story about how Ray Franz wrote Commentary on James and that’s why there are no references to going out in service in it.

    Sooooo annoying, but I bit my lip and didn’t comment. There is no point- I know him well, that he is a sincere person, but he is “Captive to a concept” as most JWs are.

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    • Picardo371@yahoo.com says:

      JJ: ChrisGood mention about the James book. Many think that RF wrote this one and recently a longtime elder brought up apostates and of course began mentioning the mythical story about how Ray Franz wrote Commentary on James and that’s why there are no references to going out in service in it. Sooooo annoying, but I bit my lip and didn’t comment. There is no point- I know him well, that he is a sincere person, but he is “Captive to a concept” as most JWs are.

      JJ,

      So who wrote it? Was it Ed Dunlap?

      Dennis

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  7. Victor says:

    The biblical basis for a JW judicial committee is supposedly based on the examples of court hearings in the Old Testament.

    Those were primarily public hearings not star chamber hearings.

    However supposedly due to Ecclesiastical Law they can’t have public hearings.

    Public hearings would however answer the allegations about pedophiles in the congregation, that alot people want to know about them.

    Don’t know the wording on Caesar’s Ecclesiastical law but supposedly that’s the reason why Judicial Committees are private star chamber hearings.

    Doesn’t follow biblical precedent so no reason to trust elders.

    For clarification you can look under accusation and either court case or legal case in Insight Book. Looked it up once.

    The insight book says the court was usually in public to keep the judges honest.

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  8. Gideon jere says:

    Son of destruction does not accept changes ,is like the jews who did not want to adapt to christian life .deliberate sinners want to blame elders ,who are guiding his trachearous heart .the scriptures are clear on 1Cor 5:11-13.

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    • Gideon jere:
      Son of destruction does not acceptchanges ,is like the jews who did not want to adapt tochristian life .deliberate sinnerswant to blame elders ,who are guiding his trachearous heart .the scriptures are clear on 1Cor 5:11-13.

      So Gideon jere, would you say that 1Cor. 5:11-13 provides a basis to disfellowship for matters not specifically mentioned in that very clear scripture (ie: sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or verbally abusive, a drunkard or a swindler)? Would you agree that the Society has went far beyond what is written in their practice of disfellowshipping? Curious as to your thoughts.

      Dennis

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