Here is the Governing Body of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Although the Bible Students are few in numbers, they are spread all over the world—America, Canada, England, France, Germany, Lithania, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, India, Africa, Brazil, South America, etc.. . . .Generally, when possible, they are gathered together in “ecclesias.” This word “ecclesia” comes from the Greek word ekklesia which is a compound of “a calling out” and translated “church” in most common versions of the New Testament (Strong’s Concordance #1577).
Does the Bible Students Movement have a governing body? If not, why not?
The Bible Students do not have a governing body. As far as the Scriptures go, there has only been one governing body: the Apostles. And they were really only set up as a group for the foundation and establishment of the Church. They were NOT to lord it over the members of the Church, but rather begin the instruction of it as Jesus and God had taught them. “…not as being lords over those entrusted to you, but as being examples to the flock….” 1 Pet. 1:3. Such lording over the brethren was one of the earliest mistakes in the church and soundly condemned as being of the Nicolaitans in Revelation. (Rev 2:6)
The Apostles never claimed to a monopoly of the teaching nor of the pastoral work. Paul, in fact, described the many talents among the brethren for which they alone were responsible to exercise in Eph. 4:11-15, and 1 Cor. 12:28, 29.
No one should limit our personal responsibilities to examine the Scriptures and to prove what is truth for ourselves. To do so would be to disobey many Scriptural injunctions to examine the teachings from others to see if they square with what we already know to be true from the Bible. The Bereans were commended for such caution and conscience before the Lord (Acts 17:10, 11).
Nowhere in the Bible is there authority given for any outside group of the various local ecclesias (churches / study groups). There was no apostolic succession authorized and only the original 12 (Judas having been replaced by Paul, appointed directly by the Lord) were ever authorized in such a role. Mark. 3:14, Rev. 21:12-14; 2:2
In fact, the early Church was given instruction how to handle their own affairs by electing, locally, elders and deacons to serve them, in Timothy and in Titus, with such qualifications outlined that the Church is thus responsible to monitor its leaders spiritual growth and behaviors as would benefit all. In the case of conflict, our Lord outlines in Matt. 18:15-17, specific actions to take which do not include any outside the local ecclesia.
We realize that the “governing body” of the JWs doesn’t claim apostolic authority, but their actions and ruling, and indeed, the very term “governing” belie the lack of such a claim. Even our elders and deacons are mere servants of the greater body and are subject to review on a regular basis for their own character’s benefit as well as the Church’s.
As Bible Students, we believe each and every individual is responsible for his or her own doctrinal belief, character development, and support of every other individual. It isn’t as easy as having some greater [human] power telling us what to think and do, but then, we have great privilege to learn of Jehovah how to conduct our affairs in order to glorify Him. Jehovah has provided us with the tools needed for our personal Christian growth, including the Bible, Holy Spirit and the prayer relationship with Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. These tools are also to aid in the support and encouragment of all the body members of the Christ.
contributed by L.L.