Jehovah's Witnesses, I've a question about the Governing Body and am having trouble. Help?

I am trying to find by what authority the Governing Body has authority to dictate policy and theology. Could you please enlighten me? A link would be perfectly acceptable, just as long as it gives a comprehensive answer.

If this is your first time answering one of my questions, I am not trying to be a smart alec as someone recently accused, just looking for some serious answers.


17 Answers

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer


    First, your question is biased and based on an ignorance of what the Governing Body does. Neither the Governing Body nor the Elders in the Christian congregation “dictate policy and theology.” Rather, every decision is based on Scriptures as the final authority--or logic in the case of policy.

    Witnesses believe that the Bible is the *final* authority on doctrinal belief and it cannot be overridden by any human or organization (w98 3/15 p.18; km 9/02 p.2; g80 9/22 p.12; it-1 p.1205; g75 10/22 p.22; g70 4/22 p.25).

    The authority the Governing Body has is that which is mandated by Holy Scripture (Ac.14:23; Eph.4:11-13; 1Cor.12:18-31; Tit 1:5,9). Anyone who criticizes JWs on this arrangement must also criticize the Apostles, the first century Christians and the Bible itself. Because Witnesses pattern their organization after that indicated in the Bible

    First, a "governing body" of experienced spiritual men oversee the worldwide evangelizing work (Ac.15:2,6,7,22-31; 16:4,5; 8:14; Gal 2:9). Each congregation is taught and organized by a group of spiritual men who are "elders" (PRESBYTER) or "overseers" (EPISKOPOS) and "ministerial servants" (DIAKONOUS) 1Tim.3:1-13; Tit.1:5-9; 1Pt 5:2,3). The True Christian organization would be identified by having this Biblical structure.

    Then, following the precedent of the first century Christian Governing Body, the instructions and decisions of the Governing Body are passed on to the congregations by means of written communications and traveling representatives (Ac 16:4). These communications always give a full discussion of the Scriptures on which the decision was based so that all can see the Scriptural basis for the belief.

    So, the first century Christian congregations recognized the authority of the Christian governing body at Jerusalem. When the governing body made its decision, as directed by the holy spirit, that decision was accepted and became binding upon all Christian congregations (Ac 15:22- 31).

    According to God's Word, the congregation members must be obedient to the "orders" of those "overseers" and "elders," and it required that "all within its fold agree" with expressed Christian beliefs. Those that did not were removed from fellowship (1Thes.4:1,2; 2Thes.3:14; Heb.13:7,17; Php.2:12). Any religion which does not follow these mandates cannot be truly Christian.

    "Be obedient to those who are taking the lead among you and be submissive, for they are keeping watch over your souls."

    Just as in the first century Christian congregation, the decisions of the Governing Body are not arbitrary but can ALWAYS be double-checked and verified by an examination of the Scriptures.

    The authoritative organization serves as the instrument to build faith and maintain Biblical doctrine (Eph.4:11-13; 2Tim.3:16,17). The purpose of headship is to preserve unity and ensure that "all things take place decently and by arrangement" (1Cor.14:40).

    There is no JW who believes that the GB has dominion over his faith. Our faith is ours to govern and ours only. Each individual must see to building his faith and proving his beliefs.

    By their adhering to Scripture and following Christ as a model the Governing Body can echo Paul's words: "Not that we are the masters over your faith, but we are fellow workers for your joy, for it is by your faith that you are standing" (2Cor.1:24).

    Individual Witnesses make decisions on the basis of Bible counsel offered by the Governing Body of their own volition because their personal study of the Bible convinces them that it is the proper course (1Thes.2:13).

    When it comes to policy or non-doctrinal decisions the Governing Body observes trends, examines questions and research on Scriptural beliefs, and then passes on decisions based on a united understanding of Bible laws and principles. Thus, Christian experience, guidance from the Bible, and the leadings of Jehovah's spirit direct this organizational body of Christians to theocratic conclusions (1Cor.4:1,2; Tit.1:7-9).

    Because of following such theocratic procedures found in accounts like Acts 15 Witnesses have the utmost confidence in their organizational arrangements. And the confirming evidence from the Holy Spirit is undeniable in the unprecedented unity and peace that exists among Jehovah's Witnesses.

    So, we do not blindly follow any organization but we recognize those who give evidence of accurate teaching. Witnesses give evidence that they are True Christians by their strictly following Scriptural truth and by their fruitage (Mt.7:16-19; Jn.13:34,35).



  • blust
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    The God interior the ot is the only genuine God, not purely the JW,s God yet everyones author(God) not all of us serves him---He knows why he did that element--you dont--Does a sprint mortal suggestions with its thinking understanding think of it knows extra helpful than the author or why he quite does issues? Or is it superb for that suggestions( coronary heart) to stand in opposition to the author? Is Giving up the wish for eternal existence well worth not analyzing as hard as you will to attempt and study why God does specific issues?

  • 8 years ago

    The qualifications for being on the Governing Body have changed. It used to be if you were a JW and baptised before 1935 you had God's spirit and therefor qualified to be on the GB, but as 1935 has become further and futher back in our history there are less and less people available to qualify.

    Somewhere along the line the Watchtower has had to change the qualifications to allow people born after 1935 to be members.

    The term "Governing Body" does not appear in the Bible.

  • 8 years ago

    They have a governing body because they follow the same way the first Christian Churches were set up. (as did the Jews before them, unity of scriptural doctrines is the purpose of this order)

    I like Bar Anerges answer. I think he answered that well.

    And especially the comment "neither the Governing Body nor the Elders in the Christian congregation “dictate policy and theology.” Rather, every decision is based on Scriptures as the final authority ." Even I, and I'm not a Jehovah Witnesses can figured that out. One can see All have learn to use their bibles well for the purpose of setting things straight. That is where they directs others to look knowing God has the authority to make rules to our lives. Obliviously they have learned well - using God's word as their authority.


    Seeing how others you know here have asked this question before in varies ways, I wonder why you felt the need to ask it again. Are you expecting different answers? Someone to mistakenly say it does, not seeing the "dictate " part? Or you just need every simple explanation drummed in your head several times before you get their answer? Or you believe that all church officials need an angelic personal appointing for their office (which isn't what the bible says)?

    I can understand asking more on how they operate, but not the same question. That leads me to think you have more of a motive than just looking for sincere answers to that question

    A church that does not work towards this goal is refusing to submit to the guidance and wisdom of Scripture. As many scriptures show there was a need for church leadership. Acts 14:23 says, "And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting, they committed them to the Lord in whom they believed." To bring and keep those elders together they would need a governing body." That only makes sense.

    The reason and need the simple answer is to help all to fulfill their mission that God has for us: to provide the best possible education for their flock.

    If I were looking for more bible answers, I would certainly look to one that shows order and unity in their organization.

    That doesn't happen by accident.

    God has made order in heaven using a main body and different kinds of angels. Who must work together with the same unity and purpose in mind. Him being the finale authority. Unfortunately man does not make unity with God easy on his own or independently. Very Few have achieved that in thousands of years. History shows us that.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    How does one answer that? Maybe some have that information but I myself don't have to sleuth out every last detail about how things are done with the governing body. i work at a Catholic Hospital (I am not Catholic but it is a conscience matter whether to work at one-I would seek treatment there-so have no problem working there). I don't know the personal details on how they run things nor do I care. I am too concerned with my own life. Does that mean I take this approach to my religion. Absolutely not.

    Here is why: There has absolutely never been any thing to make me doubt or distrust my faith. All of its teachings are sound. If they need to modify a point here and there they do. I don't listen to sensationalism put out by a handful of people. All they do is say "They control the JWs" without furnishing proof. I know that the "product" is good. Why do I need to know the procedures and policies? i know how I am treated. ALL of the members in my religion are Jehovah's Witnesses. They don't tell every individual the details about everything, nor does any organization on the face of the earth, religious or otherwise.

    By what authority do they have to dictate policy? God uses them, imperfect people though they are. This has been discussed many times here. I even knew (kind of knew) one of the members at one time. A very nice man, btw. Him and his wife travelled to different congregations leading a very modest existence.

  • 8 years ago

    Acts chapter 15 gives the answer.

    There was a matter of "disunity" in the congregations - a policy was called into question - and it was deemed advisable to find out in more detail what God's view of the matter was.

    So the "body of elders" - in Jerusalem - consisting mainly of the apostles and those brothers who had become elders in the congregation at the time of Pentecost (which took place in 33 CE, while this Council was taking place in 49 CE) met together to discuss this matter.

    As the account goes, there was an effort to get the matter settled. Three things took place.

    These men discussed the matter, searched the scriptures and then prayed over the matter. They realized by what they had found in the scriptures that their "conclusion" and research were not their own opinions but was truly a product of the holy spirit.

    They were able to see things in the scriptures that clearly told them what Jehovah God's viewpoint was. Things came together and made perfect logic and sense, scriptures that were not really understood before.

    So when this decision was reached, the Council in Jerusalem, the recognized Governing Body of its day, sent letters to OTHER congregations scattered about that the "policy" covered in the letter was to be what was observed in all the congregations. And the congregations accepted this direction as if from Jehovah - because it was.

    To help verify that this was to be the case, the Jerusalem Council also arranged for mature brothers to carry these letters to each congregation, read and discuss them, and even perhaps share with them the logic and scriptural basis for the policy.

    So we today have a governing body and they arrange for letters and even publications that discuss scriptural matters and give the scriptures to back up what is said. We recognize that this "policy" is at the direction of the Christ, the Head of the congregation.

    As for the faithful and discreet slave, those who constitute that group are also able to share spiritual insight with the governing body. These matters are discussed, researched, and prayerful consideration is given to any and all information gathered and shared on any one topic.

    The main responsibility of the governing body is to see that the good news of God's kingdom is given the widest coverage possible. They are also responsible to see that congregations are formed and directed to seek ways to share the good news in their nearby territory.

    There are more congregations than can be visited or even conversed with in all the world - more than 114,000, so the governing body appoints representatives who teach and instruct in their behalf within the congregation.

    They are also responsible to see that brothers and sisters are cared for physically and emotionally in times of disaster by getting the needed financial aid.

    They will appoint legal aid in cases requiring such. In this country and around the globe.

    And they arrange convention programs world wide that we can benefit from - talks, demonstrations, Bible plays, experiences, and new teaching tools that we can use to expand our personal ministry.

    They travel to various zones to oversee the work and see first hand the challenges of the brothers and sisters. They also see the terrible plight of mankind first hand - and can provide the needed tools and direction no matter what their religious and educational background.

    And they go door to door just like every other Witness. I have been in the same territory with a member of the governing body going door to door.

    So the authority begins with Jehovah, which has been given to his Son, Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18) who has been appointed the Head of the congregation, and he in turn uses the holy spirit at his disposal to see that the good news is being preached.

    The angels do their part under Christ's direction, and the individual members of the faithful and discreet heavenly class give their full support to Christ by being represented by the governing body in this all important preaching work.

    All the governing body are anointed as are the faithful and discreet slave - who ALL act as ambassadors for Christ. They harmoniously act as a "body" although in different functions - some as evangelizers, missionaries, overseers, and members of the governing body.

    Some of the faithful and discreet class are women - although since the governing body are all elders, they would obviously be all men.

    I hope this little bit helps.

    Source(s): One of Jehovah's Witnesses
  • 8 years ago

    I am not sure how you feel about holy spirit. Do you believe that it is real? If so, do you think that it is God's power or active force and it can help you to understand? I never examined if that was one of your beliefs but if it is, then you might understand what my answer is telling you.

    Jehovah's Witnesses have come to the conclusion that God (Jehovah) is using the Governing Body to bring about HIS will. He can use anything or anyone. The scriptures say if we remain silent, he will have the stones cry out. It does not mean that people are perfect that make up the Governing Body. Of course, we all know that no organization or person is perfect. That would be an impossibility.

    I really think you will like this article and might answer a few of your lingering questions:

    Jehovah Reveals What “Must Shortly Take Place”

    Source(s): See Luke 19:40
  • Terry
    Lv 6
    8 years ago

    Hi again,

    The Govening body is also known as the "faithful and discreet slave" of Matt 25,Vs 45-47, here is the verse, then we can look at it in a bit of detail.....

    "Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so.Truly I say to ​YOU, He will "appoint him over all his belongings"

    It showed at Matt 25 that Jesus appointed the "faithful and discreet slave" to give them (the domestics) their food at the proper time, this is not talking about physical food but rather spiritual food...and the fact that when Jesus "on arriving" would appoint the salve over all his belongings shows that this cannot apply to any one individual as no one person can live the 2,000 years from Jesus down to now! So the " faithful and discreet slave" is a group of people and is made up mainly of Christ's brothers, that is the 144,000 that have been sealed and inherit heavenly life!

    Did you notice that Jesus said that on his arriving if he found them doing this that he would "appoint him (the slave) over all his belongings" which is what Jesus has done appointed the faithful slave class over all Jesus earthly belongings.....

    The "faithful and discreet slave" or Governing body for want of a better word is Jehovah's channel in which he directs the congregation through the one he appointed as head of the congregation Jesus!

    There can only be one channel that God uses today, just as there was in the days of the Israelites, one channel, and he used the Levities to teach Gods people the law, they were the official channel that God used for teaching the people the law and the way of Jehovah, and today there is only "one faith, one lord and one baptism" Ephesians 4:5

    This was also the way in the first century congregation, they had the older men in Jerusalem that would preside over spiritual matters then send the counsel and scriptural direction to the surrounding


    I think that @CF gave some good links to help you.

    EDIT@ I love do not have to make excuses to "Moody" I reported him and will continue to do so if continues to highjack reasonable questions directed to JW's then SPAM it with their RANTINGS and nonsense, and I will continue to do so, as will others who are do not like to see the Y/A terms of use abused..........

    Just so that all know, they had there account deleted and now goes under the name of "Glu††øղ ƒøℜ Puи! ShMenT ☺†☺

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    This isn't something a rank and file JW questions, so you won't get a very good answer here. The idea is to make a student feel good about being associated with JWs so that he says "These people are great, there must be something to this".

    I once heard a JW elder say that when he purchased the septuagint, he tore out the apocrypha and threw it out so he wouldn't be tempted to read it, since he already knew it wasn't "inspired".... I shook my head in disbelief.

  • .
    Lv 6
    8 years ago

    they are self appointed (* edited) sinful men who claim to call the shots for God.

    absolutely without the authority of God.

    I asked an elder 3 whose authority are you granted to judge me. Three times his response was...the governing body has granted the elders this authority. In disbelief, a letter was written to headquarters ( Bethel ) and the response received confirmed this false teaching.

    we are warned in Jeremiah 17:5

    "Thus said the Lord, Cursed be the man that trusteth in man and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departed from the Lord"

    "...even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring about themselves swift destruction"- 2 Peter 2:11

    "I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel. Which is not another, but there be some that trouble you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed"- Galatians 1:7-8

    As we said before, so I say now again, if ANY MAN preach any OTHER gospel unto you that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ- Galatians 1: 9 & 10

    For such are false prophets, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder for saten himself is transformed into an angel of light- 2 Cor. 11:13&14

    Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God because many false prophets have gone out into the world- 1 John 4:1

    "Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"- Jesus ( Matthew 7 :15 & 16

    jws foundation-->

    Youtube thumbnail

    (may want to mute the sound, its sort of distracting )

    peace in Christ

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    I do not see this question as being bias. It is valid and sincere.

    The Governing Body claims to speak for God, yet offers no evidence to support that claim. At best the logic they use is circular and at worse they don’t use any logic at all.

    A sad reality about the Governing Body is that they do not feel the need to apologise. If they’re wrong and they need to change their published doctrines, they do so, blame God and say “the light’s getting brighter”.

    However, some Jehovah’s Witnesses feel it’s important to invest time and intellectual effort to defend the Governing Body, as they would their own children or that special friend they had at school.

    For example, it’s no secret that the Governing Body decreed that organ transplants were, in effect, cannibalism, and therefore displeasing to Jehovah God.

    A few years later, they decreed that transplants probably weren’t.

    Governing Body loyalists love to point to what other faith groups have done as a way of justifying the stuff the Governing Body does (or doesn’t do, like allow life saving blood transfusions (where in the Bible does it say platelets are not allowed to be transfused?)).

    Is this logical?

    Do these other faith groups claim to exclusively speak for God?

    Do these other faith groups claim to have been chosen by Jesus in 1919 at the exclusion of all other faith groups?

    Do these other faith groups claim that the material printed in their publications is, effectively, the word of God himself?

    You see, if you speak for God, then you should always be getting it right. You shouldn’t be like the other faith groups with their flip flips and dodgy doctrines.

    You should have it nailed down first time every time all the time.

    You were chosen by Jesus in 1919 because of the quality of your spiritual food.

    What exactly is the process by which the Governing Body decides its position on issues like organ transplants, issues that can mean life or death, issues that can irrevocably (in this “old system” at least) destroy families.

    How do they decide?

    Are they receiving messages from God, via an angel, as “Judge” Rutherford did*?

    Or are they merely a group of old men**, sitting in a board room in North America, taking a vote on it?

    * Is The Watchtower a means or channel employed by God to transmit information to his people?… he could and would transmit information to his people… No man can properly interpret prophecy, and the Lord sends his angels to transmit correct information to his people – The Watchtower, Feb. 15, 1936 p. 52.

    This question is propounded for the benefit of those faithful ones of the remnant now on earth, and the angel of the Lord brings to them the needed information in answer to their questions. (Rev. 1:1) This is proof that the interpretation of prophecy does not proceed from man, but that the Lord Jesus, the chief one in Jehovah’s organization, sends the necessary information to his people by and through his holy angels. – Preparation p. 28; The Watchtower Aug 1,1933, pg 231

    Source(s): Watchtower Library 2011 My notes
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.