My new video on the 2019 summer conventions, titled, “Love Never Fails!”, is up. I want to further probe into this controversial subject and make additional points.
First, I define “shunning” in my video as a separate and totally different spiritual discipline, or punishment, as practiced in the New Testament; it is found in 1 Corinthians chapter 5.
But the shunning that JW’s do, though perhaps biblical in some aspects, take this drastic spiritual correction too far and use it against family members, friends, and neighbors that begin to disagree with doctrinal issues as codified by the Governing Body (GB). When this happens, JW’s use shunning in an unbiblical, cruel manner that is sinful and wicked.
For example, in matters of conscience, where a JW disagrees with the GB, this disagreement can, and is used, as a reason for that individual to be shunned. Take the non-biblical issue of life-saving blood transfusions as one example, which I consider to be a “matter of conscience.” If a JW parent decides to go against the “no blood” belief of the GB and allows their dying son or daughter to receive a blood transfusion that ends up saving his or her life, that parent will probably be shunned and even kicked out of the congregation if it is brought to the attention of the elders.
I’m not writing this post to go deep into debating the fine theological points of blood transfusions or whether or not such a thing is even discussed in the Bible (it is not); this is not the point of this article. What I’m saying is that issues not clearly spoken about in the Bible as sin—adultery, theft, fornication, lying, etc.—are “matters of conscience” and “shunning” someone because they happen to have a contrary opinion to these matters than what the GB does is wrong.
Many JW’s shun family members because those family members are no longer walking in “the truth.” And “the truth,” as defined by JW’s, are any and all teachings, including matters of conscience, that are defined by the GB as being biblical. This is when error and gross sin creep into JW’s thinking as it applies to shunning others.
Without going into nitpicking detail, here is where biblical shunning should be used against someone: if an individual who identifies as a follower of Christ and has committed themselves to being a disciple of Jesus begins to knowingly engage in and practices a sinful lifestyle (say, fornicating with his/her girlfriend), and after being warned three times to cease from that sinful behavior yet refuses to repent, that person should be shunned.
Note the person’s behavior must be a known sin that is being willfully, continually and knowingly engaged in with a defiant attitude and not a matter of conscience.
A matter of conscience would be, for example, your son or daughter wants to join the military, maybe in a non-combat role like a medic, mechanic or cook. Should he be shunned because of this choice? Of course not.