Questions From Readers
● What should a congregation committee do in the case of one who has committed acts deserving being put on probation or disfellowshiped and who now claims that in the light of what The Watchtower, August 1, 1958, had to say about valid and invalid baptisms, his baptism was not a valid one?
We well know that Christendom professes to be Jehovah’s organization and in the new covenant with him. It has never renounced that relationship, although it is a false claim and pretense. Yet because of the appearance that Christendom puts on before the world and the demands that it makes according to its boastful claims, Jehovah God will judge Christendom just the same as if she were in actual covenant relationship with him. She will be judged unfaithful and punished accordingly because she has acted hypocritically and brought reproach upon his name.
Likewise, if an individual who has made a profession of dedication to God through Christ and after the baptismal talk submits to water baptism and then continues to associate with the congregation, even though spasmodically, claiming to be a dedicated, baptized member of the congregation and never renouncing that relationship with the congregation, then that individual has to be judged by the congregation according to the appearance of things that is being offered by this person.
The congregation credits the individual with honesty and with having intelligently entered into a full membership in the congregation by virtue of dedication and baptism. The congregation is not God, who is able to read the heart, nor does it have supernatural gifts as did Peter and other apostles so as to know whether the individual is earnest and sincere and is not dishonest and hypocritical. If the individual permits himself to be accepted by the congregation upon the basis of the congregation’s own understanding and view of the matter, then this individual subjects himself to be judged and dealt with according to the standards that the congregation owns up to as found in the Word of God.
If, after the individual commits a wrong that deserves disfellowshiping, the individual first then disclaims having actually been what he has all along pretended to be and what he has let the congregation think he is, then he certainly is trying to take advantage of the congregation and is trying to crawl out from underneath responsibility and due consequences for his acts. He cannot now properly claim that he was not really dedicated and that his baptism was all a mistake and that in reality he never was a member of the congregation and of the New World society and so cannot be chastened by or expelled from it.
This particularly follows in the case of such a one’s making a confession. If inside himself he did not count himself a member of the congregation, then why make a confession to the congregation in the first place? An undedicated, unbaptized person is not obliged to confess all his sins and wickedness that he committed before dedication to the congregation and ask their forgiveness. All that is necessary is that he clean up his life, then make a dedication and act in harmony with that dedication and present himself for baptism.
But whether confessing or not, when a person is found guilty of misconduct he must be dealt with according to the appearance he gave those of the New World society and must therefore be put on probation or disfellowshiped as the situation may call for. If after he has been reinstated he still is convinced that he had not made a dedication before his baptism and it therefore was invalid, he should, if he has not already done so, make an intelligent, binding dedication to God now that he has repented and proved his repentance by works befitting such and then he should be baptized. We cannot trifle with Jehovah God. This is a serious matter and should be treated seriously.