James argues that “the wisdom from above is first of all chaste.” (Jas. 3:17) The first meaning of chaste is “innocent of unlawful sexual intercourse; virtuous.” It also means to be ‘pure in thought and to act modestly, free from the taint of the things that defile. To be chaste strictly implies that one refrains from all acts, thoughts, etc., that are not virtuous or in keeping with one’s marriage vows. It also implies avoidance of anything that would debase or cheapen, as in style, etc.’—Heb. 13:4.
5. (a) Does Christendom manifest such “wisdom from above”? Explain. (b) What does the Bible say about those who practice such unrighteousness?
5 Most of those claiming to be Christians certainly do not fit that description, because they choose to go along with what is called a “new morality.” Even the religious clergy who baptized these people into their denominations speak favorably of this “new morality,” which allows for adultery, fornication and homosexuality, and which gives rise to jealousy and every vile thing among those who practice it. Can all these people be called Christians? “Do you not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom.” (1 Cor. 6:9, 10) That is what God’s Word says, and still there is no effort being made on the part of the clergy of Christendom to cleanse their churches of people who practice these things. If the older men or elders of the congregations of Christendom’s religious system cleaned out of their houses that which is bad, there would not be much of an organization left.—Matt. 23:27, 28.
6. How does Revelation 17:1-6 describe Babylon the Great, and in what way does this involve Christendom?
6 The clergy of Christendom have certainly not shown that they are governed by “the wisdom from above.” Instead, they ‘lie against the truth’ of God’s Word by saying that chasteness is not always necessary in order to please God. “Babylon the Great,” the world empire of false religion, which includes Christendom, is well described by the apostle John in the Revelation. There he reports an angel of God as saying: “‘Come here, I will show you the sentence of the great prostitute seated on a great water, with whom the kings of the earth debauched themselves and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her unchaste embraces’; and he carried me away to a desert in the spirit. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast full of names of blasphemy, with seven heads and ten horns; and the woman was clad in purple and scarlet and jeweled with gold and precious stones and pearls, with a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and the filth of her prostitution, and written on her forehead a name with a secret meaning, ‘Great Babylon, mother of the prostitutes and abominations of the earth.’ And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of God’s people and with the blood of Jesus’s witnesses. And great was my wonder at seeing her.” (Rev. 17:1-6, Byington translation) Who are wise? Are those who make up Christendom?
7, 8. (a) What other qualities does “the wisdom from above” include? (b) How do the members of Christendom’s churches measure up as to being peaceable and reasonable?
7 James takes wisdom’s quality farther than chasteness and says: “The wisdom from above is . . . peaceable, reasonable.” Is Christendom “peaceable”? Do its members in everyday life show that they are “reasonable”? The clergy of all of its religious denominations have taken sides in war, World Wars I and II and all the wars of the nations since then, and history is filled with details of Christendom’s religious wars and crusades. The persons who claim to be members of Christendom’s churches are not notably peaceable and reasonable among themselves either. All one needs to do is to read the daily paper to see the contentiousness in families, between students and teachers, and between employers and employees. Look at the cities. Are the administrators and the people peaceable? Christendom claims to believe the Bible’s counsel on peace and to follow the “Prince of Peace.” But does its record support its claims?
8 Paul, in writing to the Philippians, said that Christians should be doing “nothing out of contentiousness or out of egotism, but with lowliness of mind considering that the others are superior to you, keeping an eye, not in personal interest upon just your own matters, but also in personal interest upon those of the others.” (Phil. 2:3, 4) How many rulers of the nations, how many heads of organizations, or how many people themselves, are handling matters in the way that God’s Word says Christians should? Not many, are there?
9. (a) What does the expression “ready to obey” mean, and how would you say Christendom is doing in this regard? (b) What other aspects are included in “the wisdom from above?” (c) If a person wants to please his Creator, what action must he take toward Christendom, and why?
9 Another thing James said to Christians: “The wisdom from above is . . . ready to obey.” How many so-called Christians are ready to turn to the Word of God and obey what it says in regard to conduct? How many people truly hate what is bad? Do you? James goes on to say that we must be “full of mercy and good fruits, not making partial distinctions, not hypocritical.” But does that description fit Christendom? If you are a church member, does it fit your church? Mercy and goodness are notably lacking in the world. Partiality and discrimination are found everywhere. Church members themselves are among the first to admit that Christendom is full of hypocrites.
12. To be one of Jehovah’s witnesses, what viewpoint must a person have toward badness and toward “the wisdom from above”?
12 Jehovah’s Christian witnesses have a theocratic organization of more than 27,150 congregations that reach out to the ends of the earth. These congregations range in size from 25 to 200 or more persons. Each dedicated Witness fully appreciates that to be a member of such a congregation he must hate that which is bad and put into application “the wisdom from above.”