Q: It is about whether we should really be attending the meetings at all. I am considering that there is much to sift through when attending, plus a lot of blatant self praise and outright dishonesty with regard to the bible message.  We were told to get out of her, when the disgusting thing takes place.  I do not profess to have a theological understanding of text as you may.  However, I wonder if we are kidding ourselves by attending meetings that flagrantly ignore Christ, the very one whom Jehovah has put in control of the things to come.  The one who is now seated right next to his father.  How can we attend these meetings and then say, we were doing the right thing, that we were waiting upon Jehovah to act, when the evidence is stacked up against this organization.  Are we not as bad as the society when we do this?

Why attend these meetings, when they have become a blasphemy.  I don't see this modern day religion as having anything to do with the historical past. 

Please respond as I would be interested in your thoughts.


A:  The meetings ought to be a place where we can find refreshment among fellow brothers and sisters; and where we get to demonstrate our love that identifies us as true disciples of Jesus. Jesus said: "These things I command you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you." (John 13:34-35; 15:17-18) The "world" that Jesus says hates us, is not just the world of which Satan is the god, but can also include the hypocrites within God's household. We should not be surprised, or even shocked, that among God's people there are found "wicked men and impostors" who "will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled." That is why Paul said, "all those desiring to live with godly devotion in association with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted." (2 Tim. 3:1-5, 12-13; 2 Thess. 2:11-12; Compare Jude 1:3-4, 12-13, 16-21) Jesus himself was hated by the Jews, who were God's people at the time. They simply followed the example and direction of their leaders, their governing body, the Sanhedrin.  

I think you know that attending the meetings is not in itself what leads to everlasting life; but rather obeying Jehovah and doing his will is the vital thing for us. The meetings are a provision from Jehovah where we ought to find encouragement and be up-build among fellow worshipers who have a zeal for Jehovah and his true worship. The apostle Paul says that the purpose for our meeting together as a congregation is to "think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works." He further adds, "And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near." (Heb. 10:24-25; NLT)

The Kingdom Hall is not "our place of worship," contrary to what we are being taught. The early Christians did not consider the homes in which they gathered to be their place of worship. It wasn't until the Roman Emperor Constantine built basilicas for his newly adopted religion that a "church"―which originally referred to the members of a congregation―came to apply to the building in which they met "for worship." Note how we have been corrupted by this world. (John 4:21-24; 1 Cor. 3:16-17) That explains why most Witnesses feel that we cannot worship Jehovah unless we attend the meetings at the Kingdom Hall. But Paul explains that the purpose of our meetings is, not to worship, but to help one another endure, to keep us from being overtaken by sin. He says: "Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies." (Heb. 10:26-31)

I am sure you know that the primary requirement that Jehovah has for his people is to be obedient. "For this is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome." (1 John 5:3; Matt. 7:21-23; Deut. 30:19-20) Do you feel that the congregation meetings you attend prevent you from being obedient to Jehovah's commandments? For example, Paul says: "Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Cor. 6:9-11)

You see, the meetings should help us to remain clean and holy and acceptable to God. (1 Peter 1:14-16) If the brothers and sisters in our congregation fail to encourage us in that direction, then perhaps we can still make a difference and help some among them by our conduct and loving consideration. James writes: "Brothers and sisters, if someone you know loses his way and rebels against God, pursue him in love and bring him back to the truth. Know this: If you turn a sinner back from the error of his ways, then you will rescue him from the grips of death and cover the pain and consequences of untold sins." (James 5:19-20; The Voice)

When we hear and see things taking place in the congregation that may offend and even shock us, should we leave and stop going to the meetings? First of all, be assured that Jehovah expects us to be shocked and outraged. That is a good thing, and marks us for survival. (Ezek. 9:4-10; 2 Peter 2:7-9) There were shocking things taking place in the Thyatira congregation, to whom Jesus wrote a letter of condemnation. But in that congregation were also a few who were faithful, and he certainly noticed them, for he told them: “However, I say to the rest of you who are in Thyatira, all those who do not have this teaching, the very ones who did not get to know the 'deep things of Satan,' as they say: I am not putting upon you any other burden. Just the same, hold fast what you have until I come." (Rev. 2:24-25)

The condition in our congregation may become such that our spiritual survival may actually be threatened. In that case we might find it more advantages to seek out association with others who are loyal to Jehovah, and who will encourage and support us in our desire to endure. (James 1:2-4; 2 Peter 1:5-8) It is not the size of a congregation that matters. Jesus said, "where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in their midst." (Matt. 18:20) We are members of God's temple because we are built upon the foundation of Jesus and the 144,000, which Jehovah himself laid, as Paul plainly explains; —therefore we do not need a Kingdom Hall in which to worship. Like the early Christians, and like many of our brothers in different parts of the world, we too can meet with other loyal servants of Jehovah in private homes, and have Jehovah recognize us as belonging to him; having Jesus as the head of the congregation that is meeting in so-and-so's home. (Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 16:19; Philemon 1:2; 3 John 1:8-11; Eph. 2:19-22; Rev. 7:14-15)

Jesus never encouraged anyone to remove himself from a congregation of which he is the head; no matter how "dead" the congregation he may have considered it to be. (Rev. 3:1-5) Instead of leaving on our own accord, Jesus said: "Men will expel you from the synagogue [Kingdom Hall]. In fact, the hour is coming when everyone that kills you will imagine he has rendered a sacred service to God. But they will do these things because they have not come to know either the Father or me. Nevertheless, I have spoken these things to you that, when the hour for them arrives, you may remember I told them to you." (John 16:1-4) If we no longer attend meetings in our local Kingdom Hall, let it be on account of having been expelled for our loyalty to the truth of God's Word; not because we removed ourselves. The wicked shepherds will have to answer to Jehovah for how they treated the sheep of his flock, "which are God's inheritance." (Jer. 10:21; 12:10; 1 Peter 5:1-4)

Jehovah is "teaching us to benefit ourselves." (Isaiah 48:17-18) What we decide to do, though, is entirely up to us! He does not interfere with the decisions we make; although neither does he shield us from any of the consequences. On the other hand, it is Satan who keeps putting a stumbling block in front of us, wanting us to forsake the narrow and cramped road that leads to life. (Matt. 7:13-14)

In the past, Jehovah has always taken action against the wicked ― especially those within his own household ― after giving ample warning and time to repent. (1 Peter 4:17-19) Don't you trust his promise that he will do so again? Is he asking too much when he tells us to be patient, and endure what he himself also hates? His patience enables us to prove the genuineness of our declared love for him and his word of truth; especially when it is being tested under suffering. (Rom. 2:3-6; 1 Peter 2:19-23; 3:16-17)

We have the opportunity to be a source of encouragement to others in the congregation who may be drawn to us, as they see our determination to remain loyal to Jehovah. After all, isn't that the purpose of the meetings, as Paul explains, to "keep paying attention to one another, in order to spur each other on to love and good deeds, not neglecting our own congregational meetings, as some have made a practice of doing, but, rather, encouraging each other. And let us do this all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:24-25; Complete Jewish Bible)