Understanding Ministry


April 6, 2008


Dear _______,


I have had time to read your letter – I believe that I have been misunderstood in what I wrote as to the teaching/ministry of JT, Sr. and others.


I wrote “As far as your questions as to some of the teachings, etc., I think that, because so much of the teaching of those such as JND, FER, JT and others has been adulterated, it can make it harder, at times, to follow the proper line of teaching.”


I was not at all referring to, as you evidently understood me to say, any thought that the ministries had been “tampered with” – i.e., that the written ministry was changed in some way.


My intent was to simply say that there was a twisting and a misapplication of at least some of the teachings of JT, Sr. and others to the end that, since certain right teachings became misused, there has been a trend to reject those original teachings.  A prime example is the scriptural principle of separation.  Since the doctrine was misapplied and forced in such a way as to be extreme, there has, in latter years, been a tendency to, at best, view with distrust any suggestion of separation and, at worst, to refute it on the notion that we are all God’s children, etc.


You have mentioned in your letter that “the paragraph omitted was to protect JT”.  I understand that JT, Sr. would go over any revised notes to ensure both accuracy and also so that the Readings, etc. would be readily understandable by brethren removed by time and distance from the original Reading.  Any reading JT, Sr.’s ministry will be impressed with his understanding of the Truth – I speak generally – and his insistence on accuracy in detail.  I view with great skepticism a statement that something was altered in his ministry to protect him – i.e., at the expense of the truth.  I also consider that statements can be made in a local context that, unless understood fully from the local side, could be misconstrued to suggest other than what was intended in the original statement(s).  In this case wisdom might dictate leaving such statements out.


I cannot speak much as to the statements you mention as to “rival ministry”.  As you say, “that if a person states the truth of God, in the right context, etc. then it carries the authority of the Scriptures with it”, a ministry is either supported by scripture or it is not.  I cannot see any substantial difficulty in naming a ministry that would be avowedly unsupported by scripture as a rival ministry.  The rivalry, of course, is not a statement that the ministry is such because it is in opposition to any particular brother’s ministry; but, because it is in opposition to a ministry involving the truth.  This would supply a logical explanation as to why the paragraph you mention was left out of the printing of the notes of the Reading – it might have been felt that it would be misunderstood.


Bruce Hales and others were certainly not influenced into their evil and divisive teaching by prior statements made as to “authoritative ministry”, etc. – they were influenced by Satan to lead astray those who, for whatever reason(s), would not refute such evil.  The misapplication in their teachings of prior statements as to authoritative ministry that were founded on clear precepts of scripture (as quoted in the prior paragraph) only reinforce what I stated in the 4th paragraph of this letter.


JT, Sr. and other such ministers are not the issue.  The issue is the truth.  Recognition of the truth involves righteousness.  This, of course, involves love for the truth – which, manifestly, involves our love for the Lord.  I believe this is why the 1st and great commandment is love for God with all the heart, etc.


We had today in our Reading that, to recover his brethren, Joseph brought about matters so that their hearts were affected.  It was not just a question of the truth, it was a question of the engagement of their hearts in a feeling way.  Thus, Judah spoke feelingly about the despair his father would feel if Benjamin were lost.  He didn’t have that feeling of heart initially as to Joseph and Jacob when “they conspired against him to put him to death”; but, he/they subsequently was brought to it.


The Lord’s rights are – in whatever degree – generally set aside today by brethren everywhere.  There are those who go on – despite any conditions to the contrary – as if the Lord is in the midst; others have backed away from their Christian responsibilities with the excuse that it would only be presumptuous to claim His presence.  Both involve failure and both are equally resented by the Lord.  The great result of Joseph’s movements towards the recovery of his brethren was simply that – they were recovered and were “near” to him.  Once this took place, they were made intelligent as to all that had taken place.


I received an e-mail from ______ – so, she did get my e-mail – thank you if you “prompted” her.  She tells me that your mother is frail and her circumstances demand a large amount of your time.  This, while a love matter, can be wearing – we will pray for you in this circumstance.


With love in the Lord,