Is The Governing Body Arrangement A Scriptural One?

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Is The Governing Body Arrangement A Scriptural One?

Post by work4jah »

Is The Governing Body Arrangement A Scriptural One?


At Matthew 24:45-47 we read the following, using the New World Translation:

"Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. Truly I say to you, He will appoint him over all his belongings".

The Watch Tower Society has long taught for many years that the “Faithful Slave” of Matthew 24:45-47 represents the anointed remnant as a composite group upon earth. At this writing, they (anointed remnant) numbering slightly more than 21,000 (as of 2022) earth-wide. This viewpoint was held among Jehovah's Witnesses up to the year of 2013. After that, in 2013, Jehovah's Witnesses were instructed that actually the Governing Body and the "Faithful Slave were one and the same entity. The new viewpoint would advance the idea the "Faithful Slave" would be comprised only, those members of the chosen Governing Body, and those individuals who have unique access and privileges of controlling and disseminating the Watchtower Society's written publications. This is the new definition of the "Faithful and discreet Slave" of Matthew 24:45-47, as of the year of 2013.

However, we cannot help but notice and remember, that the small membership who supposedly made up the “anointed remnant,” for all of those years prior to 2013, did not ever make any decisions for the JW Organization or give any direction at all. No, in fact, the JW Organization back then, was still controlled by a small group of “professed” anointed Christians known as the “Governing Body,” since January 1st, 1976. (Before then, it was controlled by the Corporate President of the Watchtower Society.) Since 1976, it was claimed that the Governing Body arrangement itself, (fully empowered in December 4th, 1975 and where it was divided up into six committees of authority in January of 1976), was an arrangement that more fully harmonizes with so-called Governing Body arrangements among 1st century Christians. But, is that really the case? Let us make an examination of this matter.


It is true that Jesus appointed twelve apostles who had equal authority among his disciples. Later, other apostles were appointed or recognized as such namely Paul, Barnabas, and James the half-brother of Jesus. (See Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 1. Pg. 1, 252, par. 3; Acts 14:14; Galatians 1:19; 2:9.) However, the scriptures clearly teach that the “apostles” had authority over the congregation and NOT a so-called “Governing Body” arrangement. In fact, the expression ‘Governing Body’ is nowhere to be found anywhere in the Bible. We remember, Jesus appointed an ‘apostolic’ arrangement and not a ‘Governing Body’ arrangement. This thought is confirmed when we examine 1 Corinthians 12:28. Notice the order of authority established in the congregation.

“And God has set the respective ones in the congregation, FIRST, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then powerful works; then gifts of healings; helpful services, abilities to direct, different tongues. Not all are apostles, are they? Not all are prophets, are they? Not all are teachers, are they? Not all perform powerful works, do they?”

Also, Ephesians 4:11-16 where it states in part:

“And he gave some as APOSTLES, some as prophets, some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers, with a view to the readjustment of the holy ones, for ministerial work, for the building up of the body of the Christ…”

Yes, in both instances, the “apostles” are listed FIRST in order and rank as far as congregational authority is concerned. An apostle could establish congregational procedures and methods. (1 Corinthians 4:17; 7:12) Individually, apostles could issue commands and orders to traveling overseers and congregational members to better expedite important matters. (Acts 17:14, 15; 1 Corinthians 16:1; Titus 1:5) AN apostle could even confer the authority to ‘command’ upon other responsible individuals. (1 Timothy 1:3; Titus 2:15) An apostle singularly, could even expel unruly individuals from the congregation! --- Compare 1 Corinthians 5:5 with 1 Timothy 1:20.

Most Bible students will agree that the “apostles” really had authority in the initial stages of the forming of the congregation, but what about later? For example, around 49 CE when the issue of circumcision surfaced, isn’t it true that the Bible says Paul and Barnabas traveled to the apostles AND older men in Jerusalem regarding this dispute? This is a very interesting question. Let us examine it scripturally.


The Watchtower magazine admits this important point:

“The Bible provides only limited details about the composition of the early governing body, most of the information being in Acts chapter 15. That account indicates that in 49 CE the group of men forming the governing body consisted of “the apostles and older men in Jerusalem. Who were these?” (Watchtower, 12/1/85, pg. 31, par. 2, under “Questions From Readers”)

Also the Watchtower magazine makes this comment:

"The Christian congregation or the 'faithful and discreet slave' class started out on Pentecost of 33 CE with twelve members on its governing body, and that governing body located at Jerusalem was increased from the twelve apostles of Christ to include other elders of the Jerusalem congregation. So the governing body at that vital Jerusalem council included the eleven surviving apostles of Christ, and the disciple James who seems to have been chairman for the occasion, also Judas (Barsabbas) and Silas as leading men among the brothers, yes, prophets, and doubtless Paul and Barnabas. That means at least sixteen anointed Christians associated with the governing body back there at Jerusalem..." (See Watchtower, 12/15/71, pg. 759, par. 2)

(Silas is an unfortunate choice as a member of the so-called governing body since at Acts 17:14,15 Paul gives him a "command." Clearly Silas was an assistant to Paul as Timothy, Titus and Luke were. Silas (Silvanus) was also the penman or secretary for Peter in writing the letter of 1 Peter. --- See new All Scripture Inspired of God and Beneficial pg. 254, par.2.)

Yes, in the first century the so-called governing body was comprised of sixteen members. If you look at the picture on page 686 of the November 15, 1971, Watchtower magazine, you will be able to count sixteen men who made up the so-called first century governing body. However, let us notice this comment at Acts 15.5:

"Yet, some of those of the sect of the Pharisees that had believed rose up from their seats and said: 'It is necessary to circumcise them and charge them to observe the law of Moses.'"

Yes, there were more people in attendance than those 16 men, namely those (formerly) of the 'sect of the Pharisees that believed.'

But someone may say,

"If you read the next verse (vs. 6), you will see that the apostles and older men gathered together AFTER that initial meeting to make 'their' (governing body) decision, and during this meeting oly the apostles and the older men were present."

However, if that were the case, then why does the account say, after Peter speaks (vs. 7-11), the following:

"THE ENTIRE MULTITUDE became silent."

That would mean 16 men would constitute the "entire multitude" since no one else would be present as members of the governing body, right??? There must have been someone else present! Also, why did Peter say in verse 10:

"Why are YOU making a test of God by imposing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our forefathers nor we were capable of bearing?"

Was Peter saying that the so-called GOVERNING BODY was ‘making a test of God by IMPOSING upon the neck of the disciples a yoke?’ Of course not! Clearly, Peter was referring to those earlier mentioned in verse 5 namely, those formerly of the ‘sect of the Pharisees who believed.’ that were attempting to force circumcision upon the brethren! These unspiritual men would not listen to what Paul and Barnabas had to say until after Peter (the leading apostle) spoke up! (Compare Acts 15:3-5 with verse 12.) These men were present at this meeting! This was no “Governing Body” decision because James freely gives his ‘decision’ (or opinion) as a matter of public record before an open forum. --- Verse 19.

Therefore, who came to “unanimous accord” (vv.25) in deciding this matter? Let us notice verse 22 which says:

“Then the apostles and the older men TOGETHER WITH THE WHOLE CONGREGATION favored sending chosen men from among them to Antioch along with Paul and Barnabas…”

Yes, the whole congregation participated in this decision! But why would everybody need to be included in this decision??? Notice verse 24:

“Since we have heard that some from among us have caused you trouble with speeches, trying to subvert your souls, although we did not give them any instructions…”

Yes, some from ‘among us’--- Judeans from Jerusalem’s locale were teaching this subversion! It was necessary to settle the problem at Jerusalem since here is where it all started! They were the ones that had the problem and not those of Antioch! Notice verse 1:

“And certain men came down from JUDEA and began to teach the brothers: ‘Unless you get circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.’”

Yes, the issue had to be settled in Judea or Jerusalem! Further, how was the letter addressed? Notice this in verse 23:

“The apostles and the older men, BROTHERS, to those brothers in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the nations…”

Yes, the letter came from (1) the apostles, (2) older men; and (3) brothers (from Jerusalem). And that is the way the brothers of Antioch understood it. They understood that this letter was coming from all the brothers in Jerusalem and not a so-called governing body. The brothers in Antioch were concerned about keeping UNITY and ‘oneness of thought’ among the whole association of brothers. Yes, we should all think in agreement regardless of where we live. Is this not the way we should understand important matters that affect our international brotherhood today? Think about it. --- See 1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 4:3, 13.


The real authority as it was well known back in the first century was not in being a member of the so-called governing body. No, but ambitious individuals who were anxious for prominence and authority sought to be APOSTLES! That is where the real authority was. That is why we read so much about "superfine apostles" and "false apostles." --- See 2 Corinthians 11:5, 13; Revelation 2:2.

The Watch Tower Society made a very interesting comment concerning the role of the apostles acting as a "restraint" in the first century. Notice this comment:

"During their lifetime the apostles' presence served as a restraint upon the influences of apostasy, holding back the forces of false worship within the Christian congregation. It is evidently to this "restraint" that the apostle Paul referred at 2 Thessalonians 2:7:
'True, the mystery of this lawlessness is already at work; but only till he who is right now acting as a restraint gets to be out of the way.' This apostolic influence, including the authority and powers unique with them, continued until the death of JOHN about 100 C.E. The rapid influx of apostasy and false doctrine and practices after the death of the apostles shows that any pretended apostolic successors had none of the restraining influence of the apostles ." (See Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 1, pg. 130, par. 4.)

Yes, the apostles had the authority and power of 'restraint' in the congregations. There was no 'governing body' because, as stated by the Watch Tower Society, John, the last apostle was the "restraint" that held back the apostates. Thus, when John died, the "restraint" was gone. If there were a 'governing body' functioning in the first century while John was imprisoned, it could have acted as a "restraint," in the absence of John, right??? Yes, the "Governing Body" could have acted the part of the "restraint." Had the "Governing Body" also gone bad by the time John was on the Island of Patmos? Well, if that were the case, then John himself would have to 'restrain' the evil influence of the "Governing Body," a body of which he was supposed to be a part? Can we not see this is actually a silly notion, namely, that there existed in the first century a "Governing Body?" Yes, John no doubt could have acted the part of a "restraint", using his authority as an "apostle," and not as a member of a so-called "Governing Body!" No such arrangement existed in the first century at all. Think about it.

The apostles had the authority and not a governing body. It was only after his death, as history tells us, that men began to think of how they could 'govern' the flock of God by a group or 'council' of Bishops, elders, etc. It was in this unwholesome environment that the Nicean Council gave birth to the blasphemous doctrine of the trinity.


Therefore, we can see scripturally, that the so-called "Governing Body" arrangement, which is so strictly adhered to and viewed reverently by over 8 million Jehovah's Witnesses today, is actually a farce, a ruse. It is actually an illegal arrangement that can not be truthfully established within the pages of God's Word the Bible. This particular arrangement has held God's people in captivity and slavery for many years now. The present-day "Governing Body" arrangement is quite like the unscriptural arrangement that governed the Jews when Jesus walked the earth, yes, the "Sanhedrin." As we recall, the "Sanhedrin" was a "council" made up of 71 men. The "High Priest" officiated as it's leader.

The Sanhedrin was made up of Pharisees, Sadduccees, and members of other political factions of the nation. We realize that, scripturally-speaking, this particular arrangement had no validity what-so-ever. It was also an illegal arrangement since Jehovah God never authorized it in His Law Covenant. It was this unscriptural arrangement, the Sanhedrin, that served the Devils' interests of putting Jesus on trial, providing false witnesses to bring accusations against Jesus, and finally, passing the death sentence upon him and pressuring Pontius Pilate to execute an innocent man. Jehovah's Witnesses today, in like fashion, find themselves under the control of another unscriptural arrangement that is just as oppressive, and just as satanic. It is the present day arrangement of the so-called "Governing Body."

Think about it.

Written by: Donald C. Burney

For more information on this topic, please see this link:

Posted by: Work4Jah
Apollyon (Rev. 9:11)
Posts: 86
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:46 pm

Re: Is The Governing Body Arrangement A Scriptural One?

Post by Apollyon (Rev. 9:11) »

Frederick W. Franz Explodes "Governing Body" False Teaching before audience of Gilead Graduates At Bethel Headquarters -- September 7th, 1975!

Hear audio of actual Frederick W. Franz 1975 Gilead speech where he scripturally debunks concept of first century Governing Body's existence. (Audio of 1975 Gilead Graduation Talk available at YouTube.)

See and hear two individuals discuss Raymond V. Franz's personal recall of this actual 1975 Bethel event on video Youtube link:

See and hear eye-witness testimony of one who was an actual member of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses for 9 years. Notice his comments on how the Bible, God's Word, was actually viewed by these men who governed the JW Organization with absolute and complete authority. (See Matthew 15:7-9, Mark 7:7, 8): ... hamicFaith

In a most controversial speech, delivered September 7th, 1975, the then Watchtower Society Vice-President Fred W. Franz holds up the Watchtower's first true Bible reference book, "Aid to Bible Understanding" before the entire audience at the Gilead Graduation ceremonies. Ironically, it was the research done for this volume which led both to (a) the "new light" on the elder arrangement, and (b) the establishment of the modern concept of a "Governing Body," which supposedly held divinely approved authority over all first century Christians.

On September 7th, 1975. before an audience of loyal, soon-to-be missionaries for Jehovah's Witnesses at Gilead Training School, then Vice President Franz vehemently and sarcastically destroyed the Watchtower's "new light" on the necessity of a "Governing Body". The concept of one centralized authority, it seems, was not the bee in Franz's bonnet. What DID upset Franz seemed to be the new Governing Body's attempt to find justification for this dogma in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 15. Franz used the book of Acts itself to dismantle the Watchtower Society's pretense of finding precedent for this "Governing Body'" in the New Testament.

Please research the above information for yourselves, to ascertain the facts.

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