QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
DUTY TO THE HEAVENLY AND TO THE EARTHLY
Question.--I am the wife of a minister in one of the denominations. I have been studying the truth for now several years, and feel convinced that the WATCH TOWER publications represent the true Gospel. I desire to be faithful to my Lord, no matter what the consequences; but I am in a measure of perplexity to know just what my duty is. As the minister's wife I am, of course, a member of the church; I am the organist for the congregation, and a teacher in the Sunday School. My question is, Should I, or should I not, come out of Babylon--withdraw from worship and cooperation in that which I believe is in many important respects a misrepresentation of the gospel;--of God's truth and character?
I do not wish to weigh earthly interests so far as I am myself concerned, being quite willing to suffer whatever the Lord's providence may permit. My hesitation is more on account of others who would necessarily suffer with me. My husband, who would undoubtedly lose his position and its small salary, is not in sympathy with the truth; my best efforts to awaken his interest in it having proved unavailing. He would suffer, and our two children would suffer, as well as myself; and my query is,--To what extent is it right for me to involve others? And what would be the proper course for me to take that would be pleasing to our Lord?
Answer.--Yours is a peculiar case, dear sister. We will suggest what we would consider to be the Lord's will in the matter, and give the reasons, and then leave it for your own conscience to decide upon. It is your duty to do what you understand to be the Lord's will according to the best light which you possess or can obtain.
First then, we advise that you explain the whole situation fully and frankly to your husband, and tender to him, as the minister and representative of the congregation, a letter requesting that your name be stricken from the list, etc.,--one of the printed letters which [R2747 : page 383] we supply free would answer this purpose. Your husband, as the representative of the congregation, can, if he choose, erase your name from the roll. You may request him to make the matter public, but he will not be bound to follow your request, and under your peculiar circumstances we advise (differently from usual) that you do not send the Withdrawal Letters to all the members of the congregation unless your husband is willing. Leave the responsibility with him.
As for the teaching of a class in the Sunday School --we advise that you continue it, especially if it be a class of adult scholars--teaching, however, not any sectarian theory, but the true theology of the Bible. Let your husband, as the pastor of the church, know that it is the only condition upon which it would be possible for you to retain your class. As for the playing of the organ, we recommend that you continue it also, explaining, however, to your husband your objection to certain false hymn-book theology, that you believe to be contrary to the Scriptures, and requesting that if he desire you to continue to be the organist he will give you some little liberty and consideration in the matter of the selection of the hymns. But we advise that you be not too particular, not hypercritical, in this matter. We reason that God's people are justified in praising God with any words from which it would be possible to take a proper thought--even tho others might from the same words take an improper thought.
Our reasons for advising in this case differently from what we would ordinarily are two-fold: (1) Your husband is nominally, and perhaps really, a Christian, and hence it would be proper for you to render some deference to his judgment in any matter not compromising your own conscience--as, for instance, along the lines above suggested.
(2) There is a little difference between the position of a husband and of a wife in such a matter: the wife may throw some responsibility upon the husband, but the husband could throw no responsibility upon the wife. We are not under the Law, but nevertheless the Law in a shadowy way gives to us some conception of the Lord's view of matters; as for instance, see Leviticus 30. Your husband was aware of your vow unto the Lord whereby you consecrated your all to him, and made no dissent thereto. It would appear, therefore, that he could not in any way interfere with the proper liberty of your conscience without doing violence to his own.
"WHO ONLY HATH IMMORTALITY"--WHO?
Question.--How should we understand 1 Tim. 6:14-16? Is it the Father or the Son who is referred to as the "King of kings and Lord of lords, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto," etc.?
Answer.--We understand that the Apostle here refers to our Lord Jesus. Our reasons for so concluding are as follows:--
(1) While immortality belongs exclusively to the divine nature, we are to remember that the Apostle Paul declares that the entire Church is called to "glory, honor and immortality," and the Apostle Peter says that God has given us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these "we might become partakers of the divine nature." This implies, therefore, that the Church of God is to possess this divine attribute of immortality or deathlessness. But only our Lord Jesus had yet been made partaker of this quality at the time of the Apostle's writing. The Church, his Body, would not be thus honored and glorified until their due time, in the First Resurrection, when they shall be like him, sharing his divine nature, glory, honor, and immortality, etc.
(2) That our Lord Jesus already possessed this divine nature, and therefore possessed immortality at the time of the Apostle's writing, is fully attested by the Scriptures, which assure us that "as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself." This describes immortality, for no other condition of life is inherent life; all other conditions are derived or imparted life. The statement here that our Lord will give this same inherent life to his followers, is in agreement with the Apostle's assurance that all who have part in the First Resurrection are raised in incorruption, in immortality (1 Cor. 15:52,53); and remember that our Lord's resurrection was the beginning of this First Resurrection, and that it could have meant no less to him, the Head, than it is by and by to signify to the members of his body. We are to remember the same Apostle's declaration that our Lord Jesus' resurrection was as a "first-fruits;" that thus he became the "first-born among many brethren." We are to remember also, that the Apostle, in harmony with the above, expressed the desire that he might have a share in "his resurrection," "the resurrection," "the First Resurrection," in which all the overcomers are to share.--Phil. 3:10,11; 1 Cor. 15:20; Jas. 1:18.
(3) If, therefore, sharing in "his resurrection" is to bring his faithful members to immortality, our Lord's own resurrection can have been to no inferior condition. Hence, to apply the text in question to the Heavenly Father would not be consistent with the testimony of Scripture, that the Heavenly Son possessed immortality at the time as well as the Heavenly Father.
(4) That the passage in question relates to our Lord Jesus and designates him the only Potentate, King and Lord, does not imply any disregard or disrespect of the Heavenly Father and his attributes, kingship, etc., as the same writer (St. Paul) elsewhere points out. When speaking in similar strain about Christ's Kingdom and the subjugation of all things under him, he says, "It is manifest that he is excepted who did put all things under him." In other words, comparisons which show dignity and honor pertaining to Christ, Head or Body, are never understood to be comparisons with Jehovah, who is beyond all comparison. --See 1 Cor. 15:27,28.
(5) The correctness of this application is further attested by our Lord's own application to himself of the same titles.--See Rev. 17:14and 19:16.
(6) The Apostle's entire discourse is along the line of showing the faithfulness of our Lord Jesus, his humility and high exaltation, and how servants and all of us should be likewise humble and lowly and faithful to the truth as servants of God, and in due time be exalted--manifested to the world--in glory, honor and immortality in the Kingdom.