Saturday, September 26th, 2009
"Let us consider one another to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together." (Hebrews 10:24, 25)
Being yielding does not mean that we compromise our faith or our godly principles. What stand did the early Christians take when ordered by the religious leaders to stop teaching on the basis of Jesus’ name? Peter and the other apostles said boldly: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.” (Acts 4:18-20; 5:28, 29) So today, when governmental authorities try to force us to cease preaching the good news, we do not stop, although we may adjust our methods in order to handle the situation tactfully. If there are restrictions on the house-to-house ministry, we may seek out alternative ways to contact householders and continue obeying our God-given commission. Likewise, when “the superior authorities” proscribe our meetings, we meet discreetly in small groups.—Romans 13:1.
(Watchtower issue: 03/15/08, 1:12)
*In case anyone hasn't read their October Kingdom Ministry yet, I wanted to include this excerpt which relates to today's text discussion. Because it kind of startled me a little bit, especially since in combination with that other article: "Are You Ready For Informal Witnessing?" (even though we all know it's coming)...but since most of us here in the US are used to our 'freedom of speech' and don't usually have to deal with the authorities harassing us or telling us to leave a territory (at least not in recent years), it's a good idea to mentally prepare ourselves for that scenario ahead of time just in case. A sister from a small town in Massachusetts said it's happened to local Witnesses out in service there just recently.
In past years, there was a booklet that Witnesses would carry which contained court rulings about our preaching methods and where we could preach, but since many times that would lead to them being arrested anyway, the KM suggests the following approach:
What should you do if directed to stop preaching?
In some instances, the police have approached publishers who were sharing in some form of the ministry, informed them that they were violating the law, and directed them to stop. You should promptly and politely leave the territory if directed to do so (Matthew 5:41; Philippians 4:5) Do not try to resolve matters on your own by getting involved in a discussion about our legal rights. If it is possible, tactfully obtain the badge number of the police officer and the number of his precinct. Thereafter, promptly inform the elders, who will then contact the branch office about the incident. Similarly, if you are asked to leave an apartment building or complex by the superintendent or any other apartment representative, you should comply immediately and inform the elders. A mild and humble manner of dealing with those in authority can do much to prevent unnecessary difficulities. (Proverbs 15:1; Romans 12:18)