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The book “Shepherd The Flock Of God” lists as disfellowshipping offenses, “fits of anger, violence, and domestic violence” in one and the same point.

Christians try hard to be peaceful and to exercise self-control in their lives. If a Christian gives in to uncontrolled fits of anger or violence, the likely reason is that the person has a strong psychological predisposition toward anger or some other medical disorder. If that is not the case, he is behaving in an unchristian manner.

The word thymos (“a state of intense anger”) occurs 18 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures, and orgē (“a relative state of anger”) occurs 34 times. But neither of these words occur in the context of disfellowshipping. Therefore, the disfellowshipping offenses “fits of anger, violence, and domestic violence” are made up and invented by the Governing Body without any basis in the Bible.

The book for elders “Shepherd The Flock Of God” chapter 12,  points 36 and 37, says regarding anger, violence, and domestic violence:

  1. Fits of anger, Violence, Domestic Violence: (Mal. 2:16; Gal. 5:20; Col. 3:19) A Christian who cannot control his anger cannot be viewed as exemplary in the congregation. After his attitude, the pattern of behavior, and the severity of damage to the lives of others have been considered, a person who gives in to uncontrolled fits of anger may need to be dealt with judicially. (g97 6/8 p. 20) In questionable cases, consult the Service Department.
  2. If a Christian took up professional boxing and refused to stop despite repeated counsel, judicial action would be appropriate–w81 7/1 pp.30-31.


The reference in the Shepherd book is to the Awake! magazine of 8 June 1997, page 20, and it says regarding anger:

Therefore, how should the Christian congregation view individuals associated with it who engage in repeated acts of violence against the person or property of another? Uncontrolled anger is destructive and easily leads to violence. With good reason then, Jesus stated: “I say to you that everyone who continues wrathful with his brother will be accountable to the court of justice.” (Matthew 5:21, 22) Husbands are advised: “Keep on loving your wives and do not be bitterly angry with them.” One who is “prone to wrath” does not qualify as an overseer in the congregation. Hence, individuals who cannot control their anger should not be considered an example to the congregation. (Colossians 3:19; Titus 1:7; 1 Timothy 2:8) In fact, after the attitude, the pattern of behavior, and the severity of damage to the lives of others have been considered, a person who gives in to uncontrolled fits of anger could be expelled from the congregation —a dire consequence indeed.

The Greek word thymos occurs 18 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. According to Louw and Nida, the word refers toa state of intense anger, with the implication of passionate outbursts — ‘anger, fury, wrath, rage’.” The word orgē occurs 34 times, and according to the same source the word refers to “a relative state of anger — ‘anger, fury’.”

Neither thymos nor orgē occur in contexts discussing disfellowshipping. Thus “Fits of anger, violence, and domestic violence” are not Scripturally sanctioned disfellowshipping offenses. And so, the listing of these actions as disfellowshipping offenses in the Shepherd book is made up and invented by the Governing Body.

The issue of professional boxing, point 37 above, will be dealt with in a separate article.


Some persons are mild-tempered, while others have tempers that more easily explode in outbursts of anger. In Galatians 5:20, NWT13 translated the Greek word thymos as “fits of anger,” and this is one of the works of the flesh. Christians, however, try to display the fruitage of the spirit, and that includes its aspects of “mildness” and “self-control.” (Galatians 5:23)

If a Christian gives in to uncontrolled anger or violence in the family, in the congregation, or elsewhere that would be strange, and therefore, our first thought should be this is caused by a psychological disorder or other medical condition. There are several medical conditions that can cause uncontrolled anger. Some examples are given below:

Intermittent explosive disorder

A person with intermittent explosive disorder (IED) (also known as “volatile” anger) experiences repeated episodes of aggressive, impulsive, or violent behavior. Their angry response may seem out of proportion to the situation. For example, if an individual with IED spills a glass of milk, they may pick the glass up and throw it, rather than simply clean up the spill. IED episodes usually last less than 30 minutes, and they may occur suddenly or without any warning. People with the disorder may feel irritable and angry most of the time. Some common behaviors associated with Intermittent Explosive Disorder include:

  • Temper tantrums
  • Fighting
  • Physical violence
  • Throwing things
  • Racing thoughts
  • Bursts of energy….

Does Bipolar Disorder Cause Anger?

While anger is not a typical symptom of bipolar disorder, people with the disorder may become angry as a response to the shifts in mood that they experience. Mixed mood episodes are characteristic of bipolar disorder, and irritability is a common symptom related to high or mixed mood episodes. If a person with bipolar disorder does not know how, or refuses, to cope with irritability, it could lead to outbursts of anger.[1]

Anxiety is tightly linked to worry and fear that is out of the ordinary for everyday triggers. Many individuals with an anxiety disorder will often be quick to anger; however, the link between anger and anxiety is often missed or overlooked. Anxiety is often connected with overstimulation from a stressful environment or threat, combined with the perceived inability to deal with that threat. In contrast, anger is often tied to frustration. Often when anxiety is left unacknowledged and unexpressed, it can turn into frustration, which can lead to anger. When anxiety turns to anger, it is because an individual who expresses anger will have an underlying fear about something in their life. When individuals are scared or worried about something, they often choose anger, unconsciously, as a way to feel as though they are in control of their anxiety.[2]

In addition to the disorders mentioned above, uncontrolled anger can be caused by Alzheimer’s disease, by post-traumatic stress, and by depression, in addition to several other disorders.

The fact that uncontrolled anger and violence can be caused by different medical disorders is not an excuse for a Christian who lacks self-control or who callously throws off all self-restraint. But if the elders are contemplating forming a judicial committee in connection with any of the situations relating to uncontrolled anger and violence, they should keep in mind that these could be the result of a person’s illness. They should also keep in mind that uncontrolled anger and violence are not disfellowshipping offenses, according to the Bible.




Christians strive hard to put forth mildness and self-control. If a Christian gives in to uncontrolled fits of anger or violence, the likely reason is a medical disorder. If that is not the case, the person is displaying unchristian behavior. Nevertheless, he cannot be disfellowshipped from the congregation because these actions are not shown to be disfellowshipping offenses in the Christian Greek Scriptures.

Rolf Furuli

Author Rolf Furuli

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