The book, “Shepherd The Flock Of God”, lists “fits of anger, violence, and domestic violence” in one and the same point as disfellowshipping offenses. One issue that is related to violence is professional boxing, as shown in the Shepherd book, chapter 12, point 37.
Boxing is a violent sport, and being a professional boxer violates several Bible principles. Nevertheless, classifying professional boxing as a disfellowshipping offense is made up and invented by the Governing Body, and it has no basis in the Bible.
The book for elders “Shepherd The Flock Of God” chapter 12, point 37 (subsumed under the theme of “violence” in point 36) says regarding professional boxing:
- 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.
- 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 VIEW OF THE GOVERNING BODY
The reference in the Shepherd book is to The Watchtower of 1 July 1981, page 31, where it addresses a question about professional boxing:
Questions From Readers
Can a dedicated and baptized Christian take up professional boxing and still remain in good standing with his congregation?
If a Christian were to become a professional boxer, this would put him in conflict with God’s counsel. Let us consider some of that Biblical advice.
The Scriptures clearly show that dedicated Christians are to produce the fruitage of God’s holy spirit, which is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, and self-control. (Gal. 5:22, 23) Professional boxing flies in the face of all such fruitage. The Bible counsels us to be “peaceable with all men” and not to fight but to be “gentle toward all.” (Rom. 12:18; 2 Tim. 2:24) Similarly, at James 3:18 we read that “the fruit of righteousness has its seed sown under peaceful conditions for those who are making peace.” Moreover, we are told to ‘love our neighbors as ourselves’ and that love works no “evil,” and therefore no harm or hurt, to one’s neighbor.—Rom. 13:9, 10.
Professional boxing cannot be considered simply an innocent sport. It is a well-known fact that boxers go into the ring with a strong urge to hurt their opponents. For the time being, they may even have a murderous feeling toward them. This spirit may be sensed by observers, as can often be seen from the way spectators react at a boxing match. Time and again they are heard shouting, “Kill him! Kill him!”
So it is no wonder that from time to time the press reports that a boxer has been mortally injured in the boxing ring. In boxing there is always the risk that one of the fighters might become a manslayer, and, as the apostle John states, “you know that no manslayer has everlasting life.” (1 John 3:15) Bearing on this is the opinion of one veteran boxing official that boxing is “legalized murder” and should be prohibited by law. It has also been described as “assault with malicious intent.” And still another sordid aspect of professional boxing is the kind of people involved in running the sport. Often it is in the control of the underworld criminal element.
In view of these facts, what should be the attitude of the congregation elders toward a dedicated and baptized Christian who takes up professional boxing? First, they would want to counsel such a brother in keeping with the Scriptural principles enunciated above. (Gal. 6:1) They should kindly, yet firmly, present the reasons why such boxing is not compatible with being a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ, the “Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6) They could show him that a Christian is to “do hard work, doing with his hands what is good work.” Earning money as a professional boxer by battering a opponent in a boxing ring can hardly be termed “good work.”—Eph. 4:28.
The individual should also be reminded that while professional boxing might provide him with a comfortable livelihood, Christians do not need to stoop to such means, for God’s Word assures us, at Hebrews 13:5, 6: “Let your manner of life be free of the love of money, while you are content with the present things. For he has said: ‘I will by no means leave you nor by any means forsake you.’ So that we may be of good courage and say: ‘Jehovah is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’”
Therefore, such a person should be given a reasonable period of time to discontinue his unchristian profession or occupation. His failure to do so would mean that the elders would have no alternative but to exclude him from the congregation.—1 Cor. 5:11-13.
There can be no doubt that boxing is a violent sport, and that hitting another person, even with the padding of boxing gloves, or hitting to the point where one of the two becomes unconscious, violates several Bible principles.
However, those who believe in the Bible as the sole authority for what Christians are authorized to do, cannot accept that professional boxing is a disfellowshipping offense, simply because the Bible does not say it is. Therefore, this is yet another disfellowshipping offense that is made up and invented by the Governing Body.