Skip to main content



One of the biblical criteria for disfellowshipping is that a person is wicked. First John 3:12 says that Cain was wicked when he killed his brother Abel. Thus, deliberate manslaughter, i.e., murder, is a disfellowshipping offense.

First section: Killing humans and unborn persons.

Because wicked personalities are disfellowshipped, i.e., persons who are permeated by wicked actions, only persons with murderous personalities that are permeated by killing should be disfellowshipped. This can be persons who for different reasons are engaged in a killing spree or a soldier in the army of a country.

Manslaughter can also occur in connection with those who are unborn. According to the view of Norwegian political parties, fetuses that are aborted before the 12th  week of pregnancy are not living persons, one party will extend this view to the 22nd week of the pregnancy.

The viewpoint of God is different. His view is that from the time of conception there is a living person. An analysis of Psalm 139:15 shows this. This means that persons who remove a fertilized egg, an embryo or a fetus are manslayers.

I have never heard of a sister who has had an abortion. But if that should happen in a moment of desperation or mental illness, she does not need the treatment of a judicial committee but rather the care and love of family, friends, and the elders.

Second section: There is no such thing asCommunity responsibility”.

The laws of Moses are used in arguments about bloodguilt. These laws are no longer valid. But the principles behind them are applied to spiritual Israel. In order to understand the relationship between the laws of Moses and the laws of spiritual Israel, the difference between a principle and a law is discussed.

Examples from the Hebrew Scriptures used to show “community responsibility” in Israel are discussed. Instead of receiving the so-called punishment of “community responsibility,” in most cases, persons who were killed happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Also, those who were killed went to sheol and, therefore, will have a resurrection on judgment day.

Examples from the Christian Greek Scriptures used to show “community responsibility” are discussed. The persons who died were, as was the case in the Hebrew Scriptures, in the wrong place at the wrong time. And so, these also will get a resurrection from the dead.

The excursus shows that when the members of the GB point out that we do not know whether God will use “community responsibility” in the great tribulation, they open for the possibility that some people will be annihilated forever because of the sins of others. This amounts to a rejection of the righteousness of God and that Jesus by his death bought all Adam’s descendants.

Third section: Disfellowshipping based on supposed bloodguilt. In contrast with “community responsibility,” which is fictional, persons can incur “bloodguilt,” which is real.

I discuss the meaning of “bloodguilt,” and show that “criminal negligence” — a failure to act in a way to protect humans from losing their lives — may incur bloodguilt. The Watchtower literature uses the example of the cities of refuge (Numbers 35:6-25) as a basis for investigating a Witness who has accidentally killed a man with his car. But such an investigation is not sanctioned by that biblical account, because this is to apply the law of Moses to spiritual Israel as if this law was binding for Christians.

Deciding that a Witness has bloodguilt because of “criminal negligence” from an accident is very difficult because of all the potential variables associated with the accident. If a judicial committee finds that a Witness has bloodguilt without repentance and they disfellowship him, they have taken unscriptural action against the Witness based on a human commandment invented and made up by the GB.

Fourth section: “Criminal negligence” on the part of the GB may lead to bloodguilt. The GB’s definition of “blood” as full blood, blood plasma, red cells, white cells, and platelets is the standard definition of blood, and I accept this definition. However, the GB uses this definition as a law and not as a guide, and if a Witness does not agree with the GB’s definition, he will be thrown out of the congregation. In keeping with this law of the GB—that the definition of “blood” can also refer exclusively to platelets—if a Witness dare not accept platelets when he needs them lest he is disfellowshipped, and he dies because of this, that may incur bloodguilt on the part of the members of the GB.

The law prohibiting storing one’s own blood before a major operation may lead to the death of a Witness, or more often, to the reduction of the lifespan of the Witness. This may incur bloodguilt on the part of the members of the GB.

The cruel and inhuman treatment of disfellowshipped persons represents “criminal negligence.” When this treatment leads to suicide, that may incur bloodguilt on the part of the members of the GB.


Rolf Furuli

Author Rolf Furuli

More posts by Rolf Furuli

Leave a Reply