It's interesting that apostles (the men taking the lead) and prophets (the spiritual guides) were separate roles in the first century. It seemed odd to me that God didn't give the apostles both leadership and prophecy roles, but the more I reflect the more it makes sense. In the United States government, the three branches check one another so that no one entity gets too powerful. Of course, all human governments attempt to achieve the justice that is innate within God. Perhaps, the prophets and apostles checked each other so that no one became too dominating in the first century. There's a similar relationship between Kings and prophets in ancient Israel. While the prophets had to respect the authority of those taking the lead, God selected prophets to keep the spiritual path of his people in line. So, there's an apparent logic to separating leadership from spiritual direction. Today, the Bible fulfills the role of the prophets in the first century, and I believe it should act as the check for anyone taking the lead today. While humans prophets of the past could be conversed with to clarify spiritual direction, the Bible is a one-way conversation. We do our best to interpret what we have, but the Bible is not a black-and-white rule book and can be discerned differently from person-to-person (as made evident by the multitude of Christian denominations). In the WT organization, the Bible is not a distinct entity from the GB, because the GB claims to be the only ones that can properly interpret the Bible. You can't get the "truth" from the Bible without the GB. So, there is little room for personal conscience on scriptural interpretation. In a nutshell, the GB claims both leadership and doctrinal interpretation roles, so there's a lot of unchecked authority there. Who checks the GB? Bible history indicates that Jehovah God separated roles, because he understood human nature and had a concern of authority abuse. I believe one GB member remarked that JWs won't blindly follow direction that violates the Bible, but did he seriously reflect on that? Of course the Bible does act as a limit in some ways--I'm not suggesting JWs would blow a building up if a GB member said to do that. However, JWs have followed incorrect direction in the past that later was later "refined". Do JWs getting a free pass for following incorrect direction? Or are they judged like the ancient Israelites who followed the false direction of their kings? While the Council of Jerusalem comparison seems appropriate for the GB today, I question whether they exerted the same control we see in the WT organization. We only have one recorded event in the Bible where the first century Christian governing body intervened and made a decree. It was an emergency situation when there was discord in the Christian community. And the goal of the decree was to put less burdens on Christians rather than more.