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Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (WBTS) main groups that broke away

There was an early split during the life of Russell and a number of splits immediately after his death and several in later times. Most of the earlier groups have held to the teachings of Charles Taze Russell and trace their origin to him and denounce Jehovah’s Witnesses as not tracing their origin to him. In response to this Jehovah’s Witnesses call all of these groups “the evil slave” class. They are:

  1.  New Covenant Believers
    was formed in 1909 by former Society secretary-treasurer E.C. Henninges, the Australia branch manager of the International Bible Students Association, also called Free Bible Students – based in Melbourne.
  2. The Pastoral Bible Institute
    was founded in 1918 by former directors of the WBTS.
    It is now defunct but still publishes The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, first edited by R. E. Streeter and now with only an editorial committee publishing the magazine.
  3.  Berean Bible Institute
    formed in 1918 in Australia and publishes The Voice and the People’s Paper magazine. Membership is estimated to be less than 100.
  4.  Stand Fast Bible Students Association of Portland Oregon
    was formed in 1919 after Charles E. Heard and others had a pacifism issue with Rutherford over purchase of war bonds, which they considered to be wrong.
  5.  Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement
    was founded by Paul S. L. Johnson in 1919. He believed he had been appointed by God as Russell’s official spiritual successor. Johnson’s death in 1950 led to the formation of new splinter groups, such as the Epiphany Bible Students Association, and the Laodicean Home Missionary Movement.
  6.  Christian Millennial Fellowship
    as formed in 1928 by the Italian Bible Students Association in Hartford, CT after their break with the WBTS.In 1940 they began publishing The New Creation, a Herald of God’s Kingdom magazine and later relocated to New Jersey, forming branches in Australia, Austria, England, Ghana, Germany, India, Italy, Japan and Romania. However, eventually they discarded most of Russell’s writings and joined the “New Covenant Bible Students” as “Free Bible Students.”
  7.  Dawn Bible Students Association
    The Dawn Office in East Rutherford, New Jersey

    The Dawn Office in East Rutherford, New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    is the largest of the Bible Student movements. It was formed in 1931 when Norman Woodworth, cousin of C. J. Woodworth to resume publication of Russell’s Studies in the Scriptures, which the WBTS Tower Society had ceased to publish in 1927. Their magazine is entitled Dawn — A Herald of Christ’s Presence.
    In recent times some have distanced themselves from some of Russell’s teachings.
    In 1974, a splinter group was formed called Independent Bible Students.

  8. The Goshen Fellowship
    was formed by Jesse Hemery in England in 1951. He had been the overseer of the WBTS’s British Isles branch office, appointed by Russell in 1901 and holding that post until 1946.
  9. was formed by Romanian Witnesses after their isolation during the communist era when there was little communication with the WBTS. Evidently this involved a difference of opinion about procedures or in doctrine.
    *
    Note: The history of Jehovah’s Witnesses may be read in the WBTS produced book Jehovah’ Witnesses – Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, although there are certain important omission concerning the splits, and a certain gloss and prejudice has been put upon some events.
Related articles

Jesse Hemery and the The Goshen Fellowship

From the old website of the Association of bible researchers or Bible -scholars: “Bijbelvorsers“, we published on October 5, 2010 at 1:04 pm on http://bijbelvorsers.webs.com/apps/forums/topics/show/3518291-jesse-hemery-and-goshen-fellowship

The Dutch original version written by us on the “Windows Live Spaces” is not traceable any more

Jesse Hemery

The Goshen Fellowship, not to be mixed with the Trinitarian House Church movement, nor the Baptist church group, was formed as a result of the ministry of Jesse Hemery in England.

Colporter during 19th century

J.C. Sunderlin and J.J. Bender were two associates of the well-known “Pastor” Charles T. Russell of Allegheny, Pennsylvania, had started of the growth of the Bible Students movement in England in 1881. Nearly ten years later, on July 1, 1891, Charles T. Russell first arrived in the British Isles, landing at Queenstown, Ireland, and made a two-month missionary tour, embracing Britain, Europe and Russia. He concluded that Britain offered the best potential and decided to concentrate activities there. He visited and talked to small groups of Watch Tower subscribers and addressed public meetings of up to two hundred interested persons specially invited in Liverpool and London. He also arranged with a London firm to supply Millennial Dawn books, Bible study aids, at special rates to colporteurs (colportage men and women, knockers, canvassers or peddlars).

By December 1898 there were nine established congregations in Britain. Help in organization became the pressing need. C. T. Russell had previously sent “pilgrims” from America to work with colporteurs in the field and to address congregations. Pilgrims were spiritually older men who visited congregations giving Scriptural counsel and encouragement. They were really the forerunners of the travelling ministers now known as circuit overseers.* Russell then decided to appoint Jesse Hemery, a railway signalman from Manchester, to pilgrim service. For ten years Hemery had responded actively to the tract work organized by Bender, and now he commenced his new service on January 3, 1899.

Jesse Hemery had arranged his affairs so that he could devote all his time to the ministry, and he was willing to take up an assignment in London. Hence, on Thursday, November 1, 1901, Hemery was appointed branch overseer of the British Isles branch.

Women had played quite a prominent part in the early days in Glasgow and other congregations, conducting Sunday schools for children. When in April 1903, Russell was in England for a convention tour and expressed that he was not in favour of the ladies doing all that important work some were rather put out by the modified view on woman’s place in the Christian congregation. But the sense of urgency among the brothers in those days kept them going and moved them to undertake a distribution of free literature to every farm and isolated homestead in both Scotland and England.

In time the growing activity of the Bible Students in Britain called for changes in the legal structure of the group. On June 30, 1914, the International Bible Students Association (IBSA) was registered under the Companies Acts as an unlimited company. The liability for the mortgage on the London Tabernacle was transferred to the new legal corporation, which became the lessee also of 34 Craven Terrace, then occupied by the Hemerys and ten other members of the Bethel family. The parent legal body was the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania.

Paul S. L. Johnson, a Jew who had become first a Lutheran minister and then a Bible Student pilgrim (teacher/preacher), shortly before Pastor Charles Taze Russell died in 1916, was sent to England to straighten out troubles among the British students. In order to facilitate Johnson’s work, Russell gave him “enlarged powers.” Johnson, in November, proceeded to England and, under the authority received from Russell, fired two of the managers of the London office. Judge J. F. Rutherford, confirmed as president of the Watch Tower Corporation while Johnson was in still in England, saw Johnson as a major threat to his consolidation of leadership control. Johnson believed that the “special authority” given by Russell was still valid. Johnson, Raymond Jolly, and a host of Bible Students withdrew from the Rutherford-led organization and joined in the formation of the Pastoral Bible Institute (PBI).** Differences soon arose among the PBI leaders, so Johnson left and formed the Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement. The Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement believes Russell was that faithful and wise servant of Matthew 24:45-47 and was labelled by Johnson the “parousia messenger.”

It turned out later-from Johnson’s own writings-but was not known at the time, that he had come to England having in his possession not only a copy of the proposal signed by the Elders, but also a copy of the 1916 Elders’ Schedule marked by Jesse Hemery to show which of the Elders were sponsoring the move toward control of its own affairs by the Church. And he says that Jesse had sent two copies of this list to America before he left for Britain.

Joseph Franklin Rutherford (1869–1942), also known as "Judge" Rutherford, president of the incorporated Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, who played a primary role in the organization and doctrinal development of Jehovah's Witnesses. - Joseph Franklin Rutherford (1869-1942), ook wel bekend als "Rechter" Rutherford, voorzitter van het Wachttorengenootschap, die een primaire rol in de organisatie en leerstellige ontwikkeling van Jehovah's Getuigen had.

Joseph Franklin Rutherford (1869–1942), also known as “Judge” Rutherford, president of the incorporated Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, who played a primary role in the organization and doctrinal development of Jehovah’s Witnesses. – Joseph Franklin Rutherford (1869-1942), ook wel bekend als “Rechter” Rutherford, voorzitter van het Wachttorengenootschap, die een primaire rol in de organisatie en leerstellige ontwikkeling van Jehovah’s Getuigen had.

Three men, namely Rutherford, Johnson and Hemery, were each convinced that they were, the best man to rule and direct the brethren, ambitious enough to attempt achievement of the coveted position, and blind to the harm they were causing.

Johnson “dismissed” Jesse Hemery as manager for the Society; Jesse took no notice of that but realizing, rather late it must be admitted, the seriousness of the situation, called in Shearn and Crawford, whom he had quite happily seen disfellowshipped and sent into the wilderness only a few weeks previously, to come back and help him get rid of Johnson-which, with perhaps a commendable disregard for old differences, they did.

Jesse Hemery was progressively centralizing power in himself. Secession from Hemery, J. F. Rutherford and the Watch Tower Society progressed rapidly after World War I ended. The Bible Students Committee was constituted in London on April 5, 1919 to coordinate publishing, pilgrim service, etc., outside the Society. He was undoubtedly the most prominent Bible Student/Jehovah’ s Witness in England, serving as Vice President of the IBSA, a position he held until 1946 since his appointment by Pastor Russell in 1901. He had a powerful and indeed all-sufficient ally.

Rutherford began to forcibly and dogmatically alter the existing doctrinal views, organizational structure and other Bible Students started to react against it or go their own way. Bible Students began to realize that not only the truth, but even the spirit of truth they held so dear had been compromised.

Jesse Hemery printed a short booklet supporting Rutherford, and denounced Johnson in “Harvest Siftings Reviewed” itself reviewed (December 7th, 1917).

By the end of 1928 three-fourths had severed their association with Rutherford and the newly changed Watchtower Society. In Great-Britain several separate groups came into existence:

William Robertson formed the Bible Student Publishing Co. before the major split of 1917; he published a quarterly journal The ­Bible Student that was critical of both Pastor Russell and Rutherford. There were certain IBSA ­officials who joined after the split in 1917. This group stopped operations in the 1920s.

Bible Fellowship Union 1917

At the time of the split in 1917, the Forest Gate Church was the second largest Bible Student group in England. F. G. Guard, father-in-law of William Crawford, led the class in ­divorcing themselves from the Society. In 1939 they started publishing The Forest Gate Church Bible Monthly, along with booklets and tracts. This group disbanded in 1979.
Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement 1918 [Paul S.L. Johnson]
Berean Bible Institute 1918 [Australia]
Stand Fast Bible Students Association 1918
Christian Truth Institute 1920
New Jerusalem Fellowship 1922
Elijah Voice Society 1923
Institute of Pyramidology 1923
Old Paths Publications 1925
Dawn Bible Students Association 1928 reorganized as DAWN in 1932
Watchers of the Morning 1937 [offshoot of Pastoral Bible Institute]
Goshen Fellowship 1951 [Jesse Hemery]
Epiphany Bible Students Association 1957 [John Hoefle]
Laodicean Home Missionary Movement 1957 [John Krewson]

Jesse Hemery was disfellowshipped by N. H. Knorr in 1951. Although he accepted much of Russell’s interpretations, he did reject the second presence as being a current reality. Believing Revelation was to be fulfilled in the future, he wrote and published a few Futurist interpretations of Revelation and other books of prophecy. He did reject the second presence as being a current reality.

He died in 1955 shortly after founding the “Goshen Fellowship” in 1951. Frank Lewis Brown headed the group for many years, publishing Zion’s Herald, a monthly journal beginning in 1965. Today there are still some adherents.

+

We added on March 2, 2012 at 4:29 am:

The problem with smaller groups or schisms of the Jehovah Witnesses is that they still found themselves as a special chosen group who should be careful not to read material which could bring them off their path.

The Goshen Fellowship, having no internet website, may as such also have been diminishing by their members getting older and dying. The problem mainly could be that they either did not preach enough or did not make work enough to get them be known.

As such those who leave the Watchtower Group should sincerely decide if they want to be a Watchtower Movement member or if they want to be part of a worldwide movement of Bible Students.

We think it is better that they try to share their ideas and help others in this way to explore the Bible and to come to more wisdom. Sharing ideas with other groups can help them both to grow in their knowledge of the Word of God, and shall be giving both more ways to honour Jehovah.

As brother Marcus (Marcus Ampe) points out, the problem of keeping contact, makes that we sometimes loose track of persons.

 

*

Our member Jani responded on February 4, 2012 at 4:44 am:

thumbs.webs.com Jani

Jani

Member
Posts: 6

My article about this group:

The Goshen Fellowship (1951 – Present) Still exist?

 

The Goshen Fellowship was formed as a result of the ministry of Jesse Hemery. He was undoubtedly the most prominent Bible Student/Jehovah’s Witness in England, serving as Vice President of the IBSA, a position he held until 1946 since his appointment by Pastor Russell in 1901. He was disfellowshipped by N. H. Knorr in 1951. Although he accepted much of Russell’s interpretations, he did reject the second presence as being a current reality. Believing Revelation was to be fulfilled in the future, he wrote a few commentaries on Revelation and other books of prophecy. He died in 1955 shortly after founding the “Goshen Fellowship” in 1951. Frank Lewis Brown headed the group for many years, publishing Zion’s Herald, a monthly journal beginning in 1965. According to this source, they still exist.

http://bijbelvorsers.webs.com/apps/forums/topics/show/3518291-jesse-hemery-and-goshen-fellowship

 

According to a Great Britain source the movement now is defunct.

I think this group have two good points in common with the “Back to the Bible way” movement:

1. They reject the second presence as being a current reality

2. Believing Revelation was to be fulfilled in the future

The bad thing was that JH claimed he is the faithful slave, as some say, if I understood correct.

Writings:

1. Ministry of the lamb, 108 pages

Zion’s herald

Autor: Frank Lewis Brown

Editor: Goshen Fellowship, 1970

http://books.google.ro/books/about/Ministry_of_the_lamb.html?id=CzhtPAAACAAJ&redir_esc=y

2. The scripture of truth: the vision, its understanding, 84 pages

Autor: Frank Lewis Brown

Editor: Goshen Fellowship, 1967

I need more information.

http://www.weneedgodforever.blogspot.com/2012/02/goshen-fellowship-1951-present-still.html


Shalom, peace, paix, pace, béke

 

Jani

*

On March 2, 2012 at 4:19 am Marcus Ampe wrote:

Marcus Ampe, a.o. founder of the Bijbelvorsers, Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie - Bible-Scholars, Association for bible Study

Marcus Ampe, a.o. founder of the Bijbelvorsers, Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie – Bible-Scholars, Association for bible Study

Bijbelvorser Marcus Ampe

Site Owner
Posts: 16

Last year, the Biblestudents from Belgium had some talks with members of that group. The problem is that of several ex-JW there are still a lot who do not like to stay in contact the electronic way because they do not want to use the internet.
When they move they also not remember to contact other believers who are also interested in their movement.Two people of the Goshen Fellowship, who we knew, died last year.

and on March 2, 2012 at 5:59 am he continued:

There were also many JW in the group of Free Christians who were still really JW, but face their problem with what happened to their children in their community. Several churches got problems about sexual actions which should not be permitted and certainly should not happen in a church community. The Kingdom Halls could not escape the trap of this world either, and because of the coverup operations the Watchtower Organisation tried to do, several parents were displeased with the organisation, but in their heart and kidneys they stayed JW. So when the Free Christians ceased some of them went back to the organisation.
Of some others, who did not agree with certain teachings at the time, we also know they returned to the Brooklyn Society Organisation and a few became again elders or very active members in the JW movement. One of them still does a lot of good work on the net.

+ March 3, 2012 at 8:13 am:

Until a few years ago I got a Dutch version of the Zion’s Herald which was sent to me from Germany. If I remember well I was subscribed until 2005-06, but I do not have any copies any more to get the address back. The contact person I had for the magazine was somebody living in Holland, if I remember well somewhere in the South East (Limburg). The magazine was printed in English, German and Dutch. From the way of writing it was clearly they had a Jehovah Witnesses stamp more than the Bible Student division of Charles Russell, though traces of The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, Studies in the Scriptures could still be found.

I wonder if the Bible Fellowship Union at 4 Manor Gardens, Barnstone, Nottingham, NG3 9JL UK, would not know more; Perhaps some people joined that Bible Students Group.  I do not have full names, because in their magazine I can only find abbreviations like: DN, TH, AOH, GC. Perhaps you can contact them and see if they can tell you more.

 

+

Notes:

* International Bible Students Association (IBSA) pilgrims were excellent speakers, and their local talks were typically well-publicized and well-attended. Prominent Bible Students A. H. Macmillan and J. F. Rutherford were both appointed pilgrims before they joined the board of directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania; the IBSA later adopted the name Jehovah’s Witnesses and renamed pilgrims as traveling overseers.

** R. E. Streeter was one of the founding fathers of the Pastoral Bible Institute and a member of the editorial board of that churches The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom magazine.

++

Find additional reading:
Troubled Years 1916-1918
A Bible Study Investigation into Our Relationship to God and into “the Time of the End”
A People for His Name: A History of Jehovah’s Witnesses …
Introduction – Biblical Truth Seekers

+++

Preceding articles:

  1. Looking at older articles series over Russell on the previous Bible-scholar Association
  2. Around C.T.Russell
  3. Charles Taze Russell and what he started
  4. Russell himself never claimed to be a prophet.
  5. Russell and his beliefs
  6. Charles Taze Russell never claimed to have found a new religion, or a new church.
  7. Biblestudents & T.C.Russell
  8. A visible organisation on earth
  9. Different approach in organisation of services #1
  10. Different approach in organisation of services #2
  11. Different approach in organisation of services #3
  12. Suprising figures about Jehovah Witnesses
  13. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news

 

Charles Taze Russell and what he started

We would like to present some older articles published by us on the website of Bijbelvorsers Webs, the Association of Bible Scholars or Researchers an Association for Bible-study, and Biblestudents on March 4, 2011 at 5:41 am:

Charles Taze Russell and what he started.

C. T.Russell was born in 1852 (the second of five children) in Allegheny,Pennsylvania in the US. He grew up in faith with his father, got to know the Presbyterian and the Congregational Church. He investigated the philosophies of the Far East – Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism but soon concluded that these philosophies were empty, and his quest for spiritual satisfaction and peace remained unfulfilled.

Christians worldwide were for the first time ever considering the prophetic chronology of the Bible, concluding that Christ was going to return on dates calculated anywhere from 1862 through 1881 (with greater focus on the year 1868). From 1868 to 1875 a lot of Christians all over the world had come in great expectation for the return of Christ, believing that the 6,000 years from the creation of Adam were complete, and the seventh and final millennium began. Lots of preachers,determined to find the truth, went around the world to proclaim the end times.

George Storrs (1796–1879) one of the leaders of the Second Advent movement and affiliated with William Miller and Joshua V. Himes. He began publication of his magazine The Bible Examiner in 1843 and continued it until 1879 with a few breaks - George Storrs (1796-1879) een van de leiders van de Tweede Advent beweging en aangesloten bij William Miller en Joshua V. Himes. Hij begon met de publicatie van zijn tijdschrift The Bible Examiner in 1843 en bleef het tot 1879 met een paar pauzes publiceren

George Storrs (1796–1879) one of the leaders of the Second Advent movement and affiliated with William Miller and Joshua V. Himes. He began publication of his magazine The Bible Examiner in 1843 and continued it until 1879 with a few breaks – George Storrs (1796-1879) een van de leiders van de Tweede Advent beweging en aangesloten bij William Miller en Joshua V. Himes. Hij begon met de publicatie van zijn tijdschrift The Bible Examiner in 1843 en bleef het tot 1879 met een paar pauzes publiceren

George Stetson (1814–1879) Millerite who also wrote for George Storrs’ magazine The Herald of Life and the Coming Kingdom, and for other magazines such as The World's Crisis - George Stetson (1814–1879) Millerite die ook schreef voor George Storrs’ magazine The Herald of Life en the Coming Kingdom, en voor andere bijbelstudenten tijdschriften zoals The World's Crisis

George Stetson (1814–1879) Millerite who also wrote for George Storrs’ magazine The Herald of Life and the Coming Kingdom, and for other magazines such as The World’s Crisis – George Stetson (1814–1879) Millerite die ook schreef voor George Storrs’ magazine The Herald of Life en the Coming Kingdom, en voor andere bijbelstudenten tijdschriften zoals The World’s Crisis

Soon C.T. Russell began also to see that he was living somewhere near the close of the Gospel age, “and near the time when the Lord had declared that the wise,watching ones of his children should come to a clear knowledge of his plan.” From the years 1870 through 1875 Charles, his father Joseph, his sister Margaret, along with several other interested friends and associates, and a few other truth-seekers in Pittsburgh and Allegheny formed a class for Bible study with the well studied Millerite pastors George Storrs, and George Stetson. These studies were purposely detailed and analytical with the goal of examining every ‘jot and tittle’ of Christian doctrine, creeds and traditions in order to determine their accuracy, or to see if they were nothing but “the traditions of men”. Slowly, and step by step, they were able to separate which doctrines were Bible-based from those that were error, or mere tradition. Such detailed studies and questions of faith were common to numerous Protestant groups in the United States at this time in American history.

Charles had a time of constant growth in grace and knowledge and love of God and his Word. During this time of his Bible study, the Russells were also influenced by Adventists such as Jonas Wendell, Nelson Barbour, the Christadelphians and the Lutheran minister Joseph Seiss. In the history of Bible Students we cannot escape to see several names coming up in different denominations of today. In the nineteenth century there was a big cross-pollination. Some of Russell’s beliefs can be traced back to the very beginning of the Second Advent movement started by William Miller.

William Miller (1782-1849), American clergyman, founded a movement which involved thousands in eagerly awaiting the Second Coming of Christ. - William Miller (1782-1849), Amerikaanse dominee, stichtte een beweging die duizenden reikhalzend deden uitkijken naar de wederkomst van Christus.

William Miller (1782-1849), American clergyman, founded a movement which involved thousands in eagerly awaiting the Second Coming of Christ. – William Miller (1782-1849), Amerikaanse dominee, stichtte een beweging die duizenden reikhalzend deden uitkijken naar de wederkomst van Christus.

Because of their intensive study of the Bible, the Russell family (Charles, Margaret, and Joseph) concluded that they had finally gained a new and clearer understanding of what a Christian is called to do in laying down their earthly life in sacrifice and service to God. All three renewed their consecration (vow of dedication) and decided to be re-baptized in 1874.

In 1876 Russell sold his father’s men’s clothing tailoring store named “The Old QuakerShop” located on Federal Street in downtown Pittsburgh and used this money to use it for preaching and publication purposes.

Russell was impressed with Nelson Barbour’s “invisible presence” views on Christ’s coming and he accepted much of his chronological views. Barbour and Russell soon became partners in publishing Herald of the Morning, Pastor Russell becoming an assistant editor of the Adventist magazine.

C.T.Russell became also the co-publisher of the book, Three Worlds and The Harvest of This World (Also called, Three Worlds: Or Plan of Redemption) (1877). A doctrinal dispute between Russell and Barbour over the atonement, and that the Rapture of the saints would occur in April 1878, resulted in Russell ending his partnership with Barbour and publishing his own magazine the Zion’s Watch Tower magazine, starting in 1879. When Russell left, he took many of Barbour’s readers with him, including J.H. Paton, the Herald magazine’s other assistant editor. He continued with Barbour’s chronology of 1874 being the date of Christ’s invisible return, 1799 as the start of the time of the end and 1914 as the “end of the Gentile Times”.

In 1908 the name of their magazine was changed to The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

Russell married Maria (pronounced ‘moriah’) Frances Ackley (1850-1938 ) on March 13,1879, after merely a few months’ acquaintance. The marriage was based on a mutually agreed celibate partnership established for preaching the gospel. In 1897 they separated following disagreements over the propriety of her role in the management of Zion’s Watch Tower magazine.

In 1881 “Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society” was founded with the purpose of disseminating tracts, papers, doctrinal treatises and Bibles, and was officially chartered in 1884.

Charles devoted nearly a tenth of his fortune in publishing and distributing his first major publication, entitled “Food for Thinking Christians” in 1881. In that same year he also wrote and distributed, “Tabernacle and its Teachings”, and “Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices”. In “Food for Thinking Christians”, Russell’s zeal to throw light upon the creedal errors motivated him to tear into the error without first showing that the Bible was indeed true, and that there was truth to be found therein. This approach shivered many men well and did the rear.

Russell wanted to outline the entire Bible and God’s plan for humanity, completely free of the Roman creeds and “traditions of men” in a seven-volume set. The first volume was originally entitled “The Plan of the Ages”, later renamed “The Divine Plan of the Ages”.

The”Divine Plan of the Ages” took the opposite approach of “Food for Thinking Christians” and first showed the beauty and harmony of the Bible before attacking the creedal errors. This approach was accepted as a refreshing answer to people’s search for truth so evident from the end of the 19th century onward.

The remaining volumes of the series, originally named “Millennial Dawn” but renamed in 1904 to “Studies in the Scriptures”, are:

 

The Time is at Hand (1889)

Thy Kingdom Come (1891)

The Day of Vengeance/The Battle of Armageddon (1897)

The Atonement Between God and Men (1899)

The New Creation (1904)

 

The delayed publishing of the seventh volume eventually became a source of great anticipation and mystery among Bible Students. Following Russell’s death in 1916, a seventh volume entitled The Finished Mystery, was published in 1917 and advertised as his “posthumous work”. True to Russell’s plan, this seventh volume was a detailed interpretation of the book of Revelation, but had included interpretations of Ezekiel, and the Song of Solomon. Immediate controversy surrounded both its publishing, and contents. In a short time it was established that it was actually written and compiled by two of Russell’s former associates, Clayton J. Woodworth and George H. Fisher, and edited by Joseph Franklin Rutherford. [i]

By 1903, newspapers began printing sermons written by Pastor Russell. The success of this got perhaps in his head. Though a lot of criticism came up he became more in the picture and got more followers.

While on the one hand claiming no special “authority,” Russell clearly desired to be the “servant” in the estimation of the “household of faith.” The danger became that he started claiming to be the “mouthpiece” of God. While others before him paved the way in giving the “midnight cry,” such as Miller and Barbour, Russell believed he was finally chosen as the one in restoring true Biblical teaching. While saying everyone needed to decide for himself, etc., Russell clearly wanted everyone to”study” the Bible solely from his writings.

Frederick William Franz (1893–1992) member of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses and served as president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, the legal entity used to direct the work of Jehovah's Witnesses. - Frederick William Franz (1893-1992) lid van het Regerend Lichaam van Jehovah's Getuigen en diende als president van het Wachttorengenootschap the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, de juridische entiteit gebruikt om het werk van Jehovah's Getuigen te leiden.

Frederick William Franz (1893–1992) member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses and served as president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, the legal entity used to direct the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses. – Frederick William Franz (1893-1992) lid van het Regerend Lichaam van Jehovah’s Getuigen en diende als president van het Wachttorengenootschap the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, de juridische entiteit gebruikt om het werk van Jehovah’s Getuigen te leiden.

After Russell’s dead it became even worse. A leadership crisis arose surrounding the new president of the Society, Joseph Rutherford, resulting in a movement-wide schism. As many as three-quarters of the approximately 50,000 Bible Students who had been associating in 1917 had left by 1931, resulting in the formation of several groups that retained variations on the name Bible Students. The idea of the truthful slave was interpolated to the Watchtower Tract Society. Rutherford and Fred Franz (Frederick William Franz) their followers who maintained fellowship with the Watch Tower Society adopted the name Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1931. They accept that the Society is provided with the only truthful slave and is the only one which has received the light from God and can show the light and right way to enter the Kingdom of God. JW‘s believe the Bible Students are still stuck on the “old light” of “Pastor” Russell and thus haven’t kept up with the latest “light” or “present truth.” Thus JW’s are no longer “Russellites” or followers of Russell as detractors have called them and they used to proudly call themselves. [ii] Russell is no longer viewed by the Watchtower Society as the “faithful and wise servant” alone serving the “meat in due season” or proper explanation of the Scriptures as they taught until 1927. [iii] They have gone back to the original view that the “servant” is a class of people, the 144,000, of which Russell was only one. The truth is still being progressively revealed to the modern “remnant” of the 144,000 who are currently leading the corporation Russell founded according the Jehovah Witnesses. Russell is viewed by JW’s today as the founder of their movement who helped revive the truth and separated them from Babylon the Great, but who taught many things that are no longer the “truth’ as the “light has grown brighter” since his day. JW’s therefore do not and are not encouraged to read Russell’s material at all, except the brief quotations provided by the Society’s writers in their current publications.

The Society of the Watchtower stopped publishing Russell his Studies in the Scriptures in 1928. Many Bible Students believe for the most part that the Society has become apostate as it no longer believes in many of Russell’s teachings as exposed in his Studies. As Russell warned about those who would do such a thing, the Society has gone into spiritual darkness, according to those other Bible Students. JW’s are viewed by many Bible Students as part of the Whore of Babylon and tell JW’s to “get out of her my people.”

Although the JW testify to be bible the only real research workers of truth, we fortunately can determine that there are, though be it in comparison with the traditional religions, not so many, still several people who were faithful to study the Book of books wanting to examine the Holy Scriptures and to investigate how they can be most faithful to this Word of God.

Those who severed ties with the Society formed their own groups including the Pastoral Bible Institute in 1918 (publishing The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom), the Layman’s Home Missionary Movement in 1919, and the Dawn Bible Students Association in 1929.

Moreover the former not associated Bible researchers remain still active in their Bible study and the proclamation of the Word of God.

*

Notes:

[i] http://www.pastor-russell.com/misc/bio.html

[ii] Walter Martin and Norman Klan, Jehovahof the Watchtower (Minneapolis, MN.: Bethany House Publishers), 1953, 1974,p. 41; The Golden Age, March 17, 1920, pp. 409-414.

[iii] J. F. Rutherford, The Harp ofGod (Brooklyn, NY: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society), 1921, pp. 237,239.

Dutch speaking readers at that time could find this text in Dutch on the Space of the Belgian bible Students but by the disappearance of Windows Live Spaces the article also disappeared

Nederlandstaligelezerskonden dit artikel in het Nederlands vinden op de Space van Bijbelstudenten uit België maar door het wegvallen van Windows Live Spaces hebben wij dat artikel verloren : Charles Taze Russell, een bal die veel aan het rollen bracht.

 ++

Find also:

  1. Different approach in organisation of services #1
  2. Different approach in organisation of services #2
  3. Different approach in organisation of services #3
  4. Priority to form a loving brotherhood
  5. Commitment to Christian unity
  6. Parts of the body of Christ
  7. Dissolution of Bijbelvorsers (Bible scholars), Association for Bible study

+++

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