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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- Dawn Bible Students Association
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.
The Goshen Fellowshipwas 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.
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.
– From Introduction – Biblical Truth SeekersBy Raymond C. Faircloth+++
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Life is like a storm. It’s forever whipping you hair with the winds of adjustment, transforming you with the pounding nature of an ever-changing life created by a million different droplet moments, shattering the mundane and the comfortable with lightning strikes of hope and despair. It’s always giving me a run for my money. Whether in a good way or a bad way. I generally feel like I’m sprinting just to keep up with the varying events in my life. Because, honestly, it changes in an instant. In a phone call. In an acceptance letter. In a quote conversation with God. In the arms of the wrong person. And in the eyes of the right one.
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Ohio’s Marietta Bible College doesn’t get much press. Their website is modest, and their goals are straightforward: they prepare international students from third world countries for work in churches or Christian schools in their homelands. The school is a ministry of Marietta Bible Center Church.
Because the 34-year-old school is unaccredited (they declined State licensure in 1988, because they wanted to maintain a religious governing body), it is required to produce additional evidence along with typical paperwork to prove it’s a legitimate entity and operating under the law.
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Many years ago, I was asked by a Bible student what I thought the book of Ecclesiastes in the Jewish Tanakh & Christian Old Testament was about.
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