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Posts tagged ‘New Light’

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.

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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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  • Moving Through Time: Timeline of Religion (pcr.wpengine.com)
  • In 1845-1870 AD, E.G. White established the 7th Day Adventists, a Protestant Christian denomination that believes in observing Saturday as the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week. In addition, 7th Day Adventists believe in the imminent second coming of the Jesus Christ. This movement was influenced and grew out of the Millerite movement in the United States during the 19th century.
  • In 1848 AD, Kate and Margaret Fox founded Spiritualism, a belief system that postulates the belief in spirits of the dead who have an inclination in communicating with the living through a divination system known as mediumship.
  • In 1870 AD, Charles Taze Russel founded the Jehovah Witnesses, a Christian denomination distinct from mainstream Christianity. The Jehovah’s Witnesses base their beliefs on their own biblical interpretations and even transcribed their own version of the Holy Bible. They believe that Armageddon and the establishment of New Jerusalem is imminent.
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  • In 1879 AD, Mary Baker Eddy formed a cult sect known as Christian Science (PDF), a religious practice derived from revelations given to Mary Baker Eddy and from the Bible itself. Its core texts are the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, also known as the “Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures.” Christian Science asserts that humanity and the universe coincide together as a whole in their truest essence, whereas evil and fallacies are illusory aspects of the material plane.
  • Between 1889 to 1924 AD, Myrtle Fillmore founded the Unity School of Christianity, a religious group that believes that all people are created with sacred worth. The Unity School of Christianity shares a universal love for all people, regardless of race, sex, color, ethnicity, creed, gender, political ideology, or disability.
  • In 1902 AD, Rudolf Steiner founded the Anthroposophical Society, a religious organization that postulates that an individual can comprehend an objective spiritual world through direct experience and inner development.
  • In 1906 AD, the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World is one of the longest, and oldest Oneness Pentecostal organizations in operation today. It currently has a membership of one and a half million members in the United States alone. Pentecostal doctrine believes in the trinity; however, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one God. In addition, Pentecostal attendees manifest the gifts of the spirit, especially the laying of hands and speaking in tongues.

Representatives of the “Slave Class” or the Real “faithful and discreet slave”

In the past when we spoke with Jehovah Witnesses they often had a double tongue on the “faithful and discreet slave” (FDS). To us it did not always seemed clear who they considered to be the “faithful and discreet slave”.

We understood that the Governing Body (GB) would be mostly presented as the humble “representatives” of the “Slave Class”, which comprised the 12,000 or more anointed remnant of Christians with a heavenly calling still on earth.

Despite claiming to be “representatives” of this group of people, suspicions were raised in the minds of many thinking Witnesses after reading articles such as the Questions From Readers of the August 15th 2011 Watchtower, where it was admitted that the Governing Body has no actual communication with memorial partakers (the “anointed”) and even feels that some of these ones may be mentally imbalanced. (see w11 8/15 p. 22) ???!!???

According to the New Light of the Witnesses “The Faithful and Discreet Slave” would be a small group of anointed brothers during Jesus’ presence serving at Watchtower Headquarters. Under Jesus guidance they would be directly involved in the preparing and dispensing of spiritual food. The individual members of the Governing Body would not be the Faithful and Discreet Slave but only acting as the Faithful and Discreet Slave when they are working as a collective body in making decisions regarding the dispensing of spiritual food.

At memorial services it were only the chosen members of the 144 000 who could be partakers of the symbols. Strangely enough those people who thought to be one of those 144 000 became considered as possible not so good by their head, not to say ‘insane’. Looking at the Questions From Readers article of the August 15th, 2011 Watchtower they had already suffered the indignity of being labelled as potentially “mentally or emotionally imbalanced”.

This “new light” stops short of expressly naming “the Governing Body” as the Faithful Slave – rather a “group” of anointed brothers serving at Watchtower headquarters, which can only be applied to the Governing Body in our present day. According to Cedars this distinction is significant, because it acknowledges that there was no Governing Body as we know it prior to 1971 – only the Watch Tower Society Board of Directors who, as I have explained in a previous article, were informally described as a “governing body” (lower case) only from 1944 onwards.

Since the death of Freddy Franz the Governing Body (and previous Presidents) have acted independently of the supposed FDS class and never acted as their representatives. Don Cameron in his book Captives of a Concept blows the supposed 1919 choosing by Christ myth apart.

Having told for so many years that  Russell and Rutherford have been the founders of their association, but finding that more people are noticing the big differences in their teaching and the present organisation their teaching, makes it understandable that they now would like to distance themselves from certain teachings of the 19° and early 20° century.

For the present board it is high time to distance themselves from the WTS eyebrow raising beginings and Russell’s quirky and for them embarrassing ideas and relegate him to place they keep people like George Storrs, Tyndale et al-people who were searching for the truth but had not yet been chosen by Jesus who according to them, came invisibly in 1918.

In case they have now the true anointed Faithful slave, it is strange that they still have connection with worldly organisations, NGO’s like the OSCE, which is also connected to the United Nations, while they ask their members not to have any connection with UN related organisations because they would be from the devil and be the coming eighth king.

In the Bible we do find that Jesus is the only one mediator between God and men, though the WTS always presented their FDS as a mediator for the thoughts and new light to be given to Gods People. Luckily there were more JW who saw how the WTS has presumptuously placed itself as mediator between Christ and his followers, uninvited by Christ to replace him as the mediator.

Several serious Bible students warned already for several years that the FDS had taken in the same position as the pope has in the Catholic Church. the organisation has be willing to have control over all those associated with them. Those who could not come to agreement with their ideas had to go. Often they were cast out with the consequence that families were asundered. The way to follow or way to go brought division they always repudiated. Several people who had given their full life felt used and found their life was waisted with this “mess of a religion”. Several people who where cast out found a few years later their ideas bck into the teachings under the new light, but they were never asked to return back to the community or where never restored.

John Fatty writes: “For the last few years, there has been MUCH discussion and debate on the sites regarding this subject. Many XJW’s have made the claim the GB has already taken this position by their ‘subtle’ comments. (Perhaps to soften up the field of understanding for the coming change) Only to be villified by debating JW’s for being so wrong. “They would NEVER take that position!.” Well, there are quite a few certain argueing JW’s that must feel abit humiliated right now. I wonder if this will cause them to awaken?”

It is also strange that nobody questioned that if Rutherford and his anointed associates were selected in 1919 on what scriptural basis it could be automatically assumed that their roles as the Faithful and Discreet Slave were transferable, or could be “inherited”, by successive generations of the Board of Directors of the Watch Tower Society – which, after all, is merely a legal entity?

We always would appreciate it when people could show us where the bible provides an example of how those appointed by God to be his representatives may pass their duties on to someone else in the event of their death without God’s clear and unambiguous approval. (Numbers 27:18-20) The idea of someone inheriting someone else’s position because they have died is clearly a fleshly concept rather than a spiritual one.

We do agree that in the Roman Catholic faith they consider that the power of a certain apostle goes over to other living people when they die. According to us the twelve apostles appointed by Christ, once these died off they were not replaced by successors. Matthias, who had shown great interest in Jesus and had followed him, was the only apostle “of the twelve” who wasn’t appointed directly by Jesus, but he was only appointed as a replacement of unfaithful Judas by the casting of lots.

“23 So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.” (Acts 1:23-26 NIV)

When the faithful apostle James died (as with the rest of the apostles) there is no record of any concern over whether a replacement should be appointed.

The JW Insightbook also lets the JW  know:

“Sometime during the ten days between Jesus’ ascension and the day of Pentecost it was viewed as necessary that another be selected to fill the vacancy left by Judas, not simply on the basis of his death but, rather, on the basis of his wicked defection, as the Scriptures quoted by Peter indicate. (Ac 1:15-22; Ps 69:25; 109:8; compare Re 3:11.) Thus, by contrast, when the faithful apostle James was put to death, there is no record of any concern to appoint anyone to succeed him in his position of apostle.—Ac 12:2.” – Insight On The Scriptures, Volume 1, Page 129

The Governing Body has long pointed to Christ’s apostles as a divinely approved model for their collective authority, but they have never once explained how Christ has any involvement in their individual appointment. They ask their members to believe that Christ directly chose Joseph Rutherford and his anointed associates as his modern-day “apostles”, or Faithful and Discreet Slave, in 1919 – but do not give any satisfactorily explanation, once Rutherford and his associates died, how the divinely appointed authority of these ones was conferred to successive generations of Watchtower leaders.

Now, the Society has effectively scrapped the idea of the Faithful and Discreet Slave as a “class”, and now insists that the office of the Faithful Slave was bestowed by Christ on the shoulders of Rutherford and his associates in 1919, and this office was somehow passed down to successive members of the Watch Tower Society Board of Directors until the Governing Body arrangement was introduced in 1971. Thereafter, they insist that this “succession” continued as Governing Body members died and were replaced until we arrive today at a situation where eight individuals, none of whom had even been born in 1919, are now Christ’s “Faithful and Discreet Slave”. Not only does this sound incredibly implausible – most significantly there is absolutely no scriptural precedent for things to be done by God in this manner whatsoever.

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Please do read:

Governing Body says: “We are the Faithful and Discreet Slave!”

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Find also:

Watchtowers’s new face

Slave for people and God

Servant of his Father

The Ecclesia in the churchsystem

Getuigen van Jehovah, Data en Waarheid

Getuige of Broeder

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    +
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