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Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #4 Steps to the women’s bibles

Not having enough background of the Jewish Koine Greek, or Jewish Hellenistic Greek, the variety of Koine Greek (hē koinē dialektos ‘the common language’) or “common Attic”  found in a number of Alexandrian dialect texts of Hellenistic Judaism, most notably the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible which at the time of the King James Bible‘s first edition was not yet available, as well as Greek Jewish texts from Palestine. This made that lots of words for previous Bible translations and the Authorised Version, where not yet understood properly and of some words they thought it were persons (names) instead of things (nouns) and situations.

Hellenistic Judaism: historical sites

Important historical sites of Hellenistic and medieval Judaism. – Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Words and word elements were adopted and adapted into Latin over c.1,500 years, and passed through Latin into many European and other languages, being used in the main for scholarly and technical purposes. The flow into English was at first very limited and largely religious, such as Old English cirice and its descendant church (from kūriakón dôma the Lord’s house).

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Katharina von Bora (1499–1552) one of the most important participants of the Reformation because of her role in helping to define Protestant family life and setting the tone for clergy marriages.

At the beginning this knowledge of languages was a man’s job, but from the 19th century women began to have their say as well. Lots of Christians have the wrong idea that women in the ancient times had nothing to say. Many also think that in Christianity women played no role at all. they should know that the Set Apart or Holy Scriptures  acknowledges and celebrates the priceless value of a virtuous woman (Proverbs 12:4; 31:10; 1 Corinthians 11:7).

Whilst by the Jews there where not so many women teachers or rabbi’s, from the beginning the master teacher Jeshua had a big heart for them and had many women around him, following him everywhere they could and talking about his actions. The Bible teaches women are not only equals with men (Galatians 3:28), but are also set apart for special honour (1 Peter 3:7). Jeshua also knew how in the past the the priceless value of a virtuous woman was celebrated and insisted those around him to respect the woman also. (Proverbs 12:4; 31:10; 1 Corinthians 11:7).  Not only did the master teacher encourage their discipleship by portraying it as something more needful than domestic service and always treated women with the utmost dignity — even women who might otherwise be regarded as outcasts (Matthew 9:20-22; Luke 7:37-50; John 4:7-27).

“1  After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.” (Luke 8:1-3 NIV)

“38  As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”” (Luke 10:38-42 NIV)

Clearly the listening to Jesus’ teaching was for the rabbi important, because he would not be long with them. for him it was also important that they would know what they had to talk about when he would be gone, because they had to go out into the world and witness about what he had done, and for telling others about the coming Kingdom of God. All those who wanted to be called a disciple or follower of Christ had to witness for him.

“You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.” (Acts 22:15 NIV)

Already from the start women where there with Jesus.  Christ’s first recorded, explicit disclosure of His own identity as the true Messiah was made to a Samaritan woman (John 4:25-26). When he was gone there were also women present in the room when the Spirit came over the apostles.  From then onwards they too were not afraid any more to come out with their beliefs. Soon they too took also their role in the preaching and some of them even became renowned.

“In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor.” (Acts 9:36 NIV)

Often it were women who opened up their house for followers of Christ coming together and to lead the meetings.

“When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.” (Acts 12:12 NIV)

Also when things where not so clear for some they dared to call them with them and explain it so they could better understand the truth. Also women who talked about Jesus but did not know everything well, were helped by the apostles so that they could do a better job.

“13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshipper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptised, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.” (Acts 16:13-15 NIV)

Throughout history there have always been faithful women spreading the Word of God.

It might well be that the energetic monk and young theologian Martin Luther, who felt himself to be “a sinner with an unquiet conscience,” was stimulated by the former Benedictine and Cistercian nun Katharina von Bora, who had fled her convent with several other nuns or ‘vestal virgins’, to Wittenberg, and who became, at the age of 26,  his  wife in 1525 (him being 41) and became known as “die Lutherin”.  She became the “boss of Zulsdorf,” after the name of the farm they owned, and the “morning star of Wittenberg” for her habit of rising at 4 a.m. to take care of her various responsibilities, administering and managing the vast holdings of the monastery, breeding and selling cattle, and running a brewery in order to provide for their family and the steady stream of students who boarded with them and visitors seeking audiences with her husband. It can well be that her being at the site of the prosecuted Luther, made him to continue his translation work of the Bible and not giving up his ideas.

In the two following centuries it were women who often took care that the children got to hear the Word of God at home, whilst they were able to hide this sacred book for the persecutors. Those who fled from the European continent to look for a New World also carried with them the Holy Bible in their language or in Latin.

In the 17th century religious groups found their way to the New World and at certain places founded their own colonies so that they could perfectly practice their own faith. Religious liberty for others — a concept Americans would later take for granted — was not part of the Puritans‘ plan. Instead, founding Governor John Winthrop envisioned a model “Citty [sic] upon a hill,” an example of Christian unity and order. Not incidentally, women were expected to play a submissive and supporting role in this society.

Anne Hutchinson, née Anne Marbury

At the Massachusetts Bay Colony a skilled midwife and herbal healer with her own interpretation of Puritan doctrine, challenged the leaders of this “wilderness theocracy,” as Barbara Ritter Dailey describes it.
Anne Hutchinson  [Anne Marbury Hutchinson (1591-1643)] eldest daughter of a strong-willed Anglican priest who had been imprisoned and removed from office because of his demand for a better-educated clergy, had probably inherited the strong will of her father, taking with her a legacy of biblical scholarship and religious independence.

When the Anglican Church silenced one of her favourite teachers, John Cotton, one of England’s outstanding Puritan ministers, one of New England’s first generation, leader in civil and religious affairs, and a persuasive writer on the theory and practice of Congregationalism, left for the colony of Massachusetts in America, Hutchinson became extremely distraught. She finally persuaded her husband to leave for America, so that she could follow her religious mentor.

William Hutchinson was granted a desirable house lot in Boston, and both husband and wife quickly became church members.
When she was criticized for failing to attend weekly prayer meetings in the homes of parishioners, she responded by holding meetings in her own home. She began by reiterating and explaining the sermons of John Cotton but later added some of her own interpretations, a practice that was to be her undoing. As her meetings became more popular, Hutchinson drew some of Boston’s most influential citizens to her home. Many of these were town merchants and artisans who had been severely criticized for profiteering in prices and wages; they saw in Hutchinson’s stress on grace a greater freedom regarding morality and therefore more certainty of their own salvation. But others came in search of a more meaningful and personal relationship with their God. As she attracted followers and defenders, the orthodox Puritans organized to oppose her doctrines and her advocates.

Cotton was chiefly responsible for the exile of Anne Hutchinson, because of her antinomian doctrines, and for the expulsion of Roger Williams.They continued to preach and used their own words. Quoting from the Bible in a non literal way became common practice and would be later taken up in presenting fragments or stories from the Bible. This free telling of Bible stories was also taken up in other languages and was breeding ground for children’s Bibles and freely quoted or paraphrased Bible translations.

The Ritual Dance of the Shakers, Shaker Historical Society

The priests and male clerics mostly kept the bible in their hand and sometimes read some phrases out of it. They still were in the majority, though some ladies walked to the forefront and got followers. It had not all to be literate women who took charge.
An unlettered daughter of a blacksmith who was probably named Lees joined at the age of 22 joined the faith group Shaking Quakers, or Shakers, because of the shaking and dancing that characterized their worship (It originally derived from a small branch of English Quakers founded by Jane and James Wardley in 1747). Ann Lee married in 1762, a union that tradition holds was unhappy and may have influenced her later doctrinal insistence on celibacy. She became the group their accepted leader and was known as Ann the Word or Mother Ann. Although illiterate, she claimed the gift of tongues and the ability to discern spirits and work miracles. She was also convinced of the holiness of celibacy, an idea stemming from her own experience of losing four children at or soon after their birth. In 1774 she led a band of eight to America, where, two years later, at Watervliet, N.Y., the first Shaker settlement in America was founded. The Shaker communities flourished in the mid-19th century and contributed a distinctive style of architecture, furniture, and handicraft to American culture. The communities declined in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The two American converts who followed Mother Ann as Lead Elder — Joseph Meacham (1787–1796) and Lucy Wright (1796–1821) — developed an institutional structure for less antagonistic relations with society.

At that time, a woman’s leadership of a religious group was considered to be a ‘sect leader’ and as a radical departure from Protestant Christianity. Living apart from her husband Elizur Goodrich, she like him committed herself fully to Shakerism and within a decade rose to leadership within the Shakers movement, with the power and authority which women were not allowed in other religions.

Wright was fully aware of our task of witnessing and sent missionaries to preach across New England and upstate New York as well as into the western wilderness, where those preachers recruited proselytes and established new Shaker villages in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.
Under Wright’s administration, Shakers standardized and increased book and tract publishing for the widely-scattered religious society. Their first statement of beliefs was Testimony of Christ’s Second Appearing in 1810, followed by a hymnal which served much the same purpose in 1813. This way the bible-fragments were brought to the general public in ordinary simple words.

In the early nineteenth century the movement expanded into Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. By the mid-1820s about 4,000 believers lived in sixteen communal villages, usually with residential “Great Houses” surrounded by meetinghouses, barns, mills, workshops, and smaller residences for children and probationary members. A hierarchy of elders and eldresses who had completely abandoned the sinful world were in charge.

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Charles Grandison Finney (1792–1875) American Presbyterian minister and leader in the Second Great Awakening in the United States.

In the New World several Female Missionary Societies saw the light and invited men as well as women to proclaim the Word of God.  The Female Missionary Society of the Western District hired in this way Charles Grandison Finney who came to promote social reforms, such as abolition of slavery and equal education for women and African Americans. From 1835 he taught at Oberlin College of Ohio, which accepted all genders and races, opening the way for more women able to read the Bible.

The Christians who believed only in One God and wanted others also to know the biblical truth, saw with dismay how Finney used scare tactics to gain converts.

Across the board, many thought that his habitual use of the words you and hell “let down the dignity of the pulpit.” {Charles Finney Father of American revivalism}

During the 16th and 17th century Anabaptists were heavily prosecuted in Europe because of their view of Jesus his position and man’s position in this world. By the many searchers for the truth lots of them found they could not take on the human doctrines like the Trinity and found that people had to be fully aware of what believing meant and when to commit themselves to the Only One God. From the Low countries many went to America. On the boat-trip they had a very good opportunity to speak about the biblical truth to others form different denominations. also the English doctor John Thomas who as ship’s surgeon on the Marquis of Wellesley, took the occasion to share his ideas with many people on board. When this boat docked in New York, Thomas travelled on to Cincinnati, Ohio where he became convinced by the Restoration Movement (also known as the or the Stone-Campbell Movement) of the need for baptism and joined them in October 1832. Looking for the “church within” we can imagine that people tried also to express themselves freely to show others how they understood the Word of God.

The Restoration Movement developed from several independent strands of religious revival that idealized apostolic Christianity. They were united in the belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. After his bad experience fearing for his life when the boat had nearly sunk, Thomas took his vow to God seriously and went going from one place to another, preaching the Word of God. Many of his followers came to “the Brotherhood”, and started to have meetings in their houses or barns to study the Word of God. For them it was clear that human doctrines and church creeds divide and that real Christians should be under Christ. for them God’s Word was clearly given to all people and the Bible was not to be the matter only for clergy. For them all Christians should take the Bible as their guide and leader and should suppress all divisive doctrines and practices.

One of Thomas his disciples would find enough people interested to print pamphlets and tracts. He also started as a Christian restorationist minister and became better known as Pastor Russell, being the instigator of Russellism or founder of the Russellites, opposite the Thomasites or followers of Dr. Thomas who founded the Christadelphians, Brothers in Christ who took studying the bible as one of their priorities (hence the other name Bible Students).

Dr Thomas also wrote for and was editor of the Apostolic Advocate which first appeared in May 1834, whilst Charles Taze Russell started only in July 1879 with publishing his monthly religious journal, Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. In 1881 he co-founded Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society with William Henry Conley as president, providing the establishment of an international Bible Student movement. In 1884 the corporation was officially registered, with Russell as president. From then onwards those Bible Students tried to bring Bible fragments in the common language of the day. For them women had also their say and were worthy co-operators to produce articles and to bring bible texts in contemporary American English.

It was his successor as society president, Joseph Rutherford who brought a wide division in the Bible student movement and created the Jehovah’s Witnesses who would work at translating the Word of God, doing a marvellous job, presenting bibles in many languages all over the world, so that nobody would have an excuse he or she could not find a Bible in a language he or she understands.

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Mary Jane Patterson (1840–1894)

In 1862 Mary Jane Patterson became the first African-American woman to receive a B.A degree in the New World. She received a recommendation for an “appointment from the American missionary Association as a … teacher among freedmen.” In 1865 Patterson became an assistant to Fanny Jackson Coppin at the Philadelphia’s Institute for Colored Youth (now Cheyney University of Pennsylvania). In 1869 to 1871 Patterson taught in Washington, D. C., at the Preparatory High School for Colored Youth known today as Dunbar High School (Washington, D.C.). She served as the school’s first Black principal, from 1871 to 1872. She was reappointed from 1873 to 1884. During her administration, the school grew from less than 50 to 172 students, the name “Preparatory High School” was dropped, high school commencements were initiated, and a teacher-training department was added to the school. Patterson’s commitment to thoroughness as well as her “forceful” and “vivacious” personality helped her establish the school’s strong intellectual standards.
We can imagine by those standards being a Christian life style and good moral where essence.

Already around the turn of the 18th to 19th century women had started wanting to have a stronger voice in the education of children. Also parents started looking more at how to bring up children together in a community. They had seen the public school system starting to develop going away from certain ways of life preferred by them. The spiritual aspect was important and could not be forgotten. Discontented with the new public school system more alternative education developed in part as a reaction to perceived limitations and failings of traditional education. In many of such schools at that time the Bible and Christian life formed an important element of educational basic training. A broad range of educational approaches emerged, including alternative schools, self learning, homeschooling and unschooling.

Benjamin Wilson (1817–1900)

In 1840 the English family Wilson though originally Baptists, joined the growing Campbellite movement and moved to the New World four years later. In Geneva, Illinois the family began to distance themselves from the Campbellites. In 1846 Benjamin Wilson wrote his first letter to the other ex-Campbellite John Thomas, as recorded in the latter’s magazine The Herald of the Future Age, agreeing with the Thomas’ views on the immortal soul – the initial cause of his break with Campbell. There is considerable correspondence in Thomas’ magazines from various members of the Wilson family over the next several years.

Just as John Thomas had been re-baptised in 1847, Benjamin Wilson was rebaptised in 1851, marking off a new start from the Campbellites.

The first page of the Complutensian Polyglot

From 1855 to 1869 Benjamin Wilson published a monthly religious magazine, the Gospel Banner, which merged with John Thomas’s magazine, Herald of the Coming Kingdom.

In 1857 the autodidact Biblical scholar Benjamin Wilson presented a first section of a side-by-side two-language New Testament version like the New Testament in Greek and Latin, had been completed in 1514 with the Complutensian printed by Axnaldus Guilielmus de Brocario at the expense of Cardinal Ximenes at the university at Alcalá de Henares (Complutum) and the Antwerp Polyglot, printed by Christopher Plantin (1569-1572, in eight volumes folio). Polyglot means, literally poly or multi tongue or multi lingual, “through tongue” or “many / several languages” and is understood to signify “interlinear.”

In England there had also been a polyglot translation by Brian Walton who was aided by able scholars and used much new manuscript material (London, 1657). It included the Ethiopic Psalter, Canticle of Canticles, and New Testament, the Arabic New Testament, and the Gospels in Persian. His prolegomena and collections of various readings mark an important advance in biblical criticism.

It was in connection with this polyglot that Edmund Castell produced his famous Heptaglott Lexicon (two volumes folio, London, 1669), a monument of industry and erudition even when allowance is made for the fact that for the Arabic he had the great manuscript lexicon compiled and left to the University of Cambridge by William Bedwell. {Free Encyclopedia Wikipedia}

The Emphatic Diaglott.jpgThe Bible was also published in several languages by Elias Hutter (Nuremberg, 1599-1602), and by Christianus Reineccius (Leipsic, 1713-51). Ten years before the “Polyglot Bible in eight languages” (2 vols., London, 2nd ed. 1874) the Christadelphians produced the complete two-language Emphatic Diaglott translation, of the New Testament by Benjamin Wilson. For the Greek text he based it on the various Readings of the Vatican Manuscript, No. 1209; the text used by the German rationalist Protestant theologian Johann Jakob Griesbach, who was the earliest biblical critic to subject the Gospels to systematic literary analysis. In this translation the name of God is also restored, so that readers could clearly see about whom was spoke and who said something, the lord Jeshua (Jesus Christ) or the Lord of lords”Jehovah“.

In this Interlineary literal Word for Word English translation ‘Signs of Emphasis’ were given; whilst under each Greek word the English equivalent is printed. In the slim right-hand column of each page is presented a modern English translation as made by Benjamin Wilson. Also a copious selection of ‘References’; many appropriate, illustrative, and exegetical ‘Foot-notes’; and a valuable ‘Alphabetical Appendix’ are given. This combination of important items could not be found in any other book at that time.

Such literal translations made many bible Students to see much things more clearly. Also Charles T. Russell, learned that the inspired Greek Scriptures speak of the second “presence” of Christ, for the Diaglott translated the Greek word “parousía” correctly as “presence,” and not as “coming” like the King James Version Bible. Accordingly when C. T. Russell began publishing his new Bible magazine in July of 1879, he called it Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

The Christadelphians allowed also the Millenial Dawn Bible Students (later the Watchtower Society) to distribute Wilson’s work widely around the world from 1902. Also the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith and the Church of the Blessed Hope which he founded are still part of the Christadelphian movement which still print this Bible translation.

Bible students form the Zion’s Watchtower suggested that,

Every student of God’s plan, as presented in the Tower, ought to have the aid which the Diaglott affords.

As such this translation became a useful attribute for the later standard Bible of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, The New World Translation.

In 2004, the Abrahamic Faith Beacon Publishing Society brought home The Emphatic Diaglott and re-published a new version of it, working in partnership with The Christadelphian Advancement Trust.

In the homeschooling opposite to traditional Christian schools it were mostly women who took up the job as teacher. Having only bibles in Old English they wanted books in a more contemporary language and put pressure on the existing clergy. From the congregations also came a louder cry to provide them with modern language bibles.

King James Version of the Bible

King James Version of the Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Answering that cry from the housewives and teachers in 1870 an invitation was extended to American religious leaders for scholars to work on the revision of the Authorized Version/King James Bible of 1611. In 1871, thirty scholars were chosen by Philip Schaff. The denominations represented on the American committee were the Baptist, Congregationalist, Dutch Reformed, Friends, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Protestant Episcopal, and Unitarian.

In England also there was a request to have a revision and by the Convocation of Canterbury in 1870 two companies were formed, one each for the Old and New Testaments to revise the King James Version. Parallel companies in the United States received the work of the English scholars to return their comments. For those at work it was made clear only a revision and not a new translation was contemplated.

The New Testament was published in England on May 17, 1881, and three days later in the United States, after 11 years of labour. Over 30,000 changes were made, of which more than 5,000 represent differences in the Greek text from that used as the basis of the King James Version. Most of the others were made in the interests of consistency or modernization.

In the traditional churches there was not much interest in the Old Testament, this not fitting in with the accent of their teaching on Jesus, instead of God.

On certain points the English and Americans did not agree. At that time the Americans still gave in to the British revisers and published preferred readings and renderings in an appendix to the Revised Version. In 1900 the American edition of the New Testament, which incorporated the American scholars’ preferences into the body of the text, was produced. A year later the Old Testament was added, but not the Apocrypha. The alterations covered a large number of obsolete words and expressions and replaced Anglicisms by the diction then in vogue in the United States.

As shown above women and the general American public made use to talk about the Bible and to use it at home. The publishers could not ignore their wishes and provided them with some official version which could offer an alternative for the partly published Bible books and for the unofficial translations into modern speech made from 1885 which had gained popularity. Their appeal reinforced by the discovery that the Greek of the New Testament used the common non-literary variety of the language spoken throughout the Roman Empire when Christianity was in its formative stage.

The notion that a nonliterary modern rendering of the New Testament best expressed the form and spirit of the original was hard to refute. This, plus a new maturity of classical, Hebraic, and theological scholarship in the United States, led to a desire to produce a native American version of the English Bible. {Encyclopaedia Britannica}

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Preceding articles:

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #1 Pre King James Bible

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #2 King James Bible versions

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #3 Women and versions

Next: Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #5 Further steps to women’s bibles

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Additional reading

  1. Codex Sinaiticus available for perusal on the Web
  2. Bible Translating and Concordance Making
  3. Looking at notes of Samuel Ward and previous Bible translation efforts in English
  4. Written and translated by different men over thousands of years
  5. Rare original King James Bible discovered
  6. King James Bible Coming into being
  7. Celebrating the Bible in English
  8. TheBible4Life KJV Jubileum
  9. What English Bible do you use?
  10. The Most Reliable English Bible
  11. 2001 Translation an American English Bible
  12. NWT and what other scholars have to say to its critics
  13. New American Bible Revised Edition
  14. The NIV and the Name of God
  15. Archeological Findings the name of God YHWHUse of /Gebruik van Jehovah or/of Yahweh in Bible Translations/Bijbel vertalingen
  16. Dedication and Preaching Effort 400 years after the first King James Version
  17. Hebrew, Aramaic and Bibletranslation
  18. Some Restored Name Versions
  19. Anchor Yale Bible
  20. iPod & Android Bibles
  21. Missed opportunity for North Korea
  22. What are Brothers in Christ
  23. Wanting to know more about basic teachings of Christadelphianism
  24. Around C.T.Russell

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Further reading

  1. Jennifer Strauss, ‘The Anabaptist Cages, Münster’
  2. The Bible: Kept Pure in All Ages
  3. Where was the Bible before 1611? How can we know God endorsed the KJV?
  4. AV1611: England’s Greatest Achievement
  5. Earliest Known Draft of 1611 King James Bible Is Found
  6. Ye King Iames Bible
  7. King James Version
  8. Thees, Thous, and Wot Nots
  9. The King James Bible
  10. The King James Bible and the Restoration
  11. King James Only? (Ethernal Christ)
  12. KJV Only? (Lynn Thaler)
  13. KJV Onlyism: What It Does And Doesn’t Mean
  14. King James XV
  15. Christian Scholars Admit To Corrupting The Bible
  16. What’s wrong with the New King James?
  17. Is it true no doctrines are changed in modern versions?
  18. The King James AV 1611 Bible vs. The New International Version
  19. I got saved reading the NIV. How can you say it’s no good?
  20. Why should God’s Word be restricted to English?
  21. The Attack on the Bible
  22. John 3:16 isn’t the gospel that saves men’s souls today
  23. New Age Deism
  24. New Age Deism: Part Two
  25. Inside Orthodox Judaism: A Critical Perspective On Its Theology
  26. Mailbox Monday August 29: on Katharina von Bora
  27. 11th April 1612. Dangerous Heresy.
  28. Book Review: The Reformers and Their Stepchildren by Leonard Verduin
  29. women.born.before | 05 feb 1760
  30. Settler Colonialism and the Freedom of Religion
  31. Searching for Religious Freedom
  32. Freedom From and For Religion
  33. This Week in History – Kicked to the Curb by a Pilgrim
  34. King Survey: Women and Other Puritans
  35. The Puritans: Church and State
  36. Midweek Blog: Anne Hutchinson, the “Unnatural Woman”
  37. Paddling the Hutch: Ned P. Rauch takes the plunge
  38. Great Information Wrapped Inside This Human Struggle
  39. The Puritan identification with the Bible
  40. Despite Roger Williams’ Efforts, Providence Burns in 1676
  41. Williams
  42. Roger Williams in Art
  43. Mass Moments: Roger Williams Banished
  44. Research Reading IV
  45. Research Reading V
  46. History Weekend: The Shakers, pt. 1
  47. Quakers
  48. Commonwealth – Part Two
  49. A Catalogue of Severall Sects & Opinions
  50. History of the Anabaptist Head Covering
  51. Faith in the Head Covering
  52. Persecuted in Revolutionary Baltimore: The Sufferings of Quakers
  53. Half an hour in James Watt’s Workshop
  54. The Advices & Queries project
  55. The Violent Seduction of Thomas Paine by Rocket Kirchner
  56. The Last Runaway Review
  57. Stantons in America
  58. Eber Sherman, ,7th Great-Grandfather
  59. Birmingham Quakers and the Spanish Civil War
  60. Hidden Nearby: Charles Grandison Finney’s Birthplace
  61. Free Charles Finney Book!
  62. The reward of fervent prayer, Charle G. Finney
  63. Midweek Blog: Charles Finney, Staring at You Until You Join His Revival
  64. “Could God Forgive A Man Like That?”
  65. Joseph Logan land, 127 acres, Ninety Six District, South Carolina, 1785
  66. Alexander Campbell & the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
  67. Restoration
  68. The Restoration Movement, Acapella & the Trinity
  69. The Future of the Restoration Movement, Part 2
  70. Charles Taze Russell – “Don’t read your Bible”
  71. Apocalyptic Forecasts
  72. Women’s History: Mary Jane Patterson
  73. Some Notes on Bible Translations
  74. What is Wrong with Evangelicals in America?
  75. For Us or Against Us: The Politics of the Christian Right & the Shutdown
  76. Icon: Tacy Cooper
  77. The Secret of Powerful Revivals Are the Intercessors Praying Behind the Scenes
  78. Les origines de nos traditions dans l’Eglise : Partie 1
  79. Edifying Christian Biographies That Will Bless Every True Christian!
  80. A Visit to Pembroke College
  81. Hospitality
  82. ‘Tis a Gift
  83. A weekend away
  84. Simple gifts
  85. Becoming Visible: Quaker Outreach at Colleges
  86. Turbulent Londoners: Ada Salter, 1866-1942
  87. A Spicy Letter to Preachers
  88. On Church Leadership (an email exchange with Sándor Abonyi of Hungary) – Pt.1: “The First Button”
  89. My way is the best
  90. ELCA Repudiates the Doctrine of Discovery, Next Up: Mennonite Church USA
  91. A glimpse of Missouri’s Amish
  92. Freedom of religion
  93. Book Review – Recovering the Margins of American Religious History: The Legacy of David Edwin Harrell, Jr. (Waldrop and Billingsley, eds.)
  94. Book Review: The Churches of Christ in the 20th Century: Homer Hailey’s Personal Journey of Faith (David Edwin Harrell, Jr.)
  95. Churches of Christ – The Road Ahead
  96. Some Notes on Bible Translations

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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.

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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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  • The Mustard Seed by The Church of Christ, Sangotedo (slideshare.net)
    In the Bible, the mustard seed is used by Jesus in the parable of the Mustard Seed as a model for the kingdom of God which initially starts small but grows to be the biggest of all garden plants…
  • Bible Verse of the Day – Colossians 3:16 (worldeventsandthebible.com)
    Let the Word of Christ dwell in your heart. Think about that for a moment. When Christ’s Word truly dwells in our heart it makes us a better person. It allows us to see the love Christ has for us and this enables and encourages us to share His Letter with the world. This my friends is our mission in this life. To follow after our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and share His most precious Word with those who will give an ear.
  • November 17, 2014 – agreement (cohdailyprayer2014.wordpress.com)
    The leader relies on the mutual agreement we all have with God. He or she does not create faith or supply spiritual motivation. Christians live together in love and truth by their mutual agreement as people who are gifted with the Spirit of God. Our agreement holds us together. Agreement is a description of an action, not just a name for a document. Our ongoing, mutual dialogue in Christ forms and shapes our mutual understanding and direction. That agreement is a key factor in how much difference we make.
  • Bride of Christ (zestwriter.wordpress.com)
    John saw her / Descending from heaven / Her latter glory / Called her New Jerusalem / Such a beautiful story / What a beautiful bride / The bride of Christ
  • No separation! Romans 8:38-39 (wordsnmotion.wordpress.com)
    For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • 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.
  • In 1875 AD, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Henry Olcott founded the Theosophical Society, a research and publishing institute dedicated to sharing esoteric doctrine of many spiritual traditions around the world. H.P. Blavatsky’s extensive research led to the publishing of the “magnum opus, The Secret Doctrine,” a comprehensive synthesis of ancient knowledge. The Theosophical Society aimed to form a brotherhood that did not discriminate against race, creed, sex, caste, or color.
  • 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.

Watchtowers’s new face

From September the 1st 2012 the Jehovah’s Witnesses their official website  came into the new world.

Three in one plus …

The Governing Body takes the lead in directing the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Three websites managed by Jehovah’s Witnesses were consolidated into just one official website, www.jw.org. The updated website promises to have concise answers to Bible questions and offers information about the societies preaching work, along with facts about their branch offices, Kingdom Halls, and conventions in the section about Jehovah’s Witnesses.

For those looking for reports on topics and events affecting Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide, they should be albe to find the right answer in the news section. There are also features for families, teens, and children. As with the old website Our website  audio and digital editions of many of their publications are provided.

By revamping JW.org the mighty organisation tries to get more people at a single point of contact, so that they have a better picture about whom, where people are seeking to access Jehovah’s Witnesses online.

The website looks fresh and inviting and they also thought of the non hearing. Those with hearing difficulties can go to the section Watch Sign-Language Videos and study the Bible using sign-language videos.

There are still other websites from the Jehovah Witnesses which have a very official look but claim  not to be affiliated (??) with the Pensylvanian office: “JWnews, JW news and Jwitness.wordpress.com are not affiliated with the official watchtower, jw-media or the jw.org sites.”  Who is than in charge? They write: “The content we link to on The JWnews is generated by members of the public. The views expressed are those of the public and unless specifically stated are not those of The JWnews. Appearance within this website does not constitute endorsement.”

Major shake-up of the organization

Could it be that in the near future we may look forward to a new major shake-up of the organization like in 1975, when the duties of the President of the Watch Tower Society became dispersed and delegated to the various committees, who were (and still are) directly answerable to the Governing Body. Some Jehovah Witnesses say that they can openly talk about differences of interpretation of Bible verses. They say they can discuss the Watchtower writings at the Kingdomhall study sessions.

Watchtower publications give conflicting impressions about whom is leading the organisation.

In the book Bearing Thorough Witness(also quoted from above) the following assertion is made on page 110:

“The Governing Body relies on God’s holy spirit for direction. Its members do not regard themselves as the leaders of Jehovah’s people.”

This was reiterated on page 23 of a recently released 2012 brochure entitled Who Are Doing Jehovah’s Will Today? where it says:

“The Governing Body looks to the Universal Sovereign, Jehovah, and to the Head of the congregation, Jesus, for guidance. (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:23) Its members do not regard themselves as the leaders of God’s people. They, along with all anointed Christians, ‘keep following the Lamb [Jesus] no matter where he goes.’”

From the above two quotes (both from fairly recent publications) it would be relatively straightforward to conclude that Governing Body members are not to be considered as the leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, things become confusing when we read the many quotes similar to those below where the Governing Body is said to “take the lead” in the organization. {The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses – Explained, JW Survey}

“The faithful and discreet slave today is represented by the Governing Body, who take the lead and coordinate the Kingdom-preaching work throughout the earth.” (w09 2/15 p.28 par.17)

 “The Head, Jesus Christ, supplies the body members with what is needed for good cooperation, coordination, and spiritual nourishment. (Eph. 4:15, 16; Col. 2:19) In such respects, the Governing Body is organized to take the lead as Jehovah directs them by holy spirit.” (w08 5/15 p.29)

“Today, we can observe those making up the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, other anointed overseers, and men of the “great crowd” who take the lead among us.” (w89 9/15 p.21)

“Local elders and members of the Governing Body take the lead among us; hence, we should respect them and pray that God grant them the wisdom needed to govern the congregation.” (w89 12/15 p.21 par.5)

“So we can observe the faithful men today who take the lead among us, particularly those of the governing body of the ‘faithful and discreet slave’.” (w69 6/15 p.367 par.3)

There is also the following quote where Jehovah’s Witnesses are admonished using the bible to show obedience to the Governing Body:

“Though members of the Governing Body are slaves of Jehovah and of Christ, as are their fellow Christians, the Bible instructs us: ‘Be obedient to those who are taking the lead among you and be submissive, for they are keeping watch over your souls as those who will render an account; that they may do this with joy and not with sighing, for this would be damaging to you.’—Hebrews 13:17.” (w98 3/15 p21)

It is difficult to imagine how a group of men who “take the lead” among and “govern” God’s organization, and who should be obeyed by Jehovah’s Witnesses, should not therefore be considered as their “leaders”. However, this is precisely how the Governing Body wishes us to think of them. On the one hand, it appears they seek to be viewed as humble fellow worshippers – but on the other hand they ask Jehovah’s Witnesses to view them as “those who are taking the lead”, and obey their direction accordingly.

The ones saved

Surprisingly they now say that they shall not be the only ones being save. They suddenly seem to agree that many millions who lived in centuries past and who weren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses will have an opportunity for salvation. As we do believe, they agree now that the Bible explains that in God’s promised new world, “there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15) Additionally, many now living may yet begin to serve God, and they too will gain salvation. In any case, at last they got to understand that it’s not our job to judge who will or won’t be saved. That assignment rests squarely in Jesus’ hands. (John 5:22, 27.)

When we look at those in charge we do see we individuals who profess to have Jesus as their leader and role model,but they still think they are the chosen to be the only guides to bring people to the Truth. As Governing Body members their thoughts and reflections should be consequent and according the teaching of Christ plus in accordance with the Law of God. They consider themselves as the most perfectly people to understand what God is willing from humanity. they also should be aware of their function and its responsibility, certainly when they tell the world that it are they who are the representatives of the Slave Class, or God’s earthly organization.

Still the same organisation

Knowing that Christ’s apostles were never sheepish about having their personalities and foibles exposed in the early Christian writings,those people should not mind that they are exposed to the world and that a clear picture of them is given to those who are interested. But for years the organisation has been a closed mysterious organisation, where outsiders, not to speak of insiders never could get a clear picture of the working of this powerful organisation. It is this mysteriousness that also made people believe that it is a cult in stead of an other denomination. Certainly with all the stories, true and invented, going around and several ex-Jehovah Witnesses taking revenge on the organisation in which they felt trapped for so many years. Angrinessand frustration have proven the best grounds for lies and for counter-attacks.

World headquarters of the Watch Tower Bible & ...

World headquarters of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Biblestudent Movement background

An other problem, certainly for other Biblestudents, like us, is that they presented the founders of the Biblestudent Movement as their founders and depicted us as schism groups of Christendom. They still consider being the first seed of what began at the end of the 19th century. At that time, a small group of Bible students who lived near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the United States, began a systematic analysis of the Bible. They compared the doctrines taught by the churches with what the Bible really teaches.

In the northern part of America there where several people, like the English doctor John Thomas (1805 – 1871) who had some strange experiences when leaving the old world. Their experiences changed their way of life totally and they took to the Holy Scriptures to find more about life, the reason why we live and what is going to happen with us when we die. All over the country, in small communities the searchers started to find other interested people and started meeting at different private locations. More and more groups of sincere Bible students could be found and Charles Taze Russell came also in contact with dr. Thomas and other pupils of him, called the Thomasites at that time.

In the time of the growing Millerite or Adventist movement Thomas and Russell tried to order the many ideas presented by the different preachers of those new movements. Thomas did not claim to be any kind of prophet, or in any way inspired, and found that every individual should take up his own responsibility to come to the Truth. For him it was clear there had not to be any pope, cardinal or some higher person to be in charge of an organisation to be called church, because we had the most high priest, Jesus Christ.

Thomas his work was continued by Robert Roberts (April 18, 1839 – September 23, 1898) and became a prolific author and the editor of The Christadelphian Magazine from 1864–1898.

Russell, Rutherford and Knorr were the last presidents of the Watch Tower Society to hold any real power

Charles Taze Russell got also more followers and began in July 1879 publishing a monthly religious journal, Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. In 1881 he co-founded Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society, a non-stock, not-for-profit organization, and in 1884 the corporation was officially registered, with Russell as president. In 1914 it was Charles Taze Russell who founded in London, England, a corporation of the Bible Students, under the name International Bible Students Association. Some Jehovah’s Witnesses publications cite this corporation as publisher or co-publisher.

Russell and the other Bible Students, as the groups of such Good News bringing teachers where called, was to promote the teachings of Jesus Christ and to follow the practices of the first-century Christian congregation. Since Jesus is the Founder of Christianity, according to Thomas and Russell it is him who should have the honour to be called the founder of our church or organization. (Colossians 1:18-20)

Follow or quit

The legal counsellor and autocrat Joseph Franklin Rutherford more and more took power of the Watchtower group of Biblestudents and made many other sincere Biblestudents leave his growing organisation which became a dictatorial organisation, where every body had to follow the board of directors. With the years less of argument was accepted and all those who objected were summoned to leave.

It is that closed organisation which has tried unbending to dominate a movement which they called the only serious Biblestudents. They obstinately presented to the public that Russell was their founder and that all other denominations where false teachers.

By featuring so prominently on the Society’s DVDs, Governing Body members give themselves “undue attention and honor”

We doubt that the Watch Tower Society and the many congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide would be able to get loose again from the control of the Governing Body. We also have the impression they do not openly say what they really think or how they would like their followers to think. Sometimes we get the impression they talk to what people would like to hear, so that once they get more interested they can be brought into the organisation by the duos who give the house to house studies.

Distorted talk

The matter of the saving is one which we could look into further. Do they still not strongly believe that those who are looking for Jehovah now, should become Jehovah Witnesses before Armageddon. When Armageddon strikes, Jehovah’s Witnesses do feel that they are the only ones who will be saved. The answer to one of the  “Frequently Asked Questions”, “Do You Feel That You Are The Only People Who Will Be Saved?”, is therefore both self-contradictory and misleading.

The new website of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania may be looking more openly and inviting but once again it has been covered with many blurs of double talk, incompleteness, inflected and twisted half truths.

Task for the Bible-student movement

They continue undaunted to present themselves as the spokesman of the Biblestudents and the shame of it is that more Bible students withdraw in their own little cocoon and not associate with other Bible-students to form a bigger block to come out to the world as presenters of the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God. The last few years we also noticed that less Biblestudents organisations were willing to come onto the internet or to propagate the gospel and to spread newsletters or (free) magazines to the general public.

If all those individual Bible students and Bible researchers stay on their own and are not willing to co-operate with other Biblestudents than we shall see  a decreasing group of the Bible Student Movement.

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Please do find additional reading:

Jehovah’s Witnesses—Who Are We?

Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Feel That They Are the Only People Who Will Be Saved?

The new JW.org – Watchtower’s attempt to tame the internet

The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses – Explained + inclusive: Has anyone ever left the Governing Body?

Getting To Know Our Governing Body

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  • Jehovah’s Witnesses offer 3 day convention (jwitness.wordpress.com)
    The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ convention, “Safeguard Your Heart!” will run Friday through Sunday at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihu‘e.
  • Should Jehovah’s Witnesses be feared? (lampandherald.wordpress.com)
    Many people who have become aware of the child sex abuse scandals that have plagued the Witnesses’ movement have become highly suspicious of their activities. Some watch groups have warned residents that if they have children at their homes, to keep an eye on them at all times when Witnesses stop by their door. Some residents have feared Witnesses coming to their property due to the Watchtower Society’s alleged policy of protecting pedophiles.
  • Ten Years Behind A Bible, My Life in the Jehovah’s Witnesses (personal) (everything2.com)
    Many people over the years have asked me whether I truly was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and some have even asked that I write about my adventures. First of all, yes, it is true. I was once a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was “in the Truth” for about ten years. There’s a long story behind my joining, some of which I wrote about in Drop Kick Me Jesus, Through The Goalposts Of Life. If you want just the adventures, the fun stuff, skip to the Anecdotes section. But first, the background.
    +
    Life as a JW is more than just knocking on doors, it’s about attending meetings. There are five of them (or were, maybe things have changed in the past twenty years). Firstly, there are two back-to-back meetings, usually on a Sunday. One is a public talk, given by an appointed and approved member of the congregation (although visiting elders often give this talk). The talk must be based on an approved outline, and audience members are encouraged to look up any Bible references. This is followed by the study of an article in a Watchtower magazine. Someone is appointed to read each paragraph, and an elder asks questions printed as footnotes. Audience members then answer the question. rinse repeat. Again, subtle brainwashing – over time, verbalising the approved answers has each individual “make the Truth their own”.
    +
    There are two other big congregation meetings, both connected with the “field ministry”, the Theocratic Ministry School and the Service Meeting. The School is (or used to be) a series of lessons taken from a Watchtower Society book (available online here) – any approved member can be enrolled in the school, and there are assignments designed to help people become better teachers. Each week there are assigned Bible readings and associated topics, and a five-minute presentation is expected from each student. The Service Meeting is an elder-led series of announcements and demonstrations, again related to door-to-door work.
    +

    Finally, there is the Congregation Book Study, which carries out a Watchtower-study style of “discussion” using material published by the Watchtower Society; this takes place in smaller, home-based groups of between ten and twenty souls.

    Add up the time of the meetings (five hours) and the time needed to prepare (usually another five at least, if one is doing it right),and that’s quite a sizable chunk of time, a big investment for anyone. The idea is to get the Society’s ideas deeply inculcated into newcomers, such that the teachings take, at least on an intellectual level. Call it brainwashing if you will, but it’s pretty effective, especially given the demographics of the members.

     

  • Attorney claims sexually abused children ignored by Jehovah’s Witness church (lampandherald.wordpress.com)
    In a recent Facebook post, attorney Steven Unthank acknowledged the courage and sacrifices made by children of a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Victoria, Australia where Unthank said that the children suffered sexual abuse at the hands of fellow church members.

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