Category Archives: Pastor Russell

“A Pastor of Excellence” Others taught fear and fire. He taught Hope and Life!

russell-pdcOne Hundred years ago on October 31, 1916, newspaper headlines shocked the nation.  A world-renowned Christian minister died “in the harness” serving the Lord Jesus on a transcontinental speaking tour. To thousands of congregations around the world he was a beloved Pastor. Tens of thousands of individuals were encouraged by hearing his hope-inspiring lectures. Hundreds of thousands were greeted by his distinguished image as they weekly opened their local newspapers to read his faith-inspiring sermons. In the last three years of his life, “some eight million people” saw and heard this dynamic speaker on film as Pastor Russell introduced his epic multi-media The Photodrama Of Creation, with a color motion picture. It was the crowning feature of his outreach ministry. Of course, it broke all records in attendance and technology. Never before had sound and color been incorporated into motion picture presentations.

Yes, one hundred years have past since October 31, 1916, when Pastor Russell died. An era of excellence in the communication of faith and hope came to an end. He served the LORD as a Pastor of Excellence till his last breath. But some will ask—wasn’t Pastor Russell the founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses? No! Nothing could be further from the truth. He preached an opportunity of life for all—even after the LORD gathers all nations to Armageddon. (Zephaniah 3:8, 9)

What did C.T. Russell accomplish?

Just how popular was Pastor Russell? The Overland Monthly, a noted periodical of his era, reported in 1909 that Studies In The Scriptures, by Charles Taze Russell, was one of the world’s three most widely circulated works, surpassed only by the Bible and The Chinese Almanac.

Significantly, The Continent, a publication whose editor often opposed Pastor Russell, once published the following statement concerning him: “His writings are said to have a greater newspaper circulation every week than those of any other living man—greater, doubtless, than the combined circulation of the writings of all the priests and preachers in North America.”

George Swetnam, the official historian for the Pittsburgh Bicentennial in 1958-1959 wrote, “Pastor Russell traveled constantly, covering more than a million miles, delivering more than 30,000 sermons, lectures and talks, writing books totaling over 50,000 pages which have reached a circulation of more than 20,000,000 copies…his influence has easily been the widest of any man whoever lived in the city [Pittsburgh], not even excepting Andrew Carnegie.” (Swetnam, George, Where Else But Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh: Davis and Warde, Inc., 1958, p. 110)

The London Graphic (April 8,1911) described Pastor Russell as follows: “The advent of Pastor Russell brings to this city and country a man of international reputation, who is known almost as well in Great Britain as he is in America…who is reputed to be the most popular preacher in America….”

And, finally, the Christian Globe (May 5, 1910) of London, stated, “Since the days of Henry Ward Beecher and Dr. Talmage, no preacher has occupied so prominent a position in the United States as Pastor Russell of Brooklyn Tabernacle holds today.”

The full impact of Pastor Russell’s ministry can only be understood against the context of church history.

An Overview of Christian History

Life for the Christian minority in the second century was brutally cruel. The pagan religious leaders and civil leaders demanded allegiance to their multiple gods. By the third century many Christian leaders felt a need to compromise Christian doctrine to make Christianity more acceptable to the rulers of the Roman Empire. For starters, they embraced Plato’s “immortality of the soul,” and also met the urgent need to include multiple gods. The “trinity” soon became a hallmark of Christian doctrine. Then Christianity seemingly succeeded beyond its most extravagant hopes, when in the fourth century, Emperor Constantine declared freedom of religion in the Edict of Milan, A.D. 313. It did not matter that he did this for his own political reasons. Christianity eventually became the official religion of the Roman Empire in A.D. 380 under the Emperor Theodosius. Through the following centuries the church’s “inglorious” reign over the nations was written in blood. Historians called it the “Dark Ages.”

The worldly church persecuted any and all who rejected its claims—with the amazing cooperation of civil governments. Millions who were consigned to eternal damnation were tortured in this life because their heresies supposedly justified that treatment. The Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century helped but a little. Luther’s rejection of the doctrine of the “immortality of the soul” was quickly forgotten. Soon the Protestant churches found it expedient to retain much of the “Dark Age” dogmas—especially the trinity and eternal damnation for all who rejected their gospel.

Instead of inspiring greater faith, a tidal wave of infidelity swept over the Christian world in the 18th and 19th centuries. Finally, modernist theology was born. The only response permitted within the precincts of conservatism was to blindly defend the old creeds of the “Dark Ages.” Something had to be done. Where was the “good news” of the “Gospel”? Brighter light, real hope, based on the Scriptures was desperately needed.

Pastor Russell and the Bible Students

In 1870 at Allegheny, Pennsylvania, a Bible class was formed for systematic Bible study. Soon they selected Charles Taze Russell as their Pastor. At that time other earnest Christians were also forming independent Bible classes for in-depth Bible study.

Pastor Russell became a leader of thought and activity among these congregations. In 1879 Zion’s Watch Tower was formed—later (1881) known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (not to be mistaken as “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” the 1931 Watchtower organization). But, Pastor Russell’s Watch Tower Society did not become a dictatorial central authority of the Bible Student movement. It could not. Why? Because all cooperating congregations of Bible Students held strictly to the Scriptural, congregational, concept of self-government. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society was basically a publishing house.

Pastor Russell never claimed to originate Bible truths, but rather to recover from the Bible key truths held by the First Century church. He succeeded more than any other person, but not without controversy. Wearied with the “Dark Age” theories of Christendom, he inspired hope and faith in the hearts of the masses. Like faithful believers of the past who followed closely the teachings of Jesus, multitudes clamored to hear his truly “Good News” sermons. He taught that the Bible is its own interpreter—that the Scriptures are the basis of our beliefs—not the traditions of men, councils or synods.

Clergy Opposition

Why do some ministers today use the same old worn out vilifications that “doom and gloom” ministers in Russell’s day used in desperation? Was it jealousy? The people clamored to hear Russell and demanded that the newspapers carry his sermons. Clergy opposition lamented that Pastor Russell’s writings had a “greater newspaper circulation every week…than the combined circulation of all the priests and preachers of North America.” Why? Because Pastor Russell’s message gave sound scriptural hope by contrast with the message of those “doomsday preachers.”

Every Jew, Hindu, Moslem—and even Christians who do not accept the self-acclaimed Christian “orthodox” brand of teaching before their death, are all damned to an eternity of torment. These preachers of “doom” (both in Russell’s day and today) hold in contempt the Gospel of love taught by Pastor Russell and the Bible Students he instructed. Calvinists especially cringed under in the sunlight of this love found in God’s Grand Plan of the Ages. No wonder—they taught that the vast majority of humanity was eternally damned to torture even before they were born! Unable to meet Russell’s scriptural logic, many resorted to personal attacks on him. All these attacks have been refuted.

Not the Founder of “Jehovah’s Witnesses”

After the death of Pastor Russell in 1916, Joseph Rutherford,(a man whom Pastor Russell had recently dismissed from his staff} rapidly returned to Brooklyn from California to seize control of the Watch Tower, dismissed the majority of the Board of Directors and established dictatorial control. The writings of Pastor Russell were soon to be discarded. The Watch Tower under Rutherford became the central headquarters, holding authority over all congregations willing to yield their sovereignty. Basic doctrines of the society seriously digressed from the teachings of Pastor Russell. The methods of conducting the evangelistic work were altered. The more sensational digressions such as refusing blood transfusions and refusal to salute the flag quickly caught the public’s eye.

However, many individuals and congregations refused to surrender their Christian liberty or accept the new teachings. As early as 1917 the exodus from the newly declared sovereign headquarters began. By 1931 over three quarters of those associated with the Bible Student movement in Pastor Russell’s day had separated from the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and formed independent and autonomous congregations. Today’s Bible Students trace back their roots through these separatists to Pastor Russell and his teachings.

Jehovah’s Witnesses Founded in 1931

In 1931, fifteen years after Pastor Russell’s death, Jehovah’s Witnesses was founded. Its founder, Joseph Rutherford, presented a startling resolution entitled, “A New Name,” that was adopted at its international convention on July 26, 1931. The resolution first observed that neither “Russellites” nor “Bible Students” were any longer appropriate names. (This claim was ironically true, because over 75% of Bible Students from Pastor Russell’s era had already separated.) Henceforth, they would call themselves “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Joseph RutherfordNOT Pastor Russell founded Jehovah’s Witnesses. Pastor Russell died in 1916. Jehovah’s Witnesses was founded in 1931.  Rutherford:

  • rejected Russell’s key teachings;
  • purged Russell’s Bible Students;
  • rejected the name Bible Students and
  • created the “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

Pastor Russell as an early Christian Zionist understood and taught from the Scriptures that the scattering and regathering of Israel were prophesied by Isaiah, Amos, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Ironically, Israel, the Jewish people, are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Why? Because God called them His Witnesses. (Isaiah 43:1-15)

Pastor Russell v. the so-called “Jehovah’s Witnesses”

The main teaching of Pastor Russell was that Jesus died a “ransom for all.” (1 Timothy 2:5, 6) Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus died only for some. Pastor Russell taught a future probation because millions have died without hearing the Gospel. Even among many who hear it, uncertainty and confusion exist. (John 5:28-29; Acts 15:14-17; Revelation 22:17) Sadly, Jehovah’s Witnesses, like all fundamentalists, believe that if you reject their brand of the Gospel, you are lost eternally.

Pastor Russell believed Bible prophecy, and zealously taught that the Jewish people would be regathered to the promised land. Reality is that the State of Israel has been reborn. (Jeremiah 31:4-12; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Matthew 24:32) “Jehovah’s Witnesses” teach that the regathering of the Jews and the rebirth of Israel is completely unrelated to Bible prophecy.

Clearly and finally, it should be understood that Pastor Russell did not found “Jehovah’s Witnesses” who reject his basic teachings of the “Ransom for ALL. “Charles Taze Russell is respected by Bible Students as their Pastor. Bible Students today, as in Pastor Russell’s day, affirm those teachings on the Scriptures that portray a Gospel of love, wisdom, justice and power in God’s Plan of the Ages.

That Servant – In Memoriam

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It was October – cold and rainy

   When I got to Allegheny …

 

Ascending the lonely hill

   I tried to ignore the chill

 

A canopy of autumn haze

   Enveloped the yard of graves

 

Hundreds of markers in stone

   Studded the manicured dome …

 

Humanity lying in tombs –

   Resurrection’s waiting rooms.

 

Our Pastor was laid to rest

   On a day like this, I guessed …

 

A granite pyramid doth stand

   To honor that righteous man.

 

Daniel’s closed book he opened,

   Solving mysteries therein …

 

To unlock Bible prophesies,

    God blest His use of pen.

 

That saint is now forgotten,

   Though of renown back then …

 

What would my world be like today

   If he had never been?

 

No writer with an inkhorn,

   Unheralded second advent …

 

No harvest sickle to wield,

   Wheat and tares still together …

 

No call to God’s people –

   Out of Babylon to come …

 

No Plan of the Ages Divine,

   No light from Present Truth to shine.

 

In gross darkness I’d be groping.

   For parousia I’d be hoping …

 

Not knowing the Kingdom is here,

   My heart could be failing from fear.

 

Thankful I am to our Lord

   Who wisely chose “that servant” …

 

He who wrote down the “vision” —

  Made it plan for us to see

 

Whose timely “meat in due season” —

   A spiritual smorgasbord …

 

Fed a New Creation

One hundred forty years and more

 

Blest am I to be seated

   At that banquet table now …

 

The same precious Truths I feed on

   Nourished those who’ve gone before …

 

The meat I eat is a foretaste …

   Of the marriage feast of love …

 

For the glorious Bride and Bridegroom

   In the heavens up above.

 

By Barbara Wilford

Charles Taze Russell Is Not The Founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses

russellpicContrary to some publicity made concerning “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” Pastor Charles Taze Russell is not the founder of this religious group. He was never associated with them, nor did he ever claim the name. Pastor Russell died in 1916, while the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” did not come into existence until 1931. Linking Pastor Russell with “Jehovah’s Witnesses” leaves the decidedly mistaken view that their teachings and beliefs are alike. Such is not the case.

Pastor Russell founded what has been called “The Bible Student’s Association.” This movement had its beginning in the 1860’s in Allegheny, Pa. when earnest Christians formed a Bible class for advanced Bible study to meet the then rising wave of infidelity. In 1879, Zion’s Watch Tower Society was formed, later knows as The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. This Society did not become the central authority for the Bible Students, for all cooperating congregations of Bible Students held strictly to congregational self-government. The Society only served to coordinate the activities of the various congregations.

After the death of Pastor Russell in 1916 the purpose of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society changed completely. The teachings of the six volumes of “Studies In The Scriptures” were discarded. The congregations in harmony with the Society relinquished congregational rule. The Society became the central head and authority over all congregations willing to yield their sovereignty. Basic doctrines of the Society seriously digressed from the teachings of Pastor Russell, and before long Judge Rutherford declared that those associated with the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society were “Jehovah’s Witnesses” on this earth. Here is where the name emerged — certainly not in Pastor Russell’s time.

After Pastor Russell’s death, The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society began to rise as a hierarchy over the once independent congregations. Many refused to surrender their Christian liberty and here started the work of separation. As early as 1917 this exodus from the Society began, and those who appreciated the wonderful harmony of the Bible as taught by Pastor Russell are today known as “Associated Bible Students.”

The following doctrines are an example as to how Bible Students still retain the basic teachings of Pastor Russell in contrast with “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” who do not.

BIBLE STUDENTS: Pastor Russell was led to believe in a future probation because millions have died and continue to die without hearing the Gospel. Of those that do hear, uncertainty and confusion exists in their minds because Christianity of today is burdened with contradictory beliefs and teachings.

JW’S: “Jehovah’s Witnesses” see no further probation for any of the present generation who do not subscribe to their teachings – which means that a large percentage of the world’s population is to perish eternally in Armageddon. In this respect their views are less generous than most established Churches. They not only see no hope for those who live today, who do not subscribe to their teachings, but they entertain no hope for a large percentage of the millions who have gone into the grave since the creation of man. For example, JW’S believe that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, etc. have perished eternally, with no hope for a resurrection.

BIBLE STUDENTS: Pastor Russell pointed to the Scriptures, such as Ezek. 16:55, where it declares that these are all going to return to their “former estate.” And our Lord, in Matt. 10:15, confirms this thought when he said, “It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city”- (speaking of the Jews). Thus our Lord pointed forward to a day of judgment for those people who died centuries ago. And again it says, in Acts 17:31 that, “He hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness.”

JW’S: “Jehovah’s Witnesses” deny that Adam will ever have a resurrection, while the Scriptures plainly state that Jesus Christ tasted death “for every man.” Heb. 2:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.

BIBLE STUDENTS: Pastor Russell pointed to these scriptures and many others such as 1 Cor. 15:22 – “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Also Hosea 13:14 – “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be they plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.”

Pastor Russell taught, according to the Scriptures, that now is “the day of salvation” for those who are to be the Bride of Christ, the Little Flock; and that another day – a day of salvation is awaiting mankind in general, in the Millennial Age – “the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

One of the main teachings of Pastor Russell was that all would be enlightened with a knowledge of God’s Truth before they are placed on trial and judged for their final destiny. For the majority of mankind this would be when they are raised from the dead at the time of the general resurrection. Their final judgment would be based on their conduct while enlightened, not while in ignorance. This teaching separated Bible Students from all other religious groups. Now it separates them from “Jehovah’s Witnesses” as well. This view broke with the concept of salvation current in his day. At that time nearly all evangelists taught a literal hell of torment for those who did not accept Christ in this life. They felt hell-fire threats were necessary to restrain evil and, if need be, to bring salvation by fear. Many theologians have since broadened their concept of salvation beyond this life, but “Jehovah’s Witnesses” hold strongly to the position that those who reject their message are rejecting salvation.

Contrary to our Lord’s Word, every “Jehovah’s Witness” becomes a missionary of life or death, using the fear of eternal destruction or second death as their final appeal.

The Jewish People: Israel, and the Jewish people, present another major difference between Pastor Russell and the JW’s. After applying the Scripture, “Ye are my witnesses saith Jehovah” (Isa. 43:12) to themselves, “Jehovah’s Witnesses” declare that the Jewish people have no special role in the Divine Plan since the death of Jesus. On the contrary, Pastor Russell taught that the Jewish people and nation have a leading role in the Divine Plan for man, and accordingly during the year 1910 he spoke to vast Jewish audiences, comforting them according to the Scripture, Isa. 40:2 – “Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” He encouraged them not to join the various churches of today but to wait for the fulfillment of the many Old Testament promises that they would be blessed as a nation.

While they were yet a scattered and dispersed people, he said, upon the basis of these promises, that they would be regathered to Palestine and established as an independent nation. Time has proven this to be so. Although denied by “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” Bible Students today teach that the new state of Israel emerged in Divine Providence and is a precursor to the fulfillment of God’s promise to that nation that, – “Lo the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.” (Jer. 30:3)

And again, Jer.24:6, 7, says, – “I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them and not pull them down; and I will plant them and not pluck them up. And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.”

And a further promise in Jer. 31:27-34 was that, – “Like as I have watched over them to pluck up, and to destroy and to afflict; so will I watch over them to build and to plant, saith the Lord… and I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in that day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they break… but this shall be the covenant that I will make… I will put my Law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts… and they shall be my people… I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more.”

From these facts it can be seen that Pastor Charles T. Russell was neither in principle nor in spirit, the founder of “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

Do Bible Students Worship C.T. Russell?

photo-of-young-charles-taze-russellFor Years it has been said that Bible Students are guilty of creature worship. What is the creature they are charged with worshipping? None other then Charles Taze Russell, organizer of the International Bible Students Association and founder and first president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. And who are these accusers who make such a claim? None other then the very Society Russell founded, the Watch Tower and it’s current members the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Notice this statement found in the book; Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose:

The insistence that Russell had been “that Servant” led many to regard Russell in what amounted actually to creature worship. They believed that all the truth God had seen fit to reveal to his people had been revealed to Russell, and now nothing more could be brought forth because “that servant” was dead.” [1959, pg 69]

As recent as 1988, in the book Revelation – It’s Grand Climax at Hand! The Watchtower makes this claim:

“The John class, however, emerged from the tumultuous days of the first world war with a love for Jehovah and for the truth that impelled them to serve him with flaming zeal. They resisted those who tried to introduce sectarianism through practically idolizing the first president of the Watch Tower Society, Charles T. Russell, following his death in 1916.” [p. 35, 36]

Who were “those” the “John class” tried to resist? And how did “those” try “to introduce sectarianism”? The answer lies in the book; God’s Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in 1973. It had this to say concerning the issue of idolizing C.T. Russell:

“This view was prominently featured in the book published in July of 1917 by the People’s Pulpit Association of Brooklyn, New York. This book was called “The Finished Mystery” and furnished a commentary of the Bible books of Revelation and Ezekiel and The Songs of Solomon. On its Publishers page the book was called the “Posthumous Works of Pastor Russell.” Such a book and religious attitude tended to establish a religious sect centered around a man” [pg 347]

Who or what was the People’s Pulpit Association? The answer again can be found in the pages of the book Qualified to Be Ministers published in 1967, by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. It had this to say about the Association:

“Such a corporation came into legal existence February 23, 1909, and was named People’s Pulpit Association. Thirty years later, in 1939, the name was changed to its present one, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc.” [pg. 309]

So, in essence, the Watchtower Society itself was to blame for promoting the idolizing of C.T. Russell, not a group of individuals. The Book The Finished Mystery was published by the Watchtower Society, it was sanctioned by then president J.F. Rutherford, and was the cause of much schism within the Bible Students Association, not because it was promoting Russell, but because it was filled with misquotes, half truths and perversion of thoughts.

Nowhere within the pages of C.T. Russell’s writings, is there a thought alluding to worshipping him. Never did he ever claim to be “That Faithful and Wise Servant” mentioned in Matthew 24:45-48. Yes … there were those in his day who believe he filled that office, members of the Association, some representatives of the Watch Tower Society, but Russell never made such a claim for himself. In fact his thought on the matter was:

“I have nothing to say about the subject. What I would say would not change matters any way. You have your right to your opinion and they have their right to theirs. [Convention Reports 1909, pg. 25]

Russell did teach “that servant” to be a class, representing the church as early as 1897 in the book, The Battle of Armageddon, but some years later, would change his mind and believed it to be an individual. Yet he never claimed to be that individual.

In fact, the thought of promoting Russell as “That Servant” and giving him prominence was J.F. Rutherford. In the 1916 Watchtower it stated:

Thousands of the readers of Pastor Russell’s writings believe that he filled the office of “that faithful and wise servant,” and that his great work was giving to the Household of Faith meat in due season. His modesty and humility precluded him from openly claiming this title, but he admitted as much in private conversation. [pg 357]

The only ones who admitted to these so-called private conversations were, Rutherford, VamAmburgh and MacMillan, the three individuals responsible for seizing control of the Watch Tower Society. Their motives behind such a promotion was to appease the close friends, colleagues and supporters of Russell. Rutherford vowed to continue the work Russell had started. But in promoting Russell, elevating him and his writings to that of equal par to the Scriptures, he created a monster. Many Bible Students parted company with the Society. Some actually believed and accepted this new idea. It was even taught through the pages of The Watch Tower that Russell was still directing the affairs of the Society from heaven.

Evidently Rutherford, decided to slay the monster he created, by cunningly denouncing all he had stated and written in The Watch Tower. Not only was Russell pushed to the background, but the Scriptures had been reinterpreted. Russell’s books were left to go out of print, with no new editions being published. His name if mentioned at all, was done only in passing, as “first President” of the Society. His writings were replaced by newer ones. This cause more schisms and departures by Bible Students who could not and would not accept the Society’s leadership, and autonomous rule.

For years afterwards, Bible Students and Jehovah’s Witnesses grew apart, animosity and hatred was promoted by the Society towards the independent Bible Student groups who rejected the Society as God’s Sole Channel of communication. The Society rewrote its history, omitting many important facts, and in the cases cited above distorted many events, to place them in a good light and branding Bible Students as evil opposers who would rather follow and worship a man, rather than their organization.

For years, the Society shifted the blame on Professor Paul S.L. Johnson, a colleague of Russell, an ordained minister, born a Jew, who joined the Bible Students Association and became an important promoter of Bible Truths. He was the Society’s scapegoat for many years. Most of the attacks on Johnson came after his death in 1950, and continued until the 1980s, it was as the old saying goes “beating a dead horse”, as Johnson was not alive to defend himself.

The Society tried to silence the Bible Students, by holding on to the copyrights of such works as Studies in the Scriptures and the Watch Tower Reprints. As Bible Students, they relied on their Bibles and nothing more. When the copyrights ran out, Paul S.L. Johnson, decided to reprint the Studies in the Scriptures. He contacted Rutherford, as they at one time were like brothers. Rutherford’s reply came in the destruction of the original plates. It was a slow process, but Johnson in 1937, made the Volumes available to the brethren. In 1940, the Dawn Bible Students Association, also reproduced the volumes. And years later, the original Watch Towers were made available to the brethren by way of the Chicago Bible Students.

The Society’s publications having a much larger circulation then all the Bible Student literature combined, tried a new tactic, everytime they mentioned the term “Bible Students” they always had in parenthesis “as Jehovah’s Witnesses were then known as”. Giving the reader the thought that Bible Students and Jehovah’s Witnesses are one and the same. When people came across the name or writings of Russell or Bible Students, they would automatically associate it with the Witnesses.

In recent years, with the advent of computers, and counter cult ministries, Witnesses were being made aware of the Bible Students, and the real issues being raised by the Watchtower Society. Some did their research, many returned to their roots, namely the Bible Students Association. Some were simply enlightened to their history as Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was not until the Society was forced to write a new history, still intent on perverting the truth, they nevertheless, did admit a distinction between Bible Students and Jehovah’s Witnesses:

“After the death of Brother Russell, some former associates refused to cooperate with the Watch Tower Society and the International Bible Students Association, even opposing the work of these societies. Such fragmented groups used a variety of names, some of them clinging to the designation Associated Bible Students.” [Jehovah’s Witnesses – Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, pg. 151]

This however does not state that the Bible Students still exist today, it merely referred to “fragmented” groups during the schism of 1917. However the fact that you are reading this … shows that you now know … that Bible Students and Jehovah’s Witnesses are two distinct groups, with distinct beliefs. It is not so much the importance that we stress the individuality of both groups, for we do recognize the Watchtower Society, and do recognize our Jehovah’s Witness friends. But the fact that we have been misrepresented, not by Christians in general, but by the very association we helped build.

It is very strange … that the Watchtower Society, forbids its members from associating with the “evil slave class”, namely the Bible Students, and have chastised those witnesses, who possess and read Russell’s writings, and at the same time, the Society has been in contact with various Bible Student groups, exchanging literature and purchasing one anothers books. This has been verified by both correspondence to and from the Society from Bible Students, as well as eye-witness accounts of Bible Student literature sitting on not only Kingdom Hall libraries, but Watchtower libraries as well.

One would be apt to conclude this is a love/hate relationship on the part of the Watchtower Society. But we know the promises contained in Scriptures will not allow this relationship to continue. For one day, in God’s due time, all of mankind will learn the truth, and all will reside under His loving care.