Category Archives: Question and Answers

What is a Christian?

bible“Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” (Acts 26:28)

A Christian is a person who intelligently believes that he is by nature a sinner, that by Divine grace Jesus Christ the Righteous died for his sins and that through faith in the atoning blood and obedience to the Redeemer’s -teachings he has become “a New Creature in Christ Jesus.”  For such, “Old things have passed away, and all things have become new.”  Such New Creatures are separate and distinct from all other members of the race.  Instead of earthly aims, ambitions and hopes, theirs are Heavenly.

Getting Into Christ’s Body

It is not sufficient that these should make the proper start of faith in Christ and full consecration to do God’s will and not their own wills.  It is incumbent upon them, after having made such a start and after having been begotten of the Holy Spirit, that they shall grow in grace, knowledge and love. (2 Peter 3:18)  This is styled “putting on Christ”; that is to say, adding the graces of character which God will accept and reward with association with the Lord Jesus Christ in His Kingdom.  For these God has made provision of spiritual food in the Bible–“meat in due season for the Household of Faith.” (Matthew 24:45)  These are represented as at first “babes in Christ,” requiring “the milk of the Word,” but if faithful gradually attaining full stature–“strong in the Lord and the power of His might.”

Such spirit-begotten Christians must needs “fight a good fight”–not with others, but with themselves–overcoming the weaknesses and besetments of their own fallen flesh, the allurements of their environment and the wiles of the Adversary.  Such as are faithful in these respects are Scripturally styled “overcomers,” “the very Elect.”  The promise to them is that they shall have part in the Chief, or best, Resurrection, and thereafter be no longer humans, but spirit beings of the highest order–“partakers of the Divine nature.”  These in death are “sown in weakness,” “in dishonor,” human beings, but are raised from the dead “in glory,” “in power,” spirit beings. I Corinthians 15:43.

Jesus’ promise to these overcomers reads, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne, even as I overcame and am set down with My Father in His Throne” — “I will give him power over the nations, etc.  Again He says, “Blessed and holy are all those who have part in the Chief Resurrection: on such the Second Death hath no power, but they shall be priests unto God and unto Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” Rev. 3:21; 2:26; 20:6

All Jesus’ teachings are applicable to this special class; namely, those who become His disciples, His followers, His pupils.  He did not assume to be a Teacher of the world, but merely of those who leave the world, sacrificing all to become His disciples.  To these He said, “Ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”  Again, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you.”  The great Teacher did not include the nominal church as His disciples, but rather counted them in with the world.  In evidence of this, we note the fact that the world which persecuted Him was the Jewish nation, professedly God’s consecrated people; and that those who have persecuted the followers of Jesus have like-wise been nominally people of God, but really of the world.

Duties, Rights and Privileges of Christians

These are the Christians addressed by the Master, saying, “I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other, also.  And if any man shall sue thee at law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.  And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” Matthew 5:39-42.

The thought of non-resistance is here, yet not to the extreme degree supposed by some.  The turning of the other cheek, as illustrated by Jesus’ own conduct, was a figurative expression, signifying the willingness to have both cheeks smitten rather than to do injury to another.  Christians are to be law-abiding, whether they consider the laws just or unjust.  If, therefore, the law deprive them of a coat, they are to yield it up.  If it go still further and deprive them of their cloak, they are still to be non-resistant to the law, but submit to it with good grace, knowing that hereunto they are called.

Be it noted that neither the coat nor the cloak was to be given up upon demand merely, but only after the law, justly or unjustly, had so decreed.  Similarly with respect to the compulsory walking of a mile; the Christian is not to submit himself to every whim of everybody; but, seeking to do the will of God, he is to go about his own business, unless the opposition to him amount to a compelling.  And this compelling, under ordinary circumstances, would mean a legal compelling; for the protection of the laws of the land in which he lives may be sought to protect his rights and liberties, as St. Paul appealed to governors and kings.

Christians Live for the Future

Christians are to love their enemies in the same sense that God loves the world–sympathetically.  They are not to love their enemies in the same affectionate love and tenderness, such as they bestow upon their families, friends and lovable persons.  Their love for their enemies, as defined by Jesus, should be such as would lead them to feed their bitterest enemy if he were hungry, to clothe him if he were naked.  They should not pray against their enemies but for their enemies in the sense of wishing, desiring for them enlightenment and true wisdom, which would turn them from being enemies and evil-doers, to make of them followers of Jesus or, at least, well-doers.

Christians are not to lay up for themselves treasures on earth; for they renounced the earth and all hopes of a future life upon earth.  Their walk in the footsteps of Jesus signifies that as He cast aside earthly ambitions, hopes and aims, so would they, taking instead the Heavenly ambitions, hopes and aims.  In other words, they live for the future.  This will not hinder them from the ordinary pursuits of life to the extent that may be necessary in “providing things honest in the sight of all men”–in providing for their families, etc.  But, with these Christians, any over-plus above life’s necessities represents so much opportunity for serving the Lord and His cause; and in so doing these are laying up treasure in Heaven–a future reward.

This does not signify that they must live “from hand to mouth” nor that, if they have possessions, they must riotously distribute these to others.  On the contrary, they are to seek in all things to have the mind of the Lord-to do God’s will.  God’s mind is a sound mind; and these Christians, in seeking to do God’s will, are said to have “the spirit of a sound mind.”  This dictates that they should live wisely and economically.

Christian Stewardship and Citizenship

To these Christians, everything that comes to them or that they possess by nature is considered a thing of God, because in becoming followers of Christ they make a full consecration of their wills–their all–to God.  Hence from that moment forward these Christians are stewards of God’s mercies-stewards of their time, their talents, their influence, their property, their all.  According to the way they use their stewardship, investing their talents to the Master’s praise, will be His commendation of them, as represented in the parable.  Whether many talents are possessed or few, the commendation is to those who have done well, have been good and faithful in the use of their talents, not for self-aggrandizement or show, or worldly accumulations of treasure, but faithful in the service of God, showing forth God’s praises in the assisting of others and themselves to the knowing and doing of the Divine will.

Christians are to “lend, hoping for nothing in return,” and not, as the world, merely to be willing to do good and to lend to those who would do as much or more in return.  Christians are thus to illustrate the fact that they are children of the Highest, that they have been begotten of God, that they have His Holy Spirit and disposition, and that it is shining out more and more in their words and conduct as they grow in the character-likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christians are not to go to war.  Their fight is not to be with carnal weapons, but with “the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”  They have the most powerful weapon known in the world for their warfare.  This does not signify that they may not put bolts and bars upon their doors to prevent robbery.  It does not signify that they may not call for police protection; for this is a thing they pay for in taxation and are entitled to according to the laws of the world.  They may not claim of their own nation anything than an alien might not claim; but they may claim all that an alien may claim.  Indeed, Christians are styled aliens, stranger, foreigners, so far as the present government of the world is concerned.  Their citizenship, according to the Bible, is the Heavenly one, which they will fully enter into when they shall have shared the Chief Resurrection.

No Christian Nations

The Bible knows nothing of Christian nations or of a Christian world.  The Bible puts the Christian as separate and distinct from the world and from all nations.  Christians are a nation, or people, by themselves, in the same sense that the Jews are a nation, or people, by themselves.  “Ye are a Royal Priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people”–a people for a purpose. (I Peter 2:9)  The term Christian nation comes from a serious doctrinal error which crept into the Church about 800 A.D.  At that time, Pope Leo III began to recognize as Christian nations all the nations which recognized his Pontificate.  The custom has prevailed and is still in vogue amongst Protestants and Catholics; but it is wholly unscriptural.

A Christian conscripted to the army or the navy would be “subject to the powers that be,” and obeying the Master’s words would go, as in Math. 5:41, “Whosoever shall compel thee to go.”  The Christian compelled to enter the army or the navy might properly request service as a noncombatant in the Quartermaster’s Department or in the Hospital Department; but, if required to kill, he is to obey God rather than man, and not kill.  He may comply with his orders to the extent of going into the trenches and being shot at, but no further.

Is it urged that such a view of Christianity would wreck our present civilization?  We reply that nothing in the Bible implies that our civilization is Christian or that the Lord ever expected it to be Christian.  God’s time for saving the world from its sin and weakness has not yet come.  The present is merely the time for calling, finding, testing and delivering the Elect.  The Elect, when glorified, will constitute Messiah’s Kingdom, and with Him will be empowered fully with spiritual control for the government of the entire world.

Then will come the time for the enlightenment and uplift and blessing of the whole world of mankind–the non-elects.  Theirs will not be a blessing of the same kind that the Elect will secure, but a blessing which they will appreciate equally.  The world’s blessing and salvation will not signify a change of nature from human to Spirit, but a Restitution to human perfection. (Acts 3:19-23)

What are today styled “Christian nations” are in the Bible styled “kingdoms of this world”; and their complete disintegration is Scripturally outlined as incidental to the establishment of God’s glorious Kingdom under Messiah, for which we pray, “Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, even as in Heaven.”

Some may wonder how it ever came to pass that all the people of civilized lands are enumerated as Christians–except Jews and professed infidels.  Statistics tell us that all the inhabitants of Italy are Christian; that more than ninety-nine per cent of the population of Great Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, etc., are Christians; and that the total number of Christians thus reckoned is nearly five hundred millions.  Surely it is time that intelligent people realize that some great mistake has been made and that more than ninety-nine per cent of these “Christians” make no pretense of being followers of Jesus.

The error arose in the now long ago, when Pope Leo III, recognized a king as a Christian king and his kingdom as a Christian kingdom, he recognized that king’s subjects as Christian.  There we have the matter in a nut-shell.  The whole thing was a mistake.  The king was not a Christian, did not know the meaning of Christianity and was not taught it.  His kingdom was not a Christian kingdom, and his people were not Christians.

Meantime, here and there, obscured to the world, there have been true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ in every denomination.  They have been out of accord generally with the great leaders of the church systems as well as with the political leaders of the world.  It has been true of them as the Apostle wrote: “The world knoweth us not, even as it knew Him not.” (I John 3:I)  The world does not yet know, understand or appreciate that the Church of Christ is not to be found in any of the professed churches of various names–Roman, English, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, etc. The Church of Christ is composed exclusively of those who have made covenant with the Lord through faith in the precious blood, who have been accepted of the Lord by the begetting of the Holy Spirit, and who are seeking to walk to the best of their ability in the footsteps of Jesus. I Peter 2:21.

Heaven, Hell and Purgatory

The theory that Christians only are saved from eternal torture has had much to do with the error of counting all civilized people Christians.  The creeds save Christians only–Jews, Mohammedans, heathen, all go to Hell, to roast eternally.  Roman Catholics provide a Second Chance for members of their church, in Purgatory; and many Protestants hold to a Second Chance for the heathen who have never heard of Christ.  All the while, however, the Bible declares for only one chance, but that a full one for every member of the human family.

The only chance offered during this Gospel Age is the opportunity of becoming a member of the Church–a true follower of Jesus.  Such are to get the Heavenly inheritance, but not until the Resurrection.  The remainder of the world will be offered an earthly future; and this offer will begin with the establishment of Messiah’s Kingdom of a thousand years.

The Bible nowhere teaches that either saints or sinners pass to a conscious condition at death.  The Bible declares that they all “sleep,” and that the awakening time will be at the Second Coming of the Redeemer to establish His Kingdom.  The Fist Resurrection will be the Church, and subsequently “every man in his own order.”  When once the fact is grasped that the Bible Hell is the grave–Sheol, Hades–then all is plain.

The great Divinely arranged Purgatory, to last a thousand years, will be glorious.  All the heathen and the ignorant, superstitious millions of Christendom, who were taught to call themselves Christians, but who knew that they were not, will have the opportunity of coming to a knowledge of the true God and of His gracious provision for them.

Righteous Judgment and Criticism

Question.How may we distinguish between “righteous judgment” and criticism?

Answer. – The Lord says, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24.) St. Paul says, “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come.” (I Cor. 4:5.) The question then arises, What is “righteous judgment”? A righteous judgment is a right decision. But since we cannot read the heart, how can we render a right decision? The Scriptures answer that we cannot read one another’s hearts and therefore should not attempt to judge them.

If, then, we cannot judge each other’s hearts, motives or intentions, what can we judge? The answer of Scripture is that we may judge each other’s conduct. If we see one of the Lord’s people doing something improper, we might say, “Dear Brother (or Sister), your conduct would seem to be contrary to the Word of God, and to be bringing forth bad fruitage.” If that person should reply, “It does not seem to me that I am doing wrong,” we must not judge or condemn that one’s heart. But we should judge between good and evil conduct, and at the proper time and place call attention to the matter and leave it there.

There is a difference between judging the heart, which we have no right to do, and judging the conduct, which is right to do. But it does not always follow that our judgment of another’s conduct must always be right. We are all prone to make mistakes.

If we should come to a brother and say, “Dear Brother, your conduct seems to be wrong, but I am sure that you want to do right. Will you explain?” He may be able to show us that the fruitage was good when we thought it bad. We may have misunderstood the matter. We are not to condemn our brother, but to go directly to him and get his view. Then if we cannot agree, we should tell him how it seems to us, and ask him to judge his own heart. We can do no more.

 

Who are the “other sheep” of John 10:16?

Tjesus-good-shepherdHE Jehovah’s Witnesses have been taught to believe that in the resurrection, those who died faithful to God are included in the ‘other sheep’ and will receive the “resurrection of the righteous” (“just” KJV) mentioned in Acts 24:15. (The Watchtower 2/15/95 p. 11 par. 12)  Those of the ‘other sheep’ who are alive today, some of whom survive through Armageddon without needing a resurrection, are referred to as the ‘great crowd’.  (The Watchtower 4/15/95 p. 31 Questions From Readers).  These views are based around the following text.

“And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.” (Joh 10:16 NWT)

The Bible speaks of the church as Jehovah’s flock (Acts 20:29; 1 Pet 5:2).  Up until the conversion of Cornelius, the Gospel invitation had NOT been made available to the gentiles.  But that changed suddenly about AD 36.  Of the conversion of Cornelius’ household, we read in Acts 10:45, “And the faithful ones that had come with Peter who were of those circumcised were amazed, because the free gift of the holy spirit was being poured out also upon people of the nations.” NWT.

The gentile Christians could not be invited until after the 70 weeks (Dan 9:24) for Israel were completed (AD 36).  Of that final week [a day = a year], we read “And he must keep the covenant in force for the many for one week” Dan 9:27 NWT).  That covenant was Jehovah’s 70 weeks agreement with Israel.  It was in the last half of the 70th week, three and a half years after the cross, that the great work was done amongst the Jews.

Applying the “other sheep” to the new gentile converts is the evident meaning and it would take strong additional scriptural evidence to convince the honest student otherwise.  There is no direct indication in the Bible that these “other sheep” are referring only to true Christians who will not be part of the Little Flock.  Without further compelling evidence, insisting on a different interpretation is building a doctrine from a scripture taken out of context.  This reminds us of the Catholic Church misapplication of Matt 16:18 which says, “You are Peter, and on this rock-mass I will build my congregation, and the gates of Ha’des will not overpower it.” (NWT)  Based on an unsupportable misapplication of this text, the Catholic Church believes that the papacy represents an “unbroken” line of apostolic succession from Peter to the present day.

True Freedom

question-mark-manSIN AND ERROR

DO YOU KNOW:

That many who think that they are truly free are actually in bondage? That besides some in physical slavery, many are in real figurative bondage to drugs, illicit sex, alcohol, tobacco, witchcraft, Satanism, false religions, gambling, gluttony, sports, business, professions, etc., from which as figurative balls and chains they are unable to free themselves?

That man and woman were created by God to live forever on earth (Genesis 1:27, 28; 3:22) in true freedom from fear, hunger, want, sickness, old age, etc., and were to multiply and fill the earth with people living together in joy, peace, happiness, brotherhood and good will?

DO YOU KNOW:

That God made Adam and Eve lower than angels, with dominion over earth and the lower animals (Genesis 1:28; Psalms 8:4- 8), and told them they could eat fruit of the trees of the garden except one, and that if they ate of it they would surely die (Genesis 2:16, 17; 3:1- 5)?

That when they sinned by eating of this fruit, they lost their true freedom and fell into “the bondage of corruption,” into sin and death (Romans 5:12- 19; 8:20, 21), and that all their children, the human family, including you and me, were  born in sin and “shapen in iniquity,” under the death sentence (Psalms 51:5), without true freedom?

That God in His infinite Wisdom and Love made a great Plan, in which His only begotten Son, the mighty Logos, became human, “the man Christ Jesus,” and willingly laid down His life as a Ransom- price for Adam and all mankind, who  descended from him (Matthew 18:11; Romans 5:6- 8; John 1:14; 3:14- 17; Philippians 2:5- 11; 1 Timothy 2:4- 6; Hebrews 2:9- 14; 1 John 2:2)?

That God in His great love has arranged that any of us who recognize and are truly sorry for our sins and imperfections because of heredity through Adam and our own fault, can anywhere and anytime tell this to God in prayer and ask for  and receive forgiveness and justification (making right) and freedom from bondage to dead works through faith in Jesus and His great Ransom- sacrifice for us (Acts 4:10- 12; 16:31; 20:21; Romans 4:25; 5:1; Galatians 2:16; #Ep 2:8-10)?

That we are to accept our Jesus as Lord (Ruler or Controller) as well as Savior, in dedication, or consecration, to do God’s will to the best of our ability (Acts 2:36; 10:36; Hebrews 10:7)?

DO YOU KNOW:

That after we thus accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior we are “made free” from the bondage of sin and we become “servants of righteousness”- that “being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:18, 22, 23)?

That “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1)?

That as we begin “walking in newness of life” with Jesus Christ and progress, we will soon no longer be in bondage to drugs, alcohol, illicit sex, tobacco, gambling, witchcraft, Satanism, false religions, etc. (Romans 6:5; 2 Corinthians 5:17)?

That as God’s people were at one time in cruel bondage to Pharaoh in Egypt and were freed by Moses, So we were in cruel bondage to Satan, sin, error, selfishness and worldliness, but have freedom from their domination through our Lord Jesus, the great antitypical Moses?

That Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word [as its hearers, leaners, and obeyers], then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:32, 36; 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18)?

That it is necessary for those of us who are Jesus’ free “disciples indeed,” to “stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” in which we formerly were (Galatians 5:1), or some other deceptive entanglements?

DO YOU KNOW:

That Satan and his servants will promise us greater liberty if we follow their ways, but that “they themselves are the servants of corruption,” who will seek to entangle and enslave us again in the pollutions of the world, in our old bad habits, etc., like figurative balls and chains, and to cause us to return like a washed sow to wallowing in the mire (2 Peter 2:19- 22)?

That for those who in this time of evil and crookedness (Philippians 2:15, 16) hold on to their true freedom in Christ, and serve “as shining lights” in this present evil world, “holding forth the word of life,” God has special great favors in reservation in His coming “new heavens and new earth wherein dwells righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13)?

That these great Divine favors are far above God’s favors for mankind in general, that will be given to them in Christ’s 1,000- year Kingdom, when the whole groaning creation will be delivered ‘from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God,” and receive their Kingdom reward of everlasting life on earth (Romans 8:19- 23; Revelation 21:2- 4; 22:3)?

What Can a man Believe?

question-markWHAT can a man believe? A historian observed concerning the days of the French Revolution that it was “the best of times and the worst of times.” This expression quite aptly describes the religious situation In the world today. There has never been more religious freedom than there Is currently In the non- totalitarian world. Devotees of all faiths are allowed to proclaim their understanding of the Bible far and wide—over television, over the radio, by means of the printed page, and through personal witness work among their friends and neighbors.

On the other hand, there has never been So much confusion pertaining to the Christian faith as at the present time. From this standpoint It is undoubtedly “the worst of times” the world has ever experienced.

Certainly we have not yet reached that era when the “path of righteousness” is made So plain that “wayfaring men, though fools,” need not err therein. (Isaiah 35:8) Is there any certain way that a sincere, humble Christian might know with reasonable certainty that what he believes and serves is the truth?

The Apostle Paul gave good advice to the brethren at Thessalonica when he wrote, “Prove all things, hold fast that which Is good,” or as the New World Translation states, “Make sure of all things; hold fast to what Is right.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) This was wise counsel in Paul’s day, and it is equally appropriate and Important In these “last days,” when our  “adversary the Devil” Is still going about as a “roaring lion” seeking whom he may devour by false doctrines and otherwise.

There is only one way to “make sure of all things,” we believe, and that is to prove, or test, them by the Infallible Word of God, the Holy Bible.

Sincere Christians have been saying this for centuries. Teachers of the Bible in all denominations insist that this should be done, but It Is seldom hilly practiced. Each group has its textbooks, Its “quarterlies,” and in these, only those portions of the Holy Bible are cited which it is thought are In agreement with the views of the group In question. Quite generally, however, the students using these helps conclude that they are becoming acquainted with the entire testimony of the Holy Bible with respect to the topics studied.

So If we are to “make sure of all things” a most Important consideration is to “make sure” that we are using the entire Bible, not just those portions which have been Interpreted for us. Recently we came across an example of what we mean In this respect. In a publication designed to be a help to Bible study we noticed that a number of texts from the Holy Bible were quoted in an effort to disprove the restoration of natural Israel to the Promised Land and to favor with God. One of the texts quoted was Romans 11:7,8, which reads, “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained It, and the rest were blinded (according as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.”

From reading this passage the student was expected to get the impression that the unbelieving Israelites of Jesus’ day were Irrevocably and forever cast off from divine favor. But what a different impression is left in the mind when Paul’s full lesson on the topic is considered! Beginning with verse 25 of the same chapter, we read: “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise In your own conceits; that blindness In part Is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come In. And So all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is my covenant with them when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: even So have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief that he might have mercy upon all.”—Ro 11:25- 32

It is equally important to make sure that the translation of the Scriptures we are asked to use Is true to the Hebrew or Greek text. We know how many have been held In fear of eternal torment through mistranslations of the Hebrew word Sheol, and the Greek words hades and Gehenna. The King James translation of the Holy Bible is not the only faulty one.

We recently saw a translation of Romans 5:18 and of 1 Timothy 2:4 which uses the expression “all kinds of men” In these texts, which, as written by the Apostle Paul, So unequivocally state that Jesus died to ransom all mankind from death. There are no words at all in these Greek texts to warrant the use of the expression “all kinds of men.” A glance at the word- for- word translation In the Emphatic Diaglott will prove this to every earnest seeker after truth.

Yes, it Is important that we prove all things by the pure Word of God, regardless of the source of our information.  Almost without exception the contradictory beliefs now being proclaimed to a confused world have one thing in common, which is the use of fear as a method of making converts. It may be fear of eternal torture, fear of death in Armageddon, or fear of something else. The Grace of Jehovah endeavors to exalt the love of God.

Are Christians to be Witnesses for Jehovah or Jesus?

witnesses of Jehovah There is not a single scripture that calls Christians witnesses of Jehovah. On the other hand Christians are commissioned to be “witnesses of Jesus” (Acts 1:8; Rev. 20:4) and “ambassadors of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20). The commission given by Jesus was to be his witnesses by preaching the Gospel – Matt. 24:14.

The Jews witnessed for Jehovah not because they preached God’s Word, but because God revealed His glory by the miraculous manner in which he dealt with them.

In Isaiah, God tells Israel, “Ye are my witnesses.” (43 & 44). In these two chapters, Isaiah establishes five historic facts concerning who are “Witnesses” of Jehovah.

The “Witnesses” of Jehovah…

Were delivered from the land of Egypt (43:3)

Offered animal sacrifices to the Lord (43:23)

Transgressed the Law Covenant (43:24,25)

Are forgiven for the Lord’s sake (43:25)

Are being regathered from all over the world to the Holy Land (43:5,6)

These five identifications are true of only the Jews! It is clear that the Jews, the “ancient people,” “my chosen” are the real “Witnesses” of Jehovah. – 44:7; 43:20

Some conclude that the Jews have long forfeited this title, the last scriptural assertion concerning the “Witnesses” of Jehovah was a prophecy that is only now in the process of fulfillment. The Jews are being regathered from all over the world to the Land of Israel. Their regathering has been motivated by more than just religious fervor, the Bible reveals that after the Jews are regathered in their Land, then the Lord will bring them through experiences that will gradually increase their faith and enkindle a true religious vitality that will reach their “inward parts” and fit them for their special role in God’s Kingdom on earth (Isa. 2:1-4).

The Jews are “Witnesses” of Jehovah from two standpoints. First, God has revealed His power and glory by the miraculous manner in which He has dealt with them (Isa. 43:9-12). God delivered them from Egypt, led them through the Red Sea, sustained them in the wilderness, led them through the River Jordan, gave them the land of Canaan and made them a nation. During their chastening and dispersion, the phenomenal preservation of the people of Israel over the centuries as a distinct and homogeneous people among nations is itself a miracle of history. They have left blood-stained footprints of martyrdom in every nation they have trod. Neither persecution, nor famine, nor any other force was able to cause them to be assimilated. However, after 2,000 years—contrary to every pattern of history—they are re-established in their homeland, an independent nation. Surely the Lord’s power and glory has been witnessed through this people!

The second way they are “Witnesses” of Jehovah is how their history proves the validity of God’s Word-the Bible. Every detail of their history has been prophesied and fulfilled, or is in the process of fulfillment. Their original establishment as a nation, their destruction as a nation and dispersion as a people, their regathering, the circumstances of their regathering, their future role—all were prophesied in the Bible. All this detailed fulfillment is an extraordinary witness to the immutability of God’s Word. Therefore, these are the reasons why the Lord has said of the Jew, “YE ARE MY WITNESSES, SAITH JEHOVAH.”

The JWs today, like other replacement theology believing Christians do not see any special future for the Jews. However, “from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Ro. 11:28,29). Since God promised that the Seed of Abraham would inherit the Land and bless all the families of the earth (Gen. 22:18,19; Jer. 32:41; Isa. 2:2,3) what right have Christians to annul this promise? These blessings were never forfeited. These promises are forever. – Amos 9:14,15

If we say God has cancelled his promises to the Jews, what confidence can we have in His promises to Christians?

Are the Jehovah’s Witnesses Organizational Structure like the Early Church?

raised-handsActually, there is no denominational church today that is structured like the Early Church.  The Early Watchtower actually was structured like the Early Church, but Rutherford changed that after Russell’s death.  Bible Students today still structure their congregations in this Biblical manner.

According to the Bible, the election of elders by Holy Spirit anointed congregational members was practiced in the Early Church.  The eventual elimination of this practice gradually led to Elders becoming the Lord’s of the Church, rather than its servants and it opened the way for the development of the Papal system which suppressed Christian liberty.

Paul and Barnabas went around to all the churches and conducted the election of Elders.  Acts 14: 23 (Weymouth) says, ”And in every Church, after prayer and fasting, they selected Elders by show of hands, and commended them to the Lord on whom their faith rested.  Other translations, like Rotherham and Young’s Literal translation say, “appointed to them by vote elders in every assembly.”    RVIC Revised Version Improved and Corrected says, “elected elders.”

Most translators confuse the reader by mis-translating the Greek word (Strong’s 5500) as”ordain.”  Yet the real meaning of the word cannot be hidden in 2 Corinthians  where Paul speaks of a brother who was elected by the churches to travel with him:  2 Cor 8:19 (Weymouth ) “… he is the one who was chosen by the vote of the Churches to travel with us…

In another example, we recall that the Apostles asked the Jerusalem Church to select seven deacons.  Acts 6:3 Weymouth says, “Therefore, brethren, pick out from among yourselves seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, and we will appoint them to undertake this duty.”  Certainly, no one would have challenged the Apostles had they exerted their influence to appoint deacons themselves.  Yet instead they humbly asked the Congregation to make this selection.

The Apostles never attempted to assert authoritative rule over the Congregations, even though Freedom and Christian Liberty in the Churches was so strong that it created great problems for the Apostles.

In 3 John 1 (Phillips), the Apostle John said, “9 I did write a letter to the church, but Diotrephes, who wants to be head of everything, does not recognise us!  10  If I do come to you, I shall not forget his actions nor the slanderous things he has said in spite against us. And it doesn’t stop there, for he refuses to welcome the brothers himself, and stops those who would like to do so—he even excommunicates them!

Is the JW Governing Body more like the Apostle John or Diotrephes?

Paul’s humility is very evident in his plea to the Corinthian brethren in 2 Cor10:1 (NKJV) where he says, ”Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ — who in presence am lowly among you…“

Paul did not try to force his will upon the Church.  He did not lord it over the Church, but in their presence was humble and lowly.

In 1 Thess 2 (NASV), Paul says, ”6 nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority. 7 But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. 8 Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.

Speaking of himself and the other Apostles, Paul says in 1 Cor 4 (NKJV) ”11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world….”  Does the JW Governing Body live like Kings or like the Apostles?

Considering the humble condition and circumstance faced daily by the Apostles, we should feel privileged with even the lowliest of services for the Lord, the Truth and the brethren.

Paul lamented, 2 Tim 1:15 (NIV), ”You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes…”

2 Tim 4:16 (NAS), ”At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me...”

The Apostles suffered much in order to lead the Early Church by example, gentleness and love, even though they could have made things easy for themselves by implementing an iron rule.

The early church was able to resist the encroachments of power hungry leaders.  Rev 2:6 says of the first (Early) Church, “But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”    The word Nicolans means “A conqueror or lord of the people.”  These are those who lord it over the Lord’s heritage. (1 Pet. 5:3)

Yet by the third Church period (Approx 311 to 700 AD), this oppressive influence began to take over the Church.  Rev 2:14, 15 (NKJV) “ But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam…  you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.”  Yes, “while men [the apostles] slept [in death], the enemy [Satan] sowed tares [imitation Christians] amount the wheat [true Christians].” (Matt 13:25)

You can read more about how the Early Watchtower was structured like the early church from C.T. Russell’s own words here: 

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WHAT DO COMMENTARIES SAY?

Since Ordaining ministers is common practice in denominational churches, it would be amazing to find any of their authorities conceding that Strongs 5500 can be translated to “vote” or ”elect,” yet the historical definition of the word in early literature is so clear that it cannot be ignored.  The following commentators concede the meaning, yet some try to maneuver out of the concession by rationalizing that the meaning of the word was changed by the apostles.

BARNES NOTES
er. 23. And when they had ordained. ceirotonhsantev. The word ordain we now use in an ecclesiastical sense, to denote a setting apart to an office by the imposition of hands.  But it is evident that the word here is not employed in that sense.  That imposition of hands might have occurred in setting apart afterwards to this office is certainly possible, but it is not implied in the word employed here, and did not take place in the transaction to which this word refers. The word occurs but in one other place in the New Testament, {#2Co 8:19} where it is applied to Luke, and translated, “who was also chosen of the church, (i.e. appointed or elected by suffrage by the churches,) to travel with us,” etc. The verb properly denotes to stretch out the hand; and as it was customary to elect to office, or to vote, by stretching out or elevating the hand, so the word simply means to elect, appoint, or designate to any office. The word here refers simply to an election or appointment of the elders.  It is said, indeed, that Paul and Barnabas did this. But probably all that is meant by it is, that they presided in the assembly when the choice was made.  It does not mean that they appointed them without consulting the church; but it evidently means that they appointed them in the usual way of appointing officers, by the suffrages of the people. See Schleusner, and the notes of Doddridge and Calvin.

JFP – JAMIESON, FAUSSET & BROWN
Acts 14:23, 24. when they had ordained them elders—literally, “chosen by showof hands.” But as that would imply that this was done by the apostles’ own hands, many render the word, as in our version, “ordained.” Still, as there is no evidence in the New Testament that the word had then lost its proper meaning, as this is beyond doubt its meaning in #2Co 8:19, and as there is indisputable evidence that the concurrence of the people was required in all elections to sacred office in the earliest ages of the Church, it is perhaps better to understand the words to mean, “when they had made a choice of elders,” that is, superintended such choice on the part of the disciples.

THE PULPIT COMMENTARY
Appointed for them for ordained them, A.V.
(ceirotonhsantev); had believed for believed, A.V. The original meaning of ceirotonew is “to stretch out the hand,” and the substantive ceirotonia is used in the LXX of #Isa 58:9 for “the putting forth of the finger” of the A.V.  But the common meaning of the verb is “to vote by stretching out the hand” and hence “to elect” by a show of hands, {#2Co 8:19} or simply “to appoint,” without any reference to voting.  In the choice of an apostle the election was by lot, {#Ac 1:26} in the appointment of deacons the choice was by the people, how indicated we are not told; {#Ac 6:5} the question here, on which commentators disagree, is whether the use of the word ceirotonew indicates voting by the people, selection by the apostles, or simple creation or appointment. As ceirotonhsantev is predicated of Paul and Barnabas, it cannot possibly refer to voting by the people, who are included in the able, as those on whose behalf the ceirotonia was made. It seems simplest and most in accordance with the classical use of the word and its use (innoiv), #Ac 10:41 (prokeceirotonhme) to take it in the sense of creation or appointment (see Steph., ‘Thesaur.’).  There is no reference to the laying on of hands.  Elders. see #Ac 11:30, note; #Ac 20:17; and especiallyterov #Tit 1:5,7, where we see that presbu was synonymous with ejpiskopov.  From presbuterov is formed prestos, priest, in French prestre, pretre. Comp. #Ac 13:3, for fasting and prayer as accompaniments of ordination.  Hence in the Church ordinations are preceded by the Ember days. They commended them to the Lord. {comp. #Ac 20:32}  In ver. 26 the word used is paradedomenoi.

CALVIN’S COMMENTARIES
Had ordained by election. The Greek word ceirotonein doth signify to decree, or ordain a thing, by lifting up the hands, as they used to do in the assemblies of the people. Notwithstanding, the ecclesiastical writers do often use the word ceirotoneia, in another sense; to wit, for their [the] solemn rite of ordaining, which is called in Scripture laying on of hands. Furthermore, by this manner of speech is very excellently expressed the right way to ordain pastors. Paul and Barnabas are said to choose {2} elders. Do they this alone by their private office? {3} Nay, rather they suffer the matter to be decided by the consent of them all. {4} Therefore, in ordaining pastors the people had their free election, but lest there should any tumult arise, Paul and Barnabas sit as chief moderators. Thus must the decree of the council of Laodicea be understood, which forbiddeth that the people have liberty granted them to elect. {5}

J. A. ALEXANDER COMMENTARY
And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord on whom they believed.  Besides these exhortations of instructions, they gave their converts a distinct organization as societies or churches. The meaning of the word ordained has been the subject of protracted and vehement dispute between Presbyterian and Episcopal interpreters. The latter grant that the original etymological import of the Greek word is to vote by stretching out the hand, but they contend that usage had so modified its meaning as to generate the secondary sense of choosing or appointing, without any reference to votes or popular election; and this they insist upon as the unquestionable use of the word here, where the act is predicated, not of the people but of Paul and Barnabas, who cannot be supposed to have voted for these elders with the outstretched hand.  Some go further and adopt the patristical usage of the word to denote imposition of hands, as the ordaining act; but this is commonly agreed to be an ecclesiastical usage of the word long posterior in date to the times of the Apostles. The opposite extreme is that of making the word here denote, directly and exclusively, the act of suffrage or election by the people.  To meet the objection, which has been already stated, that the act described is not that of the people, but of Paul and Barnabas, some modify this explanation of the term, so as to make it mean that Paul and Barnabas appointed or ordained the elders chosen by the people. The philological objection to this modification, that the same verb cannot denote both these processes at once, can only be removed by taking one step further and thus reaching the true mean between the opposite extremes. This middle ground is, that the verb itself, expressing as it clearly does the act of Paul and Barnabas, can only mean that they appointed or ordained these elders, without determining the mode of election or the form of ordination; but that the use of this particular expression, which originally signified the vote of an assembly, does suffice to justify us in supposing that the method of selection was the same as that recorded (not in #Ac 1:26, where the election was by lot and by direct divine authority, but) in #Ac 6:5,6, where it is explicitly recorded that the people chose the seven and the twelve ordained them.

JOHN GILL’S EXPOSITOR
Ver. 23. And when they had ordained them elders in every church, &c.] As soon as ever any number of disciples were made, or souls were converted to Christ in any place, they were at once formed, by the apostles, into a church state; and as the gifts, as well as the grace of the Holy Ghost, attended the ministry of the word, so among those that were converted, there were some that were honoured with ministerial gifts, qualifying them to preach the Gospel, and take upon them the care of the churches: these the apostles directed the churches to look out from among themselves, as in the case of deacons, an inferior office, who by joint suffrages declared their choice of them by the stretching out, or lifting up of their hands, as the word here used signifies, and not the imposition of them; and the apostles presiding in this affair, they were installed into the office of bishops, elders, or pastors over them; which expresses the great regard the apostles had to the order, as well as to the doctrine of the Gospel, and the concern they had for the welfare of souls converted under their ministry, by making a provision for them when they were gone.

CLARK’S COMMENTARY
Anciently, the choice or suffrage was called cheirotonia; for, when it was lawful for the multitude in their cities to choose their priests or bishops, they met together, and some chose one man, some another; but, that it might appear whose suffrage won, they say the electors did use ekteinein tav ceirav, to stretch forth their hands, and by their hands so stretched forth, or up, they were numbered who chose the one, and who the other; and him who was elected by the most suffrages they placed in the high priesthood. And from hence was the name cheirotonia taken, which the fathers of the councils are found to have used, calling their suffrage cheirotonia.’ St. Paul, {#2Co 8:19}, intimates that St. Luke was thus appointed to travel with him ceirotonhyeiv upo twn ekklhsiwn, who was chosen of the Churches.  Ignatius, in his epistle to the Philadelphians, uses the same term, prepon estin umin, wv ekklhsia yeou, ceirotonhsai episkopon, ye ought, as a Church of God, to choose your bishop.” Much more on this subject may be seen in Sir Norton Knatchbull, who contends that cheirotonia implies simply appointment or election, but not what he calls ordination by the imposition of hands. I believe the simple truth to be this, that in ancient times the people chose by the cheirotonia (lifting up of hands) their spiritual pastor; and the rulers of the Church, whether apostles or others, appointed that person to his office by the cheirothesia, or imposition of hands; and perhaps each of these was thought to be equally necessary: the Church agreeing in the election of the person; and the rulers of the Church appointing, by imposition of hands, the person thus elected. See note on “Ac 6:6″.

MATHIEW POOLE’S COMMENTARY
Acts 14:23. Ordained;  the word properly signifies a stretching out of the hand, such as was used when they gave their suffrages in the election of their magistrates, whereby was showed for whom they gave their voice; and afterwards it was commonly used for to constitute or appoint, or, as here, to ordain to any office or place; which might the rather be done by stretching out or laying on of the hands of the apostles, because by that means the Holy Ghost (or a power of working miracles) was frequently bestowed, #Ac 8:17,18, which in those times was necessary to authorize their doctrine to the infidel world.

PNT PEOPLE NEW TESTAMENT NOTES
And when they had ordained them elders. Observe (1) that elders were not appointed as soon as the churches were planted; time must be taken so as to know what men were fitted for the office; (2) that elders were not appointed to preside over a district, but “in every church”; (3) that there was a plurality; (4) that they were set apart with fasting, prayer, and imposition of hands. It is not here stated who selected the men, but from #Ac 6:6 we would infer that they were chosen by the church under the advice of the apostles.

COFFMAN’S COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE
Appointed…
Arguments based on this word which would require elders to be voted upon are not valid. As MacGreggor noted: The word ‘appointed’ means literally ‘chose by show of hands’ and, strictly speaking, should imply some form of popular voting.  But it had come to be used of choice in general without reference to the means.

WEYMOUTH:   selected elders by show of hands

The Watchtower Society: The Channel of God?

make-you-free“The truth will set you free!” John 8:32

JESUS MADE a true statement in John 8:32 when he said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Jesus said those words to the Jews who believed on him, but also in the hearing of the Scribes and Pharisees who wanted to kill him. The question then arises, how were those Jews who believed on him to be made free? Free from what? As they said, they were not in bondage to anyone. But we ask, were they really free?

It seems quite clear that Jesus was referring to the traditions and teachings of the Pharisees. As he pointed out in the 23rd chapter of Matthew, though they claimed to sit in Moses’ seat, they did not follow the teachings of Moses, but bound up heavy loads on men. Claiming to sit in Moses’ seat, and that Abraham was their father, they took the position that they were the successors of Moses and Abraham by Jehovah’s arrangement. Therefore, whatever interpretation they put upon the law was to be accepted as though from God.

That position and attitude has prevailed these many years even to this day. It was shortly after the Apostles passed from the scene that the Catholic Church came into existence. They took that same position: that now they were the channel by which the great God Jehovah was dealing with his people. They claimed that Peter was the first Pope, that from that time all Popes were successors to Peter, and whatever the Catholic Church was to bind on earth was to be bound in heaven. If one were to sin against or disagree with them on spiritual matters, that one was considered sinning against God Many Protestant churches have made similar claims.

A Channel of God?

Today we have yet another organization making the same claim, i.e., that they are the channel by which Jehovah God is now dealing with his people. That channel is what this organization likes to call “the faithful and discrete slave class” who in turn use the Watchtower Bible & Tract  Society to publish what it likes to call “the truth” or “newly revealed truth from Jehovah God.”

That the Watchtower Society takes the position that it is used by Jehovah by and through this “faithful and discrete slave class” is well documented in its publications. It says this class is in fulfillment of Matt. 24:45-47, and that Jehovah God is now using them to disseminate Bible truths by and through the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society and by the use of the Watchtower magazine. (See The Watchtower, 1963, page 338, par. 17).

The Watchtower, 1958, pages 485-488, under the heading “The Watchtower Society in God’s Purpose,” endeavors to relate the “Society” with Jehovah’s channel of communication, starting with Abel down through the Apostles and then to our day culminating with the “Society.” Even stronger words are used in The Watchtower, 1952, page 79, par. 10, in which it states “… God interprets and teaches, through Christ the chief servant, who in turn uses the discrete slave as the visible channel…” meaning of course the “Society.” On that same page in par. 11, it further states “. . . The truths we publish are the ones provided through the discrete slave class or organization …”

Stronger yet, is a statement made in The Watchtower, 1965, page 351, in answer to a “Question from readers” which asks the question, “How can it be said that God’s visible organization was made strictly Theocratic in structure by 1938?…” In summary, their answer is that by 1932 The Watchtower Society began to be controlled by God or was God ruled and by 1938 was fully God ruled or fully Theocratic.

By their own claim, all scriptural explanation comes from Jehovah God and is published in The Watchtower. Now if this be true, then there will be no contradiction or changing of explanation from one Watchtower to another. Stated another way, what was published as truth since 1938 must still be truth today. (Mal. 3:6)

An Unchanging Organization?

With this thought in mind, let us go on to see if the facts support their contention. Is the Watchtower Society (Channel) indeed as unchanging as the God it claims to represent? In the book entitled “Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose,” written in dialogue fashion, on page 14, mention is made that for the first time, in 1929, the Watchtower made known to their people the true meaning of Rom. 13:1-7; namely that Paul in this scripture was not referring to the governments of this world, but was referring to Jehovah God and Christ Jesus.

And in the book “Let God Be Tine” written in 1952, published by the Watch Tower Society, we read on page 248, referring to Rom. 13:1-7: “The higher powers there mentioned are the principal ruling factors of God’s congregation, namely, the invisible governing body of God’s kingdom …”

Again, in The Watchtower, 1952, page 375, par. 6, we read: “The Superior authorities Paul is speaking of could not refer to the political powers of Caesar governments. In the scriptures at Rev. 13:2. NW, the Bible specifically states that Satan is the one who has empowered and authorized the old world Caesars. Hence the superior authorities in Rom. 13 which God commissions include only the theocratic ruling authorities and exclude Caesar’s authorities. . .”

But now note what was written in The Watchtower, 1962, page 683, par. 7, discussing this same subject. “…Paul is telling God’s holy ones how to conduct themselves among men outside ‘the Christian congregation, ‘all men’ including even an enemy who does evil to Christians, hence an individual found outside the congregation, not inside, then, right afterwards, Paul passes on to his discussion of the ‘Superior Authorities’ and thus has his sights focused on, not what is inside the congregation, but what is outside it. So the ‘Superior Authorities’ have their setting logically in the world outside the congregation … *”

 Not Founded By Pastor C. T. Russell

Note the asterisk at the end of the quote, which refers to a footnote at the bottom of the page. That footnote refers to “The Divine Plan of the Ages” a book written in 1886 by the founder of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, Charles Taze Russell. The reference is to page 266 which gives in effect the same explanation now given by The Watchtower of 1962 on Rom. 13:1-7.

We note here, that the claim is absolutely untrue Jehovah’s Witnesses were founded by C. T. Russell. He died in 1916. Jehovah’s Witnesses, per se, were founded in 1931 by none other than J. F. Rutherford who radically changed name and doctrine beyond recognition and substituted instead his own theology. That theology has become the very basis of the Witnesses’ teaching today. A greater detail as to the many doctrinal changes will follow in our Part Two – A Refutation of Selected Doctrines of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

For decades Charles Taze Russell’s legacy has been associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses in published accounts that inaccurately list him as their founder. In 1997, Professor David S. Doran corrected the matter by writing the editor of The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia and delivering a more accurate account of Brother Charles Taze Russell’s life. Through Professor Doran’s efforts, the second edition presenting the truth was published in 1998 and reflects these changes. We quote as follows:

“Russell, Charles Taze , known as Pastor Russell (1852-1916). Religious leader, founder of what is commonly called the “Bible Student Movement,” born in Pittsburgh, PA. As a Congregationalist, he struggled with the concept of eternal torment, his subsequent studies leading him to conclude that the Biblical hell is oblivion, that the millennium began in 1874, and that a period of social and political upheaval would lead to a peaceable kingdom on earth. After his death, many followers abandoned his Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (1879), which under the leadership of Joseph Rutherford moved in other directions and ultimately — became known as Jehovah’s Witnesses (1931).” — Bible Students Newsletter, p. 7, Spring, 1999

 Watchtower Structure Changes

“A press release issued Tuesday (October 14, 2000) by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania Inc., as the Witnesses are officially called, talked about “revisions” in legal structure and said that they were dictated by the need to keep pace with growth.” “Some ‘revisions.’ The president resigned, the ruling Governing Body was stripped of its legal power, and three new corporations were set up to run the society’s U.S. operations. Milton Henschel, 80, the fifth president, stepped down after eight years, along with six other directors of the Watchtower Society. He remains a member of the Governing Body, which had run the 5.9- million member society with an absolutist hand.”

“The Governing Body was not abolished, but under the new setup, it will oversee only religious affairs, among them Bible doctrine, evangelization and pastoral care. Henschel’s successor as chief legal officer is Don Adams, 75, a longtime insider who has spent 54 years at the world headquarters in Brooklyn Heights.”

“But, even more significant than the change at the top was the corporate realignment, with three new not-for-profits formed to assume control of U.S. legal and administrative operations. One will oversee construction of houses of worship and technical assistance. Another will supervise personnel. A third will direct a wide range of congregational services. “I don’t believe Witnesses look to any one person now as their leader,” Pellechia said.”  From: News and Views | City Beat | Saturday, October 14, 2000

What would one suppose the reason for this momentous change might be? Could it be that they are being accused of having a central head and that they don’t wish to be identified in this way? After all, the accusation was made by the Society in the past that Bible Students were following after a man, Charles Taze Russell who dressed in haberdasher’s fashions and presented out-of-date teachings from the Bible, whereas they continued to progress in “New light?” They have restructured with multitudinous corporations and have continued their “Governing Body,” that makes all the rulings in matters of faith directly under Christ and by His Spirit. How Can this be? As you will see in the succeeding pages, there have been many changes backward and forward on the doctrines of the Watchtower as published in its pages.

The above changes were not subject to the vote of the congregations. They were just told that this is the way it is now going to be. There will be no central head. There will only be the governing body who will make all decisions in religious matters. The Watchtower organization rules with absolutist power – “an absolutist hand” – and this has not changed. You knew where things were coming from with one at the top; but with this change you are left in the dark as to who made the ruling or changes. This is not God’s way. His way is clearly outlined in His Word – it is the rule of the congregation – Laodicea. (Rev. 3:14-22)

The Elders, and not autocrats, are chosen by the Congregations after a democratic fashion according to their recognized Spirituality and submission to righteous requirements. (1Timothy 3:1-13) They are not “appointed in every place” except to begin the ecclesia arrangement which was new at that time and the Apostles were specially guided by the Holy Spirit. They were the ones upon whom the tongues of fire appeared. In our modern day, it becomes an excuse for the Society’s “flock” to render absolute control and obedience to an arranged program adopted by the leadership. You will not have any dissenters; for if they would dare to differ a trial would be called for, they would be disfelowshipped and would be looking in from the outside. This is very wrong and represents powerful control or domination. It is the same method as that adopted by the Roman Catholic Church.

If the “Channel” became cleansed in and after 1919, and was completely cleansed by 1938, and as stated in the Watchtower 1959, page 601, the elective Elders before that time were not mature or theocratic. Why does that channel now go back to the explanation given in 1886? What happened to that “Channel,” or its “governing body” from 1919 or 1938 to 1962? Had it or they been tuned to the wrong station?

Paradise Earth, is it for Christians?

paradise-earthFor David is not ascended into the heavens.”—Acts 2:34

The Old Testament Scriptures we accept as of equal authority with the New Testament, because Jesus and the Apostles so accepted them, and indeed based all of their teachings upon them. The false impression which has gone abroad amongst Christian people, that the Old Testament Scriptures are obsolete, that their predictions have all been fulfilled, is very erroneous. This has greatly hindered Bible study, and has paved the way to grievous errors. It should be remembered that the Old Testament represents the only Divine revelation made to man during the 4158 years from the creation to the time when Jesus at His baptism was proclaimed “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.”

In all the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi, not a single suggestion is offered of a change of nature from human to spiritual, nor of any other heaven than that which God had originally provided for man—the Garden of Eden. The hopes inspired in Israel by the Divine promises pointed them forward to the time when God’s blessing would obliterate the curse of sin and death and uplift mankind from present degradation, back to the original perfection. The Seed of the woman, it was promised, should ultimately “crush the Serpent’s head,” destroying the evil that is in the world, and establishing a reign of righteousness instead of the reign of sin and death. Messiah, as Emmanuel, would bring these great blessings to Israel; and, through Israel, they would be spread amongst all nations by Divine power. Paradise, lost through disobedience, will be restored by Messiah.

Instead of expecting a change of nature from human to spiritual, the teachings of the Old Testament led the Israelites to expect that God would make no change from His original purpose. He made not the earth to be destroyed by fire nor to be perpetually under the cloud of sin and death (Ecc. 1:4). He formed it to be inhabited by a human race, in His own image and likeness, Adam in his original purity being a sample.

DAVID’S SOUL IN HELL

As the Old Testament tells nothing about a heavenly condition, likewise it tells nothing about a hell of fire or torment. Such devilish theories were invented by the heathen, from whom many Christians have since absorbed more or less of the false doctrines. The Law and the Prophets do refer to hell some sixty-six times, but the hell which they teach is the grave, the tomb, the state of death. From first to last all mankind, both good and bad, go to hell, sheol, the tomb. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the Prophets died without giving the slightest intimation of Purgatorial suffering for anybody, or a hell of eternal torture.

The writers of the New Testament were also Jews, and it might here be noted that nowhere did they describe the Hell and Purgatory which we Protestants and Catholics conjured up during the Dark Ages. The New Testament, written in Greek, is in full accord with the Old Testament, written in Hebrew—the sheol of the latter is the hades of the former. Unfortunately our translators have, in the English Bible, mixed things up in a terrible fashion, giving us hell and pit and grave as synonymous interpretations of sheol and hades. “Orthodoxy” made hell fiery and thus our eyes of understanding have been darkened through the machinations of our great Adversary, “the Prince of darkness.”

But all this demoniacal misrepresentation of the Divine character and Plan is soon to be scattered. The morning is at hand; the Prince of Light, the Savior, Messiah and His glorious Church, will soon shine forth as the Sun in the Kingdom of the Father, while Satan will be bound for that thousand years that he may deceive the people no more. “Then all the blind eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears shall be unstopped,” and “the knowledge of the glory of the Lord shall fill the whole earth;” and “to Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, to the glory of God.”

SLEPT WITH HIS FATHERS

All through the Scriptures natural sleep is used as a figure for death, as the present time of the reign of sin is represented as a night time, and the coming reign of Messiah is prophetically described as the morning of a New Day, a New Epoch. “Weeping may endure for a night” wrote David. The night has lasted for six thousand years; the New Day is the seventh-thousand, the Sabbath of the great week. It will be the awakening time, as the six thousand years of the reign of sin and sorrow are the time in which our race has been going down into death—into the deep sleep from which none will come forth except by the call of Messiah.

The penalty of death upon our race would have blotted us out of existence like the brute beasts had not God’s mercy from the beginning made provision for a Redeemer and for His Church and Joint-heir; and for the Messianic Kingdom; and for the resurrection, the awakening of all mankind, through this Kingdom. It was in view of that hope of a resurrection of the dead that believers spoke of their deceased friends as falling asleep.

This expression is used frequently in the New Testament. St. Stephen fell asleep in death; St. Paul, having in mind the great work of Christ on behalf of the world and the eventual awakening of all, declared that believers need not sorrow as others over the death of their friends and neighbors, but might realize that all “sleep in Jesus,” and that eventually God, through Him, will bring to pass the general awakening of the dead, all of whom are yet to be brought to a knowledge of the truth.

Wel quote the Scripture, “Abraham slept with his fathers,” and declare that Abraham’s fathers were heathen. We call attention to the fact that good and bad, kings and princes and others, are, in the Scriptures, declared to have fallen asleep. So it was with David. These all slept in the Bible hell—in the tomb. They are all unconscious; as the Scriptures declare, “The dead know not anything; their sons come to honor and they know it not; they come to dishonor and they perceive it not of them”; “There is neither wisdom nor knowledge nor device in sheol (hell, the grave) whither thou goest”—whither all go (Job 14:21; Ecc. 9:10).

THOU WILT NOT LEAVE MY SOUL IN SHEOL

The Prophet David declared his faith in a resurrection of the dead when he wrote, “Thou wilt not leave My Soul in hell (sheol, the grave), nor suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psa. 16:10). St. Peter (Acts 2:25-31) calls our attention to the fact that the Prophet David did see corruption, and hence that this statement was not in regard to himself but Jesus—that the soul of Jesus was not left in sheol (Greek, hades); and, additionally, the flesh of Jesus was not allowed to corrupt.

St. Peter was pointing out the fulfillment of this prophecy of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead on the third day, when he made use of our text, “David is not ascended into the heavens;… his sepulchre is with us unto this day.” St. Peter’s argument is that David was in his sepulchre and was still dead, but that his words were a prophetic reference to Jesus’ resurrection.

Many Christian people repeat every Sunday what is styled the Apostles’ Creed, which declares the crucifixion and death of Jesus and His descent into hell—into hades—and that “God raised Him from the dead on the third day.” All intelligent Christians understand that the hell to which Jesus went was not Purgatory nor a place of eternal suffering, but the grave, sheol, the tomb, the state of death. This is proved to be the Apostle’s thought by the words, “God raised Him from the dead, for it was not possible that He should be holden” of death.

DAVID WILL NOT GO TO HEAVEN

King David will not go to heaven, and he will not desire to go to heaven, for the same reason that a fish has no desire to perch upon the limb of a tree nor a bird to make its home under the water. As these animals have natures distinct and are adapted to the conditions which God has provided, so the nature of man, even when brought to human perfection, will enjoy and appreciate more the earthly blessings which God has provided for him than he would enjoy the heavenly blessings which God has provided for the Elect “little flock”—”the Church of the First-Borns” (Heb. 12:23). The reason for this is plain when we remember the Apostle’s words. He declares, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know (appreciate) them, for they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14). Only those who have been begotten of the Holy Spirit are enabled to understand the deep things, the spiritual things of the Divine promise, and to rejoice therein as the Apostle explains (1 Cor. 2:9,10).

And even when thus Spirit-begotten and with their affections set on things above, the Lord’s consecrated “little flock” experience difficulty in keeping their affections of the Heavenly things and off of the earthly things, because the latter appeal to them continually through all of their earthly senses. They are therefore exhorted to “look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are unseen,” which “eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the great things which God has in reservation for those that love Him”—love Him more than they love houses or lands, parents or children, or self.

We can plainly see, then, that without this begetting of the Holy Spirit, which belongs, of course, to the servants and handmaidens of God during this Gospel Age, none are able to appreciate the things unseen. And hence the world of mankind in general, brought back to perfection—and all the way back, appreciating human perfection—will be willing not to sacrifice their earthly nature to obtain a heavenly, but will enjoy the earthly, under perfect conditions, in a Paradise restored (Isa. 35; Ezek. 37).

DAVID WAS A PROPHET

On a previous occasion we saw the teaching of the Scriptures to be that the first to be blessed by Messiah’s Kingdom will be the Ancient Worthies—Enoch, Abraham, Moses, David, and the Prophets—and that these will be made Princes in the earth. As one of these Princes, the Prophet David will have a very glorious station. His long career, his “ups and downs,” said the Pastor, show us the lights and shadows of the Prophet’s character more particularly, perhaps, than in the case of any other Bible character. And they show us a noble character, despite David’s human weaknesses and the frailties of his flesh, augmented in power by his kingly office and the misconceptions of kingly prerogatives which prevailed in his day.

The beautiful traits of the character of David on account of which he was declared to be, not a “new creature,” not a “son of God,” not an “heir of God and joint-heir with Messiah,” but “a man after God’s own heart”—these traits were his loyal obedience and his repentance of everything which in any degree was displeasing to God and interrupted the fellowship Divine.

God’s Spirit-begotten children may not, therefore, take the Prophet David or any of the Ancients as their pattern. Only Spirit-begotten ones can serve as examples to the Church. They should walk in the footsteps of Jesus, and may even take the Apostles and other faithful brethren for examples. The Apostle, however, suggests that the Church may look back with profit upon the Worthies of the past, to note their degree of faith in God and their obedience to that faith. St. Paul, however, explicitly reminds us that God has provided some better thing for us—the Church—that the Ancient Worthies, without us (members of the Messiah), cannot be made perfect (Heb. 11:38-40).

JOINT-HEIRSHIP WITH CHRIST THE BETTER THING RESERVED FOR CHRISTIANS

The “better thing” reserved “for us” who are called of Godduring this Gospel Age is the joint-heirship with Christ, Jehovah’s Only-Begotten Son and Heir of all things, the partaking with Him in all His future work for the blessing of God’s intelligent creation. Therefore it is, as the Apostle states, that the reward of the Ancient Worthies tarries until first the overcoming Gospel Church is exalted to the throne with Christ in the dawn of the New Dispensation, now so close at hand. As soon as the spiritual phase of the Kingdom is established in power the setting up of the human phase will begin. In humble recognition, therefore, of the Divine purpose and order in the superior exaltation of the Gospel Church, we repeat the Apostle’s statement that “they (those noble, loyal, righteous, faithful Ancient Worthies) without us shall not be made perfect.”

But as to whether we shall be numbered among the “us” depends upon our successful running of the race set before us. Surely, no less faithfulness and nobility of character can be expected of us than of those who ran for the earthly prize. And since all the blessings of God’s Plan—the exaltation of the Ancient Worthies, the liberation of the whole world from the bondage of sin and death and the final judgment of angels—await the manifestation of the spiritual sons of God, the Gospel Church, therefore the Apostle (chapter 12), in forceful metaphor, points us back to those Ancient worthies as a stimulus for faith and zeal, saying:—

“Therefore also we, being compassed about with so great a cloud of martyrs (Greek marturon—who so nobly witnessed for God and righteousness), let us (emulate them and) lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the (higher, heavenly) race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus, our Ransomer, is also our Forerunner and Pattern in this race. He ran successfully, and, in consequence, is even now at the right hand of the throne of God, whither we also may go to Him.

Jesus’ way to the crown was the way of the shameful cross, and He said, If any man love Me, let him take up his cross daily and follow Me; the servant is not above his Lord, etc. Persecution and shame and grief and loss are our portion in this present world, but exaltation and glory will follow in due time, if we faint not. Therefore we are urged to consider His example and teaching lest we be weary and faint in our minds under the trials of faith, patience and endurance of this “evil day.”

Questions and Answers About Bible Students

questions-answersWhat Are Bible Students?

Bible Students are Christians interested in the study of God’s Word for the promotion of true knowledge.

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Where are the Bible Students Located?

Bible Students can be found in all walks of life and in every land and country.

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What is the origin of the Bible Students?

The Bible Students Association was formed in the 1860s, in Alleghney, Pa. A group of Christians under the eldership of Pastor Charles Taze Russell, who helped form a Bible study group to unearth the hidden mysteries of the Word of God.

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Isn’t Charles Taze Russell the Founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses?

That is a misconception. Pastor Russell was the organizer of the International Bible Students Association. It was this loosely formed association that helped published the [Zion’s] Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence journal, and the [Zion’s] Watch Tower Society.

This Society was an organizer of Bible Student conventions and other activities, but it did not dictate any creeds or rules to the independent congregations.

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.

By 1930, the Society no longer resembled that of its former self. Many Bible Students abandoned the Society, and by 1931, the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” was adopted by the new leadership to differentiate between the Society’s Bible Students and those independent of the Society.

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What are the doctrinal differences between the two groups, if any?

There are some similarities between the two groups. Both believe in two salvations, an earthly and a heavenly. Both believe in the Kingdom of God as the means of bringing about true peace on earth. Both deny the existence of a place of fiery torment and deny the Trinity doctrine. Apart from these similarties, the two groups are world’s apart.

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 Taze Russell was neither in principle nor in spirit, the founder of “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

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How are Bible Students governed?

The Bible Students are autonomous. Meaning they are self-governing. The ecclesia [congregation] itself elects it’s own officers [i.e. elders, deacons, etc.] and committees [i.e. witness, comfort, convention] to help the class run as smoothly as possible. There are no paid clergy and no collections are taken during the meetings.

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How are the services organized?

The congregation itself determines what is to be studied, the elected elders [those spiritually mature-minded] conduct the meetings in an orderly fashion.

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How is the work financed?

The work is financed by voluntary contributions of it’s members. Bible Students for over one hundred years have prided themselves on the motto: SEATS FREE – NO COLLECTIONS.

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Where do Bible Students meet and have their services?

Unlike the more established churches, the Bible Students meet in individual homes and rented halls, depending on the size of the congregation. We do not own our own church buildings, as this affords us the opportunity to direct our monetary resources in spreading God’s Word.

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Do Bible Students preach/witness? And if so, how?

BIble Students, individually and congregationally, have the liberty to witness in whatever fashion is suitable to them. We realise that their are many different avenue to witness, thus what may suit one class or individual, may not suit another. Thus we leave it to each consecrated member and class to determine what best suits their environment. That said, let it be known that we take advantage of every avenue open to us, this would include going door to door, tracting in the neighborhood, public showings, advertisments in newspaper, magazines and billboards, county fairbooths, etc.

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What are public showings?

Publics showings are shown in rented halls. They can be in the form of a public discourse on a timely Bible topic, or they can be in the form of a movie or slide presentation.

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Do Bible Students publish any literature?

Yes. The Association as a whole and as individual congregations have published throughout the years volumeously. The six volumes of Studies in the Scriptures by the late Pastor Charles Taze Russell are still republished today. Along with many other older and current writings, reflecting over 100 years of service.

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Are there any Bible Student publishing houses?

Yes. There are quite a few throughout the United States and Europe. Some have come and gone in recent years. There are also individual congregations and Bible Students who published independent of each other. These publication however are used and distributed by the association worldwide, regardless of who publishes them.

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Are there any Bible Student Journals and Magazine in print?

Most congregations publish a monthly newsletter, distributed to those they come in contact with through their independent witness work. However there are several journals and newsletters published for the general public and the association.

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How many Bible Students are there?

Since Bible Students do not take roll-call, that is a difficult question to answer. Bible Students can be seen in all four corners of the earth, some are isolated, and others have abundant association.

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Since the congregations are autonomous, are all Bible Students in agreement, doctrinally? Just how closely are the Bible Students in harmony? Do you still hold to the doctrinal teachings as espoused by Charles Taze Russell?

To say that all Bible Students think alike would be to undermine the freedom in Christ we share. Most Bible Students accept the teachings of Scriptures as set forth in the Studies in the Scriptures as being doctrinally sound and supported by God’s Word. However since Pastor Russell never claimed infallibility, it is safe to say that some of his thoughts are opened to interpretation. However, these interpretations, do not take away from The Divine Plan of the Ages, as espoused by Pastor Russell.

It is safe to say there are those, individually and as publishing houses who have taken liberty with the Plan of Salvation as espoused by Pastor Russell.