Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Russell's Alleged "All or Nothing" Statements

The Internet is filled with misinformation, misquotes, quotes out of context, quotes twisted to mean other than what is intended, false accusations, insinuations, and outright falsehoods about Charles Taze Russell. One website that quotes various religious leaders under the heading: ALL OR NOTHING STATEMENTS (from those that have "the truth"). Some other sites have the same material: [1][2][3][4] It becomes clear from many of the quotes given that by saying "all or nothing" the editor of the page means that the one being quoted is supposedly claiming that he or she is to be considered the only channel being used by God to communicate with men; by saying "all or nothing", however, it further implies that one has to listen to Russell or receive nothing. Those who are actually acquainted with Russell's works know that he never made such claims.

Click Here to search Russell's writings for the expression "only channel."
CLICK HERE to see what Russell himself said about the "only authority" in the church.
We first present the caption above the quote:
Charles Taze Russell - Founder of Zion's Watchtower Tract Society (today known as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society or Jehovah's Witnesses)
As has been shown many times, Brother Russell was indeed the primary founder of Zion's Watch Tower, but he was never associated with the "Jehovah's Witnesses" organization, nor was he founder of a such an organization. Russell never believed in such an organization all the days of his life. After his death, however, Joseph Rutherford, through deception and legal trickery, did indeed gain control of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and virtually destroyed it as Russell had created it to be, and then used his new WTS as a basis for forming a new organization, and his followers he later called "Jehovah's Witnesses".

After the above caption, we find the following quote from Brother Russell:
"I said that I had been in conference with the Great Master Workman, the Lord himself, and I have secret information through the Holy Spirit and guidance in respect to what the Bible says..."
This is what Brother Russell said as part of a convention discourse in 1913 with the title "The Temple of God".

This sermon may also be found in a book entitled Pastor's Russell's Convention Discourses, page 359. The words are indeed, his words, and he is not misquoted. However, he is quoted out of context, and what Russell stated is misused to make it appear that he was saying something he never intended. We have reproduced this entire sermon on this website so that all may see what Russell was saying in context: The Temple of God The words were said at a convention that was held in a building that belonged to the Freemasons, and  possibly some of the Freemasons may have been in the audience, but not very likely.

Russell's references to the Freemasons does not show that he had any "inside" knowledge of that organization, that was not commonly known otherwise. It was commonly known that the Masons do have their "secret" rituals, etc, that no one else is supposed to know. Let us quote some of what Russell said in context.
So I am glad to address delegates especially here from the Bay cities, and also including some thirty-five states represented in the excursion party. I am very glad to have this particular opportunity of saying a word about some of the things in which we agree with our Masonic friends, because we are speaking in a building dedicated to Masonry, and we also are Masons. I am a Free Mason. I am a free and accepted Mason, if I may carry the matter to its full length, because that is what our Masonic brethren like to tell us, that they are free and accepted Masons. That is their style of putting it. Now I am a free and accepted Mason. I trust we all are. But not just after the style of our Masonic brethren. We have no quarrel with them. I am not going to say a word against Free Masons. In fact, some of my very dear friends are Masons, and I can appreciate that there are certain very precious truths that are held in part by our Masonic friends. I have talked to them at times, and they have said, How do you know about all of these things? We thought nobody knew anything about these things except those who had access to our very highest logic. I said that I had been in conference with the Great Master Workman, the Lord himself, and I have secret information through the Holy Spirit and guidance in respect to what the Bible says, and that contains all the truth, I believe, on every subject. And so if we talk to our Masonic friends about the Temple and its meaning, and about being good Masons, and about the Great Pyramid, which is the very emblem they use, and what the Great Pyramid signifies, our Masonic friends are astonished. One who had been a Mason a long time recently bought a lot of books that had the Great Pyramid discussed, and sent them to I am sure a thousand Masons. He paid for them and sent them out at his own expense. He wanted the Masons to see something about the Great Pyramid. He knew they were greatly interested in that.
Those who know the Bible should know that there is nothing at all wrong in what Brother Russell said, nor was he claiming that he was a member of the Freemasons' organization. Every true Christian of any denomination or outside of all denominations can say the very same thing. In fact, if one claims to receive the secret things of the Bible from any other source than through Jesus, the holy spirit and the Bible, then such is actually not in accord with what Jesus and his apostles taught.* The quote given on the website, however, taken out of context, and placed in the context as it has been done on the website examined, makes it appear that Brother Russell was saying something other than what he intended. Seen in its proper perspective, we can see that there is nothing at all wrong with what Brother Russell stated, and indeed, this same statement could be said by any true Christian.
Russell, however, unlike Rutherford, never claimed to be a central authority for the Bible Students. He certainly never claimed that one had to accept what he believed and taught or else that they would be eternally destroyed in Armageddon. He believed that Armageddon was to chastise the people of the nations, not eternally destroy them.

What about the phrase "all or nothing"? Surely, we can say that Russell did believe "all" the truth revealed is given by the Lord through the holy spirit in the scriptures. Praise Jehovah! (Hallelujah!) ========== 
*See our study on "Understanding Kingdom Mysteries"

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sources For Russell's Imagery Requested

One asked me several requets or questions in the comments related to a video on Youtube entitled: "Occult Theocrasy - Charles Taze Russell A Freemason." For some unknown reason I am not being permitted to respond there, so I am presenting my responses here:

"Give us the source from which Russel took the Cross and Crown (facts and few words please)"

My response:

I do not have information as to exactly "where" Brother Russell obtained artwork for his imagery, if this is what is being requested. To me, that is not as important as is why he used the imagery. I can only give you his words related to the cross and crown imagery:

The cross represents our faith in the death of Christ and our desire to walk in His steps; the crown represents the reward of glory, honor and immortality; and the wreath around the cross and crown represents the Restitution blessings coming to the world of mankind. Harvest Gleanings, Volume 3,, page 721.

"Give us the source from which Russel took the all seeing eye He used on fotodrama of creation (facts and few words)"

My response:
In his study, "The All-Seeing Eye", which was later retitled, "Divine Omniscience and Almighty Power," Brother Russell presented Psalm 139:7,9 and Psalm 34:15 (from the King James Version).

In his study, "Am I My Brother's Keeper?", Brother Russell stated:

The All-Seeing eye of our Creator keeps watch over the affairs of His creatures today as it kept watch over Abel's interests. God allowed Cain to have his way; allowed him to kill his brother; allowed the righteous to suffer; yet Cain did not escape, but was held accountable for the death of his brother. God's sentence upon him separated him from his brethren until he cried out that his punishment was greater than he could bear. And, similarly, we may be sure that the Cain class of our day will be held accountable for the willful slaying of their brother, especially to the extent that the brother despised may be a child of God. As God declared that the blood of Abel cried to Him from the ground cried for justice so the intimation of the Scriptures is that all injustice of every kind, everywhere, will bring a "just recompense of reward."

"Give us the source from which Russel took the Egipcian Sundisk (from the bible it is not because it has 2 snake heads on it and Russel did not use a new symbol but an existent one)"

The "Sun of Righteousness" imagery that Russell used did not have 2 snake heads on it, although many claim to "see" such in the curved handles of the upside down arrows pointing to the sun-circle. I have not, however, seen this exact form used by the Egyptians, or anyone else.

The second sentence of Russell's book, The Divine Plan of the Ages, shows what this imagery meant to Russell:

The period in which sin is permitted has been a dark night to humanity, never to be forgotten; but the glorious day of righteousness and divine favor, to be ushered in by Messiah, who, as the Sun of Righteousness, shall arise and shine fully and clearly into and upon all, bringing healing and blessing, will more than counterbalance the dreadful night of weeping, sighing, pain, sickness and death, in which the groaning creation has been so long. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the MORNING." Psa. 30:5

While Russell did not at this point give the scripture for "Sun of Righteousness", the term is indeed found in the Bible at Malachi 4:2. Even Fritz Springmeier realized this, but he claimed that Malachi had been influenced by the pagans. If this is true, it would mean that Malachi was a false prophet and also that Jesus was a false prophet; indeed, it would mean that entire New Testament is false.

"Give us the source from Jehovah use by Russel (use Russel words to explain the use of form Jehovah not third party)"

I am not sure what this is requesting. Like myself, Russell was never adamant about using the form "Jehovah". Russell, however, never did much in-depth study on the Holy Name, nor did he put forth a serious effort to restore the Holy Name to the Bible. I do not know of any quote I could give that would be related to the question.

Nevertheless, Russell never made any issue over how one should pronounce the Holy Name, nor do I. For instance, when he presented an article written by Rev. John Urquhart, Scotland, the author used "Yahweh", not "Jehovah", but Russell gave no objection.

On another occason, he presented a discourse by Dr. J. H. Thomas, in which Thomas used the form "Yahweh".

The comment was made:
Keep in mind Russel clearly stated he had many mason friends and that He appreciated their precious truths.

My response:

Actually, what he stated was, "In fact, some of my very dear friends are Masons, and I can appreciate that there are certain very precious truths that are held in part by our Masonic friends." ("Temple of God" sermon)

He could have said the same about his Methodist friends, his Baptist friends, his Presbyterian friends, etc. Indeed, in effect, he did say such in the same sermon:

"As Christian people, Bible Students from all denominations, it would seem that we have something in our faith that is in sympathy and harmony with each denomination, the world over. Do our Presbyterian friends speak of the election? We more. Do our Methodist friends have the doctrine of free grace? We more. Do our Baptist friends understand the importance of baptism, to some extent? We more. Do our friends of the Christian denomination, and our Congregational friends, appreciate the great privileges of individuality in church government? We more."

And then continues with the Masons:

"Do our Masonic friends understand something about the Temple, and being Knights Templars, and so on? We more."

After that he continues:

"Do our Roman Catholic and Church of England friends believe in a Universal church? We more. In other words, it would seem as though the message of God's Word has been more or less subdivided, and each denomination has taken hold of a piece of the truth, and around that bit of truth has gathered a good deal that we think is erroneous."

As many have pointed out, however, Russell seemed confused concerning the relationship of the Knights Templar to Masons. Russell appeared to have thought of the Knights Templar as being a higher order of Mason, and he assumed that all Masons professed to be Christian, and thus he thought of the Masons similar to that of a Christian denomination. The truth he saw in his conversation with the Masons was basically that of the usage of temple as designating the building of character. Russell, however, often used the word "friends" very loosely, as can be seen even in his sermon, "The Temple of God", for he spoke of "Presbyterian friends," "Methodist friends," "Baptist friends," "Congregational friends," and "Roman Catholic and Church of England friends."

Another comment was made:
Russel also told He was learning the hand grips

Before I present a quote from Russell concerning this, I believe it would beneficial that one understand by "this order", Russell was not referring to either the Bible Students association nor was he referring to the Masons. The "order" he was referring to was the church, which he believed was not limited to any denomination, sect, movement, association, etc. With this in mind, I present what Russell stated:

"So, then, I repeat what Jesus said about the terms of membership. I do not know if we are all members of this order or not. You know our order is so secret we cannot know each other always. Is not that wonderful? I find that is so with Masons also. Many Masons shake hands with me and give me what I know is their grip; they don't know me from a Mason. Something I do seems to be the same as Masons do, I don't know what it is; but they often give me all kinds of grips and I give them back, then I tell them I don't know anything about it except just a few grips that have come to me naturally. But the Lord has so arranged this matter that you and I cannot know who are the approved Masons; He alone knows; He alone knows how true and loyal we are at heart. We might put on uniforms and wear feathers – and I think there are many Masons perhaps that go around and parade who do not come up to all the high standards of Masonry either, and some of their Masonic brethren are perhaps ashamed of them. So there are many who come in and have more or less of an outward appearance of being Christians and are not such really at heart. I wonder how many of us here present have taken the first step, the first degree? I wonder how many have gone on to take the second and third degrees? I wonder how many have come into Knighthood – shall I say? – to be Knights Templar? That simply means to be very honorable in connection with this Temple service; as, for instance, to be leaders in the Church. That is getting up to one of the high degrees, to be leaders in the Church of Christ, to be Knights Templar, to be amongst those who are special functionaries in any matter pertaining of the interests of the Temple, and know most about the things of the Temple."

I do not know of any place, however, that Russell ever stated that he had a goal of learning Masonic "grips". He did state that was learning some of them by imitation, but without knowledge of their meaning. But to focus on the grips as such fails to realize the point that Russell was making, and that was that we do not always know who truly is a member of the church, for there are many false Christians who associate with the true Christians, and such false Christians may learn to imitate a true Christian, just as he learned to imitate the grips of the Masons, although he was not a Mason.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Russell & a Video Regarding the Jehovah's Witnesses

A Collection of responses to the Video "A False Religion : Jehovah's Witnesses EXPOSED - 2016 Documentary"

I am not with the Jehovah's Witnesses but much of what is presented in the video is either about Charles Taze Russell, or reflects upon what Charles Taze Russell taught, etc,, so I put a series of comments regarding what is the video in the comments section of the video.  I have tried to collect together links to my earlier comments. Many of them I could not find, so I tried to reconstruct them, although I still may not have found them all.

1. Russell Was Not founder of JWs:

2. Miller a prophet?

3. Ellen G. White and 1874

4. I don't know if Ellen G. White actually taught that the sins of mankind would be placed on the devil himself; I do know that Russell never taught such an idea.

5. It is totally false that Russell founded the Jehovah's Witnesses organization

6. Russell did not attend any meeting of the SDAs when he was 18

7. Russell was not expecting "the end of the world" in 1914 and plainly said such. Russell, not being a prophet, never gave any prophecy that the world would end in 1914.

8. Russell teachings definitely are not in accord with "Masonic beliefs".

9. The pyramid shown is not "on top of" Russell's grave. That pyramid replica of God's Witness in Egypt was authorized to be constructed about three years after Russell died, in honor of the WTS. Rutherford's pyramid monument, however, has nothing at all to do with the Freemasons.

10. The Biblical Cross and Crown on Rutherford's pyramid monument and which appears on Russell's Watch Tower magazine is definitely not "a Masonic sign", although the Knights Templar, who claim to be Christian, do use similar imagery. Oddly, if Pike is correct, in reality, the cross used by any church is a phallic symbol.

11. Since Russell never said that he was a member of the man-made Freemason organization, it is totally false that he said that he was an member of that organization.

12. Russell was definitely never a member of the man-made Freemasons organization. His teachings were in direct conflict with what is often claimed to be the goals of the Freemasons.

13. Satanic Bloodline?

14. Russell's teachings are definitely not in harmony with any of men's efforts to bring about any "New World Order."

15. Nothing happend in 1914?

16. JWs in general know very little about Russell, and are often misinformed about what he taught as well as why he believed what he believed. This misinformation about Russell often leaves them vunerable to many who claim to know this and that about Russell, based on many assumptions, speculations, distortions, etc., which are most often presented as being fact. As a result many have been misled by the false claims of men such as Fritz Springeier and David Icke, who have themselves grossly misrepresented Russell but in such a deceptive way that what they say "appears" to be fact to those who do not actually know what Russell believed and why he believed what he did.

17. Charles Taze Russell did not believe in any "governing body" and preached against such authoritarianism until the day he died.

18. Raymond Franz

+Glock26 9 mil -- What's not true? Part 7

19. The "Armageddon" message that the JWs proclaim is almost the very opposite of the "glad tidings of great joy that will be for all the people" that Russell held be central to Biblical teachings.

20. Russell did not reject the deity of Christ, although he did explain that diety in harmony with Biblical usage of the Hebrew and Greek words for diety.

21. Michael the Archangel -- I did my own studies related to the archangel.

22. If Jesus was anything more than just a sinless obedient man then, rather than condemning sin the flesh, Jesus actually justified sin in the flesh. -- Romans 8:3.

23. If Jesus is now still a human being, then no sacrifice has been given for our sins. -- Luke 22:19; John 6:51; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; Hebrews 10:10; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18.

24. Russell did not preach that any organization or denomination is the way of salvation; he preached that Jesus is the only way of salvation from Adamic death, irrespective of what denomination, organization or sect one may otherwise belong to.

25. KJV and trinity

26. Russell not a Freemason

Thursday, January 26, 2017

I Am a Free and Accepted Mason

The quote often presented to allegedly prove that Russell was a member of the Free Masons Society, has to be taken out of context. The quote is from his sermon entitled "The Temple of God", delivered in California in 1913. This entire sermon is online at: http://ctr.reslight.net/?p=233.

Yes, Russell said: "I am a free and accepted Mason." Was he saying that he was a member of the Free Masons Society? Absolutely not! The context shows that he was referring to "Bible masonry", not the human organization that goes by the name of 'Free Masons". He was using Free Masonry terminology to illustrate the Biblical building being done by God through His church. -- See: Luke 6:47,48; Romans 14:19; 1 Corinthians 3:9,10,12; 14:12,26; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 4:7-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Revelation 3:12.

In that same sermon, Russell, in referring to the human organization called "Masons," said, "I have never been a Mason."

According to one site, Russell's sermon contains "Russell’s duplicitous confession that he is part of the cult of Masonry." It is further claimed that "Masons always use duplicitous contradictory verbiage to conceal and reveal publicly their allegiance, by never being clear about what they really believe and adhere to in contradictory statements." This unsubstantiated claim presented as though fact is then regarded as the reason Russell later stated, "I have never been a Mason." It is claimed that Russell drew parallels between Masonry and the Bible with the hopes of "drawing more men into asking how to become a Mason." This ignores that in this sermon, as well as elsewhere, Russell discouraged Christian participation in any of men's secret societies. I will add that Russell apparently confused the Freemasons and the Knights Templar as being one and the same; as a result his writings seem to reflect his assumed notion that all members of the Freemasons organization profess to be Christian. At any rate, since the Knights Templar do believe in the basics of "orthodox" Christianity, in refuting the false teachings of the so-called orthodox human leaders, Russell did, in effect, refute also the teachings of the Knight Templar. The author appears to connect Russell with the teachings of the Jehovah's Witnesses regarding salvation, although, in reality, Russell was never a member of the JW organization, and what Russell taught about salvation was almost the very opposite of what the JW organization teaches.

CLICK HERE to read the entire sermon, "The Temple of God."

Related Research
  Documented Proof? Russell – Freemason, Founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses?
  Russell's Alleged Connection With Freemasonry
  Some Inaccuracies Regarding Russell
  Era Charles Taze Russell un masón? -- A response in English.

Originally published May 28, 2010; Edited and Republished August 5, 2015

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Russell Replies to The Eagle

The following is from Bible Students Monthly, Volume 3, Number 13. It contains some very brief replies from Russell concerning many of the accusations made by the The Brooklyn Daily Eagle.


Our reporter called on Pastor Russell immediately after his return from his British appointments. He was just ready to start on his World Tour as chairman of the Committee appointed by the International Bible Students Accociation to examine into and report on the Progress of Foreign Missions in the conversion of the world to Christianity. Replying to our reporter's queries Pastor Russell said: I had a very enjoyable sojourn with the British. Since I left here on October 4th I delivered 55 addresses in 24 cities to approximately 44,000 people: In England, 31 meetings (12 of these in the London Tabernacle); in Scotland, 14 meetings; in Ireland, 6 meetings, and in Wales, 4 meetings; and going and coming on the steamers I had excellent opportunities for literary work.
 While abroad did you learn of the further attacks made upon you by the Brooklyn Eagle?
 Oh, yes! friends sent me clippings from the Eagle respecting myself; one remarking on the Eagle's 70th anniversary that the Eagle evidently belonged to the nest mentioned in Rev. 18:2, "A cage of every unclean and hateful bird." Another wrote, "The Filthy Eagle." Another declared its three score and ten past and its decline well under way, remarking, if by reason of (financial) strength it attain four score, yet it will be with labor and sorrow. I am sorry for the poor old thing. Once it had quite a decent reputation.
I can speak for the "Peoples Pulpit Association" and for your many friends in Brooklyn and everywhere, and assure you that the Eagle's spite toward you is fully realized. We are sure that you have a complete answer to every charge. 
These answers your friends do not need, but perhaps you would give the public a few words through the columns of Peoples Pulpit. Our little journal reaches twenty readers to the Eagle's one in this great city. 
Surely, I will be pleased to reply to any queries you may suggest. But you must not expect me to render evil for evil or slander for slander. As a follower of Christ I am under orders to copy the Captain of our salvation, "who when He was reviled, reviled not again," but committed His interests to Divine care. He died for those who cried, "Crucify Jesus and release Barabbas the robber."
The senility of the poor old Eagle is shown by the character of the news it purveys. "Think of a Twentieth Century newspaper dishing up matter dated 1894, in its venomous attacks upon a preacher; and his chief faults are that he has the largest audiences and refuses to allow collections to be taken; and proves to the people that the Bible is true and that the fault is with the creeds of the Dark Ages; and proves also from the Bible that God is love, and that He has not provided eternal torture for any of His creatures, but that the Bible hell and punishment for wilful sins are wholly different from what we once supposed.
Neither the Eagle, nor the preachers whom it represents, any longer believe the eternal torture theory, but they want the people to so believe until ready to drop the Bible entirely and join the "Higher Critics" in their new Gospel, viz., "By Evolution are ye saving yourselves and your race; your first parents did not fall; they were Apes; ye need no Redeemer, nor faith in one."
The poor old Eagle miscalculates the mental and moral caliber of its reader, or else I do. It's intelligent readers should see through its venal attacks, and should not be deceived. Those of its readers who are of filthy mind- "Let them be filthy still." (Rev. 22:11) I do not crave their good will. "Birds of feather flock together!" Those who have charge of advertising my meetings have promised me that they will never again use the Eagle columns.
I have little to add to the interview you published last October. I then explained matters quite fully. I have many Christian friends who know me personally and through my books on Bible study, and through my sermons which reach ten millions of readers weekly.
I remind you briefly of the facts: A most excellent and noble wife became mentally poisoned by "Women's rights." When I refused to allow such ideas a place in my journal, The Watch Tower, she became my bitterest enemy. First she tried. to coerce me. This failing she since seeks to destroy my influence. Yet never was a wife more kindly treated. Our property by mutual consent was all devoted to the Lord's cause whilst we were in fullest accord. Provision was made merely for the necessities of life for both of us. When she changed her mind she demanded the money we had devoted to God's cause. I paid her forty dollars per month. She appealed to the courts for more money. However, that is all settled, for in 1909 during my absence in Europe preaching, five of my friends, all men, made up a purse of $10,000, settled with Mrs. Russell and took her receipts for five-years' allowances ordered by the court, which they knew I had not means to pay.
What about Rose Ball going to Australia?
Why, of course, she did not stay a child in short dresses all the time. She married and went to Australia with her husband. Remember, this is quite ancient history which the Eagle considers news. Twenty years ago Rose kissed my wife and me every night when she retired. And she did this at my wife's suggestion. It was at that time that she came crying to me and sat on my knee to tell her troubles-as to a father.
No one knows better than my wife that there was absolutely nothing impure in any of my dealings with that foster child. I did not get a chance to furnish my testimony in Court because the trial judge discerned that no immorality was charged in my wife's plea and ordered everything of the kind stricken from the court records.
On what plea then did she get a divorce?
She did not get a divorce at all; the court merely made a decree of separation. A sympathetic jury concluded that we both would be happier legally separated. My wife's charge contained not a suggestion of immorality. It charged "cruelty." The evidence submitted to her attorneys seemed to them rather slim proofs of cruelty, and two sets of lawyers abandoned her case. The third set of attorneys "cooked" up some so-called evidence including the story about Rose Ball, then married and gone to Australia and who long years before was our foster child. Emily Matthews, the housemaid of twenty years ago, had also married. Hearing of the case she came to Court voluntarily to testify on my behalf. But before I could put her on the witness stand the Court had ruled that portion of my wife's testimony "out of court" and to be stricken off the Court records.
My wife knew everything and never for one minute doubted my faithfulness as a husband. She merely sought revenge, because I did not accede to her "women's rights" notions.
So far from claiming immorality on my part, my wife's bill of complaint charged that I had never cohabited with her in the eighteen years of our married life. And her attorney taunted me with this. They neglected to tell the full truth; that the arrangement was by my wife's full consent, and changeable at notice by either party. She well knew that I had never indulged in sexual intercourse with any person; and to this moment I have lived an absolutely celibate life.
Did you ever purpose or threaten your wife's incarceration as a lunatic?
Never! On one occasion I did say to a mutual friend that so great a change-from being a most devoted wife to be so bitter an enemy-seemed so inexplicable that I wondered if it could be the effect of "change of life"-which for a time quite upset one of her relatives, as it does many women. I am still perplexed!
Asked what he knew about this concern Pastor Russell said: I know all about it. It is a little "Holding Company" of $1000 capital. All business people will understand. It is perfectly legal every way. I was one of the incorporators in the interest of the Bible and Tract Society. I have not one dollar invested in it; nor have I been even nominally connected with it for many years.
The Eagle mentions a Cemetery scheme in which you made money, and it implies fraud. Will you throw a little light on that, please, Pastor Russell?
Surely! To denounce that as a fraud is like the charging of Jesus with being Beelzebub! That Cemetery has been a Godsend to many. It is now selling family burying plots for $15, such as the other cemeteries ask $150 for.
Is there anything fraudulent about that? Is it not philanthropic? Would not the people of Brooklyn be delighted to have such a beautiful Cemetery near them and to be able to purchase lots for $15 each? I so believe! How glad we would be if such a philanthropy were inaugurated in every large city! The original thought included the furnishing of caskets, embalming, funeral car (for casket and pall-bearers) and cemetery plot, all for about $50.
I have not now and never did have any money in vested in the enterprise. I merely gave advice. I advised that several ministers be made Directors to hold office for life, and that these represent various denominations not possessing denominational burying grounds. Rev. Witherspoon, Rev. Young, Bishop Whitehead and myself where chosen. If I gave the cemetery more attention and counsel than some others it was probably because it appealed to me more than to them, as helpful to many in their time of distress. If there is anything dishonorable in the matter I fail to see it. Even though I removed from Pittsburgh I did not resign my Directorship, but still keep in touch with the Cemetery. I would be glad to be associated with a local work of the same kind, to the extent that my other duties would permit.
The Eagle says that your work at Pittsburgh never amounted to much and implies that you have no friends or influence there now. How about that?
If that were true it would merely corroborate Jesus' words, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his own city." But I fear that I cannot thus claim to be a great teacher, for I have both friends and honor there. The Bible House Congregation, of which I was Pastor for several years, still holds me as its Pastor Emeritus. And I have a standing invitation to come whenever possible. Any Sunday if word were sent I would have a congregation of 600 to 800. And very few Protestant preachers there have so many any time. And few, after being gone for years, would be much more than "remembered." But the Eagle is so prejudiced that it sees crowds only when they go to hear its ministerial favorites and then it sees double or treble or quadruple. For instance, when it got hold of an "English Preacher" willing to help it down Pastor Russell, the Eagle showed its great "influence" and "advertising value." It gave lengthy reports and "boomed" the "Reverend" and his "gospel of spite" and reported "large audiences," when there were but 225 and they dwindled to 20. On the other hand, when I have spoken at the Brooklyn Academy of Music to a packed house of 2,300 and many turned away, the Eagle report implied that it was insignificant.
No great newspaper could afford to be so careless of the truth; its managers would know that the public would sooner or later learn the facts.
Not prejudices, but facts, are what the public expect of newspapers. Nor then do they specially care for facts of 20 years ago to be misrepresented. President Lincoln truly said, "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time." We commend that to the Eagle as sound advice, good to be taken in large doses if it hopes ever to recover from its present bilious spell.
The Eagle publishes letters showing that it is not your only enemy. I presume you knew you have more?
Oh, yes, "Whosoever will live godly will suffer persecution." Yet I have the consolation of knowing that "they hated me without a cause." No human being can truthfully say that I ever did him injury by act or word. One casts a stone claiming that I say I discovered new truths in the Bible while they say I have not.
Another casts a stone saying that I claim to be teaching the old truths of the Bible, while they say I am preaching a new gospel of my own making. Others are angry because I get crowded houses while they get but few; and that I can get along without lifting collections or making solicitations while they are pinched for money while using every means of getting it. Crucifixion and burning are no longer sanctioned by law; therefore the stone and mud-throwing instead.
The position of the Eagle people is hard to understand. They are championing ministers whose "Creeds" consign every Eagle man to a hell of torture eternal-except he be a saint, which none of its force would claim to be. It is fighting the one preacher of Brooklyn who is showing that the Creeds of a darker day misinterpreted the Bible on this point. In other words they are fighting their well-wisher. Or do they hold that eternal torture is only for their enemies and not for themselves and their friends and their ministers and their congregations.
Well, Pastor Russell, what is your vengeance upon these your enemies, clerical and lay?
Oh, none! They are blinded, some by envy, some by malice, some by creeds and some by greed. I am waiting and praying for Messiah's glorious Kingdom to scatter present darkness-to open all the blind eyes, as God has promised.
What then?
Oh, then they'll be ashamed! Do you remember how it reads, "Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out, said, The Lord be glorified [i. e. we cast you out for the good of the Lord's cause]; but He shall appear to your joy and they shall be ashamed." (Isa. 66:5) My revenge will come in then-in helping them up out of their meanness and hardness of heart to the blessings then to be free to all the willing and obedient.
Will you give our readers a brief statement of the work you are carrying on and of your co-laborers in it?
With pleasure! Our Association is charted as philanthropic, for the promotion of Christian knowledge by printed page and orally. It is Biblical, but unsectarian.
Everything found in God's Book is its creed. Thirty-four ministers are members of the Association at present. Some of these are traveling constantly, addressing Classes of Bible Students, teaching them how to study the Bible most helpfully.
Others go out for Sunday meetings in the cities adjacent to New York to instruct similarly. And these latter during the week labor at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, where we conduct a Religious Correspondence School. Letters pour in upon us from all parts of the world, in various languages, asking help in the proper understanding of the Holy Scriptures. We have more than twenty typewriters in constant use.
We also have branches in Great Britain, Australia, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, India, Greece and Switzerland where other laborers are similarly engaged. We have free literature in 18 languages explanatory of the Bible. We also handle Bibles and Bible Study helps in various languages, which we supply at wholesale rates.
These ministers, their wives and children and office helpers live together as one large family of about 100 persons in a comfortable Home. In it each family has its own quarters, but all meet in a large Dining Room for morning worship and at meal times. Frequently visitors drop in for a meal (the Dining Hall is large enough to accommodate 200), and they are made very welcome.
At meal times a leader conducts impromptu Bible Studies on whatever Bible subjects may be submitted. Thus we have a continual Bible School with lessons three times daily. All except children are required before admission to the family to profess a full consecration to the will of God as found in the Bible; and additionally to have taken the following:
1. Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. May Thy rule come into my heart more and more, and Thy will be done in my mortal body. Relying on the assistance of Thy promised grace to help in every time of need, through Jesus Christ our Lord, I register this Vow.
2. Daily will I remember at the Throne of Heavenly Grace the general interests of the harvest work, and particularly the share which I myself am privileged to enjoy in that work, and the dear co-laborers at the Brooklyn Tabernacle and Bethel, and everywhere.
3. I vow to still more carefully, if possible, scrutinize my thoughts and words and doings, to the intent that I may be the better enabled to serve Thee and Thy dear flock.
4. I Vow to Thee that I will be on the alert to resist everything akin to Spiritism and Occultism, and that, remembering that there are but the two masters, I shall resist these snares in all reasonable ways, as being of the Adversary.
5. I further Vow, that, with the exceptions below, I will at all times, and in all places, conduct myself toward those of the opposite sex in private exactly as I would do with them in public-in the presence of a congregation of the Lord's people.
6. And, so far as reasonably possible, I will avoid being in the same room with any of the opposite sex alone, unless the door to the room stand wide open.
7. Exceptions in the case of Brethren-wife, children, mother, and natural sisters.
In the case of Sisters-husband, children, father, and natural brothers.
Needless to say our large Home is one of the holiest and happiest on earth. We cannot imagine a happier home amongst people not yet perfected by the First Resurrection. The aim is to provide just a sufficiency of money for the reasonable comfort of each. And as the Eagle truly says the amount is small. But it is sufficient, and helps to insure that none will ever join the family and profess consecration "for filthy lucre's sake." Our food and home arrangements are simple and satisfactory though quite inexpensive in comparison with what the same would cost if each family lived apart even more plainly. Our family illustrates the declaration of the Bible: "Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to live together in unity." Psa. 133:1
With everything so philanthropic and so pure, so sensible and so Scriptural, why do ministers and the Eagle and others hate you and persecute you? And does this extend to all of the family?
Yes, it extends to all, but to me more particularly. I suppose because I am the most conspicuous figure at the front. The reason is the same that led to the persecution of the Apostles and the early church and even put to death the Redeemer. Jesus explains that it is the natural hatred or opposition of Darkness to Light. The purer the Gospel ray the fiercer the opposition! Ignorance, Superstition and Selfishness are behind the persecution.
Still it is hard to understand the lack of rhyme or reason in it all. No minister of any prominent denomination would profess to believe his own Church Creed or to defend it. All fiercely denounce sectarianism and call for Christian union. Yet because I show up the errors which they no longer believe they are angry with me.
Knowing their doctrinal weakness they dare not contradict me fairly, but content themselves with saying, Pastor Russell is a heretic; he is emptying our churches, and causing a falling off of our revenues. Then they use the cowardly weapons of slander, misrepresentation, etc.
They are quite mistaken regarding the source of their troubles. The falling off of church attendance and their financial stringency has been progressing for thirty years. Their own preaching has done it. Their colleges and seminaries have been teaching Evolution and their Higher Criticism has been undermining all faith in the Bible, until now these things are in the Sunday School Lessons as well as in the Public School Books.
Thus many of the Preachers and their people have lost all confidence in the Bible as God's Message. The people find no spiritual nourishment in the story that Adam and Eve had monkey parents-that they never were in God's Image, never fell from it, and never needed to be redeemed. The people, more honest than the preachers, are too honest to pretend a religion which they do not feel and therefore carry their pickles and dimes to the Moving Picture Theatres and feel that they are spending them more honestly.
Alas! Our wealthy and learned men are destroying the very faith necessary to the preservation of Society; and Anarchy is threatening the whole civilized world. A Socialism without the Bible will soon mean a Godless Socialism and that means Anarchy. Surely the wisdom of the wise seems to have perished as the Bible foretold. Isa. 29:13, 14
This was our reporter's final query. Pastor Russell replied frankly: The Eagle and all the preachers who are my enemies say that I am. And I must concede that they have some excuse for so concluding. I presume they judge me by themselves. If they were in my place they feel sure they would be proud and conceited if they had invitations from all over the world-if they had written books which in twelve languages are in nearly four million homes-if their weekly sermons were being regularly published in twelve hundred Newspapers in America and Great Britain.
But no one realizes more than do I my unworthiness of such success and popularity. God's providence has favored my humble efforts! I am as much astonished as my enemies" It is the Message and not the Messenger that is great.
It is God's Message, not mine. As foretold it is "Good tidings of great joy for all people."
As for publicity; A Newspaper Syndicate handles my sermons which I supply to them free-glad to have their assistance in reaching twelve million readers weekly.
They see to it that I am well advertised and boomed. I merely submit for the sake of the cause.