Saturday, June 20, 2009

What Did Charles Taze Russell Stand For?

Russell gave a summation of his beliefs, what he stood for, in the January 15, 1912 issue of the Watch Tower, page 28:

I. We affirm the humanity of Jesus and the deity of Christ.
II. We acknowledge that the personality of the Holy Spirit is the Father and the Son; that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both, and in turn from all who are begotten by it.
III. We affirm the resurrection of Christ–that He was put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the Spirit. We deny that He was raised in the flesh, and challenge any statement to that effect as being unscriptural.
IV. We affirm, with the Scriptures, that God alone possessed immortality, “dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto.” We affirm that this Divine quality has already been granted to the Lord Jesus and is to be the portion of the elect Bride, the “Body of Christ.” As for mankind, we affirm the Divine provision for these and for angels to be everlasting life for the obedient. This, by many, is mistermed immortality. We follow the Scriptures strictly.
V. We hold that the entire race lost life with Father Adam, as a result of his failure in Eden; and that Christ died to secure a second chance for Adam and an individual chance for all of his race, who lost their first chance in Adam when he sinned. “As all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive.” (I Cor. 15:21,22.) A few of us, comparatively, having eyes of faith and ears of understanding, have had this second chance in the present life. Adam and the great mass of his posterity must get their second chance after being awakened from the tomb. But NOBODY IS TO GET A THIRD CHANCE!
VI. We believe that the soul was condemned to death. “The soul that sinneth it shall die.” We believe that this death would have been eternal, everlasting destruction, had it not been for God’s mercy in and through our Lord’s redemptive work. By reason of His death our souls do not die in this full sense of the word, but are Scripturally said to “fall asleep,” “asleep in Jesus.” The awakening will be in the resurrection morning; and the interim will be a period of unconsciousness, beautifully symbolized by a restful sleep.
VII. We believe in the “hell” of the Bible, sheol. This, the only word used for hell for four thousand years, is translated more than one-half the time grave in our Common Version, and should always be thus translated. “Hades,” in the New Testament, is its equivalent. “Gehenna fire,” of the New Testament, is a symbolical picture declared to signify the Second Death.
VIII. We believe that God is able to destroy “both soul and body” in Gehenna–the Second Death. We consider it much more sane to believe thus, as it is more Scriptural, than to believe that in creating man God did a work which He could not undo; much more reasonable also than to believe He prefers to have the incorrigible suffer eternally, when their sufferings could do neither themselves nor others any good.
IX. We believe that, like the Father and the holy angels, our Lord is a spirit being. We are convinced that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.” We do not believe that our Lord has a flesh and blood body, a “little lower than the angels,” and has thus been out of harmony with His heavenly environment for nearly two thousand years. We believe the Apostle’s statement, “Now the Lord is that Spirit.” This is the Jesus who will “so come, in like manner,” quietly and unknown to the world, as He went away. We do not affirm, dogmatically, that He came in 1874, but we say that to us it is the evident teaching of the Scriptures. Our Lord warned us not to expect Him in the flesh; that men might say “Lo, here” or “Lo, there.” The Harvest work in the universal Church Nominal, the Laodicean period of the Church, well corroborates our expectations of what His work will be, as outlined in His parables, etc.

Please note that the views presented by Restoration Light do not necessarily agree with every detail of the expressions above.