Thursday, October 4, 2012

Was Russell the Founder of the JW Organization? (Response)

 One objects to our stating that Charles Taze Russell was not the founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses; the author never gives any genuine reason for stating that Russell was the founder of the JWs, but several misleading statements are given.


While there is no doubt that the Jehovah's Witnesses organization sprang forth from the Bible Students, it is deceptive to say that Charles Taze Russell was the founder of the the JWs, since he preached against the kind of organization that Rutherford created after Russell died.
What Did C. T. Russell Teach About “Organization” As Related to the True Church?


Nor did Russell believe in the Armageddon message the JWs preach.
The JW Organization, Armageddon, 1914, and Russell
Armageddon and the Day of Judgment

Is is being claimed that Russell's International Bible Students had their name changed in 1931 by Rutherford to "Jehovah's Witnesses". Although the Bible Student's movement is not "Russell's", the Bible Students in general DID NOT have their name changed by Rutherford in 1931 to Jehovah's Witnesses. According the WTS's own records, by the year 1928, more than 75% of the Bible Students had rejected Rutherford's new organization and his new dogma associated with such an organization. Thus, the greater majority of the what is called "Russell's" Bible Students did not have their name changed by Rutherford. Indeed, it was in order to distinguish his new organization from the old Bible Students movement, that Rutherford named his new organization “Jehovah’s Witnesses” in 1931.
See:
Bible Students Did Not Become Jehovah's Witnesses
When Was the Jehovah's Witnesses Religion Established?

Comments then shift away from Russell as the founder of Jehovah's Witnesses to the date 1914. Although this has nothing at all to do with the claim that Russell was the founder of the JWs, what Russell was expecting for 1914 is misrepresented; it is true that not all that Russell was expecting for 1914 was accomplished, but the main thing, at least from 1904 onward, that Russell was expecting that 1914 was to bring the beginning, not the end, of the time of trouble. That time of trouble did begin in 1914, and I believe we have been in it ever since. Russell died in 1916, still holding to the belief that the time of trouble had begun in 1914.
See:
Beginning of the Time of Trouble – Quotes From Russell


It is claimed that the Society, after 1914, concluded that "1914 was not the end of the Seven Times". While we are not associaed with the JWs, neither Russell nor Rutherford ever concluded "that 1914 was not the end of the 'Seven Times'" Russell, himself, believed until the died in 1916 that the seven times had ended in 1914. Rutherford did reject a lot of the other methods that Barbour and Russell had used to obtain the date 1914, but Rutherford did not reject the "seven times" application of Daniel 4. As far as I know, the JWs still believe this to this day. I know that many Bible Students still believe this to this day.


Nevertheless, Russell, by means of his will and the original charter, had sought to keep the legal entity, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, from becoming what it did become. Russell, of course, had no control over what Rutherford did after Russell died.


Russell, however, never presented his expectations and conclusions concerning the Gentile Times as though he were a central or governing authority over others. He did not reject anyone as being a Christian if they disagreed with him that the Gentile Times was to end in 1914 (indeed, not all the Bible Students agreed with him on this while he was alive, and the same still true today).

Russell died in 1916, rejoicing in his belief that the Gentile Times had ended in 1914 and that time of trouble had begun in 1914. Russell had been suffering from multiple chronic illnesses for several years before he died.

Russell never gave any prophecies at all; the only "prophecies" that Russell believed in are the prophecies of God's prophets and the apostles as given in the Bible. He separated his conclusions based on the study of those prophecies from the actual prophecies.
See:
Did Russell Claim to be a Prophet?
Did Russell Claim Infallibility?


See also our earlier response to this author:
Russell Was Not the Founder of the JWs


The author has a second page, entitled "Was Charles Taze Russell the Founder of the JWs? Part 2", although there is nothing at all on that page that demonstrates that Russell was the founder of a religion, or that Russell was the founder of the kind of an organization that he preached against. Many people do indeed like to take the comments of Russell out of context of his own writings, and place them in the context of the authoritarian claims of the JWs, so as to make it appear that Russell was claiming that same authority as the JW leadership today, when in reality, he was not!

See:

Is the Reading of “Scripture Studies” Bible Study?
Did Russell Claim His Writings to be Superior to the Bible?
Searches of Russell’s writings for “only authority”


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