The claim is being made that Jehovah's Witnesses are the International Bible Students Association (IBSA) who changed their name, and the worldwide preaching work of JWs is STILL managed internationally by the IBSA.
The expression International Bible Students Association, in Brother Russell's day, was used in two different ways. (1) From 1910 onward, the association of Bible Students worldwide, which had no human authority over it, and, beginning in 1914, (2) the legal entity in England, International Bible Students Association. Brother Russell himself, at least appeared to have at times confused the two, which could lead one to wrong conclusions, especially if one reads back into his words that he was advocating an "organization" such as the JW organization.
Evidently, because of possible conflict with the name of the legal entity, Brother Russell, in 1914, endeavored to get the classes to stop using "International Bible Students" and use something like "Associated Bible Students" instead. Nevertheless, very few of classes at that time adopted the name "Associated Bible Students" into the name of their group, and thus retained the name "International Bible Students". However, the vast majority of those often referred to as "The International Bible Students Association" worldwide did not change their name to Jehovah's Witnesses. The vast majority of those who were called "International Bible Students" did not accept Rutherford's "Jehovah's visible organization" dogma.
The International Bible Students Association (not the legal entity in London) is not an "organization"; Brother Russell's WTS did not claim any authority over the International Bible Students Association, as represented by the various ones who carried that name. The WTS did, of course, claim authority over the legal entity in England. On the other hand, many of the Bible Students treated Brother Russell as though he were God's divinely appointed authority over the church, which Russell himself disclaimed; thus the seeds of "organization" were being planted even before Russell died.
When Rutherford usurped his authority, he also claimed authority over the legal entity in England, and thus, as he created his organization, that legal entity in England became a part of that organization. Those individuals making up the International Bible Students Asssociation (not the legal entity), as a whole, represented by the vast majority (well over 75%), rejected Rutherford's "Jehovah's visible organization" dogma, and thus the vast majority of those that made up the International Bible Students Association, did not take the name "Jehovah's Witnesses".
From Brother Russell's standpoint, Bible Students were not members of the legal entity in London, and the I.B.S.A. fellowship worldwide had no actual "membership" as such. The worldwide fellowship of Bible Students were never members of the legal entity.
That the Internatonal Bible Students Association [the fellowship -- not the legal entity in England] was NOT regarded as an "organization" such as the Jehovah's Witnesses have today, can be seen from Brother Russell's statement in The Watch Tower, July 15, 1915, page 219:
Of course, this all began to change shortly after Brother Russell died. The December 1916 issues of the Watch Tower began to subtly emphasize "organization".
It is being claimed that the JWs organization is the same corp that Russell founded in 1872 in Pittsburgh, "the International Bible Students Association, which was founded in 1872 in Pittsburgh by Charles Taze Russell." Encyclopedia Britannica.
I am not sure what is meant by "corp" here as related to 1872. The legal entity in London was founded in 1914. The name "International Bible Students Association" did not come about until 1910, and then was suggested as a name to be used by local congregations, as "International Bible Students Association of ....." Brother Russell once spoke of the Jerusalem conference spoken of in Acts 15:1-35 as the first I.B.S.A. convention. He thus applied the term retroactively. Therefore, retroactively, one could consider the small group of Bible Students in Allegheny as having been "International Bible Students Association", although they did not take such a name at that time. The actual name was not taken until 1910; when asked for a "name" that could be used to advertise meetings of local classes, in 1910, Brother Russell suggested "International Bible Students Association of ...".
This name, however, was not originally the name of an "organization". This was not the name of any controlling authority. Indeed, in Russell's day, even the "International Bible Students Association" in London was not an "organization" as the Jehovah's Witnesses refer to themselves as an "organization". However, shortly after Russell's death, Rutherford began to appear to confuse the legal entity and the movement itself as being one and the same and referred to International Bible Students Association as an "organization"; in short, he was creating a "sect" such as Brother Russell preached against, although he was doing this so subtly that many Bible Students did not seem to be aware of what was happening until around 1925, when Rutherford began to force a separation.
Nevertheless, in 1914, Brother Russell, through his WTS, opened a branch in London -- a legal entity -- which he named "International Bible Students Association". At this point, many began to confuse the legal entity as being the same as the local ecclesias carrying that name, and thus Brother Russell suggested that local congregations use the name "Associated Bible Students" rather than "International Bible Students".
While some classes did, in 1914, and still do today, refer to themselves as "Associated Bible Students", most, in 1914, appear to have ignored the suggestion in the November 1914 issue of the Watch Tower. To this day, I have found that many Bible Students do not seem to be aware of that notice. When some of the Bible Students began publishing "The Herald of Christ's Kingdom" in 1917, they referred to the Bible Students as "Associated Bible Students", in keeping with Brother Russell's announcement in 1914. It appears, however, that many of the Bible Students' congregations -- after Brother Russell died -- that rejected Rutherford's rulership, took the name "Associated Bible Students", so as not to be confused with the legal entity under Rutherford's control.
The author for "The Herald of Christ's Kingdom", in the article linked to above, however, seemed to have gotten it backwards, at least as regarding the origin of the name "Associated Bible Students", for he states that the name "Associated Bible Students" was used before "International Bible Students Association". Actually, the name "International Bible Students" was used first, and evidently after the legal entity was formed in 1914, possibly due to the suggestion of legal conflict, Brother Russell suggested the name "Associated Bible Students".
Nevertheless, overall, some of the Bible Students still do use the term "International Bible Students Association", not as the name of the legal entity in London, but as descriptive name of the Bible Students worldwide, who are not associated with the Jehovah's Witnesses.
It is claimed that "JWs are just IBSA members who changed their name."
Brother Russell's answers to questions regarding the IBSA:
(Please note that this book was prepared in 1919. This book was NOT prepared by Brother Russell, although many state him to be the author. Nevertheless, the quotes of Brother Russell are mostly accurate (although there a few that I question), but the subheadings are not statements of Brother Russell, and may not actually be in accord with Brother Russell. Nor do I necessarily agree with all the statements made by Brother Russell. Additionally, the questions themselves are not Brother Russell's words, and should not be confused with Brother Russell's own viewpoints.
Nonetheless, since the vast majority of those who considered themselves to be associated with the International Bible Students Association did not change their name to "Jehovah's Witnesses", it is highly misleading to state that the International Bible Students Association became "Jehovah's Witnesses". A comparatively few of them accepted Rutherford's "organization", but most did not.
The fact still remains that there was not a JW organization in 1872, or in the days of Russell. The small group of Bible Students associated with Brother Russell in Allegheny did not believe in any such an "organization", and Brother Russell preached against such an organization until his death. Brother Russell himself certainly did not believe the I.B.S.A. to be an "organization". This is made clear from the quotes from Russell in my research as presented at:
Thus, as Russell explained, the Bible Students Association in his day was not “an organization”. Therefore, when JWs or others speak of the Bible Students leaving their organization in the years 1917-1928, it is entirely misleading, since, as far as the Bible Students as a whole were concerned, they had not joined such an organization so as to to "leave" such an organization.
It is claimed that Russell was an Adventist and a Millerite, and, evidently, because he was alleged such, he must have believed something happened in 1874.
I would not say that Brother Russell was "Adventist" or a "Millerite", since he rejected many of the major teachings of the teachings of Second Adventists as well as of William Miller. Every Christian who believes in the return of Christ could be considered an "adventist" in a general sense, however.
Brother Russell did not, in 1874, believe anything concerning 1874; this is simply historically fact that can be proven from Brother Russell's own hand. In 1879, he stated, regarding 1876:
Thus growing in grace and knowledge for seven years, the year 1876 found us. — 2 Peter 3:18.
Brother Russell never published anything before 1874, and as far as I know, nothing he had written in the way of personal notes, etc., from before 1874 are available today.
We do have Brother Russell's later writings, which do tell us what he had come to believe before 1876, and of his acceptance, in 1876, that Christ had returned two years earlier.
ctr-rlbible.com/?p=346 Watch Tower Supplement July, 1879
www.htdbv8.com/1890/r1214d.htm -- Watch Tower May, 1890
www.htdbv8.com/1916/r5909b.htm -- Watch Tower June, 1916
Please note that I do not necessarily agree with all of Brother Russell's conclusions.
It is claimed that many Bible Students did not follow the IBSA and broke off from it after Rutherford hijacked them.
In fact, a few of the Bible Students did not follow the IBSA fellowship in rejecting Rutherford's organization dogma, and his new teachings regarding the second death (which, if one examines closely, denies the very basis of the ransom for all as given in the Bible), etc.
The association of International Bible Students continued to exist totally apart from Rutherford's new organization. As a whole (represented by the vast majority worldwide), the Bible Students Association rejected Rutherford's new "Jehovah's visible organization" dogma