Monday, November 7, 2016

Charles Taze Russell Was Not a Prophet

Charles Taze Russell was not, never claimed to be, and many times stated that he was not a prophet. Nor did he claim, as many have (such as Papacy, the self-proclaimed "orthodoxy", and the JW "governing body"), to have any authority over others, so as to demand that his statements be believed. He allowed others to have their views and did not seek to "disfellowship" them for their different views even if they did not agree with his own. Brother Russell never originated any prophecies, and therefore he never gave "false prophecies".
I have gathered many quotes from Brother Russell that demonstrate and corroborate what I have stated above.
In 1890, Brother Russell stated:
"Our own views are not prophecy, but interpretations of the holy prophets of old." — Watch Tower, October 1890, page 8
In 1893, Brother Russell stated:
"Neither must you lean upon the DAWN and the TOWER as infallible teachers." — Watch Tower, June 1893, page 168.
By “DAWN,” Russell was referring to his book series “Millennial Dawn,” which were later renamed “Studies in the Scriptures.”
In 1901, Brother Russell stated:
"We claim no infallibility for our presentations." — Watch Tower, April 15, 1901, page 136.
In 1902, Brother Russell stated:
"The Apostle John shows us that this matter of distinguishing as between brethren that are to be esteemed and brethren that are to be warned, appertains not merely to conduct but also to doctrinal matters. Yet we may be sure that he does not mean that we are to disfellowship a brother merely because of some differences of view on non-essential questions. We may be sure that he does mean his words to apply strictly and only to the fundamentals of the doctrine of Christ: for instance, faith in God; faith in Jesus as our Redeemer; faith in the promises of the divine Word. [italics added] These will be marks of a 'brother,' if supported by Christian conduct, walking after the spirit of the truth;–even tho the brother might have other views which would differ from ours in respect to certain features of the plan of God not so clearly and specifically set forth in the Scriptures. But for those whom we recognize as being doctrinally astray from the foundation principles of Christ, the Apostle intimates that very drastic measures are appropriate; – not persecutions, nor railing; not bitter and acrimonious disputes; not hatred, either open or secret; but a proper showing of our disfellowship with the false doctrines held and taught by them; a proper protection, so that our influence shall not be in any manner or degree used to uphold his denial of the fundamentals of the Gospel. This drastic course is outlined by the Apostle in these words: 'If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine [confessing Christ to have come into the world, in the flesh, to redeem our race, etc.] receive him not into your house, neither bid him God-speed; for he that biddeth him God-speed is partaker of his evil deeds.' –2 John 10,11." — Watch Tower, July 1, 1902, page 199.
In 1904, Brother Russell stated:
"Unity of faith is desirable; it is to be striven for – yet not the kind of unity that is generally aimed at. Unity is to be along the lines of 'the faith once delivered unto the saints' in its purity and simplicity, and with full liberty to each member to take different views of minor points, and with no instruction whatever in respect to human speculations, theories, etc. The Scriptural idea of unity is upon the foundation principles of the Gospel. (1) Our redemption through the precious blood, and our justification by demonstrated faith therein. (2) Our sanctification, setting apart to the Lord, the Truth and their service–including the service of the brethren. (3) Aside from these essentials, upon which unity must be demanded, there can be no Scriptural fellowship; upon every other point fullest liberty is to be accorded, with, however, a desire to see, and to help others to see, the divine plan in its every feature and detail. Thus each member of the body of Christ, maintaining his own personal liberty, is so thoroughly devoted to the Head and to all the members that it will be his pleasure to lay down all, even life itself, on their behalf." — The New Creation, page 240.
In 1906, Brother Russell stated:
"I hasten to assure you that I have never laid claim to infallibility. I do not expect to be infallible until by the Lord’s grace I shall share a part in the First Resurrection; then, that which is perfect having come, that which is in part shall be done away; we shall see as we are seen and know as we are known. We accept the writings by the twelve apostles as being so supervised of the Lord as to be free from any error.... We may regard the presentations of those twelve men, intended of the Lord to be his special representatives under the holy Spirit’s dispensation, as being infallible, true, inerrant. But there is no ground for believing that any others than the apostles have been so miraculously holden by the power of God as were those twelve, or that we have any authority in the Word of God for considering the words and writings of others as being above or beyond testing and proving by the Scriptures. This has invariably been our presentation. It has been our endeavor to present the Word of God faithfully as he has given us to understand it – to our own Master we stand or fall." — Watch Tower, March 15, 1906, page 90.
In 1907, Brother Russell stated:
"We have urged and still urge that the dear children of God read studiously what we have presented; – the Scriptures, the applications and interpretations – and then form their own judgments. We neither urge nor insist upon our views as infallible, nor do we smite or abuse those who disagree; but regard as 'Brethren' all sanctified believers in the precious blood." — Zion’s Watch Tower, October 1, 1907, page 294.
In 1908, Brother Russell stated:
"We are not prophesying; we are merely giving our surmises, the Scriptural basis for which is already in the hands of our readers in the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES. We do not even aver that there is no mistake in our interpretation of prophecy and our calculations of chronology." — Watch Tower, January 1, 1908, page 5.
In 1910, Brother Russell stated:
"We look back and we see Martin Luther, and he did a grand work, and we thank God for him; and we might say the same of John Wesley, and very truthfully; I am glad in God’s providence he lived, and that he was a faithful man. And there were others of the Lord’s people in the past. Let us be glad and rejoice in every one, and be thankful to God he has used various agencies in helping us, and in helping others, and in bringing forward his great cause; but let us not go into anything that would be at all like man-worship, for I am sure that would be displeasing to the Lord and injurious to ourslves.... And so, dear friends, if our Heavenly Father and our Heavenly Lord have used Brother Russell in any measure he is very glad and very thankful to be used. And if the Lord is pleased to use him any more, he will be glad to be used down to the last breath, but he does not want any worship, he does not want any undue adoration, he does not want any praise. He is glad to have the love of all those who are brethren of the Lord and to be considered a fellow-servant with all, striving to bring to pass all the glorious things that God has promised, striving to tell the good tidings of great joy to as many as the Lord, our God, shall call.” -1910; Convention Discourse (“Convention Report Sermons”, pg. 125)
In 1910, Brother Russell stated:
"I am not a prophet. The very most I try to do, dear friends, is to interpret prophecy.” — What Pastor Russell Said, page 272.
In 1910, Brother Russell stated:
"We try to be careful about every word that goes into the Watch Tower, but we do not claim to be infallible; we are doing the best we can." — What Pastor Russell Said, page 57.
In 1911, Brother Russell stated:
“Some people try to make out that I claim I am infallible, and know everything. You are all witnesses that that is not true.” -- What Pastor Russell Said, Q14:1, 1911.
In 1912, Brother Russell stated:
"We have not prophesied anything about the Times of the Gentiles closing in a time of trouble nor about the glorious epoch which will shortly follow that catastrophe…. We merely state that we believe thus and so, for such and such reasons." — Watch Tower, December 1, 1912, page 377.
In 1912, Brother Russell stated:
"We are expecting in October, 1914, that a great change will be due. Now, how quickly will it come? Whether on the stroke of the clock or not we do not know. We believe that it will land upon humanity by that time. Perhaps some of it will come before that, but we believe it will be stayed off until that time. Now, dear friends, what if it does not? We are just as well off as the rest. That is what the Bible states. If it does not state that to you, we have no quarrel. And if it does not come we will not try to bring it about. But, on the contrary, we will try to practice peace and holiness withal. We are children of peace and peacemakers, not strife breeders. But we believe the Bible teaches October, 1914, as the time. If that is incorrect for a year, or five, or one hundred years, no matter, it is coming some time, whether we have it right or not." — 1912, Convention Sermon Reports, page 292
In 1912, Brother Russell stated:
"We do not claim that we have any infallibility in regard to the matter and our consecration was not made until 1914; our consecration was made until death, and if in the Lord’s providence I shall live longer then the Lord be praised and then I can rejoice just as much in 1916 as 1925, rejoice as much as in this present moment and I shall anticipate that under the Lord’s providence His grace will be more abundant as the years go by and that my joy in the Lord will go on increasing to the very end, but now, so far as we know, it looks from the Scriptures as though a very little while, three years, and less, and we will be in the kingdom. There may be things about it we do not understand and we have no desire to be dogmatic in any sense of the word and do anything rash, but we are trying to learn to appreciate the value of the present things and also the value of the things to come. We are trying to learn to take such a view as Paul did when he said, “I count all these things as loss and dross that I may win Christ and be found in Him”–in the anointed–membership in the Body of that Great Mediator. If He might win that, all other things of the present time might go and this is what is coming more and more into your heart and we are getting more and more lifted out of the selfishness of the world and we are looking beyond to the heavenly things." — 1912, Convention Reports Sermons, page 328
In 1912, Brother Russell stated:
"I disclaim any special inspiration. In some particulars my views agree with those of other Bible students, and in other respects they disagree. Each hearer must use his own judgment, do his own Bible study, and reach his own conclusions." — St. Paul Enterprise, November 21, 1916
In 1912, Brother Russell stated:
"If we have made some mistake in the time, it will not matter a bit; we are consecrated to Him unto death. Perhaps the Lord will test us along this line. But I should not mind; I tell you that I am enjoying the Lord, and enjoying the previous Word more and more every day, and if it gets still better by 1914, I don’t know how good it will be. So that, whether we have the exact moment is very immaterial to us; it is quite a secondary matter. But there is no doubt at all that the Kingdom will come – whether in that year, or another year–it is sure to come, 'For the Lord of Hosts hath spoken it, and who shall disannul it'"? — 1912, Convention Sermon Reports, page 439
In 1913, Brother Russell stated:
"We hold that nothing in these quotations declares the infallibility of the theories we suggested respecting 1914. In these statements, and in all of our statements, we have merely informed our readers respecting our views and the processes of our reasoning on the Scriptures which we have brought to their attention. Thus we have asked each reader to think and judge for himself, and to agree or disagree with us according to his own judgment of the facts.
"Notice that in the above quotations no dogmatic statement is made, but that the reader is requested to use his own intellect. For instance, note the words, 'bear in mind'; again, 'while we proceed to examine the evidence'; again the reference to 'Bible evidence.' In the last sentence the author sums up his own views, declaring what he considers to be the truth established by the evidences which he sets before his readers.
"In this respect we believe that THE WATCH TOWER presentations differ considerably from others. We state with positiveness the opinions of the writer and the reasons therefor, but leave the final decision with each head and heart in all matters, without attempting more." — Watch Tower, Novemeber 15, 1913, page 344.
In 1914, Brother Russell stated:
"Some one may ask, Since the fulfilment of the various time prophecies demonstrates that God’s methods of operating are slow, may it not be that the Kingdom will not be ushered in for five, ten or even twenty-five years? Our reply is, we are not a prophet; we merely believe that we have come to the place where the Gentile Times have ended. If the Lord has five years more for us here, we shall be very glad to be on this side of the veil; and we feel sure that all the Lord’s truly consecrated children also will be glad to be on this side if it is the Lord’s will. If the Lord has even one more year for us as good as the past year has been, what more could we ask?" — Watch Tower, November 1, 1914, page 329.
In 1914, Brother Russell stated:
"We do not claim infallibility." — What Pastor Russell Said, page 83
In 1914, Brother Russell stated:
"I am not a prophet." — What Pastor Russell Said, page 676.

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