Thursday, January 5, 2017

Did Charles Taze Russell Deny Hell?

By Ronald R. Day, Senior
The statement is often presented that Russell denied the existence of hell; J. J. Ross, for instance, among many other misrepresentations of Russell, falsely claimed that Russell taught that "there is no hell for sinful." Another site states: "Russell studied the Bible on his own and later denied that hell exists." Another site states: "At the age of 20, Russell began declaring the 'good news' that there was no hell." Another states: "His later study of the Bible led him to deny the existence of hell." As with most of these sites, they confuse Charles Taze Russell with the Jehovah's Witnesses, often claiming that Russell was the founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses. One such site associates Russell with the Witnesses and claims "The Witnesses deny the existence of Hell." (Please note that the sites linked to may present a lot of misrepresentations concerning Brother Russell other than statements concerning "hell", much of which is addressed elsewhere on this site.)
In fact, Russell upheld the existence of the Bible hell, but he did deny the existence of the kind of hell that comes from man's imaginations. He stated:
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. -- The Watch Tower, January 1, 1912, page 29.
We present below studies of Russell in which he defends the Bible hell as opposed to the false hell that slanders the name of God.
To Hell and Back - Who Are There? - Discusses mostly sheol as it corresponds with the Greek hades.
Immortal Worms and Unquenchable Fire - Discusses Gehenna and its fires.
What Saith the Scripture About Hell? Examines all scriptures that contain hades, sheol, and gehenna, as well as tartaroo.
Our own studies of hell, life after death, gehenna, etc., may be found on our site:
For more concerning Charles Taze Russell, see:

Originally published May 29, 2011; Updated and republished November 24, 2014

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