Saturday, April 22, 2017

Can The Ethiopian Change the Color of His Skin?

We are presenting below an article often being cited as proof that Russell was a racist. Of course, if one is looking for something racial, one can find something in the works of practically any author that could been deemed to be racist. This does not mean that the author had racial intent or racial motives in what was written.
Watchtower, February 15, 1904, page 52. http://mostholyfaith.com/Beta/bible/Reprints/Z1904FEB.asp#Z52:13

"CAN THE ETHIOPIAN CHANGE HIS SKIN?"

We answer, No. But all will admit that what the Ethiopian cannot do for himself God could readily do for him. The difference between the races of men and the differences between their languages have long been arguments against the solidarity of the human family. The doctrine of restitution has also raised the question, How could all men be brought to perfection and which color of skin was the original? The answer is now provided. [R3320 : page 53] God can change the Ethiopian's skin in his own due time.

Prof. H. A. Edwards, Supt. of Schools in Slater, Mo., has written for the public press an elaborate description of how Julius Jackson, of New Frankfort, Mo., a negro boy of nine years, began to grow white in September, 1901, and is now fully nine-tenths white. He assures us that this is no whitish skin disease; but that the new white skin is as healthy as that of any white boy, and that the changed boy has never been sick and never has taken medicines. Realizing that his story would be doubted, he interested Dr. F. A. Howard, chief division surgeon of the Chicago and Alton Ry., who corroborates the statement in the following published extract from a letter:
"I am obliged to you for an opportunity of seeing and examining the negro child, Julius Jackson. 
"I found his heart action, respiration and temperature perfectly normal and his mental faculties seem acute for one of his age.
"The white skin now covering at least 90 per cent. of his body is, so far as I am able to judge, in full possession of all its organs and those organs seem to be performing their natural functions – no roughness, chalky, or ashen appearance is present.
"It seems to me that the conditions warrant your opinion – the change is certainly caused by chemical conditions of the blood.

Very truly, "F. A. HOWARD."
Those familiar with Brother Russell's writings know that he was always looking for news items that he could relate to prophecies and/or the coming times of restitution (restoration). Such is the case here, for Brother Russell was not emphasizing any racial prejudice, but his intent was related to the fulfillment of what he thought would be related to times of restitution of all things.

Some conclude from Russell's statement: "We now know the answer", that he was showing that he was a racist, for this, as they reason, means that Russell was saying that God is turning all mankind into the white race. Whether this was Russell's intent from what he stated, I cannot tell; in harmony with what he presented elsewhere, I believe that he was just saying that all will eventually become one color again, whatever that original color was. Most often, Russell referred to all mankind as being "one race", regardless of color of skin. I believe, however, that Russell's point was that God can change the color of anyone's skin, if he so desires.

Elsewhere Brother Russell wrote concerning the original race as created by God:
We may suppose that they were neither as white as some of us, nor as black as the negro, but of a swarthy, tawny color. If this be true, the extreme whiteness of some peoples is not to be considered the original standard, but a deflection on the one side, as the negro and others are deflections on the other side. -- Watch Tower, July 15, 1902, page 216.
While many see "racism" in the article under consideration, many who see such racism could also imagine such racism in the Bible itself. Such who claim the Bible is racist, however, are usually not believers in the Bible, but if one is a believer in the Bible, to be consistent, if they consider Brother Russell to have been a racist for his statements, they would have to consider God Himself to have been racists for creating only one race in the beginning. They would have to consider God to have been racist in choosing the descendants of Jacob as his chosen people. (Exodus 19:5,6; Deuteronomy 7:6; 26:18; Amos 3:2) They would have to also consider God to have been a racist for even asking the question, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin?" (Jeremiah 13:23) Additionally, one could consider Jesus as having been "racist" when he said, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." -- Matthew 15:24.

Furthermore, the Bible shows that the races (and consequently the various skin colors) did come about as a result of the God's curse on the peoples at Babel (Genesis 10:1-32; 11:7; ), for before that dispersion all spoke one language (Genesis 11:6); consequently, it is apparent from the Bible that all mankind originated from ONE man (Luke 3:38; Acts 17:26; Romans 5:14; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22,45), and that one man was one color, no matter what that color that might have been. Since mankind is to be restored to what he was originally (Acts 3:21; Romans 5:12-19), to Brother Russell it seemed reasonable to conclude that all will be restored to whatever color man was originally. We are sure, however, that Brother Russell would not at all be upset if all mankind is brought back with their separate colors, it surely was not something that he was making a big deal over. Indeed, the only ones who seem to be making a big deal over it are those who, for some reason or other, hate Russell, or hate what Russell stood for, that is: the good news of great joy that will be for all the people, and yet it is this very message that causes many others to appreciate Brother Russell's works. http://www.mostholyfaith.com/Beta/bible/volumes/A07.asp http://www.mostholyfaith.com/Beta/bible/volumes/A06.asp

At most, however, it would only be one's opinion that Brother Russell was had an intent of being racist in the article.

Much that could be said about this article, however, would be similar to what we stated concerning the earlier article, "Can Restitution Change the Ethiopian’s Skin?"

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