Monday, June 7, 2010

Failed Prophecies?

Russell never made any prophecies, so there were no prophecies from him that "failed". Charles Taze Russell never claimed any direct revelation from God. His opponents, as well as some others who claimed to be his followers, have made this claim for him, but he denied such from the very beginning and continued in such denial until the day he died. He certainly never claimed to be a prophet, as did Joseph Smith.

Charles Taze Russell (although he stated his views firmly as his beliefs) was never dogmatic about his beliefs on chronology and time prophecy, nor did he demand of the Bible Students associated with him or anyone else accept his beliefs. His statements were:

"Our own views are not prophecy, but interpretations of the holy prophets of old." (Watch Tower, October 1890, page 8)

"Neither must you lean upon the DAWN and the TOWER as infallible teachers. If it was proper for the early Christians to prove what they received from the apostles, who were and who claimed to be inspired, how much more important it is that you fully satisfy yourself that these teachings keep closely within their outline instructions and those of our Lord; -- since their author claims no inspiration, but merely the guidance of the Lord, as one used of him in feeding his flock." ("The Watch Tower", June, 1893)

"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." (Watch Tower, January 1, 1908, page 5).

"I am not a prophet." (What Pastor Russell Said, Q272:1, 1910)

"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)

"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, Q56:1, 1910)

"We have never set forth anything to indicate that our view in the matter was infallible. I do not know positively that the times of the Gentiles will end in October, 1914, or at any other particular time. We think there is strong reason for believing that the Gentile Times will end in October, 1914. We give it as our opinion, and set before you the Scriptural reason. Some may believe and some not. This is our thought and if it is correct, about that time, or shortly thereafter, a great time of trouble will come upon the world." (What Pastor Russell Said, Q313:2, 1914)
Many more quotes could be provided.

What one will not find anywhere in Russell's writings is that he claimed that his writings were a direct revelation from God, or that his expectations were directly from God.

I will say that, after Russell died, that Rutherford made all kinds of claims for Russell that Russell himself never claimed, including the claim that Russell was a "prophet".

Russell was expecting the "time of trouble" to begin in 1914, which indeed it did, and we have been in that "time of trouble" with its spasms ever since; he was not expecting the earth all of a sudden to become a paradise in 1914, as many have assumed, rather he was expecting almost the opposite, trouble and warfare such as the world had never seen before. Several dates were suggested for how longer after 1914 the "time of trouble" might last; Russell stated that he could not find a scripture that shows how long "the time of trouble" would last after 1914. The belief that the time of trouble was to begin was never changed after 1914, for the facts indicated that it had begun 1914. Russell certainly never concluded that the "Gentile Times" did not end in 1914, and he continued to believe that until the day he died. As far as I know, even the JWs continue to believe that the Gentile Times ended in 1914 to this day; I know that they did back in the 1990s, so if they have stopped believing this, it would have to be in the last few years, not back in 1914 as allegedly due to some imagined failing of 1914.

See my research concerning Russell's expectations for 1914 at:

See also:
JW Claim and Russell's Expectation Concerning 1914: