Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Is the Reading of "Scripture Studies" Bible Study?

The following is regarding an article that is often quoted (that is, by means of taking selected excerpts out of context) as though Russell approved of the "central authority" dogma that Rutherford later introduced. The article is from The Watch Tower, September 15, 1910, beginning on page 297 (Reprints 4686). The entire article may be found online at:
As reflected in the article, Brother Russell -- assuming the article was actually written by Russell -- was answering the question: Is the reading of "Scripture Studies" Bible Study? He shows it to be "Bible study" only if one has proved and accepted each point as being in harmony with the light of the Bible. Russell certainly believed that his writings were in harmony with the light of the Bible; no Christian author should be writing anything about the Bible that would not be an endeavor to be in harmony with the Bible. However, if any author believes that what he has written is in harmony with the light of the Bible, then that author must to also believe that anyone who is not in harmony with what he has written must be, to some extent, in darkness. Brother Russell, however, was addressing those who had presumably proven the Scripture Studies to be in harmony with the light of the Bible. For such, it would not be necessary to again prove each point presented, except that something arose which would appear to not be in harmony with the Bible. As can be seen by the  immediate context as well the context of Russell's work as a whole, we should not read anything Russell stated as saying that Brother Russell thought that his work was without error, or even equal to or greater than the Bible. Nor does it mean that everyone needs to agree with all that Russell stated. Nor was he making his Studies to be a replacement for the Bible.

Regarding chronology and and his conclusions concerning time prophecy, however, Russell made no claims that either the chronology or his conclusions were without error, and stated so. He did not reject anyone as a brother in Christ for disagreeing with him on these matters; he even presented some other views in the Watch Tower, although he did not agree with them. He advertised the Edgars' books on the Great Pyramid in the pages of the Watch Tower, although the Edgars' conclusions were not exactly the same as what he had presented in the Studies in the Scriptures. Anyone truly familiar with Russell's writings should know that he was not claiming that he thought that God was only using him to present Bible truth.

Nevertheless, many often quote some things in the this article out of context -- making some strong false accusations against Russell -- while ignoring the context in which he states: 
The six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES are not intended to supplant the Bible.... It is for each one to think for himself, however, and to guide his conduct in every way accordingly.... We should say, "I will not take it because these studies say so; I wish to see what the Bible says." And so we would study the Scriptures in the light of these SCRIPTURE STUDIES; we would prove every point, or disprove it, as the case might be. We would be satisfied with nothing less than a thorough investigation of the Bible from this standpoint... because the Scriptures are the standard.... "SCRIPTURE STUDIES" NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE BIBLE. -- Watch Tower, September 15, 1910, page 298.
The immediate context as well as many other statements made by Russell throughout the years of his ministry show that he was not placing his Studies as being something that should replace the Bible, and certainly not as being better or greater than the Bible.

Russell, the Bible Hell, and Eternal Punishment

Many claim that Russell was a heretic because, as they often put it, he denied that hell existed. Such often also claim that Russell denied "eternal punishment". Walter Martin and Norman Klann list "eternal punishment" as a "cardinal doctrine of the Bible", and state that Russell denied this doctrine, along with some other doctrines claimed to be "cardinal doctrines of the Bible." (Jehovah of the Watchtower, page 24) Russell, however, never denied that the Bible hell exists, nor did he deny "eternal punishment" as such is mentioned in the Bible, but he did show from the scriptures what the Bible hell is, and what it is not. Since by doing this he exposed the false teachings presented by man's self-appointed "orthodoxy," Russell himself was thus labeled a heretic by those who held to man's "orthodoxy."

Likewise, Russell did not deny the Bible's teaching concerning "eternal punishment." He did show how this expression is used in the Bible.

Searches of Russell's works related to the Bible hell:

Google searches of mostholyfaith.com:
Click Here to search Russell's works for the word "Hell".
Click Here to search Russell's works for the word "Sheol".
Click Here to search Russel's works for the word "Hades".
Click Here to search Russell's works for the phrase "lake of fire".
Click Here to search Russell's works for the word "Gehenna".
Click Here to search Russell's works for the phrase "everlasting fire".
Click Here to search Russell's works for the phrase "eternal fire".
Click Here to search Russell's works for the phrase "eternal punishment".
Click Here to search Russell's works for the phrase "everlasting punishment".
Click Here to search Russell's works for the phrase "eternal torment".
Click Here to search Russell's works for the phrase "eternal torture".
Click Here to search Russell's works for the phrase "eternal hell".
Click Here to search Russell's works for the phrase "rich man and lazarus". Click Here to see our own study on the rich man and Lazarus.
Click Here to search Russell's works for the word "Tartarus".
Actually, the noun "tartarus" never appears in the Bible, although many translations do insert the word at 2 Peter 2:4. Peter used a Greek verb, often transliterated as tartaroo, to describe the debasement of the angels that had sinned. Peter did not say that these angels had been cast into the Greek mythological "Tartarus". CLICK HERE to see our study on this.
Many do not realize that if what man's orthodoxy says about "hell" is true, then what the Bible says about Christ's redemption of mankind is false, since the very basis of Christ's redemption as presented in the Bible is denied by man's self-appointed "orthodox" teaching concerning hell. Russell, however, did not go into much detail about many aspects of the imaginations that have been presented by so-call orthodox supporters to support their false views of hell (indeed, many seemingly take the attitude, "if I can imagine it, it must be true."); we have sought to address many of these details in our "Life Now and Hereafter" site.

Was Russell the Founder of What is Now Jehovah’s Witnesses?

Walter Martin and Norman Klann, in the their books, Jehovah of the Watchtower (page 13, 1974 edition) and Kingdom of Cults (page 49, 2005 edition), make the following statement: “Charles Taze Russell was the founder of what is now Jehovah’s Witnesses and the energetic administrator that brought about its far-flung organization.” In reality, Russell did not believe in an authoritarian kind of organization such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, nor did he believe in the “gospel” (allged "good news" of bad tidings of great misery that will be for most of the poeple that they and their children will be eternally destroyed in Armageddon) that the Jehovah’s Witnesses preach.

An author on one site states:
Here’s the facts. The Jehovah’s Witnesses were started by Charles Taze Russell, who was associated formerly with the Second Advent Millerites, who became the Seventh Day Adventists.

Another states: "The sect now known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses was started by Charles Taze Russell."

Here's the real facts: The Jehovah's Witnesses were not started by Charles Taze Russell. Russell did have some association with the Second Adventists; some Second Aventists followed Ethel G. White and adopted her teachings (7th Day Adventism), but Russell was never associated with 7th Adventist Church, nor did Russell ever believe in the "sabbath" teachings of the SDA, nor did he ever believe that the earth would be with inhabitants for a thousand years. While the 7th Day Adventists eventually became the largest group to come out of the Second Adventists, there were many Second Adventists in Russell's day who were not 7th Day Adventists, and who did not believe in the SDA doctrine.

However, unlike the JW leadership, Charles Taze Russell was a non-sectarian who believed that the true church could be found among all Christian denonimations and sects. Russell did, however, urge Christians to give up such sectarianism, recognizing that God is going to destroy all such denominationalism and sectarianism, since such will not be permitted in God’s kingdom. (No, Russell was not preaching the eternal destruction of members of the various sects, as do the Jehovah’s Witnesses. He did preach that sectarian organizations will eventually be destroyed, thus freeing those who belong to such organizations so that they might be united to God through Jesus.

Many may not realize that Brother Russell did not claim that only those associated with him are true Christians. I present below some statements from Russell regarding “the true church”:
Those in all denominations who have conformed to the conditions required of Christian discipleship, the saintly ones, constitute the True Church- “The Church of the First-born, whose names are written in heaven.” — Harvest Gleanings, Volume 3, page 498.
If we shall recognize these saintly Christians of every nation and denomination as being the one true Church, “whose names are written in Heaven,” and if we shall recognize all others as Gentiles, we shall be getting the eye of our understanding into true alignment with the mind of God as expressed in the Bible. From this standpoint only can the prophecies of the Bible be understood. — Harvest Gleanings, Volume 3, page 616.
Please read also the following:

Russell taught that the Gospel of Jesus Christ includes the preaching of the “ransom for all, to be testified (witnessed) in due time.” (1 Timothy 2:5,6) Thus, he believed that every one who has been condemned by means of the sin of Adam will “in due time” benefit from that ransom for all, including Adam himself. In other words, Russell taught almost the opposite of what the Jehovah’s Witnesses preach.

Please see:

The real founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization was Joseph Rutherford, who, after Russell died, almost immediately began laying foundations for his new “organization” doctrines. By 1928, more than 75% of the earlier Bible Students movement had rejected Rutherford’s new doctrine of a “God’s visible organization” and were carrying on their ministries totally separate from Rutherford’s new organization. In order to distinguish his new organization from the old Bible Students movement, Rutherford named his new organization “Jehovah’s Witnesses” in 1931.
See also:

Written by Others
While we may be in general agreement with what presented by the authors below, we do not necessarily agree with all conclusions given.