Sunday, April 7, 2019

A Truth Presented by Satan - Did Russell Condone Using the Occult?

Many take a quote from Russell's short article, "What is Truth?" and use it to claim that Russell accepted Satan's lies as being truth, and/or that he was supporting the occult, spiritism, etc. Did Russell say that he would accept Satan's lies? Did he say anything that means that he condoned the occult? If one reads actually reads what he said, it becomes apparent that he was not saying such.

One who misrepresents Russell regarding this is John Ankerberg. We are addressing some of the things stated in the article, "The Pagan Roots of Jehovah's Witnesses."

The article presents Russell as the founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses. This is false, and we have discussed this elsewhere. Russell was never a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses. See Russell and JWs

The article quotes an inaccurate statement from The Watchtower of July 15, l950, page 212. The author of what is stated there evidently did not do much research, and misrepresented Russell as "hungrily ... investigating the heathen religions in search of the truth on God’s purpose and man’s destiny." Russell did report of how he, believing that the Bible taught that most of the people who have ever lived are now in eternal flames of torment, did turn to various eastern religions to see if they offered anything better. Russell never said that he "hungrily" did this; his report simply shows that he found nothing satisfactory in that search.

Based on an inaccurate statement presented as being from a 1950 Watchtower, the article states concerning Russell:
He knew so little of the Christian faith and what the Bible taught that an “infidel” drove him into skepticism. Not only that, he filled his mind with pagan, occult beliefs before returning as an obviously last choice to the Bible.
The wording again misrepresents Russell, and what actually happened. Russell actually rejected the pagan/occults beliefs as being unreasonable, so he did not fill his mind with pagan, occult beliefs. Before he discussed matters with the infidel, he actually thought that what man's creeds and dogma taught was what the Bible taught. He, like many others, was well acquainted with the Bible, but had been, in effect, trained to view the Bible through the lens of man's dogma. When he, in he was about 16 years old, encountered an infidel who actually upset Russell's belief in what he at that time thought was the actual teaching of the Bible.

Russell stated: "Thinking that we had already examined the Bible sufficiently, we turned our attention to heathen religions, only to find them less rational in some respects, though less fiendish, than our own creeds. Evidently the most intelligent peoples have been the most thoroughly seduced by Satan and his doctrines of demons, into believing the most horrible things respecting the Creator and His purposes toward His human creatures. -- Watch Tower, December 15, 1914, page 377

And he said:

So that even when I had thrown away my Bible, when I did not know its value, I got to looking for a Bible somewhere and I searched amongst all the heathen religions to see if I could find one any better than the one I had thrown away, and I found nothing nearly as rational, nearly as reasonable, as the Bible when I understood it. -- What Pastor Russell Said, Q197:1.

Rather than filling his mind with pagan, occult beliefs, he sound nothing satisfactory in those beliefs.

The following is stated concerning Charles Taze Russell

Truth: “A truth presented by Satan himself is just as true as a truth stated by God. . . . Accept truth wherever you find it, no matter what it contradicts” (WT 7/1879, pp. 8-9).

This quotation is from Russell, and there is nothing at all wrong with what Russell stated. It does not mean that Russell used Satan as a basis for truth, or that he sought truth from Satan. We find this quote being spread by many on various sites, in forums, in videos, etc., evidently with the object of making it appear that Brother Russell was supporting forms of Satanism, occultism, spiritism, etc. However, the quote is taken out of context with the evidently design to mislead people regarding what Russell actually saying. Some appear to quote this with the idea that Russell was willing to accept the lies of Satan, although what he stated actually says the opposite. Let us look at the quote in context:
This question is one which every sincere Christian should ask and seek to answer. We should learn to love and value truth for its own sake; to respect and honor it by owning and acknowledging it wherever we find it and by whomsoever presented. A truth presented by Satan himself is just as true as a truth stated by God.
Perhaps no class of people are more apt to overlook this fact than the Christian. How often do they in controversy overlook and ignore truth presented by their opponents. This is particularly the case when arguing with an infidel. They feel at perfect liberty to dispute everything he says on religious subjects. This is not the correct principle. Many infidels are honest–as anxious to speak and believe the truth as are Christians–and if in converse with them we ignore truths which they may advance, we not only fail to convince them of our truths, but put an end to all hope of reaching them; for our failure to admit the evident truth which they advance begets in them contempt for the one who is not honest enough to admit one truth because he does not see how it can be reconciled to another. Accept truth wherever you find it, no matter what it contradicts, and rely for ability to afterwards harmonize it with others upon “The Spirit of truth, which shall guide you into all truth,” as Jesus promised.|

 Thus, if one approaches this with an honest heart, one will realize what Russell was saying. We should remember that the word Satan means "adversary", especially as being in opposition to Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the Messiah sent by Jehovah, but Satan is also the adversary of the child of God. (1 Peter 5:8) Russell was likening the infidels who are being used by Satan to oppose the truths of the Bible as though they were Satan; Jesus did something similar when he called the apostle Peter “Satan”. (Matthew 16:23; Mark 8:33) Peter, of course, was not literally Satan, but he was imitating Satan by speaking an untruth, and attempting to persuade Jesus to take a course contrary that which Jesus knew God wanted him to take. Likewise, the infidels who reject the creative account of the Bible may present a lot of truths in what they say, although they may misrepresent those truths to promote what is not true.

Likewise, if Satan, or his demons speak a truth, it is still true regardless of their purposes for stating the truth. Otherwise, the stated truth would a lie simply because of who stated it, which is self-contradictory. If something is actually "true", it cannot at the same time actually be a "lie".

Nevertheless, the implication of putting the quote from Russell on the site appears to be to imply that  absolutely everything Satan says is a lie, and that thus, Satan cannot speak one sentence without everything in that sentence being a lie. In the context of what Russell was saying, it would mean that every word and every sentence spoken by any infidel, even if it is true, has to be a lie because of who said it. Such an idea, if extended to the demons over whom Satan is prince, then the demons lied when they called Jesus: “the son of God,” and “Son of the Most High.” (Matthew 8:29; Mark 3:11; Luke 1:32; 4:41; 8:48) Thus, if they cannot tell the truth at all, then we should believe that it is a lie to say that Jesus is the “Son of God,” or that Jesus is the “Son of the Most High.”

In Job 1:7, we read:

Job 1:7 - And Jehovah said to Satan, From where have you come? And Satan answered Jehovah and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
 -- Green's Literal Translation. 

Did Satan lie to Jehovah by saying that he had been going back and forth in the earth, etc.? We have no reason to think that he did so.

But someone may ask: Didn’t Jesus say concerning Satan that “there is no truth in him?” — John 8:44, Word English.

We believe the better rendering would be, in reference to “the truth” that Jesus had just spoken of: “the truth is not in him.” (John 8:44) We don’t believe that it was Jesus' intent to say that Satan can never tell a truth, anymore than he meant that those Jewish leaders to whom he spoke could never tell a truth. However, many times when Satan tells us a truth, it is framed in a setting of a lie, as in Genesis 3:5. By such methods he misrepresents the truth that he states with a lie.

Nevertheless, the quote from Russell, taken out of context, has been spread to many sites, publications, videos, and often quoted in a context to make it appear that Russell accepted occultism, Satanism, astrology, demonism, spiritism, and many other things. The obvious motive is to misrepresent Russell by leaving the impression that Russell believed that what Satan says is “the truth,” which is again far from Russell’s intent in his statement. Russell’s works attest of his view concerning Satan, that he was a liar, and the father of the lie, as Jesus said. 

For links regarding:

Russell and the Occult - The studies linked include many of Russell's own writings concerning Satan and the occult.

Russell, Blacks and Discrimination

This is in response to an article entitled, “Jehovah’s Witnesses, Blacks and Discrimination“, written by Jerry Bergman, Ph. D. We are not with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, so our response is not to defend the JWs or their organization, but rather we are responding regarding statements made concerning Charles Taze Russell. Russell, himself, was never a member of the JW organization, but many view things he wrote and stated as though he were laying down dogma as does the JW leadership.

Bergmen presents several quotes from the Golden Age. The Golden Age magazine was not printed in Russell’s day, but we mention this because of the way that quotes that magazine; many may associate what is stated there with Russell, although Russell had no control over what was printed in that magazine.. A sentence is quoted from the October 15, 1919 Golden Age and is offered as proof of discrimination. In the context, however, the author of the article was simply pointing out some of the arguments being presented for the case of national prohibition. After that, the article presents some of the arguments of related the negative consequences of national prohibition. The one sentence, however, is quoted out of context and placed in the context of “racial discrimination”, although I highly doubt the author had any intent of racial discrimination.

Bermgen states:
Another article refers to Orientals as “coolies” who were “cutthroats and murderers” (Golden Age, March 10, 1926, p. 374).
What was stated in context:
The story is told of Dr. Clark that while a missionary in India he listened to a song from a band of coolies who had been cutthroats and murderers, but had become converted. The chief one had once been captured and sold as a slave. No master could keep him, he was so wicked. A missionary bought him with the hope of saving him. Here the coolie heard that the blood saves!
“Could it cleanse a murderer?”
“Yes.”
“One who killed five ment?”
“Yes; all sin!”
“One who killed ten, twenty, thirty?”
“Yes, all manner of sin.”
“I am that man.”
His life was transformed. Verily, can man do this, and can God not? (Jeremiah 18:4-6)
The story is evidently being retold from some other source, although the source is not stated, and we have not been able to find the source. At any rate, as respects the word “coolies”, the article simply reflects the common usage of that time. The word simply referred, not to all Orientals, but rather to unskilled Orientals. The term, like the term “darkie” as used by Stephen Foster, could be used in endearing manner, or it could be used as expressing a source of cheap labor. The former usage is, not, of itself, racism, any more than if one had said “Chinese”, “Japanese”, or “Khmer”. Nevertheless, it could also be used as derogatory term, but it should be obvious that this was not the intent in the article.

Bergmen further makes it appear that the author was claiming that all Orientals were “cutthroats and murderers”, which is definitely a deceitful method of quoting out of context, since it is apparent from the context that the author was referring to just this one “band”, not all Orientals. We do not know if Bergmen, himself, is the source of the material he is presenting, or if he is just repeating what he has read from someone else. Nevertheless, who ever came up with the quotes out of context had to know that they were misrepresenting what was actually stated.

Biological Inferiority of the Black Race

Bergman claims that the Watchtower “for decades officially taught the doctrine of biological inferiority of the black race.” We have found no evidence anywhere Brother Russell’s writings that he ever thought such a thing, It is further claimed: "Formal segregation of blacks was once rigidly enforced in their organization, both during the rule of their first president, C.T. Russell (1852- 1916) and their second, Joseph F. Rutherford (1869-1942) and even until the late 1950's." Russell never claimed authority to rigidly or otherwise enforce such an idea. Russell preached against authoritarianism. The norms in the US at that time, however, was totally different than it is today. In many places in the United States at that time it was against the law for whites and "colored" to congregate together.

Getting to quotes from Brother Russell, Bergmen presents some selective quoting from The Watch Tower, April 1,1914, page 110:
Recognizing that it meant either the success or the failure of the…[Photo] Drama as respects the whites, we have been compelled to assign the colored friends to the gallery… Some were offended at this arrangement. We have received numerous letters from the colored friends, some claiming that it is not right to make a difference, others indignantly and bitterly denouncing [us] as enemies of the colored people. Some … told us that they believe it would be duty to stand up for equal rights and always to help the oppressed…. We again suggested that if a suitable place could be found in which the Drama could be presented for the benefit of the colored people alone, we would be glad to make such arrangements, or to cooperate with any others in doing so.
Bergmen then states:
The administration then concluded that the Watchtower interests were to be put ahead of efforts to achieve racial justice and human rights, a policy that continues today.
Brother Russell, like Jesus and the apostles in the Bible, did not believe that the Christian's mission is to reform Satan's world. The point was not to put "Watchtower interests" first, but the presentation of God's wonderful message from the Bible, the good news of great joy that shall be for all people presented in the Photo Drama. This message is centered in Christ, who died to reconcile the world to God. -- Romans 5:6,8,12-19; 2 Corinthians 5:18,19; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; 1 John 2:2; 4:10,14.

Bergmen then presents some more selective quotes:
Our explanations were … it is a question of putting either the interests of God’s cause first, or else the interests of the race first. We believed it our duty to put God first and the truth first–at any cost to others or to ourself! We explained that we thought that all the colored brethren should know… that we love to serve them in any way possible and to give them the very best we have to give of the Gospel message; and that it is only a question of whether our giving to them in one way would entirely deprive us of giving the truth to others (Watchtower, April 1, 1914:110).
Bergmen’s method of quoting and his comments make it appear that as a result of the incident at the Photo-Drama showing, that Brother Russell decided a new policy for the WTS. In reality, Russell was, in effect, reiterating the policy, based on the New Testament, from the beginning of not getting involved in the world’s politics and social issues. However, the kind of selective quoting presented by Bergmen is very misleading, for it leaves out various parts and often combines one thought as being associated with something that was not originally intended.

We will present the entire article below.

THE COLOR LINE FOUND NECESSARY
   WE might have anticipated that many colored people would be deeply interested in THE PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION. But it did not impress itself upon us until gradually their number increased to about twenty-five per cent. of the whole audience. Of course, we were glad to see them, glad that they were interested in the DRAMA. We had the same feeling respecting them as others; but it was quickly discerned that it was not a case of feeling, but that, whereas the colored people of New York City are about five per cent. of the population, in our audiences they are about twenty-five per cent. and the number increasing. What shall we do? As the attendance of the colored people would increase, proportionately the number of the whites would decrease; for explain it how we will, a majority of whites prefer not to intermingle closely with other races.
  Recognizing that it meant either the success or the failure of the enterprise of the DRAMA as respects the whites, we have been compelled to assign the colored friends to the gallery, which, however, is just as good for seeing and hearing as any other part of The Temple. Some were offended at this arrangement.
    We have received numerous letters from the colored friends, some claiming that it is not right to make a difference, others indignantly and bitterly denouncing us as enemies of the colored people. Some, confident that Brother Russell had never sanctioned such a discrimination, told that they believe it would be duty to stand up for equal rights and always to help the oppressed, etc. We were obliged to explain the facts, assuring all of our loving interest in the colored people, and of our desire to do them good, and not injury. We again suggested that if a suitable place could be found in which the DRAMA could be presented for the benefit of the colored people alone, we would be glad to make such arrangements, or to co-operate with any others in doing so.
   Our explanations were apparently entirely satisfactory to all of the fully consecrated. To these we explained that it is a question of putting either the interests of God’s Cause first, or else the interests of the race first. We believed it our duty to put God first and the Truth first– at any cost to others or to ourself! We explained that we thought that all the colored brethren should know our attitude toward them–they should know that we love to serve them in any way possible and to give them the very best we have to give of the Gospel Message; and that it is only a question of whether our giving to them in one way would deprive us of giving the Truth to others.
    Some who were still tenacious and quarrelsome we merely reminded of our Lord’s declaration that in inviting visitors into the house it is the place of the host to say where they shall sit, and then we showed them the parable of the man who chose the chief seat of honor and was given a lower one.
   In answer to the query as to how our course of conduct squared with the Golden Rule, we replied that it squares exactly. We would wish others to put God first. If our personal interests are or ever have been in conflict with the real and apparently best interests of the Lord’s Cause, it is a part of our consecration vow to ignore our interests in favor of the interests of the Lord’s Cause. This is what we mean by the declaration that we are dead to self and alive to our God as New Creatures.
   We reminded one dear sister that the Lord enjoins humility, and assures us that unless we humble ourselves we shall not be exalted. If nature favors the colored brethren and sisters in the exercise of humility it is that much to their advantage, if they are rightly exercised by it. A little while, and our humility will work out for our good. A little while, and those who shall have been faithful to their Covenant of Sacrifice will be granted new bodies, spiritual, beyond the veil, where color and sex distinctions will be no more. A little while, and the Millennial Kingdom will be inaugurated, which will bring Restitution to all mankind–restitution to the perfection of mind and body, feature and color, to the grand original standard, which God declared “very good,” and which was lost for a time through sin, but which is soon to be restored by the powerful Kingdom of Messiah.



(We may add more to this later, if time permits, God willing.)