Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Did Russell use an Evil Spirit to Endorse His Studies?

A claim is being made that Brother Russell used a quote from "an evil, spirit power" to endorse his series "Millennial Dawn" in the May 1, 1912 Watchtower. It is reported that the demon said, "Yes; the DAWNS are correct, not only in doctrine, but in chronology as well."

Actually, the material presented was not written by Russell, but it is a letter written by Harry W. Davidge to Russell. The point was not to endorse Russell's works with a quote from a spirit, but rather to show the deceptive methods that these spirits are using, hence is under the title: "ALMOST LED ASTRAY BY SATAN'S DEVICES".

Some quote the letter as proof that the demons "endorsed Russell's theology." This is usually in the context of endeavoring to prove that Russell was an occultist, or that Russell's theology was of the demons. In reality, while the demon appeared to endorse Russell's theology, the demon actually only pretended to do so in order to deceive. Brother Davidge brought this out, when he wrote in that same letter: "It further confessed to me that the spirits who operate the board have no other mission than to hinder all of the Lord's people. It further stated that they took "special delight in buffeting, hindering and endeavoring to ensnare Brother Russell and his colaborers at the Bethel Home." The demon therefore expressed the idea that the DAWNS (Studies in the Scriptures) are correct only in an effort to gain confidence with the purpose of endeavoring to get Brother Davidge to forsake the truths he was learning.

Indeed, since Russell's theology condemned the use of or communicating with such spirits, the whole idea is self-contradictory.

The apostle Paul had a similar situation, as we read:

Acts 16:16-18 - It happened, as we were going to prayer, that a certain girl having a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much gain by fortune telling. [17] The same, following after Paul and us, cried out, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation!" [18] This she did for many days. But Paul, becoming distressed, turned and said to the spirit, "I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!" It came out that very hour. -- World English.

The words spoken by the demon were definitely words of truth. One could conclude that the demon was endorsing the work of Paul and Silas, but was this demon really doing so? Evidently not, otherwise, Paul would not have commanded the demon to leave the girl. Likewise, the demon that communicated with Brother Davidge was not actually endorsing the Studies in the Scriptures, nor the chronology presented therein.

Brother Russell wrote of this:
St. Paul and Silas had an experience with an obsessed young woman who practiced soothsaying, fortune-telling, by the power of the evil spirit which obsessed her. As the evil spirits recognized Jesus and cried, "We know Thee, who Thou art, Jesus," so this spirit knew the Apostles and, through the young woman's lips, cried after them, "These be the servants of the Most High God, which show to us the way to obtain eternal life" (Acts 16:16-18).
Neither Jesus nor the Apostles were willing to accept demon testimony and commanded the evil spirits to come out of their victims.  -- "Thousands of Demons Infest Earth's Atmosphere." The National Labor Tribune, February 12, 1911, as reprinted in Harvest Gleanings, Volume III, page 467.

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