by TerryWalstrom 10 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • TerryWalstrom

    What was Christianity?

    It was like a pointillist painting:

    Little dots, daubs, color splotches which only form a picture if viewed at a distance.

    If you stand close, you see only the dots. The farther back you recede, however, the more the mind is tricked into seeing

    shapes, forms, and finally "meaning."

    HISTORY is that stepping back and away from original events to create "meaning" inside the mind of the viewer.

    If we stop saying "Christ_ianity" and substitute MESSIAH_ianty or ANOINTED_ianty we get a grasp of it.

    Messianic Jews had their own idea of Jesus. Gentiles accustomed to demi-gods had another idea of Jesus.

    Arguments, debate, fistfights--led to forming the blobs and daubs into CHRISTIANITY.




    How did these people refer to each other?

    What words were really used in the Greek?

    AKOLOUTHONTES is the term used in the NT. SEVENTY-NINE references to akolouthontes appears="followers."

    Anything else? Yes.

    MATHETAI is used NINETEEN times. Mathetai=learners (i.e. disciples.)


    What were these persons following as akolouthontes (followers)? What were they learning as mathetai (learners.)?

    Did they walk up to each other and say, "Are you in the TRUTH?"


    They would ask if somebody was akolouthonte of He Hodos (Follower of the path.)

    Okay--what was the path?

    What did the teacher (Didaskale) teach?

    Answer: OPINIONS!

    There are about 41,000 denominations calling themselves "Christian." Each of these thinks THEY are correct and everybody else is not.


    PORTRAIT of early Christianity


    There were groups who came to chat and argue who had to be served drinks and snacks.

    Who served this function? DIAKONOS (deacons) served.

    Sometimes neighborhood groups wanted to get together with other neighborhood groups. Who arranged that liaison between neighbors?

    These were called PRESBYTEROI or "Elders."


    As in every movement, it takes somebody with a genuine drive and genius for promotion who can make things happen.

    (Saul)PAUL of Tarsus was that guy. He had never (previously) met Jesus or spoken to his chosen (apostles) followers--but--

    ***************HE CLAIMED to have encountered a supernatural vision of Jesus.*************

    This is like a modern day UFO sighting where a man gets kidnaped and probed by aliens!

    It was a helluva exciting story! A great one to tell . . . and believe because it was exciting and definitive.

    If you believed that story and Paul's letters (epistles) you began to have some kind of ORGANIZED teaching (or right belief: orthodoxy.)


    Jesus' apostles (chosen ones) were not teaching the same thing Paul was teaching. But, Paul was INCLUDING Gentiles and corrupting the ironclad grip of Jewishness (Law of Moses) by making it non-binding!

    If you don't think that was horrifying to Messianic Christians . . . think again!

    Arguably, were it not for the fact the Romans destroyed the center of worship (Jerusalem) in 70 c.e.---Paul's version of Christianity probably would never have gained traction.

    With Jerusalem destroyed, the Jews fled to avoid round-up and crucifixion leaving the door wide open for PAUL.



    Pretty much a reflection of an ongoing process.

    It is like 'weather'.

    The weather is only what it is AT THIS MOMENT.

    Every single dot affects every other dot.

    Your 'Christianity' may be sunshine while the other fellow's version is a thunderstorm.

  • jhine

    Terry I must (politely) disagree with your comment about all the different denominations thinking that only they are correct and all the others are WRONG . Yes in the past there have been splinter groups because of doctrinal differences but nowadays there is much more coming together of denominations and an appreciation of what each one gets right and how we can learn from each other .In my town we have a council of covenanting churches of all denominations available in the area . The ministers hold regular meetings together and we have lots of united services. And people of all denominations working together on a food bank and also Street Angels a group who go out on Friday and Saturday nights giving assistance to overindulgers who may be in danger because of an inability to look after themselves . Handing out free flip flops for girls having trouble in high heels is one of the services provided

    My town is not unique in this and more and more cooperation and appreciation at grass roots level is encouraged by all churches .

    Sorry for such a long response to one of your points , but i know first hand what the situation really is .


  • Viviane
    Good analogy, Terry.
  • Finkelstein

    jhine You make a valid point but what Terry is focusing upon is more about theological deferences and how certain religious organizations place a wall around their own self created interpretations and at the same time demean all others as false interpretations.

    One could say that religious organizations like the JWS place a glowing luminescent light over themselves to highlight those established interpretations. The WTS is constantly proclaiming that they have received new light from god's holy spirit for example.

  • TerryWalstrom

    jhine: Terry I must (politely) disagree with your comment about all the different denominations thinking that only they are correct and all the others are WRONG .

    I hear what you are saying.

    I tend to select my words carefully, so look at those words specifically.

    "Each of these thinks THEY are correct and everybody else is not."

    Not to put too fine a point on it, a denomination is a renaming in order to separate one similar thing from another in the same category, i.e. CHRISTIAN.

    Now what is the distinction and what is the difference between religious denominations as far as thinking themselves "correct"?

    In short, why put a distinctive name on a building if not to distinguish? It is to differentiate and discriminate in order to distinguish one thing from another.

    Take the Southern Baptists as an example. Within the Baptist denomination, the group which calls itself Southern Baptist is at odds on fundamentalist issues against other Baptists. Now they all 'agree' nominally, but not in fact doctrinally. Hardshell against harder shell, you might say :)

    Sooner or later, cracks appear and splits erupt with a different characterization boiling to the top and some kind of "name" being applied (i.e. denominate=to name).

    __________________________Example pertaining to the general name CATHOLIC

  • TerryWalstrom
  • Finkelstein

    If you were to go back to the beginning history of the WTS. you can see that C T Russel was at one time adjoined to the interpretations of another preacher who published his beliefs through printed literature and public talks as well.

    Nelson Barbour

    Russell was actually at one time a co-editor for this monthly periodical, started by Barbour.

    But eventually Russel came up with own select individualized interpretations which he sought out to gain further outside acclamation and support .

    So what did he do, he started his own monthly periodical, Zions Watchtower.

    Some info on Nelson Barbour .....

    He published something as early as 1868, though it has been lost In 1871 he wrote and published a small book entitled Evidences for the Coming of the Lord in 1873, or The Midnight Cry, which had two printings. Articles by Barbour also appeared in the Second Adventist press, notably the World’s Crisis.

    As 1873 approached, various groups began advocating it as significant. Jonas Wendell led one, another centered on the magazine The Watchman's Cry , and the rest were associated with Barbour. British Barbourites were represented by Elias H. Tuckett, a clergyman. Many gathered at Terry Island to await the return of Christ in late 1873. Barbour and others looked to the next year, which also proved disappointing.

    Led by Benjamin Wallis Keith, an associate of Barbour's since 1867, the group adopted the belief in a two-stage, initially invisible presence. They believed that Christ had indeed come in 1874 and would soon become visible for judgments. Barbour started a magazine in the fall of 1873 to promote his views, calling it The Midnight Cry. It was first issued as a pamphlet, with no apparent expectation of becoming a periodical. He quickly changed the name to Herald of the Morning, issuing it monthly from January 1874.

    Herald of the Morning, July 1878
    showing Barbour as Editor

    In December 1875, Charles Taze Russell, then a businessman from Allegheny, received a copy of Herald of the Morning. He met the principals in the Barbourite movement and arranged for Barbour to speak in Philadelphia in 1876. Barbour and Russell began their association, during which Barbour wrote the book Three Worlds (1877) and published a small booklet by Russell entitled Object and Manner of Our Lord’s Return. Beginning in 1878, they each wrote conflicting views on Ransom and Atonement doctrine. By May 3, 1879, Russell wrote that their "points of variance seem to me to be so fundamental and important that... I feel that our relationship should cease." In a May 22, 1879 letter to Barbour, Russell explicitly resigned: "Now I leave the 'Herald' with you. I withdraw entirely from it, asking nothing from you . . . Please announce in next No. of the 'Herald' the dissolution and withdraw my name [as assistant editor on the masthead]." In July 1879, Russell began publishing Zion's Watch Tower, the principal journal of the Bible Student movement. (Several years after Russell's death, the magazine became associated with Jehovah's Witnesses and was renamed The Watchtower.)

    By 1883 Barbour abandoned belief in an invisible presence and returned to more standard Adventist doctrine. He had organized a small congregation in Rochester in 1873.[7] At least by that year he left Adventism for Age-to-Come faith, a form of British Literalism. He changed the name of the congregation to Church of the Strangers. In later years the congregation associated with Mark Allen's Church of the Blessed Hope and called themselves Restitutionists. A photo of Nelson Barbour appeared in the Rochester Union and Advertiser in October 1895.

    Barbour intermittently published Herald of the Morning until at least 1903, occasionally issuing statements critical of C. T. Russell. He wrote favorably though cautiously that he was persuaded 1896 was the date for Christ's visible return, an idea that had grown out of the Advent Christian Church. The last date set by Barbour for Christ's return was 1907.

  • millie210

    I love your thoughtful and well written posts Terry.

    I cant say I agree with everything whole piece. For instance Paul, her was himself a Jew. I would have to factor that in. Also one can say if Jerusalem fell leaving things wide open for a "Paul" but a Christian would say that is prophecy playing out, so that statement works for each side it would seem?

    On the idea of being a promotional genius...Im not sure that men who have stood up and started religions or followings were so much promotional geniuses as they were charismatic and highly passionate about their topic. Russell would seem of that ilk also perhaps?

    I say none of the above in criticism, only thinking out loud as I read what was overall a highly enjoyable and accurate look at how things have worked out the way they did.

    Great job and keep up the good work Terry!

  • jhine

    Thanks Finkelstein and Terry for your replies .

    I get your points about denominations and obviously what you say is accurate . I want to put a "but " there only I cannot quite think of the right way of phrasing the but . I just wanted to say that in practice the differences are disappearing and the points of agreement are being focused on ,at least in my experience . I cannot of course speak for the various Baptist factions of America ! Enough said ,I will shut now , promise , honest , really ..........


  • Clambake

    Christianity is a nutshell without God, Jesus and the bible is a belief that man is an immortal creature different than the animals and is held accountable for his actions for all entirety . Plus we are suppose to make the world a better place.

    Myth or not, Christianity and democracy are the two greater factors in the development of western civilization.

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