The Books That Redefined C.T. Russell's Beliefs

by Maat13 38 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Old Goat
    Old Goat

    S o P, Have you ever read anything Russell wrote? I bet not.

  • blondie

    George Storrs and Henry Grew were influences on him. It is amazing how Google provides a wealth of info. As well as searching on JWN.

  • Separation of Powers
    Separation of Powers

    FYI Old Goat...and the name may well apply, my comment was in reference to Smiddy's mention of both Barbour and Miller...if you reread my post, which might be difficult unless you have your glasses, you will notice that it does not address the question of the poster, it simply states, sarcastically I might add, that Barbour and Miller were biblical powerhouses!

    As for my curriculum vitae in all things Russel, let's see, where should I start? Unlike many Witnesses, I was all in...emphasis on "all." I had in my possession at one time, the entire set of Studies in the Scriptures which I had read. Mind you, not good reading cause I like pictures. From The Divine Plan of the Ages to Atonement. No, I do not include the Finished Mystery because, as you know, it was Rutherford who penned that fiasco. Unless, of course, you subscribe to the belief that Franz wrote it (I do by the way, having dissected his writing style over the course of decades of research).

    As well, having had access to a library that could only be comaprable to the Gilead library or that kept under lock and key at 24 Columbia hts, I would say that I have read most of the foundational writings of Russel in Zion's, as well as portions of his Food for Thinking Christians, Tabernacle and its Teachings, and several other monumental literary works.

    Now, as for your assertion that Russel was not influenced by Miller, based apparently on the position of Schulz and de Vienne, I would suggest that a simple cursory examination of the religious fervor at the time would counter that position. It is difficult to assume, as apparently Schulz and de Vienne do based on your comment, that the effect of William Miler and his "movement" would not impact the impressionable mind of Russel as he started on his path to religious enlightenment. His affiliation with George Storrs by 1876 and his later affiliation with Barbour by 1877, would indicate, at least to this perspicacious student, that he knew of and most likely had examined the writings of Miller. As for being influenced by them, well, let's just say, Miller expected the end by 1843, Russel by 1914. He did not obviously agree with Miller's calculations but subscribed wholeheartedly to the belief that the epoch of time in which he was living was the "time" of God's greatest intervention. I think it goes without saying that THAT is exactly what Miller believed. Somewhat of a kindred spirit don't you think?

    Well, I guess that just about sums it up. And yes, I would bet.

  • donuthole

    Storrs is key because if was through his publication the Bible Examiner that Russell got some key beliefs. Grew was published by Storrs. This may be how Russell adopted his views on hellfire and atonement. The Examiner also published articles by Piazzi Smyth on the Pyramids, which probably contributed to Russell's interest in them.

  • Old Goat
    Old Goat

    There were many who had no connection to Miller that believed the end was near. Literalist belief extends back to German, Dutch and English expositors from the 17th Century. Belief in the near advent of Christ was not unique to Miller. It was the characteristic belief of most in Christendom both before and after Miller. Millerite Adventists were in the minority among belevers in the near close of the age. If you really had read Russell's Studies in the Scriptures you would have seen that he never read anything Miller wrote. (He says so, and it's obvious from content.) Russell was an Age to Come Literalist. He spent the years from 1870-1876 associating with them and believed their distinctive doctrine. Literialist doctrine is not Adventism.

    That you associate all end of age belief with Miller suggests that your research is very shallow. By 1876 Barbour was no longer an Adventist. He left that belief for Mark Allen's Blessed Hope theology. Russell, Barbour and their associates did not expect end-times events to be what Millerite Adventists expected. They owed their expectations to a trail of expositors that took them back to the German Piscator, and the Baptist Whiston and others none of whose theology is remotely similar to Millerite Adventism.

    Russell's sole connection to Miller was the belief inherited from Barbour that the 1843 movement, though doctrinally flawed, woke the virgins to serious study. All of Russell's doctrines come from sources other than Adventism. For instance, Russell's "fair chance" doctrine came from other sources and was rejected uniformly by Adventists.

    If I misunderstood your comment, I am sorry. My point remains the same. Russell was not Adventist in doctine or outlook. His end of the age teaching owed more to Presbyterian expostors and One Faith belief than to any other movement.

    Besides ... I like the Oz books.

    Glasses? Yes, I turn 98 in a few months. I use glasses.

  • Old Goat
    Old Goat

    An additional comment. Storrs left Millerite Adventism in the mid-1840s and adopted Literalist belief. This led to a huge controversy. Even when associated with the Life and Advent Union, Storrs did not advocate Millerite Adventism. By the time Russell met him, Storrs was fully literalist in belief, and he was not viewed with favor by any Adventist body. Many on this board make assertions about Storrs that are not at all true. Almost every issue of Bible Examiner is fairly easy to find and read. The problem here and elsewhere is that no one reads them. So the simplified view that he was an Millerite is all you see.

    For instance, in the July 1849 issue of Bible Examiner we find Storrs writing thus:

    Whatever the “church” or ‘the world’ may understand by Millerism, I understand it to have three peculiarities, and nothing more: viz. “Definite time for the advent,” …. That view I gave up in the winter of ’44 and ’45; and time has since demonstrated that I was right in so doing. The two other peculiarities of Millerism I gave up, one in the month of Feb. ’44, and the other in June ’45. The three may be summed up thus, 1. “Definite time for the advent, not to go beyond ’47.” 2, “No return of the literal posterity of Jacob to the land wherein their fathers have dwelt.” 3, “The earth all to be melted at the time of the advent, and none of its inhabitants left upon it.”

    These three points constitute the whole of what I call Millerism. … The second personal advent of Christ – that advent premillennial – nigh, even at the door – the kingdom of God on earth, or the earth the inheritance of the saints – the earth renewed, Paradise restored, and all those kindred doctrines relating to the kingdom of God, are no part nor parcel of Millerism: They had a distinct existence from his theory, and before his views were published to the world. The fact that some who embraced his theory had no knowledge that these other points had been published, by English Literalists, years before they heard from Mr. Miller, does not make them really any part of his peculiarities: they are not, and never were, any of his peculiar views. … The three points I have named are all that constitutes the peculiarities of Millerism.

    The leaders in his theory did not like to retain the name of Millerites after 1843-4 passed by, though they gloried in being called so in those years. No sooner did the time pass away, and they commenced the work of organizing churches, than they assumed the name of Adventists; thus showing they were unwilling to go forward under their former one, and so assumed that which is equally appropriate to all believers in the speedy return of Christ and his personal reign on earth, of whom there are many who never were Millerites. In assuming the name Adventists they wronged this latter class of believers; who thus became, in the public mind, identified with them; and they were as really a sect as any other. Why should they have left the name Millerite, by which they were every where known, to assume another without having given up one of Mr. Miller’s peculiarities? Was it to cover their errors without “confession?” It certainly has that appearance, whatever might have been their design. -- G. Storrs: Misapprehension Corrected, Bible Examiner, July 1849, page 106.

  • Separation of Powers
    Separation of Powers

    I hope that when I am 97 I will be as comfortable making blanket assertions by misreading posts.

    Several points, I personally don't believe Russel's comment that he "never read anything Miller wrote." Would you have admitted reading something by such a failure? I mean, they didn't call it the Great Disappointment for nothing? Your comment that Russel's "connection to Miller was the belief inherited from Barbour" is pretty much all the proof you need to know that he "knew of and most likely examined the writings of Miller" as quoted from my previous post.

    As for my associating "all end of age belief with Miller" suggests that you didn't fully read my post or simply decided to disregard its premise. In either event, it is a testament to the fact that you believe that your position is the only one worth considering.

    Thanks for the mental gymnastics. You may want to limber up next time.

  • Old Goat
    Old Goat

    Bad typo. That should be 87.

    Believe mine is the only one worth considering? No. Believe yours is at all correct. No.

    Would I admit reading Miller. Yes. I would. Russell's statement rings true because he could not clearly define what Miller taught.

    You've transfered your own behavior type to Russell. You wouldn't admit to it. I suggest that Russell would have. He often told his readers where he found his ideas. He names Thurman, Seiss, Hastings, and many others. He disagreed with many of these, but he tells us he read their work. Thurman was no less a fruitcake than Miller. If he would admit to reading Thurman's Sealed Book Opened, then he would admit to reading Miller if he had. Miller was irrelevant to his theology.

  • Separation of Powers
    Separation of Powers

    I guess at that age its really hard to remember....good luck to you on the next decade.

    BTW, I enjoyed your review of the Separate Identity.

  • Maat13

    Old Goat

    interesting points.

    my google search led me to a site containing copies of the Bible Examiner from 1843-1880... Your reference unfortunately was excluded. Only June, and August issues were viewable.

    Nonetheless, it would appear there were a few key individuals, who obtained some form of notoriety, that influenced Russell. Great input...

    -- G. Storrs: Misapprehension Corrected, Bible Examiner, July 1849, page 106.


Share this