Who Is An Apostate?

by NeonMadman 7 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • NeonMadman

    Maybe you've heard the story of a brother in the Watchtower's writing department who was very smart, hard working and a good writer. We'll call him Charley. Charley was so good, in fact, that he advanced through the ranks and became a co-editor of the Watchtower magazine. There was one other brother serving along with him in the co-editor position, and between the two of them, they had pretty much complete control of the magazine's content (subject to GB approval, of course).

    Things went well for a few years, and the two worked together pretty harmoniously. But eventually a conflict arose between the two over a significant doctrinal issue. They argued for a while, but ultimately Charley's co-editor won the battle; it was his understanding of the teaching, not Charley's, that ended up being published.

    Charley exploded. He immediately resigned as co-editor of the Watchtower. Ultimately, he left the organization and went off and started his own group where his own understandings of doctrine could be taught without opposition. He even started his own magazine and circulated it to as many Watchtower readers as he could. He continued to head up that group and publish that magazine until the day he died.

    Now, do you suppose there is any JW anywhere who would not agree that Charley was an apostate?


    I changed a few details in the story.

    "Charley" was actually Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the group that eventually became the JWs.

    The magazine of which he was co-editor wasn't the Watchtower, it was the Herald of the Morning, an Adventist magazine.

    His co-editor was Nelson Barbour, and the doctrine over which they disagreed was the Ransom - certainly a major doctrine.

    There was no GB involved - I threw that in as a red herring. The conflict was between Russell and Barbour, and Barbour won out.

    The group that Russell founded was the Bible Student movement, precursor to the JW organization.

    The magazine he founded was Zion's Watch Tower, which continues today simply as The Watchtower.

    Apart from those changes, the narrative is correct.

    So - how do you think the average JW would feel to know that his organization was founded by someone he just agreed was an apostate?

  • Diogenesister

    Very powerful, very thought provoking and, of course, Interesting. No question that any jw would be forced to agree - he was an apostate.

    Would you be able to expand on the differences the two had over the ransome issue? I'd be really interested if you would, thank you👍

  • Awakenednow

    They wouldn't. They don't care he was an asshole creepy husband and today would be jailed for date rape either; or a snake oil salesman with multiple failed business ventures all documented with public legal documents. The cult personality reminds me of kids who stand there with their hands over their ears singing lalalal I can't hear you ....nasty apostate. It doesn't matter that the Bible describes the apostate as a denier of Jesus Christ coming in the flesh.

    Fantastic point and illustration neonmadman! I'd give you a G! In the Ministry school ! 😜

  • NeonMadman


    From Jim Penton's Book, Apocalypse Delayed, 1988 edition, pp. 22-24:

    Early Schisms: 1878 and 1881

    Barbour, Russell, and Paton were united briefly to preach and publicize the ideas outlined in Three Worlds. Russell quickly began to make converts, including A. D. Jones, one of his clerks, and A.P. Adams, a New England Methodist minister. But problems soon arose. The small band of unnamed Adventists expected, as Three WorIds taught, that the spring of 1878 would see them, as Christ's chosen saints, carried away to heaven. When that did not happen, disillusion and division occurred.

    Russell remained loyal to the teachings expressed in Three Worlds while Barbour set off on another course. Russell developed the explanation that those dying in the Lord from 1878 forward would have an immediate heavenly resurrection rather than having to sleep in their graves; so, he held, 1878 was a marked year. But Barbour refused to accept that solution and began a whole new exercise in date-setting. In addition, he then took a position in conflict with that held by both Russell and Paton on the nature of the atonement. According to Russell: 'Mr. Barbour soon after wrote an article for the Herald denying the doctrine of the atonement - denying that the death of Christ was the ransom price of Adam and his race, saying that Christ's death was no more a settlement of the penalty of man's sins than would the sticking of a pin through the body of a fly and causing it suffering and death be considered by an earthly parent as a just settlement for misdemeanor in his child.’

    Russell disagreed with Barbour's new stance and a schism followed. Barbour was a particularly proud, severe man, and he had certainly been the most prominent member of the small association that had formed in 1876. But Russell was determined to differ from him on what he considered a fundamental doctrine. He took issue openly with Barbour's position on the atonement and obtained Paton's support in an article which was published in the December 1878 Herald. Early in 1878 the split between Barbour - with A.P. Adams in his camp - and Russell and Paton became complete. Russell accused Barbour of withdrawing money which he (Russell) had deposited and of treating it as his own. Then, when Russell founded a new magazine, Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, Barbour 'poured upon the Editor of the TOWER the vilest of personal abuse.’ What followed was a battle between the former associates to gain support from those who received the two journals, for the readers of them were the same persons. At the time, Paton, as much as Russell, served as a leader of those who had broken with Barbour. Russell urged him to write a book called Day Dawn to replace Three Worlds, and A.D. Jones agreed to publish it. It was primarily Russell, however, who carried on the struggle with Barbour, and it was he who produced a small book called Tabernacle Teachings in answer to some of Barbour's criticisms of his doctrines.

    Paton did not object openly to any of Russell's ideas; evidently he was a much more pacific man than Barbour. But he, too, soon began to produce articles which Russell regarded as a denial of the ransom doctrine of the atonement. Consequently, in 1881, he refused to publish any more of Paton's articles and the two separated with some bitterness.

    By 1881, of the five principal associates who had taken a stand on the doctrines outlined in Three Worlds, only A.D. Jones remained in fellowship with Russell; ad even that relationship did not last. With Russell's blessings, Jones founded a journal named Zion's Day Star in New York City. Within a year he, too, denied Russell's theory of the ransom and eventually was to repudiate the Bible itself.

  • krismalone

    Deep food for thought. Chuckee should of had "waited on Jehovah" and not "run ahead of his organization" as every JW is reminded in their publications. Also "Jehovah will take care of it in his due time", "leave it in Jehovah's hands" and "where else will you go?" These cliches apply to the average JW but not to C.T. Russell and the self proclaimed Judge who took matters in his own hands to takeover the Watchtower.

    The double standards are endless.

  • Rainbow_Troll

    According to the Oxford English Dictionary an Apostate is "a person who renounces a religious or political belief or principle." (Interestingly, the word is derived from the Greek apostatēs, which was a term used to designate a runaway slave.)

    The fact is that any JW who wasn't born into a Jehovah's Witness family, and who practiced a different faith before their conversation, is now an apostate by definition! My mother was raised a Methodist, not a JW. Thus, the moment she decided to abandon her childhood faith and get baptized, she became an apostate. There are so many JWs with similar backgrounds and any JW who calls you an apostate should be reminded of this fact. In fact, an apostate who criticizes others for being apostates is also a hypocrite and we all know how Jesus felt about hypocrisy.

  • UnshackleTheChains

    The GB are never ever considered apostate regardless of whether they change long held teachings.

  • Tempest in a Teacup

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