Any ideas what WT says on this matter ?
WhoWhere was F&DS class between 1st century and 1914?
As I understand it they say it was those few individuals throughout history that kept their worship as pure as possible...barf.
What indidivuals were those?
They mentioned the guys who were burned for doing copies of the bible and translating it and suggested that they were the only ones approved of by God in those "dark days".
When I was a lad, I seem to recall the WTBTS going through history and picking and choosing mis-fits, but well-known figures, and doing 'articles' on them in the Awake.
I also seem to recall that they tried to claim that these folks were part of the overall scheme of things in their twisted organization.
(Of course, it would be impossible to refute their claim... the person is long dead and gone.)
As for specific names - I don't recall any.
Wycliffe cames to mind
I certainly remember various magazine articles down the years on the Waldenses, Albigenses, Socinians and Anabaptists, with heavy emphasis on doctrines they shared with JWs (eg rejection of the Trinity, no infant baptism, etc.). Also seem to remember them raking up a scripture from somewhere or other that refers to a 'constant feature'.
As for the 'few individuals' line, that would seem to fly in the face of their insistence that one can only acceptably worship God as part of an organization... to which I would say 'what organization was Job a part of?' He wasn't even one of God's 'chosen nation' at the time - the NWT (I believe) refers to him as 'one of the greatest of the Orientals'
Start with an easy approach: Who was the predecessor of C.T.Russel?
Barbour, Before him, Miller, Before him....oh, I see your point...it all started with Miller.
I don?t think it would be relevant anyway according to the WT because they would consider that period of time to be part of the 2,520 years comprising ?the appointed times of the nations,? or, ?the times of the Gentiles,? which apparently covered 607 B.C.E. to 1914 C.E. The Live Forever book, chap. 16, p. 140, states, ?During these ?appointed times? God did not have a government to represent his rulership in the earth.? So, I guess it?s really, as we say in legalese, a ?moot point.?
It seems rather convenient that there would not be any representative earthly government?i.e., ?Faithful and Discreet Slave??for such a long time period so as to establish any lineage of succession. (Don?t forget, the last of such established records were the ancient Hebrew genealogical records which were supposedly destroyed along with the temple by the Romans.)
So, if anybody in this modern age claimed to be the ?Faithful and Discreet Slave?, then, based solely on the existence or non-existence of written records, there would really be no way to prove?or disprove?their authenticity. (It would be kind of like being able to prove or disprove that last night you predicted the latest winning lottery numbers in a dream.)
Of course, the ?old standby? is always appropriate for determining the veracity of any class of individuals: ?By their fruits? . . . especially love.