Was Russell innocent from blame of creature worship reguarding himself?

by frankiespeakin 38 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • frankiespeakin

    Well was he?

    RR, feels Russell got a bum rap. I read some quotes of Russell's that make me say he is to blame to a large extent by the things he wrote and who he allowed to write in "his" magaszine.

  • JCanon

    I'm not sure what might turn up, but it will be a complex issue. That's because Russell specifically defined and had an official view of who the "slave" was, which included everyone. That, to his credit, was part of his teaching. It wasn't any one individual. That's besides the fact that he might have tolerated the focus on himself that others wanted to assign. But even so, that included him as part of this "faithful slave."

    On the other hand, after his death, Rutherford, who didn't want to work with the other collaborators for the previous Six Volumes had the Seventh Volume published privately without the knowledge or permission of those who were to inherit control over the organization. There was a big fight for control over the organization. Once Rutherford won, then the WTS published later versions of the "7th Volume" by far the biggest seller of all the volumes.

    So in general, Russell was not emphasizing it and playing it down, though with his prominence in the organization certainly there would be some comparisons.

    But Volume 7 was an abdomination and actually contradicted things in the previous volumes. It's preface focussed on the purpose of that volume which was to prove that Russell was this "faithful and discrete slave" prophesied in scripture and also the "7th angel of the Congregation of Laodicea."

    So Rutherford went way off track and was the grand leader of the organization going into apostate creature worship. Russell as the official FDS did not become WTS doctrine until Rutherford and remained so for 10 years from 1917 to 1927. Once it got old and Rutherford was writing his own books and taking personal credit for everything done, he dropped the idea that "Russell" was the FDS. But as Stafford noted, they didn't say, "This is creature worship, no one is the faithful slave." They just extended to anybody in charge of the organization. That still included Russell but most importantly allowed the mantle of the FDS to fall on the abdominably apostate and attention-seeking Rutherford.

    And now the Society is trying to lie about it. In their 1975 Yearbook, for instance, they claim that this idea of Russell being the FDS came from some of its members. But since when has any witness lay beliefs become WTS policy? All the witnesses do is follow and try to keep up with the studies! There is not likely an original thought among the whole bunch. Further if it had come up and been appropriate the official position of the WTS lead by Rutherford would have corrected it quickly and reinforced the earlier belief that this was the entire body of anointed ones. But instead, just the opposite was the case. Rutherford contradicted the current policy, whether feeble or not, put Russell on a pedestal as the "faithful and wise servant" and the "angel of the congregation of Laodicea" in book not approved by the original SIS writers and turned himself in the biggest promoter of creature worship there could ever be. But he doesn't get the blame for it. The "brothers" get the blame for it. The Russell "creature worship" fiasco was all Rutherford.

    He was a total joke if there ever was one! And you can be assured that the other WTS members were relieved after his death that they could go back to their policy of anonymous authors of the publications put forth. They casually claim that this as "insight" after 1942 as if it were an original idea or a good policy, when in fact, it was only related to the fact that Rutherford was dead and not claiming full credit for all the publications. He was an embarrassment!

    But, since the FDS God has to remain golden, they can't very well have the FDS which is the continuing choice of those leading the organization focussed on the GB be seen as the biggest apostate of all time and the chief instigator of creature worship of Russell, likely taking advantage of his death and claiming this 7th volume was "posthumous" to sell more books. And they did!

    An even bigger joke is that it got some members thrown into jail because of it's political commentary!

    Rutherford was just a huge joke and an embarrassment spiritually if there ever was one, and now the current organization is trying to save face and so become participants and "receive part of his plagues."

    Jehovah has abandoned them now. They are in spiritual darkness. And I wouldn't be surprised is more and more focus on all their dirty little secrets start to get revealed and more witnesses wake up to the reality--not just of past indiscretions but current ongoing deceptions and lies.

    God has turned them into a joke. None of their major doctrines work out any more, especially the ones dealing with prophecies or chronology.


  • Leolaia

    RR said that nowhere in Russell's writings did he outright claim to be the FWS, and that if he did believe it "he never admitted to it publically or in his writings". This is consistent with the 12/1/1916 WT which said that "Thousands of readers of Pastor Russell's writings believe that he filled the office of 'that faithful and wise servant,' and that his great work was giving to the household of faith meat in due season. His modesty and humility precluded him from openly claiming this title, but he admitted as much in private conversation". A private admission is not the same as admitting it "publically" or "in writing". It is up to you whether you accept the veracity of the author of the 12/1/1916 article of whether Russell really did admit privately to being the FWS, since Russell himself is dead and all those he privately spoke with are also dead. However, RR also notes that some followers did address Russell as the FWS, and this is also consistent with the 12/1/1916 WT. So obviously the idea was around before Russell died (probably in the verbal life of the church)...it just wasn't overtly published as such until after Russell died. But there were some things published that came rather close. The 3/1/1896 WT published an article disputing the earlier interpretation of the FWS (as set forth in the 11/1/1881 WT) that claimed that the office applied to all anointed Christians. The article strongly implied that the phrase "that servant" in Matthew 24:45-51 referred to "one" (e.g. an individual) and not to "all servants" and not to the entire household. Nowhere is Russell identified with this singular servant, but this is a logical inference one would draw from Russell's role as the pastor of the community and founder of the Watch Tower. So though an identification is not explicitly made, Russell does write that "it would be wrong to allow modesty or any other consideration, good or bad, to warp out judgment in the exposition of the divine Word", implying again that modesty aside, it is clear what individual the FWS should be interpreted to be. Then, in the 7/15/1906 WT, Russell reveals that it was his ex-wife Maria Russell who proposed this interpretation, saying "it was she who first called my attention to Matthew 24:45-47, applying it to me in a meeting at Allegheny and subsequently in another meeting with the New York church". Russell added that he disliked the "personal application" and suggested that perhaps the WT itself should be regarded to be the FWS. Then there is the 1909 Convention Report which, tho not written by Russell, was published by the WT and leans rather close to glorifying Russell:

    "Our reason for appreciating Brother Russell's recognition more than any other man living is that we have FAITH that the Lord has returned, that He is the Chief Reaper of this Harvest, that He has been supervising that work for now about thirty-five years, that the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY is the CHANNEL which he has been pleased to use for the dissemination of the harvest message-- the 'meat in due season,' and we wish to be in thorough harmony with Him and the Channel He uses, and to cooperate in every way possible. We trust it has been so vividly impressed upon our minds that we will never forget the fact that, if any oppose the Lord by opposing the Channel and the Servant the Lord has delegated to do His work, to that extent he looses favor, the Spirit of the Lord, light becomes darkness, and he is soon outside."

    First Russell is given recognition "more than any other man living" for founding the WTS as the Lord's "channel". Furthermore, "the Servant" and "the Channel" appear to be distinguished from each other, and it is the latter and not the former that is designated as being identical to the WT. The "Servant" is also described as the one whom "the Lord has delegated to do His work," which could recall Russell as well as the organization. But the wording in the passage is not clear, and it is possible (tho less likely) that "the Channel" and "the Servant" are not really distinguished and instead are used together as two names of the same thing. So this passage is not proof that the Society published statements indicating Russell to be the "Servant," but it comes rather close. At the very least the passage does glorify Russell.

    Any other candidates?

  • RR

    JC .... AMEN!

    Leo, the conventions reports wre NOT official publications of the Watch Tower or IBSA. They were published by Leslie W. Jones, an Elder in the Chicago Class. The first official convention report by the Society was in 1927.

    As to Russell admitting to it privately, there is no proof, could he have, this was promoted in the Waxth Tower journal by none others than Rutherford after his death, since he wrote the articls. It was later promoted bt MacMillan in his book Faith on the March, and still later by the Society.

    Still even if he believed he was ... there is one stark contrast between him and the leadership of today. He never promoted it, he never lauded it over. He was humble (mock?) enough to just go about his business. Unike the Society of today who NEVER let you forget who they claim to be!

  • frankiespeakin

    Thanks Leolaia, I don't have the research abilities you do or the resourses.


    A point to keep in mind I think, while reading this convention report is that since Russell was the editor and chief of the WT, he would also have greater control over what was writen about him in all the WT publications, "convention report" included. Certainly anyone who would write such high praise of Russell(convention report) would not write something that he knew Russell would be apposed to(??). This seem to be in harmony with the WT's statement that Russell in private accepted the claim that he was the FDS.

    One thing that needs to be kept in mine, is that Russell was challenged with uprising and revolt against his authority by various "bible students", and had to travel to put down revolt in different areas where the BSs congregated, his wife also joined in defending her husband by traveling and giving talks to different congregations in his support. Hey he was starting his own new religion that he thought was better than anything the world had to offer don't forget.

    I think the the September 15 1910 issue of the WT written by Russel himself concerning the 6 volume "Scripture Studies" sums up the value he put on his own writtings, stating they are necessary for one to remain in the light(get salvation) and not drift into darkness.

    If any one has this on CD could they post it? Here is a partial quote concerning the value he place on his writting in this 6 volume set:

    "If anyone lays Scripture Studies aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years--if he lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood the Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes off into darkeness."

    I don't have the CD so if any one does perhaps they could post about 3 or 4 paragraphs before and after my quote for the correct context.

    I sure that in the context it will show plainly that Russell thought his writting were necessarry for salvation, which seems to fit what the WT claims about him,, namely,, that in latter years he thought he was the FDS in Matthew 25. While he may have had a "mock" or hypocritical humility he didn't have a real humility which would have prevented him from making such a claim for his "Scripture Studies.


  • Leolaia

    Thanks for the correction RR.....it is thus a record of what was said informally among the followers during this period. And I concur (as I said in my original post) that there is no proof, or evidence aside from the statement, that Russell admitted to being the FWS privately....tho this was written so soon after Russell's death, even before Rutherford was elected president in January, that I'm not sure if the statement arose through Rutherford's aegis or through that of others, such as the followers close to Russell who were later tossed out (the bio has no by-line while the evening oration has a Rutherford by-line).

    Regardless of who wrote it, it would seem that such a statement would not have been published if it weren't widely thought by the laity that Russell was the FWS, as also attested in your comment about ppl addressing their letters to him as the FWS. Yes, he did not directly and openly claim to be the FWS, but he also did not do much to quell this belief of his role. Is there any other statement, other than the 1906 article, where he directly addresses this belief?

  • frankiespeakin


    Still even if he believed he was ... there is one stark contrast between him and the leadership of today. He never promoted it, he never lauded it over. He was humble (mock?) enough to just go about his business. Unike the Society of today who NEVER let you forget who they claim to be!

    I see you leave at least the possibilty that he may have though he was. I agree with you that he was a much better leader than the ones that followed him.

  • Kenneson


    The Editorial Committee of the Watchtower after Russell's death were even more explicit in how they viewed Russell in the Dec. 15, 1916 issue, than in the Dec. 1 number. See http://www.ctrussell.us/ Click Watch Tower on left. Then 1916, and finally Dec. 15, 1916.

    "It (the Watch Tower) will continue to publish only that which is in harmony with what "that Servant" has heretofore given to the "Household of Faith."

    "Shall we, then, continue to recognize in our Class-studies the Berean Bible lessons by Brother Russell? Shall we continue to speak in our Class-studies of Brother Russell as the Lord's Servant who brought "meat in due season to the household of faith?" Yes, indeed! Why not? If the Lord was pleased to use him for many years to give the "meat in due season" to the Church, than it is still "meat in due season," and the Berean lessons are essential for the development of those who shall be made partakers of the Kingdom. Should we now disregard STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES and other publications of THE WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, it would mean that we were repudiating or disregarding that which the Lord has graciously provided for our benefit. We must make the distinction between Brother Russell as a creature and his official capacity as "that servant: of the Master to give out the "meat in due season." To disregard the message would be to disregard the Lord."

    It seems that the W.T. writers are only continuing what was already being verbalized in the Class-studies and believed: Russell is the Lord's Servant dispensing "meat in due season." At least for now.

  • frankiespeakin


    Thanks for the link.

    I have copied what I think gives an understanding of how Russell viewed his own writtings,, and bears on the topic of this thread that Russell was an ego-centric when it came to his writting for God.

    (9/15/1910 page 298)

    So we believe that the thought for us to take in this connection is that it is because we are living in this particular time, in the ending of this Age, that we are favored with such a clear unfolding of spiritual things. It is also our thought that present blessings of a temporal kind, such as the electric light, are due for similar reasons. We believe that any other explanation would confer too great honor upon the individual connected with the production. The very ablest minds in the world have examined these subjects, but now, by God's grace, we have come to the place where the vail is taken away and where we can see the real meaning of God's Word--not merely one person can see it, but hundreds, thousands, see it.

    We think that we get the right conception to thus view it rather than to think that we had some great power which enabled us to put together a great system of theology, more wonderful than all other systems of theology put together--a thousand times more wonderful. Therefore, the simplest way to explain the matter is to acknowledge that the Lord's due time has come and that he has guided to the right understanding.

    If, then, the Lord has provided us with something in our day that other days than those of the Apostles knew nothing about, no matter how good nor how wise they were--for us to ignore the line of teaching which has been thus developed would be, in our judgment, to ignore the Lord's providences. It is for each one to think for himself, however, and to guide his conduct in every way accordingly.

    If the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES are practically the Bible topically arranged, with Bible proof-texts given, we might not improperly name the volumes-- the Bible in an arranged form. That is to say, they are not merely comments on the Bible, but they are practically the Bible itself, since there is no desire to build any doctrine or thought on any individual preference or on any individual wisdom, but to present the entire matter on the lines of the Word of God. We therefore think it safe to follow this kind of reading, this kind of instruction, this kind of Bible study.

    Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the Divine Plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the SCRIPTURE STUDIES aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years --if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he had merely read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES with their references, and had not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of the two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures.

    Our thought, therefore, is that these SCRIPTURE STUDIES are a great assistance, a very valuable help, in the understanding of God's Word. If these books are to be of any value to us it must be because we see in them loyalty to the Word of God, and as far as our judgment goes, see them to be in full harmony with the Word and not antagonistic to it. Therefore, in reading them the first time, and perhaps the second time, and before we would accept anything as being our own personal faith and conviction, we should say, "I will not take it because these studies say so; I wish to see what the Bible says." And so we would study the Scriptures in the light of these SCRIPTURE STUDIES; we would prove every point, or disprove it, as the case might be. We would be satisfied with nothing less than a thorough investigation of the Bible from this standpoint.

    If, after doing that, we should find the books to be in accord with the Bible, then we would think we were logical in saying, "I will not need to go through that process now every time that I read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES, for I have looked up those texts of Scripture and know certainly that the New Testament proves all those points." If, at the same time, in any future reading, we should come to a place where something did not seem clear to us and we thought of some Scripture which seemed not as harmonious with it as we had previously thought, we would think it our duty to refer at once to the Scriptures, because the Scriptures are the standard, and in that reference to the Scripture it would be with a view to discerning whether or not we had been mistaken in our previous examinations.


    We would conclude, practically, that we could not understand anything about the Bible except as it was revealed. We would, therefore, not waste a great deal of time doing what we know some people do, reading chapter after chapter, to no profit. We would not think of doing it. We would not think we were studying the Scriptures at all. We would think we were following the course that had been anything but profitable to ourselves and many others in the past--merely reading over the Scriptures. We would say that the same Heavenly Father who had guided us to this Truth, to this understanding of the Scriptures as his children, if he had some further information for us he would bring it to our attention in some manner; and therefore we would not see the necessity of reading the New Testament every day or every year; we would not consider that necessary. We would consider that the Scripture which says, "They shall be all taught of God," would imply that in his own appointed way God would bring to our attention whatever feature of Divine truth would be "meat in due season for the household of faith."

    Further, we would say that now, having satisfied ourselves respecting what the Divine Plan is, we would understand that we had reached the place that the Apostle speaks of as being a qualified ambassador of God, a qualified minister of the New Covenant, and that, as a servant or minister of the New Covenant, we now had a responsibility in making known these things that we had learned; that we were not put here primarily to read the Bible, but primarily to serve the Lord and his Truth. It was quite proper, however, that before we came to a knowledge of the Truth, and when we were in measurable discontent of mind as to what was the Truth, that we should refrain from telling anybody else.

    We remember very well in our own personal experience that after we had tried some street preaching, etc., we came to the conclusion that there was something wrong; that we did not understand what we were trying to tell to others; that we did not understand with sufficient clearness to properly present it and make sure that we were representing the Lord and his message aright, and we said to ourself, "I will stop any endeavor to teach others until I know what I believe."

    We think that should be the attitude of every one of us. Why should we attempt to preach or teach anything that we do not understand? So, after God favors us in this time with an understanding of Present Truth, he has given us a knowledge of more truth than we could have gained in a thousand years if we had read and studied unaided; and now we can attempt to present it to others. Why has he given us a knowledge of this Truth? He wishes us to be "thoroughly furnished unto every good word and work." Therefore, we should study that we may be able to speak the word of the Lord freely and know that we are not misrepresenting the Divine purpose and plan and character; and we ought therefore to give the more earnest heed to the opportunities for service and consider that the information which has been given us has been given for the very purpose that we may impart it to others--to those brethren and sisters of the Lord's family, some of whom are in Babylon yet, honest at heart, perhaps, and very desirous of knowing the truth, though perhaps very much blinded as we once were.


    This is not, therefore, putting the SCRIPTURE STUDIES as a substitute for the Bible, because so far as substituting for the Bible, the STUDIES, on the contrary, continually refer to the Bible; and if one has any doubt as to a reference or if one's recollection should lapse in any degree, one should refresh his memory, and, in fact, should see that his every thought is in harmony with the Bible --not merely in accord with the SCRIPTURE STUDIES, but in accord with the Bible.

    We might remark that quite a number of the friends in the Truth are making it a rule to read twelve pages of the SCRIPTURE STUDIES a day, and that we do not know one who has been following this course and making use of the various means of grace the Lord has provided (Dawn and testimony meetings and Sunday meetings and Pilgrim meetings and the Berean lessons, Manna text, etc.), who has gone out of the Truth. We know a great many who, on the contrary, have been of the opinion that they knew these things long ago, while in fact they do not know half of what they did know--they have forgotten more than half of what they read and they are those who are now stumbling--going into outer darkness.

    We are not wishing in this to say anything against one's poring over chapters that he does not understand and others do not understand, hoping that he might light on some truth. We have no objection to this. He has a perfect right to do so if he wishes. He has a right to spend weeks and years in this way if he chooses, but the chances even then are that when he does light on something he will have it all wrong.
    Furthermore, we would suggest that merely reading twelve pages of the SCRIPTURE STUDIES would not be studying in the proper sense of the word--neither studying the Bible nor studying the SCRIPTURE STUDIES. A proper study would be to think of the meaning of every word and every sentence. The thought is, it is not to see how much one can read, but to make sure that one goes no further than he comprehends or understands, whether that means one page or twenty pages. We should not consider it a Scripture study in any sense of the word unless our thought has grasped the matter from the standpoint of seeking to know what the Scriptures teach and seeking to call to mind these Scriptures that are being explained and to call to mind other texts, perhaps, that are not cited, or of which only a small portion is cited.

    If one will do all this it will not be merely a reading but a study; and from this standpoint, whoever reads two pages of SCRIPTURE STUDIES each day with the suggested passages connected with those two pages, would do more Scripture studying in that time than he could do by any other method. Whenever he reads these pages and calls the corresponding or connecting Scriptures to mind he is drawing from the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, with practically every page he reads. Now is it possible to find any other Bible study that would accomplish as much for us in the same time as this would do? If there is we ought to take it. If there is not, then we have our option.
  • Leolaia

    Kenneson....Very, very interesting stuff. Now who was on the editorial committee in November and December of 1916? What was Rutherford's editorial influence at that early stage? Could this be construed as evidence that the published statements glorifying Russell weren't all Rutherford's doing?

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