This was taken from thebiblestudents.net the original group of Russel.
How truth are these comments? Wow! the watchtower is into apostacy.
Any new one who still believes in the Watchtower should take a look at this.
This Issue is of Outstanding Importance to all Truth Friends. It contains
Honoring Jehovah's Name
ALL Bible Students worthy of being called Jehovah's witnesses will undoubtedly agree that at no time has it been more important to honor the name of Jehovah than now. Surely all will agree also that never before has it been more blessed, nor more difficult, to effectively go forth as His witnesses: The tests are many and crucial. Indeed the Bible tells us that at this time even God Himself would send a strong delusion, to try those who are truly His anointed.
A delusion is something unexpected, and it may also come from a most unexpected source: It therefore behooves all the Lord's people now to be doubly on the alert. Knowing that all true witnesses of Jehovah will appreciate any admonition that might help them to remain faithful to Him and to His Word, the following letter to the Editor of The Golden Age is submitted, with the prayer and belief that it may be a source of spiritual strength to all who are privileged to read it carefully:
MR C. J. WOODWORTH,
Editor, The Golden Age, Brooklyn, N. Y.
Dear Brother Woodworth:-
Your editorial of July 8, 1931, entitled "Bible Students Radio Echo", has been read with much interest. Both you and I have often gloried in the privilege of scripturally refuting the audacious claims of the various Babylonian sects who boast that they constitute the only divine channel and repository of all truth. Haw often have you punctured the pompous pretensions of popes, priests and ministers who have said that they possess God-given authority to judge and excommunicate all dissenters from their views, no matter how conscientious and devout such "heretics" might be! We have both known and long taught that the Christian is called unto liberty, and that every child of God is divinely authorized to preach the Truth as he sees it.
Is it possible that we are forgetting these past sound teachings and have come to ignore that precious heritage of Christian liberty that has long been ours? Are we now willing to adopt the "human ordination" arguments policies of the clergy whom we have so strenuously condemned? Are we now ready to consign to everlasting destruction sincere Christians who have done no wrong greater than that of proclaiming Christ's Kingdom without first having been authorized by man or by a man-made organization?
I cannot bring myself to believe, dear Brother Woodworth, that you and thousands of other Bible Students or Witnesses of Jehovah are giving your willing assent to such God-dishonoring theories and practices as your article implies. Hence, in the spirit of the Golden Rule, and with no thought whatsoever of retaliation, I write this letter in the hope that I may help you to arouse yourself from the spiritual stupor into which circumstances seem to have gradually forced you, manifestly against your better judgment.
In your attack against brethren who are preaching the Kingdom message without authority from the Society, you make no attempt to show that they are teaching error. Your argument is that the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is the only instrument that the Lord would possibly use to proclaim Christ's Kingdom (although no scriptural reason for such a conclusion is given); and upon this premise you reason that any independent effort to proclaim the Truth is displeasing to the Lord, no matter how sincere or how effective such an effort may be, and that the Lord will vengefully visit upon such tellers of His Truth swift and lasting destruction.
You will agree, I am sure, that Jesus is the Head of His church, and that all laws governing that body must come from Him. In spite of this, you have lent your name to a wholesale condemnation of consecrated Christians?your brethren?who are proclaiming the Kingdom message because they love it; and in support of your rash action you have not attempted to produce any authorization from the divinely-appointed Head of the church-evidently for the very obvious reason that no such authorization exists.
Haman Class seek to Monopolize
Both you and I well know that after the apostles fell asleep the early church departed from the faith and from the freedom in Christ which the Lord and His apostles had instituted. Priests and bishops then began to usurp authority; to claim a monopoly of the Truth, and to assert an autocratic control over believers. They claimed infallibility for the pope; all independent bible study and teaching was banned; the priceless heritage of Christian liberty was taken away; and thus was brought about that dark, dismal period in the church's history during which thousands of Christians were burned at the stake or otherwise cruelly mistreated, when they tried to break away from that unauthorized, unchristian bondage of men and claim the liberty wherewith Christ had made them free.
Finally a successful break for liberty was made and the Protestant Reformation was launched. But one after another of the Protestant sects soon fell away to the very same error against which they had protested; boastingly to assert that they had power to open and shut the doors of heaven to whomsoever they would. Is history again repeating itself?
Brother Russell, whom we both honor for his noble work, inaugurated a most promising reform movement at the end of the age. When he broke away from the accustomed lines of religious thought he was branded a heretic, an opposer. And because he preached without being ordained by men he was relentlessly persecuted and his influence undermined. You and I received our knowledge of the Truth from this "heretic" who led the "opposition" of his day; yet you now condemn others who claim the same right of Christian liberty as he did and in which you yourself once rejoiced, Shall we now ignore the truth which makes free and walk the beaten path of sectarianism into bondage?
I am glad to observe that the Society still claims to believe in Christian liberty of thought and action, that it claims to be opposed to human ordination, and that it says that "the Truth does not belong to any man." Indeed in the July 15, 1931, issue of The Watch Tower, p. 215, it condemns persons or classes who claim to be the only ones ordained to preach God's Word, stating that:
"The present day Haman class think that they are heaven's favorites. Claiming to be the anointed representatives of God and Christ they also claim to be God's channel ordained to do all the preaching that is permissible in the world. Boastingly they claim to speak with divine authority and to be the only ones who can thus speak. They are therefore presumptuous before the heavenly King."
These are noble words. If Haman does represent a class, that makes such bombastic claims, then the above statement is as true as anything that ever appeared in The Watch Tower; for certainly, it is presumptuous for any person or class to claim to be "ordained to do all the preaching that is permissible in the world" and to be "the only ones who can thus speak" with divine authority. But, in view of this, what shall we say of your editorial in The Golden Age, in which you make this same "presumptuous" claim, and seek to frighten your readers from listening to the Kingdom message when preached by Bible Students who have not been ordained by the Society? Your article says:
"We have full confidence that the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is the one and only instrument which the Lord is using to proclaim the Kingdom of God in the earth at this time . . . Those who are wise toward God will now have nothing to do with `Frank and Ernest,' or with the `Bible Students Radio Echo,' now that these men have ceased their association with the instrumentality God is using in the earth to perform His work at this time; and this, regardless of what they broadcast, whether it be good, bad or indifferent."
Allow me to ask you, dear Brother Woodworth, if you are really satisfied with these mental gymnastics which enable you to say that such monopolistic claims when made by others are "presumptuous", but when made by the Society are virtuous?
Your position would perhaps be comprehensible had you stated that the "presumptuous" ones are teaching error, whereas you are preaching the Truth?but when you arrogate to yourself this monopoly on God's Word, and warn your readers against listening to others who are preaching uncontroverted Bible truth, "regardless of what they broadcast, whether it be good, bad or indifferent" then I can only say that I am unable to comprehend how anyone who once knew better could have departed so far from doctrinal consistency and the spirit of Christian liberty as your article betrays. I have known the time, dear brother, when you rejoiced over the fact that God's truth was being proclaimed, no matter who proclaimed it.
"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
It is possible that you are being influenced by the oft-repeated charge made in The Watch Tower that the so-called "opposition", whom you now designate "The Man of Sin", is engaged in all manner of unchristian efforts to destroy or injure the Society, and that it has formed "an alliance with the clergy", etc. As to this I can only say that during the year or more of my association with these much-maligned brethren, in the course of which time I have attended their meetings and conventions in many States, coming into close contact with their members from all over the world, I have found no evidence of the aforesaid efforts or alliance, or even a suggestion of such things among them.
The Associated Bible Students are not forming an alliance with the clergy; they are not spending their time slandering the officers of the Society; and they are not trying to influence the Government to stop the sale of the Society's books, as has been charged. In all fairness I now ask you, and your associates and informants, either to produce evidence that they are engaged in such activities and alliances or else cease maligning them and misrepresenting the facts.
I am quite aware that an occasional individual, wholly on his own personal initiative, may have thought it his duty to expose what he has regarded as God-dishonoring practices on the part of certain individual members of the Society; but these free-lance critics have never had the sanction of any class of Associated Bible Students, nor would they be welcome in our meetings if they were to attempt to slander or to air their views before the friends.
I have found all the meetings of the Associated Bible Students invariably devoted to wholesome discussion of the Lord's Word, with no disposition to condemn or criticize the conscientious efforts of other companies of Truth brethren; and close acquaintance reveals them to be the most sincere and Christ-like body of Christians that I have ever known. Although they are being continually slandered, libeled and condemned as persons fit only for the second death, I do not find them retaliating or reviling, or returning evil for evil. They are humbly bearing their cross even as Christ did, and are leaving all judgment of their traducers to the Lord.
I am bound to conclude, therefore, in the face of the facts as I know them, that the stream of unwholesome propaganda that the Society is constantly publishing against them is a delusion; and furthermore, if it is honestly presented, it is based wholly on misinformation or surmisings which a slight investigation would easily disprove. Is it easier for you to believe evil than good of your brethren?
Faithful and Unfaithful Witnesses
In your sweeping condemnation of the "Frank and Ernest" Bible dialogues (formerly of station WBBR) and of the RADIO ECHO, because they are teaching the Truth without authority from the Society, you liken these fellow Bible Students to Esau, Nadab, Abihu, Miriam, the "unfaithful spies," King Saul, Uzzah, and even to the Devil himself. Then you suggest that the fate of these Bible characters iltustrates how the Lord will everlastingly destroy "Frank and Ernest" for their "unauthorized" preaching of the truths of His Word. I invite you, Brother Woodworth, to a brief review of the facts, in order that you may see that not one of the Biblical pictures that you cite could possibly apply to these brethren of yours in question.
All Bible Students, yea, all who call themselves Jehovah's Witnesses, fully agree that it is possible for one who has been faithful to the Lord for a time to become unfaithful and to lose the Lord's favor; hence it could only have been your solicitation for the "feeble-minded" (as you mention) that would have prompted you to use three pages of your journal to prove that point. But the point that you did not prove, scripturally or otherwise, is that a Christian becomes a sinner if he independently obeys the Lord's command to "go and preach the gospel", which, according to your article, is "Frank and Ernest's" only sin. Let us now examine the character-pictures that you mention:
Esau'ssin was that of spurning God's promises?of selling his God-given birthright for temporal advantage. This indicates that he had no real interest in the promises of God. But surely your brethren whom you hastily condemn, who love the Truth more than life itself, could hardly be pictured by faithless Esau! Esau was hardened, selfish; but these brethren have love in their hearts even for those who are persecuting them and who are praying for their destruction! They are staking their all on the promises of God. Esau did not do this.
"Strange Fire" in God's Organization
Nadab and Abihuwere priests who offered "strange fire" and then presumed that the Lord would approve their action so long as they were serving in His organization. Christ Jesus is the High Priest of antitypical Israel?His organization?and all the underpriests are subject to His laws. All these have their names written in heaven, whether they be in or out of man-made organizations chartered under the laws of "Satan's organization." For these underpriests to offer strange fire would be to disobey the Lord's commandments, which are found only in the Bible.
If the Associated Bible Students were offering "strange fire" when they preach the Truth independently of the Society, not only would their efforts come to naught but they themselves would be cut short, even as your article suggests. But, instead of this, the Lord is richly blessing their efforts, and many have come to a knowledge of the Truth and into full relationship with the Lord as a result of these ministries outside of the Society. Some of those who have thus been led to consecration, and who are now rejoicing in the Truth just as you and I rejoiced when we received it, have not even known that the Society exists. How, then, can we deny that the Lord has blessed these independent ministries? And how can the preaching of fundamental Bible truths be called by you "strange fire"?
Miriam,the sister of Moses, deflected temporarily and was duly punished. Moses then interceded for her, and she was restored to divine favor. This certainly does not fit the case that you seek to make against your brethren who are serving the Lord independently of the Society; for your article suggests that there is no hope for those who "go and preach the gospel" without authority from the Society. Nor do you show the slightest inclination to intercede for them, as Moses did for Miriam. Evidently, therefore, they are not of the Miriam class, or you would do so.
The illustration of the "unfaithful spies" is likewise a misfit, as you must know. Those spies, because of their lack of faith, misrepresented the land of promise; and their untrue report was accepted by the whole nation of Israel. As a consequence they all died in the wilderness. But you make no attempt to show that "Frank and Ernest", or the publishers of the Radio Echo, have in any way misrepresented the antitypical Canaan or preached untruths?and indeed they have not done so. Nor has their report been generally heeded, even by the "feeble minded", for whom you say you write. There is certainly nothing in the doings of these unfaithful spies that would illustrate the case of Christians who preach the truth concerning the Lord's Kingdom, whether their preaching be with or without the authorization of some earthly leader.
All Christians Invited to be God's Witnesses
As for the presumptuous course of Korah, Dathan and Abiram?Moses made theirs' a test case, and swift destruction came upon them. If any self-constituted leader of Spiritual Israel is now trying to make a test case of "Frank and Ernest", as your article implies is being done then it would seem that something disastrous ought to happen before long; but thus far the Lord has been pleased to richly bless their ministries, as above stated.
How could the sins of Korah, Dathan and Abiram possibly illustrate sincere Christian efforts to preach the truth of the Lord's Kingdom without the consent of men? Should we envy anyone the privilege of telling the glad tidings of the Kingdom? Moses did not; he manifested the Lord's spirit?the spirit of liberty on this point. When Eldad and Medad began to prophesy independently in Israel, Joshua concluded that they should be silenced for 'not doing the Lord's will in the Lord's way', as he evidently thought; and he asked Moses to "forbid" them. But "Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!" Would it not be more in keeping with the spirit of the Lord if all His people would now adopt this broad-minded attitude displayed by Moses?
The case of the wicked King Saul, which you apply to your free brethren in Christ, also seems unfortunate. Saul was the supreme leader of Israel, second only to Jehovah Himself?hence he could not very well type humble individual Christians who have neither held nor aspired to such leadership. Furthermore Saul, who held his office for life, continued to be Israel's autocratic chief to the day of his death; the Lord did not remove him, despite the fact that he maliciously persecuted and sought the destruction of those whom the Lord had seen fit to use without asking Saul's permission. If this pictures anything in the life of Spiritual Israel, it suggests that it is possible for an anointed leader in the church to become unfaithful and still remain in control; even though he uses his power in an increasingly selfish manner, and persecutes Christian brethren who display the Lord's spirit; simply because he fears that they may interfere with his monopoly.
The sin of Uzzah, who attempted to steady the ark in disobedience to the Lord's instructions, surely cannot fit the case of Christians who independently obey the Lord's command to "preach the Word". Nowhere in the Bible are we told that loyalty to an earthly corporation or organization is necessary to Christian discipleship, nor that earthly ordination is essential before we can preach the Truth with Divine approval. Quite to the contrary was the example of Jesus. When His disciples asked Him to "forbid" one who was preaching in His name because "he followeth not with us", the Master replied: "Forbid him not; for he that is not against us is for us". (Luke 9:49,50.) The Apostle Paul showed the same spirit of Christian liberty: he said that he rejoiced that Christ is preached notwithstanding that some "preach Christ even of envy and strife". (Phil. 1:15-18.) Surely then, we should not forbid, decry and consign to destruction those who are preaching the Truth, without envy and strife, but with sincerity and love.
God's Law the Supreme Test
If it is necessary for me to explain further why I myself am not supporting the Society in its present stand, I can only say in all sincerity and humility that I am truly thankful to the Lord that I am not; even as I am thankful to Him that I did once heartily cooperate with it. Some years ago a prominent brother, who is still in the Society organization, predicted that if the church should remain on earth much longer the Society would become as sectarian and hidebound as any other denomination, just as has happened to every reform movement throughout the centuries. During the latter part of my service at the Society's headquarters I was privileged to see the trend of things from the inside, and I could not help but become increasingly suspicious that the very condition so aptly predicted by this dear brother was actually and rapidly developing before my eyes. I finally became convinced of it; and since reading your recent article against Christian liberty I am doubly convinced.
The Watch Tower'scontinuous tirade against Truth brethren who are not with the Society caused me to wonder as to their standing, and as to all the facts concerning them. I asked myself: Are they my brethren or are they not? How shall I know? Do they love the Lord or are they deliberately fighting against Him? How should I treat them if I were to meet them? Should I judge and condemn them without a hearing? These questions weighed upon my mind until finally I felt that it was only just to myself, as well as to them, to investigate. I took occasion to converse with some of them, thus to "try their spirit" and to see if it was of the Lord or not.
I soon found that they manifestly are as fully consecrated to the Lord, as any brethren whom I had ever met in the Society. It also was evident that they are not bickering or quibbling over nonessentials; as I had been told; but that they are rejoicing in the Truth and are simply trying to hold firmly to what they regard as essential Christian principles; that they love the Lord and His people, and display a true Christian spirit, even toward the Society brethren who so often exhibit a contrary spirit toward them. I concluded, therefore, that we should not be too hasty in judging them: certainly we cannot decide who are opposing the Lord and who are not, by hearing the possibly biased statement of one side only. I then resolved to reserve judgment, not condemning anyone who claims to love the Lord, except as by their fruits I may know them. I decided, for the time at least, to wait and watch, and meanwhile to cooperate with the Society as fully as my conscience would permit.
Perhaps I might still be doing so were it not that the Lord graciously allowed me to come directly against the sectarian bars that had been quietly erected around me and to observe plainly the unsavory condition into which this latest and once most promising of the reform movements had gradually and finally drifted. When the head of the Society heard that I had talked with some of these cast-off and despised brethren I was promptly called to task and ordered to appear before the Board, where every possible effort was made to prove that I was a conspirator, a disloyal spy, who was wickedly carrying information to the "enemy". Of course they failed to prove this because it was not true; but even if it had been true, what information could I carry to anyone that would hinder the Lord in His work? Surely the Society does not have secrets which Satan himself cannot know if he wants to, or plans which the Lord cannot prosper if He pleases, no matter what the devil may do.
After the Board had failed to prove that I was a wicked traitor to the Lord's cause; I was then catechized; and when I could not conscientiously go on record as believing that the Society has a monopoly on the Truth, and when I refused firmly to judge and to condemn to the second death by the wholesale, a group of consecrated believers whom the Lord tells me to recognize as brethren, I was forthwith expelled.
If We Have Not Love
But, believe me, I am glad, my dear Brother Woodworth, that I was expelled. It was the best thing the Lord could have permitted me to experience?for I had been closing my eyes and stifling my conscience almost constantly while looking blindly to an imperfect human arrangement as the sole mouthpiece of the Lord, thinking it to be the only instrument that He would deign to use?contrary to His Word, to sound Christian judgment and ordinary common sense. I had begun to forget, as you now do, that every consecrated Christian is ordained of Jehovah to preach the glad tidings to the meek, to bind up the brokenhearted, and to proclaim liberty unto the captives. Yes, I was almost beginning to believe in the efficacy of human, ordination when conferred by the Society, even as you do today. But the Lord graciously spared me before I got too deeply enmeshed and imbued with this subtle sectarian spirit, which has been the bane of every reformation.
Since being "cast out" I am able to see more clearly than ever before that "many wonderful works" done in the Lord's name are not sufficient to win His approval. I can now appreciate the significance of the apostle's warning, that although we may speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and sacrifice all our goods, and even give our bodies to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth nothing. I cannot but be saddened, therefore, when I note that with all your great works of book-selling, and with all your reputed new light, the fruit thereof has been an increased measure of intolerance, a growing lack of love?yea, an evident hatred of all the consecrated who are unable to see exactly as you see, or to change their views as rapidly as you change yours.
You have permitted yourself so thoroughly to lose the spirit of Christian liberty, and have so fully embraced the spirit of intolerant sectarianism, that you now presume to judge and to condemn to oblivion every Bible Student who honestly disagrees with you even on minor matters. This spirit, clothed with temporal power, burned "heretics" at the stake four hundred years ago. You have not that power today, but what power you do possess you are using to persecute pitilessly your "protestant" brethren who are unable to accept your monopolistic claim.
Honoring Jehovah's Name
With you, it is no longer enough that brethren believe in the Ransom and all the other fundamental doctrines of the Bible, and that then profess full consecration to the Lord; they must also accept non-essentials?new and unusual views of parables and of the symbols of Revelation (or at least pretend to, and maintain a hypocritical silence if they do not); and now, furthermore, they must be ordained or commissioned by your president, or they may not preach God's Word! If they are unable to measure up to all this, then you and your associates refuse to speak to them, and treat them as if they were vile sinners, though you once loved them and they still love you.
And what is their unpardonable sin for which you so abhor them? Simply that they believe in honoring Jehovah above human institutions, and insist on bowing before the Lord only and not before men, even as you acknowledge to be the proper course to follow. They believe in looking to the Bible for instruction and guidance, in preference to taking as authoritative the frequently-changing views of a humanly-edited publication.
These brethren whom you despise believe that they should walk as Jesus walked, and are sincerely striving to do so as fully as possible. They have not lost sight of the many Scriptural admonitions to be "transformed," to "keep their body under", to "add to their faith-virtue", to "put off the old man", to "let no corrupt communication" proceed out of their mouth, to "put away lying" and "speak the truth in love", that they may "grow up into Him in all things". They are endeavoring to walk in the spirit and not to fulfil the lusts of the flesh. They are seeking to possess the "fruit of the spirit" in ever-increasing measure, as the Lord's Word admonishes. For this Christian effort they are now ridiculed and hated by you and by your associates.
Perhaps without your realizing it the articles in your official organ, on which you have been feeding in recent months, have hardened you. They have, in fact, led you so far away from the true Christian spirit that you now make sport of the noble efforts of your brethren to obey the foregoing admonitions of the Lord that they may be conformed to His image. When they strive to manifest the fruit of the spirit, as the apostle enjoins, they are accused in your journal of indulging in "sweet words and fair speeches to deceive the simple".
I mention these things plainly, Brother Woodworth, not to hurt but to arouse you, for I am sincerely interested in your welfare. I feel persuaded that deep in your heart, which now indeed seems so hardened, you still retain a spark of Christian love for these brethren of yours whom you have been led gradually to disdain and persecute. I pray the Lord that the dying spark, which I know did once glow warmly within you, may yet be fanned into a flame ere it goes out.
Light Leads to Love
It is written: "He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness . . . (But) he that loveth his brother abideth in the light." (1 John 2:9,10.) In view of this divine formula, can we afford to develop indifference and coldness toward any group of consecrated Christians, much less to misrepresent, malign, judge and condemn them to perdition without knowing their hearts? It is easy for anyone to say he has the light; but if we can flippantly, and even gleefully, consign a Christian brother to Gehenna because he is unable to see and to accept everything that we.may thrust before him labeled "Light", then there must be something wrong with our "light", according to the above formula?for that which leads away from brotherly love and in the direction of hatred, cannot be God-given light, no matter what it may be called.
What if all the people in the world should buy your books, and half of the world should believe them and the other half should refuse to accept their teachings one hundred per cent? If all the believers were influenced by your literature as you and your associates are, then one half of the world would not be on speaking terms with the other half! Your half would pass the other half in the byways as though they were dogs, fit only to be destroyed as brute beasts, because they dare to disagree with you today on certain debatable ideas that you yourselves are likely to reject as error tomorrow!
Yet you insist that you are doing Kingdom work! Is that really Kingdom work which takes hearts of flesh and turns them into hearts of stone? Does Kingdom work lead away from love of thy neighbor?yea, of thy brother? Is that Kingdom work which engenders the spirit of egotism, bigotry, selfishness; which fosters the ancient Babylonish superstition that human ordination is essential before one can be permitted to preach; which ridicules sincere Christian effort to grow in saintship rather than in salesmanship, which induces many to believe that works will profit them and lead them to glory regardless of how little love they may have, and which impels you to vilify and persistently persecute even those who are not your enemies but your own brethren in Christ?
Although your tons of literature proclaim presumptuously that you are "the only people of the Lord" on earth today, and that all others, including the Associated Bible Students, are "the devil's crowd", does it not seem childish to expect the Lord to honor such bombastic claims, no matter how often or how loudly you repeat them, any more than He has honored similar presumptuous claims made by almost every organized group of Christians since Christians began to organize?
How terrible it would be if the Lord should entrust the destiny of His children to the judgment of imperfect men, making us subject to the whims and wishes of their folly and prejudice, and finally allow us to be condemned to the second death by their decree in the event that we could not conscientiously change our beliefs every time they changed theirs! We want to obey every command the Lord gives, and not to halt even in the face of death; but we cannot regard as commandments of God the rapidly-changing, frequently-contradictory and whimsical pronouncements of The Watch Tower, no matter how dogmatic or dictatorial they may sound: nor can we believe that its president constitutes the final court of appeal for determining who shall be allowed to preach the Truth and who shall not, or who shall go to heaven and who shall die the second death.
Our Strength Cometh From the Lord
I yearn for you brethren who in times past have so fearlessly lifted up your voices in opposition to such presumptuous teachings and practices in the nominal church, but who are now sanctioning them in your own quarter. My prayer is that you may again be given strength to reassert your Christian liberty and to stand once more for the defense of the gospel rather than for the defense of a man-made institution. Do you not know that human ordination, or authorization to preach the Truth, is as much a folly when claimed by the Society as it is when taught by any other sect in Christendom? I would not wish to put a straw in the way of anyone's efforts to proclaim the Truth; nor should you.
Not for a moment would I say that you who claim to be Jehovah's only Witnesses are wilfully standing for error and opposing the Lord, regardless of what you may say about me; but, frankly, I am concerned about the spiritual standing of some whom I happen to know are allowing themselves to be forced into saying and doing things which their hearts do not approve. I am saddened by the realization that these dear brethren of mine, after many years in the school of Christ, are not now strong enough to exercise sufficient Christian fortitude to take a stand for that which they know to be right. Would that they might have an experience which, as in my own case, would make it easier for them to see the situation as it is and to act as becometh children of the Lord.
I would gladly give my life to arouse those who have been lulled to sleep?as I nearly was?by the time-worn but insidious argument of "one channel", which every sect has used throughout the Christian era. While you have been trying, as did I, to hold on to "the ship", thinking that only by so doing could you hold on to the Truth, yet is it not obvious that the Lord's Truth does not depend upon organizations? Is it not clear that the Lord and His Word constitute the only reliable channel? Although an organization of Christians may prove helpful so long as it teaches the truth and grants full Christian liberty, and so long as it does not become drunk with power or exalted with a sense of its own importance before the Lord, yet when it does fall into these errors it menaces the Christian life of every member in it.
For any organization to claim that it has the sole right to preach the gospel, and to arrogate to itself authority to condemn to the second death all who do not fully accept its dogmas (which your editorial stands for) is evidence that it has become drunk with power, and that it is time for those who would enjoy spiritual health to move out. You ought to know, dear brother, that no organization of Christians, no matter how sincere and pure it may have been in the beginning, has remained so unto the end. You ought to know that God has not promised to protect organizations, and indeed has never done so. Then why should we expect the Almighty God to change His methods to accommodate our theories now?
Opinions Change, but Truth Never
To bring the matter closer home: You will recall, Brother Woodworth, how you once joined in the condemnation of your brethren who did not accept The Finished Mystery as God's true explanation of Revelation. You and your associates branded all such brethren as "heretics" and cast them out, everywhere. That was only a few years ago. Now, in 1931, you yourself would be branded as a heretic and condemned to the second death if you openly held to the teachings of The Finished Mystery. I am not saying this in order to ridicule. I do not criticise you if you have changed your views on the meaning of Revelation; that is your right. To change one's opinion is not discreditable. I mention the foregoing in order merely to emphasize how foolish it is to again condemn and persecute those who do not fall into line with your later interpretation, which may also be rejected for a still different interpretation a few years hence. How foolish it is, also, to claim that all these changing views come through a God-given channel and must not be questioned by anyone until your president decides to reject them.
Perhaps in your heart you still hold to the teachings of The Finished Mystery. If so, that, too, is your Christian right. In any event, make sure that you are not stifling your conscience and indulging in false pretences under the seductive thought that you can please God only by pleasing certain men. Thousands have jeopardized their standing before the Lord by that same subtle argument, as you well know.
Does it not occur to you that there is no sound scriptural proof for any of the fanciful interpretations that you are now being forced to swallow without chewing, like a sugar-coated pellet? In your heart of hearts do you not yearn to be able once more to believe and to present the truth in all its beautiful simplicity, as you ably outlined it for others years ago? Call to mind the former days, when a "thus saith the Lord" was the amen of every argument, and when you rejoiced to go before the world with that glorious message of restitution, unadulterated with any man-honoring and other nonsense which you are now expected to hand out with it. Let that sweet memory of better days gone by, when you had the Truth, and knew you had it, speak to you now as it were like a voice from behind, saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it."
"Now . . . Ye Have Reigned as Kings Without
Us."?1 Cor. 4:8
Recall the fact that nearly every sect from Pentecost until now has claimed, the same as you, that the Kingdom is already established, and that they were actually reigning with Christ while still in the flesh. Based upon this false claim of kingdom authority they have undertaken to judge and to excommunicate those who did not walk the chalk line, even as you do now. This desire to exercise kingdom authority while in the flesh began in the early Church, and it was necessary for Paul to rebuke certain ones for it. Without a doubt the Kingdom is at hand, and your brethren whom you persecute are as much interested in it as you are; but, no amount of theorizing and word-juggling can actually bring about the fulfilment of a single one of the many precious promises of the Messianic Kingdom which you brethren profess to believe are now having their fulfilment in and through you in some mystical fashion, while the reign of evil continues unabated.
If now or later you should feel the urge again to be free from all sectarian bondage and once more to serve the Lord without restraint and according to the dictates of your conscience?the heritage that belongs to every child of God?be assured that there is plenty for willing hands to do outside the Society. Yes, the Truth IS going out from other sources; and I am persuaded that one glad day, which is perhaps not very far away, you will rejoice to cooperate with your free brethren, instead of lending your name to misrepresent and vilify them. Some day you will lift your head from the sand where, ostrich-like, you now have it buried; and you will then find that the Society's soap-bubble of "great and wonderful works" has burst and vanished, and that all their buildings of wood, hay and stubble have been destroyed.
Then, if you are still able to exercise faith in the shed blood of Christ (as I trust you will), how happy you will be to begin building once more, as in days of old, with the "gold, silver and precious stones" of Divine Truth, instead of with credulity and fables.
As you once left Babylon and rejected the "traditions of men", you will again be glad, ere long I trust, to turn your back upon vain speculations, no matter how alluring, to demand scriptural proof for every thing that you accept, to plant your feet once more upon the solid rock, and to stand again for the living God, His unadulterated Truth, and that alone. Then, and not until then, will you be free in Christ, as you once were.
"Gather My Saints"?Avoid Those Who Cause
Thousands of consecrated brethren have been scattered and discouraged because the Society has taken a stand "contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned" (Rom. 16:17), and has substituted therefor vain speculations buttressed by no greater proof than that a man has said so and has repeated it often. These confused and scattered sheep are the Lord's own in distress; they are calling for help. God instructs His people to "gather My saints"?not to scatter them, as the Society has been doing during the last fourteen years?and once more the gathering of those who have made a covenant with the Lord, is taking place.
If you want to know the real joy of service, Brother Woodworth, come along and share in the privilege that is ours of throwing out the lifeline to these pathetic "mourners in Zion", both those who are in and those who are already out of the Society and who have not known where to go or what to do, while still trusting in the Lord.
Although many of us, through mistaken zeal, may have helped to scatter the sheep by attempting to make them dance while we fiddled, be assured that the regathering has begun; and happy is he who will now seek to lift up the standard of pure truth around which the honest and sincere may rally. Come, then, and help in this joyful work, and at the same time have a share in proclaiming to the world the glad tidings of the incoming Kingdom, unadulterated by the fancies of men and unhampered by human personality.
Believe me, dear Brother Woodworth, regardless of what you may have said against any of us, there will be a warm welcome awaiting you in the ranks of these brethren whom you once loved, and who still love you as of yore. The same goes for all the other dear ones of Zion who have been unwittingly enslaved through fear or the misleading sophistries of men.
With much Christian love, I remain,
Your brother in Christ,
W. N. WOODWORTH.
Proclaiming the Truth Effectively
Post Script:Since writing the foregoing letter it seems appropriate to make a brief statement concerning the work of preaching the gospel, as it is being done by the RADIO COMMITTEE of the Associated Bible Students. The first program from a major station was broadcast on April 12, of this year. The result was most gratifying. The Committee was encouraged to continue, and shortly thereafter the making of electrical transcriptions was begun; so that now these programs, known as the Frank & Ernest Series, are available for use in any part of the English speaking world, and are furnished free to classes or individuals who will arrange with their local stations to have them broadcast. In order to properly follow up the interest awakened by means of the radio, the Committee decided to start a weekly publication to be known as the Bible Student's Radio Echo. This paper states the Truth plainly and convincingly, and in the spirit of love. Each issue contains a digest of one of these radio programs, hence its name?Radio Echo. It is sent free to those who hear the programs and write in for it. To those who desire the regular weekly visit of the ECHO the subscription price is one dollar a year. The Radio Committee will gladly send anyone a sample copy upon request. This Committee was brought into being by vote of the New York and Brooklyn Congregations of the Associated Bible Students, and is entirely independent of all other groups and affiliations so far as its executive work is concerned, but is ready to cooperate with Christian brethren everywhere in the work of making known the good news of the Kingdom. As a matter of fact, classes and individuals in many parts of the world are cooperating: Inquiries respecting the use of the electrical transcriptions, and subscriptions for the RADIO ECHO, are coming in constantly. The Chairman of the RADIO COMMITTEE is Brother William J. Hollister, of 11 Devon Place, Forest Hills, N. Y. Brother Hollister has long been interested in the work of proclaiming the incoming Kingdom, having served in China and other places, and in various capacities during the time of Brother Russell. The treasurer of the committee is Brother Frederick H. Mundell, of 332 Decater Street, Brooklyn, N. Y. Brother Mundell also has long been engaged in the work we all love. He served many years at the Society's headquarters in Brooklyn in various official capacities, and is as much interested in the Lord's work today as he ever was. Neither the ECHO nor the radio programs make any attack whatsoever upon the Watch Tower or its work; but rather, they are concerned solely with the glorious theme of salvation through the Ransom and the Kingdom. In addition to the weekly review of the radio programs, once each month the ECHO has a special issue containing wholesome news of Bible Students' activities the world over. Should you desire to communicate with the COMMITTEE, either to obtain further information regard ing the transcriptions for broadcasting, or to request a sample copy of the RADIO ECHO, the address is RADIO COMMITTEE, 342 West 71st Street, New York, N., Y. ?W. N. W.
Remember The Annual General Convention of Associated Bible Students,
at Bible House Auditorium N. S. Pittsburg, Pa. October 30, 31 and November 1