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I am the Christ

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Just posting this to see where it fits into the topic, if it fits in.  Just thought of it.

(Hebrews 11:26) because he considered the reproach of the Christ to be riches greater than the treasures of Egypt, for he looked intently toward the payment of the reward.   

(Refers to one being sent on behalf of Jehovah, not to Jesus himself.)


 

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@JW Insider This I will note because a source of my, Mr. Lite, among several of his sources CTR does not mention this (granted that his sources tend to be now dead-links since they are that old), never made any acknowledgment of this, well it was kind expected due how said source has been handled over the years.

Anyways, could it be possible also that Christian Teacher and Writer Henry Grew (1781-1862) also played a role in CTR being against the Doctrine of the Trinity as well? Grew's study in the Bible lead him to reject the teachings of mainstream Christendom, of which is practiced today by both mainstream and New Agers, which is, that he rejected the Trinity, Immortal Soul Doctrine (Immortality of the Soul), literal torment of Hellfire (Eternal torment) and a list of other things.

For people outside of the mainstream also share this view, if I may add.

A list of Grew's writings (there might be more, would have to check)

  • Christian Loyalty: A Sermon on Matthew XXII:21
  • Designed to Illustrate the Authority of Caesar and Jesus Christ (1810)
  • An Examination of the Divine Testimony Concerning the Character of the Son of God (1824)
  • A Tribute to the Memory of the Apostles, and an Exhibition of the First Christian Churches (1836)
  • The Practices of the Early Christians Considered (1838)
  • A Review of Phelps' Argument for the Perpetuity of the Sabbath (1844)
  • The Intermediate State (1849), The Sabbath (1850)
  • An Examination of the Divine Testimony on the Nature and Character of the Son of God (1855)
  • An Appeal to Pious Trinitarians (1857)
  • The Atonement (1859)
  • Divine Dispensations, Past, Present and Future (1861)

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1 hour ago, Space Merchant said:

Anyways, could it be possible also that Christian Teacher and Writer Henry Grew (1781-1862) also played a role in CTR being against the Doctrine of the Trinity as well?

I agree. The influence of Henry Grew on Russell is clear, even if some of it came indirectly through others. There are a lot of parallels and several probable dependencies in Russell's writings to those of Grew although I don't recall if Russell ever quotes him directly.

George Stetson was also anti-Trinitarian, and even George Storrs appears to be non-Trinitarian or at least neutral. Russell was probably non-Trinitarian or neutral in a way similar to George Storrs up until sometime prior to 1882 when Russell writes his own article defending against the Trinity. This was almost immediately after Paton left, so it's likely his mind was clearly made up well before 1882.

*** jv chap. 28 p. 620 Testing and Sifting From Within ***

  • Two years later, [1881] Paton, who was then serving as a traveling representative of the Watch Tower, also began to turn away, thereafter publishing a book (his second one entitled Day Dawn) . . .

[It's the only mention of Day Dawn in the Proclaimers book, and therefore implies that it was only published after Paton left the Watch Tower.]

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2 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

It can be dangerous to chime in like this, especially when JWI is running the show. With others, it can be done anytime, anyplace, anyhow.

Harumph!! [can't find the appropriate emoji ?]

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8 hours ago, Gone Away said:

This isn't really as controversial as it seems.

I agree, which is why I made the comment that it was not necessarily even unscriptural. It just "sounds" even more wrong when juxtaposed with so many other Matthew 24 interpretations he made.

13 hours ago, JW Insider said:

That said, I was not saying that Russell's "I am the Christ" claim, which he would share with others of the "high calling" was even Biblically incorrect. I don't fault it as a crazy doctrine. His basis was rational.

Of course, I can't explain why he troubled himself to say that this also made it appropriate to apply to himself and others of the "high calling" additional titles such as "Eternal Father" and "The Prophet Greater than Moses." And it seems to diminish the sacrifice that Jesus made when men such as Russell would claim to be a necessary part of that great propitiatory sacrifice. Very few members of that class that we identify as the modern anointed remnant since the late 1800's, including Russell, have ever "sacrificed" even a tiny fraction compared to what Jesus sacrificed. The most well-known of that class among us in more recent decades have spent the greater part of their life in the comfort of an organizational bureaucracy.

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22 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

Of course, I can't explain why he troubled himself to say that this also made it appropriate to apply to himself and others of the "high calling" additional titles such as "Eternal Father" and "The Prophet Greater than Moses."

These kind of remarks (Russell's) might seem rather vainglorious without consideration of the context of his statements.

For example, this one:

The Lord at the time indicated would especially use one member of his church as the channel or instrument through which he would send the appropriate messages.” (Watchtower, April 15. 1904, p. 125.)

might indicate on face-value that Russell was arguing in favour of himself being viewed as "the faithful and discreet slave" (Shock! Horror! Arrogance surely!).

But on examination it appears that Russell was wrestling with the same problem of doctrinal understanding experienced in far more recent times. That is, if the faithful and discreet slave is to be viewed as the body of the anointed, how then can how it be said to be providing that same body with food at the proper time? His prolific output of spiritual food at the time made it likely difficult to view other than an individual (himself) in that role. Yet he does not seem to indicate an arrogant self evaluation, if only by the fact that he suggests the slaves reward for faithfulness "should not be understood to apply to future glories and honor, but merelv to a more general charge or stewardship as respects the dispensing of the Lord’s “goods” or truths due to be protected or disbursed during the remainder of this “harvest” time. In other words, the steward through whom the Lord will dispense present truth in this “harvest,” will, if found vigilant, humble, faithful, be continued in the stewardship and be used of ttie Lord more and more in the service of the household - down to the close of the “harvest.” " (Ibid.)

The passage of time has provided us with a much better grip on this concept. We have dispensed with the idea of an individual slave, also the clumsy notion of a composite that feeds its individual members, and settled on the more wieldy notion that those taking the lead within the anointed have overall responsibility for the Bible educational program, with a 1st Century parrallel.

So to the applying of a range of what appear to be exclusively Christological descriptors to the anointed Christians, including Russell himself.

Russell appears to be grappling with the notion, (scripturally presented), that anointed Christians constitute the "body of Christ", in the context of Christ being termed the Head of that body, yet located in a different realm.. He also weaves in Paul's words regarding the transformation of humans "I am again experiencing birth pains until Christ is formed in you" (Gal.4:19) and other such expressions. He appears to attach more significance to illustrative vocabulary concerning the earthly position of anointed Christians than is scripturaly warranted. 

His, what for me can only be described now as, "rather religious ramblings" are a reflection of what Paul called "partial knowledge" 1Cor.13:9. We have an infinitely better understanding of all of these concepts today so it is remarkable that  those 19th Century Christians were able to do what they did in promoting an examination of the Scriptures independent of the religious mainstream of their day, and in pulling together and focussing the energy of those who responded. Unless, of course we allow for the favourable influence of the Creator and His Son in recognition of their determined sincerity and love of God.

On the basis of what we know now, it might well seem incredible that anyone could have proclaimed "This is the truth!"  if we look at many of these teachings in isolation. But we must not forget that the dispensing of basic doctorines such as those relating to "the Ransom", "hellfire", "immortal soul", "religious clericalism", along with eschatolgical expectation regardless of the speculative elements, including the concept, however unclear, that one could be destined to serve as a heavenly king-priest with Jesus, and things like these would have made a sufficient impact to move many in the face of Christendom's spritual torpor. And that even if other more "mysterious" notions went a little over their heads.

This insight into past belief I find to be extraordinarily encouraging, when one gives it some thought. However, this does not seem to be a generally held view because there are those who see such information as faith-damaging and prefer a revisionist approach.

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2 hours ago, JW Insider said:

the only mention of Day Dawn in the Proclaimers book, and therefore implies that it was only published after Paton left the Watch Tower.]

Seems Paton published a first edition in 1880 prior to his defection. This edition was endorsed by Russell and was obtainable direct from the publisher or brokered through the WTS.

A second, revised edition was proposed in Aug 1881.  The text of the revision was objectionable to Russell, particularly a new chapter entitled The Atonement which was seen as implying a denial of Christ's Ransom.Both Russell and the original publisher refused further involvement with Paton. Paton then decided to publish the revised book himself. Paton gives the reason for his revision in a later issue of his magazine:

"Since sending out the first edition, by a careful examination of the Word, my mind had undergone a change as to the nature of Christ’s sacrifice, and the Atonement. I did not deny the Ransom, as some have positively affirmed, but only denied the correctness of their, and my own former theory of the matter. I now saw that the idea of Substitution, or that Christ died instead of mankind, was unscriptural and untrue, as we all die. The unity of Christ, as the Second Man, with the whole race, I saw to be the Apostolic idea, so that all died and rose in him. So this fundamental and vitalunion with Christ, as the basis of a practical and experimental at-one-ment with, or reconciliation to God, took the place of substitution in DAY DAWN, when revised." The World’s Hope. February 15, 1890. (Volume 8, number 4).

Paton 1.jpgPaton 2.jpg

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I really appreciated the info you provided on the first two versions of Paton's book. The third one was in 1890, and appears to match the timing of an article by Russell in the May 1890 Watch Tower where Russell reviews the history with Barbour and Paton in an article called "Sifting the Wheat." He mentions these first two versions of Day Dawn, and how it came about that he finally stopped accepting articles from Paton and stopped distributing his book which favored a view of the Ransom that came closer to Barbour's view (Restitution without Substitution).

6 hours ago, Gone Away said:

might indicate on face-value that Russell was arguing in favour of himself being viewed as "the faithful and discreet slave"

Are you indicating that he was NOT arguing in favor of himself being viewed as the FDS[FWS]? Even the article just mentioned in 1890 says that Russell wanted to personally be God's "mouthpiece," God's "instrument," and he said that the frame of mind he put himself into, back in 1881, allowed him to receive the correct and harmonious understanding "and no one has ever yet been able to find a flaw in it." Of course, Russell then ties this new understanding to several ideas about the ransom that we now find flawed, including the very topic implied in the title of this thread [OP]. Russell said several things about the ransom sacrifice that we would now find just about as ridiculous as the view of the ransom that Barbour held, including the idea that this ransom sacrifice was not completed by Jesus, but would include the sacrifices of the joint-sacrificers.

I understand completely that most of Russell's ideas had a basis in Scripture, even if some of his interpretations of those Scriptures were unwarranted. I defend and appreciate the long view of what Russell was involved with, but I can't always see a way or even a reason to defend him for those unwarranted interpretations. As Paul puts it in Galatians 1: 'after all, is it men I am trying to please, or God?'

In other words, I don't see the same parallel you see: that both Russell and the modern Governing Body struggled to understand Matthew 24:45 in a way to avoid an awkward view. From what I can see, the only parallel is that ultimately both Russell and the GB made the same mistake, a mistake that makes Matthew 24:45 even more awkward in trying to explain it in context, and when trying to keep it from contradicting the rest of the Bible.

A much less awkward understanding had already been available to and accepted by Russell for many years prior to his view that he personally was acting as the FDS/FWS.

Claiming that the FDS/FWS was one individual, and accepting himself as the one person who could then claim that role, is about as awkward as @TrueTomHarley claiming that because he once had a good neighborly experience taking care of a robbery victim, that he is, individually in his person, the "True Neighbor" of Luke 10:29-37.

Just as "True Tom" can claim to be the "True Neighbor" that answers the question: "Who really is my neighbor?" the Governing Body can claim to be the answer to the question "Who really is the faithful and discreet slave?"

[See how dangerous it is to join this thread, TTH?]

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5 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Are you indicating that he was NOT arguing in favor of himself being viewed as the FDS[FWS]?

I don't think you will find an explicit statement where Russell states "I am the faithful and discreet slave".

Jesus unanswered question in connection with this matter could well be followed with the often bracketed phrase found at Matth. 24:15; "(let the reader use discernment)".

Russell was faced with a Hobson's choice in his understanding of this matter. Given the fact that there was no faithful and discreet slave in existence at that time, and also that his framework of understanding regarding chronology was basically wrong, then his interpretation of the matter was the best alternative open to him apart from leaving it unanswered. His likening the role as no different from that enjoyed in the past by servants who took a lead in speaking out on Godly matters to others indicates to me that that no vainglorious status was attached to the role. Work and not position was at the center of his focus. Why would a man who was not convinced that he was speaking for Jehovah engage himself in such an increasingly unpopular and arduous task comprising:

  • exposing and condemning the established religions of the day
  • rexamining and constructing a complete understanding of Bible doctorine and prophecy
  • putting lock, stock, and barrel into a preaching effort to deliver that information to the ends of the earth
  • managing the response

I think he was arguing for the only reasonable option available to him at the time, given the fact that his perception of the time in which he found himself was completely wrong. His understanding of the matter was therefore wrong, but it served an end as there is no doubt that he took the lead in the time in which he lived in matters relating to the outworking of Jehovah's purpose regarding His Messianic kindom, and got matters done as a result.

I don't see the modern GB as having had a struggle with Matt 24:45 any more than I did. I think that the understanding has just been refined. The current explanation is very simple and logical. Certainly more palatable than the previous rather awkward view. I see Russell struggled because he was trying to see something that was not there. We have the benefit of hindsight in both looking at the erroneous conclusions of the past and the outworking of prophetic matters AFTER the event.

Jesus clever use of a question without an answer allows us to draw our own conclusion in the matter now. I for one am completely happy with the our current understanding that a supervisory arrangement for the global Bible educational work currently progressing under the auspices of the Governing Body constitutes the answer to the question Jesus raised at Matt 24:45.

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13 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Just as "True Tom" can claim to be the "True Neighbor" that answers the question: "Who really is my neighbor?" the Governing Body can claim to be the answer to the question "Who really is the faithful and discreet slave?"

I like the analogy here and I suppose it really begs the question: Faithful and discreet slave. Prophecy or Parable?

This WT quote might have a bearing on the answer: 

*** w13 7/15 p. 22 par. 10 “Who Really Is the Faithful and Discreet Slave?” ***
Who, then, is the faithful and discreet slave? In keeping with Jesus’ pattern of feeding many through the hands of a few, that slave is made up of a small group of anointed brothers who are directly involved in preparing and dispensing spiritual food during Christ’s presence. Throughout the last days, the anointed brothers who make up the faithful slave have served together at headquarters. In recent decades, that slave has been closely identified with the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Note, however, that the word “slave” in Jesus’ illustration is singular, indicating that this is a composite slave. The decisions of the Governing Body are thus made collectively.
 

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Russell appears to be grappling with the notion, (scripturally presented), that anointed Christians constitute the "body of Christ", in the context of Christ being termed the Head of that body, yet located in a different realm.. He also weaves in Paul's words regarding the transformation of humans "I am again experiencing birth pains until Christ is formed in you" (Gal.4:19) and other such expressions. He appears to attach more significance to illustrative vocabulary concerning the earthly position of anointed Christians than is scripturally warranted. --   Gone Away

Based on Gone Away's digest, I am adding two cents. (I have not been able to read all.)

Russell, like Paul, sacrificed a lot for the good news. However he was clearly wrong if he appeared to be roping himself into that unique sacrifice that Jesus gave.

No other person could have done it.   The person had to be one who could replace Adam, a man made perfect by God.  (Deut 19:21)  None of the anointed is perfect in the flesh, though righteousness is credited to them. 

No imperfect man could give a ransom for another imperfect man.

(Psalm 49:7, ? None of them can ever redeem a brother Or give to God a ransom for him,  8 (The ransom price for their life is so precious That it is always beyond their reach);

  (Romans 6:8-11) 8 Moreover, if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that Christ, now that he has been raised up from the dead, dies no more; death is no longer master over him. 10 For the death that he died, he died with reference to sin once for all time, but the life that he lives, he lives with reference to God. 11 Likewise you, consider yourselves to be dead with reference to sin but living with reference to God by Christ Jesus.

 No one of the anointed can say he has no sin, so that he could offer himself as a sacrifice for sins.

 (1 John 1:8-10) 8 If we make the statement, “We have no sin,” we are misleading ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous so as to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we make the statement, “We have not sinned,” we are making him a liar, and his word is not in us.

 (1 John 2:1, 2) My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not commit a sin. And yet, if anyone does commit a sin, we have a helper with the Father, Jesus Christ, a righteous one. 2 And he is a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, yet not for ours only but also for the whole world’s.

 No other human sacrifice is required.  But God is well pleased with our bearing Kingdom fruit, including the fruit of lips

 (Hebrews 13:15, 16) 15 Through him let us always offer to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that make public declaration to his name. 16 Moreover, do not forget to do good and to share what you have with others, for God is well-pleased with such sacrifices.

 ==== 

Perhaps Russell had a similar feeling to Paul?

 (Galatians 4:19) my little children, for whom I am again experiencing birth pains until Christ is formed in you.

Similar thoughts (in my opinion):

 (2 Corinthians 11:28) 28 Besides those things of an external kind, there is what rushes in on me from day to day: the anxiety for all the congregations.

 (2 Corinthians 11:1, 2) . . .! 2 For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, for I personally promised you in marriage to one husband that I might present you as a chaste virgin to the Christ. . .

 Ephesians 4:11-16) And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers, 12 with a view to the readjustment of the holy ones, for ministerial work, to build up the body of the Christ, 13 until we all attain to the oneness of the faith and of the accurate knowledge of the Son of God, to being a full-grown man, attaining the measure of stature that belongs to the fullness of the Christ. 14 So we should no longer be children, tossed about as by waves and carried here and there by every wind of teaching by means of the trickery of men, by means of cunning in deceptive schemes. 15 But speaking the truth, let us by love grow up in all things into him who is the head, Christ. 16 From him all the body is harmoniously joined together and made to cooperate through every joint that gives what is needed. When each respective member functions properly, this contributes to the growth of the body as it builds itself up in love.

N.B. Russell's knowledge was imperfect, but gave him enough zeal to make a start in the restoration of true worship; at one point the apostle Paul's knowledge was imperfect too, though greatly superior to Russell's but he did very well in spearheading the work when redirected by Jesus and his letters are still guiding us today. However, Paul said he was looking  as though through a metal mirror but eventually would know accurately and face-to-face. Very encouraging!

(1 Corinthians 13:12, 13) 12 For now we see in hazy outline by means of a metal mirror, but then it will be face-to-face. At present I know partially, but then I will know accurately, just as I am accurately known. 13 Now, however, these three remain: faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love.

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1 hour ago, Melinda Mills said:

Russell, like Paul, sacrificed a lot for the good news. However he was clearly wrong if he appeared to be roping himself into that unique sacrifice that Jesus gave.

I agree with the other scriptures you have contributed. Exactly along the lines I was thinking too.

Russell had many things wrong but who is to say? We have the benefit of so much today compared to the pioneering work done in those early days on the basis of what they knew. The courage and determination shines through regardless of any of the tarnishing error in the thinking displayed.

I wonder what the passage of 100 years or so will do to the understandings we hold so dear today? May we be there to share the laughter!

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9 hours ago, Gone Away said:

I don't think you will find an explicit statement where Russell states "I am the faithful and discreet slave".

If you believe the Watch Tower publications, however, you would have to agree that he actually did claim to be the "faithful and discreet slave." I know you have already seen the quotes in "The Biography of Charles Taze Russell" that the WTS published, along with reports from his funeral, Convention reports from both before and after his death, and A. H. MacMillan's book "Faith on the March."

Even though he did say it to some, he most certainly did not need to. Many of the most successful men of the 19th century were experts at "mock humility." In some situations it was considered the only "proper" way to communicate one's authority and title to others. One method was to always allow others to introduce your title.

  • (Colossians 2:18) 18 Let no man deprive you of the prize who takes delight in a false humility and a form of worship of the angels, “taking his stand on” the things he has seen. He is actually puffed up without proper cause by his fleshly frame of mind,

Teaching that there was only one person in his day who should be identified as that faithful and wise servant [faithful and discreet slave] who serves meat in due season [food at the proper time] is admittedly not an explicit claim on its own. But when you also identify your own writings as "meat in due season" and publish many letters addressing you as the "faithful and wise servant" you are merely making wise use of the 19th century methods. Even the admission that you can't let "modesty" keep you from explaining that there is only ONE individual "faithful and wise servant" rather than multiple "servants" is an obvious yet sufficiently humble "reveal."

I'm afraid we would just be repeating information already covered if we dug out all the sources again, but I'm sure you know them. The reason I quoted the scripture from Colossians is to discuss the danger, not just of false humility, but of something else, which is just as relevant today:

False humility can hide a haughtiness which is often accompanied by presumptuousness and a lack of wisdom and discretion. But you are probably also aware that Russell was worshiped as an angel. When the verse speaks of the worship of angels, we know that no one worshiped angels as the highest authority, but it was a kind of secondary worship based on lower levels in the hierarchy of Jehovah's creatures. This kind of worship should not be acceptable among Christians, yet Russell allowed it. He is never seen strongly speaking out against it.

It had to wait until Rutherford who said that one of the first things he wanted to do was change this cult mentality of worshiping Russell.

*** w66 8/15 pp. 508-509 Doing God’s Will Has Been My Delight ***

  • Why, brother, if I [Rutherford] ever get out of here [prison], by God’s grace I’ll crush all this business of creature worship.

*** yb75 p. 88 Part 1—United States of America ***

  • So it was understood that the “servant” God used to dispense spiritual food was a class. With the passing of time, however, the idea adopted by many was that C. T. Russell himself was the “faithful and wise servant.” This led some into the snare of creature worship.

[Strange that in 1975 the writer didn't feel free to admit directly that it was Russell himself who positioned this doctrine to be applied to himself, even if it was an issue where he allowed people close to him to promote at first.]

*** kr chap. 2 p. 23 par. 32 The Kingdom Is Born in Heaven ***

  • . Though Brother Russell wanted no such reverence, a measure of creature worship had grown up around him

*** jv chap. 28 pp. 625-626 Testing and Sifting From Within ***

  • But you, Brother Rutherford, have a disposition which has no comparison with that of Brother Russell. Even your looks are different. It is not your fault. It was your birthday present, and you could not refuse it. . . . Did the Lord know what he was doing when he placed you at the head of affairs? He surely did. In the past we were all prone to worship the creature more than the Creator. The Lord knew that. So he placed a creature with a different disposition at the head of affairs, or I should say in charge of the work, the harvest work. You desire nobody to worship you.

[I don't think it's true that so many were prone to worship the creature, Brother Russell, more than the Creator. But worshiping, or assigning reverence to an "angel" even if we know the relative place of that angel in the hierarchy, still detracts from the worship of the Creator. There is also an implication that Rutherford was different from Russell in that he did not desire to be worshiped, implying that perhaps Russell did very little to stop the worship and the development of a cult around him. I don't think this implication was intended, but I do believe there is some truth to it.]

*** jv chap. 6 p. 65 A Time of Testing (1914-1918) ***

  • Others, on account of their deep respect for Brother Russell, seemed more concerned with trying to copy his qualities and develop a sort of cult around him.

On the topic of worshiping angels, this is a curious coincidence:

*** w85 7/15 p. 12 par. 11 “Let No Man Deprive You of the Prize” ***

  • A fourth-century council at nearby Laodicea found it necessary to declare: “Christians ought not to forsake the Church of God, and . . . call upon the names of angels. . . . If any one, therefore, be found to exercise himself in this private idolatry, let him be accursed.” However, fifth-century theologian and scholar Theodoret indicates that “this vice” of angel worship still existed there in his day.

Places near Laodicea had an early problem with worship of angels, and I'm sure you know which angel Russell was associated with:

  • Rev 3:14 "And unto the angel [messenger] of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;" KJV 

Page 4 of the 1917 book, The Finished Mystery says:

  • Pastor Russell being the messenger of the Laodicean Church, and occupying the position of the Lord's special servant to give the Household of Faith meat in due season ....

Page 53 of the same book says:

  • The special messenger to the last Age of the Church was Charles T. Russell, born February 16, 1852. He has privately admitted his belief that he was chosen for his great work from before his birth (p. 53).

 

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8 hours ago, Melinda Mills said:

N.B. Russell's knowledge was imperfect, but gave him enough zeal to make a start in the restoration of true worship; at one point the apostle Paul's knowledge was imperfect too, though greatly superior to Russell's but he did very well in spearheading the work when redirected by Jesus and his letters are still guiding us today. However, Paul said he was looking  as though through a metal mirror but eventually would know accurately and face-to-face. Very encouraging!

I think this is important, and especially the scriptures supporting this idea in Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 13.

Also, I think it's easy to read what I said as a kind of "attack" on the "Governing Body" or even "the faithful and discreet slave." On the contrary, I think we should all appreciate the great good that is being done by the Governing Body, and all exemplary elders in leadership positions. I think that we should look back on what C.T.Russell did, and what he taught, and how he progressed, and see it with much appreciation for his efforts in the restoration of pure worship.

  • (1 Timothy 5:17) 17 Let the elders who preside in a fine way be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard in speaking and teaching.

We should give him his due, just as we would all other exemplary persons who work hard in the interests of Jehovah's Kingdom through Christ Jesus. That was Russell's primary focus, and we benefit so much from his hard work. G.A. pointed out these same types of things that I have repeated here, too:

On 7/23/2018 at 2:19 PM, Gone Away said:

But we must not forget that the dispensing of basic doctorines such as those relating to "the Ransom", "hellfire", "immortal soul", "religious clericalism", along with eschatolgical expectation regardless of the speculative elements, including the concept, however unclear, that one could be destined to serve as a heavenly king-priest with Jesus, and things like these would have made a sufficient impact to move many in the face of Christendom's spritual torpor. And that even if other more "mysterious" notions went a little over their heads.

However, no one should need a TITLE for these things. Jesus said that all of you are brothers.

  • (Matthew 23:8) But you, do not you be called Rabbi, for one is your Teacher, and all of you are brothers. 9 Moreover, do not call anyone your father on earth, for one is your Father, the heavenly One. 10 Neither be called leaders, for your Leader is one, the Christ.

Older men and other servants who met certain exemplary criteria would be used in the congregations to lead, shepherd, oversee, administer and teach. None of those things require a "title." But to say that one person or one small group of persons should be looked up to as "leaders" is something Jesus said was wrong.

I know there is a tendency to try to defend Russell (in his day) and the current Governing Body for every current teaching. The way in which the concept of "Governing Body" is used exacerbates this issue. But this is not the way that Jesus expected congregations to work. We can love and appreciate all teachings that we can accept with a clear conscience. Fortunately, that's a very high percentage. But some here have argued that we must accept every "wind of teaching" even the ones that have tossed us about this way and that way. (As all eschatological teachings have done.)

Look at the principles of local congregational direction and personal responsibility that Jesus expected of each congregation in the examples in Revelation:

  • (Revelation 2:1,2,6) “To the angel of the congregation in Ephʹe·sus write: These are the things that he says who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2 ‘I know your deeds, and your labor and endurance, and that you cannot tolerate bad men, and that you put to the test those who say they are apostles, . . . 6 Still, you do have this in your favor: that you hate the deeds of the sect of Nic·o·laʹus, which I also hate.
  • (Revelation 2:14, 15) 14 “‘Nevertheless, I have a few things against you, that you have there those adhering to the teaching of Baʹlaam, . . . 15 In the same way, you also have those adhering to the teaching of the sect of Nic·o·laʹus.

  • (Revelation 2:24) 24 “‘However, I say to the rest of you who are in Thy·a·tiʹra, all those who do not follow this teaching,. . . I am not putting on you any other burden. 25 Just the same, hold fast to what you have until I come.

We can be very appreciative of all the wonderful things we have learned from work done and distributed by the Governing Body, but Jesus implies that he might still take us to task for following teachings that we should have known were not right. I mean it as an exaggeration, of course, but notice how not-so-different these verses just quoted from Revelation are from a make-believe verse that might have said:

  • "Still you have this in your favor: that you have adhered to the teachings from my Word which you have learned from the beginning. Nevertheless, I have a few things against you, that you have there those adhering to the teaching charts of Brother Splane.

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3 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Even though he did say it to some, he most certainly did not need to. Many of the most successful men of the 19th century were experts at "mock humility." .

 

The same with the 1975 affair. It was mainly our -the brotherhood- fault; not the 'slave', or GB, or board of directors, or brother Franz fault.
I can still perceive this mock humility in too many levels in our people (me the first, obviously)

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3 hours ago, JW Insider said:

I have a few things against you, that you have there those adhering to the teaching charts of Brother Splane.

I think we are all on the same page regarding the need to avoid creature worship, "pet" theology, going beyond what is written, and all the other pitfalls that those who have time and inclination to study more than the standard spiritual fare must be alert to. Paul's warning about the puffing and clashing effects of knowledge are more vaild today than ever due to the sheer availability and volume of information on Bible teachings we have access to.

This could just as likely read "I have a few things against you, that you have there those adhering to the theories of @JWInsider; rationalisations of @GoneAway etc. (And I know who you really are!)".

Both the Bible and modern history is full of the glaring mistakes of those who nevertheless love Jehovah. And yet the Bible account speaks of one of the most error prone as still (looking back) having a "complete heart", (1Ki.11:4), and that assessment by one before whom no man could stand if errors were what he watched for, (Ps.130:3).

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4 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Also, I think it's easy to read what I said as a kind of "attack" on the "Governing Body" or even "the faithful and discreet slave."

Yes it is. And this is (should be) of particular concern if such a "perceived attack" is absorbed by someone who lacks the necessary resources to evaluate the information. The labelling of such as "Contraversial" whilst presenting in the public domain is hardly an adequate safeguard. Remember, what is committed to internet stays on internet.

There is no doubt in my mind  that Jehovah's Witnesses are who they say they are, and that the current arrangement for directing the organisation is perfectly acceptable to Jehovah and Jesus (the Head of the congregation). I don't personally have the advantage of being raised in a 3rd generation witness family with an anointed and Bethel pedigree. I literally came off the street to become a witness, and am now the oldest in a large family that has a minority serving Jehovah. However, all I have in the truth, I have fought for vigorously because I recognised the life-saving nature of the information when I read my first Watchtower (which. incidentally. was a single sheet from a magazine being used as rest room "tissue" in a squatted property I happened to be staying in!). So I am not about to bite the hand that feeds me now!

Having a forum like this is a great source of background and additional information on a whole range of topics (to which you make a great contribution). It is also an opportunity to air views or sharpen argument on subjects that would definitely be considered far too "left of field" in a normal congregational setting, in fact would probably result in a rather undesirable labelling.

However, I still think that there is a need to avoid stabbing thoughtlessly at Jehovah's servants (Pr.12:18). And to ensure that all we say or propose is appropriately seasoned with salt (Col.4:6), that it has a tendency toward building up and not tearing down (2Cor.13:10). And we need to strongly promote the idea that sticking with Jehovah's organisation and it's Governing Body today is as vital as was sticking to the faithful Israelites, with Moses and Aaron etc in charge, in the wilderness years. After all, it was a slant on the same information and experience that made the difference as to who actually did survive at that time....wasn't it? (Nu.11:5; Nu.13:26).

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17 hours ago, Gone Away said:

Russell had many things wrong but who is to say?

That sentence might have just pinpointed the issue. Russell collected a body of teachings and promoted them with faith and vigor and a sense of urgency. Jehovah doesn't forget his work and the love he showed for him. Neither should we.

  • (Hebrews 6:10) For God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name by ministering and continuing to minister to the holy ones.

But we should not be trying to defend him as a person in such a way that we rationalize the false teachings. For most of my life I fell into the same trap of saying, yes he was wrong on this or that, but we can ignore it because of the greater good he did. I had to wonder why I am defending him as a person. He may or may not have been a good person, we can't judge. I believe that in the main he was a very good person. And when I had read through the old Watch Tower magazines, I realized that the majority of his work was still quite useful and valuable for Christians and would-be Christians. (As opposed to "The Finished Mystery" aka "The Seventh Volume," for example, for which the great majority of it is worthless and false.)

But we are not supposed to concern ourselves with Russell as a person, or defend him as if he were some kind of canonized saint. We should be concerned with the truth and "wholesomeness" of the teachings that we have basically inherited from the body of teachings he collected.

  • (1 Timothy 1:10) .and whatever other thing is in opposition to the healthful teaching
  • (1 Timothy 1:5-7) 5 Really, the objective of this instruction is love out of a clean heart and out of a good conscience and out of faith without hypocrisy. 6 By deviating from these things, some have been turned aside to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of law, but they do not understand either the things they are saying or the things they insist on so strongly.

One of the great problems, in my opinion, of course, is that when Bible Students and Watch Tower readers heard what Russell taught and thought, they might think: Russell might have many things wrong but who is to say?

For example(s): Russell copied and expanded upon some embarrassingly false beliefs about the value of the Great Pyramid to our faith. Russell copied and expanded upon some embarrassingly false beliefs about the times and seasons (eschatology), and built up a whole doctrine around a debate over words like "parousia" that had come up as a means to avoid admitting the complete failure of a false prophecy.

Now we may still agree with some of these teachings, but some of them were clearly wrong, and many Bible Students apparently accepted them without question: He might be wrong, but who is to say? But Jesus, in Revelation 2-3 had said that it was up to each of us to say: individual Christians and Christian congregations. Just as Paul said that even if it were apostles or angels who declared something not in line with the truth they had learned, THEY, as individuals were responsible to reject the teachings even of those who were called and seen as apostles.

  • (2 Corinthians 11:5) 5 For I consider that I have not proved inferior to your superfine apostles in a single thing.
  • (Galatians 1:8 ) However, even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to you as good news something beyond the good news we declared to you, let him be accursed.
  • (Galatians 1:17) 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before I was,. . .
  • (Galatians 2:5, 6) 5 we did not yield in submission to them, no, not for a moment, so that the truth of the good news might continue with you. 6 But regarding those who seemed to be important—whatever they were makes no difference to me, for God does not go by a man’s outward appearance—those highly regarded men imparted nothing new to me.
  • (Revelation 2:2) . . .put to the test those who say they are apostles,. . .

When Paul said: "O senseless Ga·laʹtians! Who has brought you under this evil influence . . .?" (Galatians 3:1) he knew it included some of the 12 original apostles of Jesus himself, or what we might call the "Governing Body" at Jerusalem. The Galatians were so enamored by their position and how they were so highly regarded, that Paul needed to remind them that even if it were an angel out of heaven, they shouldn't listen. Did Paul mean that everything that came out of Jerusalem and the teaching of the apostles was "evil"? Of course not! He just used it as an example to prove that they should have been more responsible to pick and choose as mature persons:

  • (Hebrews 5:12-14) 12 For although by now you should be teachers, you again need someone to teach you from the beginning the elementary things of the sacred pronouncements of God, and you have gone back to needing milk, not solid food. 13 For everyone who continues to feed on milk is unacquainted with the word of righteousness, for he is a young child. 14 But solid food belongs to mature people, to those who through use have their powers of discernment trained to distinguish both right and wrong.

Today, we have the same issue. The "Governing Body" provides us with a wealth of valuable and nourishing spiritual food. They admit that they aren't inspired and that might even be wrong on some doctrines. But we generally go about with the attitude: They might be wrong on some things, but who's to say? In such a case, it's clearly our own faith, reasonableness and conscience that must come into play.

  • (1 Timothy 4:6-16) 6 By giving this counsel to the brothers, you will be a fine minister of Christ Jesus, one nourished with the words of the faith and of the fine teaching that you have followed closely. 7 But reject irreverent false stories. . . 15 Ponder over these things; be absorbed in them, so that your advancement may be plainly seen by all people. 16 Pay constant attention to yourself and to your teaching. . . .

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We can be very appreciative of all the wonderful things we have learned from work done and distributed by the Governing Body, but Jesus implies that he might still take us to task for following teachings that we should have known were not right. I mean it as an exaggeration, of course, but notice how not-so-different these verses just quoted from Revelation are from a make-believe verse that might have said:

  • "Still you have this in your favor: that you have adhered to the teachings from my Word which you have learned from the beginning. Nevertheless, I have a few things against you, that you have there those adhering to the teaching charts of Brother Splane.

Thank you, JWI! I don't think you need the "I mean that as an exaggeration, of course" but realize that you may have included that for the benefit of some of the tenderer members at this forum.

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