Is This True or False?
A post is presented on a site called “Hot Events” that asks the question directed toward “Jehovah’s Witnesses”: Is This True or False? I do not know if the question is thought of as rhetorical, but none of my responses to the post have been acknowledged, so I am left wondering if the owner posted this material, and asked the question without actually expecting anyone to seriously to challenge what is stated, thus, with the assumption that the statements are true.
After doing a search of the internet, I have found that this material has been copied and pasted to many sites, blogs and forums. It seems that many like rush to spread false accusations, misrepresentations, etc., without actually investigating whether what is stated is fact or not.
As a Bible Student, I am mostly concerned with what is being stated about Charles Taze Russell, and do not intend to respond all of the things being said about Rutherford and others.
#1: It is being claimed that the sect now known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses was started by Charles Taze Russell.
Is this true, or is it false? Many may be inclined to say it is true, but one who knows the facts, if he is honest, should answer: It is false!
The first major reason for answering that the statement is false is that Charles Taze Russell did not believe such a sectarian authoritarian organization as the Jehovah”s Witnesses. He actively preached against such authoritarian sectarianism. The JW organization was slowly formed by Joseph Rutherford after Russell died; the Bible Student movement as a whole did not become part of that organization. Indeed, the Bible Students movement that had been associated with Russell, as a whole (represented by the majority), rejected Rutherford’s new organization, and continued their activities without Rutherford or his new organization. Therefore, it is misleading to say that Russell started what is now the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
See the following:
The second major reason for answering that the statement is false is that Russell taught a “Good News” that is almost the opposite of that Rutherford introduced, and which still serves as a basis for Jehovah’s Witnesses’ “Good News” to this day. When Rutherford introduced his new “good news”, he several times misrepresented what Russell taught on the “ransom for all,” setting up one strawman argument after another, and then knocking down the strawman. Many of these “strawman” arguments still appear in the Watchtower publications to this day.
Nevertheless, since Russell really did preach “glad tiding of great joy for all the people,” as opposed to the bad tiding of eternal destruction for all people who reject the JW organization, again it would be misleading to say that Russell started such sectarianism.
See Russell’s studies on:
#2: It is being claimed that Russell, at the age of seventeen, tried to convert an atheist to Christianity, but that Russell was himself converted to agnosticism.
Is this true or false? Yes, this part is true; that is to say, Russell at least tended toward agnosticism, or perhaps deism, for a short while, believing that the unjust, unreasonable, diabolic doctrines of man’s so-called orthodoxy were actually part of the Bible.
#3: It is being claimed that some time later, Russell attended an Adventist meeting where he was told that Jesus would be back at any time, and thus Russell “got interested in the Bible.”
Is this true or false? I cannot answer this completely, because Russell did not state exactly what it was that sparked his interest when he attended Jonas Wendall’s meeting in 1870. Russell never stated what Wendell spoke on that aroused his interest, but considering what Russell did write concerning his views between 1870 to 1876, it seems highly unlikely that Russell would have been aroused with Wendall’s views on the return of Christ is 1874. It would seem more likely that Russell may have been aroused by Wendall’s views concerning the condition of the dead, or something similar. In Russell’s writings, he stated that he did not accept Wendell’s prophetic “dates”, and that he had no interest in prophetic dates until 1876; so it seems very likely, if Wendell had spoken on his views concerning 1873 in 1870, Russell, then tending toward agnosticism, would not have been attracted by what Wendell presented. However, if Wendell spoke on one of Russell’s greatest concerns about the Bible, that is “hell”, or something related to the condition of the dead and the resurrection, then it seems more logical that Russell would have responded to that message favorably.
#4: The claim is made that William Miller predicted the world to end in 1843, and then 1844. Due to the perceived failure of these dates, it is alleged “many people became frustrated and withdrew from the Adventist movement.” It is claimed that a remnant, being led by Ellen G. White, formed the Seventh-Day Adventist movement. The leading light of Adventism had been William Miller, a flamboyant preacher who predicted that the world would end in 1843. When it didn’t, he “discovered” an arithmetical error in his eschatological calculations and said it would end in 1844. When his prediction again failed, many people became frustrated and withdrew from the Adventist movement, but a remnant, led by Ellen G. White, went on to form the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and that it was “this diminished Adventism which influenced Russell.
Is this true or is it false? It is basically true, but yet it is still deceptive. The reader will probably be left with the thought that Russell was influenced by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. The author does not reveal that there were many “Adventists”, often referred to collectively as “Second Adventists”, who were not associated with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Russell was influenced by many “Second Adventists” writers, but I have found no evidence of any influence by any of the Seventh-Day Adventists’ writers.
#5: It is claimed that Russell took the title “Pastor” even though he never got through high school.
Is this true or false? It is true in the sense that Russell never had formal high school education as administered in classrooms; however, it is misleading since by the time he was ordained as pastor in Pittsburgh, his education through private tutors and his own self-education and would have rivaled that of many that of many college graduates. Nevertheless, the statement would seem to be saying that one has to have man’s secular training in a “high school” in order to serve as a pastor. The Bible never makes such a stipulation.
It is also misleading to say that Russell “took the title of Pastor.” Russell was appointed as pastor by the church that he was associated with in Allegheny, PA. He did not merely take the title or office upon himself.
#6: It is being claimed that before Russell got his religious career well underway, Russell promoted what he called “miracle wheat.”
Is it true or false? Did Russell, before “his religious career was well under way” even know of anything called “Miracle Wheat”? Assuming that one counts his “religious career” as having been well under way in 1879, when he started publishing The Watch Tower. Had he known anything of Miracle Wheat before he started publishing the magazine? Absolutely not! And certainly by 1904, he surely had his religious career well under way! Had he ever said anything at all about “Miracle Wheat”? Absolutely not! Kent Stoner did not discover the “Miracle Wheat” until 1906. Russell did not find out about it until about two years later, around 1908, when it was being reported in the newspapers. Kent Stoner was a farmer in Virginia, and had no association with Brother Russell or the Bible Students. The name “Miracle Wheat” was first given to this wheat by either Kent Stoner, one of his associates who helped him in isolating and keeping the strain pure, or by the newspapers. The point is that there is no way that Russell even knew about this “Miracle Wheat” “Before he got his religious career well underway.” He certainly had his “religious career” well under way in 1908, thus the statement is false.
#7: It is claimed that Russell promoted what he called “miracle wheat.”
This continues from #6. This needs to addressed in two parts:
Did Russell ever “promote” miracle wheat? Indirectly he did, but the use of the word “promote” might be misleading. What actually happened is that two farmers, both Bible Students, had purchased some seeds from Stoner and had grown a lot of this “Miracle Wheat”, and wished to offer it for sale, and would donate all proceeds to the Watch Tower Society. Russell placed announcements of this offer in the pages of the Watch Tower, and allowed the seeds to stored, packaged and shipped from the basement of the headquarters of the Society.
The second part, to address is: what he called “miracle wheat,”
This is not exactly false, but again it is misleading. Someone named a rounded plastic tubing “hula-hoop” and every one called it “hula-hoop.” Likewise, since Stoner’s wheat discovery was named “Miracle Wheat”, Russell also called by that name. However, it is highly likely that the author chose the above wording so as to imply that Russell is the one that named the wheat “Miracle Wheat”, and probably that is the what most readers would assume from the way its is written. Russell, of course, did not give the wheat its name; he did call it by the name that was given to it in the newspapers, that is, “Miracle Wheat.”
#8: The statement is made that Russell sold this Miracle Wheat at sixty dollars per bushel.
This I have to give as false. Russell himself did not sell any of the wheat; it was others who offered the wheat for sale. Russell simply conveyed their offer in a few words of the Watch Tower. The price of sixty dollars per bushel was $25 LESS per bushel than Stoner had been selling the same wheat.
#9: It is being stated that Russell claimed Miracle Wheat “would grow five times as well as regular wheat.”
This is definitely false! Russell never made any claims at all for Stoner’s Miracle Wheat. He published newspaper reports of Stoner’s claims and claims by others concerning Miracle Wheat, but I have been unable locate any place where even Stoner or anyone ever stated exactly that it would grow five times as well as regular wheat. Newspaper reports were showing that it did grow many times more than other wheat, but the amounts varied from farmer to farmer.
#10 It is being claimed that Stoner’s Miracle Wheat grew slightly less well than regular wheat, that this was established in court when Russell was sued.
False on two counts. (1) The wheat was shown in court to produce several times that of regular wheat. (2) Russell was never sued regarding Miracle Wheat. It was Russell who sued the Daily Brooklyn Eagle for libel.
For the true facts regarding Russell and Miracle Wheat, see:
#11 It is being claimed that Russell “marketed a fake cancer cure.”
False. The cancer cure that Russell obtained was not fake; many seem to simply assume that it must have been “fake” since they have already condemned Russell of all kinds of other falsehoods, thus it seems that they are willing to believe that they have a right to assume anything else imaginable. The formula which Russell obtained from a doctor was legit, and similar formulas are used to this day to treat skin cancer. However, the use of the word “marketed” implies that he was selling this formula.
Here is how Russell himself describes the way he “marketed” this formula, as shown from his offer: “The recipe has come to us free and we are willing to communicate the formula, but to those only who are troubled with surface cancers and who will write to us directly, stating particulars. No fee will be charged, but in order to protect the sufferers, we require a promise that they will not sell the formula to others, nor receive pay for the use of it, nor communicate the formula to anybody. Any one known to be a sufferer can be informed of the terms on which the prescription is obtainable through us.”
#12: It is being claimed that Russell also marketed what he termed a “millennial bean.” The comment is made that the name “millennial bean” probably meant that it took a thousand years to sprout.
The way this is presented is false. Again, the word “marketed” is also applied to this “Millennial Bean.” The statement that Russell “termed” this “millennial bean” is also misleading, since he is not the one who gave it the name “millennial bean.”
See our report:
#13: It being claimed that Russell taught his followers the non-existence of hell.
Is this true? No! Russell taught anyone who would listen that the Bible hell does exist, but that it is not the kind of “hell” taught by man’s self-claimed “orthodoxy.”
Click Here for a search of Russell’s works regarding the Bible hell.
See our subdomain:
Life Now and Hereafter
#14: It is being claimed that Russell taught his followers the annihilation of unsaved people, which doctrine, it is being claimed, Russell picked up from the Adventists).
Is this true? No, Russell did not teach the annihilation of “unsaved people.” The author who makes this claim simply seems to be ignorant of what Russell did teach. Indeed, one of the main reasons for starting the Watch Tower magazine was to combat this false teaching that many Adventists were promoting. However, the writer, by using the word “Adventists” is probably referring to the Seventh-Day Adventists, not to the general groups often referred to as the “Second Adventists.”
While I do not necessarily agree with all of Russell’s conclusions, I would recommend reading Russell’s studies:
While many Adventists were teaching the annihilation of unsaved people, Russell rejected that teaching, and proclaimed the “ransom for all” saves everyone who is dying in Adam. — John 12:47,48; Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6.
#15: It being claimed that Russell taught the non-existence of the Trinity.
Is this true? Yes! And I agree with him on this, since it was Jesus himself who said that the Father is the only true God. — John 17:3.
For many studies related to this, see:
Jesus and His God
#16: It is being claimed that Russell taught the identification of Jesus with Michael the Archangel.
Did Russell identify Jesus with Michael the Archangel? Yes, as this conclusion is indicated from the Bible itself. However, before Russell reached this conclusion, many trinitarians had reached the same conclusion, that is, that Michael is Jesus.
#17: It is being claimed that Russell “the reduction of the Holy Spirit from a person to a force.”
Russell did not have to reduce the holy spirit from being a person, since the Bible no where presents the holy spirit as a person of the God to whom the holy spirit belongs. In the phrase “spirit of God” (ELOHIM, Genesis 1:2), does the word “God” (ELOHIM) represent one person, or three persons? Does the alleged person of the holy spirit belong to one person or three persons, one of which would be the person of the holy spirit which would then belong to the person of the holy spirit?
God’s holy spirit is likened to God’s finger (as the power of God). (Matthew 12:28; Luke 11:20) As the instrument of the revealing of truth, the holy spirit is likened to God’s “mouth”. (1 Kings 8:24; 2 Chronicles 6:4; 36:12,21; Ezra 1:1; Isaiah 1:20; 40:5; 45:23; 48:3; 58:14; 62:2; Jeremiah 9:12,20; Ezekiel 33:7; Micah 4:4; Matthew 4:4; Mark 12:36; Acts 1:17; 28:25; Hebrews 3:7; 9:8; 10:15,16; 2 Peter 1:21) Are we to think of God’s finger or his mouth as a separate and distinct person of God (using trinitarian terminology)? Is your finger, or your mouth, a separate and distinct person of yourself?
In Russell’s studies on the Holy Spirit, we have not found any place that he ever describes the Holy Spirit of God as simply being “force.” If by “force”, one means “power”, this is certainly an aspect of God’s Holy Spirit.
See Russell’s studies:
The Channel of the Atonement: The Holy Spirit of God
#18: It is being claimed that Russell taught the mortality (not immortality) of the soul.
This is true, at least as related to the dogma that says that man’s soul is inherently immortal; I believe Russell was correct in not adding to the scriptures this dogma an inherent immortal soul or spirit that continues to be conscious when the body dies. Such an idea is not once presented in the Bible, and one has to call upon the spirit of human imaginations in order “see” such a doctrine any where in the Bible.
CLICK HERE for a list of studies that are related to immortality.
#19 — It is being claimed that Russell taught the return of Jesus in 1914.
This is totally false. Russell never once taught the return of Christ in 1914. In 1876, Russell accepted that Russell had already returned in 1874, and he believed this until the day he died.
#20 — When 1914 had come and gone, with no Jesus in sight, Russell modified his teachings and claimed Jesus had, in fact, returned to Earth, but that his return was invisible.
The above is also false. Obviously, if Russell did not teach the return of Christ in 1914, he did not change his viewpoint concerning 1914 as the return of Christ, since Russell was never expecting Christ to return in 1914 at all. Russell was expecting the time of trouble to begin (Armageddon) in 1914, and we believe that time of trouble did begin in 1914, and we are still in that time of trouble to this day.
It is stated:
#21 It is being claimed that Russell taught that Christ’s visible return would come later (evidently after 1914), but still very soon.
As stated this is also false. Although I am not sure what is meant by the above statement, Russell did not believe that Jesus would ever return “in the flesh.” We have found no reference in Russell’s writings wherein he ever stated that he was a “visible return” of Christ at any time. Russell believed that Jesus offered his flesh once for all time as an offering for sin (Hebrews 10:10), thus Russell was not expecting for Jesus to come in that flesh at anytime. Nevertheless, the effects of the invisible kingdom of Jesus will be made manifest throughout the earth. Russell was, from 1904 to 1914, expecting the manifestation of Christ and the church to be some time after 1914, but if the thought is that Russell that Christ would return in his former flesh, Russell never believed such an idea. Russell began to realize around 1873 that Christ would not come again in his sacrificed flesh or body. Jesus does not take back his sacrifice.
Another point concerning this is also important to understand: Russell did not believe in “Armageddon” as it is taught by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. His view that was that “Armageddon” was to be over a period of time, in which many events were to take place. He believed that Armageddon was to discipline the nations, not to eternally destroy millions of men, women and children without their obtaining any benefit from the ransom for all.
#22 It is being claimed that in 1931, Rutherford changed the name of “sect” to Jehovah’s Witnesses.
While Rutherford did indeed change the name of his new organization to “Jehovah’s Witnesses” in 1931, it is deceptive if one thinks that the Bible Students movement became Jehovah’s Witnesses. As a whole (represented by the vast majority), the Bible Students movement rejected Rutherford’s new organization and his new gospel associated with “organization” doctrine. Thus, as a whole, the general name of the movement “Bible Students” was never changed to Jehovah’s Witnesses. The “Bible Students” continue exist to this day.
The following provide links to other sites that present essentially the same misleading material:
Is This True or False? – Catholic Answers
Is This True or False? – Catholic Apologetics
Is This True or False? – The Age Cases
Is This True or False? – Pittsburgh City Guide
Is This True or False? – The Truth About Jehovah’s Witnesses?