In His Own Words...

Was Pastor Russell a Cult Leader and False Prophet?

   "This Volume makes no claim to infallibility, and no claim of any direct inspiration from God in the interpretation of His Word. On the contrary, it does claim that the Divine Revelation is the Bible. Its endeavor has been to collate the Bible evidences and to offer suggestions in respect to their significance.

   "Dealing with subjects so difficult that they are rarely touched by others, it is not to be considered strange if some of the suggestions made in this Volume have not been fulfilled with absolute accuracy to the very letter. But the author, the publishers, and the thousands of readers of this Volume are not ashamed of its presentations, and are still handing it forth to all who have an interest in Bible study—as most interesting and most helpful in an understanding of the Lord's Word." —1916; Forward "The Time is at Hand", pg. ii

   "The great crisis, the great clash, symbolically represented as a fire, that will consume the ecclesiastical heavens and the social earth, is very near. But when we have said this we have said about all that it is safe or proper for us to say. We have never claimed inspiration nor prophetic vision. All that we have ever claimed is that "Wonderful things in the Bible we see," and that the dearest is the love of the Heavenly Father and our Heavenly Lord Jesus, and that the time for the establishment of the Kingdom is very nigh." —1914; "The Watch Tower", May 1, 1914 pg. 134

   "I think it is the Lord's will that we should recognize every agency God uses, but we are not to recognize any agency of God as being in any competition whatever with the Lord or with his divine arrangement. He is the fountain of blessing, he only is most to be praised. I think that is the right sentiment. I believe you all agree with that. And yet I think there is a danger of some dear friends preaching Brother Russell. Brother Russell would like for you not to do so. He thinks it would not be to the glory of God. Let me repeat, then, dear friends, that in my opinion we have so much of the Gospel of God, so much of his plan to study, so many opportunities of showing forth his praises, that we should employ all our time in that way. My advice, therefore, is that we give very little attention to anything outside of that...

   "And so, dear friends, if our Heavenly Father and our Heavenly Lord have used Brother Russell in any measure he is very glad and very thankful to be used. And if the Lord is pleased to use him any more, he will be glad to be used down to the last breath, but he does not want any worship, he does not want any undue adoration, he does not want any praise. He is glad to have the love of all those who are brethren of the Lord and to be considered a fellow-servant with all, striving to bring to pass all the glorious things that God has promised, striving to tell the good tidings of great joy to as many as the Lord, our God, shall call."  —1910; Convention Discourse ("Convention Report Sermons", pg. 125)

   "We preach not ourself but Christ. We substantiate nothing except by his Word. We make no laws, formulate no creed, deprive no sheep of his full liberty in Christ; but merely on every question quote the Word of the Lord, through the apostles and prophets. We boast nothing, claim nothing of ourself. We are content to serve the Lord and his flock to the best of our ability—exacting no tithes, no "honor of men," no confession of authority, no compensation; hoping merely for the love of the Lord and of those who are his children and have his Spirit. So far from forming or desiring to form a new sect, we ignore all sectarian systems and their claimed authority; we recognize only the "one Lord, one Faith and one Baptism" of the Scriptures and fellowship as a "brother" every person of decent morals who confesses faith in the "redemption through the blood of Christ," and especially all of this class who profess a full consecration to the Lord's will and service,— whatever sect they may be in, or outside of all" —1906; "The Watch Tower", January 1, 1906 pg. 20

   "Neither must you lean upon the DAWN and the TOWER as infallible teachers. If it was proper for the early Christians to prove what they received from the apostles, who were and who claimed to be inspired, how much more important it is that you fully satisfy yourself that these teachings keep closely within their outline instructions and those of our Lord;—since their author claims no inspiration, but merely the guidance of the Lord, as one used of him in feeding his flock.

   "I trust, dear Brother, that, as you examine these publications, that may seem to you to be true of the author which the Apostle Paul said of himself: "We preach not ourselves, but Christ,—the power of God and the wisdom of God. Whether successful or not, others must judge, and especially the Lord; but I ever seek to hold forth the Word of Life." (`Phil. 2:16`.) True, it has been held forth in my hands (powers), but never as my Word. Hence in no sense have I, as a pope, taken the place of Christ before his Church.

   "Indeed, time and again I have seen that the teachings of those who make utterances of their own, but in the name of Christ, by claimed inspiration, or special revelations, or boasted wisdom (which is the real spirit of popery), and without proof from the Scripture, are received by many. And I am confident that the DAWN and TOWER would have many more friends and believers if they followed this (popery's) course;—for as some one has said, "People prefer to be humbugged." But such a course I dare not follow; I must be true to the Lord and declare his Word, and let him take charge of the consequences." —1893; personal letter written by Pastor Russell, "The Watch Tower", June, 1893 pg. 168

   "While thorough and orderly study is necessary to the appreciation of any of the sciences, it is specially so in the science of Divine revelation. And in this work it is doubly necessary, from the fact that in addition to its being a treatise on divinely revealed truths, it is an examination of the subject from, so far as we know, an altogether different standpoint from that of any other work. We have no apology to offer for treating many subjects usually neglected by Christians—among others, the coming of our Lord, and the prophecies and symbolism of the Old and New Testaments. No system of theology should be presented, or accepted, which overlooks or omits the most prominent features of Scripture teaching. We trust, however, that a wide distinction will be recognized between the earnest, sober and reverent study of prophecy and other scriptures, in the light of accomplished historic facts, to obtain conclusions which sanctified common sense can approve, and a too common practice of general speculation, which, when applied to divine prophecy, is too apt to give loose rein to wild theory and vague fancy. Those who fall into this dangerous habit generally develop into prophets (?) instead of prophetic students."  —1886; "The Divine Plan of the Ages", pg. 13

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