Charles Taze Russell
Founder of the Bible Student Movement
Charles Taze Russell (born February 16, 1852 - October 31, 1916), or Pastor Russell, was an American early 20th century Christian restorationist minister and the founder of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania.
- A truth presented by Satan himself is just as true as a truth stated by God.
- What is Truth? Zion's Watch Tower, (July 7, 1879).
- Our own views are not prophecy, but interpretations of the holy prophets of old.
- Watch Tower, (October 1890), p. 8.
- We claim no infallibility for our presentations.
- Watch Tower, (April 15, 1901), p. 136.
- While it is true that the white race exhibits some qualities of superiority over any other, we are to remember that there are wide differences in the same Caucasian (Semitic and Aryan) family; and also we should remember that some of the qualities which have given this branch of the human family its preeminence in the world are not such as can be pointed to as in all respects admirable...
The secret of the greater intelligence and aptitude of the Caucasian undoubtedly in great measure is to be attributed to the commingling of blood amongst its various branches; and this was evidently forced in large measure by circumstances under divine control.
- Zion's Watch Tower (July 15, 1902), pp. 215-216.
- What is the secret of the opposition and slander that is being raised up against me and against all who, like me, are Bible students? It is malice, hatred, envy, strife, on the part of those who are still hugging the nonsense of the Dark Ages and neglecting true Bible study. They see that their influence is waning. But they have not yet awakened to the true situation. They think that I am responsible for their smaller congregations and small collections. But not so. The real difficulty for them is that the people are becoming more intelligent and can no longer be driven with the crack of a merely man-made whip of fear.
- The Watch Tower (October 15, 1914), p. 287.
- The present is a time of testing, we believe, to many of the Lord's people. Have we in the past been active merely because we hoped for our glorious change in A.D. 1914, or have we been active because of love and loyalty to the Lord and his message and the brethren!
- The Watch Tower, reprints (March 1, 1915) p. 5649.
- I confess indebtedness to Adventists as well as to other denominations.
- Zion's Watch Tower, (June 1, 1916) p. 170.
Vol. III: Thy Kingdom Come (1891)Edit
- Those who have caught the force of the lessons of the preceding volumes will see that God's Kingdom will not be one of outward, visible, earthly splendor, but of power and divine glory. This Kingdom has already come into executive authority, although it has not yet conquered and displaced the kingdoms of this world, whose lease of power has not yet expired. Hence it has not yet come into full control of earthly dominion.
- p. 22.
- If we are correct in placing the beginning of the Time of the End at 1799, we should expect that there the falling into the error of church and state union would measurably cease, though it might require long years for the full recovery out of that snare of the devil. Looking back, we find that facts exactly correspond with this. Since that date there have been separations between empires and churches, but no new unions. Really, this date marks a new reformation on a more substantial basis. The influence of the Papacy over the kingdoms of Europe had previously been so great that its curses were dreaded by the nations as a withering blight, and its blessings desired for national prosperity. When Protestants separated from Papacy, they were received by the world as being merely a less corrupt substitute for the Papacy; and their favor, advice or sanction was often very similarly sought. But when Napoleon boldly ignored both the blessings and the curses of Papacy, and yet prospered phenomenally, his course not only greatly weakened the Papal influence of the various Protestant systems, in matters civil and political - which influence has grown very strong in two and a half centuries.
- p. 49.
- We have thus shown that 1799 began the period called the Time of the End; that in this time Papacy is to be consumed piece-meal; and that Napoleon took away not only Charlemagne's gifts of territory (one thousand years after they were made), but also, afterward, the Papacy's civil jurisdiction in the city of Rome, which was recognized nominally from the promulgation of Justinian's decree, A. D. 533, but actually from the overthrow of the Ostrogothic monarchy, A. D. 539 - just 1260 years before 1799. This was the exact limit of the time, times and a half of its power, as repeatedly defined in prophecy. And though in some measure claimed again since, Papacy is without a vestige of temporal or civil authority to-day, it having been wholly "consumed". The Man of Sin, devoid of civil power, still poses and boasts; but, civilly powerless, he awaits utter destruction in the near future, at the hands of the enraged masses (God's unwitting agency), as clearly shown in Revelation.
This Time of the End, or day of Jehovah's preparation, beginning A. D. 1799 and closing A. D. 1914, though characterized by a great increase of knowledge over all past ages, is to culminate in the greatest time of trouble the world has ever known; but it is nevertheless preparing for and leading into that blessed time so long promised, when the true Kingdom of God, under the control of the true Christ, will fully establish an order of government the very reverse of that of Antichrist.
- p. 59.
- Satan's design in instigating the French revolution was to create an alarm throughout Europe, especially among the influential class, unfavorable to liberty, and so illustrate in France the theory that, were the superstitions of Rome to be overthrown and liberty to be given full sway, all law and order would speedily end. This was a master-stroke of policy, worthy of its author, and designed, as the prophet shows, to overwhelm the "woman" (the reformed Church), and to drive all conservatives and peace-lovers - rulers and ruled - back to union and harmony with Papacy. The failure of the scheme was not due to lack of craftiness in its designer, but to the overruling power of God, whereby he is able to cause all things to work together for good.
- p. 66.
- Some of God's children, the "holy people", the writer among the number, though not associated with the "Miller movement", nor with the denomination subsequently organized, which calls itself the "Second Advent Church," have been looking at and "earnestly waiting" for Michael's Kingdom; and gladly we bear testimony to the "blessedness" of the wonderfully clear unfoldings of our Father's plan, at and since the fall of 1874 - the end of the 1335 days.
Words fail us to express this blessedness! Only those who have been refreshed in spirit with this new wine of the Kingdom could appreciate it, if we could describe it. It is therefore something to be felt, rather than told. It was at and since the ending of those 1335 prophetic, symbolic days that the previous views of the Lord's presence, and the fact that we are even now living in the time of the "harvest" of this Gospel age, and in the time of the setting up of our Michael's (Christ's) Kingdom, came to be known.
- p. 88.
- The writer, and co-laborers, proclaimed the fact of the Lord's presence, demonstrating it from prophecy, and on charts or tables, such as are used in this book, until the fall of 1878, when arrangements were made for starting our present publication, ZION'S WATCH TOWER, and Herald of Christ's Presence. By the Lord's blessing, millions of copies of this publication have carried abroad the tidings that the time is fulfilled, and that the Kingdom of Christ is even now being set up, while the kingdoms and systems of men are crumbling to their utter destruction.
- p. 93.
- Thus we see clearly that the Papacy has substituted a false or sham sacrifice, in the place of the one everlasting, complete and never-to-be-repeated sacrifice of Calvary, made once for all time. Thus it was that Papacy took away from Christ's work the merit of being rightly esteemed the Continual Sacrifice, by substituting in its stead a fraud, made by its own priests. It is needless here to detail the reason why Papacy denies and sets aside the true Continual Sacrifice, and substitutes the "abomination," the Mass, in its stead; for most of our readers know that this doctrine that the priest makes in the Mass a sacrifice for sins, without which they cannot be canceled, or their penalties escaped, is at the very foundation of all the various schemes of the Church of Rome for wringing money from the people, for all her extravagancies and luxuries. "Absolutions", "indulgences", and all the various presumed benefits, favors, privileges and immunities, for either the present or the future life, for either the living or the dead, are based upon this blasphemous doctrine of the Mass, the fundamental doctrine of the apostasy. It is by virtue of the power and authority which the sacrifice of the Mass imposes upon the priests, that their other blasphemous claims, to have and exercise the various prerogatives which belong to Christ only, are countenanced by the people.
- p. 102.
- Glancing along the pathway of the Church, from Luther's day until now, we can see that, step by step, reform of cleansing has progressed; for each set of reformers, as soon as they accomplished their own little item of cleansing, stopped and joined the others, in opposition to all further reform or cleansing.
- p. 112.
- Intelligent and thinking people began to wonder why the Lord would resurrect the dead, if they were either in heaven or hell, and their portion forever unalterably fixed. Then they began to wonder why the dead were called dead, if really alive. Then they wondered why our Lord and the apostles said nothing about the dead being still alive, but on the contrary always pointed to a resurrection as the only hope; even declaring that if there be no resurrection all have "perished". (I Cor. 15:13-18.) Then our Lord's words, promising an awakening to "all that are in their graves," began to have a meaning; and it gradually came to be seen that the dead are not alive, but that death signifies the opposite of life. And those who sought found that the Scriptures are in perfect harmony with themselves on this subject, but in direct opposition to the common traditions of to-day, received from Papacy.
The root of error being thus removed, the various branches soon began to wither; and soon it was seen that instead of everlasting life (in misery) being the punishment of the wicked, the reverse is the Bible statement of God's plan ;- that everlasting life is the reward for righteousness and that death, a cutting off from life, is the punishment for wilful sinners.
- p. 117.
- Judaism was a divinely appointed type of the Millennial Kingdom of Christ which will control and regulate all matters; hence Judaism was properly a union of church and state - of religious and civil government. But, as we have already shown, the Gospel Church was in no sense to be associated in, or to have anything to do with, the government of the world, until her Lord, the King of Kings, comes, assumes control, and exalts her as his bride to share in that reign of righteousness. Neglecting the Lord's words, and following human wisdom, theories and plans, the great system called Christendom, embracing all governments and creeds professing to be Christ's (but a miserable counterfeit of the true Kingdom of Christ), was organized before the time, without the Lord, and of wholly unfit elements. The fall of Babylon as an unfit church-state system, and the gathering out of the worthy wheat, therefore, can be and is well illustrated by the fall of Judaism.
- p. 153.
- Unhealed Babylon is now sentenced to destruction: the whole system - a system of systems - is rejected, and all of God's people not in sympathy with her false doctrines and practices are now called to separate themselves from her.
- p. 156.
- The reason for not attempting to purify the nominal systems is that no amount of cleansing would make the unconsecrated mass of "Christendom" and their organizations, civil and ecclesiastical, suitable to the Lord's work, now to be commenced on this earth. During the past eighteen centuries he has been selecting the truly consecrated, the worthy ones, and now all that remains to be done is to select from among the living those of the same class - and they are but few - as only a few are lacking to complete the fore-ordained number of members in the body of Christ.
The reason for discarding all human organizations, and not reforming the least objectionable one and calling out of all others into it, now, is shown by our Lord's treatment of the various Jewish sects in the harvest or close of their dispensation; for then, as now, all were rejected, and the "Israelites indeed" were called out of all, into freedom and taught the will and plan of God by various chosen vessels of God's own selection.
- p. 159.
- Our Lord's new doctrines were the new wine, while the Jewish sects were the old wine-skins. Suppose that our Lord had joined one of those sects and had begun a reform in it: what would have been the result? There can be no doubt that the new truths, if received, would have broken up that sect completely. The power of its organization, built largely upon sectarian pride, and cemented by errors, superstitions and human traditions, would forthwith have been destroyed, and the new doctrines would have been left stranded - hampered, too, by all the old errors and traditions of that sect, and held responsible for its past record by the world in general.
- p. 160.
- How strong the expression, "She is become the habitation of demons, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." How true it is, that the most execrable of society seek and wear the garb of Christian profession and ceremonialism, in some of the various quarters (sects) of Babylon. Every impure principle and doctrine, somehow and somewhere, finds representation in her. And she is a "cage" which holds securely not only the Lord's meek and gentle doves, but also many unclean and hateful birds. Of all the defaulters, and deceivers of men and of women, how many are professedly members of Christ's Church! and how many even use their profession as a cloak under which to forward evil schemes! It is well known that a majority of even the most brutal criminals executed die in the Roman Catholic communion.
- p. 162.
- God's Word reveals the fact that the nominal church, after its fall from his favor and from being his mouth-piece (Rev. 3:16), will gradually settle into a condition of unbelief, in which the Bible will eventually be entirely ignored in fact, though retained in name, and in which philosophic speculations of various shades will be the real creeds. From this fall the faithful sealed ones will escape; for they will be "accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand" - not fall, in the time of the Lord's presence. (Luke 21:36.) In fact, many are already thus settling, - retaining the forms of worship, and faith in a Creator and in a future life, but viewing these chiefly through their own or other men's philosophies and theories, and ignoring the Bible as an infallible teacher of the divine purposes. These, while retaining the Bible, disbelieve its narratives, especially that of Eden and the fall. Retaining the name of Jesus, and calling him the Christ and Savior, they regard him merely as an excellent though not infallible exemplar, and reject entirely his ransom-sacrifice - his cross. Claiming the Fatherhood of God to extend to sinners, they repudiate both the curse and the Mediator.
- p. 167.
- The feeling of uneasiness and insecurity, if not bound by the chains of some sect, is general. It is begotten of the false idea, first promulgated by Papacy, that membership in an earthly organization is essential, pleasing to the Lord and necessary to everlasting life. These earthly, humanly organized systems, so different from the simple, unfettered associations of the days of the apostles, are viewed involuntarily an almost unconsciously by Christian people as so many Heaven Insurance Companies, to some one of which money, time, respect, etc., must be paid regularly, to secure heavenly rest and peace after death. Acting on this false idea, people are almost as nervously anxious to be bound by another sect, if they step out of one, as they are if their policy of insurance has expired, to have it renewed in some respectable company.
- p. 186.
- As a people [Jews] still have faith in God, though in their blindness and pride of heart they have stumbled over the humility of God's appointed messenger for the world's salvation; so that, instead of receiving him, they crucified the Savior, the Lord of glory. And yet the apostles and prophets show us that even this flagrant crim, to which their pride and self-will drove them, was not one which could never be forgiven them. Because of it, they have been punished, and that severely. When they condemned the Just One and said, "His blood be upon and upon our children," they little expected the fearful recompense which followed.
- p. 246.
- Thus we see remarkable indications of God's returning favor to Israel: in driving them out of other countries by great persecutions, in opening up Palestine to receive them, in inviting them thither by special providences in their favor in the way of benevolent enterprises for their improvement and assistance, and also in this significant movement which is the beginning of the turning away of Israel's blindness. And how evidently it is all of God!
- p. 286.
- The Great Pyramid... proves to be a storehouse of important truth - scientific, historic and prophetic - and its testimony is found to be in perfect accord with the Bible, expressing the prominent features of its truths in beautiful and fitting symbols. It is by no means an addition to the written revelation: that revelation is complete and perfect, and needs no addition. But it is a strong corroborative witness to God's plan...
- pp. 314-5.
- The old theory that [the Great Pyramid] was built as a vault or tomb for an Egyptian king is unworthy of credence; for, as we shall see, it required more than the wisdom of the present day, to say nothing of that of Egypt four thousand years ago, to design such a structure. Besides, it contains nothing in the way of a casket, mummy or inscription. It was not until we had come into the time called in Daniel's prophecy "the Time of the End", when knowledge should be increased, and the wise should understand God's plan (Dan. 12:4, 9, 10), that the secrets of the Great Pyramid began to be understood, and our questions began to have a reasonable answer.
- p. 319.
- Firmly incased in this solid rocky structure, beyond the power of nature's storms or of the ruthless hand of the destroyer, the outline drawings of God's great plan have stood for four thousand years, prepared to give their testimony at the time appointed, in corroboration of the similarly revealed, but for ages hidden, testimony of the sure Word of Prophecy. The testimony of this "Witness to the Lord in the land of Egypt," like that of the written Word, points with solemn and unerring precision to the final wreck of the old order of things of the "Pit" of oblivion, and to the glorious establishment of the new, under Christ Jesus, the great Chief Corner-stone of God's eternal building, in conformity with the lines of whose glorious character all things worthy of everlasting existence must be built up under him. Amen! Amen! Thy Kingdom come! Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven!
- p. 376.
Quotes about RussellEdit
- The two most prominent messengers, are the first and the last - St. Paul and Pastor Russell.
- Watchtower, (November 1, 1917), p. 323.
- The doctrine of predestination and eternal punishment gave him particular difficulty, and by the time he was seventeen he had become an avowed skeptic, discarding the Bible and the creeds of the churches.
- The Watchtower, WTBTS, (Jan. 1, 1955), p. 7.
- An examination of Russell's eschatalogy reveals that he was an avid reader, and if not a plagiarist, certainly was given to "creative adaptation". The current leadership of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society likes to claim a special spiritual authority from God that they trace back to Russell. They would have the world believe that Russell uniquely understood the "times and seasons" that he had found himself in, and that he was led by God to understand the element of chronology that is the backbone of their belief system to this day. Although the vast majority of millenarian groups ultimately abandoned their theories, the Watch Tower system is basically a carryover of stale nineteenth-century Adventism.
- Leonard & Marjorie Chretien (1988), Witnesses of Jehovah: A Shocking Exposé of What Jehovah's Witnesses Really Believe, Harvest House Publishers, p. 24-5.
- The modern Witness believes that Russell was selected and used by God because of his understanding of the various facets of the return of Christ and the end of the age. The evidence proves otherwise. The doctrinal system he developed was nothing more than a rehash of concepts and beliefs derived from other people whose theories had been in existence for a long time. Probably the only unique feature about Russell was the he took all these borrowed concepts and applied smart merchandising methods to spread them far and wide.
- Leonard & Marjorie Chretien (1988), Witnesses of Jehovah: A Shocking Exposé of What Jehovah's Witnesses Really Believe, Harvest House Publishers, p. 28.
- Russell referred quite openly to the assistance in Bible study he had received from others.... C. T. Russell used the Watch Tower and other publications to uphold Bible truths and to refute false religious teachings and human philosophies that contradicted the Bible. He did not, however, claim to discover new truths.....What about other Bible doctrines that were discussed in the Watch Tower and other publications? Did Russell take full credit for uncovering these gems of truth? Explained Russell: “We found that for centuries various sects and parties had split up the Bible doctrines amongst them, blending them with more or less of human speculation and error . . . Then how did Russell perceive the role that he and his associates played in publishing Scriptural truth? He explained: “Our work . . . has been to bring together these long scattered fragments of truth and present them to the Lord’s people—not as new, not as our own, but as the Lord’s. . . . We must disclaim any credit even for the finding and rearrangement of the jewels of truth.” He further stated: “The work in which the Lord has been pleased to use our humble talents has been less a work of origination than of reconstruction, adjustment, harmonization.”
- Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, Watch Tower, p. 45, 48, 49.
- Charles Taze Russell left a legacy of prophetic speculation, pseudoreligious theology, and pseudoscientific, pseudomedical quackery that persists in the present-day Watch Tower organization with continued change and adaptation (a hallmark of Watch Tower policy). His life was plagued by lawsuits, controversy, a disintigrated marriage, and the failure of all his prophecies. In his lifetime he played many roles, some of which were ascribed to him by his followers - businessman, orator, writer, teacher, Bible exegete, scholar, historian, medical advisor, and, above all, prophet of God.
- Leonard & Marjorie Chretien (1988), Witnesses of Jehovah: A Shocking Exposé of What Jehovah's Witnesses Really Believe, Harvest House Publishers, p. 38.
- He never attended the higher schools of learning, knows comparatively nothing of philosophy, systematic or historical theology, and is totally ignorant of the dead languages, and yet he is successful in making his disciples believe that the most difficult passages in the Old Testament and the book of Revelation are as simple as a sunbeam to him. "Pastor" Russell was never ordained and has no church affiliation. He would not be given a place in the pulpit of any evangelical church on the American continent or any other country where he and his religious views are known. By thousands he is believed to be a religious fakir of the worst type, who goes about like the Magus of Samaria enriching himself at the expense of the ignorant. Years ago he gave himself the title of "Pastor" and from this many have inferred that he was a properly approved minister of the gospel.
- Rev. J. J. Ross (1913), Some Facts about the Self-Styled "Pastor" Charles T. Russell (of Millennial Dawn Fame), Philadelphia School of the Bible, Inc., pp. 3-4.
- The teaching of Russell is contrary to all the accepted standards of faith, both Protestant and Catholic. He denies not only the fundamentals of the Bible regarding the God-given plan of salvation, but admits that his views stand against the whole of Christendom, without exception, and denounces every creed and every orthodox church from the beginning of his dispensation to the present. He claims that he is the only one who has the proper understanding of the Scriptures, and condemns, without exception, the translators of the Bible and all ministers as untrue and deceitful. He does this only to attract attention to himself and his cult. For a man to condemn all other men as liars, deceitful and cowards, as Russell is doing for the purpose of exalting himself, makes him a deceiver and a false prophet, and one who is not to be trusted in matters of religion, to say nothing of morals.
- Rev. J. J. Ross (1913), Some Facts about the Self-Styled "Pastor" Charles T. Russell (of Millennial Dawn Fame), Philadelphia School of the Bible, Inc., pp. 37-8.
- Instead of using religious activity to acquire material wealth for himself, Brother Russell spent all his resources in the Lord’s work. After his death it was reported in The Watch Tower: “He devoted his private fortune entirely to the cause to which he gave his life. He received the nominal sum of $11.00 per month for his personal expenses. He died, leaving no estate whatsoever.”
- Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, Watch Tower, p. 351.