THE DEADLY FALLACY OF RUSSELLISM OR MILLENNIAL DAWNISM
George Whitefield Ridout
RUSSELLISM REVEALED AS A COUNTERFEIT OF CHRISTIANITY
(R)-obs Christ of His Deity, ("Studies in the Scriptures," Vol. V., pages 84 and 88).
(U)-nblushingly contradicts His plain statements concerning the eternal punishment of the wicked. ("Where are the Dead?" by Pastor Russell.)
(S)-ays that Christ came in October, 1874. (S. in S., Vol. II., pages 146, 170, 171. 188,) Offers a
(S)-econd chance to all who willfully reject the Lord Jesus Christ,
(E)-ncourages men to sin that thereby they may perceive the beauty of virtue. (S. in S., Vol. I, page 124).
(L)-ibels all true Gospel preachers, past and present. ("Bible Students' Monthly," Vol., V,, No. 9, page 4).
(L)-ures the unwary by pious platitudes and picture panoramas.
(I)-mitates the names of accredited Christian Societies to mislead the multitude,
(S)-ays that the Man Christ Jesus is DEAD -- FOR EVER DEAD. (S. in S., Vol. V., pages 362, 428, 454),
(M)-aliciously misquotes and misrepresents the Scriptures.
It preaches just enough truth to persuade people to partake of the poison.
It parades in the livery of heaven and propagates the lies of hell.
It is a counterfeit, a devilish delusion, a hideous perversion of the Gospel of Christ.
Don't be misled by fair speeches and persuasive personality.
"Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." (2 Cor. It :14),
-- W. M. R. London
RUSSELLISM OR MILLENNIAL DAWNISM
Russellism is a great delusion and a snare to multitudes. It carries itself under various names.
1. It calls itself "Millennial Dawn" in its books.
2. It calls itself "The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society" in its Pamphlets.
3. It calls itself "The International Bible Students Association" in its advertisements. Its seven deadly marks.
1. It doesn't seek to convert sinners. It perverts saints.
2. It denies the Deity of Christ.
3. It denies the bodily resurrection of Christ.
4. It denies that believers in Christ have "eternal life" now.
5. It makes "God a liar."
6. It offers people a chance in the next age: it offers no present salvation in this age.
7. It is at enmity with the evangelical faith of all true believers.
Russellism, like the other fallacies, was conceived in ignorance and born in deceit. Pastor Russell was a man of no scholarship and no training in Biblical Theology.
Rev. G. A. Cooke, a Methodist theologian, has made a most thorough study of Russellism in all its phases He says of Russell:
"In the preface to. his 'Plan of the Ages,' published in 1886, he says: 'After being for several years a member of the Orthodox Congregational Church, the author of this volume awakened to the fact that there must be something radically wrong in some or in all of the conflicting creeds of Christendom; and in attempting to harmonize them with each other and with common sense he was led to the brink of infidelity, inferring that the Bible, like the creeds, must be self-contradictory and unreasonable, since they all claim to be based on the Bible."
Thus by one stroke of his hammer he smashes the creeds of Christendom. On page 128, "Plan of the Ages," he says: "Eternal torture is nowhere suggested in the Old Testament scriptures, and only a few statements in the New Testament can be so misconstrued as to appear to teach it, and these are found either among the symbolisms of the book of Revelation, or among the parables and dark sayings of our Lord, which were not understood by the people who heard them, and which seem to be but little better comprehended today."
It is easy to believe that Mr. Russell was not only led to the very brink of infidelity in his youth, but that he fell in and never got out. Robert Ingersoll never taught anything worse than that, and he certainly never taught such unblushing and ungarnished lies about the teaching of the Bible. Our Savior teaches clearly and strongly the future punishment of the wicked, not in one or two places, but in many passages. This pious fraud who professes great reverence for the Scriptures, but who in reality is a self-confessed infidel, attributes all such teaching to Satanic influence. What could be more diabolical? The inevitable effect of such teaching is to open the flood gates of sin and crime. This hypocritical monster would break down the barriers and allow vice and crime to rush over the world with impetuous and unrestrained fury. So far as his negative teaching is concerned he is bent on destruction with an enthusiasm that amounts to frenzy.
Russell professes to be a "profound Bible scholar." Nothing comes amiss to him. Problems that have baffled and perplexed godly men of all ages are simple as A B C to him. Surely there must be solid support forthcoming before we can accept as accurate his description of his mental and spiritual powers. It is not forthcoming! On the contrary, "Pastor" Russell stands convicted, and that out of his own mouth, of laying claim to that of which he has not even the remotest conception. The real character of his scholarship is revealed in the following incident that took place in the Canadian Criminal Court. The quotation is from "Some Facts and More Facts about the self-styled Pastor Charles T. Russell," by Rev. J. J. Ross, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (page 18). The author was sued by Russell for libel. Russell lost his case.
"As to his scholastic standing, he had sworn that what was said about it was not true. Under the examination he admitted that, at most, he had attended school only seven years of his life, that the public school, and that he had left school when he was about fourteen years of age, just at the opening of the adolescent period, when the directional element is so necessary in a boy's life.
"Do you know the Greek?" asked the attorney.
"Oh yes," was Russell's reply. Here he was handed a copy of the New Testament by Wescott and Hort, in Greek, and asked to read the letters of the alphabet as they appeared on the top of page 447. He did not know the alphabet!
"Now," asked Mr. Staunton, "Are you familiar with the Greek language?"
"No" said Mr. Russell without a blush. When he saw that he was caught, then he admitted that he knew nothing about Latin and Hebrew, and neither had he ever taken a course in Philosophy, Systematic Theology, or ever attended any of the higher schools of learning."
Mr. C. T. Russell formerly ran a gents' furnishing store in Pittsburgh and was a man of considerable business ability. He figured in the courts when his wife sued him for separation and alimony. He drew to himself much money by persuading people that the end of the age was soon to come and they gave their money freely.
DEADLY ERRORS OF RUSSELLISM
1. It denies that Jesus Christ was God before the Incarnation. Russell says: (1) "Our Redeemer existed as a spirit being before he was made flesh and dwelt among men. (2) "At that time, as well as subsequently, he was properly known as "a god" -- a mighty one. As chief of the angels and next to the Father, he was known as the Archangel (highest angel or messenger), whose name, Michael, signifies, "Who as God," or God's representative. (3) "As he was the highest of all Jehovah's creation, so also he was the first, the direct creation of God, the "Only begotten," and then he, as Jehovah's representative, and in the exercise of Jehovah's power, and, in his name, created all things."
Put over against this John 17:5. "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was."
Here our Lord reveals three things: 1. Personality. 2. Preexistence. 3. Possession of glory in all points equal to that of the Father.
In order to offset Scripture testimony to Christ's Deity, Russell says that the translations are wrong, thus setting himself up against the ripest scholarship of the ages. Think of putting Pastor Russell's "translations" up against such Bible Scholars as Alford, Clarke, Wescott, Bengel, Ellicott, etc.
RUSSELLISM TEACHES THAT JESUS CHRIST WAS MAN -- NOT GOD
Russellism teaches that Jesus Christ was man (not God) when upon earth; that he had but one nature and that was human.
Russell says: "Neither was Jesus a combination of the two natures, human and spiritual. The blending of two natures produces neither the one nor the other, but an imperfect, hybrid thing, which is obnoxious to the divine arrangement. When Jesus was in the flesh he was a perfect human being; previous to that time he was a perfect spiritual being; and since his resurrection he is a perfect spiritual being of the highest of divine order. It was not until the time of his consecration even unto death, as typified in his baptism -- at thirty years of age -- that he received the earnest of his inheritance of the divine nature. The human mind had to be consecrated to death before he could receive even the pledge of the divine nature. And not until that consecration was actually carried out and he had actually sacrificed the human nature, even unto death, did our Lord Jesus become a full partaker of the divine nature. After becoming a man he became obedient unto death; wherefore, God hath highly exalted him (to the divine nature) (Phil. 2:8-9). If this Scripture is true, it follows that he was not exalted to the divine nature until the human nature was actually sacrificed -- dead.
"Thus we see that in Jesus there was no mixture of natures, but that twice he experienced a change of natures; first, from spiritual to human; afterward, from human to the highest order of spiritual nature, the divine; and in each case the one was given up for the other."
Over against Mr. Russell put Christ's own words: "I and my Father are one," John 10:30. "I came forth from the Father and am come into the world: again I leave the world and go to my Father," John 16:28. But unto the Son He saith "Thy throne O God is forever and ever," Heb.
1:8. A positive statement of the God head of the Son. Professor Lindsay said: "I regard this verse as furnishing one of the clearest and strongest proofs of the Deity of our blessed Lord that is anywhere to be found" (Prof. W. Lindsay on Heb., vol. i., p. 65).
RUSSELLISM TEACHES THAT THE MAN CHRIST JESUS WAS EVENTUALLY ANNIHILATED
Russell says: "The soul (being) of our Lord Jesus went to oblivion, to sheol, at death.
"Our Lord's being or soul was non-existent during the period of death." -- p. 454. Vol. V.
"Nor could our Lord have been raised from the dead a man, and yet have left with Justice our ransom-price, in order to the release of Adam (and his condemned race) from the sentence and prison-house of death, it was necessary, not only that the man Christ Jesus should die, but lust as necessary that the man Christ Jesus should never live again, should remain dead, should remain our ransom-price, to all eternity... the man Jesus is dead, for ever dead, and could not be a father or life-giver to the world."
One Commentator says on this point" "The theory we are combating is by the law of resurrection, which demands that the personality passing through the process of death shall be the same personality which emerges from death. The one who dies must be the one who rises again. If death means extinction of being (and Russell says so), then the One who died on the Cross cannot be the One who rose from the grave, and redemption is a myth, and faith folly. Our proposition is thus proved beyond dispute, and the system of professed light is shown to be the deepest darkness. If our Lord Jesus Christ ceased to be man, the impassable gulf remains between God and man. There is no hope for the sinner, no Heaven for the saint. And that which thus robs us of our greatest treasure is neither a benefaction nor a blessing. It is a curse."
RUSSELLISM DENIES THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
"Many Christians have the idea that our Lord's glorious spiritual body is the very same body that was crucified and laid away in Joseph's tomb; they expect, when they see the Lord in glory, to identify him by the scars he received on Calvary. This is a great mistake."
"Our Lord's human body was, however, supernaturally removed from the tomb; because had it remained there it would have been an insurmountable obstacle to the faith of the disciples, who were not yet instructed in spiritual things -- for "the spirit was not yet given."
"We know nothing about what became of it, except that it did not decay or corrupt. Whether it was dissolved into gases or whether it is still preserved somewhere as the grand memorial of God's love, of Christ's obedience, and of our redemption, no one knows: -- nor is such knowledge necessary."
Thus Russellism repudiates the great cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith as well as the Creed of the Church throughout the ages.
RUSSELLISM TEACHES THAT THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST TOOK PLACE OCTOBER, 1874
He says: "The next chapter will present Bible evidence that 1874 A. D. was the exact date of the beginning of the "Times of Restitution," and hence of our Lord's return." p. 188.
"Our Lord's second advent was due when the "Times of Restitution" were due to begin, viz., in October, A. D. 1874." p. 234.
"And the harvest of this age began with the presence of our Lord at the beginning of Earth's Great Jubilee, in 1874, as shown in chapter vi., and ends with the overthrow of Gentile power -- A. D. 1914."
"While the reader is thus informed of what will be proved in succeeding chapters, he must not expect to have passages of Scripture pointed out in which these matters and these dates are plainly written. On the contrary, he must bear in mind that all these things have been hidden by the Lord, in such manner that they could not be understood or appreciated until the due time had come, and then only by his earnest, faithful children, who esteem truth as more precious than rubies and who are willing to seek it as men search for silver." This is rich. These astounding assertions will be "proved," we are told, but not from Scripture. It would be asking too much that this should be done. They were hidden from all the saintly souls and Bible scholars of the ages, but were made known to an "earnest, faithful child" called Pastor Russell, who has since given his revelations to the world! Miller said Christ came in 1843. Russell said he came in 1874. What folly to accept such absurdities from such ignorant men!
RUSSELLISM SETS UP FOR ITSELF AN INSPIRATION SUPERIOR TO THE SCRIPTURES
Read the following from Watch Tower Sept. 15, 1910., page 298. "If the six volumes of "Scripture Studies" are practically the Bible, topically arranged, with Bible proof texts given, we might not improperly name the volumes "the Bible in an arranged form." That is to say, they are not mere comments on the Bible, but they are practically the Bible itself. Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the Divine plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see also, that if anyone lays the "Scripture Studies" aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years -- if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he had merely read the "Scripture Studies" with their references, and had not read a page of the Bible as such, he would be in the light at the end of two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures." What a presumptuous claim!
Stevens says that Russell obtains his sense of Scripture by means of keywords chosen and capriciously explained by himself; by a continual paraphrasing of the Bible to suit his own mind, by erroneous translations of the original: and even by sacrilegious, alternation of the very language itself."
RUSSELLISM TEACHES NO-HELLISM
Russellism teaches No-Hellism, denies the Bible teachings regarding Future Punishment and preaches annihilation of the wicked.
Russell says: "The sacrifice of Christ secured for all mankind, however vile, an awakening from death, and the privilege of thereafter coming to perfection, and if saved, of living for ever." Those who finally remain impenitent are to be annihilated (Vol. I., pp. 241, 242).
Some years ago much publicity was given to the fact that the I. B. S. A. had voted Hell out of existence. Undoubtedly a great crowd follow Russellism because it preaches a second chance and No-Hellism. People like that kind of religion which has no penalty for sin in it, no fearful judgment.
SOME OF RUSSELL'S PREDICTIONS
Biederwolf names them as follows:
"We consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the kingdom of God, will be accomplished at the end of A. D. 1914." -- Vol. 2, page 99.
"The present governments must all be over-turned about the close of A. D. 1914." -- Vol. 2, page 242.
The "Battle of the great day of God Almighty" will end in A. D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership." -- Vol. 2, page 101.
"The Gospel age harvest will end October 1914 and the overthrow of "Christendom," so called, must be expected to immediately follow." -- Vol. 2, page 245.
"Sometime before the end of A. D. 1914 the last member of the divinely recognized Church of Christ, the "royal priesthood," the "body of Christ," will be glorified with the Head," -- Vol. 2, page 77.
The "reign" of the "heirs of the heavenly kingdom" over the world "can date only from A.
D. 1914 -- when the times of the Gentiles have expired." -- Vol. 2, page 81. "The times of the Gentiles will run fully out with the year A. D. 1914, and... at that time they will be overturned and Christ's kingdom fully established." -- Vol. 2, page. 170.
Bible Students Monthly, Vol. 5., No. 1., we read: "Everything is getting ready for the Millennium! Not only is it coming, but it is here."
Imagine if you can the Millennium now here! The nations just after being drenched in blood; Europe staggering under war debts and arming to the teeth for another war. Crime waves all over the country. Skepticism spread all over the educational and ecclesiastical systems of the world.
Dr. Moorhead says that the most charitable view to take of Russell's teaching was that it is the product of insanity.
Dr. Cooke says:
"His millennium is a wonderful invention -- unfortunately a mechanism of the imagination. He has told his followers that the dawn of his glorious millennial day began forty years ago, 1874. His followers have taken his assertion by faith, a sublime and lofty faith sometimes, and more properly called credulity. He never offered any proof, and, of course, his worshippers never asked for any. He has predicted with equal proof and authority that the end of the Christian age, or the Gospel age, would come in the year 1914, in October of this blessed year. He has risked his reputation as a prophet upon the declaration that the Lord's return would occur and the glorious Messianic reign of Christ would begin this year and this month. He brushes aside all the notions of Christ's coming and of the day of judgment as taught in the New Testament and interpreted by the great evangelical scholars of the world. He says: "A further examination of God's revealed plans (revealed to Russell) will give a broader view of the object of both the first and second advents; and we should remember that both events stand related as parts of one whole. The specific work of the first advent was to redeem men; and that of the second is to restore, and bless and liberate the redeemed -- the work of giving to the world of mankind the great blessings secured to them by his sacrifice will be due to commence, and he will come forth to bless all the families of the earth." (Page 93, Plan of the Ages).
The real converting of sinners is to occur under the rule of Christ during his second advent. The wicked are not to be destroyed at his coming, nor are they to be banished. The wicked dead are all to be brought back on the earth so as to have another and a better chance. See page 130. "But would not this be giving some of the race a second chance? Yes, we answer; and more, it would be giving all people a second chance... No one got life under the first chance, but on the contrary all rights and privileges of life were lost to all under the penalty, 'Dying, thou shalt die.' The news of a second chance for all, through the redemption and forgiveness of sin, which is in Jesus Christ, is the gospel."
DANGERS OF RUSSELLISM
Rev. J. E. Brown has said about this second chance gospel:
"This doctrine appeals, and appeals profoundly to two classes of the earth's millions:
"The first class has the sympathy of every right-minded person.
"These are the men and women who have loved ones who lived and died outside the Christian faith.
"To these, the Russell gospel of a second chance comes as the one ray of light, flashing into what seems to be unending, impenetrable darkness.
"These men and women grasp at Russellism with its second prohibition as a drowning man grasps at a straw, and in the hope that this professed prophet speaks God's message, they are ready to honor him with their money and their support.
"The other class deserves no sympathy of man or God.
"The second class is composed of those who hate righteousness and love vice, and who will persist to the end in a viciously immoral state, hating God and God's church and God's people.
"To such as these, the so-called gospel of a "second chance" comes as a sweet morsel to be rolled beneath the tongue.
"There is no announcement that God could make from His throne that would more quickly throw the world in open rebellion to His government, and plunge the race more quickly into every conceivable excess of sin and crime, than the assurance direct from His throne that every man and woman, whatever their record here, was to have another opportunity for accepting Christ and being saved on the other side of death."
BEWARE OF MILLENNIAL DAWNISM! -- WHY?
1. It doesn't seek to convert sinners. It perverts saints. 2. It denies the Deity of Christ. 3. It denies the bodily resurrection of Christ. 4. It denies that believers in Christ have "eternal life" now. 5. It makes "God a liar." 6. It offers people a chance in the next age: it offers no present salvation in this age. 7. It is at enmity with the evangelical faith of all true believers.
IT HAS VARIOUS NAMES FOR ITSELF. WHY?
Its advocates alone know why.
1. It calls itself "Millennial Dawn" in its books. 2. It calls itself "The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society" in its pamphlets. 3. It calls itself "The International Bible Students Association" in its advertisements. -- John Climie