Charles Taze Russell

(1852-1916), American religious leader, who founded the International Bible Students Association, now known as Jehovah’s Witnesses

Charles Taze Russell was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Russell rejected orthodox Protestantism early in his life, studying the Bible independently. In 1872 he organized a group devoted to Bible study. In the same year he published a small book stating that Christ would return, invisibly, in 1874 and that the world would end in 1914. Russell quickly gained a wide following, and in 1878 he established an independent church in Pittsburgh, taking the title of pastor. The next year he began publishing The Watchtower, a journal setting forth his views. In 1884 he founded the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. Soon congregations of so-called Russellites began to form, establishing the core of the International Bible Students Association.

Despite his involvement in several scandals, Russell’s reputation was never seriously damaged, and his various books and pamphlets were distributed by the millions. His major writings were collected in the six-volume work Millennial Dawn (1886-1904).
Above extract from Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2002. © 1993-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Some of Russell’s life escapades that few know about – references provided.
His Miracle Wheat.
One of the more remarkable stories involves the very first president of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, Charles Taze Russell. The man was found guilty of selling phony “Miracle Wheat” through his publication Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald’s of Christ’s Presence. Russell claimed that this “Miracle Wheat” was superior to regular wheat, and would grow five times as fast as any other brand. After the Brooklyn Daily Eagle ran a cartoon ridiculing Russell and his “Miracle Wheat,” Russell sued the newspaper. When the “Miracle Wheat” was investigated by government agencies, it was found to be slightly inferior to standard wheat. Needless to say, the Eagle won the suit. (p. 14, Nov. 1, 1916, Brooklyn Daily Eagle).
His lying under oath.
Second, Charles Taze Russell was a proven perjurer. In June of 1912, Rev. J.J. Ross of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, published a denunciatory pamphlet about Russell entitled, Some Facts About the Self-styled “pastor” Charles T. Russell. Russell in turn sued Ross for libel. During the trial which took place the following year, Ross’s defense attorney asked Russell if he knew the Greek alphabet. Russell’s reply was “Oh, yes.” When further asked to identify the Greek letters at the top of a page of the Greek Testament handed him, he was unable to do so, finally admitting that he knew nothing of the Greek alphabet. Furthermore, Russell had previously claimed to have been ordained by a recognized religious body. The defense also pressed him on this issue, finally asking point blank: “Now, you never were ordained by a bishop, clergyman, presbytery, council, or any body of men living?” Russell’s answer, after a long pause was, “I never was.” In this trial, therefore, Russell’s deliberate perjury was established beyond a reasonable doubt. (For the entire story of this trial, which includes other examples of Russell’s lying under oath, the reader is referred to p. 18-22 of Martin and Klann, Jehovah of the Watchtower, rev. ed., Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1959).
His numerous false prophecies (Also Joseph Rutherford was guilty of false prophesying).
In his Divine Plan of the Ages, Russell prophesied that 1914 would see the battle of Armageddon and the dawn of Christ’s thousand year reign on the Earth. When this failed, it was changed to 1915, then 1918. Russell also taught that the end times had started in 1799, and that Christ had returned to earth in 1874. Incidentally, another Watch Tower president, Joseph Rutherford, predicted Armageddon would take place in 1925. Similar predictions were also made for the year 1975. (See Franz, Life Everlasting in the freedom of the sons of God, p. 29) For one, Russell had directly defied scripture which states that, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32) For some reason, Russell and Rutherford must have thought pretty highly of themselves to claim such enlightenment. Secondly, scripture plainly states in Deuteronomy 18:22 that, “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message that the Lord has not spoken.” IMO, history has clearly proven that Charles Taze Russell, Joseph Rutherford and other Watchtower members were not messengers of the Lord.

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Charles Taze Russell Introduction (34:01)

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