September 16, 1912
INVESTIGATING AN INVESTIGATOR
WILLIAM T. ELLIS
"Pastor" Russell and His Widely Advertised Tour of Mission Lands
Propaganda and Publicity of an Extraordinary Business Genius
Who Has Turned to the Field of Religion
I sought a prophet and I found a business man! Instead of a humble seeker after truth, I found the cleverest propagandist of the age -- a man before whom John Alexander Dowie, Mary Baker Eddy, Madame Blavatsky, Abbas Effendi, "Elijah" Sanford, and Joseph Smith pale into puerile ineffectiveness.
A full-page advertisement in The Saturday Evening Post
, proclaiming that "Pastor" Charles Taze Russell
and a delegation of the "International Bible Students' Association" had toured the world and made a first-hand study of foreign missions, with results decidedly discreditable to the missionaries, set me on the trail of this man, whose name and activities had, in a general fashion, been known to most newspaper readers for a long time.
I found not a blazing zealot and a fearless proponent of a peculiar school of biblical interpretation, but a shrewd old man, who probably could not hold a job for a week on the average newspaper -- although his writings are said to have a greater newspaper circulation every week than those of any other living man, and greater, doubtless, than the combined circulation of the writings of all the priests and preachers in America; greater even than the work of Arthur Brisbane, Norman Hapgood, George Horace Lorimer, Dr. Frank Crane, Frederick Haskin, and a dozen other of the best known editors and syndicate writers put together.
The story is a long one, but it is made continuously interesting by the light shed at every step upon this extraordinary character -- a man who would have been a dangerous rival for John D. Rockefeller had he gone exclusively into the oil business, for all his gifts are commercial. His knowledge of human nature not only saves him from the mistakes of Dowie, but also conceals his limitations -- theological, historical, literary, geographical, social, and economic.
From Selling Shirts to Dispensing Theology
Raised a Pittsburgh Presbyterian, young Russell early went into his father's haberdashery. His business qualifications soon appeared, and the one store became five ere he sold out to enter the more attractive realm of prophecy and propaganda. The ingratiating and seemingly frank manner which made him successful in selling shirts has stood him in good stead in dealing with individuals and audiences.
When I followed Russell's trail back to Pittsburgh, I learned from the man who conducted his legal affairs that he was ever adventuring into larger fields of financial operation -- real estate, oil properties, mines and stocks -- "he was a good business man, but rather sharp." These transactions, it is said, continued long after he had quit the men's furnishing business for the field of religious propaganda.
Somewhere, the young man had got hold of certain old discarded heresies concerning the state of the dead, the "second chance" for all, and the annihilation of the persistently wicked. These appealed to his untrained mind, and he began to promulgate them; embroidering them as he went. His religious views were less striking than his methods of disseminating them. He early exercised his gift for drawing plain people into his service, and soon after starting his meetings in Allegheny, he began to station his followers at church doors on Sunday to distribute his tracts to worshipers. They also filled pews of orthodox churches with this literature, to the irritation of the sextons.
Does Not Seek to Reach the Unchurched
These aggressive tactics got Russell into such difficulties that house-to-house visitation was substituted. The colporteurs were called "Bible [Students]", and they undertook to "explain" the Bible to benighted Presbyterians and Methodists and Baptists and other church folks. Always, the man's emissaries worked among professing Christians. He recently told me that his followers were drawn more largely from the Methodist denomination than from any other of the Protestant churches of America.
Russell's people do not go out into the field of evangelism, reclaiming the unchurched. One searches his record in vain for anything about the rescue of the outcast and the sinning. Neither is there any trace of interest in the thronging social problems of our time. Ministry to the poor, visitation of tbe sick, care for the orphaned -- these are outside of the pale of Russellite activities. The limit of his benevolences is to send his literature free to "the Lord's poor."
The career of Russell in Allegheny was early cut short by proceedings for divorce instituted against him by his wife. The reports of this trial made sport for the godless, and the temptation is strong to hold the man up to derision by quoting from the court records. It appears from the transcribed testimony that Russell had subjected his wife to many petty annoyances; he would refuse to speak to her for weeks at a time; he said that she had been led astray by taking up with "woman's rights" notions; he told his followers that his wife had been hypnotized, and was under the Satanic influence of her sister -- which is rather an adroit way of giving a dig at a stepmother, for Russell and his father had married sisters at about the same time.
The wife's application for divorce made more definite and serious charges; naturally these particulars are not suitable to this narrative. The divorce court record was full of instances of brutal meanness, as for example, sending word to his sick wife, to whom he himself would not speak, that her illness was a judgment of heaven upon her -- and that message he sent by the woman whose alleged conduct with her husband is recorded as one of Mrs. Russell's grounds for divorce. After the decree had been granted, and alimony fixed, the case was carried to the higher court by Russell, but in vain.
Probably out of these personal experiences of his own, the cautious "pastor" has developed a "Vow" which more than 10,000 of his followers have taken. The incongruity of its blending of general petitions and pledges for detailed conduct with respect to the relation of the sexes is rather revealing as to the sort of mind the man possesses; and if there is anything in the commonly taught principles of psychology, the very repetition of the "Vow" is dangerously suggestive.
"A Vow Unto the Lord"
1. Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. May thy rule come into my heart more and more, and thy will be done in my mortal body. Relying on the assistance of thy promised grace to help in every time of need, through Jesus Christ our Lord, I register this vow.
2. Daily will I remember at the throne of heavenly grace the general interests of the harvest work, and particularly the share which I myself am privileged to enjoy in that work, and the dear colaborers at the Brooklyn Tabernacle and Bethel and everywhere.
3. I vow to still more carefully, if possible, scutinize my thoughts and words and doings, to the intent that I may be the better enabled to serve thee and thy dear flock.
4. I vow to thee that I will be on the alert to resist everything akin to spiritism and occultism, and that, remembering that there are but the two masters, I shall resist these snares in all reasonable ways as being of the adversary.
5. I further vow that, with the exceptions below, I will at all times, and in all places, conduct myself toward those of the opposite sex in private exactly as I would do with them in public -- in the presence of a congregation of the Lord's people.
6. And, so far as reasonably possible, I will avoid being in the same room with any of the opposite sex alone, unless the door to the room stand wide open.
7. Exceptions in the case of brethren -- wife, children, mother, and natural sisters; in the case of sisters -- husband, children, father and natural brothers.
Propaganda Strictly a "One-Man" Outfit
One does not take two steps in investigating the various high sounding organizations beneath which Russell cloaks his activities before he discovers that Russell himself is the whole show. There is nothing to it all, but him. If Charles T. Russell should meet with an automobile accident -- and he is very fond of automobiles -- Russellism would extinct in less than two years. Like an Oriental despot, he permits no other personalities to rise above the level of mediocrity, although he does not object to an ornamental title like that of Brigadier General William P. Hall, who is not likely ever to be a force in the organization itself.
One who has interviewed leaders such as General Booth or John Alexander Dowie is disappointed in Russell, whether met personally or seen on the stage. He has a fine equipment of silver hair and smooth, serene features. His face would be benign were it not for the ominously straight thin lips. His voice is soft and pleasing. One would readily buy socks or books from such a man.
Portraits of "Pastor" Russell are common. They accompany his printed sermons, and are displayed in heroic size on the billboards to advertise his meetings. Evidently, he loves this sort of publicity. He is not in the standard "Who's Who In America", but one of the numerous books of biography that spring up periodically carried an article about him, and this he reprinted as a special edition of his paper. He loves the private car and yacht. When the faithful call upon him at "Bethel", a double house at 122-124 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, once the residence of Henry Ward Beecher, their minutes of waiting are beguiled by albums showing the "pastor" on his journeys.
An apparent candor marks the conversation and address of Russell, as well as an ostentatious modesty. Concerning his dogmas, he says that, "it seems to me," or, "as I understand it." He is willing to be shown differently, he says, by anybody who can quote Scripture to him -- although he makes sure that his flock study Scripture as he arranges and interprets it; of which more later.
A Long Way on Short Rations
Of the surprises which await one who investigates Russell, not the least is his limitations. With a success largely due to the printed page, he does not write clear, luminous, entertaining English. His books and newspaper articles are dreary stuff. Possibly the unlettered would find this denseness profundity. There is a vagueness about his style which some have thought to be a clever ruse. This was my own early opinion, but now I have come to the belief that he simply does not know how to write. There is never the flash of a fresh phrase in his work. The witchery of words has never allured him. His literary style is no style at all.
That some wise men are poor writers, but full of reasoning power and great ideals, is granted. They really do think; the worth and weight of their intellectuality are seen despite their literary deficiencies. One touchstone of the great man is his attitude toward his own times. The statesman and the scholar are interpreters. Let us see how this prophet views a current incident. Has he a sweep of vision, a sense of historical proportion, a discernment of appropriateness?
I quote from his sermon, "The Rich Man in Hell, Lazarus in Abraham's Bosom", from volume 1, number 4, of "People's Pulpit", column 1, page 2:
"Only very recently, we have had an exhibition of how this rich man (Israel), dead as a nation, but alive as a people, has appealed to Father Abraham to have Lazarus cool his tongue with a drop of water. Of course the thought would not be that a spirit finger should take a literal drop of water to cool a literal tongue. The interpretation must be looked for along the lines of a parable. The fulfillment came when the Jews of this country, in a general petition, requested the President of the United States to co-operate with other Christian nations, and intercede on behalf of their members in Russia, that they might have more liberty and less persecution, that their torments might be cooled."
All of which is too rich for comment, so we listen while "Pastor" Russell proceeds with the illustration of a parable that has waited until this time for fulfillment, and for his wisdom to unfold it!
"If we look for the rich man's five brethren we find them. There were twelve tribes of Israel, and although all of these tribes were in a general way represented in Israel in our Lord's day, yet strictly speaking, that rich man was composed mainly of the two tribes -- Judah and Benjamin. Now if the two tribes were represented in the one man the other ten tribes would be properly enough represented in his 'five brethren'. The suggestion of the parable that something be done for these five brethren is for the purpose of showing us that nothing would be done for them. The answer of the appeal was, 'They have Moses and the prophets. ... If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.' Here, dear friends, we have a consistent interpretation of this parable, and it relieves our minds greatly."
"Pastor" Russell thinks of the universe in terms of his own day. There is nothing at all incongruous to him in discerning in the slightest episodes of his own times the complete fulfillment of one or more of the Biblical prophecies. This absence of perspective explains Russell's theology. To him the centuries and millenniums that have been are as if they had never existed.
One notices an entire lack of allusions to the world's literature and to the world's history in the "pastor's" voluminous writings. I make one exception. He has given a notable instance of his historical sense in the allusion to the pyramids and their significance. Thus, in the third of his books, he teaches (and I give his own summary of the book):
"The great pyramid in Egypt is a witness to all these events of the ages and of our day, testifying in symbols. The pryamid's downward passage under 'A Draconis' symbolizes the course of Sin. Its First Ascending Passage symbolizes the Jewish age. Its Grand Gallery symbolizes the gospel age. Its Upper Step symbolizes the approaching period of tribulation and anarchy, 'Judgments' upon Christendom. Its Kings Chamber the Divine Nature, etc., of the Overcoming Church -- the Christ, Head and Body. Its Antechamber the Correction in Rightousness of 'the little flock', etc. Its Queen's Chamber those of Israel and the World who attain Restitution."
I rather hesitate to quote that balderdaah, for it would seem to invalidate my statement that Russell and his propaganda are deserving of serious consideration.
It is common for men convinced of the absurdity of Russell's teaching to scoff at him and his followers. Now, the latter are to be pitied rather than to be blamed. They are the simple minded, simple hearted, sincere Christians who are ready to follow any man who will teach them the whole will of God. They are eagerly devoted to the Bible and to Christ. Nobody could get their allegiance for a moment who does not magnify these. That is why Russell makes so much of Jesus in his claims, although he subtly robs him of many of his attributes in his teaching.
As I have studied the faces of hundreds of Russell's followers, I have judged them to be mechanics, farmers, and small tradesmen. They are the weaklings from among these great groups; the kind of people who always must have a leader; they lend a ready ear to a religion of authority; they like to think that they are studying things out for themselves. Actually, of course, they are gulping down wholesale whatever is given them. They are charmed by the magic of the words "truth" and "light", and the Russell literature is freely sprinkled with these. It is a poor address in which the Russellites are not told that they have the "truth", and are in the 'light". Anybody who leaves their company, "goes out from the light", or "forsakes the truth".
Sentimental Tommy's favorite device is practiced with fine effect by Russell. It will be recalled that Tommy, who had a "way" with women, was accustomed to say to every one with whom he talked, "You are not like other girls." These Russellites are made to feel that they are "not like other people"; they have peculiar insight into truth, and they have progressed farther in the spiritual life than others. The gratifying doctrine that they are the real body of Christ, and that the "nominal" churches are all in blindness and benightedness, is laid as unction to their soul.
Lured by literalism, these people fail to see the radical defects in Russell's teaching. Apparently it never occurs to them to apply the simple test of "pure religion and undefiled". The lack of forms of ministry to human need in Russellism seems never to have occurred to them. That Russell alone manages the organization seems not to be significant to the majority. They have made him their priest and pope and prophet; they will do his bidding in all things.
When he tells them to crowd a meeting, they will pack the Hippodrome, to the wonderment of New York. When he bids them write to an editor, they will crowd that editor's mail to the point of confusion. His decisions are to be unquestioned -- his pleasure is to be awaited. A young man who chanced to be waiting in the parlor of Bethel with me one day looked in wide-eyed affright at me because I insisted that the servant find out when "Pastor Russell" was going to keep his appointment, for I had not time to wait.
Sees Himself Indicated in Scripture
The kind of persons who follow Russell are usually ready to accord him a peculiar place in the divine plan of the ages, and with his help, they can get plenty of warrant in the Scripture for his position. There is apparently nothing incongruous in their eyes in regarding him as one to whom the prophecies of the Old Testament and the words of Jesus himself point. Thus Russell has set forth the view that he alone is meant by the passage from the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew: "Who then is the faithful and wise servant whom his Lord hath set over his household to give them their food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you that he will set him over all that he hath." The acceptance of Russell as "that servant" was made a test of fellowship among his follower, we are told, by the written statement of some who had been of that number, but who subsequently joined the large procession that is steadily falling away from "Pastor" Russell.
This fact gives point to such statements as the following from a "souvenir" of one of Russell's convention trips, indorsed by a facsimile of his signature: "If any oppose the Lord by opposing the Channel [i.e. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society] and the Servant [i. e., Russell] the Lord has delegated to do his work, to that extent he loses the favor, the Spirit of the Lord; light becomes darkness, and he is soon outside." This same volume reports addresses, showing supposed Bible prefigurations and prophecies of Russell that are shocking to Chrstian nonbelievers in Russellism.
The "pastor" makes much of dates. Here, for instance, is his serious statement of "Things all want to know as Christian Bible Students":
Six thousand years from Adam ended In A. D. 1872.
The date of our Lord's birth was October, B. C. 2.
The date of annunciation to Mary was December 25, B. C. 3.
The date of our Lord's baptism was October, A. D. 29.
The date of our Lord's crucifixion was April, A. D. 33.
The "seventy weeks" of Israel's favor ended A. D. 36.
The Jewish age "harvest" was forty years, A. D. 30-70.
The Christian age "harvest" was forty years, A. D 1874-1914.
The "times of the gentiles" will end with A. D. 1914.
He Above the Bible
All of this may seem absurd to the person possessed of normal faculties. The secret of its acceptance by so many thousands is to be found in the fact that they have first of all taken Russell to be their guide and interpreter in Scripture study. Russell seems to have assumed the papal position that there can be no private interpretation of Scripture. On page 298 of his Watch Tower, of the issue of September 15, 1910, it is written concerning his books:
"If the six volumes of 'Scripture Studies' are practically the Bible topically arranged, with Bible proof text given, we might not improperly name the volumes 'The Bible in an Arranged Form.' That is to say, they are not merely 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 in 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 the Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he 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."
That is tall talk. Even some of the devoted Russellites could not stand this. In the statement of the reason for their defection from the "pastor", one group say: "When man thus belittles Gods word and makes his own superior to that of God, it seems to be nothing short of blasphemy. Reflect upon it! To confine one's self to the Bible means outer darkness -- to take the word of this one man and never read a page of the Bible means to be in the light."
Still another seceding group charge "Pastor" Russell with saying that he doubted "whether much good has ever been derived from all the independent Bible study undertaken in the past." That is to say, the injunction, "Search the Scriptures" is to be taken as meaning, search "Studies in the Scriptures," by Charles T. Russell. For he claims that "the key to knowledge of the Scriptures long lost is found, and gives God's people access to the hidden mystery."
Lest anyone be tempted to dismiss "Pastor" Russell and his crowd as fools and fanatics on the evidence already given, let me hasten to say that I know of no organization for the publication and spread of rellsious literature -- and I do not except the American Tract society or any denominational publishing house -- that has ever had such success in getting its output into the hands of the people as the Russellites have shown.
From his first efforts in Allegheny, Russell proved himself an executive genius. He perceived the power of the printed page. Then he saw that some effort, aside from the inherent worth of his writings, would be needed to make them find readers. Binding to himself by bonds stronger than gold an ever-increasing band of workers to whom he promised a place in the coming kingdom, he sent these forth as missionaries. There was not an open church within his reach that was not showered with his tracts. Christian Endeavor conventions and Sunday school conventions rarely met in western Pennsylvania or eastern Ohio in those days without finding the Russellites at the doors, posing ever as earnest Christians eager for the distribution of gospel literature. Each of his volumes contains the suggestion that Christian Endeavorers and members of the Epworth League and other similar societies should go to these works for help upon their weekly topics.
"Zion's Watch Tower," as the business was called in Allegheny, is now "The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society" of Brooklyn, and co-operating with this, like a reorganised trust, so that it is difficult for the layman to discover which is which, we find the "International Bible Students' Association," the Brooklyn Tabernacle work, the "Pastor Russell Lecture Bureau," and the "Bible and Tract Society" of England. The Brooklyn meeting place of the sect, an old chapel of Plymouth Church, is called "The Brooklyn Tabernacle," which evidently leads many newspaper editors and readers to believe that Russell is the successor of Talmage.
The latest report of the allied societies presents, in addition to subtle appeals for money that would be worth reprinting if space served, a really astounding record of results achieved. It records a total of 21,838,282 tracts distributed within the preceding twelve months. During the year 1911, more than a half million volumes of "Studies in the Scriptures" were circulated, bringing the total circulation of books up to more than 4.000,000 copies. It may be mentioned that the publications are in twelve languages. During the year, 221,789 letters were dispatched from the Brooklyn headquarters, and 128,712 received. Six hundred colporteurs were responsible for much of the extension of literature, although "Pastor" Russell says he is still not satisfied. The colporteur work is self-sustaining. The "I. B. S. A. Bible Study Class Extension" reported 3,049 meetings held during the year, with an attendance of 97,898.
A unique feature of the Russell work is the "pilgrims," now more commonly called "elders". These itinerate under the direction of the "People's Pulpit Association" -- another general name for Russell's work -- and fifty-eight of these men continuously travel to and fro throughout the country. Last year they visited 4375 cities and towns, holding 3780 meetings, with a total number of 518,900 in attendance. In addition to these public meetings, there were 8333 semi-public meetings held. This, of course, is all separate from the Bible class work already mentioned. In spite of these amazing figures, "Pastor" Russell laments that the circulation of the literature has been too slight.
The official report of Russell's work for the year 1911 shows an expenditure of $191,650.16 exclusively for the propagation of his teachings. The critics who charge that the entire enterprise is merely an advertising scheme for Russell's books are aside from the mark. The money has been raised otherwise.
When it comes to raising money, most pastors, board secretaries, and financial representatives of benevolent causes sit at Russell's feet. There is nothing so crass and crude and ineffective in his method as the mere repetition of the cry of the horse leech's daughters. Russell may know nothing theoretically about the science of psychology, but he is a past master of the thing itself. He might say, if he were utterly candid, "The longest way round is often the shortest way home." It is better to put an idea into people's heads that will constrain them to give of what they suppose is their own volition than to extract money by urgency.
The meetings that Russell or his pilgrims hold are prominently placarded, "No collection." They recognize that they are appealing to people who are not in the habit of thinking things through, and who never pause to consider that every enterprise must be financed somehow; and that the self-respecting way is to pay for one's own privileges. The "no collection" slogan is one of the insidious little ways in which Russell differentiates his work from that of the churches. He magnifies the point that no requests are made for money. It is as if he said, "Do not fail to get a firm hold of the fact that we do not ask for money." To this theme he recurs again and again, with the result, of course, that he lodges the idea firmly in the heads of the people, and subsequently gets the money out of their pockets.
Even his letter paper carries this statement: "This fund consists of free-will offerings of the students who have been nourished and strengthened by the meat in due season." Then, he tells of the wonderful work of propagation that is done, and concludes: "No one is ever asked to contribute to this fund: all donations must be voluntary. We remind our readers of the apostle's words (I Cor. 16:1, 2) and corroborate them: 'The Lord loveth a cheerful giver.'"
Obviously, ordinary church work is handicapped when it comes to securing gifts, for it has no such argument as is ever present with the Russellites; for even the densest of his followers is able to say, with a little assistance, that if the world is to end in 1914, and the millennium begin, worldly goods will not long be of use. The best employment that can be given one's money is to make it help deliver the benighted "nominal churches" from the peril of ignorance, that "the elect" may be made ready for their peculiar part in the millennium. So, the highest use of the money of a Russellite is to put it into the hands of "Pastor" Russell. Thence come the enormous sums that he has at his command for advertising purposes -- and no theatrical star on tour is better advertised than Russell -- for travel in private cars, and otherwise, and for the free distribution of his peerless writings.
INVESTIGATING AN INVESTIGATOR
Mr. Russell's Remarkable Success in Securing
Publication of His Sermons and Other Writings in the Daily Press
Professor Moorehead on the Pecularities of Russellite Theology
In his invasion of the field of journalism, "Pastor" Russell labels his articles "interdenominational," and calls one set of them Sunday school lessons, although his position is antagonistic to all churches and denominations. Editors of daily papers can tell of snowstorms of communications which have come to them, all within a given period, urging them to print "Pastor" Russell's sermons and Sunday school lessons.
Now, the ethics of journalism is not very different from the ethics which govern honest, cultivated men and women everywhere. Their basis is plain honesty and the golden rule. Thus, it would be a cardinal offense -- rank treason as we colloquially call it in newspaper offices -- for a man to take pay from a newspaper for the purpose of serving some other interest. Ostensibly to be furnishing a newspaper with a nonsectarian religious feature, acceptable to the general run of church folk of all names. and then to print instead (taking advantage of the editor's lack of interest or knowledge of this special field) doctrinal propaganda which contravenes the beliefs of all the churches, Protestant and Roman Catholic, is certainly not in accord with the newspaper man's idea of the "square deal."
Minor aspects of this disingenuousness may be found in the brief statement of alleged facts which prefaces his sermons. The best illustration of this at hand is the discourses he was reported to have delivered on his round-the-world journey. According to local reports, he uniformly presented his stock sermon, "Where Are the Dead?" Each week the sermons would appear on Monday morning in American papers as cabled from afar -- of course, they were stereotyped in plate form weeks beforehand -- with a "news" introduction.
Take this one from Honolulu, replete with allusions to "Pastor" Russell's impressions of the Hawaiian islands. The opening statement ran:
'The International Bible Students' Committee of Foreign Missions investigation stopped at Honolulu and made observations. Pastor Russell, chairman of the committee, delivered a public address. He had a large audience and attentive hearing. His text was from Isaiah 66:8 respecting the birth of a nation in a day."
The bald fact is that "Pastor" Russell did not make any public address in Hawaii. He was in Honolulu only for the few hours that his ship was in port. His own narrative of his journeys, which so carefully particularizes his oratorical ministries to a benighted world, is silent concerning any preaching in Hawaii. The editor of The Honolulu Star informed The Brooklyn Eagle that the "Pastor" had not preached or lectured in the city.
If the account of "Pastor" Russell's everyday work cannot be trusted, how much faith may be placed in his statements concerning the mysteries of eternity?
Professor Moorehead's View of Russell Doctrines
A person's belief is the most important fact concerning him. The loose thinking of our day is giving grave concern to serious observers. The peculiur dogmas of the Russellites are not to be dismissed with a wave of the hand as "queer notions about the second coming." So careful a theologian as Professor William G. Moorehead. D. D., of the United Presbyterian Theological Seminary at Xenia, Ohio, has declared that the body of teaching written by Russell is insidiously attempting to impose upon the churches his "anti-scriptural, anti-Christian, and a deplorable perversion of the gospel of the Son of God."
"On scarcely any other point does Mr. Russell so constantly and persistently dwell as on the doctrine of future and eternal punishment. He denies without qualification that the wicked, the lost, suffer in another life. As usual with him, the teaching of the Bible on this terrible theme, he either evades, or gives it a typical interpretation. The grotesque subject of one of his most popular lectures, a lecture he has delivered throughout our country, in Canada, and also in England, and published in a vast number of papers and periodicals is, "To Hell and Back Again".
Crowds have listened with no little satisfaction to his assertions that there is no hell, no eternal punishment, and no hopelessness after death. He holds that in the resurrection, which is to include both the righteous and the wicked, the gospel of salvation shall be preached to all who did not receive it, though having heard, while in this life, and to those who never had the opportunity while in the earthly life to hear and believe. For a hundred years, the preaching to these classes shall continue and the great mass of them will believe and enter the eternal life. Those who persistently refuse the offer of salvation and reject the Lord's mercy will be annihilated: an act of divine power will blot them out of existence forever."
In this connection, I want to commend the treatment of "Millennial Dawn, a Counterfeit of Christianity," by Professor Morehead, in the final chapter of volume 7 of "The Fundamentals." Every pastor or other Bible teacher who is confronted by Russellism should be familiar with this best of all refutations of the "pastor's" peculiar heresies. I quote the summary of the false doctrines of "Millennial Dawn" with which Prof. Moorehead concludes his searching treatise:
"1. Christ before His advent was not divine.
"2. When he was in the world he was still not divine.
"3. His atonement was exclusively human, a mere man's.
"4. Since his resurrection he is divine only, no longer human at all.
"5. His body was not raised from the dead.
"6. His second advent took place in 1874.
"7. The saints were raised up in 1878.
"8. Both Christ and the saints are now on earth and have been for 37 and 33 years respectively.
"9. The professing Christian church was rejected of God in 1878.
"10. The final consummation and end will take place in 1914.
"11. Silence as to the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
"12. The destiny of the wicked.
"Such is the Millennial Dawn of C. T. Russell -- a mixture of Unitarianism, Universalism, second probation and restorationism, and the Swedenborgian method of exegesis. Let the reader remember that imposition is not exposition, nor is eisegesis exegesis. Mr. Russell constantly employs both: he imposes on Scripture his own views and reads into it that which never entered the mind of the inspired writer. May God in his infinite mercy preserve his people from being deceived and betrayed by this counterfeit of Christianity."
How Hymns Are Doctored
A popular sidelight on how Russell modifies the teachings of the Bible is shown by his doctoring of the hymns which are used in common by all churches. I note a few of the changes on his hymn slip which show the minimizing of the Redeemer:
"Sun of my soul, my Father dear,
I know no night when thou art near.
O, may no earth-born cloud arise
To hide thee from thy servant's eyes."
Take this transformed stanza from "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah":
"As I near the time of trouble,
Bid my faith in thee increase,
While the thousands round are falling,
Keep me, keep. in perfect peace.
Refuge, fortress, thou hast set thy love on me."
Here again is one of the most familiar of gospel choruses with the point taken from it:
"I love to tell the story,
Twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story
Of gracious, heavenly love."
Russellism is not interested in sinners. It even alters "Coronation" in this fashion:
"Ye saints, whose love can ne'er forget
The wormwood and the gall,
Go spread your trophies at his feet,
And crown him Lord, of all."
"The soul that on Jesus doth lean for repose
I'll never, no, never, desert to his foes;
That soul, though a host should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no, never, no, never, forsake."
Observe the careful elimination of all thought of heresy in "The Church's One Foundation":
"Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sort opprest
By foes too great to number,
By trials sore distrest,
Yet saints their watch are keeping:
Their cry goes up, 'How long?'
And soon the night of weeping
Shall change to morn of song."
Thus an organization that has not its own hymnody attempts by a few crude touches to write into standard hymns its own interpretation.
Russellism at Close Range
In the middle of July, a long dispatch came out from Washington through the press associations, reporting how the "International Bible Students' Association," assembled more than 4000 strong in convention, had voted that there is no such thing as hellfire, and that the doctrine is to be repudiated. The mover of the resolution was Brigadier-General William P. Hall, of whom more hereafter. Assuming that the convention was one of real Bible students, newspapers quite generally printed the dispatch. It was a good warm weather story. Even the astute New York Sun was caught, as well as certain religious weeklies. The editorial paragraphs subsequently made capital out of this latest deliverance of the theologions. Few suspected that the entire dispatch was but another bit of clever press-agenting.
In order to see the Russellites in action, I went down to Washington [DC]. Neither heat nor cold seems to affect their enthusiasm, for there really were more than 200 Russell adherents from as far north as Massachusetts and from the southern states. Any intelligent observer of mankind could see in an instant that this crowd was utterly devoid of strong individualities. Men and women of force do not follow Russell. Equally manifest was the sincere piety and godly character of the delegates. They were enjoying a time of sincere Christian fellowship. The "brother" and "sister" that I heard on every hand reminded me of nothing so much as the sincere simplicity of the fellowship of the Dowieites when I studied them during their ill starred New York invasion. I would not say a word in condemnation of these followers of Russell. They are the plain people from the mills and shops and farms of the land. Among them were several hundred "elders."
On a night so hot that I do not want to endure another like it, this crowd sat for two hours in the Academy of Music, filling the building. The men, coatless, sat down in front, for this was an unadvertised address to the elders. The women occupied the rear of the first floor and largely filled the galleries. Most of the women wore on their heads folded handkerchiefs, or some other coverings, after the teaching of the Catholic Church and the Mennonites. Russell himself was the only speaker, although there was the vigorous, fervent singing of several hymns.
The sermon was based on Paul's address to the elders at Ephesus. It was a talk to the officials of the Russell classes about their work, cautioning them against arrogance and self-assertiveness. The speaker was much troubled by those who have fallen away from the "truth," and he pointed out the danger of headiness and dictatorial ways in dealing with the affairs of the classes, which he commonly called the church. The phrase, "The Church," meant the Russellites. He had other appellations for the historic churches. Much was said about fair elections and the perils of the "bossy" elder who sits on the safety valve. "In churchianity these things are not on our plane. In the nominal churches it means nothing to be an elder -- all the elders have to do there is to pass the collection plate and the communion. In the nominal churches everything is in the hands of the clergy, who are supposed to be a different breed altogether" -- and this really brought a roar of laughter.
"Pastor" Sees Trouble Ahead
The "pastor" seemed troubled about experiences that may await the church -- meaning thereby his "little flock" -- being sure that their recent prosperity and freedom trom criticism are but the lull before the storm. Then he indulged in a choice bit of exegesis to this effect: Elijah ascended in the whirlwind. Now, the whirlwind in the Bible stands for trouble. The four angels who hold the winds are to let them loose, and this will make a whirlwind of trouble. This led to an intimation that as John the Baptist, who was the antitype of Elijah -- so we, the church, are the greater anti-type of Elijah -- was decapitated, we have a suggestion of the quick taking off of the church. Then followed a musing upon the immunity of the "little flock" from all the ills that would befall the world between now and 1914. Most of the sermon was devoted to a puerile instruction of the elders.
This was the first time I had ever heard "Pastor" Russell speak in public, and I was amazed at the thinness of his hour's discourse. It was "milk for babes," with a vengeance. I expected oratorical power. lnstead, there was the same monotonous, wheedling tones that I had noted in private conversation. I would have exchanged the whole hour of Russell for five minutes of the dramatic Dowie, with his brilliant, eloquent, and contentious utterances. I at first felt that "Pastor" Russell must be having an off night, but later I overheard one of the elders say to the group, "I have hear the "pastor" many times, but never when he was so fine as tonight." The hold of the man is not in his personal magnetism, not in his eloquence, not in his literary skill, but entirely in his executive ability, in his knowledge of human nature, and in the grip of definite and dated eschatalogical teachings upon the ordinary mind.
INVESTIGATING AN INVESTIGATOR
Real Extent of the "Russell World Investigation" of Missions
What the "Pastor" Himself Had to Say to the Interviewer
Who Sought to Discover How Thoroughly the Undertaking Had Been Carried Out
"Pastor" Russell has taken advantage of the quickened interest of the world in foreign missions to attract attention to himself and his crowd by an "investigation"' of missions. He has spent thousands of dollars in advertising this, not to mention the expense of the around-the-world tour itself.
I learned at the Russell headquarters that the "findings" of the investigation were to be circulated throughout the newspapers -- for the Russell organization can provide newspapers with proofsheet copy, or with matrices, or with stereotyped plates, or with whatever cuts are desired. The business side of dealing with the press has been reduced to a science by Russell. This is one reason why his attack upon foreign missions is more deserving of consideration than many far abler and better founded criticisms.
The "report" of the "Missions Investigating Committee of the International Bible Students' Associtation" was made at a huge meeting in the New York Hippodrome on March 31, a meeting from which many hundreds were turned away. Newspaper accounts of this were widely circulated by telegraph. The impression given by these reports was that a careful company of representative and scholarly Christian men had investigated the uttermost reaches of the missionary enterprise, and had found it very gravely lacking! The session itself was better attended than any similar gatherings ever held in the same place by Christian laymen. Instant challenge of the Russell "report" should have been issued by either the Laymen's Movement or the Allied Missions Boards.
The day has passed when anybody can make sweeping and unsupported statements about any part of the earth and expect to be taken seriously. It was incumbent upon the Russell party to prove enough of their statements to establish their trustworthiness. If they based their comprehensive generalities upon data, the public had a right to know at least a part of the data. If they actually made no real investigation of foreign missions, but took a hurried trip around the world, the facts should be known.
After reading carefully Russell's "report", and after interviewing the man himself, I declared that his alleged "investigation" of missions was no investigation at all. Here is proof:
Russell was in Japan and China only so long as his ship remained in port, discharging and receiving cargo. For he traveled by the same ship clear from San Francisco to Hongkong.
Russell simply made a short, quick, sight-seeing journey around the world.
Mr. Russell Meets Two Missionaries
Russell met no missionaries -- so he admitted to me -- except Dr. Spencer of the Methodist mission, Tokyo, with whom he held no discussion concerning missions, and Secretary George Lerrigo of the Y. M. C. A., Canton. Russell did not visit mission compounds (except the Methodist compound in Tokyo), and he did not seek the views of representative men on the ground, native and foreign, concerning missions.
Russell's knowledge of missions is still, as it always has been, a negligible quantity.
Moreover, his journey was so hurried that he did not even remember the names of the principal cities on the route of "the grand tour" which he took. I had to supply him with the names of the points at which he touched in the East -- which was easy, since in all Asia, except for his little detour to Southwest India, he visited only the cities through which any tourist agent would route a conventional traveler. When on shore, Russell was primarily engaged in delivering speeches for which his advance agent had arranged.
No man questions the right of any representative person or committee to investigate foreign missions. The perfect propriety of the task to which Russell's committee addressed itself is unchallenged. If foreign missions, which are a vast and costly enterprise, in which the honor of the American name itself is involved, will not bear investigation, the sooner the world knows it, the better. The basic principle may be laid down that the mission boards at home and the mission work abroad are properly subject to review by the public. The day has passed, if it ever existed, for any absurd notions concerning the sacrosanct charter of board secretaries and ecclesiastical operations. A full charter of liberty to investigate missions in their every aspect must be given to the Russellies, as to everybody else who has the interest or the means to pursue the subject intelligently. The more numerous the honest and thorough investigators of missions, the better for missions and for the investigators.
"Investigation" Should Mean Investigation
But words must be kept for their primary use. Investigation means investigation. It implies an examination of the facts involved, and a sincere statement of the reasonable conclusions to be drawn therefrom. Assuming that I were a clergyman who disapproved of "Pastor" Russell's views, as I had heard them stated by another clergyman, and that, being a believer in missions, I had been annoyed by the newspaper dispatch that the Russell party had reported adversely upon the missionary enterprise, it would not be an "investigation" for me simply to stand in a pulpit and utter a tirade against the man and his works. That would not be worthy of a minister's intellectual integrity, nor would it be fair to the facts.
Or, instead of citing a hypothetical case like this, in order to illustrate what is involved in this important word "investigation," let the present article stand as an example. I undertook to investigate "Pastor" Russell. This means that I must seek out the facts at first hand. So, I made repeated trips to Brooklyn to view the Russell headquarters, and to interview the "pastor" himself. I went to Pittsburgh and dug out the man's early record there. I attended one of his conventions and heard him speak in public. I read carefully his missionary report, and examined quantities of his literature. I learned from authoritative journalistic sources his methods of dealing with newspapers. I digested the Russell business operations. I hunted up Russell's one conspicuous adherent that I could discover, an ex-army officer, and interviewed him. In a word, as a journeyman journalist, I sought to fulfill Dana's definition of the first principle of our craft: "See both sides, and get all the facts."
Surely, at least that much may be required of a committee of large public pretensions investigating so important an enterprise as foreign missions. I was only dealing with Charles T. Russell: they were dealing with a work involving 20,000 missionaries and millions of missionary supporters, and the annual expenditure of $25 million.
Therefore, it is reasonable to ask that these "investigators'' should have taken sufficient time (1) to interview missionaries of several churches in such numbers as to obtain a representative view; (2) to inspect all forms of mission work in sufficient variety of each to justify a generalization; (3) to travel over a fair proportion of the mission field, and in regions not dominated by foreign trade; this would include a reasonable amount of study of missions in the interior; (4) to interview a considerable body of native Christians; (5) and to ascertain first hand, the views of the disinterested person who should know of missions from personal knowledge, such as native officials and teachers, diplomatists and consuls, editors and resident business men, whose work makes them familiar with native conditions.
Is not that obviously fair? Anybody can see the reasonableness of these requirements. For more than all this has been done by some of us who have investigated foreign missions. Yet, in every one of these five particulars, the Russell party failed, so far as I can learn from their printed report, and from an extended interview with their leader, himself. They did not make anything remotely resembling a thorough investigation.
Mr. Ellis's Interview with "Pastor" Russell
Before proceeding to comments upon this "report" itself, I want to summarize an interview which I held with "Pastor" Russell in his Brooklyn "Bethel", the two big houses joined in one, where he and about a hundred of the faithful work and eat and sleep. Extended talk upon the Russell organization and beliefs preceded the questions and answers concerning the missionary "investigation." I learned that "most denominations hold in common certain errors and most are divided on the truth."
The millennial kingdom is to be set up in October 1914. Before this, the kingdoms of this world are to have a short lease of power which terminates then. This is to be a "time of trouble", lasting hardly more than year; a terrible period shortened because of the "elect," who are the Russellites. The Messiah will never return in person; he will come in spirit, and reign "on the ruins of human hopes and human civilization." This sovereignty, as near as I could understand, is to be exercised through the "elect". The Russell doctrine differs from most similar cults in that it has no place for divine healing in its scheme. Russell told me that, "we never pray for health, nor strength, nor money, nor any material things." I could not resist the temptation to remind him of the Lord's Prayer, "Give us this day our daily bread."
When we got down to the alleged tour of investigation of missions, and I had set Russell to rummaging in his notebooks for facts (apparently he kept a diary chiefly of his own speaking engagements), he informed me that the expedition left San Francisco on the Shinyo Maru on December 3, stopping a few hours in Honolulu en route to Yokohama, and Japan was not reached until December 31. There was considerable sparring before I got my host, who began the interview with such apparent candor, to admit that he was in Japan only so long as his ship touched the ports. He had told me that he had "spent about a week in Japan," and he said he took ship for China at "Nippon." "Nippon" means "Japan," and there is no such city; when I suggested that he probably meant Nagasaki, he assented. Starting in at Tokyo, I asked for the names of missionaries whom he had met.
Only Dr. Spencer, and he was not sponsor for any opinions expressed. Relentlessly, I pursued him through the cities of Japan that tourists always traverse when going overland to connect with their ship at Kobe or Nagasaki. He explained that it really was not missionaries that he wanted to see and investigate, but missions.
Very well, had he seen ... And, I enumerated the principal missions (he apparently had never even heard of Doshisha, in Kyoto, much less of the Meiji Gakuin in Tokyo) in the cities he had visited. He had not seen one of them. Driven into a corner, he protested that I misunderstood him, for it was not exactly missionaries or missions that he was investigating, but the attitude of the native people toward these!
Blandly, I began to name representative Japanese. Of course, he had called on Count Okuma, and Mayor ' Ozuki, and the Imperial University' professors, and the newspaper editors? He had not. At least he had seen the American ambassador, or some of the American consuls? Not one of them. After I had pursued the "pastor" through all the ports of Japan, China, and India that he had touched -- he had met Urigo, of the Young Men's Christian association at Canton (I know George Lerrigo, and what his views of Russell's theology would be, and I await his opinion of the "investigation") and the American consul at Madras -- it was apparent that the "investigation" could be riddled by any schoolboy who had studied world geography.
Just one instance from our interview, and then we shall turn to his chief associate, since he assured me that the other members of the mission had investigated missions more thoroughly than he: and then to the "report" itself. Russell seemed eager to show that in Shanghai his feet were on solid ground (all of China that he saw was during one day spent in Shanghai, and one in Canton!), for there he was in the hands of "the niece of the American minister, Mr. Barchett." As delicately as possible in the circumstances, I informed him that the American minister lives in Peking; I did not add that the part of Shanghai which he saw is entirely outside of Chinese jurisdiction, and that in this international settlement, he could mail "copy" to the hungry press at Brooklyn in a real United States post office at the domestic rate of 2 cents an ounce. Told that there is a consul general at Shanghai, he jumped at the suggestion. Mr. Barchett was perhaps consul general, and not minister.
Was he sure of the name Barchett? Yes -- after consulting the notebook -- that was the name. But our consul general is Dr. Amos P. Wilder, a former newspaper man, and an intelligent advocate of foreign missions, who, had he been given a chance at the Russell party, could have put more facts into their "report" than they seem to have gathered in a tour round the world. Nor was his predecessor, Dr. Barchett, nor any of his predecessors. Dr. Stephen P. Barchett, for many years a Baptist Medical missionary in China, near the close of his long life served as interpreter in the American consulates at Hankow and Shanghai, and for a time was vice consul at Shanghai. He died in 1909.
The dates are notable. This tour of investigation which began in San Francisco on December 3, ended in New York on March 28 -- a total of 116 days, nearly all of which was spent aboard steamships. In this time, only two stops of as much as a week's duration were made anywhere -- one among his own followers in India and one in London. The visit to Europe involved more land travel than all the rest of the round-the-world tour combined. Verily, "your committee found no time in which to visit Burma, Africa, and Australasia!
A name with which the Russellites conjure is that of Brigadier General William P. Hall, U. S. A. He is the one man, aside from "Pastor" Russell himself, who is permitted to get into the limelight. A vague impression seems to possess the Russellites that as General Hall is presumably vouched for by the United States government, and as he vouches for Russell, therefore this is somewhat equivalent to an indorsement of Russell by the government at Washington [DC]. Of course, it never occurs to the people who point with pride to this distinguished dignitary who ornaments their platforms and their literature that warming an easy chair in the office of the Adjutant General is no particular qualification for deciding theological or religious questions.
General Hall Adds No Light to the "Report"
General Hall, who is now retired, did see real fighting during the Indian troubles on the frontier, and acquitted himself with valor. I would not question his courage, although he appeared unduly afraid of committing himself when I sought him out to interview him on Russellism and the "investigation" of foreign missions, which he helped to make. Our conversation ran about on this wise:
"General Hall, you are the best known of the members of the 'International Bible Students' Association,' who are holding a convention here, and I thought that perhaps you would be willing to tell me, in the language of a layman, just wherein 'Pastor' Russell's teachings differ from those of, say, the Methodist church?"
"Oh, Lord, no; don't ask me that. I don't know anything about that sort of thing. Ask one of those pilgrims at the convention. They'll tell you; that is their business." A moment's hesitation, and then, "I can only say that it is an interpretation of the Bible that satisfies me."
"I should like to talk with you a little about the tour of the Far East which you made with 'Pastor' Russell."
"I have nothing to say except what is in our written report."
Here I pressed question after question, from various angles, to get some fuller light upon this "investigation," but I was testily referred to the printed report, and to "Pastor" Russell himself. When informed that I had talked at length with "Pastor" Russell, and that the "pastor" seemed to have no experience whatever with foreign' missions, the irascible general hitched at his suspenders -- he was coatless -- and assured me that I could not get him to say another word.
"Pastor" Russell has no monopoly in his lack of knowledge of the geography, history, and methods of missions. Because the public at large is equally uninformed he is able to publish his widely advertised "report" without becoming the butt of newspaper paragraphers. The frequent recurrence of "Pastor" Russell's photograph is apparent even to the person who turns the pages in the most cursory fashion. There are no pictures of missions or missionaries. Three blurred photographs show the reception given the party at "Russell-Purim" in Southwest India, where the only Russellite missionary is stationed. Four pictures are Oriental scenes, bought and not made by the investigators. Seven of the fourteen pictures in the "report" enable the reader to gaze upon the modest person of the "pastor" himself.
An Examination of the "Report"
The farcical "report" of this "missions investigating committee" is put out in a special edition of The Watch Tower, which anybody may get for 5 cents by writing to the Bible and Tract Society, 13-15-17 Hicks Street, Brooklyn. The issue is entirely devoted to the "report," with the exception of an advertisement of the special Bible issued by Russell, and an advertisement of his "Studies in the Scriptures." No hint of the peculiar dogmas of the sect is given in the paper. The half-page of standing matter on this subject, defining the journal and "its sacred mission," is omitted from this number, which has been so widely advertised in secular weeklies.
After crediting the proposition of the Laymen's Missionary Movement to collect $30,000,000 and immediately convert the world (sic!), with the stimulus for this tour of "investigation," and vowing that, "while sympathetic with all good works, these students are not expecting the world's conversion as the result of missionary effort, and are not disappointed that the eighteen centuries of the preaching of the gospel has not brought large result," the committee goes on to explain its work and travels.
An interesting paragraph in the preface declares, "Indeed, we understand that one of the principal motives associated with the sending out of the committee of investigation was to ascertain whether or not there would appear to be in those distant lands who as yet have no knowledge of 'the Gospel of the Kingdom' " (i.e., Russellism), "and of the fact that we are now in the harvest time of this age, and probably very close to the dawning of a New Dispensation of Messianic glory. It was with this in view that the association privately authorized 'Pastor' Russell, its president, to spend as much as $7000 in publishing the Gospel of the Kingdom in Oriental lands, provided in his judgment and in the judgment of the committee, there were saintly hearts and minds in those lands like ly to appreciate the message and to be ripened thereby for the heavenly 'garner'."
Throughout, the "report" has choice bits like this: "The missionaries themselves appear to be an earnest company, but considerably discouraged." That is written concerning Japan, when "Pastor" Russell himself told me that he had met only one missionary, and did not talk with him concerning missions! Yet, the conclusion concerning Japan is: "What the Japanese need is the 'Gospel of the Kingdom' announcing the second coming of Jesus as the Messiah of glory, to rule, heal, and instruct all the families of the earth. Pastor Russell's sermon gave them more food for thought than they had ever before enjoyed!"
The "report" is beautifully vague throughout. Thus, "directly and indirectly, we visited and inspected the conditions of life in about 15 cities and villages (of China) whose combined population was about 400,000." Surely, that sounds like real investigation; yet, "Pastor" Russell admitted to me that he had touched at Shanghai, which is a foreign settlement; at Hongkong,; which is wholly British territory, and that he he had spent a day in Canton. That, I gathered, was the extent of his knowledge of China.
Nevertheless, he assures the reader of the "report" that, "The Chinaman is perplexed by the 600 different denominations of Christians and the 600 theories of salvation which they represent."
"Pastor" Russell cannot name one-sixth of that number of denominations at work in China, and he must admit that all the churches at work in China are preaching but one essential gospel. An equally annoying ipse dixit is, "The missionaries now find it inexpedient to discuss doctrinal matters. ... In conversation, many of them showed great earnestness and real piety, and deplored their inability to accomplish greater results along religious lines. Others, a majority we hope, seemed to have a narrow and hypocritical spirit." This is one of the scores of points in the narrative at which we would defy Russell to name the men.
He substantiates the charge against big houses (I doubt if he has seen 20 missionaries' houses in all his life) by citing the case of the pastor of Union church, Shanghai, who gets the princely salary of $2400.00 gold. The brilliant Dr. Darwent is not a missionary at all, but the pastor of a self-supporting church attended solely by European residents.
Concerning China, the most important statement made in the "report" is that "Pastor" Russell addressed the natives on two occasions. Considerable interest was manifested and Chinese reports of both discourses were published, the publishers proposing to continue such publications weekly, after the manner of the American and British newspapers. "Something in his presentation seemed especially to strike interest and convince many of his hearers." I shall not burden this article further with quotations concerning "Pastor" Russell's speeches.
The "report" says, "Your committee visited Singapore and Penang, and had interesting and profitable exercises." That sounds like the end of the earth, doesn't it? The untravelled reader pictures these zealous "investigators", fired with thirst for the last ascertainable fact, pioneering their way clear to the equator that they might search into the inwardness of missions on the Malay peninsula. On the other hand, every person who has circumnavigated the globe by the sea route knows that of necessity ships must touch at Singapore and Penang, and "Pastor" Russell saw no more of the Malay peninsula than has been seen by every other traveler who ever went around the world by the Indian ocean route. The only protracted stop made by the Russell tourists was the week spent at "Russell-Purim" in southwest India, the point at which Brother Davey has let shine the light of the "Gospel of the" Kingdom."
Summary Says Mission Success is Small
The categorical summary declares that "the success attained by missionaries is small. We find Oriental Christians about as sincere, intelligent, and earnest as the average of church attendants in America and Europe, and as there, a very few who give evidence of being consecrated to God and his service."
In answer to a self-asked question concerning the teachings and results of Christianity, the "report" says: "There are evidences of positive teachings in the past, but there is very little religious teaching now being done, because the people resent it and keep their children from the schools. We heard of instances where a small coin per day was given to each child attending school; but aside from the schooling, the inducements offered by the missionaries are chiefly social and medical."
In connection with the alleged reluctance of natives to become Christians, the "report" sapiently remarks, "These Orientals are very honest in respect to their religious professions, except when spoiled by contact with the hypocrlcy of the whites" -- all of which is respectfully referred to in a certain Rudyanl Kipling.
"What, if any, change should he made in the teaching and financial administration to make the foreign mission work more successful? The great change necessary to make missionary work more successful is for the missionaries to have and to impart to the people a more logical gospel. ... The missions would be much more successful in reaching the hearts of those they would serve if they presented the gospel of God's loving provision of Messiah s coming kingdom" -- i.e., Russellism.
We lend an especially attentive eye when "Pastor" Russell comes to write about money. Here, if anywhere, he should be able to speak with discrimination. "Our judgment is that that portion of money contributed to foreign missions which reaches heathen lands is wisely enough used for its intended purposes. Whatever waste there is would seem rather to be in the machinery of collections. One collector for such benevolent institutions told us that he was allowed as his salary one-half of all that he collected. We know not to what extent this principle obtains with other societies. Each society owes to itself to institute a very thorough investigation into its own affairs and to ascertain what proportion of the funds received is ever forwarded to the missionaries." That from Charles T. Russell! No man has a right to put into print such a statement as that without supporting evidence. The facts could have been obtained at the cost of a postage stamp from any mission board.
If the "report" were to be read only by thoughtful persons, it would serve no other end than to bring disdain upon the men whose names are signed to it. Unfortunately, Russell has made sure that it shall be read by millions of people, most of whom know little about geography, history, and missions. The microbe of typhoid fever is a small and insignificant thing, and its nature and habitat are not calculated to attract the general run of mankind to its study. Still, the world has learned in a hard school the peril of ignoring it. The cure for the dangerous bacteria of Russellism is sunlight.
DIVORCE, BLOOD TRANSUSIONS, AND OTHER LEGAL ISSUES AFFECTING CHILDREN OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
EMPLOYMENT ISSUES UNIQUE TO JEHOVAH'S WITNESS EMPLOYEES