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58. Troubles in the Bible Student paradise

Troubles in the Bible Student paradise 

From the internet:
The Bible Students have spread in a multitude of movements, each of them proclaiming to have stayed faithful at the teachings of Pastor Russell. Among those movements existing for the great majority in the United States, we can name:

Dawn Bible Students Association, Christian Millennial Fellowship, Inc., Stand Fast Bible Students Association, Elijah Voice Society, Servants of Yah (not Assemblies of Yahweh, a later schism from JW's), Bible Fellowship Union, New Jerusalem Fellowship, Old Paths Publications, Forest Gate Church, Bible Students Publishing Company, Goshen Fellowship, Institute of Pyramidology, Angel of Jehovah Bible and Tract Society, Berean Bible Institute, New Covenant Fellowship, Christian Truth Institute, New Covenant Believers, Associated Bible Students

And there is a lot more in many countries such as "Les amis de l’homme" ("The Friends of Men") in Europe. All professes more or less the same credo of the mortality of the soul, the non-existence of hell, the non-existence of the Trinity, the next coming of the Kingdom, the invisible presence of Christ, the new world order, etc…

In addition to the large schisms of the Pastoral Bible Institute (PBI) and the Laymen's Home Missionary Movement (LHMM) (discussed on the Rutherford Putsch page), a number of Bible Student groups broke fellowship with the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, led by J. F. Rutherford over the next couple decades. The following is a summary of the most notable of these groups. This accounting does not include the countless numbers of independent or micro groups of Bible Students or those groups which broke association prior to the Rutherford Era.

The key hallmark of these Bible Student groups is their acknowledgement of Charles T. Russell as a spiritual founder. The theology of these groups is in line with Russell's teachings in part or substantially and as modified by their founders or leadership.

- Bible Fellowship Union (1917 - Present) 

This group was formed by the British Board of Directors of the International Bible Students Association. They withdrew their support and took control of the "London Tabernacle." On April 5, 1919, the Bible Students Committee was constituted to coordinate publishing, pilgrim service, etc., outside the Society's auspices.

The B.S.C. Monthly (1924-1927), Bible Students Monthly (1927-1951), was published by the Bible Fellowship Union (BFU) under the original editorship of E. Housden. In August 1951 the name was changed to Bible Study Monthly, so as not to be mistaken with the new Watch Tower, who previously published a journal by that name. A. O. Hudson (b.1899 - d.2000) served as editor until his death in 2000 at the age of 101 and as general director until the late 1990s. He was succeeded by Derrick Nadal. The BFU cooperates with the PBI in the U.S. 
This is one of the rare Bible Student groups that does not mention of C.T. Russell prominently nor use his writings. They produce their own booklets and tracts, etc.

- Berean Bible Institute (Melbourne, AU) (1918 - Present)

R.E.B. Nicholson rejected the "seventh volume  in 1918 and thence formed the Berean Bible Institute which has continuously published Peoples Paper (which remarkably still uses some of the Classic Watchtower imagery in its masthead) in Melbourne since 1918 (edited by E. E. Martin, circa 1926-1988) as well as other books, booklets and tracts.  The Institute represents both the PBI and the Dawn in that country. There are several associated Berean Bible Student classes (including Polish) in Australia and also a few in New Zealand. Link to their website.

- The Philanthropic Society  (1919 - Present)

"The Angel of Jehovah Bible and Tract Society" also known as the "Philanthropic Assembly of the Friends of Man," aka "The Church of the Kingdom of God, Philanthropic Assembly" aka "Philanthropic Society" is a group established in 1920, by Alexander F. L. Freytag - who had been the Swiss Branch Manager of the Society. Despite his open and public disagreement with Russell on many important doctrines, Russell personally appointed him Swiss Branch manager in 1898. 

In 1917 he started publishing his views using the Society's presses and paper. After he was ousted in 1919 by Rutherford, he formed the Philanthropic Society and published a four volume set of scriptural writings, mostly published in French. His writings have been translated into English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Dutch. He published his own hymn book, to which he wrote and composed all the music, as well as his own devotional book. He also wrote numerous booklets and tracts. He published two journals, the monthly "The Monitor of the Reign of Justice" and the weekly "Paper For All". They have branch offices in Switzerland, France, Germany, Belgium, and Italy. Members of this group view Freytag as "that Faithful and Wise Servant" of Matthew 24:45-47.

In 1920, Freytag published a book entitled "Messenger of Laodicea" in which he challenged certain doctrines and certain topics within the Studies in the Scriptures volumes. Rutherford responded to Freytag's book in "The Harp of God" - his first major book.

- Forest Gate Church (England) (1920s - 1979)

This was the second largest Bible Student group in England. F.G. Guard, father-in-law of William Crawford, led the effort to divorce themselves from the Society. However in wasn't until 1939, when they started publishing their own journal. "The Forest Gate Church Bible Monthly", along with booklets and tracts. This group folded in 1979.

- Polish Bible Students (1921 - Present)

When Rutherford tried to incorporate his sweeping changes, the Polish Bible Students as a group rejected these and declared that they would subscribe to Pastor Russell s teachings only.  In 1921 the original Watchtower headquarters was taken over by the Polish Bible Students. Remarkably although it had been communicated to them that Rutherford was the new President, they did not learn that Russell was actually dead until 1925.  A few years later the Society incorporated "The International Bible Students Association II" in Poland because the first one was lost to the Polish Bible Students.  Somehow the second association was also taken over by the Polish Bible Students when the branch manager joined them.  Thus it was necessary for the Society to try and incorporate "The International Bible Students Association III" but the impending war and political situation made rendered this attempt unsuccessful. 

After WWII, only a few Bible Students adopted the changes and became Jehovah s Witnesses.  The majority remained members of the Polish Bible Students.

As early as 1921, the Polish Bible Students began publishing The Watchman.  Previously there had actually been two Polish language "Watch Towers" with the same title and even the same (traditional "Crown and Cross" cover), one produced by the Society and the other by the Polish Bible Students in Chicago, IL.  In 1930 they began publishing the monthly Dawn of a New Era which was interrupted during the war years.  In 1948 they began publishing the monthly "The Watch" and in 1958 they began publishing the monthly "DayBreak."  Every year they hold a convention in which some 2,000 Bible Students attend.

- India Bible Students Association (1921 - Present)

S. P. Devasahayam ("Davey"), from near Nagercoil, had begun the work in 1912, including translation of Studies in the Scriptures, volume 1, into Tamil and then Malayalam. After Russell s death, contact with the Watch Tower was lost for many years, but contact with the PBI was later established. Davey became physically weak about 1920 and thenceforth involuntarily inactive until his death in 1936. Then, also, many associates left the Society en masse.

Davey appointed V. Devasandosham to succeed him circa 1920. A capable organizer, Devasandosham organized the "Associated Bible Students  (later India Bible Students Association) and centered the work in Madras. The IBSA began publishing their own monthly periodical "Zion's Express" as well as the "India Bible Students Monthly" and other writings including Tamil publications "Babylon and her Daughters,  "Is Saturday the Sabbath of the Christians?,  and "The True Bible Catechism.  Later,  Devasandosham suggested 2520+30 years might signify the end in 1944; after 1939 many sold everything for the sake of the Christian work, which afterwards led to serious problems.

Originally from Singapore, Bro. Pakian (of poor health) bought a small printing press in Madras, 1920-1924. Pakian Press printed many Tamil tracts, and a monthly magazine (since 1922) for the Associated Bible Students. After Devasandosham s death, the press was moved to Coimbatore, in 1966 (with a press bought by the Dawn) to Madurai, and in 1974 to Trichy (Tiruchiripali, where there were about three hundred in the class). Sr. Ryer Pillai gave a trimming machine for books circa 1960.

As head of the India Bible Students Association, Devasandosham (1920-1944) was succeeded by T. C. Devakannu ("TCD  1944-1970), by S. Rathansami (1967-1975) of Tiruchiripali, and Sebastian (1975- ). The India Bible Students Association [Tamil language] convention has been held annually since 1921. Currently it lasts about three days, attracts as many as five hundred, and from year-to-year rotates among a few cities. The Bible Students Press publishes a monthly magazine in the Tamil language. Several hundred Bible Students are scattered throughout India, but are primarily in the south.

Sundar Raj Gilbert left an engineering career to begin his activity. His outreach beyond the Tamil state began in 1940. Solomon Subamangalam and Bro. George by chance found a small Dawn booklet at Madras and wrote for free literature early in 1946. In 1947 Subamangalam gave some of it to Sundar Raj Gilbert. Then correspondence between H. A. Livermore of Portland, Oregon, and Sundar Raj Gilbert led to foreign support of the India work beginning in 1947. The Northwest India Committee (in America later renamed Northwest Committee for India, and now Friends of India) receives cooperation from several classes and individuals in the U.S. and Canada. The South India Bible Students Committee was formed in 1965 (in conjunction with G. R. Pollock s visit) to publish literature also in the other native languages including Telugu, Kanada (Canarese), Malayalam, Marathi, Gujarati, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, and Oriya. The Bible Students Press has a working agreement with the Dawn in America.

Incidentally, C.T. Russell was so influential in India on his visits there and to leper colonies that there are currently several towns and streets named after him.

- StandFast Bible Students Association

In December 1918, Charles E. Heard, and some others, considered Rutherford's endorsement of the purchase of war bonds a perversion of Russell's pacifist teachings,[89] and contrary to scripture.[90] As a result, they founded the StandFast Bible Students Association in Portland, Oregon. The name originated from their decision to “stand fast" on principles involving war that Russell had espoused. Opposed to public witnessing, they eventually dwindled in numbers, and then completely dissolved. A splinter group known as the Elijah Voice Society, was founded by John A. Herdersen and C. D. McCray in 1923. They were especially noted for their witnessing and pacifist activity.[citation needed]

- The Elijah Voice Society (1923 - ???)

In 1923, John A. Herdersen, C.D. McCray and about 300 persons from the Stand Fasters Bible Students organized the Elijah Voice Society. For several years they published the Elijah Voice Monthly and numerous tracts. This group became the most prominent Seventh Volume group.  They felt they were "called to smite babylon," similar to the Stand Fasters, only they were more extreme - so extreme they refused to salute the flag, buy liberty bonds, and contribute to the Red Cross, long before the Jehovah's Witnesses. This group also, eventually dwindled to non-existence. 

- Old Paths Publications (England) (1925 - 1961) 

An original member of the British Board of Directors, William Crawford, was a staunch Bible Student, he caused the first split among the British Board of Directors. And founded "Old Paths Publications" and produced the monthly journal "Old Paths." Countless, booklets, books, and tracts were produced. 

- Servants of Yah (1925 - ?)

Probably the strangest of all Bible Student groups to form during this period was that group based in Brooklyn, NY, and led by C.H. Zook.  This small group, called the "Servants of Yah" came to believe that Satan's name was in fact "Jehovah," and so Jehovah's Witnesses were really Witnesses of Satan. They were Universalist.  They denied the teachings of Armageddon, the Flood, water Baptism, the Ransom, Restitution, etc. They had branches in Levittown, New York and Vienna, Austria. Other than these major differences their doctrines were similar to Jehovah's Witnesses.  They believed that only the 144,000 are destined to discover the hidden meaning of the scriptures and enter heaven. The meaning is hidden partly because they believe that our Bible texts were altered. They see the Bible as primarily prophecy, most of which relates to the present century. They believe that everyone who ever lived will live forever on a paradise earth except the 144,000 who live in heaven. This group has dwindled to non-existence.

- The Christian Millennial Fellowship (1928 - Present)

This was originally the "Italian Bible Students Association," and "Millennial Bible Students Church," based in the "little Italy" section of Hartford, CT. This group is currently associated with one of the earliest offshoots of the Watchtower Society. They withdrew their support in 1928, and in 1940, they produced the New Creation - a Herald of Christ's Kingdom journal. However a few years later, Gaetano Boccaccio, began to be influenced by the writings of E.C. Henninges and M.L. Mcphail. The CMF eventually discarded most of Russell's writings as error and converted to "New Covenant Bible Students." Gaetano Boccaccio was its leader since its inception, having been with the Society since 1917, he died in 1996. For over fifty years he led this group from Hartford, Connecticut. Today the group is international, has been relocated to New Jersey and is headed by Elmer Weeks.

- German Bible Students Association (1930 - Present)

Although the events and persecution of the German Bible Students are remarkable and tragic, the facts are that many of these Bible Students had divorced themselves from the Organization prior to WWII and only some of the post-WWII Bible Students rejoined the Society.  (See the German Timeline.)  

Thus although all "bibelforscher" were subjected to intense persecution, the claims made by the Society regarding "their members' persecution" during the war must be understood in this light.

In fact, like other Bible Student groups, a large portion of the German Bible Students Association declared their independence from the Society and rejected the sweeping changes instituted by Rutherford as early as the 1920s.  In the 1930s they independently published the monthly "Der Pilgrim" which was suspended when Hitler took power. 

After the war they began publishing "the Burning Lamp" and then in 1949, they began publishing "the Christian Watchtower" and "The Tagesanbruch".   Today they are a sizable group and publish the monthly periodical "Herald of Christ's Kingdom" as well as numerous books and booklets of Russell s writings translated into the German language.

- Watchers of the Morning

In the 1930s, some prominent members of the PBI influenced by the writings of both E. C. Henninges and M. L. McPhail—two prominent pilgrims who left the Society in 1909 because of some doctrinal disagreements with Pastor Russell—began to deny that Christ was present and other important doctrines held by the brethren. In 1936 Isaac Francis Hoskins (a deposed director by JFR), a director of the Pastoral Bible Institute, and others withdrew from that association in a dispute over doctrinal matters and began publishing The Watchers of the Morning, a journal which continued until June 1957.
The Watchers of the Morning was after 1936, by Isaac F. Hoskins, but his occupation as "Minister -- Pastoral Bible Institute" was on September 12, 1918.

In the early 1930’s troubles arose in the PBI. Some of its prominent members began to believe the Church was under the Mediator and under the New Covenant (rather than part of the Mediator of that covenant when it goes into operation in the thousand-year kingdom of Christ), and that the Church has no part in the sin offering (rather than joining with Jesus Christ in that offering). Some also doubted that the Lord had returned in any sense, and that the sleeping saints had been raised from the dead. Others protested that none should be engaged in the ministry except those in harmony with "Present Truth." Still others, who were in harmony with "Present Truth," defended the right of those who were not to continue in the service without limitation. At the PBI annual meeting 1936 June 6 the "liberal" directors, Dr. S.D. Bennett, J.J. Blackburn, J.C. Jordan, P.L. Read, and P.E. Thomson, were elected, together with their nominees, Chester E. Stiles of Washington, D.C., and Benjamin Boulter of New Jersey. The "Present Truth" directors, I.F. Hoskins and B.A. Parkes, were not elected, nor their nominees, P.A. Gates of Memphis, C.H.S. Kuehn of Toledo, C.W. McCoy of Spokane, S.N. McElvany of Pittsburgh, and G.C. Stroke of Buffalo.

Thereupon, Isaac Hoskins withdrew from the PBI and in 1937 April began publishing Watchers of the Morning, emphasizing "Present Truth." Among those cooperating with Hoskins were H.H. Eddy of Providence, R.I., C.W. McCoy of Spokane, and Charles F. Moser of Toledo. Watchers of the Morning continued until Hoskins died (1957 Sept. in the Los Angeles area). (His sister, Edith, stayed with the PBI.)

They have this good point:

"began to deny that Christ was present and other important doctrines (cronological doctrines ?) held by the brethren." 

Although it is outside of the main time period, the following schismatic group could be included as one of the breakaway Bible Student groups:

- The Goshen Fellowship (1951 - Present)

The Goshen Fellowship was formed as a result of the ministry of Jesse Hemery. He was undoubtedly the most prominent Bible Student/Jehovah's Witness in England, serving as Vice President of the IBSA, a position he held until 1946 since his appointment by Pastor Russell in 1901. He was disfellowshipped by N. H. Knorr in 1951. Although he accepted much of Russell's interpretations, he did reject the second presence as being a current reality. Believing Revelation was to be fulfilled in the future, he wrote a few commentaries on Revelation and other books of prophecy. He died in 1955 shortly after founding the "Goshen Fellowship" in 1951. Frank Lewis Brown headed the group for many years, publishing Zion's Herald, a monthly journal beginning in 1965.

In the Beginning... 
Russell: The Early Years 
Stumbling onto Adventism 
Unlearning Error 
The Herald of the Morning 
Disappointment, Disagreement and Separation 
Zion's Watch Tower: A New Beginning 
Relocating to Brooklyn, New York 
The Photo-Drama of Creation 
A Servant is Taken 
Siftings, Schisms and Separation 
Daughters of the Tower 
Laymen's Home Missionary Movement 
Epiphany Bible Students Association 
Laodicean Home Missionary Movement 
Pastoral Bible Institute, Inc. 
Watchers of the Morning 
Dawn Bible Students Association 
Christian Millennial Fellowship, Inc. 
Stand Fast Bible Students Association 
Elijah Voice Society 
Servants of Yah 
Bible Fellowship Union 
New Jerusalem Fellowship 
Old Paths Publications 
Forest Gate Church 
Bible Students Publishing Company 
Goshen Fellowship 
Institute of Pyramidology 
Angel of Jehovah Bible and Tract Society 
Berean Bible Institute 
New Covenant Fellowship 
Christian Truth Institute 
New Covenant Believers 
Associated Bible Students 

Interesting thing about a BS group:

February 12, 2000

The Jersey City Bible Students, would like to extend to you a warm invitation to attend our annual pre-thanksgiving convention held on the weekend of November 18, 19 2000.

It will be held at:

The Masonic Temple
1912 Morris Avenue
Union, NJ 08073

Dear Christian Friend,

The Jersey City brethren ... would like to extend to you a warm invitation to attend our annual pre-thanksgiving convention held on the weekend of November 21, 22 1998.



The Masonic Temple

1912 Morris Avenue

Union, NJ

Telephone: (908) 688-9842

Daughters Tower

Linkuri cu Adunari ale Studentilor Bibliei

Romania - Baia Mare

See also:
9. DEMONISM and the WATCH TOWER: JW's leader under the demon's control
39. Adventist imagination: When God will shut the door
41. The 2520 year theory is from William Miller, not from God
42. The 2520 years Gentile Times are from God or from Joshua Spalding?
43. Who were the first associated of pastor Charles Taze Russell?
44. Adventist linked origin of Bible Students & Jehovah's Witnesses
45. Charles Taze Russell early view about Nelson H. Barbour as "the chosen vessel of God"
46. A new split of the Second Adventists and the appearance of the Bible Student movement
47. Request for A.P. Pottle, "The Power of the Mind," The Golden Age
49. CT Russell's wrong view about the gentile times and the great tribulation
50. JW's Splinter groups: Free Bible Students Romanian Trip Report
51. JW's Splinter groups The Goshen Fellowship (1951 - Present)
52. Dialog about 1914 doctrine
53. God's people need a last reformation
 56. The Bible Student Movement and it's fractions

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