June 1, 2008

Charles Russell, Dysfunctional Trinitarian

Charles Taze Russell began as Presbyterian and switched to a Congregational Church. At age sixteen he questioned the truths of the creeds and was on his road from functional Orthodoxy to functional Unitarianism. The road from Orthodoxy to Unitarianism is along the path of 12 years of dysfunctional Trinitarianism. Russell was helped along the way with Adventism.

The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania was founded in 1871. Today the Jehovah Witnesses number over six million worldwide. The creeds that once formed Russell's views of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are now displayed like Ephesian ruins lining the Appian way from the Mediterranean port. The Holy Spirit is merely an influence of the Father. Christ is a created being, Michael the Archangel. The only member left is "Jehovah" who is "Almighty God."

However Jehovah is not the God of the Orthodox creeds Russell once worshipped. Jehovah is a God limited by His own determination to judge mortal man who sinned against his law in the garden of Eden. He sits on a heavenly throne awaiting the final failure of man to rule in His stead. He has a perfect rule in heaven and awaits the establishment of an earthly rule on earth.

Russell's "Jehovah" is a man made being created corruptible to accommodate a world pleasing to man. Rom 1:18-23 The roots of this created being are embedded in the minds of struggling teenagers. The lad at 13-15 was known to chalk Bible verses on city sidewalks to draw attention to the punishment of hell awaiting the unfaithful in an attempt to convert unbelievers. At 16 he began questioning the God who would create such a place of eternal punishment. He changed the incorruptible God into "Jehovah" formed from diverse religious beliefs who would never create an everlasting Hell for sinners. This God is not the deterministic God of his childhood but the God who waits on man, yielding to his determination. Men who wish to live as the earthly class determine their own destiny while "Jehovah" determines the destiny of the heavenly class. Grace drives the heavenly class and works drive the earthly class. Christ of the heavenly class rules as King of the earthly class (1914) invisibly and soon visible.

What has this to do with Adrian Rogers? I have spent 2 1/2 years discussing with a Jehovah's Witness his beliefs and I am constantly amazed at the similarities there are to dispensational fundamentalism. Many times I respond to my friend what a good Baptist he would make!

Last week I prodded him again for the answer to the question of the sovereignty of God. "Is God sovereign?" "Yes, he answers!" "Does He know all eventualities", I ask. He said, "No"
He said that if He knew all eventualities then we would not have a choice and God would not be able to truly test and prove our obedience. Our love for God would not be a real love if God were otherwise.

Now this statement is the breakaway statement from Orthodox Trinitarianism, pure and simple. Now how often have you heard Dr Adrian Rogers make this same sort of statement?

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