This was posted on the Present Truth Forum, under the heading of "How one Bible student sees himself", in regard to Christian freedom, and the accusation of "following a man."

I chose not to speak for all B.S. so that no one would be offended if they view matters differently, but this is how I view this subject.

Those who follow Luther call themselves Lutheran. Those who follow Calvin call themselves Calvinists, etc. This is perfectly exceptable for them because they consider themselves mainstream Christianity. However, the only people who call us Russelites are those outside the Bible Student group. No one in the B.S. group call themselves this, nor do they consider themselves worshipers of Russell.

Most see themselves as followers of Russel only in the same sense where Paul says "follow me as I follow Christ". Do we not follow Paul? And Matthew, and Mark, and John. Don't we learn from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and anyone else that gives indication that they were used by God?

Does God use earthly messengers or does he not? If he does, how can we tell who they are? You will know them by their fruits says Jesus--spiritual fruits--which the SITS and his other publications are full of. If they teach not according to the word of God then they are not of God.

Most of us feel Russell did follow Christ to the best of his ability, and was used as a messenger to deliver "meat in due season" to the saints. Many helped him to dispense the spiritual meat. Most of us view his teachings as from the Lord rather than a man made concoction. Russell wasn't intelligent enouph to come up with such an elaborate and perfect Plan that harmonizes with scripture so well; therefore, I conclude that it had to come from God. That's not to say he didn't make some mistakes or that his views didn't solidify and become more clear as time went on.

Some outside the group ironically accuse us of the very thing that they do, namely, follow a man. They go to church every Sunday and lap up whatever the preacher says with barely enough time to open their Bibles due to all the singing, entertainment, and "healing". Yet, because we study and adhere closely to Russell's writings--proving them with scripture and subjecting them to the most scrutinous examinations--questioning and proving every detail--we are considered (among some of our enemies) dupes, sheep who can't think for themselves, etc.

Some of our enemies use this terminology because they are angry that they can't persuade us to follow them instead, even after they give us a good abusive tongue lashing or brow beating. There are many who claim to be Christian, but all they're really interested in is a good fight to show off their intelligence, or persuading you to follow them, or get at your wallet...or whatever. They wear the name like jewlry that can be put on and taken off when it's convenient. Christian is as Christian does.

Some claim that the Pastor's writings are old and outdated. That the light gets brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. Those who make this claim usually havn't/don't read his writings at all. His writings are amazingly contemporary considering it was written more than 80 years ago. The light does indeed get brighter, but the light does not change to a different color.

Some act incredulous that we claim to have the Truth. Should we claim to have error? Or should we say that none can know the Truth in an attempt not to offend any other Christian group? Should we say it's all a big mystery and we're just as confused as everyone else when we're not? I wouldn't be a B.S. if I thought Russell taught contrary to the word of God!

We don't make this claim in a haughty way, we make the claim in all humility because of the great responsibility it lays on us. What do we have that we haven't recieved from others. Bible Student's didn't originate the Truth nor did Russell--God did. we feel it's God's Truth, not Russell's, not ours. Bible students merely do their best to proclaim and follow it.

I wouldn't care if a kangaroo wrote the SITS, I would still read them and would get the same blessing.

Hope this helps give you some insight.


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