A Letter from the Christian Congregation
This week “Our Christian Life and Ministry” (CLAM) meeting begins the study of a new book titled God’s Kingdom Rules! The first thing that congregation members are expected to comment on in the opening study of this series is a letter from the Governing Body to all kingdom publishers. Given that the many inaccuracies in that letter which will be taken by most as gospel, we feel it necessary to direct a letter of our own to the kingdom publishers.
Here at Beroean Pickets we are also a congregation. Since the Greek word for “congregation” refers to those who are “called out”, that surely applies to us. We are currently getting over 5,000 unique visitors every month on the sites, and while some are casual or incidental, there are many who regularly comment and contribute to the spiritual upbuilding of all.
The reason that Christians gather together is to incite one another to love and to the doing of fine works. (He 10:24-25) Though we are separated by many thousands of miles, with members in South, Central, and North America as well as many parts of Europe, and as far away as Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand, we are one in spirit. Collectively, our purpose is the same as any congregation of true Christians: the preaching of the good news.
This online community has come into being very much on its own – for it was never our intention to have anything more than a place for doing Bible research. We are not affiliated with any organized religion, though many of us have come from the denomination of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Despite that, or perhaps because of it, we eschew religious affiliation. We realize that organized religion requires submission to the will of men, something which is not for us, for we will submit only to the Christ. Therefore, we will not identify ourselves by a unique name other than that given in Scripture. We are Christians.
In every organized Christian church there are individuals in whom the seed planted by our Lord Jesus has grown. These are like wheat. Such ones, even though continuing to associate with a particular Christian denomination, submit only to Jesus Christ as Lord and Master. Our letter is written to the wheat in the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Dear Fellow Christian:
In view of the letter from the Governing Body which you will be studying this week, we’d like to offer a viewpoint which is not based on revised history, but rather established historical facts.
Let us look back on that fateful Friday morning of October 2, 1914. C.T. Russell, the man whom all the Bible students then considered to be the personification of the faithful and discreet slave on earth, made the following announcement:
“The Gentile Times have ended; their kings have had their day!”
Russell did not say that because he believed Christ had been enthroned invisibly in the heavens on that day. In fact, he and his followers believed that the invisible presence of Jesus as the enthroned king had begun in 1874. They also believed they had come to the end of the 40-year preaching campaign corresponding to the “harvest period.” It was not until 1931 that the date of the start of Christ’s invisible presence was moved to October 1914.
The excitement they felt at that announcement surely turned to disillusionment as the years went by. Two years later, Russell died. The directors that he designated in his will to replace him were subsequently ousted by Rutherford (a man not on Russell’s short list of appointees) in a corporate coup.
Given that Russell was wrong about all those things, is it not also conceivable that he was wrong about the date in which the Gentile Times ended?
Indeed, it would seem reasonable to ask if the Gentile Times have ended at all. What evidence is there that “their kings have had their day”? What evidence is there in world events to support such a claim? What evidence is there in Scripture? The simple answer to these three questions is: None! The fact of the matter is that the kings of the earth are more powerful than they have ever been. Some of them are so powerful that they could obliterate all life on earth in the question of hours should they choose to do so. And where is the evidence that Christ’s kingdom has begun ruling; has been ruling for over 100 years?
In the letter from the Governing Body you will be told that “Jehovah’s celestial chariot is on the move!”, and is moving at “an extremely brisk pace”. This is highly doubtful since Jehovah is never depicted in Scripture as riding in a chariot of any kind. The origin of such a doctrine is pagan.[i] Next, the letter will lead you to believe that there is evidence of rapid expansion worldwide and that this is proof of Jehovah’s blessing. It is noteworthy that this letter was written two years ago. A lot has happened in the past two years. The letter says:
“Self-sacrificing volunteers assist in the construction of Kingdom Halls, Assembly Halls, and branch facilities, both in prosperous lands and in lands with limited resources.” – par. 4
This is something of an embarrassment given the current state of affairs. With the exception of the Warwick headquarters, almost all the Society’s construction projects worldwide have been cancelled indefinitely. A year and half ago, we were asked for additional funds for the construction of thousands of Kingdom Halls. Great excitement was generated as new plans were revealed for a new and streamlined standardized Kingdom Hall design. One would expect that thousands of new halls would be under construction by now, and that the Internet as well as the JW.org site would be abuzz with photos and accounts of these construction projects. Instead, we are hearing of kingdom hall after kingdom hall being sold, and congregations being forced to travel long distances to make use of the remaining halls in their area. We also see a decline in the growth of new publishers with many countries reporting negative figures.
We are being told that the so-called earthly part of Jehovah’s organization has been moving at an extremely brisk pace, but we are not told the direction in which it is moving. The facts would seem to indicate that it is going backwards. This is hardly evidence of God’s blessing upon the organization.
As a study of this book progresses from week to week, we shall do our best to provide Christians who associate with the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses the truest picture possible of their “spiritual heritage”.
With every good wish, we are
Your brothers in Christ.