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Charles Russell

QUESTION: Who were Charles Russell and Joseph Rutherford?


Charles Russell (1852-1916) is credited with founding the organization that is now known as the Jehovah's Witnesses. He spent his early childhood years in Pittsburgh and Allegheny, Pennsylvania. He worked with his father in the clothing business. By age 18, he was elected as the leader of a Bible class, but later had to resign to do doctrinal differences. He came to deny eternal punishment, the Trinity, and the deity of Jesus Christ.

In 1879, Russell co-founded (with N.H. Barbour) The Herald of the Morning, which is now called The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah's Kingdom. Russell also incorporated Zion's Watchtower Tract Society.

Russell married Maria Ackley and she helped him run the Watchtower. Maria left her husband in 1897 and later sued for separation.

The life of Charles Russell is ridden with legal issues and scandals. His life ended on October 31, 1916 and Joseph Franklin Rutherford became the President of Watch Tower Society.

Joseph Rutherford (1869-1942) was raised in Missouri as a Baptist. Following his schooling, he went into court reporting, then into law, and then became a substitute judge. He was also interested in the teachings of Charles Russell, especially Millennial Dawn. Following Russell's death, Rutherford was elected Watch Tower Society President in 1916.

Rutherford's writers became widely distributed through Watch Tower, both in the United States and abroad. It is said that he wrote over 100 books and pamphlets.

The organization became known as "The Jehovah's Witnesses" during his term of President in 1931. Rutherford died in 1942.

Learn More about Jehovah Witnesses!

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We have all sinned and deserve God’s judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.

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