Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Interviewing a reluctant writer

... wherein I interview B. W. Schulz, pretty much against his will ... Enjoy it while it lasts. -Rachael

An Interview

R: So, you’re really going to let me interview you? … and post it to the blog?

B: Reluctantly.

R: Do I need permission to treat you as a hostile witness?

B: [Laughs]

R: You’re probably the most knowledgeable expert – maybe the only expert – when it comes to early Watch Tower history. Tell us how you became interested in Watch Tower history.

B: In 1955 The Watchtower published a series on its history. It was my introduction to the subject. Then, at the Awake Ministers District Assembly in 1959 the book Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose was released. It’s a heavily-footnoted history written in dialogue format ….

R: That was in 1959?

B: Yes.

R: You read the book …

B: Yes, most of it in our hotel room that evening. Later, I looked up as many of the references as I could.

R: The Watchtower has published other histories since. Would you still recommend the Divine Purpose book?

B: No serious researcher can afford to ignore it. When H. G. Wells History was published – in 1924 I think – a number of historians reviewed it. They praised it fairly uniformly, but many of them said something like, “Well, this is great, except my area of expertise should have gotten more attention.” That’s my opinion of Divine Purpose. It’s worth a read. Don’t ignore it. But for the era we’re researching it’s abbreviated and wrong.

R: When did you start writing about Watchtower history?

B: In the mid-1960s.

R: Published?

B: No, strictly for myself.

R: Tell me about it.

B: Reading the available material left me believing that most of the story was untold. I pursued original material, took notes and wrote them up. The net result was a three hundred page manuscript that covered much of the era we’re writing about now. It was very unsatisfactory.

R: Why?

B: Significant parts of it came from secondary sources. That seldom produces good history.

R: You wrote other things?

B: Some commercial product and two lengthy research papers on Watchtower history.

R: Those were for …

B: The research papers? For someone else’s book. They didn’t use or used very little of it.

R: You are a Witness.

B: Yes, since the early 1950s.

R: Does this color what you write?

B: When I started, yes. There is a sort of mythology surrounding Russell. This developed during his lifetime. There is Russell the Saint, and Russell the Villain. I was predisposed to the “sainthood” myth.

R: What changed?

B: Moses, Jeremiah, Jonah, Paul.

R: [Puzzled look]

B: The Bible is a remarkably candid book. Noah’s drunkenness, Lot’s incest, Moses’ temper, the raped concubine, Jeremiah’s peevishness, and Jonah’s reluctance find their place in the Bible’s narrative. The Bible depicts men of faith in blunt way, telling us of their godly deeds and their faults. That’s my model. The Bible is an excellent example for historians who may also have a religious belief system.

God is perfect. His worshipers are not. The peevish, sometimes perverted, occasionally stupid or silly behavior of his worshipers may be unattractive, but it is part of their story.

R: Your first book in this series …

B: Our first book …

R: Our first book was Nelson Barbour: The Millennium’s Forgotten Prophet. Tell me how that project started.

B: It started life as an article for a religious history magazine. They wanted ten to fifteen thousand words, original research with end notes. In short order – as these things go – it became apparent that what we were writing would be significantly longer. I measured what we had against the magazine’s requirements, deciding that we had a developing book instead of an article. I begged off from the article.

R: Reactions to the book? … You’re smiling ….

B: A wry smile, I’m sure.

Reactions were mixed, though mostly favorable. A literary-agent friend of yours looked at it and pronounced it excellent but not something she could readily sell. Someone asked me not to publish it because it made ‘the truth’ seem less than divine. A Bible Student railed against it because it was about Barbour. Another pronounced it ‘just history.’ He is dismissive of everyone’s work but his own. He already knows what another may discover, he already owns the reference material though he never produces it. One reviewer suggested it was boring because there is no great scandal in it. On the other hand, professional historians love the book. It is, in a minor way, a myth-busting book. Those who want an accurate history like it. Those with an interest in preserving myth don’t.

R: The next book pops cherished myths …

B: Yes.

R: Such as …

B: There are endless myths connected to Russell. We peel away as many of those as we can. Claims about his childhood, his connections to various groups and philosophies, claims made about his business. We put him back into his historical context and tell as fully as possible the paths he took and who his associates were and what part they played in his theological development.

R: There will be surprises?

B: Maybe … probably.

R: A publication date?

B: Not yet; too much left to research. We find something new almost every day.

R: The next book will focus on the years 1870 to 1887?

B: With overlap on each side of that date span.

R: Now that didn’t hurt at all, did it?

B: I have a head ache now.

R: One last question: Tell us about your academic credentials.

B: No.

R: Please …

B: Okay, stop pouting. I have a history degree and an education degree both from colleges of little note. I teach.

R: [Insert un-lady-like snort here.]

Monday, February 4, 2013

More on Horace Randle


Horace A. Randle is mentioned in the Proclaimers book (page 418) and his story has been well told on the two history blogs. A medical missionary in China, he resigned after reading Millennial Dawn, and came back home to England. He published an eight page tract on Future Probation in 1901 from London. The census returns for London in 1901 describe him as “Medical Missionary and Preacher, Millennial Dawn Christian.” He was then living with his wife Ellen, and son Arnold.

In 1907 he started a short-lived magazine entitled Good News of the Coming Age published in Salford. At least one issue is in the British Library, but only a small portion can be copied, and then only by someone physically visiting the library.

In the 1911 census, Horace was in Salford at his sister’s home, along with his mother and two brothers. His wife and son Arnold were still living in London. References to Millennial Dawn had disappeared; he was now just described as Medical Missionary retired.

He appears to have left association with ZWT over the New Covenant issue (see Proclaimers page 630) and by 1914 was circulating material critical of both CTR’s revised views on the New Covenant, and also his high profile in the media of the day.

As a result, the St Paul Enterprise – a newspaper mainly published for Bible Students – in its issue for September 25, 1914, printed a response from an Alex Evans of the Olive Branch Ecclesia in Louisiana.

This response was viewed as sufficiently important to be reprinted in a special issue of the St Paul Enterprise in November 1914, where Evans is described as “one of our colored brethren.” This suggests that Randle’s criticism was quite widely circulated at the time in the Bible Student community.

Randle’s subsequent activities are not known, but he died in the Salford area in the latter part of 1926 aged 71.

Below is a transcript taken from the first publication of Alex Evans’ rebuttal.


Alex. Evans replies to Mr. Horace A. Randle


A Member of an Ecclesia at Olive Branch, Louisiana, in defense of Pastor Russell, Submits this Open Letter.
Olive Branch, La., Sept. 3d, 1914.

Editor St. Paul Enterprise:
I have read an open letter to Pastor Russell by Horace A. Randle, in which he makes several charges. I wish to make the following reply:

The letter is written in an apparently Christian Spirit. But herein lies its Evil Subtility, for we remember the Betrayal kiss by Judas which had the outward appearance of an act of Love, but proved to be the farthest thing from Love.

Randle claims that Pastor Russell and the Bible Students’ movement has changed in recent years; to this I quote the following Scripture: "The path of the Just is as a shining light that shineth more and more, unto the perfect day." (Prov. 4:18.) "Walk as children of the light." (Eph. 5:8.) "If we walk (not ‘sit’) in the light." (1John 1:7.)

Some claim that the one whom the Lord would use as "That Servant," at His second advent (Matt. 24:46; Luke 12:42) would need be infallible, perfect, and make no mistakes. But there have been only two perfect men on earth, Adam and Jesus. I have heard people say that both of them made mistakes: That Adam made a mistake in thinking that it would be better to transgress and die with Eve than to live alone after her death. And that Jesus made a mistake in going to a certain fig tree for figs and found nothing but leaves. Whether this be so or not, I can’t see why anyone should blame Pastor Russell for making and correcting a few little errors during the long period of the last forty years. Rather we should say, He has done well.
Randle says that, the pastor errs in saying that the Goat of Lev. 16:15 is a type of the church, and that it signifies that the church is a joint sacrifice with Jesus in the world’s great sin offering.

If the Lord’s Goat, and its process of offering did not typify the church and its suffering with Jesus, I ask, What then did it typify? All Bible Students ought to be able to agree that Jesus was an exact corresponding price for Adam, and that justice calls for nothing more. Yet we can see how it could "permit" more to be put on the measure. We remember how Jesus spoke of giving measures. He said: "Pressed down, shaken together, and "running over." (See Luke 6:38.) What if the church is found to be making the measure overflow? And what shall we do with the following Scripture if the church is not a joint sacrifice with Jesus?
"Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach." (Heb. 13:13.)

"We are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones." (Eph. 5:33.)

"Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body’s sake, "which is the church:’" ( Col. 1:24.) (There was a portion left behind for the church to fill up according to this Scripture.) Again we read, "Both he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are one." (not two.) (Heb 2:11.)
"I pray for them, I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me." (John 17:9.)

"A people for his name." (Acts 15:14.) (What people?)

"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the Glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you (the church) the Hope of Glory." (Col. 1:27.)

"If ye be Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise." (Gal. 3:29.)

"If children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may also be Glorified Together." (Rom. 8:17.) (The joint heirship depends upon the joint sufferingship, in the type the Goat suffered with the Bullock.)

"If we suffer with Him, (as did the Goat with the Bullock) we shall also reign with Him." (2 Tim. 2:12.)

I could cite many more Scriptures showing that the church (His church) takes a part with Jesus in the world’s great sin offering. Not that justice required it, but that wisdom and love arranged it so. It is not an obligation, but a great privilege, the greatest ever offered.
There are two more standpoints from which we can view nearly everything, and so it is with the subject under discussion. From one standpoint, we can view it as being all done by Jesus, because all the merit resides in Him, and from another viewpoint we see each member of His church presenting themselves to be joint sacrificers with Jesus filling in a place as though the sin offering would not have been complete without them. But from either view point it remains materially the same.

Jesus wears the title of priest at the present time and the apostle says every priest must have something to offer (Heb. 8:3) and the intimation is that when He ceases to have anything to offer, then His priestly office will end. Now I ask, what does Jesus have now to offer, remembering that He has long since offered Himself once for all time? Still he has something to offer, and what else could it be but His church, His mystical body in the flesh? Rom. 12:1 comes in right here. We present ourselves to Him, and He presents us to the Father. The High Priest in the type supervised all the sacrificing and the same is being done in the antitype. It is all so beautiful and clear to many Bible Students, including the writer.
The relation or connection that Christ and His church bear one another, has been the mystery unsolvable for many centuries to not only the world, but also to the nominal church.
But now in the light of the foregoing we can understand Heb. 5:3. As the church was to become part of Himself, (His wife, Rev. 19:7) in the sense of becoming a member of the great Messianic body of which He was the head, it can thus be said the he made an offering for himself, although he had no personal sin. (Heb. 7:25.)

Concerning the "new covenant," I will say, If it has gone into operation as Mr. Randle and others say, I would like them to tell us why it is that the Jews don’t know anything about it? According to the Scriptures it is to be made with them. (See Jer. 31:31, and Heb. 8:10.) And where is the "new heart" and general knowledge that is to result from it? I know that these questions are unanswerable, except from the viewpoint that both Jesus and His church are the world’s great testator; and before the Testament can go into effect, the death of the Testator must take place. As the church, which is a part of the great Testator, has not finished dying. The "new covenant" has not gone into effect yet; for where a Testament is, there must also be the Death of the Testator, says the apostle. (Heb. 9:16.) Though we are now serving, and being made able ministers of the "new covenant," in the sense of preparing ourselves for it.

Randle complains about the Pastor’s name appearing in a certain Tower more times than the name of Jesus. There is no virtue in mentioning a name, nor a lack of virtue by not mentioning it. Bible Students will remember that Jesus said that many will say to Him in that day, Lord, Lord, (calling his name double) have we not prophesied in Thy name, and in Thy name done wonders, cast out devils, etc.? And he will answer them saying, I have never recognized you; depart from me ye workers of iniquity. (Matt. 7:23.)

Again He asked: Why call ye me Lord, Lord, (so many times) and do not the thing which I say? (Luke 6:46.) Upon the testimony of these Scriptures we can rest assured that nothing is to be gained by calling the Lord’s name so many times. And as to Pastor Russell’s name appearing in the Jan. 1, 1912, Tower a good many times, that is the special Tower setting forth the beginning and development of present Truth, and the Harvest Work as was called for by newspaper editors who were contracting to publish the sermons; because they knew that the world wants to know about the personality of a man, where he came from, etc.; and had Pastor Russell not granted their innocent request, He would not have been acting wisely, because editors would have refused to publish a man’s sermons who had refused to make Himself known, and the Tower contained such, together with newspaper clipping; that all its readers might know how the work we love so much was progressing. The pastor objected to his picture going at the head of his sermons but the editors protested that it must be and he granted it only to keep from hindering the cause he loved so well as to sacrifice his thousands of dollars and himself for.

The Pastor made clear his unselfish motive in the start when he sacrificed his prosperous business and himself for the good of others and he maintains this same motive even unto this day. And the facts, when all of them are known about this noble man, will prove that a prophet sent of God has been in our midst, and he will go down in history as one of the greatest of men.
I am glad that I had the privilege of reading that open letter for it has caused me to research my Bible and Pastor Russell’s writings in the Tabernacle Shadows and to thus review the cloud of Scripture witnesses in the Pastor’s doctrinal favor. And I would suggest to all those who have not read the "Tabernacle Shadows" and "The Divine Plan of the Ages," by Pastor Russell, to do so on the first opportunity and begin to enjoy the feast of fat things therein revealed. They can be obtained from the W. T. B. & T. Society, 17 Hicks St., Brooklyn, N. Y., at a nominal cost or free to those who need.
"I live for those who love me,
And awaits my coming too;
And the good that I can do."
For the cause that lacks assistance,
For the future in the distance,
For the Heaven that smiles above me,
For the wrong that needs resistance,
For those who know me true;
Yours in the defense of the Lord’s Truth, and His special servant,


(end of transcript)