Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Amazon Review

By Andrew Grzadzielewski on November 7, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase 
I finished my copy of A Separate Identity a few weeks ago. The story that is told of the early days of the ministry of Charles Taze Russell is fascinating and the incredible details uncovered by the authors make this a must read for any Witness or Bible Student, or for that matter, anyone interested in religion in general. Even though it covers only a few short years of Russell’s life, it shows that his spiritual journey was much more complicated that has ever been realized.

But the book is much more than just a statement of facts about Russell’s spiritual development. It tells a story that has never really been told. The usual Watchtower story has Russell and his close associates meeting in small groups and refining their ideas and doctrinal positions in a spiritual vacuum. While acknowledging the efforts of a few spiritual advisors, the Watchtower often perpetuates a myth that Russell and his associates “rediscovered” lost Bible truths on their own in their small study group. The reality, brilliantly documented in this book, is that Russell’s spiritual journey was influenced by a multitude of others, including clergymen, family members, friends, and many others, some of whom he considered his spiritual mentors. It also clearly demonstrates that his path toward creating a separate religious identity was anything but linear; it was a meandering trip filled with starts, stops, potholes and plenty of indecision. And since the book only provides the story up to 1879, the year the Watchtower was first published, there evidently is a lot more to be told.

The standard Watchtower mythology, which is still perpetuated to this day, is shown to be wholly inadequate to even begin to describe what he and his associates when through as they developed this new identity. The portrait that this book paints of Russell makes him appear much more human and vulnerable than anyone has perhaps ever expected. We can now begin to see Russell the man, rather than Russell the saint, unilaterally rediscovering lost truth.

As a Witness myself, I now find myself disappointed by the usual Watchtower approach to Russell, and anxious to learn more. The authors speak of a second volume to their work, taking events 15 or more years into the future. This volume dismantles the myth of Russell laboring nearly alone to bring back apostolic Christianity. I wonder what the next volume will say about the other extreme, the one in which Russell is portrayed as a con man, a heretic, or worse.

Buy it and read it!

Also, check out the authors’ blog at http://truthhistory.blogspot.com.

1 comment:

ΤheTrumpetSeventh said...
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