"NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST THEE SHALL PROSPER."
OUR PUBLICATIONS have many able enemies, yet one and all they are powerless in their opposition. As in the harvest of the Jewish age the Scribes, Pharisees and Doctors of the Law, when they could not resist the truths then due, "gnashed upon him with their teeth," but "could not answer him," so it is now in the harvest of the Gospel age. Their rage is impotent except as it resorts to misrepresentation and sophistical trickery which the Lord assures us cannot "deceive the very elect."
About ten years ago a certain Professor Morehead (himself tabooed by many as a "heretic" because of his advocacy of pre-millennarian views) wrote an article for the United Presbyterian in which he did his worst to defame MILLENNIAL DAWN. The article was reprinted as a tract in various quarters by persons laboring [R2738 : page 366] under similar misconceptions of divine and human justice. These are published by some three or four parties--none of whom, probably, ever read the books he seeks to defame.
We did not consider Prof. Morehead's tirade worthy an answer, believing, as we still do, that honest people (of whom alone we need expect to find the "saints" whom we seek) would be quite able to discern the professor's sophistry. The below correspondence will be interesting to our readers as showing the correctness of our supposition that honest children of God are not misled by the Adversary and his agents.
CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN TWO MINISTERS RE MILLENNIAL
DAWN AND THE MOREHEAD "SMOKE."
(Bro. Sedden, as we understand it, was at the time Recording Secretary of the Southern Chautauqua Assembly of Atlanta, Ga., and Bro. Worrell a visiting speaker at its Evangelical Alliance prayer service. The matter has been held over for some time now in order to permit Bro. Worrell to find time for a reply justifying his position, but all in vain.)
ATLANTA, GA., Aug. 11, 1899.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--You will probably be interested in the enclosed, which will explain itself. Kindly return to me the letter to Bro. Worrell re the Morehead tract. Keep the latter, however, if you can use it in any way. [The letters follow in their order.] Yours fraternally, A. E. SEDDON.
ATLANTA, GA., Aug. 2, 1899.
REV. A. S. WORRELL,
DEAR BROTHER:--I was in the Alliance prayer-meeting this afternoon when, in the close of your address, you denounced as unscriptural the teachings of C.T. Russell of Allegheny City, Pa. I regret that the necessity of your having immediately to catch a train deprived me of an opportunity I greatly desired to ask you in what particulars in your opinion the teachings of the MILLENNIAL DAWN series of books are unscriptural. I have read four volumes of that series, and other writings of Bro. Russell's, and am not only interested but also impressed by his presentation of God's Word. If there are some points in which he is at variance with God's Word, I should esteem it a great kindness and an act of extreme brotherly service to have them pointed out. Hoping you will kindly reply, I am, Yours fraternally, A. E. SEDDON.
LOUISVILLE, KY., Aug. 12, 1899.
MR. A. E. SEDDON,
DEAR SIR:--Yours of the 2nd inst. has been received and noted, in reply to which I enclose a tract touching on some of the evils of the MILLENNIAL DAWN. Much more could be said, but my time is taken up in other work that falls to my lot in my regular business.
It amazes me that anyone who really knows the Christ of the Bible should have ever been ensnared by the writings of Mr. Russell. The Christ of Mr. Russell is altogether a different character from the Christ of the Bible. See Isa. 9:6; John 1:1,2, etc., etc.
I trust that his writings do not truly represent him. May you, my dear sir, not be ruined by the errors of Mr. Russell. Respectfully,
A. S. WORRELL.
ATLANTA, GA., Aug. 14, 1899.
REV. A. S. WORRELL,
DEAR SIR:--On receiving today yours of the 12th inst., in reply to my request of an earlier date, that you should specify charges that you make against the writings of Bro. Chas. T. Russell (in justification of your denunciation of those writings at the Evangelical Alliance prayer meeting), I regret I cannot accept it as a satisfactory reply.
I cannot resist the impression either that you ranked my intelligence very low in supposing I could accept such a reply as having any weight at all, or that, giving me credit for average intelligence, you trifled with my sincere and even anxious inquiries by sending an answer which would not have satisfied you, had our positions been reversed.
The only charge you made against the MILLENNIAL DAWN doctrines in your address was that you had known cases where Christian character had 'wilted' under their influence. But you surely cannot use that as a proof that the doctrines are unscriptural, since such 'wilting' is possible and frequently happened under Apostolic teaching. See Heb. 6:4-6; 10:28-31; 1 John 5:16. I wrote you in all sincerity asking for a specification of charges. I understood from your own statement that you were wholly given up to the Lord's work. It was as a sincerely inquiring disciple who supposed it possible that you could clearly see some aspect of truth that had escaped my notice that I felt such an inquiry was rightly made of the Lord's servant, and that in the Lord's name I had a right to expect a candid statement of specific charges.
What do you send me? A statement that your time is taken up in other work that falls to your lot in the course of your regular business; but you find time to express amazement that any one who really knows the Christ of the Bible should ever have been ensnared by the writings of Mr. Russell. You make the assertion, "The Christ of Mr. Russell is altogether a different character from the Christ of the Bible;" but you do not specify one single item of the alleged difference. You express a hope that his writings do not truly represent him and that I may not be ruined by his errors, but you do not pen one sentence calculated to avert that ruin, nor do you suggest any explanation of your extraordinary hope that Mr. Russell may think one way and write another. Is that something to be hoped for? If a man teach errors, it surely were better for him that he believe that he is teaching the truth, than that, knowing the truth, he nevertheless teaches error with seeming sincerity in writings that do not truly represent him. It seems to me that could your "hope" for Bro. Russell be realized, it would place him in a very low plane of moral obliquity.
In addition to this you enclose two tracts, one an excellent homily on Luke 2:10,11, in which, after carefully reading it twice, I cannot discern the remotest connection with my inquiries. Personally I would say "Amen" to every sentence of that tract--and I believe that Brother Russell would do the same. You also enclose [R2738 : page 367] a tract which is a direct attack upon the MILLENNIAL DAWN books. To this I will now refer.
You express a hope that Bro. Russell's writings do not truly represent him. I think it will be the kindest thing I can say to you that I trust this attack on the MILLENNIAL DAWN books by Prof. W.G. Morehead does not truly represent what you as a Christian brother, would say about those books if your "regular business" allowed you sufficient leisure to read them--and you certainly ought to read them before you attack them again. Your first attack may be excused on the ground of misinformation, but that excuse should never avail you again.
Can you as a fair minded man approve an attack which cites the price of a book as an argument against it; that cites the missionary zeal displayed in advocating its teachings as argument against it; that calls [R2739 : page 367] names--"nocturnal hallucinations," "hydrophobic," "packed full of fundamental error," "product of insanity," compared with "the infidel Renan"? This is not honest Christian controversy! I think too well of you to suppose that you really endorse this kind of attack; yet my charitable estimate of you is sorely tried when I reflect that you evidently thought this kind of argument good enough for me.
As regards the teachings of the MILLENNIAL DAWN books on the human and divine in the nature of Christ, can you state a presentation of Scripture teaching on that important subject that more satisfactorily answers to all the Scriptural statements than Bro. Russell's? If you can, then for Christ's sake I earnestly and reverently ask you to do it; and I am convinced that Bro. Russell will receive it no less gratefully than I.
I was recommended to write to you as a scholar and a Scriptural exegete: Can you find fault with Bro. Russell's exegesis of kelusma ["shout"]? If you can, what is the error? If you cannot, why do you make use of the Morehead attack? If Prof. Morehead himself could assail the MILLENNIAL DAWN teachings on the two points above referred to, why did he not do it? If he cannot assail them, is he not guilty of shameful insincerity in making believe that he can?
With regard to Bro. Russell's opinions respecting the dates 1874 and 1914, time, of course, will alone prove how far he is right. But surely you do not endorse Prof. Morehead in suggesting these opinions are in the nature of deadly heresy. I have read a vast quantity of Millennial literature, "pre" and "post," have listened to a great deal of platform and pulpit talk on the same subject, and am utterly unable to conjecture what, out of all the bewildering mass, has a right to the name of "orthodox premillenarianism" by the side of which all other opinions are to be denounced as "nocturnal hallucination." Your own recent exposition of 2 Tim. 3led me to infer that you regard these as the closing days of this present dispensation. Has your study of prophecy led you to detect deadly heresy in Brother Russell's conclusions? If so, what is it?
I understand the Morehead attack to assert that Bro. Russell teaches that the resurrection will be simultaneous for all the dead. My simple answer is that in MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL., IV., pp.640,641, Prof. Morehead can find conclusive proof that he is incorrect. If the bracketed words ("simultaneous for all the dead") are not intended to indicate the writer's understanding of Brother Russell's teachings, but his own conception of Scripture teaching, he had better consult his New Testament before he attacks a Christian brother again. The emphasis placed on a "first resurrection" of necessity implies subsequent resurrection. "All that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and shall come forth"; but not all of these will have part in the first resurrection.
Prof. Morehead, in section 7 of his attack, ignores, possibly does not know enough Greek to distinguish between, the parousia and the epiphania. I was referred to you as a Greek scholar. As such I cannot imagine that you can endorse the Morehead attack or apparent attack. Are you, as a student of the Greek New Testament, prepared to deny and disprove from Scripture that the Lord's second coming will at first be discerned by only a comparatively few faithful watchers? Do you regard the word "coming" in our English version as adequate to embrace the ideas embodied by both parousia and epiphania?
I have detained you so long in criticism of the Morehead attack because I am inclined to believe that you made use of it hastily. I want you to read it carefully, to discern its dishonesty, its innuendo, its crafty appeal to the odium theologicum, its essential weakness, its unchristian vituperation. Lay it aside, Bro. Worrell. Don't fight for the Lord with the devil's weapons. If Bro. Russell errs there is Scripture to show it. If Scripture is on his side then I am convinced that after you have shaken off the theological prejudice with which you are apparently possessed, you will have grace enough to admit that Bro. Russell has a right to speak and to be judged by the Word; and that denunciation about "ensnaring souls," "ruin," expressions of amazement, etc., have really more of bluff about them than of the spirit of Christ.
Your statement about "wilting" of character under the influence of Bro. Russell's teaching proves that your opportunities of observation have not been wide enough to qualify you to form an accurate estimate; certainly not wide enough to justify you in assuming the office of public censor as you did on the 2nd inst. The humble and persistent zeal of the "Pilgrims," engaged in teaching the views advocated by Bro. Russell, comes nearer to apostolic zeal and self-abnegation than most Christian work now-a-days. I have known many who, like you, seem to be afraid of Bro. Russell's teachings, yet who pay well deserved tribute of admiration to the devotion and consecration of those who accept it.
As for Bro. Russell himself, I do not know him personally, have never met him, never seen his portrait even; yet I cannot help admiring the absence of the "ego" in his ministry. I have several times written to him concerning difficulties I have encountered in reading his works. He always replies personally; he presents reasons lucidly and never indulges in denunciation or exclamations of amazement. He never uses the trickery practiced by Prof. Morehead, nor resorts to innuendo. I am, dear Brother Worrell,
Yours in the love and pursuit of the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, ALFRED E. SEDDON.