Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
In "Another Harvest Siftings Reviewed" the thought was set forth that the Treasurer of the P.B.I. was extravagant in expenditures for hotel bills at Asbury Park. The answer of the Brief Review characteristically tells only some, and not vital, parts of the matter. It should additionally have said (1) that the Convention Committee considered that six Truth people were a sufficient number to stop at the hotel to satisfy its management, which charged $6.00 a day; (2) that after nearly twenty Truth people had already registered at that hotel, I.F. Hoskins insisted on gutting up H.C. Rockwell there; (3) that when repeated objection was made to this, I.F. Hoskins finally answered that he had a "private fund" (he did not say that he had money of his own, or money specifically donated for such a purpose, nor does the term "private fund" fit such thoughts) with which he was determined to gay H.C. Rockwell's $6.00 a day hotel bill; (4) that as late as Friday night, when H.C. Rockwell had already been registered at that hotel, I.L. Margeson and I.F. Hoskins wanted R.G. Jolly, R.H. Hirsh and ourself to leave their $2.00 and $2.50 a day hotels and stop at the $6.00 house; (5) that when I.L. Margeson suggested this plan, they refused to entertain it, stating that consecrated money should not be used so lavishly; and (6) that thereupon I.L. Margeson sought to argue the writer into stopping at the $6.00 a day hotel. It seems to us that an economical Treasurer would have first waited to see how many of the friends at their own expense would register at the $6.00 a day house, and then arrange for any deficiency up to six persons as per the Convention Committee's agreement. As a matter of fact one family alone, consisting of nine members, before the discussion on H.C. Rockwell, registered at the hotel, I.F. Hoskins being aware of this fact. When we made the criticism we did not have R. E. Streeter and wife and F.H. McGee's
donation for them in mind. We fail to see just why "the Treasure's handling the financial end o f the convention" required him to stop at that hotel; or why his "giving all of his time to the Committee's work" justified his stopping there any more than should R.H. Hirsh have done so, who at that time also was devoting all his time to the Committee's work. This fact should, it seems to us, have prompted him to the reverse course; nor should the fact that a generous brother provided for all the convention expenses have made the Treasurer less careful. Again, the fact that the Treasurer spent money without authorization of the Committee when the Committee's rule was that he should not do so, and the fact that he is whitewashed in the "Brief Review," it seems to us, makes the P.B.I. not a responsible depository. "The Brief Review's" answer on the Treasurer's renting office space is misleading. Aside from the four, R.H. Hirsh was the only member of the Committee who was consulted about renting a room. This was April 14, just one day after a Committee meeting, where the matter should have been brought up, and where three of "the four" made known their decision against establishing headquarters at Philadelphia. Contrary to his repeatedly expressed desire, I.F. Hoskins and I.L. Margeson kept him out of the evening service of the New York Church, belaboring him for over an hour to get his consent to renting a room. Their plea that there was much work "in the way of correspondence," requiring a room, and his believing that they wanted to force an entering wedge to establish headquarters at New York, led him to ask how much mail was coming to the Committee. I.F. Hoskins answered from two to four letters a day! This was "the considerable amount of work" that "had accumulated for the Secretary in the way of correspondence,"' while from fifteen to twenty letters a day came in during much of March. (Then Philadelphia was
yet favorably regarded for headquarters by all the members of the Committee.) L F. Hoskins' home was not overcrowded by a "considerable amount of work" that "had accumulated for the Secretary in the way of correspondence." At none of the five remaining Port Pitt Committee meetings was a report made of the renting of the little office room. It was not orderly for the four members outside of a Committee meeting to arrange for this office space, and never report it to the Committee, nor even hint of it to two of the Committee. The other three members never did object to a reasonable expense. There being no need then for an office, it remained practically unoccupied for months.
We are unable to see that a depository is reliable and responsible which whitewashes and co-operates with a Treasurer evidencing marked extravagance, and which, asking for support for limited purposes, refuses on request of donors to refund money that the depository is using for objects which were not told the donors, and which additionally are disapproved of by the donors for the use of their money. This, the second reason for transforming the P.B.I. into a corporation, like the first, in theory as well as in practice, as evidenced by the above facts, is quite Papistical.
We now quote the third reason for transforming the P.B.I. Committee into a corporation. "(3) To act as a medium through which the Church collectively may execute business arrangements essential to the accomplishment of any enterprise of great or lesser magnitude (1)."
NOTE 1: On this our reply will be very brief: Will the Pastoral Bible Institute kindly give us only one Bible passage proving that the Little Flock collectively is authorized by the Lord to appoint a committee, or even permit one, to execute its business arrangements, apart from a purely deacon work.
(2 Cor. 8: 16-24)? I.F. Hoskins, though asked for Scriptures to prove his claims, failed to give even one at the Asbury Park Convention. In this proposition we have the Papal argument for the Papacy as necessary for the work of the collective Church, by the words "medium," "means," "agency," "arrangement," "organization," "representative," as they occur in the article under review, another "channel" is advocated, though the word is not used; and this accounts for the extraordinary claims made for the P.B.I. in the article under review and their consequent acts.
The fourth reason for their corporation is as follows: "(4) To be endowed with legal authority to issue a classified publication (1), as a representative of the thoughts and sentiments of the Church (2), and to publish tracts, booklets and kindred forms of printed matter for the work of the ministry" (3).
NOTE 1: Such a publication could be issued without a corporation or a company, as many publications are today and as for years that Servant did with "The Tower," which was only then put in the name of the Society, without the latter having any power over it whatever, when Mrs. Russell wanted to usurp the use of it; and as he in another case did when for good reasons he had the Sunday School Lessons published under the name of V. Noble, the B. S. M. alternately under the names of P. E. Thompson, C. W. Hek, W. H. Hudgings; and the Yiddish paper, "Die Stimme," under the name of R.H. Hirsh. Had the P.B.I. collectively or individually a fair degree of his good sense and sacrificing spirit they would have resorted, as we suggested to them July 18, 1918, to a similar thing, instead of forcing a division in the Church, rather than give up their pet idea of forming another corporation for the Church. The Committee could easily and safely, according to a plan based on Brother Russell's course on Sunday School Lessons and suggested to them July 18, 1918, have arranged
this matter without any individual getting control, had it been disposed so to do. We suggested F.H. McGee's name to appear as publisher, subject to the Committee. This proves that we did not want a place which would give us even the appearance of controlling the paper. We never attempted to control the Committee or its affairs, the "Letter of Importance," with its misrepresentations, to the contrary notwithstanding.
NOTE 2: A periodical that is the Lord's agency to give His message is a "representative of the Lord's thoughts and sentiments" to the Church, as "The Tower" was, and not "a representative of the thoughts and sentiments of the Church" in any other sense than that the Church accepts the thoughts and sentiments of a journal, truly representing Him, from conviction that they expressed the Lord's mind to them, not their mind to others. In this the P.B.I.'s fourth proposition, we find the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Church as the Source of Truth, speaking through its mouthpiece, the Pope.
NOTE 3: For the reason and in the manner given under Note 1 this could be and has been well done in the Little Flock without a corporation or a business company.
The fifth reason for their corporation is as follows: "(5) To serve as a means of unity of thought and action, without which a condition of confusion and inaction is sure to result, and just as we see slowly developing everywhere among the Lord's people (1 and 5). Would-be scribes, some of large and some of lesser mental caliber (2) are leading many off in different directions following after some pet theory or hobby, confusing the poor sheep who are unwary (3) and who no longer hear the advice and instruction of their beloved Pastor (4)."
NOTE 1: This plea for the existence of the P.B.I. in the Church is exactly the same as that of
Papacy, and has succeeded and will succeed just in the same way as the Papacy did (2 Thes. 2: 3-8). Under (1) of the purposes of the P.B.I. we have shown how Jesus preserves, without the assistance of any organization apart from His Church, its unity of thought and action, and uses the confusion and inaction that the unfaithful may introduce as means of sifting them out and testing and proving the faithful. This method of His is now operating, and that with marked success.
NOTE 2: Yes, indeed, "would-be [those desiring to be] scribes!" E.g., it was I.F. Hoskins who suggested to us the election of the three brothers among the Committee's supporters named in the will as editors or editorial eligibles, himself being one of these three! It was F.H. McGee who, misrepresenting us as aspiring to editorship of the P.B.I.'s paper, and putting the monitory caption over the misrepresentation, "Be not many masters," read a lecture full of misstatements and evil surmises to one of the "secondarily prophets"; whereas the Lord never honored F.H. McGee with the office of "secondarily prophets," which fact did not, however, deter him from "rushing in where angels fear to tread" and by "A Letter of Importance" usurping the office of "secondarily prophets," which office alone of those held by the living servants of the Truth gives its incumbents the authorization to address the general Church on questions of faith and practice.
NOTE 3: Of course, we among others were meant by this; but really who have been leading the unwary off? The Church is fast learning the answer to this question and it will not be long before all will know. Have not the Society leaders misled many by Studies, Vol. VII, Harvest Siftings, Penny Parable Tract, etc.? And has not the P.B.I., through the August Committee's Bulletin, F.H. McGee's Brief Review, his Letter of Importance and his one-page
printed letter to J.D. Wright, led many of the "unwary" off, to the extent that they could publish the article under review, winning approval for it, and disapproval for us? And worse yet, have they not by these publications so completely "pulled the wool" over the eyes of the majority of the Truth people who are not adherents of the Society as to gain their endorsement for the Charter of the P.B.I., which more grossly violates Brother Russell's Charter than even J.F.R.'s usurpations? Alas! "would-be scribes!"
NOTE 4: Who has violated our beloved Pastor's advice and instruction on his charter and will more than the P.B.I. in their charter? Has even J.F.R.?
NOTE 5: The course of the P.B.I., like that of the Papacy, is marked at almost every step by acts and policies that must cause division; e.g., (1), they sought, and that even by resolution, to padlock the mouths of those who were giving meat in due season. Such a course must force the faithful to opposition; and persistence in such a course by the P.B.I. forced the faithful into a separation. They are the divisionists and not those who stood for right principles in this matter.
(2) They boycotted from preaching appointments faithful pilgrims because they gave meat in due season; such a course forced the faithful to present the Truth that was due, apart from the P.B.I.'s auspices.
(3) Some of them sought by a tricky resolution to be followed by tricky manipulation of pilgrim appointments to have faithful givers of meat in due season barred from a certain pulpit.
(4) They untruthfully warned individuals, and by such tactics made many believe against faithful servants of the Truth, that the latter indulged in "fanciful interpretation and wild speculations." In their paper they published articles that they knew some and they hoped others would believe referred to the faithful servants of the Truth to the undoing of the latters'
influence. How could this do otherwise than cause division?
(5) By a whispering campaign and wire-pulling of a most glaring kind they secured the overthrowal of the Fort Pitt Convention Committee, in order to have three of its members no longer on a Committee with them to interfere zenith their unscriptural policies. This conduct of theirs turned hundreds of brethren against the P.B.I. as improper leaders of the Little Flock.
(6) By their misleading August Committee Bulletin, Brief Review, Letter of Importance and whispering and preaching campaign they have at least made proportionately as big a rent in the Church as J.F.R. and his supporters did a year before by the same methods, and all the time, like the Society leaders, they blame the others for making the division.
(7) By their forcing into existence a corporation, and that with a charter violently different from Brother Russell's, they have in a number of cases split up classes; all the time they and their supporters have blamed locally the others for the division, but in their paper pretend that there is practically no division. Those who are guilty of such sectarianism are not qualified to be the "means of preserving unity of thought and action"; rather they are at fault for a part of a "condition of confusion, … just as we see slowly developing everywhere among the Lord's people at the present time."
(8) By their busybodying in the internal affairs of various congregations they are making divisions. As an illustration of such divisional activities, we will recite to the general Church some further facts connected with the difference between the Philadelphia Church and the P.B.I. In No. 2 we pointed out that only after mailing Present Truth, No. 1, did we reliably find out that the Providence Convention did not appoint a Committee to seek to secure the cooperation of the Philadelphia and other Churches for
the P.B.I. In contrast with our efforts to use for the good of the Church the situation created, as we thought, by the resolution whose report came seemingly in a reliable way to us, we feel the Church must know how H.C. Rockwell, on the official paper of the P.B.I. and as one of its officers, wrote to the Secretary as such of the Philadelphia Church, for which reason his letter was read to that Church. The letter, which speaks for itself, follows:
DEAR BROTHER:—Kindly permit me to address a few lines to you in response to some of the statements made in Brother Johnson's papers. Are you aware that some of the charges made by Brother J. in his first paper against a certain brother, a member of the Board of Directors, were characterized by an attorney here in this city as "criminal libel"? [!] Don't you know that if these matters were taken into court Brother J. would doubtless be branded as a criminal, or else be adjudged as being of unsound mind? [!] [Most lawyers will say anything to win a prospective client. The P.B.I. has our invitation to bring the matter into court; thereby things will be brought out on which they seem afraid to meet in discussion before conventions!] Are you not aware that the statement contained in his last paper, to the effect that a committee had been appointed by the Providence Convention to make overtures to the Philadelphia Church with a view of establishing harmony between the Church there and the Board of Directors of the Pastoral Bible Institute, is absolutely false, having no foundation in fact? Don't you know that that statement is such a palpable lie that all of the friends who were at that Convention, several hundred, are now wondering if the Philadelphia Ecclesia is still intending to endorse the lie by supporting the one who published the lie? Does the Philadelphia Church wish to be branded as false? In the eyes of the whole Church the country over the Philadelphia Class will merit the
contempt of all decent people, if it continues to endorse one who slanders, libels, and falsifies to such a degree as the present traducer of the brethren there. Are you, may I ask, to continue lending your name as secretary of the Class to such fraudulent statements as that which has appeared? If so, do you think that honest brethren in Christ would care to fellowship you, or in fact, have anything to do with you? Some of the misguided friends of the Philadelphia Ecclesia have very glibly disfellowshipped us as priests [this had not yet been done]: Well, are you not fearful of what the Lord will do to you, unless you publicly renounce the lie that you have been endorsing (See Rev. 22: 15)? You will be conferring a favor, if you will let me know at once what action you and your associates are to take in regard to these matters, that we may know just exactly what our attitude in the future towards you will be. Trusting that you still have a spark of manhood, and at least an atom of Christian principle about you, I am as ever rejoicing in the "holy."
[Signed] H. CLAY ROCKWELL.
A wise lover of Zion, realizing that merely a mistake which harmed no one was made, would have done with the situation what we did; i.e., use the occasion as an opening to seek to heal the wounds of the Church. I.F. Hoskins and H.C. Rockwell were the ones who sent the night letter of Dec. 21, declining "to take part in the Philadelphia meeting" (they would not say convention!), which sought in a just way to bring about a healing of the wounds in the Church. Is this the way to be "a means of preserving unity of thought and action" in the Church? Yes, if we want the kind of unity of thought and action that the Papacy has stood for as against its so-called "arch-heretics"; but a thousand times no, if we want the unity of thought and action for which Jesus prays in John 17: 20, 21!
Had the P.B.I. been as desirous of being "a means
of preserving [Christian] unity of thought and action" as they so unctuously tell us on longsuffering paper, they would have found time between Dec. 10 (when most of them, in The Present Truth, No. 1, received the invitation to seek at the Hebron Convention a cure for the trouble) and Dec. 20 (when that Convention began) to arrange for a Committee meeting to consider attending that Convention. But with a punctiliousness like the Papacy's in insisting on groundless technicalities to the violation of God's commands, i.e., to "seek peace and ensue it," they could not come because "we was not invited," and because "the Convention was disorderly" (?!), not having been called by the P. B. I, which channel-like "RESERVES TO ITSELF the service granted to it" by the Asbury Park Convention— calling conventions!
Since our last issue we have learned more about the Committee that was supposed to have been appointed by the Providence Convention: That the Church may better understand the peace-producing qualities of the P.B.I. we will tell it. It seems that a committee of two New York brothers and one Philadelphia brother was appointed, not quite a thousand miles away from the P.B.I. Headquarters, to assist some division-making brethren of the Philadelphia Church, who support the P.B.I., and who have been and are supported by it, to complete Nov. 17, 1918, the division that they had for months been fomenting under encouragement of the P.B.I., and "to secure the cooperation of the Philadelphia Church" that the divisionists would form immediately after the intended, though not then, but since forthcoming, split in the Philadelphia Church. The authority for this story is Bro. Sachtleber, of Newark, a most ardent P.B.I. supporter, and secretary and elder of the Newark Church. These are some of the acts of the P.B.I., a "would-be" "means of preserving unity of thought and action" in the Church. Alas! They
remind us of certain schismatical popes who revived the Church to death and united it to pieces!
Now we cite the sixth reason for transforming the P.B.I. into a corporation: "(6) To be the agency through which General Conventions may be arranged for, and the time and place, together with the entertaining features to be decided and duly announced through its publication" (1).
NOTE 1: As to our thought on the P.B.I., as such, calling, etc., general conventions for the Little Flock, we refer our readers to our discussion of this matter in the next chapter. We doubt that they have exclusive right to call a convention of Gershonite Levites!
We now cite the seventh and last reason for their corporation: "(7) To arrange and develop the lecture or Pilgrim service, providing able brethren, sound in doctrine and faith, tried and true in character as well as in teaching, to serve the friends from place to place, as may be desired, and to give public ministration" (1).
NOTE 1: In the next chapter, who has and who has not, as to the Pilgrim service, the power of "providing able brethren … to serve the friends from place to place as may be desired and to give public ministration" are Scripturally designated. Therefore, we totally and unqualifiedly deny that the P.B.I. has the power to appoint pilgrims, "the secondarily prophets," for the ministry of the Little Flock, and ask them to give us one Scripture for this claim. We doubt their right, as of Divine approval, to appoint pilgrims even for the Gershonite Levites. This claim also parallels the pope's claims of the right to appoint cardinals and their ministrations. This claim implies its groundlessness.
Where has the P.B.I. Scripture for any of these seven purposes? Apart from the human authority of their character, of their supporters and of themselves, we know of nothing that they can give as proof for
their exercising these powers, even in their "Church which is" not "His Body." Should not the fact that the P.B.I. can adduce no Scripture to prove their extraordinary and papistical claims move us to question very seriously their leadership? Do not these seven powers that these seven directors by their propaganda appropriate to themselves
unanswerably prove them to be graspers for power and lords over God's heritage? Do not these arrogant claims become the proof of their unfitness to be leaders in the Little Flock? And unless they change their theories and conduct, have we not reason to fear that they are unfit for leadership among any of the other classes of the Lord's people?
Now the last paragraph of the article under review: "Which shall it be, ORGANIZATION, with its attendant conditions of order, harmony, efficiency, advancement and accomplishment of service to the honor of our Lord, in the interests of His Truth and the blessing of the faithful, watching saints, or DISORGANIZATION, with its concomitants of disorder, confusion, misapplied efforts and a gradual subsidence into obscurity and final disintegration (1)?"
NOTE 1: Before answering this question we desire to state that the argument of this paragraph is not new. In fact, it is quite old. It is the argument of the Papacy, the Federation of Churches and of every other denomination and sect, set forth in the same self-assertive way, to justify their own organizations. Now for our answer to their question. Organization, not Disorganization, in the form of corporations—without, however, the unscriptural, self-exalting and arrogant claims of the P.B.I. and W. T. B. & T. S., and without violations of that Servant's charter and will—for both the Merarites and Gershonites of the Great Company and the Youthful Worthies (Num. 7: 1-8)!
Organization—not Disorganization—free from human organizations—in the form of THE CHRIST, consisting of the one Head and one Body, with diverse and mutually related members in the Divinely ordered unity that is one and inseparable now and forever! This is the Organization which Jesus by faithfulness unto death established over 1900 years ago, and in the interest of which the Apostles laid down their lives. This is the Organization in the interest of which all the faithful have suffered throughout the Age. This is the Organization that is complete in itself, whose Charter (the Word of God) is sufficient thoroughly to furnish and perfect the man of God. Who among us will at any and every cost stand for this, the only proper Organization in and of The Christ? Who?
Servant of Christ, stand fast amid the scorn
Of men who little know or love thy Lord;
Turn not aside from toil: cease not to warn,
Comfort and teach, trust Him for thy reward;
A few more moments' suffering, and then
Cometh sweet rest from all thy heart's deep pain.
For grace pray much, for much thou needest grace.
If men thy work deride—what can they more?
Christ's weary foot thy path on earth doth trace;
If thorns wound thee, they pierced Him before;
Press on, look up, tho' clouds may gather round,
Thy place of service He makes hallowed ground.
Have friends forsaken thee, and cast thy name
Out as a worthless thing? Take courage then:
Go tell thy Master; for they did the same
To Him, who once in patience toiled for them;
Yet He was perfect in all service here;
Thou oft hast failed: this maketh Him more dear.