Jehovas Witness where established to change Russell's teachings

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The Associated Bible Students is the branch of the Bible Student movement that follows the teachings and views of Charles Taze Russell, also known as "Pastor" Russell. The Bible Students practice regular reading and study of the Bible and hold Bible study classes using the six volumes of "Studies in the Scriptures", written by Russell.

In the late nineteenth century, the Bible Students formed congregations, referred to as Ecclesia, a Greek word meaning "a gathering [of those summoned]"). These congregations first formed in the north-eastern section of the United States, most prominently in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and throughout New England.

In 1914 the International Bible Students Association was incorporated in London, and local congregations were requested to stop using that name to advertise themselves, so as to reserve it for the national or international level. The name "Associated Bible Students" was recommended and used instead.

After the death of Russell in October 1916, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society took a more dominant, central role under the guidance of Joseph Franklin Rutherford, who was elected the second president of the society in January 1917. Not all members were supportive of Rutherford and his new methods. Russell had left an outline in his will instructing an Editorial Committee of five to determine the contents of Zion's Watch Tower magazine following his death. Controversy erupted when interpreting parts of his will that dealt with these issues. Those defending Rutherford believed that God's due time had come for a better understanding of the scriptures, and that Russell's views were outdated. These disagreements and changes lead to a schism that resulted in the departure of three-fourths of the original membership by 1928. On July 26, 1931 in Columbus, Ohio those supportive of the Watch Tower Society, encouraged by the increasing numbers of new members resulting from Rutherford's "advertising" approach, adopted the name Jehovah's witnesses.

The International Bible Students Association remained under the control of Jehovah's Witnesses. Early efforts by Bible Students to reclaim control of the society by legal means were eventually dropped due to the belief that 'bringing your brother to court' was unscriptural. As a result, all the incorporated organizations founded by Russell remained in the control of Joseph Rutherford and subsequent presidents.

Eventually, a core group of individuals who had broken away attempted to informally reorganize. From the 1920s through the 1950s, many of the individuals who had left the Watch Tower Society regathering. Such efforts were criticized in the magazines, The Golden Age and The Watchtower, published by Jehovah's Witnesses. This group, which maintained the name Bible Students, came to be seen by the evolving Watch Tower Society as fulfilling Jesus' statement of an 'evil slave' class.

Quote from Associated Bible Students. (2010, March 14). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 08:48, April 7, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Associated_Bible_Students&oldid=349806838 - The bold markings are by Andreas Gross