Origin: Founded by Charles Taze Russell in Pittsburgh in 1972, who believed in the millennial reign of Jesus Christ.
Origin: Founded by Charles Taze Russell in Pittsburgh in 1872, who believed in the millennial reign of Jesus Christ.
Name: Isaiah 43:10-11: “Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may known and believe me …”
Membership: 6.7 million worldwide in 99,710 congregations, in 310 languages.
Key event: Proclamation in 1914 that Christ was enthroned in his messianic kingdom in heaven, with the imminent end of the world at hand in a divinely ordained great tribulation culminating in the Battle of Armageddon that would rid the world of wickedness. Based on books of Daniel and Revelations, only 144,000 glorified disciples will go to heaven and reign with God and Jesus.
Organization: Follows first-century Christianity with no clergy-laity divisions; all baptized members are ordained ministers; spiritually mature men serve as elders; congregations form circuits; circuits form districts; highest authority is in longtime elders at international offices in Brooklyn, N.Y. Vast publishing operations with extensive release of publications and tracts.
Practices: Intense Bible education; active door-to-door discipling ministry; God has authority over civil law, with no salute to flags, bearing arms or political activity, but there is obedience to laws not conflicting with God’s law; there is no trinity; there is no hell; neutrality in war; abstention from blood donations; baptism by complete water immersion; and voluntary donations instead of collection or tithing.