INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS' ASSOCIATION
FOR many years the dear friends who regularly meet all over the world for the study of God's Word, using WATCH TOWER publications as helping hands, have been perplexed to know how to advertise themselves. We have continually warned against everything simulating sectarianism and Churchianity. But we have been at a loss to know what to suggest to the friends along this line. It is true that wherever two or three are met in the Lord's name, they would be entitled, if they chose, to speak of themselves as a Church. But if the name Church be used our friends and neighbors inquire, What Church, What denomination? And we find it impossible to explain to them in a reasonable time that we do not mean a sect or party separate from other Christians. Indeed, there is danger of our losing sight of the fact that we are non-sectarian--that we acknowledge all as brethren and members of our Church, Christ's Church, the Church of God, who give evidence of full consecration to self-sacrifice, following in the footsteps of the Redeemer. There is a disposition on the part of [R4593 : page 120] some, unconsciously, to fellowship only such Christians as are outside of all denominations. Our true position, nevertheless, is that we recognize all loyal to our Redeemer, whether babes or fully-grown, whether in Babylon or out of her, whether they follow with us or indirectly speak evil of us.
Now in the Lord's providence we have thought of a title suitable, we believe, to the Lord's people everywhere, and free from objection, we believe, on every score--the title at the head of this article. It fairly represents our sentiments and endeavors. We are Bible students. We welcome all of God's people to join with us in the study. We believe that the result of such studies is blessed and unifying. We recommend therefore that the little classes everywhere and the larger ones adopt this unobjectionable style and that they use it in the advertising columns of their newspapers. Thus friends everywhere will know how to recognize them when visiting strange cities.
In harmony with New York State laws the association will be under the direction and management of the Peoples Pulpit Association, which, in turn, represents the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.
We have adopted the style Brother instead of Pilgrim, as requiring less explanation to the public; and the term lectures instead of sermons, as carrying with it less prejudice. It should be our desire, while holding the Truth in love, to present it as acceptably as possible, giving none offense to any--Jew, Gentile or Christian--seeking in everything to glorify God and to assist his people out of darkness into his marvelous light.
To avoid everything that might be construed as "joining," the membership is confined to those constituting the chartered Peoples Pulpit Association. The provision is made that all Bible Student Classes using the Bible Study Helps published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society may consider themselves identified with the Association and are authorized to use the name "International Bible Students' Association" in respect to their meetings.