My dear Brethren:
Grace and peace through our Beloved Master!
In accordance with the letter of October 29, an elaboration of Items 2 & 3 on page 5 of the August 13 letter to Brother Jolly is submitted here. Parts of my letter of March 20, 1954 to Brother Jolly on his “Confusion on the Star members” are quoted below to enlarge on this item:
“At the top of page 25 of the March Present Truth you quote Brother Johnson regarding Star Members, to which you add your own conclusion - ‘it follows that with the taking away of the final Star Member there would be no Little Flock members left on the earth’. Your conclusion is superficial and easily refuted. At the time the Apostle John died about the year 100 there had been at least twelve Star Members – almost certainly more than twelve. That would leave not more than 37 at the most for the remaining 1850 years, or one for each 50 years. But many of them were contemporary; e. g., Luther and Zwingli, Stone and Campbell, Brothers Russell and Johnson. Others did not minister for anything like 50 years; e. g., William Miller served only 18 years. These considerations would put the average time for the others at much more than 50 years; and it is quite unreasonable to assume that ALL could have served for such a long period, and that they interlocked perfectly in each succeeding one beginning Immediately when the previous one died. If you have any argument with this logic, then I ask you to give me the name of the Star Member that lived from 1849, when William Miller died, to the time that Brother Russell began his ministry.......
“Sometime ago you told me you are very meticulous to have only TRUTH in the Present Truth, with which I am heartily in harmony; so I ask you now to correct your erroneous conclusion, because the opposition will make you look pretty foolish if they stumble onto this – as indeed they could have done on numerous occasions already had they not been so intent upon proving themselves Priests.”
Much more could be said on the foregoing; but, for the present this one conclusion will suffice: After the passing of the twelve Apostles, it was generally not necessary for Saints to receive instruction from the Star Members who lived during their lives (Brother Russell being the only exception). Even during the Epiphany and the ministry of the “Eighth Principal Man” it was not necessary for the living Saints to accept instruction from him to maintain their position in the Body of Christ. This being true, it will readily be seen how completely without foundation is Brother Jolly’s statement (when taken of itself) – “it follows that with the taking away of the final Star Member there would be no Little Flock members left on the earth.” Enough for this just now.
Going on now to Brother Jolly’s confusion on “Judas not a thief”, the following is from my letter of November 18, 1954:
“On Page 92 of the November Present Truth you say the statement of J. & E. D. that C.S. is not a thief because he did not spend the money on himself is ‘puerile reasoning... forced, absurd, arbitrary, ridiculous’. Then you proceed to demonstrate to your readers that your own nonsense is at least as good as the nonsense of J. & E.D. by stating that ‘according to his newly-invented ridiculous definition Judas was not a thief at all... because he returned the money’ (received for the betrayal). John 12:6 says “he was a thief, and had the bag”. This is past tense, and has not the slightest reference to his future sale of his Lord for thirty pieces of silver, which act was not a theft, but a betrayal – a traitor selling the confidence of his bosom friend for personal gain.....
“In view of your past behavior, I assume these corrections of your errors will probably be unappreciated and ignored, as was my reference on March 20 to your erroneous and ‘illogical logic (?) on the Star Members, which correction you have not had the moral stature even to acknowledge – much less correct in the Present Truth. However, in brotherly love I remind you again – and shall continue to remind you – of your own precarious position in ministering error to trusting brethren, distasteful though the task be to me. ‘If I had not spoken unto them, they had no sin: Butnowthey have no cloak for their sin.’”
And it would here seem fitting enough to add to the foregoing his nonsense on “Antitypical John’s Beheading”, as set out in PT 1951, P. 115 – which he claims was accomplished by enactment of the McCarran Act about a month before Brother Johnson’s death. If Brother Jolly’s conclusion be true in this instance, then John’s Beheading was the mildest and most unique beheading “ in all history – one that did not prevent the use of even one postage stamp or make as much as a pin scratch on Antitypical John; in fact, it is quite probable that Brother Johnson did not even know the McCarran Act had been passed before he died. Did any such doubt exist when John was beheaded, and was there the slightest doubt in the minds of all Israel that it had been done? Truly, this attempt by Brother Jolly to ‘bend’ a prophecy into place can properly be defined only as just so much more nonsense. Nonsense on the Star Members; nonsense on Judas; nonsense on John’s Beheading! Here is at least one department in which Brother Jolly excels exceedingly: He has effused more nonsense in his oral and written statements than any other ‘Pastor & Teacher’ in all history!!! “If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?”
And in the face of the foregoing, what shall we say about “Brother Russell’s Epiphany Parallels”, as written in the 1952 PT, page 9? Here to have an uncleansed Levite attempting to fit himself into paralleling the No. 1 Saint of the entire Gospel Age. Is NONSENSE a word strong enough for this situation? Surely, “He that sitteth in the Heavens shall laugh”. Here is a brother who attempted in 1937 to gain control of star Member Brother Johnson, and was so severely humiliated for that debacle that he sought seclusion at Gulrock for many years. Yetheapparentlylearnedso little from that “chastening from the Lord” that he needed little over a year after that same Star Member’s demise to boldly and openly announce himself as paralleling the No. 1 Saint of the entire Gospel Age. (How long he had considered this privately before making public announcement we cannot know.)
As a fitting companion to this “strong delusion”, perhaps it is in order to summon from the archives Brother Jolly’s letter to Brother Russell, which was published in the Nov. 15, 1910 Watch Tower, some of which reads like this: “I sought to make pictures and draw types from nearly every chapter of the Bible... The Bible I loved was thus becoming quite barren to me... Instead of using it to supply my much-needed armor, I was enjoying it more as one would enjoy a picture book or Grimm’s Fairy Tales.. I am endeavoring, dear Brother, to retrace my steps; to learn again to discern between fact and theory.” Surely, in that admission by Brother Jolly we have one strikingly clear confirmation of St. Paul’s words in 2 Thes. 2:10,11 – “Because they received not the love of the truth...God shall send them strong delusion.” In 1937 he had a similar “strong delusion” when he thought himself big enough to gain control of Bro. Johnson. However, in both these instances he seemingly recovered himself from the clutches of the Adversary, if we accept his admissions of wrong in both cases. So we may hope, and all of us pray, that he may recover himself now from this his third “strong delusion” of “making” parallels, instead of “making” pictures and types, as he did in 1910.
Apparently, back in 1910 he was wearing his crown very lightly – if he still retained it. Let us hope he is not now balancing his LIFE with equal carelessness and foolishness; and all of us should be impressed with the solemn truth that if we encourage him in his present folly we do not help him, we hurt him – hurt him possibly to his eternal loss. Therefore, if any are inclined to resent the writer for his critical attitude of these “strong delusions”, perhaps they would do well to consider James 5:20 – “He who turns back a Sinner (Great Company) from his path of error, will save his soul from death”; and we should face the naked truth that never do we turn one from evil or error by encouraging him in it, but rather should we “speak the truth in love” – just as Nathan spoke to David, “Thou art the man” (2 Sam. 12:7). And it should be noted here that David immediately repented of his sins, instead of accusing Nathan of having a “bad spirit”. If Brother Jolly’s “foolishness is not yet very plain to all”, it shall indeed be so when the article on the Epiphany Solomon is presented to the brethren “in due time”. D.v.
It is the sincere regret of the writer that the New Year must be welcomed with the foregoing presentation; but be assured this is not an attempt to destroy, but rather to save Brother Jolly. From the time of Brother Johnson’s funeral I did all in my power to “support the arms” of Brother Jolly, telling him at that time that I acutely realized how trying his position would be; and I encouraged him to be faithful to the Trust that had been reposed in him. As his first deflections made their appearance I took a generous and charitable view of them, going to him privately in person “in the spirit of meekness” in an effort to help and correct him; but to no avail. At no tine did I hold him up to public attack or ridicule, although I did go to him repeatedly in person and in writing in “defense of the truth”; even though it is probably to my discredit that I delayed so long in making this known to the General Church. Even so, had Brother Jolly not adopted such an unscriptural attitude in the slander disgrace, which is now open to all, these writings would probably not yet be forthcoming; and I can only conclude that it has been “from the Lord, and I shall let Him do as seemeth Him good”. Had he not so flagrantly flaunted the Scriptural teachings, and the interpretations of those teachings by “That Wise and Faithful Servant”, I probably would have continued to bear with him and his errors privately, as I had been doing; but his bold and contemptuous disregard for truth and righteousness forced me to the course I am now following, because I myself would have been counted an unfaithful steward to the obligations placed upon me as a Pilgrim by Brother Johnson’s appointment, and would have become a partaker of Brother Jolly’s sins had I continued silent after such an acute realization of his unfitness to teach and direct the Lord’s people. Presumably, his “sins have found him out”, just as did Saul’s falsehoods, rebellion (revolutionism) and iniquity. Let us all hope and pray he will be better exercised by his exposures than was his type. (To this end, a careful reading of Brother Johnson’s exposition of Great Company sins in Vol. E-15, Page 525, is earnestly suggested to all.)
Winsome words over the past four years have had no influence upon him; but it is the hope and prayer of the writer that sharper statements may yet bring him, and those of the Great Company in our midst whom he dominates and encourages to continue in their ‘leprosy’ to a shocking and clear realization that they do indeed “sit in darkness and the shadow of death”.
To all of the Lord’s people everywhere – especially to all faithful Youthful Worthies – does the writer extend New Year’s greetings of Christian love. May it be a good year for growth in grace and in the knowledge of our blessed Lord Jesus. As Brother Johnson taught – It is not required of Youthful Worthies that they come to perfection in Agape love; but they should do so if they can do so. And it is the writer’s appeal to all to do so if at all possible, because the possession of such love is the “bond of perfectness”, to whose possessor the promise is sure and steadfast, “There shall no evil befall thee”. Such love causes one to “be established in the Present Truth”, to continue therein “immovable”, because it not only blesses with Present Truth but also blesses with the SPIRIT OF THE TRUTH. Those who are so blessed have truly possessed goodly Canaan Land in this present life, and are assured of their inheritance in the life to come if they hold firm “the confessing of their faith without wavering”. Therefore, “think it not strange – Beloved, be not surprised at the fire among you, occurring to you for a trial”—1 Pet. 4:12 (Dia.).
The many Holiday greetings and good wishes are gratefully acknowledged and reciprocated, as well as the numerous letters of approval and encouragement and other support that have come to hand over the past months. May our good Heavenly Father Who brought again our beloved Lord Jesus from the dead grant you that wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit that will enable you to “do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth us”
Sincerely your brother,
John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim