The only academic study of the Jehovah's Witness movement, focussing on its views on Biblical prophecy and the end of the world.
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Available as: Hardback
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Specifications: 216x138mm, 164pp
Published: September 1996
Counting the Days to Armageddon is work is of vital importance for all concerned with the Jehovah's Witness movement. It provides a thorough examination of their eschatological development, treating Watch Tower theology objectively but sympathetically. Crompton also speculates about the future direction of Jehovah's Witness teaching.
The book begins with a brief consideration of the biblical foundations of doctrines of the last days, particularly the books of Daniel and Revelation. There follows an outline summary of some of the main aspects of the history of this doctrine within the Protestant mainstream during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and an outline of the Adventist teaching of William Miller (1782–1849) in the U.S.A.
During the time following the failure of Miller's expectations of the end of the world, his ideas were developed by Charles Taze Russell (1852–1916), prime mover of the Watch Tower movement. Counting the Days to Armageddon explores the way in which Russell amended Miller's ideas, and also the distinctive way in which he handled the Dispensational categorisation of history of John Nelson Darby (1800–1882) to create an extension of historicist speculation on the application of prophecy to the modern world.
The response of the Watch Tower movement to the failure of Russell's expectations in 1914 is explored, and the new body of doctrine which has replaced Russell's is examined. The ways in which these doctrines have been modified in the past suggest ways in which future doctrine may develop, especially in response to the protracted delay of Armageddon. What is envisaged, in the light of the history of Watch Tower doctrine, is no dramatic collapse of the movement but rather an increasing emphasis upon other, less vulnerable areas of doctrine together with a greater turnover of membership which may, in due course, undermine the movement's stability.
2. The Scriptural Starting Point
3. The Historicist Millennialist Tradition
5. The Time is at Hand
6. Parallel Dispensations
7. Interpreting the Book of Daniel
8. Days of Waiting
9. The End-time Calendar
10. The Battle of Armageddon
11. The End of an Era
12. Millions Now Living Will Never Die
13. The Great Multitude
14. Interpreting the Current Sources
15. The Security of 1914
16. The Response to the Crisis
2. Dramatis Personae
3. The Seven Trumpets
4. The Seven Plagues
5. Continuing Bible Students
Robert Crompton is a Methodist minister who was previously a Special Pioneer (evangelist) and a Ministry School instructor with the Witnesses. He holds degrees in philosophy and theology from Durham University.
Careful, detailed exploration ... There is much that the persevering reader can learn. Methodist Recorder
Robert Crompton aims to be objective, and rightly demonstrates the limitations of existing anti-cultist writers ... The book's claim to be 'the standard and only academic work on the Jehovah's Witnesses' is largely true ... Crompton is right to suggest that there is a need to move from a sociological approach to one which takes seriously the Witnesses' doctrinal stance, as the author attempts to do. Expository Times
... a scholarly account of a little-known area ... the book provides a rare and well-researched account of a still-vibrant form of millennarianism. The Journal of Religious History