Saturday, August 29, 2009

If Jesus was Not God then...by Let Us Reason Ministries


As we continue to look at the beliefs and doctrines of the Jehovah's Witnesses, I believe this article will help to bring clarity to who Jesus claimed to be.

The article is offered at Let Us Reason Ministries and can be found here. I would also encourage readers to check out their Jehovah's Witness page, located here.

I would also recommend their article, Christ is Lord of all or He is not Lord at ALL.

Soon, we will focus in on the teachings of the Watchtower Society.

Finally, please continue to watch the blog for articles regarding Mormonism, Christian Science, and the New Age.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Chad,

I'm going to challenge you to pick out the very best proof text from that article that you feel cannot be answered, and I will answer it for you using the scriptures, letting everyone evaluate the quality of my response.


TJ

Chad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chad said...

Hello TJ,

First off, I wanted to make sure that you understand that the purpose of these interactions are to come along side each other as fellow learners. Please understand my comments in the context of respect and love.

Second, your idea, regarding a proof text, is a great one and I may take you up on it; however, your comment raises a very important question I have that perhaps you could answer for me.

You wrote that you would answer me "using the scriptures." Does this mean, as a Jehovah's Witness, that the scriptures are sufficient for understanding the Bible's message?

Thank you my friend

Anonymous said...

Hi Chad,

You asked, You wrote that you would answer me "using the scriptures." Does this mean, as a Jehovah's Witness, that the scriptures are sufficient for understanding the Bible's message?

Why do I get the feeling you have ulterior motives here?

The scriptures are inspired and God has also provided a congregation to help individuals to understand them.

Now, how about my challenge?


TJ

Chad said...

TJ,

Ha; there are no “ulterior motives,” here. I’m simply trying to clear up a possible misunderstanding on my end.

The Bible clearly claims to be sufficient (2 Tim. 3:16, 17); I believe we can at least agree on that! :-)

However, it is my understanding that the Watchtower(WT) believes that the Bible can only be understood when one is dependent upon it (the WT that is).

Here are some quotes from the Watchtower: [References upon request]

1. “God has not arranged for [His] Word to speak independently or to shine forth life-giving truths by itself. It is through his organization God provides this light.”

2. “Rather we should seek for dependent Bible study, rather than for independent Bible study.”

3. “The Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah’s visible organization in mind.”

4. “If we have love for Jehovah and for the organization of his people we shall not be suspicious, but shall, as the Bible says, ‘believe all things,’ all the things the Watchtower brings out.

5. “He [Jehovah] does not impart this holy spirit and an understanding and appreciation of his Word apart from his visible organization.”

So, I guess I would want to ask a few questions:

1. How is the Bible sufficient, but still dependent upon the Watchtower’s counsel?

2. Regarding the fourth quote, I would also wonder what would happen if the WT brought forth something that was contrary to Biblical teaching; what authority does the JW’s trust?

Finally, regarding your challenge, I have no doubt you could produce a rebuttal for any of the verses included in the article, as could I; however, we already have a few threads going and I’m trying to budget my time!

Take care

Anonymous said...

Hi Chad,

This is getting off the topic of your post above, but I'll give some scriptural thoughts.

First, I'd caution you on 'Watchtower quotes'. Often quotes like these are out of context and sometimes they are actually changed.

1. How is the Bible sufficient, but still dependent upon the Watchtower’s counsel?

Jehovah never wants his people worshipping him independently and alone. He's always encouraged them to associate for worship. Thus, the Christian congregation was established at Pentecost 33 CE. In the Bible, don't you see leaders in that congregation, like Paul, teaching and correcting others?

At times, the governing body of elders even ruled on disputes, such as the issue of circumcision. (Acts 15). The decision was scripturally-based and authoritative for the worldwide congregation at the time.

"Now as they traveled on through the cities they would deliver to those there for observance the decrees that had been decided upon by the apostles and older men who were in Jerusalem. Therefore, indeed, the congregations continued to be made firm in the faith and to increase in number from day to day." (Acts 16:4-5)

2. Regarding the fourth quote, I would also wonder what would happen if the WT brought forth something that was contrary to Biblical teaching; what authority does the JW’s trust?

I'm pretty sure the 4th quote is a misquote. I'm highly, highly doubtful it really says, "as the Bible says, ‘believe all things,’ all the things the Watchtower brings out."

But anyways, we're encouraged not to accept a congregational teaching blindly, but to make sure that it's actually taught scripturally. God's word is the ultimate authority. But I don't find them to be teaching anything obviously contrary to scripture.


Thanks,
TJ

Chad said...

Hello Anonymous TJ,

Hmm...very intersting. You wrote: "God's word is the ultimate authority."

I could not agree more; however, Charles Taze Russell, whom the JW's are a product of, disagrees:

"If the six volumes of "Scripture Studies" are practically the bible, topically arranged with Bible proof texts given, we might not properly name the volumes "the Bible in arranged form," that is to say, they are not mere comments on the Bible, buy they are practically the Bible itself.

Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the "Scripture Studies" aside, after he has read them for ten years- if he then lays them aside and ignores them and GOES TO THE BIBLE ALONE, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he had merely read the "Scripture Studies" with their references and had NOT READ A PAGE of the Bible as such, he would be in the light at the end of two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures."

So clearly, to 'Pastor' Russell, the Bible is not the "ultimate authority."

Reference:

1. Russell, Charles Taze. The Watchtower (Sept. 15, 1910).

Mike Felker said...

TJ, the Watchtower is absolutely clear that you need guidance from the "faithful slave" in order to come to an accurate knowledge of the Scriptures. And as the quotes above show, your views cannot be learned by reading the Bible alone:

*** w81 8/15 pp. 28-29 par. 14 Serving Jehovah “Shoulder to Shoulder” ***

They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such ‘Bible reading,’ they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom’s clergy were teaching 100 years ago, and some have even returned to celebrating Christendom’s festivals again, such as the Roman Saturnalia of December 25! Jesus and his apostles warned against such lawless ones.


This quote is certainly an interesting observation in light of the fact that the Bible must be read with Watchtower literature in order to be understood.

So the attempt to convince us through the Scriptures is almost futile on TJ's part because, under the Watchtower view, he'd have to first convince us that they are the "faithful slave" and once this is done, we would have to submit to everything they say.

Also, TJ, i'd recommend looking at the context of the above quotes before you accuse them of being out of context. If you'd like, I can send you the entire articles where each of the quotes are from so you can see them for yourself.

E.D. Mills said...

Consider the terms Isaiah uses in reference to the Son when as he reveals a prophecy of Christ's (first) coming:

"For there has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." - Isaiah 9:6; NWT.

Not only is He referred to as “Mighty God” but also “Eternal Father”. Does this title indicate that Jesus is Eternal and therefore not created? Also by extension shouldn’t this eliminate the idea of Christ being a “god” instead of “Almighty God”?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, this line of questioning, which is in my opinion unrelated to the original post, has devolved into what I expected.

I will only bother to put one of these into context; in my experience those who aren't convinced by one such example simply don't want to be convinced.

Chad, intentionally or not, you mischaracterized the meaning of that old article. He was saying that his study aids were based entirely on the Bible, and in that sense they "are practically the bible itself".

Let me post the parts you quoted, with some of its context and you tell me whether or not it gives a decidedly different picture (the parts you left out are in bold):

If the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES are practically the Bible topically arranged, with Bible proof-texts given, we might not improperly name the volumes-- the Bible in an arranged form. That is to say, they are not merely comments on the Bible, but they are practically the Bible itself, since there is no desire to build any doctrine or thought on any individual preference or on any individual wisdom, but to present the entire matter on the lines of the Word of God. We therefore think it safe to follow this kind of reading, this kind of instruction, this kind of Bible study.

Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the Divine Plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the SCRIPTURE STUDIES aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years --if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he had merely read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES with their references, and had not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of the two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures.

Our thought, therefore, is that these SCRIPTURE STUDIES are a great assistance, a very valuable help, in the understanding of God's Word. If these books are to be of any value to us it must be because we see in them loyalty to the Word of God, and as far as our judgment goes, see them to be in full harmony with the Word and not antagonistic to it. Therefore, in reading them the first time, and perhaps the second time, and before we would accept anything as being our own personal faith and conviction, we should say, "I will not take it because these studies say so; I wish to see what the Bible says." And so we would study the Scriptures in the light of these SCRIPTURE STUDIES; we would prove every point, or disprove it, as the case might be. We would be satisfied with nothing less than a thorough investigation of the Bible from this standpoint.

(See the entire article at http://tinyurl.com/n7vxhd page 297)

I find this kind of selective editing, done by you or the source you quoted from, dishonest. So this is as far as I'll go in dealing with these 'gotcha' quotes.


TJ

Anonymous said...

Hi E.D.,

As I've said before, I do view Jesus as a "Mighty God", but not as the "Almighty God". If Moses can be referred to as "God" in scripture, certainly Jesus can be a "Mighty" one. (Ex. 4:16; 7:1)

And Trinitarians take the title "Eternal Father" in a qualified sense as well, as we all recognize Jesus as, not the Father, but the Son. Therefore, the term relates to his being the 'second Adam', who was mankind's common father. Whereas death entered through him, eternal life was by Jesus. Therefore he can be called "Eternal Father".


Thanks,
TJ

Chad said...

TJ,

Am I to assume that Mike's quote is 'dishonest' as well? You seem to have overlooked his comment. He also said he would provide you with the full articles so that you could read the quotes in their context.

I do not agree that this "line of questioning" is off topic. If you are going to prove anything "from the scriptures," I believe it's completely reasonable to be sure of what your ultimate authority is first.

Finally, the "context" of the quote, in my mind, does little to dispute the point of the statement. He STILL says:

"but we see, also, that if anyone lays the "Scripture Studies" aside, after he has read them for ten years- if he then lays them aside and ignores them and GOES TO THE BIBLE ALONE, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he had merely read the "Scripture Studies" with their references and had NOT READ A PAGE of the Bible as such, he would be in the light at the end of two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures."

Regardless of your attempt to explain away this quote, what he is saying here is simply this:

Bible + alone = darkness

Bible + Scripture Studies (Watchtower indoctrination)= light

Again, it's the Watchtower that seems to have ultimate authority, not the Bible.

Nice to see you back on the blog! :-)

Respectfully

Anonymous said...

Chad,

If the context does so little to affect the meaning, why did you edit it in the first place? Why is it that all parts that seem to put into perspective the Bible's final authority are conveniently tossed out, without any indication that you edited it. That my friend is dishonest; but again, I'm not sure if you did this or if you just didn't check your sources well enough.

Your point that the article says we need more than just the Bible alone harmonizes with what I said earlier. I believe the Bible itself clearly teaches that we need congregational support to worship in truth.

How about you provide the reference for the quote I challenged earlier, which you had as "If we have love for Jehovah and for the organization of his people we shall not be suspicious, but shall, as the Bible says, ‘believe all things,’ all the things the Watchtower brings out." Where is that one?


TJ

Brian said...

TJ,

Do you think that reading the bible without the Scripture Studies that I am in danger of slipping into darkness?

Also, I thought Mike made a good point about the "faithful slave" -- are you going to address his comment?

Thanks.

Chad said...

TJ,

Thank you for the thoughts and my intent was NOT to be dishonest. I admittedly received this quote from a secondary source. In the future, I will be more careful.

I still see the point I made to be valid and will leave it up to our readers to decide for themselves.

The reference you requested is, "Qualified to be Ministers, 1967, p. 156."

"The first essential for study is the right condition of mind and hear, appreciating that Jehovah and grants understanding only to the meek and not to the stiff-necked. If we have love for Jehovah and for his organization of his people we shall not be suspicious, but shall, as the Bible says, "Believe all things, all the things the Watchtower brings out in as much as it has been faithful in giving us a knowledge of God's purposes and guiding us in the ways of peace, safety and truth from its inception to this present day."

Finally, if someone reads the Bible alone, do you believe they will arrive at Watchtower doctrines?

Thanks