Monday, June 04, 2007

After my last post and after several conversations with many of you (leave your comments on the blog also please! lol…PLEASE!) something has really struck me. Call me crazy…but the light bulb just blinked on in my head.

Now of course I am the master of the obvious…most of the time…what I’m about to say might be the most common sense thing you’ve ever heard. BUT…my entire approach in apologetics will forever be changed…maybe this will help you as well.

I’ve been trained wrong…sorta. It’s not that the information I’ve been trained with has been proven wrong…it’s just that I now think I’ve been trained to start a study in the wrong place. Everything in the arena I’ve read has stressed “the Deity of Christ…the Deity of Christ…start there…” Of course I believe in Christ’s Deity with all my heart…but I no longer think that is the place to start when studying the Bible with those outside of Christendom. There is a deeper underlying issue with both of the two big non-orthodox groups. Discussing the “deity” of Christ with them both can be as frustrating as squeezing a wet bar of soap, I have found, until this underlying issue is dealt with first…I think we need to reassess how we train people…I think we are making this much more difficult than it should be. I know I have been.

You see, the issue with my Mormon and Jehovah’s Witness friends is NOT the words “God” or “deity” being ascribed to Christ. Not at all. The New World Translation of the Bible applies that word to Christ, plainly: “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” John 1:1 NWT. Furthermore, both groups do ascribe, to one degree or another, “worship” to Christ…but of course they are very careful in how they articulate that concept. So hitting them with Colossians 2:9 or Matthew 14:33 can lose it’s impact unless this first, underlying, issue is not first addressed. THEN the full impact of those verses can manifest…at that point those verses can really transition from a glow to a beam.

I have spent a year or more in study and discussion with my Jehovah’s Witness friends about if the Bible teaches that Jesus was God. That’s really not the issue with either JW’s or LDS’s. The real issue is "how many "Gods" that are good and true exist?"

That’s it. That’s the real question.

I will always start at that place from now on. If my Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness friends can show me that there is more than one true and good “God” out there then they might have some ground to stand upon. But if my understanding, the historic and classic understanding of theology and reality is true…heck, if monotheism is true…then they’ve lost the argument plain and simple. Their entire understanding of the Father, Christ and the Holy Spirit rests on their belief that there is more than one good and true God in existence. If that is not the case then they literally have no way to explain all the passages that deal with the Deity of all three persons.

I can not wait for our evangelism training conference in August…during my portion I will stress this point emphatically. From now on I will teach people where to start in the dialog…we need to cut to the chase and start with the question “How many true and good ‘Gods’ are there”? Once the answer to that question is established then everything will fall into place...if there is more than one good and true God out there then we'll never be able to trust the doctrine of the Holy Trinity again...if there is not more than one...well...then they must embrase this doctrine...what other option would either of us have?

So…no new information this time…just an encouragment to go over the previous post and really let it soak in…

Eureka!



Here, I guess…is the layout of this topic…the first issue has been dealt with in this post and the previous…the rest will be discussed, in this order, as we go:

-There is only one true and good God
-All three persons ascribed as God in the Bible are described as distinct from one another
-Yet the Bible teaches the Deity of the Father, Son AND the Holy Spirit
-The doctrine of the Holy Trinity must therefore be true

6 comments:

Chris said...

Gary,

Now you are talking! I am glad you had a V-8 from God!!!

Chris

irreverend fox said...

thanks Chris...understand...I am being consistent with the previous couple posts...keep in mind...if they can disprove these things, using the Bible...well...I'll have no choice but to convert.

I have considered and will continue to consider their reasoning...and therefore have and will consider converting.

It's up to the evidence...what does the Bible teach? The historic orthodox view has never been refuted…while I am open, very open, to conflicting evidence…and being changed if such evidence demands it…I don’t think it likely to say the least…not because I’m not open minded or unwilling (God knows)…but because you just can’t get blood from a turnip.

Momma said...

Gary
Thats just never gona happen...Guess you'll have to stay a Bible believing born again Baptist....

irreverend fox said...

lol...thanks mom...but I'm leaving the door wide open to be proven wrong...maybe you raised me as an apostate, MOTHER! did you ever think of that?

I'll say this till I'm blue in the face...I'm open to the evidence...what does the Bible teach? I will go where the Scriptures, not tradition or religion...but I will follow what the Bible says. So...unless shown otherwise...I do believe that this is what the text is saying...the silence of real evidence is and has been deafening for 2,000 years...

Tony Myles said...

Just found out we have a JW family in our neighborhood... I find myself thankful for the chance to get to know them, yet also mindful to help my two young boys that not everyone who says "jesus" means "Jesus."

It was a whole lot easier when JW were just strangers who knocked at the door. Dang it - now I have to love them.

irreverend fox said...

hey Tony...great thoughts...keep in mind...and I think that this is a fair assessment...JW's are taught to not associate on a personal level with apostates...that's you and me...so "loving" them may be difficult if you have a strict understanding of what that means. I'd not expect them to eat with you or let your kids play together...much if at all...I'm assuming these people are devout JW's.

The key to "loving" them is respect. Respect for their boundaries and right to have an opinion. Most people are very harsh, cold and disrespectful of JW's....they go door to door...all year round basically...and get door after door after door slammed in their face. That has got to wear on you after a while.

My advice is to listen more than you talk...be open minded. I think they'll respect that more than anything...and who can blame them? If we'd ever like them to hear us out with an open mind we must be willing to hear them out with an open mind...it's just common sense. So I'd just be open minded with them and kind. I think just consistently being nice, kind, respectful and friendly would be a nice change of pace for them considering the way so many evangelicals treat them and have treated them most of their lives.