Friday, June 01, 2007

As I’ve said…I have been considering and seriously evaluating Jehovah’s Witness theology. I have put them to the test so to speak, to teach me and explain to me how their theology is actually the true understanding of the gospel. And as I said…I am not convinced. That doesn’t mean that I can’t be or won’t be…I remain open minded to further or perhaps better explanations. But having read their materials, specifically regarding the doctrine of the Trinity…and having spent hours and hours with them in study both in my home and in their Kingdom Hall…I have yet to cross anything that is a fair, Biblical, refute of the historic understanding of The Church concerning this doctrine.

How can I say that? The word “Trinity” is not even in the Bible after all. That’s true…you’ll never read that word or term in the text. However, you won’t read the word “Bible” in the Bible either. Please understand this as well…there is not one specific text or passage that will articulate this doctrine in it’s fullness or in the technical language found in say the Nicene Creed or as as clearly as is laid out in this diagram. When we simply lay out all that the Bible says about “God”, “The Father”, “The Son” and “The Holy Spirit”…side by side…the doctrine of The Holy Trinity is the only logical conclusion. I have yet to be shown otherwise…but again…am more than willing to look at and seriously consider any Biblical evidence that contradicts any aspect of this doctrine. If the evidence is compelling…I must change and be changed. I’m still waiting for that compelling evidence.

No one with any sense about himself would ever dare claim that this doctrine is an exhaustive or complete understanding of Yahweh. Never! It’s the best understanding and articulation we’ve come up with…and we’ve done so with fear and trembling…nothing more. I don’t know how this sounds…but this historic doctrine is the best we have…it’s the least…the bare minimum. A true understanding of God is no less than this doctrine…but an exhaustive understanding of Him would be far more…in fact…if He gave us an exhaustive understanding of His nature it would burn the eye balls out of our heads…beyond even that …it would incinerate us…it would incinerate our body and soul. We will never have an exhaustive understanding of The Mighty One…make no mistake.

The doctrine of the Holy Trinity rests on several fundamental understandings…the first and foremost one is there is only one God. If we don’t get that down and straight then the whole thing falls apart. If there can be and are in fact other true “gods” besides Yahweh then the doctrine doesn’t work. Jesus is described as “God” (John 1:1; 20:28; Romans 9:5; 1 John 5:20-21)…but if there is more than one God He could just be one of “the gods”.

So…what does the Bible teach? How many true Gods are there?

After the tremendous experience of Sinai, Moses waxed eloquent with a series of questions before the people… “Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created man on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by miraculous signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other. From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, and you heard his words from out of the fire. Because he loved your forefathers and chose their descendants after them, he brought you out of Egypt by his Presence and his great strength, to drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you and to bring you into their land to give it to you for your inheritance, as it is today. Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time.” Deuteronomy 4:32-40 niv

“You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.”

“Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.”

When pressed by the many passages that refer to the Deity of Jesus Christ, my Jehovah’s Witness friends and I believe my Mormon friends would basically agree (I might be wrong on the technicalities of Mormon theology however), are forced to explain that Jesus is "a deity"…"a god”…but not the Deity or the God. This passage, and others like it (2 Samuel 7:22; Isaiah 42:8; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; Ephesians 4:4-6; 1 Timothy 2:5; James 2:19), present Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons a real problem. Because every time the Bible mentions a “god” or “gods” it is always in the context of the word, concept or context of “false”.

In other words, never in the Bible do we see a good, true, yet lesser “god” referred to. We see God and false gods…that’s it.

So I ask my Jehovah’s Witness friends this question…I ask you…which is Jesus…a false god or the true God? There are only two options.

More on the Deity of Christ and the Deity of The Holy Spirit…and how that ties in with the doctrine of the Holy Trinity…later. But we can already see the dilemma theologians within The Church have faced for 2,000 years…how do we even attempt to describe and articulate what the sacred texts are teaching regarding the nature of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit…when we read clearly the utter and absolute uniqueness of Yahweh is also revealed? Yahweh is God…there is no other. If you click on the link for 2 Samuel 7:22 you read that not only is there no other God…there is no other God even “like” Yahweh...contrast that with Christ being called the "image" of Yahweh.

This basic understanding is the first step towards arriving at and attempting a coherent appreciation of the proper knowledge of God.

“Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.”


Tim said...

This is a really good start. The doctrine of the Trinity is so essential to the true Christian faith, yet so difficult to understand. I don't believe there is anything more difficult to articulate. What you say is also true. There is a serious problem calling Jesus "a god" when the Scriptures clearly teach that "the LORD our God, the LORD is One." (Deut. 6:4) Either Jesus is THE True God, or he is a false god. Bottom line, either the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are God or our faith is in vain.

irreverend fox said...

thanks Tim,

I think half the battle is won by starting at this point...that there is only one true God...all other "gods" spoken of in Scripture are spoken of in the context of being "false gods".

I can't stress the significance of understanding this as we move forward...the doctrine of the Holy Trinity simply unfolds after this point is understood.