Answering WatchTower Objections
AUTHOR: Henke, David
PUBLISHED ON: April 24, 2003

                Answering Watchtower Objections
                          David Henke
                          Columbus, GA

Jehovah’s Witnesses will object to the Christian that the word
“Trinity” is not found in the scripture, the doctrine is
unreasonable, it is of pagan Babylonish origin, it was introduced
as church doctrine in the fourth century, is a “complicated,
freakish-looking, three-headed God” (Let God Be True, p.83), and
finally they will call it unscriptural.

              Is The Word “Trinity” In The Bible?

One of the easiest objections to answer is the charge that the
term “trinity” is not found in scripture.  True, it is not.  The
term has been attributed to both Theophilus (116 to 181 AD) and
Tertullian (160 to 220 AD).  It expresses the Biblical teaching
of three Persons (tri) in one God (unity).

If Jehovah’s Witnesses insist that this point is important, point
out to them that the terms “millennium,” “theocracy,” and
“rapture” are not found in scripture either.  Will they stop
believing their doctrine on these subjects because of the absence
of these words in scripture?

                      Is It Unreasonable?

It must be kept in mind, and repeated often to the Jehovah’s
Witness, that the sense in which God is “one” (His nature) is
different from the sense in which He is “three” (Persons).

As Rev. John S. Banks says in A Manual of Christian Doctrine,
“The combination of the two elements involves no logical
contradiction, because they refer to the Godhead in different
respects, one to nature, the other to persons.  The mere fact of
incomprehensible mystery is no objection, every truth respecting
God being no less mysterious” (p.108).

God is an infinite being and man is a sin darkened finite
creature so by definition man in unable to comprehend infinite
perfection, regardless of whether it is the Watchtower god or the
Biblical God.

                        A Pagan Doctrine?

It is true there are pagan “trinities” which date back to
Babylon, but rather than this fact supporting the Watchtower
contention it actually is an evidence in favor of the Biblical
triune God.

Robert Watts in New Apologetic says the pagan triads are
“residuary fragments of the lost knowledge of God, not different
stages in a process of theological evolution, but evidence of a
moral and spiritual degradation” (p.195; as quoted in Augustus H.
Strong’s Systematic Theology, p.352).

Thus, because Israel had spent four hundred years in pagan Egypt,
where the triad of Osiris, Isis and Horus held sway, God began
their theological education by establishing the unity of God
first.  Later they would learn of the plurality of Persons within
the unity of the one God.  To start by revealing plurality within
unity would leave an opening for interpretation consistent with
the pagan counterfeits.  This view is presented in the book The
Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop.

Hislop says concerning these pagan trinities, “All these have
existed from ancient times.  While overlaid with idolatry, the
recognition of a Trinity was universal in all ancient nations of
the world, proving how deep-rooted in the human race was the
primeval doctrine on this subject, which comes out so distinctly
in Genesis” (p.18).

                  A Fourth Century Invention?

Jehovah’s Witnesses charge that the doctrine is of late origin, a
fourth century product, hence an invention of man.  With the
advent of Jesus, and the writing of the New Testament, God
reveals clearly the plurality of Persons in the Godhead.

What we see in Church history from that point until the fourth
century is a growing controversy over the person of Christ, and
not whether three Persons comprise the one God.

For the most part this was a disagreement over his humanity, not
his deity.  The Gnosticism of the day, which influenced some of
the church Fathers, did not see that God, who is pure and holy,
could have any real contact with matter, which they saw as evil.

Thus, the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ (Emmanuel, meaning
‘God with us’) presented some church Fathers with problems over
Jesus’ true humanity.  Their dilemma was to figure out how Jesus,
whom they understood to be God, could take on a material body
which is evil?

This was the issue John addressed in 1 John.  He stated that to
deny “that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh” is of anti-christ
(1 John 4:1-3).

When the Watchtower says the doctrine of the Trinity was
“formulated” in the fourth century they are implying that it was
invented then.  They are wrong.  The doctrine was believed by the
Church from the time of the Apostles.

A doctrine is seldom defined precisely until some error comes
along to force a precise definition.  This defining of what the
Church already believed about God was what the Councils of Necaea
and Constantinople accomplished.

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