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Answering WatchTower Objections

Written by: Henke, David    Posted on: 04/24/2003

Category: Cults / Sects / Non Christian Religions and Topics

Source: CCN

                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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