What is the functional difference between evangelism and Christian apologetics? In this video you will get a brief, but clear understanding of what these two fields of Christian ministry seek to accomplish and how they need one another in order to effectively carry out the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Tag Archives: Theology
What is Christian Apologetics?
What is Christian apologetics? In this short video you will learn from the Bible what apologetics is and the purpose it serves in our Christian witness.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” –I Peter 3:15
Is Water Baptism Necessary for Salvation?
Is water baptism necessary for salvation? This subject has been hotly debated between Christians and those in certain cult groups (Churches of Christ and Oneness Pentecostals, etc.) and the apostate Roman Catholic church for decades.
In order for water baptism to be considered necessary for salvation it must be part of the gospel message because it is the gospel that provides salvation. (Romans 1:16) But is water baptism synonymous with the gospel of Jesus Christ as some pseudo Christian groups claim it is?
In the video Is Water Baptism Necessary for Salvation, we will get a clear answer to this question from the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 1:17. After prayerfully and carefully examining the text with me in the video, you’ll see the clear cut answer to this longtime theological question.
Nicki Minaj and Word of Faith Theology.
On a “gospel song” Nicki Minaj espouses the Word of Faith teaching of “Name it and Claim It.” Is this doctrine biblically supported? For that matter, can we as Christians take Nicki Minaj seriously when it comes down to the bible and theology?
Come along and view a recent video I did entitled Nicki Minaj and Word of Faith Theology and find out more about this matter of significant importance.
Can Christians Curse Themselves?
Is it possible for us as born-again Christians to curse ourselves? Can we as Christians speak negatively about ourselves and thus bring a curse upon us?
In this video we will explore whether this is possible by seeing what the Scriptures (Bible) says concerning this. Click here to find out.
Life And Death in Our Tongues?
Can We Literally Speak Life and Death into Existence?
What does Proverbs 18:21 mean when it says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. Is this passage of Scripture teaching us as Christians that we can literally speak life and death into reality by the words which we speak?
In this video we will examine Proverbs 18:21 and see whether or not we as Christians can speak life and death into existence as it is claimed by those in the Positive Confession/Word of Faith movements. Click here and find out.
In Defense of the Triune Nature of God: Part II
In part 1 of ‘In Defense of the Triune Nature of God’, the Jehovah’s Witnesses faulty understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity historically was exposed, and their misinterpretation of two Scripture passages which they attempt to use to debunk the Christian doctrine of the Triune nature of God: John 17:3 and John 14:28 were corrected hermeneutically. If you haven’t yet read the previous article or if you need to refresh your memory on what was written, I encourage you to go back and read ‘In Defense of the Triune Nature of God: Part I. In this concluding article, I will address the remaining Scripture passages mentioned in Part 1 and examine and refute the Jehovah’s Witnesses interpretation of them: Deuteronomy 6:4, Isaiah 42:8, and Acts 2:32. With no further delay, let’s dive in and continue where we left off.
“Proof Texts” Against the Doctrine of the Trinity (Continued)
3.) Deuteronomy 6:4: “Listen, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.” In the grammar of that verse, the word “one” has no plural modifiers to suggest that it means anything but one individual (Should you Believe in the Trinity: What Does the Bible Say About God and Jesus? https://www.jw.org/en/library/books/Should-You-Believe-in-the-Trinity/What-Does-the-Bible-Say-About-God-and-Jesus/ Accessed 29 November 2021)
At first glance, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are correct in saying there is one LORD (Yahweh or Jehovah). As Christian theologian Ron Rhodes accurately stated, “That there is only one true God is the consistent testimony of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. That truth is like a thread that runs through every page of the Bible.”1 Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses can readily agree on this fundamental biblical truth. Where we part ways, however, is when Jehovah’s Witnesses equate God (who they refer to as Jehovah) as being a singular Being, and thus assume this proves beyond a shadow of doubt God is not a Triune Being.
This begs the question: How does affirming Jehovah as being one God disprove the claim that He has a Triune Nature as Christianity claims God does? In actuality, it doesn’t disprove it at all. In fact, it exposes the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ ignorance of what the doctrine of the Trinity teaches. This argument demonstrates their gross assumption that Trinitarianism and tritheism are definitionally synonymous with one another. As seen, however, in part 1 of this article, Trinitarianism teaches that there is one God who exists as three co-eternal and distinct persons–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–whereas tritheism is the belief in three distinct gods like The Capitoline Triad in ancient Roman religion: Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. In Christianity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have the same divine nature: God’s nature. They do not have three separate and different divine natures. If so, this would lead to tritheism.
It is also important for Jehovah’s Witnesses (and Christians alike) to understand that the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are all called Jehovah or Yahweh (LORD). The Greek word for the Hebrew word YHWH or LORD is Kyrios. With this understanding in place, let’s see what Scripture says concerning the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit being Jehovah or Yahweh.
In the gospel of Matthew in verse 25 it states, “At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.” Jesus rightfully calls the Father, Kyrios (Lord) of heaven and earth.
In Romans 10:9, it states, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” In Romans 10:9 the Apostle Paul tells us Jesus is Kyrios (Lord) and four verses later the Apostle Paul tells us “For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.””(Romans 10:13) The Kyrios who sinners call upon for salvation is none other than Jesus. The Apostle Paul quotes this from the Old Testament prophet Joel in chapter 2 verse 32 where LORD refers to Yahweh or Jehovah. The Apostle Paul understood and believed that Jesus was Kyrios and specifically the Kyrios and YHWH the prophet Joel was speaking of in chapter 2 verse 32.
Finally, in Acts 13:2, it states, “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” This verse may not be as clear as the earlier verses, but in verse 2 the Holy Spirit is equated with Kyrios. First, we have to ask: who is being ministered to? The Lord (Kyrios). Secondly, who responds to the ministering? The Holy Spirit. Thirdly, who calls Barnabas and Saul (Paul) to their missionary task? The Holy Spirit. Lastly, can anyone outside of the Lord (Kyrios) call Christians into ministry? No, they cannot. Therefore, the Holy Spirit must be Kyrios; Yahweh or Jehovah.
Thus, as clearly understood from the New Testament, the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are Kyrios and the Jehovah or Yahweh (YHWH) of Deuteronomy 6:4. Deuteronomy 6:4 does not disprove the Triune nature of God if one has a proper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. The only thing God, through Moses, sought to teach Israel and ourselves also, is that there is only one God; not a multiplicity of gods like the pagan nations surrounding them believed in and worshiped. Until the Jehovah’s Witnesses properly understand the doctrine of the Trinity and stop equating the Trinity with tritheism, these kinds of misinterpretations of Scripture will continue on and on ad nauseam.
4.) Isaiah 42:8: “I am Jehovah. That is my name; I give my glory to no one else, Nor my praise to graven images.” Thousands of times throughout the Bible, God is spoken of as one person. When he speaks, it is as one undivided individual.” (Should you Believe in the Trinity: What Does the Bible Say About God and Jesus? https://www.jw.org/en/library/books/Should-You-Believe-in-the-Trinity/What-Does-the-Bible-Say-About-God-and-Jesus/ Accessed 29 November 2021)
As with the previous passage in Deuteronomy 6:4, Jehovah’s Witnesses assume their position without actually proving their position. Again they beg the question: How does Jehovah being one God disprove the claim that He has a Triune Nature as Christianity claims God does? This is once again a blatant misunderstanding of the doctrine of the Trinity and we will not reiterate what has already been explained concerning the difference between Trinitarianism and tritheism. Instead, we will examine Isaiah 42:8 and see that God the Father (Jehovah) does in fact share His glory with another, but not with idol gods as God Himself states so clearly to us in this text.
In John 17:5 of Jesus’ prayer to the Father just before His crucifixion on the cross, said, “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” Further along in John 17:24, Jesus says, “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” So do we have a contradiction between these two verses in John 17 and Isaiah 42:8? Not at all if we understand what the doctrine of the Trinity teaches us about the nature of God.
If we believe what God said concerning Him not giving His glory to another (and we rightfully should), then how can we reconcile what God the Father (Jehovah) said with what Jesus said in John 17:5, 24? It is actually quite easy to reconcile these Scriptures with each other if we look at them in light of God’s Triune nature. Isaiah 42:8 tells us God does not give His glory to graven images; which are false gods/idols. Since this is the case, was Jesus telling the truth or was He lying and thus guilty of the sin of blasphemy? Or worse yet, do we simply toss the whole Bible away and reject the claim that it is divinely inspired? The answer to both questions is no.
Jesus was not guilty of blasphemy; otherwise Jesus’ death on the cross would have been ineffective, and therefore vain in atoning for our sins. This is not the case since the Apostle Paul told us “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (II Corinthians 5:21) Since we know this to be indeed true, we can thankfully wipe away from our minds the other conclusion, which is that the Bible is not the divinely inspired Word of God.
So the logical answer to how Jesus can share in God’s glory, but at the same time know that God gives His glory to no one else is to explain it in light of God’s Triune nature. If Jesus is God–which we have seen from Scripture that this is the case–then it logically follows that Jesus has glory equal to the Father. This would also include the Holy Spirit since He is also God in nature.
So when we understand the doctrine of the Trinity (insofar as we are able to), then we can see how the Jehovah’s Witnesses argument against the Trinity, as we see here in this misinterpretation of Isaiah 42:8, is truly fallacious. As I have said once, and I will say once more: Until the Jehovah’s Witnesses understand what the doctrine of the Trinity teaches about the nature of God, they will continue to be guilty of grotesque misinterpretations of Scripture in a futile attempt to debunk the Triune nature of God.
5.) Acts 2:32: “God resurrected this Jesus, and of this we are all witnesses.” “Thus, the Almighty God and Jesus are clearly two separate persons.” (You can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth: God–Who is He? p.39.)
At this point you may be thinking, “Is it necessary at this point to respond to this argument?” To your question, I say yes, it is necessary to respond to this weak argument against the Triune nature of God; the deity of Jesus in this particular case. The reason for doing so is to demonstrate that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are so desperate to deny the Triune nature of God that they end up falling off the cliff of sound reasoning.
The argument stated here by the Jehovah’s Witnesses is as follows:
1. God resurrected Jesus from the dead.
2. Therefore, the Almighty God and Jesus are clearly two separate persons.
As you can probably see, the premise and the conclusion are totally disconnected from one another. The conclusion does not flow from the above premise or vice versa, the premise does not logically lead to the conclusion stated. It is common logic from those in the cults and their reasoning leads them to incoherent truth claims. What does God raising Jesus from the dead have to do with Jesus not being God in human flesh or Jesus not being part of the Triune Godhead? There is clearly no logical connection between the premise and the conclusion. All Christians readily agree with the Jehovah’s Witnesses that the Father and Jesus are two distinct persons, but this biblical and logical truth does not disprove that Jesus and the Father are both God in their nature (as well as the Holy Spirit). This argument offered up here by the Jehovah’s Witnesses only demonstrates the obvious, which is that the Father and the Son are truly distinct persons. Nothing more, and nothing less.
In conclusion, we have seen here and in part 1 of this article, that the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not have a sound logical and biblical case against the Triune nature of God. Instead we have continuously seen how their misinterpretation of Scripture and the poor arguments they state are due to a gross misunderstanding of the teaching of the doctrine of the Trinity. They wrongly make Trinitarianism and tritheism definitionally synonymous with one another and as a result provide Christians with illogical and incoherent arguments against the historic Christian doctrine of the Trinity.
So if you are a Christian reading this, do not fear the arguments railed against the Triune nature of God which has been taught in the Christian church since its inception and was progressively revealed to us from Genesis to Revelation beforehand. The doctrine of the Trinity is biblical and God’s Triune nature is unique because no other god in the cults or god in the vastness of world religions compares to Him. This Triune God is unique, special, and is full of mystery; especially as it pertains to His nature. This God is worthy of everyone’s worship, but we must know Him as He has revealed Himself in the pages of Scripture: “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) Worshiping God in spirit is not enough unless you know the truth about who God (Yahweh) is.
- Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1993), pp. 229.
In Defense of the Triune Nature of God: Part I
A couple of articles ago, I sought to accurately identify Jehovah god, the god of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In that article I identified Jehovah god using three descriptions: The Nature of Jehovah god, The Attributes of Jehovah god, and The Name of Jehovah god and its Salvific Power. Its purpose was to provide an introduction to anyone unfamiliar with the god of the Jehovah’s Witnesses since this god could, and often does, go under the radar undetected by some and is often wrongly identified as the God of the Christian faith. By the end of the article we discovered how very different Jehovah god is to Yahweh, the God of Christianity.
In this article we will begin embarking on a biblical, theological, and apologetical journey in our response and refutation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses strong objections to the Triune God of Christianity, which they attempt to do, both historically and biblically. This will be done in two parts beginning with examining their historical claim against the doctrine of the Trinity and afterwards, responding and refuting the Jehovah’s Witnesses interpretation of two of the five Scripture passages stated in the prior article. The other three passages of Scripture will be covered in the second part.
The Trinity: Egyptian in Origin?
In the prior article, I quoted from a Jehovah’s Witnesses source which claimed that the doctrine of the Trinity is not unique to Christianity, but was borrowed from Egyptian religions by an early church father, Athanasius, and was thus inserted into Christian theology concerning the nature of God. Just in case you did not see the quote prior, here it is below:
Historian Will Durant observed: “Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it. . . . From Egypt came the ideas of a divine trinity.” And in the book Egyptian Religion, Siegfried Morenz notes: “The trinity was a major preoccupation of Egyptian theologians . . . Three gods are combined and treated as a single being, addressed in the singular. In this way the spiritual force of Egyptian religion shows a direct link with Christian theology.”
Thus, in Alexandria, Egypt, churchmen of the late third and early fourth centuries, such as Athanasius, reflected this influence as they formulated ideas that led to the Trinity. Their own influence spread, so that Morenz considers “Alexandrian theology as the intermediary between the Egyptian religious heritage and Christianity.” (Should you Believe in the Trinity: How Did the Trinity Doctrine Develop? https://www.jw.org/en/library/books/Should-You-Believe-in-the-Trinity/How-Did-the-Trinity-Doctrine-Develop/. Accessed 29 November 2021.)
Is it true? Did the doctrine of the Trinity derive from pagan Egyptian religions? Absolutely not, and here is why. Historian Will Durant defines the Trinity as three gods who are combined and treated as a single being. This is not Trinitarianism; this is Tritheism, which is commonly confused with the former. Even dictionary.com confuses the two terms in its definition of Tritheism, “belief in three Gods, especially in the doctrine that the three persons of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) are three distinct Gods, each an independent center of consciousness and determination.” (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/tritheism) Dictionary.com has the first part correct in defining Tritheism as the belief in three distinct gods, but the later part of the definition is incorrect. There are not three distinct gods in the Triune Godhead, but three distinct persons in the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The correct definition of the Trinity is due at this point. “The Christian understanding of God as one in essence though consisting of three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”1 In other words, there is only one God, and this one God exists (not manifest himself) as three distinct persons who are fully God in nature and who are coeternal and have coexisted together for all eternity. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the same in essence, but distinct and different in persons. This theological definition of the Trinity in Christian theology is entirely different from Historian Will Durant and Jehovah’s Witnesses’ faulty understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. Trinitarianism is not Tritheism and Tritheism is not Trinitarianism. Thus, Trinitarianism was not derived from Egyptian religions by Athanasius. Instead, Athanasius theologically and philosophically arrived at the definition of the Trinity, both logically and biblically.
“Proof Texts” Against the Doctrine of the Trinity
As I wrote in my prior article, Jehovah’s Witnesses attempt to provide “proof text” from their New World Translation of the Bible which they believe debunk and disproves the doctrine of the Trinity. Every “proof text” provided by Jehovah’s Witnesses to debunk and disprove the Trinity are also used in an attempt to debunk the deity of Jesus Christ. If they successfully debunk and disprove the deity of Jesus, they also successfully debunk and disprove the doctrine of the Trinity. There are also passages of Scripture which they also use in an attempt to debunk the deity of the Holy Spirit, but I will address those passages in a future article. I will, however (where I can), make a case for the divinity of the Holy Spirit in correlation with the Scriptures and arguments in question.
1. John 17:3: “This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” JESUS called God “the only true God.” (John 17:3) Never did he refer to God as a deity of plural persons.” (Should you Believe in the Trinity: What Does the Bible Say about God and Jesus? https://www.jw.org/en/library/books/Should-You-Believe-in-the-Trinity/What-Does-the-Bible-Say-About-God-and-Jesus/. Accessed 29 November 2021.)
The Jehovah’s Witnesses have provided us with two arguments: 1). Jesus called God “the only true God, which implies that Jehovah God is the only true God, which therefore excludes Jesus as well as the Holy Spirit as God and 2). Jesus never referred to God as a deity of plural persons, which they think debunks and disproves the doctrine of the Trinity.
In the first argument, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have put themselves in the proverbial corner logically and biblically and here’s why. If God the Father is the only true God, then Jehovah’s Witnesses must also believe that God the Father is also the only Savior which would instantly exclude Jesus as Savior since Isaiah 43:11 says, “ I, even I, am the Lord, And besides Me there is no savior.” But we know that Jesus also is called the Savior as seen in Luke 2:11 where the Angel of the Lord proclaimed to the shepherds that…”there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” On one hand we clearly see in Isaiah 43:11 that God proclaims with authority that there is no Lord and Savior beside Himself, yet on the other hand, the Angel of the Lord proclaims that Jesus is both Lord and Savior. Well, if we follow the Jehovah’s Witnesses argument to its logical conclusion, then Jesus is neither Lord nor Savior and the entire New Testament testimony of Jesus as Lord and Savior is deemed as false, which no rational thinking Jehovah’s Witness would agree with.
So, how do we make sense of this apparent conflict between Isaiah 43:11 and Luke 2:11? We make sense of this apparent conflict by concluding that both the Father and the Son are equally Lord and Savior, which is only possible if both of them by their very essence and nature are God, since only God can be both Lord and Savior as Isaiah 43:11 truthfully states. Thus, when Jesus called His Father “the only true God”, He is declaring that by nature the Father is the only true God, but this does not exclude either Jesus or the Holy Spirit as being by nature the “only true God”. Besides, if Jesus is not by nature the only true God, then Jesus is a false god because Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus is the mighty God, which they quote from Isaiah 9:6.
In the second argument provided by Jehovah’s Witnesses which argues that Jesus never referred to God as a deity of plural persons, they highly neglect the one passage in all the New Testament which clearly demonstrates the plurality of persons in the Godhead. In Matthew 28:19, which is commonly known as the Great Commission, Jesus commands His disciples, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” At first glance you may ask, “Where is the Trinity demonstrated in this passage? I don’t see it!” Just look a little more closely at the Scripture. It is in the grammatical structure of the second half of the verse, “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” The word ‘name’ is a singular word which is followed by three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Normally, this is grammatically incorrect, since name (singular) is followed by three persons (plural), so Jesus must be conveying something unique here.
The singular word ‘name’ in Matthew 28:19 refers to God (Elohim): Yahweh. This is followed by “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” So what is the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? The name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is Yahweh. This means that all three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are by nature God, which in turn demonstrates the Tri-unity of God. Therefore, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are grossly wrong for claiming Jesus never referred to God as a deity of plural persons. We find Jesus doing just that in Matthew 28:19.
2. John 14:28: “You heard that I said to you, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I am.” “ THE Bible’s position is clear. Not only is Almighty God, Jehovah, a personality separate from Jesus but He is at all times his superior. Jesus is always presented as separate and lesser, a humble servant of God. That is why the Bible plainly says that “the head of the Christ is God” in the same way that “the head of every man is the Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:3) And this is why Jesus himself said: “The Father is greater than I.”—John 14:28, RS, Catholic edition.” (Should you Believe in the Trinity: Is God Always Superior to Jesus? https://www.jw.org/en/library/books/Should-You-Believe-in-the-Trinity/Is-God-Always-Superior-to-Jesus/ Accessed 29 November 2021.)
Jehovah’s Witnesses would consider this verse of Scripture to be one of the strongest “proof texts” against both the deity of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity. They assume that when Jesus said “the Father is greater than I”, it means that the Father is greater than Jesus from the standpoint of divinity, which then means Jesus is lesser than the Father in nature as God. Unfortunately, for the Jehovah’s Witnesses they are saying more than what Jesus meant when he said, “the Father is greater than I.”
The issue at hand in John 14:28 is not God the Father being greater than Jesus and more superior than Jesus because the Father is God and Jesus is not, but it is an issue of position in the Godhead. Christian theologian Dr. Ron Rhodes in his outstanding book Reasoning from the Scripture With the Jehovah’s Witnesses explains to us that according to the Greek text, Jesus did not teach the Father was better (krettion) than Him, but instead that the Father is greater (meizon) Him.2 Furthermore, Rhodes said, “The word ‘greater’ is used to point to the Father’s greater position (in heaven), not a greater nature”3
David A. Reed, a former Jehovah’s Witness who converted to Christianity, Scripturally explains why Jesus in John 14:28 is referring to the Father as being greater than Him positionally. Reed explains, “Remind them that Jesus was speaking at a time when He had done as in Philippians 2:6-7: ‘Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men’ (KJV)”.4 Reed explains to us that Jesus could say that the Father was greater than Him because Jesus, though in the form of God and did not count it robbery to be equal with God, choose to make Himself positionally lesser than the Father by taking on human flesh in order to die on the cross for our sins and rise bodily from the dead.
Interestingly, and quite revealingly, the Jehovah’s Witnesses argument as stated above actually validates and proves the point Dr. Rhodes and Reed made as it pertained to the Father being positionally greater than Jesus. Remember the latter end of their argument? They argued, “That is why the Bible plainly says that “the head of the Christ is God” in the same way that “the head of every man is the Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:3) And this is why Jesus himself said: “The Father is greater than I.” Surprisingly, Jehovah’s Witnesses left out a very critical part of I Corinthians 11:3. From their New World Translation, let’s read it again, “I want you to know that the head of every man is the Christ; in turn, the head of a woman is the man; in turn, the head of the Christ is God.” In their quote above from I Corinthians 11:3 they left out “in turn, the head of a woman is the man.”
Now, is the man greater (meizon) than the woman because the man has a better (krettion) nature than the woman? Of course not! The man is greater than the woman positionally in the household, “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.” (Ephesians 5:23) Therefore, we can confidently read I Corinthians 11:3 in the following way: ‘But I want you to know that the head of every man (positionally) is Christ, the head of woman (positionally) is man, and the head of Christ (positionally) is God.’
Thus, Jesus is not teaching us that the Father is greater than Him because the Father has a better nature (divinity) than Him (Jesus), but that the Father is in fact greater than Him positionally because Jesus, who is equal with God in nature, left heaven and added on the nature of a human being and was born of a virgin in order to redeem humanity. Also, we can further say that the Holy Spirit is positionally lesser than both the Father and the Son, but He is in no way by nature inferior to them. The Jehovah’s Witnesses own faulty argument and usage of I Corinthians 11:3 backfire on them in their attempt to debunk and disprove both the deity of Jesus and the Triune nature of God.
In the second part of this article we will cover the remaining Scripture verses: Deuteronomy 6:4, Isaiah 42:8, and Acts 2:32. I hope this has helped you as you seek to win Jehovah’s Witnesses to the biblical Jesus of the Christian faith. The second article will be written and posted ASAP. I look forward to writing and sharing the second and final part of this article with you.
1. C. Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religions (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), pp. 118.
2. Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1993), pp. 146-47.
3. Ibid, pp. 147.
4. David A. Reed, Jehovah’s Witnesses: Answered verse by verse (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1986), pp. 80.
There is STILL a Dire need for Sound Doctrine.
Recently my lovely wife Joselyn was invited by a coworker to her church. It is always a pleasant feeling to a Christian to be invited to another house of worship; especially when it’s someone you know or have regular contact with. It is a completely different and troublesome feeling, however, when you go to this “church” only to find out that the teaching there is anything but Christian. Sadly the latter feeling was the case for my wife. She kindly and eagerly went to her coworker’s church only to find it teaching contrary doctrine to orthodox Christianity. Behind the pulpit the pastor openly denied and attempted to debunk such essential doctrines of the Christian faith such as the doctrine of the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, and justification by faith alone in Christ. This group by the way is Iglesia ni Cristo which in English is translated “church of Christ.” This group is not affiliated with the Campbellite restoration movement,”Church of Christ”, even though they have the same doctrinal stances regarding water baptismal regeneration and the belief that they are the one true church. As me and Joselyn prayerfully prepare for our soon to come conversation with this coworker, I am reminded of the importance of sound doctrine as a Christian. Unlike the Trinity Broadcasting Network which can feature Trinitarians and Modalists having fellowship on the same platform, under the banner of Jesus, as if their opposing views are minor doctrinal issues, sound doctrine derived from the Bible is needed in order to join us unto Christian orthodoxy and protect us from heresy. In this blog we will see the Biblical emphasis put on the importance for having sound doctrine. In the next blog we will put it to work by examining Iglesia ni Cristo.
Doctrine or teaching is in no way foreign to the Bible. Both in the Old and New Testament we see the word doctrine mentioned many times: 51 times in 50 verses in the King James Bible. These numbers, however, fluctuate from translation to translation. Solomon spoke of teaching doctrine in Proverbs 4:2, “For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.” Solomon saw the need to give his son good doctrine and of course it is only good doctrine if it is in fact sound doctrine! We can also draw from this the importance for parents to have sound doctrine themselves in order to give sound doctrine to their children. The doctrine parents pass on to their children will shape their worldview either for better or for worst both now and for all eternity. God saw this need and gave instruction on when to begin teaching sound doctrine, “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts (Isaiah 28:9).” We see here that for parents teaching sound doctrine begins very early in a child’s life. Teaching sound doctrine to children is taught both in verbal and non-verbal ways. Verbal ways such as “don’t lie, tell the truth,” and non-verbal ways such as pulling a baby away from a electrical socket.
In seeing the need for good doctrine as we saw in the Old Testament, it is only reasonable to beware of false doctrine. In the New Testament we see warnings about false doctrine. In Matthew 16:12 Jesus warns His disciples about the false doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducee’s, “Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducee’s.” Jesus was no stranger to dealing with false doctrine. In Matthew 22 alone He dealt with two false doctrines: The Sadducee’s denial of the resurrection and the Pharisees doctrine of the Christ being the son of David. How much more then should we do the same in our day and age? This is only possible of course if we as Christians have sound doctrine ourselves. The Apostle Paul spoke of the need for being mature in Christian doctrine by giving us a descriptive picture of what a Christian without sound doctrine looks like, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive (Eph. 4:14).” A good example of this is the founder of the Iglesia ni Cristo Felix Manalo. Felix came up in the Catholic church, then left them and studied the doctrines of various denominations and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. From this he formulated what is now the doctrines of the Iglesia ni Cristo which consist of Campbellite and Jehovah’s Witness theology. This is why the Apostle Paul saw the need for us as Christians to be nourished in sound doctrine (I Timothy 4:6).
Finally it is the responsibility of those of us who are teachers, preachers, and pastors to make sure sound doctrine is being taught to those whom God has giving to feed spiritually. Teaching the Word of God is a great responsibility to us who teach it to others. So much so that James tell us in James 3:1, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” Those of us who teach God’s Word are under God’s radar. God holds us accountable for how we teach His Word in every area from Christian living (Christian ethics) to doctrine (theology). This is why apologetics is so important. Apologetics is present because false doctrine is present: both theologically and philosophically. Sound doctrine exposes and corrects false doctrine. Sound doctrine exposes false doctrines such as Jesus being a created being and sound doctrine exposes and corrects false philosophical doctrines such as moral relativism. Where false doctrine exist, sound doctrine must be proclaimed in order to expose false doctrine for what it is. Those of us who are teachers of God’s Word are giving this sweet piece of instruction, “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine (Titus 2:1).” This is done both by teaching sound doctrine and exposing false doctrine, Every Christian teacher is more than happy to proclaim the glorious truths of God, but very few want to be Christ-like in exposing false doctrine like Jesus did. God hates false doctrine (Rev. 2:15), so it is critically important for us to have sound doctrine rooted deep within us and expose false doctrine.
In conclusion we see that there is STILL a dire need today for sound doctrine. It is our responsibility to pursue sound doctrine at all cost. Many Christians in the past have died because of false doctrine and their stance for sound doctrine while many more lost family, friends, jobs, and social status of other sorts in the name of sound doctrine. Reformer Martin Luther lost his social status with the Catholic church because of sound doctrine and exposing Catholicism’s many false doctrines such as indulgences. I’m pretty sure C.S. Lewis lost his social status in the world of atheism when he believed in the existence of God and received the sound doctrine of Jesus Christ and the gospel. I lost the vast majority of my friends in the Church of Christ when I left them due to embracing the sound doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ. To have sound doctrine is costly, but it’s worth it in knowing who God is and what God wants from us. A Christian cannot truly know God and have a relationship with Him on the basis of religious experience alone. It is this plus sound doctrine as well which will make a healthy and meaningful relationship with God possible. Sound doctrine is the sure and solid foundation which Jesus spoke of in Matthew 7:24-27. Without this solid foundation called sound doctrine, we are destined to fall and be destroyed by Satan and his doctrine of demons.
What is the Origin of Marriage Revisted.
Many issues in the news these days have generated a myriad of discussions, such as the economy, gun control, and North Korea’s potential nuclear threat against South Korea and the United States. There is, however, a critical issue that is at the forefront both here in Illinois and the entire nation: Same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage has been a fiercely debated topic for a number of years, particularly between the homosexual community and the religious community; but it has grown now into a social and political issue. As a matter of fact, it has now been labeled a civil rights issue by well-known homosexuals like Rosie O’ Donnell. Same-sex couples feel discriminated against because of the nature of their sexuality. The privileges that heterosexuals enjoy such as health care benefits and so forth are commonly withheld from them and, additionally, the very right to be legally and happily married to one another is also withheld from them. The fight, therefore, for equal martial rights is more intense now than ever before. There is a question, however, that has yet to be asked; one which I find to be critical as it pertains to marriage: What is the origin of marriage? Is there such an origin? Where did marriage originate and who was the originator? Does marriage have rules and regulations that we human beings must abide by? I must conclude that the answer to that question is an affirmative yes. In the following paragraphs a case will be made in an attempt to answer this all important question: What is the origin of marriage?
In order to discuss what the origin of marriage is, we must be intellectually honest and reasonable. The wise words of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche should be heeded as we begin:
“There is nothing more necessary than truth, and in comparison with it everything else has only secondary value. This absolute will to truth: what is it? Is it the will to not allow ourselves to be deceived? Is it the will not to deceive? One does not want to be deceived, under the supposition that it is injurious, dangerous, or fatal to be deceived.” (Friedrich Nietzsche, 1890)
There are only two alternatives to explain the origin of marriage: the evolutionary process or God (the Divine). Marriage as an evolutionary process (whose origin is non-existence) is defined as a progression in intelligence where marriage is no longer limited to one sexual preference. Since the origin of marriage by evolutionary processes is nonexistence, same-sex marriages are neither moral nor immoral, and marriage itself is relative, progressive, and essentially defined as nonexistence. The other alternative to explain the origin of marriage is the Divine (God): By this we mean that God is the One who gave humanity the concept and institution of marriage. God is the one who originated marriage and furthermore, it is God who has defined what marriage is and what it is not. This view is established and rooted in the historical Holy Scriptures. It is in the Holy Scriptures that marriage is not only viewed objectively but also grounded in absolutes; particularly moral absolutes. Which of these two alternative views regarding the origin of marriage appears more plausible?
Linking the origin of marriage to evolutionary processes is not fitting because, as stated in the previous paragraph, to do so means to conclude that there is no origin for marriage at all. It is to say also that all forms of marriage are equally acceptable because within an evolutionary frame work moral absolutes are nonexistent and marriage for all those who desire it is relative. Why should the government forbid any form of marriage within this framework? To do so is to make a moral judgment they are not entitled to make, to deny one’s civil rights and their pursuit of happiness, and to totally undermine their freedom of expression. Therefore, marriage in evolutionary terms where an origin is nonexistence, is a subjective slippery slope.
Linking the origin of marriage to God, particularly the God of Holy Scripture, is the shoe that fits the foot perfectly. With God as the originator of marriage, the essence of the nature of marriage is more clearly seen. Marriage is personally rooted in commitment, love, intimacy and faithfulness. These attributes are all found in God because God is a personal Being. Since God is personal in nature and marriage is personal in nature, there is sound reason to believe that the origin of marriage is rooted in God.
If we conclude, based on sound reasoning, that the origin of marriage is rooted in God, then our next focus is when and where did it all begin? According to the first two chapters of the Old Testament book of Genesis, it all began in the Garden of Eden. God creates the first male, who is named Adam. Genesis 2:18 seems to indicate that, in the process of time, man was in need of companionship apart from the companionship he had with God: “And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man be alone; I will make a helper comparable to him.’” It is here that God puts Adam to sleep and takes one of his ribs and creates the first female. When Adam awakens from sleep and sees the woman God created he says, “’This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:23-24). This is what Bible scholars and theologians describe as the first marriage vows. It is here we not only see the first marriage, but also the kind of marriage it was: heterosexual and monogamous. In Genesis 2:24 it is commanded of newly married men to leave their parent’s household and be joined to their wife. This command did not entail or pertain to any other kind of unions; same-sex or otherwise.
There isn’t any place in the entire Bible where same-sex marriages are sanctioned by God, nor do we see homosexuality viewed in a positive light. On the contrary, biblical text like Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Romans 1:24-27, and 1st Corinthians 6:9 presents homosexuality in a very negative light. If God is the origin of marriage then, based on scriptural evidence, it’s very clear that same-sex marriage is not God’s idea. In Matthew 19:4-6 Jesus affirms that marriage is heterosexual and monogamous when He refuted the pious leaders of his day view regarding divorce. Jesus states, “Have you not read that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” Nowhere in the four gospels of the New Testament does Jesus affirm any other kind of marriage; nor do we read of Jesus ever saying that God approves of any other form of marriage. The Bible is filled with scriptures that speak of marriage in heterosexual language. One example is the entire book of Song of Solomon which captures the captivating love a wife has for her husband. Another example is Proverbs 5:18-19 which instructs the husband to enjoy the wife of his youth and to let her breast satisfy him. What you will not find in the Bible however, are examples such as those which pertains to same-sex couples or any other kind of relationships. These examples are expressed only in the context of heterosexual married couples; hence, God’s concept and design for marriage is both heterosexual and monogamous.
In this article, two alternative views for the origin for marriage was examined: evolutionary processes and divine intervention in the Being of God. It does not seem plausible, based on the examination, to link the origin of marriage to evolutionary processes due to its relativistic nature which results in a slippery slope of subjectivism that negatively affects how marriage is defined. It is far more reasonable, plausible and fitting to link the origin of marriage to God. As was presented, the very first marriage, recorded in the Holy Scriptures (Genesis 2:23-24), was heterosexual and monogamous. Furthermore, the entire Bible from the Old Testament to the New Testament highly esteems heterosexual marriage but views same-sex relations in a negative light. This article shows God to be a personal Being and marriage to be a personal union between two personal human beings. Due to the personality of God and the institution of marriage, it only serves to demonstrate that the origin of marriage must have originated from a personal Being: God. Based on what has been presented here we need to truly be intellectually honest and search deeper into the origin of marriage and where it began. The arguments presented for God being the origin of marriage is not to be taken lightly at all. If God is the originator of marriage, then we should seek His view of marriage since He Himself is the owner of the institution. God is all-knowing, omniscience in technical terms, and is unchanging morally. If God is omniscience and morally unchangeable, then not only is His view of marriage unchanging, but also His view of homosexuality as it pertains to same-sex couples. Let us therefore look at the competing origins of evolutionary processes vs. God with an honest and open mind. Then, based on the arguments from both sides of the aisle, make a true intelligent decision regarding marriage. I now leave you with two great teachers beginning with the Greek philosopher Plato, then Jesus the Messiah:
“And isn’t it a bad thing to be deceived about the truth, and a good thing to know what the truth is? For I assume that by knowing the truth you mean knowing things as they really are.” (Plato)
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (Jesus)