Hello it’s been a little while since our last post. We will be doing a series, examining the Brochure from the Watchtower called “Should you believe in the Trinity?” The Jehovah Witnesses are but a few groups who deny the doctrine of the Godhead/Trinity and call it satanic. It’s our endeavour to search out and see if the Trinity doctrine holds up to scrutiny or crumbles under critical observation.
1. Should You Believe It?
DO YOU believe in the Trinity? Most people in Christendom do. After all, it has been the central doctrine of the churches for centuries. In view of this, you would think that there could be no question about it. But there is, and lately even some of its supporters have added fuel to the controversy. Why should a subject like this be of any more than passing interest? Because Jesus himself said: “Eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” So our entire future hinges on our knowing the true nature of God, and that means getting to the root of the Trinity controversy. Therefore, why not examine it for yourself?—John 17:3, Catholic Jerusalem Bible (JB).Should You Believe in the Trinity?
Often Jehovah Witnesses cite verses such as John 17:3 as a “proof text” is teaching against the Godhead/Trinity but they seem to miss the context of the verse. It’s perhaps the most intimate chapter of the Bible, we get to listen in on the Lord’s High priestly prayer.
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
The Lord Jesus is moments away from being taken captive to be brought before Pontius Pilate and later crucified. He [Jesus Christ] lifted up his eyes to heaven and spoke of the intimate fellowship the Son has with the Father and that believers also will enjoy.
Christ says “that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” the JW immediately would say see Jesus calls the Father the only true God. They place emphasis on the Father being God alone, but they never look at the verse in its entirety. The text says the Father and the Son are the one God.
The Bible doesn’t only call the Father God it also ascribes this to the Son Jesus Christ as well. 1 John has a similar text which is speaking only of the Lord Jesus and it says:
1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, [even] in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
Why don’t Jehovah Witnesses take this verse in 1 John 5:20 in context with John 17:3? The Watchtower teaches them Jesus is not God Almighty and practice Arianism a heresy the early church condemned.
Various Trinitarian concepts exist. But generally the Trinity teaching is that in the Godhead there are three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; yet, together they are but one God. The doctrine says that the three are coequal, almighty, and uncreated, having existed eternally in the Godhead.Should You Believe in the Trinity?
The Jehovah Witnesses understanding of the Trinity is wrong, when they say they don’t believe in the Trinity they are attacking the teaching of modalism. Christians have never taught modalism to be the doctrinal teaching of the Godhead.
Notice they start by saying “Various Trinitarian concepts exist” this is not true for there is only one true doctrine of the Trinity which Trinitarians believe. Which is we believe there is one God, who exists as three co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial divine persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Each one of the persons in the Godhead share the same nature which is the one nature of God. We do not believe in 3 separate gods, neither do we believe the Father at one time changed into the Son and the Son changed into the Holy Spirit.
This is not what Trinitarians believe. Trinitarians believe all 3 persons of the Godhead exist at the same time in perfect fellowship before all creation even began. We find this wonderful truth in the very beginning of our Bible.
Genesis 1:1-2 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Elohim or God is a plural word the text also mentions the Spirit of God that’s the Holy Spirit. There are many passages in the Old Testament that teaches the doctrine of the Trinity, it’s just more plainly seen in the New Testament.
אֱלֹהִיםʼĕlôhîym, el-o-heem’; plural of H433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative:—angels, exceeding, God (gods) (-dess, -ly), (very) great, judges, mighty.
Outline of Biblical Usage
- rulers, judges
- divine ones
- (plural intensive – singular meaning)
- god, goddess
- godlike one
- works or special possessions of God
- the (true) God
Others, however, say that the Trinity doctrine is false, that Almighty God stands alone as a separate, eternal, and all-powerful being. They say that Jesus in his prehuman existence was, like the angels, a separate spirit person created by God, and for this reason he must have had a beginning. They teach that Jesus has never been Almighty God’s equal in any sense; he has always been subject to God and still is. They also believe that the holy ghost is not a person but God’s spirit, his active force.Should You Believe in the Trinity?
In speaking of the Almighty God the book of Revelation informs us on this matter.
Revelation 1:7-8 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
As we examine the verses it say “Behold, he cometh with clouds” is the Father the one coming in the clouds? Reading on it also says “every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him” every eye will see Him, are they going to see the Father? The Bible says the Father dwells in light which no man can approach. The one who’s coming was pierced, was the Father or the Son pierced? By asking these simple questions we see it can’t be speaking of the Father in Revelation 1:7-8.
The same person in Revelation 1:7-8 speaks saying “Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” We see here this individual calls Himself the Almighty, but not only that He says “which is to come” who’s coming if it’s not the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
1 Timothy 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom [be] honour and power everlasting. Amen.
Supporters of the Trinity say that it is founded not only on religious tradition but also on the Bible. Critics of the doctrine say that it is not a Bible teaching, one history source even declaring: “The origin of the [Trinity] is entirely pagan.”—The Paganism in Our Christianity.Should You Believe in the Trinity?
The above quote is very misleading, first it was taken by Arthur Weigall and his book called “paganism in our christianity.” Arthur is a modernist and doesn’t believe the Bible is God’s word, in his book not only does he speak against Christianity but he also speaks against the Watchtower calling their own beliefs “Angel-Christology.”
The Watchtower uses strawman arguments in their attack against the Trinity trying to assert something Christians do not believe in the first place. Christians believe in only 1 God, we don’t believe in 3 gods as Watchtower claims. Trinitarianism is monotheistic because the doctrine teaches there’s only 1 God and within the 1 God exist 3 co-eternal co-equal Person’s the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. The 3 distinct Persons are all fully God and share the one nature of God.
Jehovah Witnesses are actually not monotheist because they believe in Jehovah and reduce Jesus Christ to a lesser “godlike” angel or “a god.” This means they are actually polytheistic in their belief, more specifically Henotheism.
Henotheism is the belief of one particular God in this case “Jehovah” out of several others namely Jesus (a god) and many others. Watchtower teaches there are others who also can be called god even though they are not Jehovah God they get this from 1 Corinthians 8:5 by pulling the text out of context saying Paul the apostle taught there are many legitimate gods. This of course is not the meaning of that particular text. By reading the surrounding text we can get the true context of that verse.
1 Corinthians 8:4-6 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol [is] nothing in the world, and that [there is] none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him.
Paul was addressing the believers in Corinth that any other “god” is actual not god at all but an idol and therefore it’s nothing. When the Jehovah Witnesses claim Jesus is not God but “a god” they are placing Jesus in the category of a false God. Christians never would agree to this because we believe Christ Jesus is the Almighty God along with the Father and the Holy Spirit. All 3 Persons of the Godhead are the 1 Almighty God.
Lastly, the doctrine of the Trinity/Godhead didn’t derive from pagan triads of deities. It was formulated by Christians strictly on the basis of the teachings of God’s word. The Watchtower points to Babylonian religion which was polytheistic and makes the statement that the Trinity came from such. This is of course not so, the Babylonians believed in not just 3 separate gods but a plethora of gods. Christians don’t believe in a multitude of gods we only worship 1 God.
If the Trinity is true, it is degrading to Jesus to say that he was never equal to God as part of a Godhead. But if the Trinity is false, it is degrading to Almighty God to call anyone his equal, and even worse to call Mary the “Mother of God.” If the Trinity is false, it dishonors God to say, as noted in the book Catholicism: “Unless [people] keep this Faith whole and undefiled, without doubt [they] shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic Faith is this: we worship one God in TrinityShould You Believe in the Trinity?
Watchtower claims it’s “degrading to Jesus” to say He was never equal to God if the Trinity is true? Christians have always believed the Lord Jesus Christ is equal to the Father because they share the same nature. The watchtower argument against the deity of Christ is that Jesus is not Jehovah but “a god.” If the Father alone is Jehovah (the true God) then what does that make Jesus if He’s not Almighty God?
Is Jesus Christ a true God or a false god? There are no other choices either Christ is the True God just as His Father is also the True God, or Jesus is an additional god who is not truly God. This brings a big problem for the Jehovah Witness theology, when they started teaching Jesus was a created being it made them have 2 God’s.
Watchtower’s teaching of Jesus is merely a created creature as opposed to being God Almighty is degrading to Jesus Christ to demote Him to an angel or “godlike one” is completely heretical on their part. The Bible tells us that the Son should receive the same honour the Father receives.
John 5:23 That all [men] should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
Does the Watchtower honour the Son even as the Father is honoured? According to them the Father (Jehovah) alone is to be worshipped. Yet we have abundant proof that Christ was worshipped in the scriptures.
There are good reasons, then, why you should want to know the truth about the Trinity. But before examining its origin and its claim of truthfulness, it would be helpful to define this doctrine more specifically. What, exactly, is the Trinity? How do supporters of it explain it?Should You Believe in the Trinity?
The Watchtower consistently misrepresents the doctrine of the Trinity, they assume Christians believe the Father and Jesus Christ are the same Person. This statement couldn’t be farther from the truth, Christians have consistently believed there is only 1 God and that 1 God consist of 3 distinct Persons. Each Person of the Godhead are fully and equally God because all 3 share the same nature.
Christians reject the notion of 3 separate gods, we are not tritheist, we affirm Deuteronomy 6:4 but can’t over look the distinction between the 3 Persons of the Godhead laid out in the scriptures. If you want to know more about The Doctrine of the Trinity feel free to read our past article. Moving forward we’ll continue to examine the Watchtower’s “Should You Believe in the Trinity?”