The Knock At Your Door

What do you do when the other side comes knocking at your door?

Wednesday as my wife and I were heading out, we saw some women standing near our car. Now I’m not normally an outgoing type, but I push myself at times and I did this time because I could recognize by the way they were dressed and that they were carrying books that they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. I asked them about their books so they could confirm my suspicions. They told me that they were Bible Students and waiting for some others. Bible Students is often another way of saying Jehovah’s Witnesses so I had my findings confirmed. I invited them to stop by.

This morning, they did just that.

This is also why you study your Bible and why the church needs to have people studying their Bibles. If these people knock on your door and you are not prepared, they will turn you inside out. These people know several several verses that you probably do not know. These are verses that are not taught in your average church service.

When was the last time you heard a sermon in church on the Kingdom of God? Yeah. That’s what I thought. That’s especially sad since this was one of the greatest emphases of the historical Jesus. When was the last time you heard a message about the Trinity? How about the nature of the resurrection?

Well guess what. Jehovah’s Witnesses have a lot to say about all of those and if all you have is what you usually hear in churches on Sunday, unless your church is the rare exception, you are not prepared. Think you’ve got those pet verses you like to use to show the Trinity? Well guess what. Jehovah’s Witnesses have an answer to those. Now I think the answer is wrong and is based on poor hermeneutics, but it is still an answer and if you don’t have a reply ready for them, it will not go well for you.

And you know what? You can’t get that answer right when they knock on your door. You have to have it ready then.

I had my answer ready then. Many passages they brought out such as Psalms 37 with the meek inheriting the Earth and such, I agreed with. When they asked about miracles and that we don’t have them going on, I was ready to point them to Craig Keener. My favorite was to talk about the Kingdom of God that Jesus taught and tie it in to Matthew 24 with my understanding of orthodox Preterism. They didn’t really care for that and it was quite a problem for them.

Now you might think some of my responses are wrong, but I want to point something out. These people are going around doing evangelism, like we’re supposed to be doing. These people are studying in their evangelism, like we should be doing. These people are confronting those who disagree with them, like we should be doing. These people are being more serious about a false gospel than we are often being about the true gospel and you know who they want to reach? You and your family and your neighbors.

Some of you might want to study when they show up, but that’s like preparing for combat when the enemy shows up at your house. You have to be ready then. You have to be prepared at all times. If you are not being prepared, start. If you do not have a well-grounded theology that can handle the objections that are presented, start.

One point I did stress is that I read books that disagree with me. They wanted to avoid saying that they did this and just pay some lip service to the idea. This is a great weakness of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are very selective in what they’re allowed to read. Don’t be like that. Read what you can. That’s just good humility.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and others should be a lesson to us all. We need to prepare. Imagine how the church would be if we were as true to the true Gospel as Jehovah’s Witnesses are to a false one.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 2/6/2016: Chris Tilling

What’s coming up this Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

“Who do you say the Son of Man is?” It’s a question straight from the Gospels and while it was answered nearly 2,000 years ago, that answer is still being discussed today. Hasn’t Christianity been influenced by Hellenistic ideas? Wasn’t the concept of Jesus as a God-man a rather late idea? Would it make any sense to someone who was Jewish to say that a man was participating in the divine identity?

About a couple of years ago I did a roundtable discussion with Michael Bird, Charles Hill, and Chris Tilling on the book How God Became Jesus. One of those guys has decided to come back and that’s Chris Tilling. We’re going to be talking about his book Paul’s Divine Christology. So who is Chris Tilling?

ChrisTilling

Dr Chris Tilling is Tutor and Senior Lecturer in New Testament Studies at St Mellitus College. He is also a visiting Lecturer in Theology at King’s College London. Chris co-authored How God Became Jesus (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2014) with Michael Bird (ed.), Craig Evans, Simon Gathercole, and Charles Hill. He is also the editor of Beyond Old and New Perspectives on Paul (Eugene, Or: Cascade, 2014). Chris’s first book, the critically acclaimed Paul’s Divine Christology (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012), is now republished with multiple endorsements and a new Foreword, by Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2015). Chris has also published numerous articles on topics relating to the Apostle Paul, “Christology”, “justification”, the “historical Jesus” and the theology of Hans Küng.

There have been many writers in the area of early high Christology and Tilling takes a view that is unique and one could say revolutionary. It is a classic example of how so many of us have missed the forest for the trees and it fits in to Second Temple Judaism like a hand fits into a glove. We will be discussing this new idea on the show and what it means for Christians.

The benefit of the idea is that it’s easy to connect it to the Jewish culture and not only that, it relies on the Jewish culture. Consider looking at how Israel and YHWH have their relationship in the Old Testament. Do we have any sort of parallel in the New Testament? Indeed we do and it’s one that we point to often. We have the relationship of Christ and the church, and yet how many of us have really considered using that to show an early high Christology? Tilling argues that this fits in in that Paul consistently puts the Christ-relation up in a central place in his writings showing that Jesus does indeed fit into an early high Christology.

If you are interested in the topic of Christology, and frankly why on Earth should you not be, then I hope that you will be joining me for this episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast. Dr. Tilling is a very enjoyable person to interact with. At the same time, he takes his Christology incredibly seriously. You won’t want to miss this episode!

In Christ,

Nick Peters

Happy Birthday to my Mother

How do you honor the woman who brought you into the world? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday was my mother’s birthday. Now I don’t blog on the weekend and she wanted a letter from me and I told her I’d write a blog in honor of her and she was fine with that and that I’d do it today. She also hopes that it will be better than what I put on Facebook. You see, on Facebook, I told everyone in advance on Saturday that I was wishing her a happy birthday and that this year, I was going to continue being a good son and not tell everyone how old she is, but to be fair, I would give a hint. I just told everyone that if you remove one of the numbers from the traditional number of the mark of the beast, you’ll get my mother’s age. See? I was a good son, but she doesn’t need to worry. I’m not going to do anything like repeat that on my blog today.

So in continuing down the path of being a good son, I thought I’d talk some about my mother first off. My mother for years was the most important woman in my life. My parents together raised me in a Christian home and my mother was a constant advocate whenever people would try to tell me I couldn’t do things. There were times she was a bit over-protective in this, but it is understandable. After all, her son has Aspergers and I don’t always catch on to things as well so she wanted to make sure nothing would happen to me. Over time, I have learned much on standing up for myself and I can easily say today that now the tables are turned in some ways and if someone goes after my mother, I go after them.

At the same time, she’s been a fun one for me to pull a prank on. When April Fool’s Day comes around, I generally always try to pull some prank on my mother from saying that my apartment complex was evicting me to being thrown in jail for a violation at a traffic stop. Yeah. She’s fallen for it every year. She will even get up on April Fool’s Day and say that this year she is not going to fall for anything and lo and behold, she does. My sister has talked to her and said “Mother. He does this to you every year. When are you going to learn?”

We also have some fun memories as I tried to always treat my mother well. Sometimes it was in the form of a gift, such as the year I got her a makeover for her birthday or the year I had a painting made of her cat. Then there were times we’d go out on mother-son events together. Generally, I’d take her to a movie with me. Movies I remember seeing with her were A Walk To Remember, Bruce Almighty, and Garfield. In the last two, we were laughing harder than anyone else in the theater and yes, that includes the Garfield movie. We put the kids to shame with how much we were laughing.

When I was working and living at home, from time to time I would stop and get a flower for my mother when I had to stop and get gas. She always said that whenever I got married, I would spoil my wife rotten. It looks like she was right. Now that I am married, it is an interesting dynamic as Allie has become the most important person in my life. Still, I value my relationship with my mother and I especially like it when I see my wife and my mother getting along well.

With our marriage debates going on in this country, usually it’s fathers that are getting the shaft as being unimportant, but mothers certainly are important. Mothers provide the nurturing soft side usually. My mother was always a source of comfort for me when I was in any pain whatsoever and she was really good at listening. My mother probably still has this trait due to not being caught up in the technological crazes today. There was even a time recently when she was buying a new cell phone and the sales rep said “Ma’am. If you buy this phone, you won’t be able to check your email.” She just replied “I don’t have email.”

Mothers are an important part of a young man’s life. A mother is someone who shows a young boy just what kind of way a woman is to be. If the man plans to marry someday, he will see his main example of what a woman is to be in his mother usually. It’s often been said that a man will in fact marry someone who is like his mother. For a young woman, if she wants to know the kind of man that she is marrying, a good indicator is how he treats his mother. (Yes. Allie knew pretty early on she was getting a highly sarcastic man.)

Some of you might wonder some about birthdays, especially if you’ve encountered Jehovah’s Witnesses. Isn’t it true that whenever a birthday took place in the Bible something tragic happened? Well not necessarily. Some people think when Job offered a sacrifice for his children on their day, it meant their birthdays. Most people also couldn’t observer birthdays because it required really good astronomy. You had to know when exactly a full year had passed so we hear little about it. So why should we celebrate birthdays?

We celebrate them because we believe life is a gift and it is a gift from God. It is something He gave us so that we could receive the joy that He intended for us to have. A birthday is a time to look back and consider all that we have learned and done in the past year and look forward to a new year. Every year we are really given is a gift because God does not owe us anything whatsoever and yet He promises us everything.

My mother is also my gift. Our relationship has changed since I’ve been married to Allie, but I can easily say I’m still in my mother’s corner and if someone went after her, I would be going after them. I’m thankful my mother and my father both raised me in a good Christian home and helped shape me to be the man that I am today. While I love both of my parents, today I am honoring my mother and celebrating her on my blog. Love to you mother. Happy Birthday!

And aren’t you glad I didn’t tell everyone how old you are this year?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Paul’s Divine Christology

What do I think of Chris Tilling’s book published by Eerdmans? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

For some time, names like Bauckham and Hurtado and others have been dominant in discussions of Christology as we have seen more and more movement to what is called an early High Christology. In fact, this Christology is so early and high that it has been said that the earliest Christology is the highest Christology. Jesus from the resurrection is said to be seen as within the divine identity and is fully God and fully man. This alone is a powerful argument for the reality of the resurrection as it would take something quite remarkable to convince devout Jews that a crucified Messiah figure was not only really the Messiah, but God incarnate.

Chris Tilling is also a voice in this debate. Tilling was one of the people who contributed to Michael Bird’s project of How God Became Jesus. Tilling is an enjoyable scholar to read who I think is serious in everything he does. Why? Because when you see his Facebook page and his own blog, he is often quite humorous and there is no contradiction between being humorous and being serious. Yet when it comes to the New Testament, Tilling is a force to be reckoned with and knows the material very well. In fact, a look at his argument for an early high Christology is a way of saying that we have missed the forest for the trees.

One of my favorite shows that unfortunately has not only gone off the air now but has had the book series come to an end was the series Monk about the obsessive-compulsive homicide detective. My parents always wanted me to see if I could solve the case before Adrian Monk. The episodes can be enjoyable to watch again and when you do, you can look back at the cases that are solved and see all the clues you missed the first time through and think “Why didn’t I see that the first time?” Reading Tilling’s book can be like that. It can make you think about passages in the NT and say “Why didn’t I think of that the first time?”

Tilling relies not on a philosophical idea such as the God of the philosophers, but notes that the identity of God in Jewish thought was based on His covenant relationship with Israel. Only God was said to be in that covenant. If that is the case, then what about seeing if someone else suddenly shows up in this relationship and has a similar relationship to Israel? What if they have a similar relationship to the church, which is pictured as in the covenant of Israel as well. What if we find analogies from the OT that are used of YHWH and Israel and yet when we find their counterparts in the NT, it’s Christ and the church?

It really is a simple idea, and yet it’s a remarkable one as the Christ-relation shows up all throughout the NT. Just look and see how Paul, who Tilling is focusing on, speaks so highly of Christ and never even really a hint of holding back. You never see Paul giving a warning about saying to not go too far in your adoration of Christ. Instead, Paul speaks as if it was his natural language of his devotion of Christ and His role in salvation history. We have phrases like “To live is Christ”, “I sought to know nothing other than Christ crucified”, and “Live to the Lord” with Christ as the Lord. This is not even counting the references that seem to explicitly make reference to the deity of Christ like Romans 9:5 or the maranatha in 1 Cor. 16.

In fact, thinking along these lines, just recently I was pondering marriage as it’s a topic I read up on a lot more now that I have my own Mrs. and was pondering the idea of how Christ loved the church and then thought along the lines of Tilling about why Paul says that. Paul could have easily said “As God loved Israel”, but he didn’t. He chose to use Christ and the church and in effect is saying that Christ is the supreme example of love and it’s not the love of God, but just the love of Christ. The Christ-relation is indeed a huge impact and it should be one that the scholarly world is looking at for some time.

Now for some criticisms. There were times in the book that I thought it looked like Tilling was going more for quantity than for quality. You’d have a shotgun approach I thought of several different passages but they weren’t engaged with as much depth as I would like. There were times I would have liked to have seen a few passages explored in greater depth and then you could find several analogous passages that are like that one.

Also, there are times a layman could get lost at a few passages. It would be good to see something like this reproduced on a more popular level especially for those laymen in the field who will be meeting groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Christadelphians. An argument like Tilling’s would be an invaluable reference for the furtherance of the Gospel and answering those who wish to challenge the deity of Christ and the fact that the argument is simple and powerful and has loads of verses in support of it is extremely helpful.

Overall, this is a book well worth your time to read and I suggest you do so.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why The Trinity Matters

How can it matter to you that God is Triune? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

On Wednesday, I wrote a post about learning to be aware of God. Yesterday, I wrote a post about how Cynthia Hampton will be my guest tomorrow to talk about JWs. Since JWs talk argue against the Trinity, let’s talk about a unique way that the doctrine matters. This is beyond that you get salvation and Jesus is fully deity and matters of that sort, though they are vastly important. This is a more practical day to day look at how this doctrine can change your life.

When I was in Bible College, I had a professor in my systematic theology class who told us that God created the world because He needed someone to love. While I was a budding apologist at this point, it was one of those statements I did not want to have going out without a reply. In fact, after awhile, students kept timing how long it was that my hand stayed up when I had a question or comment to make and often times, they would whisper to me asking me what I thought of something that was said. I find the idea God needs us to be abhorrent as if He has something in Him that He lacks and frankly, if such was the case, the smartest thing the human race could do is collectively hold Him for ransom.

God does not need someone to love because He has love right in Himself within the Trinity. So let’s look at this. If another worldview is true that has a system where God is one person or where there is no God or where there are several lesser gods, then if there is a deity, He can easily be self-serving. If there isn’t, then all that’s really at the center of the universe is indifference. There is no God who knows or cares about us. Now of course, that doesn’t mean that these worldviews are false because they have outcomes that aren’t happy to us, but there is something that we need to think about to see if a worldview answers our existential questions and longings.

But if the Trinity is true, then there is love at the center of it all. There is a God who as John tells us is love in Himself. He is the one responsible for the whole show. He fills the universe and His triune being is the ultimate reality. That means that everywhere you go God is there and everywhere you go, there is the love of God. Will you always feel it? No, and that’s a great pitfall of our age where we go by feelings more than anything else. What we need again is the awareness of this reality. Most of us think love is one of the greatest things in the universe, and if Christianity is true, love is at the center of the universe. We could in essence say God in His love is holding everything together, or better, God who is Love is holding everything together.

Of course, there is a caveat that must be held. Years ago John Reuben sang a song that was played on the local Christian radio station here and sang that Love is God and God is Love. God is certainly love, but love is not God. Love is a term that describes the nature of God. God does not describe the nature of love. When we say love is God, we risk turning love itself into an idol. This is something we have in our age when many people say love is never wrong. Yes. Yes it is sometimes wrong. Sometimes in fact, hate is also right. If you love the good, you will hate the evil. You should. I hate injustice. I hate child abuse. I hate people being sold into sex slavery. If you love something good, you will hate everything that is opposed to it.

Now once again, this is not an argument per se that Trinitarianism and thus Christianity is true, but I would hope that it would give some people who are skeptical pause. For others who are already Christians and hold to the Trinity, I hope that you will look at the nature of God in a new light and look at the world differently.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 5/2/2015: Cynthia Hampton

What’s coming up on this Saturday’s episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

For those who are concerned, I have started working on the podcasts for putting up. It has just been a few stressful weeks here, but I take full responsibility. Please understand that I am looking to get them out as soon as I can.

But this week, we’re going to have a show I’ve tried to have twice in the past and both times something has happened to stop it from happening. Let’s hope that doesn’t hold this time. We are going to be talking about Jehovah’s Witnesses. My guest is going to be Cynthia Hampton. She is in a unique position to talk about Jehovah’s Witnesses because she herself used to be one and has now escaped and is a strong orthodox Christian. She has also come to be a strong friend of our family and we are thankful that she has been there many times when we have needed someone to talk to or offer advice.

So who is Cynthia?

CynthiaHampton

And according to her own autobiography.

I attended Pima Community College in Arizona received an A.A. in Accounting. Also attended University of Arizona, but did not graduate (Long story). I actually graduated (finally!) from University of Phoenix with my B.S. in Accounting in 2011. I currently serve as Treasurer at my church. I never studied theology or apologetics formally. All my knowledge is self taught because of trying to find the truth about Christianity after leaving Jehovah’s Witnesses. My first exposure to apologetics was listening to Walter Martin every day on the radio and sending for materials written at the CRI.

While she is self-taught, that self-teaching has gone a long ways. I really hope you’ll learn a lot more about Jehovah’s Witnesses and especially from one who has been in the mindset. In order to interact with this group you need to know more than what they think about Jesus and God and the Bible. You need to know how they think. I had my eyes opened to this years ago when my roommate at the time and I actually went to a Kingdom Hall to see what goes on in a Jehovah’s Witness service. We were thoroughly stunned and to this day I say that it is one of the creepiest events that I have ever been to. Indeed, it is the closest to brainwashing that I have ever personally seen.

Cynthia from her perspective will tell us how it is that a Jehovah’s Witness thinks and will hopefully open your eyes to this world. These people could one day come knocking on your door after all and you need to be ready to say what needs to be said. Jehovah’s Witnesses do also know their Bibles very well and if you are not prepared, as former CRI president Walter Martin would say, you will be turned into a doctrinal pretzel in 90 seconds or less. Don’t become a doctrinal pretzel. Listen to someone who has been there and learn how to answer the witness that comes to your door.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

4/13/2013 Someone’s Knocking At Your Door

What will be on the Deeper Waters Podcast on 4/13/2013? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Tomorrow on the Deeper Waters Podcast, we’re going to be talking about Jehovah’s Witnesses. The link to where you can listen to the show can be found here. Many of us have had these people come by. In fact, I’m having them come by on a regular basis right now. To some of us, they can be just nice but overzealous people. To others, they’re those annoyances that lead us to lock the doors and lower the blinds on the windows. Yet who are they?

My guest for this will be my friend Mike Matuszewski. (I hope I get that name right on the air!) If you haven’t heard of him, it’s because he’s a friend I know through Facebook, but part of the purpose of Deeper Waters is to get out there in the public people who I think should be out there more. In this community, it’s important that we build up one another so that we can better be able to do ministry in the body of Christ.

I plan tomorrow on not really focusing on the Trinity. That is a big issue, but we just had Robert Bowman come on to discuss that so this time, I plan on talking about the Witnesses themselves. Who is this group? How did they get started? What is the status of them today? Are they Christian? If not, why? (And no, they’re not)

We will also be discussing how it is that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society works. The Watchtower does an incredible amount of publishing. What does that have to do with Christians today? How fast is the Watchtower growing? What threat does it pose to Christians today?

The Watchtower is also well known for many of its predictions on when the end is going to come and as it is, like the Bible, they have a perfect record. Unlike the Bible, their perfect record is perfectly wrong. How has the organization been affected by all of these false prophecies?

Also, is it really a good idea to bring up those prophecies when the Witnesses come by? What is the best method one can go about reaching a Jehovah’s Witness that can break through the thinking that one is taught by the Watchtower? Should we focus on the Trinity? The Prophecies? Salvation by grace through faith? Where exactly should we go?

Of course, there are many other issues that could come up that make Jehovah’s Witnesses a fascinating topic of discussion. What is it like at a Kingdom Hall? What is the point of the “no blood” cards that one sees in their wallets? Why do they not celebrate birthdays and holidays? Why is it that they take no part in anything that is political?

Please join me tomorrow then from 3-5 EST as I discuss with Mike Matuszewski the Jehovah’s Witnesses. If you want to call in and be a part of the fun and ask a question, the number will be 714-242-5180. I hope you will be tuning in tomorrow!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Doomsday

How does a dialogue go with JWs on this topic? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

As I was sitting in our living room recliner doing some work on the laptop, my wife said she heard someone outside. I look and notice a car has pulled up and coming out are two nicely dressed women carrying books and bags.

“Honey. I think we have Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

So I watch and when they get to the door open it and say that my wife thought she heard someone. When they identify themselves, I ask them if they’d like to come in. They tell me they can only stay for a minute and then hand me a copy of their “Awake” magazine talking about Doomsday. Let me warn you at the start that in my recount of the exchange, that you will see my Preterist understanding of Scripture.

So their first passage they go to is Psalm 37:29 which reads as follows (All verses are being read from their own New World Translation, NWT):

“The righteous themselves will possess the earth,
And they will reside forever upon it.”

I told them I agree with that. I do think God has a plan for the Earth and that we are meant to inhabit it into all eternity. This was a surprise to them so they asked me what I thought it would take for that to be brought about. I answered that I think the gospel has to be preached everywhere and believed majority worldwide. They said they disagreed with that and first indicated where they thought I was correct in Matthew 24 which they said they think talks about the end and how in verse 14 it says:

“And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”

But in Matthew 7 we read:

“13Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it;14whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.”

I replied by turning to Matthew 13 and showing them this first in verse 33:

Another illustration he spoke to them: “The kingdom of the heavens is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three large measures of flour, until the whole mass was fermented.”

And then before that in 31-32.

31Another illustration he set before them, saying: “The kingdom of the heavens is like a mustard grain, which a man took and planted in his field;32which is, in fact, the tiniest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the largest of the vegetables and becomes a tree, so that the birds of heaven come and find lodging among its branches.”

I pointed out to them that in each of these cases, something starts off small and goes through the whole of what it starts to penetrate. With the mustard seed, we can remember that in Daniel 4 there was a prophecy about a tree filling the whole Earth. I finally took them to Matthew 16. Verse 18 reads:

“Also, I say to you, You are Peter, and on this rock‐mass I will build my congregation, and the gates of Ha′des will not overpower it.”

Gates are defensive. The kingdom of God is on the move and it will never be the minority. They were stumped at this point to which I said “Let’s go back to Matthew 24. You say you think it says the end is coming. The end of what?”

“Oh. The end of the Jewish system which happened in 70 A.D. (I was surprised that they had that right) and the end of this system of things since it says that this is the great tribulation and that no time has come like it or ever will come again.

I asked them in response if they thought Jesus was the wisest king who ever lived. They told me He wasn’t a king on Earth. When I told them He is one now, they agreed He is the wisest. With that, I turned to 1 Kings 3. In verse 12 we read the following promise to Solomon from God.

“look! I shall certainly do according to your words. Look! I shall certainly give you a wise and understanding heart, so that one like you there has not happened to be before you, and after you there will not rise up one like you.”

So I told them that if they take that text literally, then Solomon is wiser than Jesus which is a problem. It is better to read it as hyperbole and how instead, what is being said in Matthew 24 is that this is an example of the worst possible thing.

At this, they asked me if I believe anything big is coming. I said I certainly do and it’s the event that’s not talked about in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, which leads me to think that that passage is not about this event. That is the bodily return of Christ and the mass resurrection from the dead.

At this point, they told me that Jesus laid down His body. Why would He take it up again? I responded that I saw no reason to think that He did not rise bodily. I pointed out that we are told that our bodies will be like His body and if we rise bodily, then it is because He did. They agreed that we do rise and live in perfect bodies on Earth, but flesh and blood does not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. (I do realize they have a different idea about who goes to Heaven based on the 144,000)

I pointed out that that is a euphemism and gave the example in Genesis. When Noah’s nakedness is seen by his son, it doesn’t mean his son just inadvertently walked in and saw his dad naked. That might be awkward, but no great sin. It means that his son did something to him that should not have been done while his Dad was naked and in a drunken stupor. It was a euphemism. The same is the case with flesh and blood which just means sinful human nature.

At this point they did have to go as they had indicated earlier. Let’s pray they return and are open to having their views examined and following the evidence where it leads.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Should You Believe In The Trinity Conclusion

Welcome back everyone to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’ve been going through the Watchtower booklet of “Should You Believe In The Trinity?” and tonight, we’re going to wrap things up as it looks like the Watchtower has and the arguments are all done. I don’t plan to cover new information tonight, but rather to just bring closure to what I hope has been for you an enjoyable and educational series.

First off, I could grant for the sake of argument that the Trinity is false. Granting that, this booklet is still a terrible booklet. Why is that? There is no interaction with Christian arguments. Christians are cited for disagreement more than anything else. We must always remember to beware the sound of one-hand clapping.

There is also the problem then of just referencing period. The Watchtower does not tell me where I am to find the information that they provide. That makes it very hard to track down which I think is the point. Who wants people tracking down this material to see how badly it’s being misquoted. I specifically suggest the reader look back to specific instances where it can be shown that misquoting and taking out of context is taking place.

This is interesting considering that credits are given even for the artwork….

Second, the argumentation just doesn’t follow. Often times, the Watchtower confuses the Trinity with modalism, such as the claim that Jesus cannot be the same person as the Father. Trinitarians agree with that. The sad reality is that the reason this works on Christians a lot of times is that the Christians have not been doing their homework on the Trinity and that is because of a lazy anti-intellectualism that has grown in the church. Just worship Jesus. What matters is how you feel. Don’t think about stuff. Avoid doctrine.

Third, this is a call to the church to do better. It’s been said that the average JW can turn the average Christian into a doctrinal pretzel in 90 seconds or less, and that’s because JWs do study more than Christians do. Now I’ll grant that it’s more indoctrination on their part than it is study, but they are taking their beliefs a lot more seriously than most Christians do.

We Christians need to realize that the Trinity is not just a doctrine that we say we believe and use to beat up Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is foundational to us. It should provide life and joy to us. We should be in utter awe of the doctrine of the Trinity and realize the rich depths it has. I urge you to read not only about defending the Trinity, but realizing the difference that the Trinity makes.

Thus, I conclude my long project of looking at this booklet and I do hope that it has been of service. If someone uses some of this material and wins a Witness to Christ, I would absolutely love to hear about it. If it helps you also, keep in mind we are supported here by your prayers and donations. I hope you will do the former and consider at least the latter.

Tomorrow, we shall discuss something different.

No Conflict

Welcome back everyone to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’re nearing the end of our look at the Watchtower booklet of “Should You Believe In The Trinity?” Tonight, we’re going to go past the Colwell rule section as I believe those who are experts in Greek should speak there, but I am going to take on the next section called “No Conflict.”

The Watchtower asks us that if Jesus is a god, does that disagree with the biblical idea that there is only one God? To them, not at all, for there is only one God Almighty. No one else is in that position.

This doesn’t work however because few of the gods in the pagan systems that were polytheistic were considered Almighty. It was not the amount of power the gods had that was at issue. YHWH would not have said “You can believe in Molech just so long as you recognize that I am Almighty. No. YHWH shared his glory with no one. (Interesting that he shares it with Jesus.)

Were angels called gods in the Bible and is satan called a god? Yes. He is. Human rulers are said to be gods as well. What kind of gods are we talking about? We are talking about functional gods and not ontological gods. These beings functioned like they were gods in a sense, but they are not gods by their being.

The Watchtower asks if Jesus is to be called Almighty based on Isaiah 9:6. No. Jesus is a “Mighty god.” (Do note also that YHWH must be the same since he’s called that in Isaiah 10:21) In fact, I would place a great emphasis on Jesus being called Wonderful in Isaiah 9:6. That is the title the Angel of the Lord used of Himself in Judges 13 and the Angel of the Lord I would and have argued is ontologically equal to God and an appearance of the pre-incarnate son.

What about John 20:28? The Watchtower says some scholars think Thomas could have been making an exclamation of astonishment. Who are these scholars? I could tell you if the Watchtower had told us. However, while today we may say “My God” when something happens incredible, the Jews were not nearly so flippant. What Thomas said was “The Lord of me and the God of me” and it was said to Jesus in response to Jesus’s words to him.

But the Watchtower says this can’t be what was meant since John 17:3 says otherwise, which I think is their favorite verse. Again, this isn’t a problem. Jesus is subsumed under the identity of the one true God by being God’s Wisdom. It fits in just fine with Jewish thinking.

What about John 20:17 where Jesus says “my Father and your Father and my God and your God.” Note that he does not say “Our.” Jesus has his relationship by nature but we have it by adoption. Are we to think Jesus was an atheist however? Not at all. Seeing as he submitted to the Father, what is the conflict in having Him say the Father is God?

Finally, we are told that these were written so that we might know that Jesus is the Son of God, and I agree, but then we are told Son is literal. It is the same as a natural father and son.

Because I know several natural relationships that come about from a virgin birth with a son having pre-existence….

We shall continue next time.