Recently I’ve been talking to a very polite person named Maribel about the doctrine of the Trinity.
It all started when Maribel commented on the post about ancient creeds and how dead men define our beliefs.
At one point Maribel said, “I believe Jesus when he said he was the son of God.”
For some reason I thought that was a strange statement, especially in the context: The sentence before Maribel mentioned that both the Nicene and Athanasian creeds were influenced by Greek and pagan philosophy.
I couldn’t tell if she was for or against what I was saying.
After some time, I took it to mean she was for, because in the following line she said that the doctrine of Jesus being the only begotten son was a beautiful truth.
I decided to agree with her. And let it go.
That’s When the Ball Dropped
Four days later, Maribel drops me a line. It’s two videos she wants to share with me. Didn’t take me long to realize that my original assessment of her comments were wrong.
When Maribel said, “The son of God,” she defined that to mean, not God, but created by God. Maribel is a Jehovah’s Witness.
Lessons Learned from This Dialog
Two things I want to point out. One is what J. Greshem Machen calls the fundamental priniciple of truthfulness in language.
Basically you violate this rule when a person makes a statement like “I believe Jesus is God” intending one thing while the audience believes it to mean something very different.
Usually this is done deceptively, in order to mislead.
That wasn’t Maribel’s intention. But it did emphasize to me how important precision in meaning is. Especially theological precision.
Bible Peppered with Christ’s Deity
The other thing deals with the deity of Christ–something Witnesses patently deny. Frankly, I don’t understand why, because throughout the Bible, Christ’s deity is a profound declaration.
But were not finished yet.
Christ encompasses the fullness of God in human flesh. He plainly said that he and the Father were one. And Jesus’ critics clearly understood Christ was claiming to be God on this and many other occasions.
And this is the deal closer for me:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17
There is too much of the deity of Christ embedded in New Testament scripture to safely harvest it out.
I say this with all respect, but Witnesses are notable for hijacking Scripture and camping on certain texts out of context. Take Dan Mages and 1 Timothy 2:5.
I’m not infallible and will confess there are probably some beliefs in which I hold onto dogmatically based on one or two scriptures out of context. I welcome the correction.
But I think the deity of Christ is abundantly and plainly taught in the Bible. And fundamental to being a Christian.
What Do You Think?
So why do Jehovah Witnesses find it so hard to accept this teaching? I think I know the answer, but I prefer to hear your thoughts. Anything I’m missing?
I know one thing: This discussion’s fueled my passion to know more about Jehovah Witnesses. For that, Maribel, thank you!