in the Trinity?
in the Trinity?
The purpose of
the following dialogue is not to formulate an exhaustive
study of the Watchtower’s main anti-Trinity booklet. The purpose is
to: 1.) Expose a very small, but powerful, fraction of Watchtower
dishonesty that runs throughout the booklet, and 2.) Give our readers
some help on how to use this booklet in a witnessing encounter with a
enhance your reading of the following dialogue,
Watchtower quotes are in
green and the full quote from
the cited author is in red.
Hi, John. I’ve spent some time lately looking through the magazine
that you gave me called Should
You Believe in the Trinity?
great, Chris. It’s one of my favorite publications. It’s so well
researched and documented, don’t you think?
I do. In fact, I found it to be full of so many interesting quotations
that I decided to go down to the library to locate some of the source
material. Maybe you can help me, John. I’d like to run a few things by
you that I discovered concerning this magazine.
page 4 of the Trinity booklet, it says that
notes that the doctrine of the Trinity
is considered to be ‘beyond the grasp of human reason”.
it really is, Chris. I mean, who can comprehend a three- headed god?
like you to take a look at this photocopy of the actual page from where
the Watchtower quoted volume 27 of
I’d like you to read this quote in
the context of the original article. It’s right here on page 116.
It says, “It is held that
although the doctrine is beyond the grasp of human
it is, like many of the
formulations of physical science, not contrary to reason, and may be
apprehended (though it may not be comprehended) by the human
you see that, John? It said that the doctrine of the Trinity is “....not
contrary to reason and may be apprehended....by the human mind”. John,
after reading the full statement from the encyclopedia, has the
Watchtower quoted this article in context?
sure. The Watchtower did use the exact words right from the article.
but has the Watchtower left out words that change the author’s
there are a hundred quotes in this magazine that prove the Trinity is
false. Why are you making a fuss over this one? Didn’t you look at any
a matter of fact, I did. On
page 6 of the Trinity
booklet it says, “Jesuit Fortman states: ‘The New
Testament writers. . . give us no formal or formulated doctrine of the
Trinity, no explicit teaching that in one God there are three co-equal
divine persons...”. Here
is a photocopy of the introduction of The
Triune God, 1972, where this quote was taken from. The
Watchtower quotes four words from page 15; “The New
then pick up the next sentence of the quote from page 16. But read some
of the highlighted text that falls between the two quotes.
call Jesus the Son of God. Messiah. Lord. Savior, Word. Wisdom. They
assign Him the divine functions of creation, salvation, judgment. Sometimes
they call Him God explicitly. They do not speak as fully and clearly
of the Holy Spirit as they do of the Son, but at times they coordinate
Him with the Father and the Son and put Him on a level with them as
far as divinity and personality are concerned.
ahead and read the next part of the Watchtower quote from page 16, plus
the following sentence.
give us no formal or formulated doctrine of the Trinity, no explicit
teaching that in one God there are three co-equal divine persons. But
they do give us an elemental trinitarianism, the data from which such a
formal doctrine of the Triune God may be formulated.”
it’s obvious that the author’s intention in this article is to
validate the Trinity, not to discredit it. Another example is on
pages 6 & 7 of the Trinity booklet where the Watchtower quotes the Encyclopedia
of Religion and Ethics, 1922, v.12, p. 461. The quote reads,
“At first the Christian faith was not Trinitarian. . . It was not so
in the apostolic and sub-apostolic ages, as reflected in the New
Testament and other early Christian writings”. John, read this
photocopy from the original article, please.
transition from the Trinity of experience to the Trinity of dogma is
describable in other terms as the transition from the economic or
dispensational Trinity to the essential, immanent, or ontological
first the Christian faith was not Trinitarian in
the strictly ontological reference.
It was not so in the apostolic and sub-apostolic ages, as
reflected in the NT and other early Christian writings.” (underline
you catch that, John?
what? I don’t even understand what half of the words in that quote
okay. My point is that the article isn’t saying that the early
Christian faith was not Trinitarian, like the Watchtower would have us
believe. The author was conveying that the early Christians believed in
the idea of a dispensational Trinity before shifting their understanding
to an ontological view of the Trinity. John, why, again,
did the Watchtower leave out words that change the meaning of the
don’t accuse the Organization of being deceitful. Look at all the work
that they put into this magazine. They gave the exact references where
these quotes were taken from. They’re not afraid of anyone doing some
research on their own, like you did. Also, when they leave out certain
words in a paragraph, they show that by inserting ellipses.
the Watchtower has made it very difficult for anyone to double-check the
references that they cited from. Although the names of the publications
are given, there are no page or volume numbers specified. And, yes, the
Watchtower does tell its reader that words have been omitted from their
quotes, but if the reader was to read all the words in context from
either of the three articles that I showed you, would he think the
author means the same thing as the Watchtower is telling us he means?
if you’re trying to convince me that the Trinity is true, you’re
wasting your time.
not trying to do that. I’m just asking you if the Watchtower is
practicing honesty in its work? John, I’d like you to read another
quote, not from the Trinity brochure, but from page 199 of a Watchtower
publication from 1967 called, Qualified
To Be Ministers. This book was used to train and instruct
Jehovah’s Witnesses in their ministry school.
very careful to be accurate in all statements you make. Use evidence
honestly. In quotations, do not twist the meaning of a writer or speaker
or use only partial quotations to give a different thought than the
reading these three photocopies, do you think that the Watchtower
Society has followed their own instructions in this matter?
look into it further, Chris.