Thursday, May 27, 2010

My 95 thesis for the Watchtower Tract and Bible Society.

I was visited by a women the other day whom I talked with back in September regarding the doctrines of the Jehovah's Witnesses. We had a nice conversation and she gave me a letter detailing why in her words “couldn't believe in a triune God or one that sends people to eternal hellfire” and trying to make sure she didn't leave a bad taste in my mouth.

If those are her questions, I have more for the Watchtower. Like Martin Luther nailed 95 points of discussion he wanted to have with the Roman Catholic Church, I am wanting a person from the Watchtower to actually answer these questions. All of these are valid objections to the claims of the Watchtower Tract and Bible Soceity based upon their own words. For the record, all scripture will be quoting the New World Translation (NWT). Since there are nothing wrong with questions, here are many. I ask these with a humble heart and not trying to be confrontational but seeking honest answers while thinking things through assuming the Watchtower position is correct.

In no particular order:
1.If Mormons, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Scientologists, Baha'i, Atheists, Wiccans, Humanists, Deists, Scientists, Polytheists, Janists, Agnostics and any other world religion claim that Jesus is not God so what makes the Watchtower correct over all of them?
2.If most of the pagan world is against an eternal Hellfire as well, how do we know that this pagan thought has not influenced your reading of the Bible?
3.Why does Daniel 10 say that Michael was one of the chief princes but the Watchtower says that he was Jesus, the one of the kind son of God?
4.Does the Bible teach about the Watchtower Tract and Bible Society since it does not mention anything about in the New Testament? How is that not a pagan corruption of the Bible?
5.Why make such a big deal about Jesus if he was just an angel when no other angel is talked about with such detail?
6.If at other times angels become human (i.e. Sodom in Genesis 18) and interact with men, why did Jesus have to be virgin born?
7.If none have seen God, why does it say in Genesis 32 say that Jacob wrestled a man and that he saw God face to face?
8.What do I do with the special mention of man and women created in the image of God? Why is there no special mention of Angel's creation?
9.If the OT says only God creates, how is it better to say in Colossians 1 that Jesus creates other things (when “other” does not appear in the Greek)?
10.If Jesus is the “only-begotten Son.” (John 3:16) means that Jesus is the only one directly created by God, does that mean we really should worship Jesus since he technically created me and everything in the OT, not Jehovah?
11.What is the goal of faith in Jehovah? Heaven/Paradise? Happiness?
12.If the NWT translates Immanuel as With us is God, why would Jews who know Hebrew say God with us since Hebrew is read right to left instead of left to right? Why translate passively instead of active? Why not With us is a God?
13.How do you reconcile 1 Cor. 3:3 that we will judge the angels with 2 Tim 4:1 where Jesus will judge the living and the dead?
14.Why does Paul ask for Jesus and the Father to give him things like “undeserved kindness, mercy, peace “ and not just Jehovah himself?
15.Why did was Jesus able to forgive sins (Matt 9) when only Jehovah forgives sins in the OT?
16.In Daniel 7, who is the Ancient of Days who have rulership and dignity and kingdom that will not pass away? It cannot be Jehovah since we cannot see him but only Jehovah's kingdom is without end.
17.Why is Spirit better than flesh? Isn't that the pagan thinking of the Greeks?
18.If we should not have pagan influence in our worship, why does Paul quote pagans in Acts 17 and Titus 1?
19.How can Jehovah be a rock (Hab 1:12) and a Father?
20.If nothing is like Jehovah, why is it easy to explain him and understand him?
21.Why did Saul want to pursue “The Way” if they were only holding up a dead good teacher?
22.How is Jesus and the passover lamb different?
23.Why would baptism and the Lord's evening meal replace circumcision and the passover meal so easy if Jehovah directly spoke the latter into existence where Jesus spoke the former in existence?
24.Why did Pliny the younger (110 AD) say, when investigating Christians, “They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god”?
25.Why is 1 Cor 10:4 translated that rock-mass meant the Christ instead of that rock-mass was Christ since the imperfect form of eivmi,?
26.Where does the Bible say specifically angels are sons of God other than Job 38? How does that reconcile with Genesis 6 actual son of Gods having relations with daughters of men if they were simply spirit beings?
27.Why does Stephen ask Lord Jesus to receive his spirit in Acts 7 instead of Jehovah?
28.Why doesn't the NWT translate God as Jehovah or Father as Jehovah? Are those cheapening his name?
29.How can the congregation be a body, a temple, a nation, and a household all at the same time (see Ephesians 2)?
30.Why is Jesus called The Lord repeatedly (in Eph 6:5ff for example) as the object of service when the OT says Jehovah is our only Lord to be served?Why are we called slaves of Christ when the OT says we should only be slave of Jehovah?
31.Why is Jesus called the husband of the congregation in the NT when in Hosea, Jehovah is called Israel's husband/bridegroom?
32.Why does Psalm 27:1 call Jehovah my light and John 1 and 1Corinthians 15 talking about Christ being the light?
33.Why does Psalm 23 say Jehovah is my shepherd and Jesus called the great shepherd in Hebrews 13:20?
34.Why does the NWT talk about Jesus getting glory when the OT talks only about Jehovah getting Glory?
35.If Acts 4:12 says that Jesus is the only name by which we are saved and the movement is call Christians or the Way at points in the Bible, why call yourselves Jehovah Witness when that is not in the Bible?
36.If the Watchtower all about the true name of God, why does commands us to baptize in the name of the Father, the son and the holy spirit? Why not just the name of Jehovah?
37.If Jehovah's only son is not really like him in nature, would this be like calling a fish my son?
38.Why does the NWT translate the Greek word evn “in union with” only with “e/n Cri,stoj” and not just simply “in” as in other places? Why not a literal translation?
39.Why does the NWT translate Ephesians 3:19 “that YOU may be filled with all the fullness that God gives” when the Greek does not include the word “give” in this passage?
40.Why does Ephesians 2:20 talk about a place for God to dwell if He will never live there?
41.Why can't I do a simple word search of the NWT on the internet to verify what the Watchtower says and compare many passages at once? Why can I only search articles from the Watchtower and the scriptures themselves?
42.Why do you quote proof verses without considering the context/genre it came from in your discussion of doctrine?
43.Are all of the [insert word] in the NWT adding to the Word of God?
44.Jehovah is otherly different different from us because he is without beginning or end. All other life has a creation point. How can it be a new life (Romans 6, 2 Corinthians 5) if we are simply trading one created from of life with another?
45.Ephesians 1 says we are adopted as sons and John 1 we become children of God and yet higher than angels so why are they always called sons when we are not?
46.Why does the Watchtower material only quote fringe Catholic sources like strawmen to set up only to be knocked down? Why don't you quote the best arguments from the best current scholars? Is this approach violating 1 Thessalonians 5:21?
47.How is Jehovah love (1 John 4:8) when love requires more than one persons? How can He be Love if He is couldn't actually love until he created someone/something?
48.Why don't you publish the names of those who work on the NWT? The NT authors name themselves. Luke says he tracked down the eyewitnesses of Jesus that you can ask to verify the truth if you want. Chronicles names people. How do we know they are above reproach?
49.If Jehovah is God the Father and doesn't believe in everlasting punishment, why does he believe in everlasting life? Can we trust him to provide one and not the other?
50.What blasphemy was Jesus killed for?
51.Since woman are in subjection to men (Ephesians 5), does that mean they are inferior to men like Jesus is inferior to Jehovah? Are children inferior to parents and slaves to owners?
52.Why would dogmatic monotheists think it is it better call Jesus “a god” (John 1:1) than God? Isn't both blasphemous?
53.If calling Jesus God is a later development, why in AD 107 does Ignatius of Antioch (a disciple of John the Apostle) call “Jesus Christ our God”, He speaks of Christ’s blood as “God's blood”, He calls Jesus “God incarnate” In Jesus “God was revealing himself as a man”?
54.Why in the Targum (authoritative interpretive renderings of the books of the Hebrew Scriptures, a precursor to what the Watchtower does) Neofiti in 200 B.C., the Jews in the Palestine taught the following about Genesis before the birth of Jesus? “ In speaking of the relationship of God to the world, reverence for the God of Israel led the Targumist to employ surrogates for the Deity, such as "Word" (Memra), "Glory" (Yeqara, ’Iqar), or "Presence" (Shekinah, Aramaic Shekinta). Thus in Genesis 1:16-17 Targum Neofiti reads, "The Word of the Lord created the two large luminaries ... and the Glory of the Lord set them in the firmament," and in Genesis 2:2-3 it reads, "On the seventh day the Word of the Lord completed the work which he had created ... and the Glory of the Lord blessed the seventh day." Could that have influenced the words John used to describe Jesus?
55.Why don't the Watchtower pay more attention to the writings of the Christians in the Second Century and those who knew Koine Greek as their everyday language?
56.How can you play false to an active force (Acts 5:4)?
57.How can you grieve an active force (Eph 4:30)?
58.If Romans 13 says we are to be in subjection to the superior authorities , was Jesus inferior when he subjected himself to Pilate and the authorities that killed him?
59.How is a married couple one flesh when they are two different people?
60.What are the mysteries of the faith that are talked about in Ephesians 3?
61.What does Daniel 12:2 mean “And there will be many of those asleep in the ground of dust who will wake up, these to indefinitely lasting life and those to reproaches [and] to indefinitely lasting abhorrence.”? How is this not an everlasting heaven and hell?
62.Why should I care about Jehovah if I am not one of the 144,000 in Heaven?
63.Isn't Paradise still a punishment since I was not worthy of a spot in the 144,000? Wouldn't that be like telling me all my brother and sisters are going to the beach with my father but I will go to Cedar Point with the babysitter?
64.If the resurrection's main purpose is to unite us with our love ones remove us from war, is that idolizing loved ones over Jehovah? Are we just using him to get what we really want like the elder brother in Luke 15?
65.What did it cost Jehovah to love us if he didn't give anything up for us? Wouldn't God sending Jesus be like me sending my lego robot to stand before the bank to cover my failed mortgage?
66.If world is so bad, why use cars, electricity and printing tools since all come from pagan origins? Is this being selective on what things we let influence us? Since all of our languages originated from pagan cultures so should we create a new language?
67.You say origins matter in regards to holidays but all of us have been born into sin. How can Jehovah redeem sinful/dirty us, use us and not do the same with pagan holidays if it is for Jehovah's name now?
68.Why doesn't Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 10:18ff allow more freedom in the days we celebrate?
69.If Jesus could be born as a perfect human, why couldn't Jehovah do the same for all of us?
70.Why does NT talk more about a relationship with Jehovah (God the Father) more than relationship with all others but the Watchtower publications talk more about peace and family?
71.Jesus says no one is good but God and that John was the greatest ever born of a woman so how can his ransom be enough for everyone?
72.What exactly was Jesus teaching the two men going to Emanus in Luke 24 if we wasn't saying the whole OT was about him?
73.Why don't you celebrate the Jewish holidays if Jehovah put those into practice?
74.If Jehovah is the king of this world, why go before earthly courts to protect our rights? Why not submit to persecution like Jesus towards Pilate and give up our rights to serve others?
75.What is the point of the parable Luke 16:19ff if it isn't needing to tell people about everlasting judgment?
76.How can we tell what things in the parables are not made up like the Watchtower claims is the case in Luke 16:19ff?
77.Why in Revelation is clear about the 144,000 are out of the twelve tribes of Israel?
78.Why should we want to be in relationship with any one if Jehovah was alright by himself for a time before creation?
79.How does the Watchtower view of Resurrection differ from the recent historical work done by NT Wright claiming that In other words, “resurrection” was a way of “speaking of a new life after ‘life after death’ in the popular sense, a fresh living embodiment following a period of death-as-a-state.” According to Wright, the meaning of resurrection as “life after ‘life after death’” cannot be overemphasized. This is due in large part because much modern writing continues to use “resurrection” as a synonym for “life after death.” Belief in “resurrection” meant belief in what Wright calls a “two-step story.” Resurrection itself is preceded by an interim period of death-as-a-state. “Where we find a single-step story—death-as-event being followed at once by a final state, for instance of disembodied bliss—the texts are not talking about resurrection. Resurrection involves a definite content (some sort of re-embodiment) and a definite narrative shape (a two-step story, not a single-step one). Is the Watchtower view a one step resurrection?
80.When women come to my door to teach me the scriptures, should I ignore them since 1 Tim 2 says that women are not permitted to teach?
81.What is the point of the Jehovah's first created son if throughout Genesis, the first created son actually doesn't receive honor (see Ishmael, Esau, Reuben, Kilion -Judah's first born, David)?
82.Why did God use Daniel though he was a trained member of Pagan Babylon government?
83.In Mark 1:2-3, who is preparing the way of Jehovah, John or Jesus? If it is John, why would Mark quote Isaiah in connection with Jesus?
84.Why does Paul say in 1 Corinthians 11:1 imitate me as I imitate Christ and in Ephesians 5:1 become imitator of God? How can I imitate something I have not seen?
85.If Jesus only paid my ransom from when I tried to be righteous on my own before I repented, how does that help me be righteous? If I couldn't do it before, what hope do I have of doing it now on my own?
86.1 Peter 1:16 says I must be holy as Jehovah is holy. If am I only able to act holy, how can I actually be holy like Jehovah (different from the world in essence)?
87.How should I view 1914 and how was it established? Was that way of interpretation influenced by Christian Dispensational thinking which is believes in the pagan trinity?
88.How should I view the historical evidence like the Alexamenos Graffito from the first century? The inscription is accepted by the vast majority of scholars to be a mocking depiction of a Christians which says Alexamenos worshiping God. It is the portrayal of Jesus as having an ass's head and the depiction of him being crucified on a T shaped cross for the purpose of insulting Christians by contemporary Roman society.
89.Why does Paul call out Peter in Galatians 2 as “not walking straight according to the truth of the good news,” when he was being racist rather than saying you are sinning against Jehovah?
90.Why does Jehovah tell the exiles in Jeremiah 29 to “‘Build houses and inhabit [them], and plant gardens and eat their fruitage. 6 Take wives and become father to sons and to daughters; and take wives for YOUR own sons and give YOUR own daughters to husbands, that they may give birth to sons and to daughters; and become many there, and do not become few. 7 Also, seek the peace of the city to which I have caused YOU to go into exile, and pray in its behalf to Jehovah, for in its peace there will prove to be peace for YOU yourselves” but yet the Watchtower claims to be maintain strict neutrality in regards to government?
91.How does the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament published in Third Century BC) influence the Greek Translation of the New Testament?
92.Why don't Jehovah Witnesses care enough about people to hang out with them like Jesus did with the Tax collectors and the “sinners”? In other words, why did he do more than preach to random to convert people? Same with Paul in Acts 17?
93.Why do you choose the door to door method of Evangelism when that idea originated with the pagan company of Avon in 1886?
94.What should I do with the epistle of Barnabas (written around 100 AD) that says “You have [the initials of the, name of] Jesus. And because the cross was to express the grace [of our redemption] by the letter Τ,”?
95.Why does it seem that the Watchtower doesn't know how to do or how to answer modern scholarship? Why does it fear questions from people inside the organization?

For the doctrine of the Watchtower to be considered by any current Christian, these questions must be addressed. For the triune God of historic, orthodox Christianity has issues as well but I'm aware of both the argument for and against it while the Watchtower does not. If the Watchtower possess the true faith, than it should be able to answer these in accord with the Scriptures and with more than a simple “God said so”. In my opinion, upon analyzing the Watchtower and the NWT, there are too many inconsistency between what they say Jehovah is like, what the Bible says Jehovah is like and how that is put into practice in the Watchtower Tract and Bible Society? (since this is a letter I'm sending, I don't have the references for everything but will provide them upon request).

1 comment:

Dave's Area 51 said...

Dan, I just got around to checking your post today. Interesting questions, and great format (loved the 95 theses idea!).