Are Mormons Christians? That is a very important question. If the Mormons are Christians, then we should view the Mormons as brothers and sisters in the Lord. However, if in fact the Mormon Church is not a Christian church then we should, in the name of Jesus Christ, pray for them to be set free from the darkness of being separated from the true God and eternal life. And witness to them, for they are lost without the real Jesus Christ. But, are the Mormons Christians?

Many people have asked that question. Of course, the Mormons will boldly confess to be Christian. They will point to all the “good works” that the LDS Church does, and all in the name of Jesus Christ. Not to mention the “feed the hunger” programs that the LDS Church is involved in. Hence, it is fair to say that over all the Mormon Church possesses all the appearance of a bona-fide Christian church.

So, let us deal with the recurrently asked question: are Mormons Christian? Well, the answer will depend on how one defines the term “Christian.” If being “Christian” is only defined by Christian language: “One God,” “Jesus is Lord,” “Trinity,” “Saved by grace,” etc., then, the Mormons are definitely Christians, for they certainly integrate these terms in to their vocabulary and communicate them in their church services.

If in fact Christian language is the ultimate standard in which to decide what is and what is not Christian, then, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Oneness groups, Unitarians, Unity School of Christianity, The Way International, The International Church of Christ, Christadelphians are all Christian!

However, it is the biblical definition that decides what is Christian. So, how does Scripture define what a Christian is?

“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they [Christians] continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayer” (Acts 2:41, 42; emphasis added).

Hence the biblical definition of a “Christian” is: the one following the doctrines or teachings of the apostles (Ibid.). The Apostle Paul was very concerned about false teachings that did not square with the teachings of the apostles:

“He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can refute1 those who oppose it. . . . You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine” (Tit. 1:9; 2:1; emphasis added).

Do Mormons teach doctrines that are “opposed” to God’s Word? The answer is, unequivocally, yes. Mormons reject the teachings of the apostles as well as the prophets of the Old Testament. The Lord God was concern that mere men may know, believe, and understand that God is one (e.g., Isa. 43:10; 44:6, 8). Ontological monotheism (i.e., One God by nature) is the fundamental difference that disallows Mormons from a true relationship with God, and hence, true salvation. I cannot emphasize enough: The Mormons are lost, perishing with Bibles in their hands. That is why Christians must reach out to the Mormons. If we love them, we will tell them.

So, let us recall some main points of LDS theology, which are antithetical to the “apostles teachings,” that is, biblical theology:

LDS Teachings of God the Father

God the Father (and Jesus) was once a mere man that lived on an earth similar to this one. As a man, He had to go through the same ordeals and experiences that men go through on earth. Mormons tell us that God had to earn his salvation by obedience to law and thus becoming the God of this world. In LDS theology then: God has not always existed as God.

This point cannot be dismissed as a minor difference. That God had to become God cuts through the heart of biblical theology. The God of biblical revelation has eternally been God. He did not have to become God at some point in time. The LDS god is not the God of the Bible. There is a fundamental different. Christians and Mormons do not worship the same God.

Joseph Smith declared:

For I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345; emphasis added).

Biblical Response:

1) Psalm 90:2: “From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”

2) Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding” (Is. 40:28)

3) Malachi 3:6: “For I am the LORD, I change not. . . . ”

LDS Teaching that God the Father is an exalted man with Body Parts

Mormons assert that God the Father is not spirit. “God the Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as mans” (Doctrine of Covenants, 130:22; emphasis added). God the Father had/has sexual relations with His wife (or wives) in Heaven to produce spirit babies in order to populate the earth.2

Biblical Response:

1) John 4:24: God is Spirit. In Luke 24:39, Jesus defines a spirit: “For a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (emphasis added)

2) Jeremiah 23:24: God is omnipresent (exists everywhere): “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Saith the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth?” (emphasis added; cf. 2 Ch. 6;18).

3) 1 Timothy 1:17: God is an invisible spirit: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be the honor and glory for ever and ever.” Colossians 1:15: “Who [Jesus] is the image of the invisible [Gk. aoratou] God. . . . ” (emphasis added; cf. John 1:18).

4) The LORD God refutes this LDS false teaching: “for I am God, and not man. . . . ” (Hos. 11:9; emphasis added)

LDS Teaching of Many Gods (i.e., polytheism)

The Mormons teach that all Mormon males (potentially) can become Gods just as all the Gods have done before them. Founder Joseph Smith declares to his followers:

I will preach on the plurality of Gods . . . I have always and in all congregations when I preached on the subject of Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. . . . Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 370).

Brigham Young also confirmed:

there was never a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through (Discourses of Brigham Young, pp. 22, 23).

Biblical Response:

1) Isaiah 43:10: “before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.”

Isaiah 44:6: “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel . . . I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God.”

Isaiah 44:8: “Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God ; I know of not one.”

Isaiah 45:5: “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me. . . . ” (cf. Deut. 4:35; Jer. 10:10; esp. Mark 12:29).

2) The fundamental difference that excludes Mormonism from Christianity is ontological monotheism: there exists one God by nature (Gal. 4:8) hence all other things called God are false gods or idols. False gods do not exist, only the true God does exist, in whom salvation is given.

LDS Teaching of Jesus Christ

Mormons teach that Jesus was Lucifer’s spirit brother. Jesus’ body was procreated by sexual relations between God the Father and the Virgin Mary (His own daughter; see my article: The Paternity of Jesus Christ). And, Jesus was not the eternal God but merely one God of a pantheon of Gods. Jesus also had to earn His own salvation and become a God.

Biblical Response:

1) Colossians 1:16ff, Jesus is Creator of all things including angels (which Lucifer is; cf. John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; Heb. 1:10)

2) That God the Father had sexual relations with His own daughter is a teaching that is utterly pagan!

3) Jesus is eternal, John 1:1: “In the beginning was3 the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

In John 8:58 Jesus claims to be the “I AM” of the Old Testament which the Jews understood to mean the Eternal One.4

Philippians 2:6 as well demonstrates that Jesus was always the Eternal God, contrary to LDS teaching.5

Notes

1, At Titus 1:19 the term translated “refute” (NIV) comes from the Greek word elencho which is defined as: the exposure and confutation of false teachers of Christianity . . . to find fault with, correct (see Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 202, 03; same word is used at Eph. 5:11; 1 Tim 5:20; and 2 Tim. 4:2).

2, In Mormon theology, spirit babies are sent to earth to receive their mortal bodies by their earthly parents. However Mormons teach that Jesus Christ, is the Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh, that is, the Father had sexual relations with His Own spirit daughter Mary. Hence Jesus, Mormons say, was the only person that had God the Father as His mortal and literal father.

3, In John 1:1: “In the beginning was [ēn] the Word, and the Word was with [pros] God, and the Word was God,” the word “was” (ēn) is an imperfect tense, indicating, in this context, that the “Word” (who is Jesus; cf. 1:14) was always existing. Hence Jesus was always God the Eternal Word, distinct from the Father (cf. the Word was with (pros) God the Father. For study on John 1:1 and the LDS Church, see The Christological Assertions of the LDS Church, pertaining to John 1:1.

4, Significant I AM passages: Mark 6:50; John 8:24, 28; 58; 13:19; 18:5, 6, 8. These passages read in the KJV: “I am he” or “it is I.” However in the original Greek text the “he” does not appear, hence “I am” (ego eimi) and not “I am he” and in Mark. 6:50 the original reading is “I am” not, “it is I.” The original New Testament Greek manuscripts (autographs) were written in all capital letters called “uncials.”

5, Philippians 2:6 reads: “who being in the form (morphē; NIV “nature”) of God. . . .” What is noteworthy is that the word “being” (huparchon) denotes subsisting or existing. Huparchon is a present active participial, which indicates that Jesus was always in existence or subsisting in the very nature or substance of God (cf. Heb. 1:3). Notwithstanding the preponderance of textual support that denotes the eternality of the Word as the eternal God, distinct from God the Father, which is vehemently denied by virtually every non-Christian cult.

Colossians 1:15,: “He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”

Because Jesus is called “firstborn,” the JWs assert that Jesus was created—the “first of Jehovah’s works.” Since this is probably their most utilized passage against Christians, we need to know how to respond to it in order to proclaim the truth of Jesus to them. In simple refutation, note the following:

1. The term “firstborn” (prōtotokos) denotes supremacy, preeminence, or first in rank as the context of Colossians demands. For example, in Exodus 4:22, Israel is called “firstborn” and certainly they were not the first nation created, but as God’s people they had preeminence. In Psalm 89:27, David, because of his status (i.e., his preeminence), is called “firstborn” and he was technically “last born” (note: in the LXX, both passages have prōtotokos). Even the Watchtower acknowledges the correct meaning of the term by admitting:

David, who was the youngest son of Jesses [sic], was called by Jehovah the “first-born,” due to Jehovah’s elevation of David to the preeminent position in God’s chosen nation (Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971, 584; emphasis added).

Further, note that in Genesis 41:51 Manasseh is called “firstborn” and Ephraim is called “second.” But in Jeremiah 31:9, Ephraim is called “firstborn” because it is was Ephraim who now had the preeminence or supremacy, and not Manasseh.

2. The context of the book of Colossians is a sharp refutation against the Gnostic heresy (Gnosticism). The Gnostics (viz. the Docetic Gnostics) denied all matter (creation). In contrast, Paul affirms that Jesus is the Creator of all things (cf. 1:16-17) in which He calls Christ “firstborn” of all creation. As Creator, Christ has supremacy (prōtotokos) over all creation.

3. If Paul wanted to convey that Jesus was “first-created,” he certainly could have used the word prōtoktistos literally meaning, “first-created” to do so (as in 2 Cor. 5:17). Hence, Jesus was not the first-creature, rather He was the Creator of ALL THINGS (cf. John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:2, 10-12), whereby in everything He has supremacy (cf. Col. 1:18). Points to remember:

  • In the context of Colossians, “firstborn” (prōtotokos) means supremacy or preeminence—Christ as Creator is preeminent over creation (cf. Exod. 4:22 and Ps. 89:27).
  • Even the Watchtower acknowledges the correct meaning of “firstborn” (“preeminent position”).
  • If Paul wanted to express that Jesus was created, he could have used prōtoktistos (“first created”).

Additional lexical information:

The term translated “firstborn” denotes Jesus as “having special status associated with a firstborn” (BDAG, Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon, 894). Biblical scholar Robert Reymond extracts the true significance of the term:

Paul’s intention behind his description of Jesus as “the Firstborn of all creation” is a universe away from the Arian interpretation of the JWs that would insist that the word shows that the Son was the “first” of all other created things; the entire context demands the term is to be understood in the Hebraic sense as an ascription of priority of rank to the firstborn son who enjoys a special place in the father’s love. (Reymond, Systematic Theology, 251).

  • New World Translation:“and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.”

  • King James Version: “and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

  • Greek Text (literal rendering):“and the Word was [ēnwith [prosthe God [ton theon], and God [theos] was the Word.”

In 1950, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (WT), the corporate name of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs), published their own translation of the Bible entitled: New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT).[1] The WT’s prior theological commitments are quite obvious when the NWT is examined and compared to the Hebrew and Greek biblical manuscripts particularly at places where Jesus Christ is clearly presented as God (esp. John 1:1; 8:58; Phil. 2:9; Col. 1:16-17; 2:9; Titus 2:13; and Heb. 1:8). In other words, the WT had to make major alterations to their NWT from the original text in order to make their theology seem biblically consistent.. Accordingly, it is rejected by biblical scholarship as a legitimate translation. The above chart is a comparison of (1) the NWT’s rendering of the last two clauses of John 1:1 (1:1b and 1:1c), (2) the literal rendering of the Greek[2] (in Eng.), and (3) the KJV.[3]

“a god”?

One of the main reasons as to why the NWT renders John 1:1c as “and the Word was a god” is that in the Greek (see above), the first occurrence of “God” (theon, 1:1b) has the article “the” (ton), but the second occurrence of “God” (theos, 1:1c) does not (note: nouns without the article are called anarthrous). So, the JWs are taught that “THE God” refers to the “definite” almighty God, Jehovah (the Father) and the anarthrous theos (i.e., “God” without the article) refers to the “mighty god,” Michael the “created” archangel who they believe is Jesus.

In brief refutation to the NWT’s rendering of John 1:1c (“a god”), which is based on their chief theological starting point: Jesus is not God, consider the following:[4]

1. Two Gods? If the Word was a “true god” (for surely the JWs do not see the Word as a false “god”), then, two “true” Gods is clearly being asserted: the almighty God (Jehovah) and a mighty god (Jesus). That the Word was an indefinite god implies that He was merely one of a class of other gods, thus, the meaning of an indefinite noun. Here the JWs introduce polytheism (the belief in many true gods/Gods) into John’s Gospel. Not that it is impossible grammatically to be renders as “a god,” however, this idea would not only challenge John’s own *monotheistic* (one true God) theology, but clearly contradict his presentation of the full deity of Jesus Christ (e.g., John 5:23; 8:24, 58; 18:5, 6, 8; 20:28; 1 John 5:20; Rev. 5:12-14; 22:12-13).

2. “The God”? In biblical Greek, “God” with the article (“the”) and “God” without the article (i.e., the anarthrous theos) as in John 1:1c (lit., “and God was the Word”) can both refer to the one true God—context dictates the meaning. Further, many JWs incorrectly think that the two terms translated “God” (theon and theos) in 1:1 mean two different things: ton theon (“the God”) being the almighty God (Jehovah) and the anarthrous theos (“God”) being a mighty god (Jesus). However, the difference in spelling is due to their function in the sentence—not their meaning![5]

3. By asserting that the anarthrous theos should be rendered indefinite (“a god”), the JWs impose their own translational rule: anarthrous nouns = an indefinite meaning. But in fact, the anarthrous theos appears 282 times in the NT! Only at sixteen places does the NWT translate these 282 anarthrous occurrences of theos as indefinite.[6] Hence, the NWT was faithful to its translational rule only six-percent of the time![7] For example, the anarthrous theos appears in John 1:6, 12, 13, and 18, but yet the NWT did not follow its so-called translational rule at those passages. Only at John 1:1c did it do so—for obvious reasons. But why then (as JWs and many Christians will ask) does theos in John 1:1c not have the article? (kai theos ēn ho logos, lit., “and God was the Word” not “the God was the Word”). Answer: Simply put, if John had written: ho theos ēn ho logos (lit., “the God was the Word” making theos definite), he would have been teaching Oneness doctrine (or Modalism)! In other words, the passage would have indicated that “God” in 1:1b (the Father) and “God” in 1:1c (the Word) were the same Person! But semantically, theos is *qualitative,* not definite (and surely not indefinite—one of many).

Definite nouns point to the specific identification of someone or something (thus, in 1:1b “the God” identifies the Father) while qualitative nouns point to the essence or nature of someone or something.[8] The anarthrous theos indicates exactly as to what John was communicating: As to the Word’s nature (quality), He was fully God, but as to His Person (or specific identity), He was not identified as the Father, but personally distinct from Him: “The Word was with [pros] God.”[9]

To summarize:

  • To say that Jesus is a true God (“a god”) and Jehovah is also a true God forces polytheism (more than one true God) into John’s Gospel.
  • In Scripture, “God” with the article (“the God”) and “God” without the article does not necessitate a different meaning (see note 7).
  • The NWT is not consistent to its self-imposed translational rule (viz. “God” without the article should be rendered indefinite—“a god”). See John 1:6, 12, 13, 18.
  • That the Word was with God is consistent with Trinitarian theology, which states that there are three *distinct* Persons that share the nature of the one God. Only when one starts with the conclusion that God is unitarian (one Person), will he or she misunderstand John 1:1.

NOTES

[1] The NWT was revised in 1961, 1970, 1971, and a fourth revision in 1984.

[2] Interestingly, the WT has produced their own Greek interlinear (i.e., a Gk. text with the corresponding Eng. words under each Gk. word with the NWT written in the margin). It is called: Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures [KIT], which is a fairly accurate Greek text based on Westcott and Hort’s so-called, “Neutral Text” (pub. in 1881). Thus, I found it very effective to ask JWs to reference the KIT at passages such as John 1:1c; 8:58; Col. 1:16-17; 2:9; Titus 2:13; etc. where the purposeful modifications contained in the NWT can be clearly seen compared to the Greek text of the KIT. Also, at passages such as John 20:28, the KIT correctly records Thomas directly addressing Jesus as ho theos (“the God”), lit., “the Lord of me, and the God of me” (one of many places where Jesus is called ho theos as in Titus 2:13; 2 Pet. 1:1; Heb. 1:8; and 1 John 5:20).

These questions are answered below. Take first a few minutes to read the questions, then endeavor to feed on the answers and understand them, not just produce them as quick soundbites. 

Ask first: Jesus talked a lot about false prophets in the last-days,” tell me, biblically speaking what is a false prophet?”

I. Unitarianism: one God = one Person

QUESTION: If Jehovah is unitarian (existing as one Person), where in Scripture do we find a passage that teaches this?

II. Jesus is God and called “the God” (ho theos)

QUESTION 1: If Jesus is not Jehovah

III. Jesus as Creator

QUESTION 2: If Jesus was created as you were taught, why is He presented as the Creator of all things?

QUESTION 3: If the NWT did not add to the text the word “other,” would not the plain reading indicate that the Son was the Creator of “all things”? (see notes 6-7).

QUESTION 4: John 1:3 in the NWT says that “All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one came into existence.” Does this mean that “all things” came into existence through Jesus?

QUESTION 5: Hebrews 1:10, which is a reference to the Son, says that the Son “laid down the foundation of the earth itself” and the heavens are the work of His hands (NWT), does this not clearly indicate that the Son is the Creator?

QUESTION 6: If passages such as John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17; and Hebrews 1:8-10 do not teach that Jesus was the Creator, even though they plainly say that He created “all things,” how would a passage read that did?

QUESTION 7: If Scripture did indeed teach that Jesus was the actual Creator of all things wouldn’t that make Him eternal and thus preexistent?

IV. The Divine Worship of Christ

QUESTION 8: Exodus 20:5 says that worship is reserved for God alone. So, why did the Father command all of His angels to worship the Son in Hebrews 1:6?

QUESTION 9: Revelation 5:13 says that “every creature” said to the “One sitting on the throne [God the Father] and to the Lamb [the Son] . . . be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever and ever” (NWT). How can the Lamb be a creature when “every creature” is said to be giving praise to both the Father and the Lamb?

Part 1~ Question Asking Technique (Q&A)

Main Watchtower[1] Theological Distinctives:

  • They reject the biblical doctrine of the Trinity.
  • They reject the full deity of Jesus Christ.
  • They reject the deity and personally of the Holy Spirit.
  • They reject the “physical” resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • They reject that justification is through faith alone.
  • They reject the biblical concept of God’s wrath (viz. hell) for the unregenerate

JW’s teach that they are the only “true” Christians and that the WT is God’s sole channel of communication on earth.

Even though the theology of the WT is clearly false, when Christians engage in dialogue with JWs (esp. on the Trinity and the deity of Christ) too often they become intimidated and, within minutes, doctrinally confused! For in dialogue, the JWs generally aim to dominate the conversation by “proving” his or her position by rapid-firing a host of biblical passages[2]—most of which are wrenched out of context. Typically, they do not allow time for any meaningful exegetical discussion of each passage presented; they merely cite them—and at times, in one breath!

The problem is that many Christians who desire to reach out to JWs lack the basic knowledge of their own theology to provide a clear biblical affirmation and response to the assertions of the JWs. So, if your desire is to witness to the JWs, the first thing that you must do is to learn the basics of your own faith, then, the basics of what JWs believe. If you can biblically communicate central doctrines such as the Trinity, deity of Christ, and salvation through faith alone, even without exhaustively understanding every doctrine of the WT, you can confidently and adequately defend and affirm the Person and finished work of Christ—namely, the gospel.

JW’s answer questions & ignore opposing arguments

They spend many hours in Kingdom Halls[3] learning how to proclaim the WT’s version of the “Kingdom of God.” Because they are taught not to argue, even though few follow this rule, when dialoguing with JWs, I have found it extraordinarily effective to engage in “question asking.” Q&A forces the JWs to (a) contemplate the question asked as well as the answer that they will be giving, and (b) stick to the topic being addressed, which prevents their normal tactic of playing biblical hopscotch—namely, jumping from one passage to another. Jesus frequently utilized Q&A as an effective way to teach and express particular truths (e.g., with Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman; cf. John 3, 4). The Apostle Paul likewise used Q&A as a means of teaching (e.g., 1 Cor. 1:13; 12:29-31; Gal. 3-1-5).

Types of questions to ask

Before you rush to the nearest Kingdom Hall with your 101 questions, first, as mentioned, you should be biblically prepared to respond to the JW’s rejections and assertions mounted against the true gospel. They will normally start the dialogue by getting you to agree that these are the “last-days,” then, as seen above, they will quickly jump from one subject to another. Many times they will postulate the notion that the entire church apostatized (fell away) after the death of the original apostles[4] and hence, that they alone are the only true Christians—Jehovah’s true witnesses.

Above all, do not allow them to dominate the conversation: Keep them on one subject at a time particularly on the Person, nature, and finished work of Jesus Christ. But if they persist on the topic of the last-days, you may want to try a method, which I found works very well:

*Example-

Ask first: “That is true; in fact, Jesus talked a lot about false prophets in the last-days,”[5] tell me, biblically speaking what is a false prophet?”

They may waver here, but immediately take them to Deut. 18:20-22 where a false prophet is clearly defined (even in their own NWT) as one who prophesies in the name of the LORD (“Jehovah” NWT) and what was prophesied did not come to pass. The JWs should not have any problem agreeing on the biblical definition here of “false prophet.”

Then ask: Did the WT ever make false predictions or prophecies on behalf of Jehovah? “If you assert that the WT made false prophecies make sure you possess the actual citations.”[6]

They will either deny this (out of ignorance or deception) or, most of the time, they will calmly assert that “the WT made mistakes; for they are mere men who never claimed that they were ‘prophets,’ they are constantly receiving ‘new light.’”[7]

At that point it is very important to show[8] them where the WT has undeniably claimed that they were prophets:

Who will be Jehovah’s prophet? Who will be the modern day Jeremiah? The plain facts show God has been pleased to use Jehovah’s Witnesses (WT Magazine, January 15, 1959, pp. 40-41; *additional WT claims of being a “prophet” can be found @ www.christiandefense.org/jw.htm).

To recap, when the JWs use the “last-days tactic” to open up the dialogue, first, get the JWs to agree on the “biblical definition” of a false prophet (cf. Deut. 18) any other definition is merely fallible opinion. Then, show (from their own literature) where the WT has made definite claims of being a “prophet.” Then take them to references or citations of false prophecies made by them. Once the biblical definition to which the JWs has agreed upon has been established, the WT ends up proving itself to be a false prophet. This route of witnessing utterly undermines their sole religious authority, which tells them that doctrines such as the Trinity and the full deity of Christ are false. Even if they disagree at first (which most will), they will almost certainly remember the dialogue they had with you in which you revealed biblically that the WT is a false prophet.

Part 2~ Question Asking Technique (Q&A)

Previously, we saw how Q&A is an effective way to witness to JWs. We will now deal with the very heart of the gospel: the Trinity including, of course, the deity of Christ. The information presented below is not by any means an exhaustive compilation of every feature of these doctrines; it merely provides some basic tools for presenting these doctrines.

Unitarianism: one God = one Person

The fact is that too many Christians, without forethought, dart right to the doctrine of the Trinity only to get discouraged by a “studied” JW that learned how to answer Trinitarian or deity of Christ objections.[9] Hence, before discussing the Trinity and/or the deity of Christ, you must first realize this: The main reason why the JWs (and most anti-Trinitarian groups) reject these *essential doctrines[10] is because they wrongly assume from the start that God (Jehovah) is *unitarian,* that is, existing as one sole Person—uni-personal, not tri-personal.

“For if,” they argue, “there is only one God (i.e., one Person), how can Jesus (another Person from Jehovah) be God? That would be two Gods.” Hence, this unitarian assumption must first be dealt with or you will find yourself endlessly going back and forth asserting your position (the Trinity) in which the JWs will argue a different position (unitarianism) than that of the real argument being asserted.

Due to their unitarian assumption, many JWs falsely assume that the “evil” Trinity doctrine means ‘three Gods,’ rather than ‘three Persons.’ Thus, Christians must clearly define what the Trinity is and what it is not before discussing it.[11]

Also see: Most utilized Unitarian Objections to the Trinity

What’s more, most JWs (and unfortunately, many Christians) have never been taught as to what the *biblical* doctrine of the Trinity actually teaches. Hence, their views of the Trinity and the deity of Christ are usually based on either a false notion or faulty information.

Below is one question to ask JWs that will expose their false notion of what the Trinity is:

QUESTION: If Jehovah is unitarian (existing as one Person), where in Scripture do we find a passage that teaches this?

>>There is no passage in the OT or NT that teaches “one God” = “one Person” (unitarianism), but rather Scripture teaches that God is one Being. Monotheism is simply the belief in one God (e.g., Deut. 4:35; Isa. 44:6, 8): mono from monos, meaning, alone or only one and theism from theos, meaning, God). To argue that one God equals one Person is to argue in a circle.[12] However, for a JW to even contemplate as to the truth of the Trinity, he or she must see that (a) unitarianism is not biblical and (b) the deity of Christ is clearly established in Scripture: if a JW can see that Scripture does indeed teach the deity of Christ, then, one God revealed in three Persons—the Trinity, can be envisaged as biblical. So here we will focus on key questions regarding the deity of Christ.

Scripture exegetically presents that Jesus Christ is presented as fully God, God the Son.

In the NT,[13] there are three significant theological truths that clearly and unequivocally show that Jesus is God—in the same sense as that of the Father: Scripture presents that 1) Jesus, the Son, is fully God and is called “the God” (ho theos),[14] 2) Jesus is Creator, and 3) Jesus receives the same kind of worship that God the Father receives. The questions below do not represent an exhaustive list of every question regarding the deity of Christ, but they do present some challenging questions for JWs:

Jesus is God and called “the God” (ho theos)

QUESTION 1: If Jesus is not Jehovah[15] why did the apostles call Him “the God.”?

Remember, the JWs are convinced that in the Bible only Jehovah is and is called “the God.” However, note the clear examples below of where Jesus is called “the God.” Be sure that you have the JWs consult their own KIT[16] Greek text to verify the original rendering.

*John 20:28: ho kurios mou kai ho theos mou, lit., “the Lord of Me and the God of Me”).[17]

*Titus 2:13: tou megalou theou kai sōtēros hēmōn Christou Iēsou, lit., “the great God and Savior of us Christ Jesus.”

>>*2 Peter 1:1 has nearly the same rendering as Titus 2:13: tou theou hēmōn kai sōtēros Iēsou Christou, lit., “the God of us and Savior Jesus Christ.” The point is, both Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 have the same grammatical construction: “God and Savior Jesus Christ.” This construction is known as Granville Sharp’s rule #1, which states (basically): when two singular descriptive nouns (“God” and “Savior”) are connected by the conjunction kai (“and”) and there is only one article (“the”) before the first noun (“God”), but not the second noun (“Savior,” thus, does not read, “the Savior”), both nouns, “God” and “Savior,” refer to the first named person, which is “Jesus Christ” at these passages.[18]

Also see HEBREWS 1:8 where the Father calls the Son “the God”: “ho thronos sou ho theos, lit., “the throne of You the God.”

Part 3~ Question Asking Technique (Q&A)

The goal of this article is to equip Christians to proclaim the deity of Christ to JWs utilizing Q&A as an effective means. As shown, we saw how presenting passages where Jesus is called “the God,” (Gk. ho theos, viz John 20:28; Titus 2:13; and 2 Pet. 1:1) can be greatly effective in the task of presenting Jesus as God. Also, to recall, in the NT (and OT), there are three significant theological truths that clearly and unequivocally show that Jesus is God—in the same sense as that of the Father: Biblically, 1) Jesus is “the God” (ho theos),[19] 2) Jesus is Creator, and 3) Jesus receives the same kind of worship as that of God the Father.

We first addressed a very important point when dialoging with JWs on the issue of the Trinity and/or the deity of Christ: their *unitarian* assumption that God exists as one Person. [20] I cannot stress this enough: the JW’s unitarian/unipersonal assumption of God must be addressed before interacting on topics such as the Trinity and the deity of Christ.

Previously, in Question 1, the first biblical truth was presented: Jesus is God and is called “the God.” So the next set of questions will address the fact that Jesus is presented as the Creator and He is worshiped as God. For if Jesus was the actual Creator, then, He would be excluded from being a creature as the JWs believe. [21] As indicated before, the questions below do not represent an exhaustive list of every question regarding the deity of Christ, but they do present some challenging questions for JWs.

Jesus as Creator

QUESTION 2: If Jesus was created as you were taught, why is He presented as the Creator of all things?

>>Scripture presents that Jesus was the very “agent of creation” (i.e., the Creator; esp. John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17; 1 Cor. 8:6; and Heb. 1:8-10). The normal response by JWs is that all those passages that speak of the Son creating, speak of His role in that He was merely with and assisting the Father. Thus, they argue that the Son created all “other” things except Himself, as their translation (NWT) indicates in Colossians 1:16-17 where the NWT added the word “other” four times![22]

But what were they to do? If Paul taught that Jesus created “all things” (as the literal unedited text of vv. 16-17 reads[23]) that would mean that the Son is eternal, hence, God Himself. Interestingly, the NWT “correctly” reads at John 1:3: “All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one came into existence.” In the Greek, the same phrase is used as in Colossians 1:17: literally, “the all things [ta panta] through Him [di’ autou] came into being.” As pointed out (see n. 7 below), the preposition dia (“through”) followed by the genitive case ending (autou, “Him”) indicates that Jesus was the actual agent of creation.[24]

QUESTION 3: If the NWT did not add to the text the word “other,” would not the plain reading indicate that the Son was the Creator of “all things”? (see notes 6-7).

QUESTION 4: John 1:3 in the NWT says that “All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one came into existence.” Does this mean that “all things” came into existence through Jesus?

>>So far, the NWT has not changed this text here by adding the word “other” as they did with Colossians 1:16-17 (and Phil. 2:9). Be sure to point out the similarities of John 1:3 (panta, “all things”) and Colossians 1:16-17 (panta, “all things”) except, of course, the NWT added “other” four times to Colossians 1:16-17.

QUESTION 5: Hebrews 1:10, which is a reference to the Son,[25] says that the Son “laid down the foundation of the earth itself” and the heavens are the work of His hands (NWT), does this not clearly indicate that the Son is the Creator?

>>Here the author of Hebrews is quoting Psalm 102:25, which is referring to Yahweh,[26] but the author specifically applies it to the Son (cf. v 8). This is one of many places where a NT author quotes an OT passage referring to Yahweh, yet applies it to the Son[27]—clearly showing that the Son is Yahweh.

QUESTION 6: If passages such as John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17; and Hebrews 1:8-10 do not teach that Jesus was the Creator, even though they plainly say that He created “all things,” how would a passage read that did?[28]

QUESTION 7: If Scripture did indeed teach that Jesus was the actual Creator of all things wouldn’t that make Him eternal and thus preexistent?[29]

The Divine Worship of Christ

QUESTION 8: Exodus 20:5 says that worship is reserved for God alone. So, why did the Father command all of His angels to worship the Son in Hebrews 1:6?

>>In the 1971 edition of the NWT, the word “worship” was changed to “obeisance,”[30] but only at places where the Son is said to have received “worship” (e.g., Matt. 14:33; 28:9; John 9:38; Heb. 1:6; etc.). If the WT is Jehovah’s “sole channel” of communication, as they claim, and worshipping Jesus is wrong, as they teach, why did the NWT contain “false doctrine” for over twenty years?[31]

The word “worship” is translated from proskuneō in Greek. It could mean “obeisance” or “to fall prostrate” depending on the context. Surely, it is not wrong to proskuneō, that is, bow before a king or dignitary. But in a “religious context” (to which Exod. 20:5 refers) would be idolatry. Thus, when John started to worship (proskuneō) the angel, the angel quickly stopped him saying, “I am a fellow servant . . . worship God” (Rev. 19:10; cf. Acts 10:25-26). But the Son was worshiped (proskuneō)—in a “religious context.” In Hebrews 1:6, for example, the context is in heaven, in the presence of God the Father—it does not get more religious than that!

QUESTION 9: Revelation 5:13 says that “every creature” said to the “One sitting on the throne [God the Father] and to the Lamb [the Son] . . . be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever and ever” (NWT). How can the Lamb be a creature when “every creature” is said to be giving praise to both the Father and the Lamb?

>>Revelation 5:13 and esp. verse 14, show clearly that the Lamb received the *same kind* of worship and praise (“blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever and ever”) as that of the “One sitting on the throne,” the Father. The text speaks of two categories: “every creature” and the Father and the Lamb, thus excluding the Lamb from the category of “every creature.”

In conclusion, the NT teaches unambiguously that Jesus Christ was God, Creator of “all things.” He is the very object of religious worship by His followers and the angels in heaven are commanded by the Father to worship the Son. Religious worship is to God alone. Only because Jesus Christ is fully God is He deserving of divine worship to the utmost. Jesus said to honor the Son as you would honor the Father. “He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father. . . .” (John 5:22-23).

RESPONSE:

1. No passage in the Bible teaches that a “total” apostasy will happen. 1 Tim. 4:1 reads that only “some will fall away,” and 2 Thess. 2:3 does not say that the entire church will fall away, only that there will be an apostasy with no mention as to the extent of the apostasy.

2. Jesus said, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matt. 16:18). That a total apostasy had occurred would indicate that the church was indeed overpowered by evil, a notion that is completely refuted by Christ.

3. The apostle Paul likewise speaks of the perpetuity of the true church: “to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Eph. 3:21). Also consider this: If the entire church (post-apostolic age) fell away in which many false doctrines emerged, what does that say of the apostles who started and oversaw the original churches, and, who personally taught and commissioned many of the leaders of these churches? In fact, we do have many writings of significant “apostolic” church Fathers (viz. disciples of the original apostles, as with Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Hermas, Mathetes, Polycarp, etc.). So, I would ask, which of these (or any other early church Fathers) apostatized? And if not any of them, who then started this supposed total apostasy? Moreover, when exactly, did this so-called total apostasy happen? What is the evidence? For we know that at least by c. A.D. 90 there were Christian churches existing (cf. Rev. chaps. 2-3). LDS scholars certainly disagree as to when this so-called total apostasy happened. Were the apostles so spiritually ineffective in that they could not positively impact their disciples to stay consistent to their teachings? Hardly, Paul was fully confident that his doctrines would be entrusted “to faithful men who would be able to teach others” (2 Tim. 2:2). The fact is, even though some will fall away in the last days starting in the 1st Century (cf. 1 John 2:18-19) neither secular evidence nor a biblical passage indicates a total apostasy. Jesus promised that He will preserve the church (cf. Matt. 16:18) and He will be the “glory in the church . . . to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Eph. 3:21).

1) the word that speaks of God being “one” (in the OT) is אחר, echad (e.g., Deut. 6:4: “The LORD is our God . . . is one [echad]”). The term echad predominately indicates compound or composite unity—not absolute solitary oneness (e.g., Gen. 2:24; 2 Chron. 30:12).

2) The word in the OT language that does strictly signify absolute solitary oneness is yahiyd (cf. Ps. 68:6).

Note: in the OT, this word was never applied to God. If God were an unipersonal deity, as JWs presuppose, surely the OT authors would have used the term yahiyd to say that God is “one,” but they did not, they exclusively used echad, 2) in the OT, plural pronouns, adjectives, and verbs were used of God (e.g., “Us,” “Our,” cf. Gen. 1:26-27; 3:22; 11:7-9; Isa. 6:8; in Isa. 54:5, God is said to be the “Makers” [pl. in Heb. same as Ps. 149:2]; in Eccl. 12:1, the Hebrew literally reads, “Remember also your Creators.”

Only because God is tri-personal He can be described as both “Maker” and “Makers” and as “Creator” and “Creators.” He is one Being, not one Person—a point that is repetitiously brought out by the OT authors. See also passages such as Gen. 19:24; Ps. 45:6-7 (quoted in Heb. 1:8ff.); and Isa. 48:16 where God is clearly presented as multi-personal, not unitarian or unipersonal.

NOTES

[1] The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is the official name of the organization to which the JW’s belong (hereinafter WT).

[2] The Bible of the JWs is the New World Translation (NWT).

[3] A Kingdom Hall is a meeting place for JW’s where the majority of their worship, Bible studies, and religious services are held.

[4] This notion is also shared by the LDS Church (i.e., the Mormons). The JWs use the “total apostasy” assertion to buttress their view that they alone are Jehovah’s true witnesses on the earth who restored many “true” doctrines, which the “apostate” church corrupted. To show this, both JWs and LDS use the same passages, mainly, 1 Tim. 4:1 and 2 Thess. 2:3.

[5] Cf. Matt. 24:4, 11, 24.

[6] There are many false prophecies that the WT had made. For example, the 1925 prophesy: “Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old. . . . (Millions Now Will Never Die, 1920, pp. 89-90); “The year 1925 is a date definitely and clearly marked in the Scriptures, even more clearly than that of 1914 (WT, July 15, 1925, p. 211).

Of course, there was no resurrection of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob proving this prophecy false. You can acquire the citations of many significant false prophecies from www.christiandefense.org/jw.htm including the blatant false prophecies concerning the supposed “end of the world” and return of Christ in 1914.

[7] To deflect the charge of being a false prophet, the JWs use the “new light argument” appealing to Prov. 4:18: “But the path of the righteous ones is like a bright light that is getting lighter and lighter. . . .” However, notice verse 19 (which is ignored by the JWs): “The way of the wicked ones is like the gloom; they have not known at what they keep stumbling” (NWT). In context then, v 18 & 19 are simply contrasting “the path of the righteous” with “the way of the wicked.” Ask JWs who used this line of reasoning: If they think that the “new light” argument would be valid excuse for a self-proclaimed prophet who promulgated false prophecies in the OT in light of Deut. 18:20-22. Even the WT’s own magazine said: “Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a ‘prophet’ of God. It is another thing to prove it. The only way that this can be done is to review the record” (WT, April 1, 1972, p.197).

[8] It is very important that you show only the specific addresses of the citations or photocopies, not anti-JW Christian literature (such as this article). If you do, they will immediately retract from your presence and never want to dialogue with you again.

[9] For example, a JW may ask you, “Did you know that the Trinity was invented in 4th century by the Roman Catholic Church?” In our Jan/Feb 2007 newsletter, we provided some of the main Trinitarian objections made by anti-Trinitarian groups (or view it here: Most utilized Unitarian Objections to the Trinity

[10] “Essential” doctrines are doctrines that are indispensable to true Christian faith, namely, the Trinity and the finished work of Christ (i.e., justification through faith alone). To reject any of these doctrines is to reject the Jesus of biblical revelation since they biblically define His very nature and finished work.

[11] One thing that we must consider first: only God can open a JW’s mind to embrace the Trinity. Normally, when I define the Trinity, I simply state, in three points, that Scripture presents 1) there is one eternal God (but not one Person), 2) that there are three Persons (viz. the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) that are God and are called God (or Yahweh), and 3) (conclusion) that the three divine Persons are distinct from each other. Though, the very foundation of the Trinity is monotheism, one God. Thus, there are three divine Persons that share the nature of the one Being, God. The three Persons are presented biblically as coeternal, coequal, coexistent, and distinct from each other. Moreover, when presenting the Trinity, be sure to have the biblical support to justify your presentation.

[12] Of course, the JWs can say the same to us: “You too make an assumption: ‘one God’ does not mean one Person, but one Being.” However, the concept of “one” is really not what is being argued, for Scripture does teach that there is only one God by nature (e.g., Deut. 4:35). The argument, however, revolves around the “interpretation” of “one God.” First, since the phrase and concept “one God” is not specifically defined as “one Person” (for in both Heb. and Gk. there were words that specifically denoted “person[s]”), then, the burden of proof would certainly fall on the one claiming that the definition in the biblical author’s mind of “one God” means “one Person.” Second, it does not follow that because God is personal, He must be unipersonal (one Person). The fact is that both the OT and NT authors did not envisage God as unitarian/unipersonal. Note the following:

[13] The OT contains abundant examples of the deity of the pre-incarnate Christ (e.g., “the angel of the Lord” references; Gen. 19:24; Isa. 9:6; Micah 5:2; etc). However, since the NT reveals the full revelation of the deity of Christ, we will primarily focus our attention on the NT data.

[14] The JWs assert that only Jehovah can be called “the God.” The WT has published a Greek *Interlinear called, The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (hereafter KIT). It is a fairly accurate Greek text. A Greek interlinear is a Greek text with the literal word-for-word translation of the English equivalent words placed under the Greek words. In the KIT, the NWT is printed on the side margin. The KIT is a way for the JWs, most of whom cannot read Greek, to see the actual Greek rendering by reading the English equivalents. Pertaining to their view of “the God” there is a footnote in reference to John 1:1c (“the Word was a god” NWT) that reads, “‘a god’ in contrast with ‘the God’” (401). See John 1:1 where the NWT is exegetically examined. Moreover, the WT magazine explains that “The title ho theos [“the God”], which now designates the Father as a personal reality, is not applied in the NT to Jesus himself; Jesus is the Son of God (of ho theos). . . .” (1 July 1986, 31). Showing JWs that Jesus is called “the God” could incite them to study further.

[15] Be sure to clarify your position: when you say Jesus is Jehovah, you are not saying that Jesus is the Father as JWs typically assume due to their unitarianism assumption: only the Person of Jehovah (the Father) is God. So, you need to make this point clear: Jesus is God, but He is not the same Person as the Father.

[16] See note 6 above.

[17] Many JWs will explain that Thomas was not addressing Jesus as “God,” rather he was merely expressing excitement as with “Oh my God, it’s You!” This argument is flawed on at least three accounts: 1) the English reads “My Lord and My God,” but the Greek reads, ho ku rios mou kai ho theos mou, lit., “The Lord of Me and the God of Me.” An equivalent phrase is found in Ps. 35:23 (LXX): ho theos mou kai ho kurios mou, lit., “the God of Me and the Lord of Me,” 2) if Jesus was not the true God, He, as a Rabbi, would have rebuked Thomas for addressing Him as God, but Jesus instead blessed him, and 3) grammatically, the text indicates that Thomas “said to Him”—in direct address. This is clear from the rendering: apekrithē Thōmas kai eipen autō, lit., “answered Thomas and said to Him.” In Rev. 4:11, an equivalent phrase is used to directly address God: ho kurios kai ho theos hēmōn, lit., “the Lord and the God of us.”

[18] 2 Pet. 1:11; 2:20; 3:2, and 18 literally read, “the Lord of us and Savior Jesus Christ” (tou kuriou hēmōn kai sōtēpos Iēsou Christou). These passages are of the same grammatical construction as that of 2 Pet. 1:1 (and Titus 2:13) except 2 Pet. 1:1 reads, “the God and Savior” while the others read, “the Lord and Savior.” In 2 Pet. 1:11; 2:20; 3:2, and 18, the JWs have no problem seeing both nouns “Lord” and “Savior” as refering to one person, Jesus. Only at 1:1, do the JWs see “God” and “Savior” as two persons—even though grammatically 2 Pet. 1:11; 2:20; 3:2; and 3:18 are of the same as that of 2 Pet. 1:1 (article-noun-“and”-noun = the first named person).

[19] As seen before, the JWs assert that only Jehovah can be called “the God.” We also noted that the JWs could see for themselves the “original rendering” of passages such as John 20:28; Titus 2:23; and 2 Pet. 1:1 in which Jesus is called ho theos (“the God”) in their own Greek Interlinear (KIT).

[20] As indicated, monotheism is the belief in one God, not necessarily “one Person.” Anti-Trinitarians such as JWs argue that one God means one Person, thus assuming what is meant to be proved.

[21] JWs believe that Jesus, before Bethlehem, was Michael the created archangel, the first of Jehovah’s works.

[22] The NWT reads: “by means of all [other] things . . . All [other] things have been created . . . he is before all [other] things . . . all [other] things were made. . . (NWT; brackets theirs). They argue that adding “other” helps the context. However, adding the “other” changes the context. He either created “all” or “some” things. Besides that, Paul’s argument is against the Gnostics who rejected that the Son created all things (see note 5 below).

[23] Note the *literal* rendering of verses 16-17: “By Him were created the all things [ta panta] . . . the all things [ta panta] through Him [di’ autou] and for Him have been created. And He is before all things [autos estin pro pantōn] and the all things [ta panta] in Him hold together.” Remember, Colossians was written specifically to refute the Gnostics who taught that “matter” (viz. all material things) was inherently evil (or as some believed, was illusory). Thus, to say that Jesus did not create “all things” and that the “fullness of Deity” was dwelling in the Son in human flesh (cf. Col. 2:9), would have made Paul’s argument completely vacuous. Paul specifically says that “all things” were created “through” the Son. The preposition dia (“through”) followed by the genitive pronoun autou (“Him”) indicates that Jesus was not merely an instrument, but rather the Creator Himself (see dia +genitive at John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; and Heb. 1:2). There is no stronger way in Greek in which Paul could have communicated that Jesus was the actual Agent of creation. Hence, the NWT’s insertion of “other” cannot stand grammatically; it changes the intended meaning of the text and ignores the chief theme of the letter.

[24] We also find dia (the “a” drops off when followed by a vowel, thus, di’ autou) followed by the genitive at 1 Cor. 8:6 and Heb. 1:2, which further substantiates that the Son was the Creator.

[25] Verse 8 reads, “But with reference to the Son” NWT).

[26] When dialoguing with JWs, I use the badly mistransliterated English term “Jehovah” instead of “Yahweh” (“LORD”). The JWs only recognize “Jehovah” as the “true” name of God.

[27] Also cf. Isa. 6:1-10 with John 12:41; Ps. 102:25-27 with Heb. 1:10-12; Isa. 45:23 with Phil. 2:10-11; Isa. 8:12-13 with 1 Pet. 3:14, 15; Joel 2:32 with Rom. 10:13. .

[28] When Scripture says that the “Son” is the Creator, it does not mean that the Father and Holy Spirit are excluded from being the actual Creator. For Scripture presents that all three Persons of the Godhead are Creator. The three Persons share the nature of the one Being. Thus, as God it can be said that the Father is the Creator (cf. Acts 17:24), the Son is the Creator (as seen), and the Holy Spirit is the Creator (cf. Job 33:4). For God is one indivisible, inseparable, and unquantifiable Being. So, passages like Isa. 44:24, which says that God created by Himself and alone are perfectly consistent with Trinitarian theology.

[29] Aside from John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 8-10, there are many passages that present the preexistence of the Son (e.g., John 1:1; John 3:13; 6:38, 62; 8:23, 38, 42; 16:28; 1 Cor. 8:6; Heb. 1:2).

[30] Obeisance basically means, to bow, as one would to a king—thus, not the same as “worship.”

[31] From the NWT’s first edition (1950) to the 1970 edition, “worship” was applied to Christ. Further, early WT doctrine taught that Christ was to be worshiped. For example, WT’s founder Charles Taze Russell promoted the worship of Jesus when he said:

He was the object of unreproved worship even when a babe, by the wise men who came to see the new-born King. Matt. 2:2-11. Even the angels delighted to do Him honor. “When He bringeth the first-begotten into the world, He saith, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.” Heb. 1:6. He never reproved any one for acts of worship offered to Himself. . . (Watch Tower, 15 May, 1892, 157).

He also wrote that Jesus was not Michael the Archangel:

Hence it is said, “Let all the angels of God worship him”: (that must include Michael, the chief angel, hence Michael is not the Son of God). . . .” (Watch Tower, Nov. 1879, 4).

NOTE: many of the Trinitarian objections made by the JWs are typical of virtually every anti-Trinitarian group. This section does however focus on the Watchtower’s booklet Should you Believe in the Trinity. For more exegetical responses to other anti-Trinitarian objections and assertions see: Oneness Objections to the Doctrine of the Trinity.

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (i.e., the corporate name of the Jehovah’s Witnesses; hereafter JWs) prints enormous amounts of books, pamphlets, and literature teaching their members that the doctrine of the Trinity is a false doctrine. The JWs are taught that the Trinity doctrine originated from the Devil, and promulgated by the Catholic Church. To be sure, JWs have a gross misunderstanding of the doctrine, hence, since the early twentieth century the Watchtower has consistently taught that the Trinity is a false:

How strange that any should attempt to misuse and pervert these our Lord’s words, to make them support the unreasonable and unscriptural doctrine of a Trinity–three Gods in one person (Studies in the Scriptures, 5:76).

Never was there a more deceptive doctrine advance than that to of the Trinity. It could have originated only in one mind, and that the mind of Satan the Devil (Reconciliation, 101).

Most JWs carry around with them their most popular handout booklet (and study guide) called: Should you Believe in the Trinity (hereafter SYBT). If you have ever discussed the Trinity with them, you probably have been given this booklet. The booklet provides the bulk of most arguments that they use against the “deceived Trinitarians” thus many dedicated JWs memorize the arguments stated in the SYBT.

Thirty-one pages of arguments against the “dreaded” doctrine of the Trinity. Chalk-full of misquotes and selective citations from various Encyclopedias, Dictionaries and biblical scholars. Additionally, the SYBT contains a mega-dose of blatant misrepresentations of early church Fathers, historic revisionism and doctrinal deviations. But yet to the JWs, the SYBT booklet is their gun-of-choice study guide to annihilate the “evil” Trinitarians. You might ask, why would they take this booklet seriously when it contains so much disinformation? The reason being: JWs do not practice independent research outside the libraries of their Kingdom Halls (the place where the JWs assemble). At the end of the SYBT booklet, it concludes by saying:

There can be no compromise with God’s truths. Hence, to worship God on his terms means to reject the Trinity doctrine. It contradicts what the prophets, Jesus the apostles, and the early Christians believed and taught. It contradicts what God says about himself in his own inspired Word (31; under the title “Reject the Trinity”).

JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES: OBJECTIONS TO THE TRINITY

(Based on the Watchtower publication: SYBT
and other standard arguments used by JWs)

OBJECTION #1: THE WORD TRINITY

The SYBT says that the word, “Trinity” is not in the Bible.”

RESPONSE: As mentioned above In point of fact, virtually all anti-Trinitarian groups make this same objection.

To assume: what is not stated must not be true is an argument from silence. Further, to say that the doctrine of the Trinity is not true because the exact word “Trinity” is absent from the Bible is self-refuting. For if that kind of reasoning were true, it would then follow, that Watchtower doctrine could not be true, for in the original Hebrew and Greek text Watchtower terms like, “theocracy,” (which they claim their under), “Jehovah,” (Note: “Jehovah” is an Eng. transliteration. Orig. Heb. had no vowels only consonants. Thus, the English term “Jehovah” is not contained in Scripture either. It also does not follow that because a particular word is not contained in Scripture that we cannot use that word to communicate a truth of God.

What is not at all considered is that even terms like, “Bible,” (a Lat. term) or “self-existent,” are not mentioned in Scripture and both are biblical truths, which all JWs agree upon. If we were only limited to strict biblical words, then, we would have to, when teaching out of the New Testament, use only Koine Greek words that the NT authors utilized! Employing unbiblical words does not violate the rules of sola-Scriptura, which says Scripture alone is the sole infallible “rule of faith” for the church, as long as the unbiblical words are wholly consistent with Scripture. Holding firm to Scripture, the early church would use unbiblical words to explain and define the biblical data revealed within the pages of the Holy Writ.

In other words, “Trinity” is merely a precise doctrinal word that defines the biblical revelation that is so overwhelmingly found in Scripture: God the Father sent God the Son; the Eternal Word, in which He became flesh (cf. John 1:1; 6:37-40; 17:5). After which God the Son died in the place of the believer whereby His death provides full atonement for the sins of His people (cf. Matt. 1:21; Rom. 8:32), and God the Father and God the Son sent the God the Holy Spirit to empower the church, and dwell with believers: “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me” (John 15:26).

Again, this point must be understood: We cannot confuse biblical data with doctrinal words that merely define that data. The doctrine of the “Trinity” was derived from the Scriptural data. Biblical scholar Benjamin B. Warfield explains the difference:

Precisely what the New Testament is, is the documentation of the religion of the incarnate Son and the outpoured Spirit, that is to say, of the religion of the Trinity, and what we mean by the doctrine of the Trinity is nothing but the formulation in exact language of the conception of God presupposed in the religion of the incarnate Son and out poured Spirit. (Benjamin B. Warfield, Biblical Doctrines (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1929, 146.)

Thus the Tri-Unity of God is based on biblical data. The formulation of doctrinal words, however, came later when Christians, developed the precise term “Trinity” that simply defined the biblical data, because of the heresies that denied the biblical data in some way or other. As with the doctrinal terms like “Substitutionary Atonement,” “Incarnation” or even the term “Gospel.” All these terms came later after the apostolic age, which the church used to define the revelation or data that is clearly contained in Scripture.

Moreover, salvation is completely dependent on the Tri-Unity of God (i.e., soteriological Trinity). Example: The Covenant of Redemption, that is, all that the Father gives to Christ will come and He will raise them up at the last day (cf. John. 6:37ff). That Jesus is the Mediator between God (the Father) and man (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5) can only be true if Jesus is God and is a distinct Person from the one He is mediating for. Again, this point must be understood: we cannot confuse the Scriptural data of the Trinity with the doctrinal word, “Trinity” that defines the biblical data.

OBJECTION #2: PAGAN ORIGINS

The book also asserts, as do most anti-Trinitarians, that the doctrine of the Trinity is derived from pagan sources.

RESPONSE: This is a fallacy of false cause (misrepresents the cause). The Trinity is an utterly unique Christian doctrine. Pagans worshipped and believed in many gods (as with the Mormons) hence, the references in SYBT to the so-called parallelisms of the pagans were to THREE separate gods NOT one God in existing in three distinct Persons.

OBJECTION # 3: CHURCH FATHERS

The SYBT booklet asserts that the early (Anti-Nicene; before the Council of Nicene; A.D. 325) church Fathers did NOT believe in the doctrine of the Trinity. The JWs booklet quotes from the Anti-Nicene church Fathers: Justin Martyr (c. A.D. 160); Irenaeus (c. A.D. 180); Clement of Alexandria (c. A.D. 195); Hippolytus (c. A.D. 205); Tertullian (c. A.D. 213); and Origen (c. A.D. 225). However when we refer to actual statements contained in many works (e.g., The Anti-Nicene Fathers, found at most city libraries and seminaries) clear is the fact: the SYBT booklet grossly misquotes or misrepresents what they said and believe. Not surprising is that the SYBT does not provide the addresses of the citations; for obvious reasons.

RESPONSE: This an argument from ignorance. They all, unequivocally, believed in the full Deity of Christ (the quotes below are from the Ante-Nicene Fathers [hereafter ANF], (ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson; 1885-1887; reprint, 10 vols. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994).

Ignatius bishop of Antioch (c. A.D. 105). The SYBT does not quote him, however, Ignatius was an early church Father that was a disciple of the Apostle John.

God Himself was manifested in human form for the renewal of eternal life (1:58).

Continue in intimate union with Jesus Christ, our God (1:68).

I pray for your happiness forever in our God, Jesus Christ (1:96).

Justin Martyr (A.D. 150). The SYBT booklet says that Justin called Jesus “a created angel” (p. 7). Justin did call Christ an angel, however only in the sense that He came as a messenger, to the people of the Old Testament (e.g., the angel of the LORD who spoke to Moses and claimed to be the “I AM”; cf. Exod. 3:14ff; see ANF, 1. 223). The English word “angel” has the denotative meaning, in both Hebrew and Greek, as simply “messenger.” Jesus certainly was active in the Old Testament as a “messenger,” and that is what Justin meant. John 1:18 says: “No man has ever seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” Jesus in the Old Testament interacted with the people of God (e.g., angel of the LORD; the Rock that accompanied the Israelites, see 1 Cor. 10:4).

Never once did Justin say or infer that Christ was created only the converse is asserted: Jesus Christ was the Eternal God. But again the quotes in the SYBT booklet are without addresses. Let us read what Justin really said:

He deserves to be worshipped as God and as Christ (1:229).

For Christ is King, Priest, God, Lord, Angel and man (1:221).

The Father of the universe has a Son. And He, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God (1:184).

David predicted that He would be born from the womb before the sun and moon, according to the Father’s will, He made Him known, being Christ, as God, strong and to be worshipped (1:237).

Next, the SYBT cites Irenaeus bishop of Lyons (c. A.D. 185), as saying that Jesus was inferior and not equal with the Father. However Irenaeus clearly believed and defined the full Deity of Christ:

I have shown from the Scriptures that none of the sons of Adam are, absolutely and as to everything, called God, or named Lord, But Jesus is Himself in His own right, beyond all men who ever lived, God, Lord, King Eternal, and the Incarnate Word… (1:449). 

Thus He indicates in clear terms that He is God, and that His advent was in Bethlehem… God, then, was made man, and the Lord Himself save us (1:451).

He is God for the name Emmanuel indicates this (1:452).

Christ Himself, therefore, together with the Father, is the God of the living, who spoke to Moses, and who was also manifested to the fathers (1:467).

He was man, and He was God. This was so that since as man He suffered for us, so as God He might have compassion on us (1:545).

Clement of Alexandria (c. A.D. 195) who is cited as saying that Jesus, was not equal to the Father. But read what he actually said:

He is God in the form of man. . . the Word who is God, who is in the Father, who is at the Father’s right hand. And with the form of God, He is God (2:210).

The Word itself, that is, the Son of God, is one wit the Father by equality of substance. He is eternal and uncreated (2:574).

Hippolytus (c. A.D. 203) is cited as believing that prehuman Jesus was created. But notice what this great Christian apologist really stood for and believed:

Having been made man, He is still God for ever. For to this effect, John also had said, ‘Who is and who was, and who is to come–the Almighty.’ And he has appropriately called Christ the ‘Almighty’ (5:225)

They killed the Son of their Benefactor, for He is co-eternal with the Father (5:220)

For, as the Only-Begotten Word of God, being God of God, He emptied Himself, according to the Scriptures… (5:167)

The Logos alone of this One is from God Himself. For that reason also, He is God. Being of the substance of God. In contrast, the world was made from nothing. Therefore, it is not God (5:151).

Therefore, a man . . . is compelled to acknowledge God the Father Almighty, and Christ Jesus the Son of God–who, being God, became man, to whom also the Father made all things subject (Himself excepted)–and the Holy Spirit; and that these are three [Persons] (5:226).

“Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” By this, He showed that whoever omits any one of these three, fails in glorifying God perfectly. For it is through this Trinity that the Father is glorified. For the Father willed, the Son did, and the Spirit manifested (5:228).

Tertullian Carthage (c. A.D. 213) is cited next as saying, “there was a time that the Son was not” ( 7). However, what Tertullian meant (in his argument against the Modalism of Praxeas) was that he believed the Word was the Eternal God but yet distinct in His Person from God the Father, and that the Word took on the title “Son” which was a common belief among many church Fathers (esp. the apologists). That Tertullian said that Jesus was created or came to be (in terms of His existence as a Person) is completely and diabolically distorting what Tertullian meant. In fact, it was Tertullian that first coined the word “Trinity” (Lat. trinitas, the cognate of Gk. triados) in the West. Odd that the SYBT booklet would even cite this church Father. Tertullian taught:

For the very church itself–properly and principally–the Spirit Himself, in whom is the Trinity [trinitas], of the One Divinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (4:99; emphasis added; cf. Against Praxeas).

This opens the ears of Christ our God (3:715; cf. ibid.).

Surely I might venture to claim the very Word also as being of the Creator’s [Father] substance (3:356; cf. ibid.).

Now, if He too is God, for according to John, ‘The Word was God,’ then you have two Beings– One who commands that the thing to be made, and the other who creates. In what sense, however, you ought to understand Him to be another. I have already explained: on the ground of personality, not of substance. And in the way of distinction, not of division. I must everywhere hold only one substance, in three coherent and inseparable [persons] (3. 607; cf. ibid.).

It should be noted as well that in the East, as early as A.D. 180, church apologist Theophilus bishop of Antioch first uses the term “Trinity” to describe God: “In like manner also the three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the Trinity [triados] of God, and His Word, and His wisdom” (Theophilus To Autolycus 2.15, in ANF, vol. 3).

Origen (c. A.D. 228) was also cited by SYBT as denying that Jesus was God. However, Origen contradicts these Watchtower assertions: The Word that was in the beginning with God (who is also very God) may come to us (4:449). Also, 

The Son is not different from the Father in substance (9:336).

Saving baptism was not complete except by the authority of the most excellent Trinity of them all. That is, it is made complete by naming the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In this, we join the name of the Holy Spirit to the Unbegotten God (the Father) and to His Only-Begotten Son (4:252).

The above is a mere set of examples of the massive collection of the libraries of quotations and apologetic works of church Fathers teaching and defending the deity of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity are massive. To the church Fathers, teaching, and defending the Deity of Christ and the Trinity was extremely important to them. Many of them spilled their own blood defending these doctrines. Why? Because in Trinity is how God revealed Himself to man: FATHER, SON, and HOLY SPIRIT.

The SYBT ends this page entitled: “What the Ante-Nicene Fathers Taught” by this: “Thus, the testimony of the Bible and of history makes clear that the Trinity was unknown throughout Biblical times and for several centuries thereafter” (p. 7).

Unknown?

OBJECTION #4: THE TRINITY DOCTRINE DID NOT EMERGE
UNTIL FOURTH CENTURY:

RESPONSE: To be sure, this is an argument from ignorance. First of all, it is completely misleading to say that the doctrine of the Trinity did not emerge until the fourth century. As seen above, in the East, as early as A.D. 180, church apologist Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, first uses the term “Trinity” to describe God:

In like manner also the three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the Trinity [triados] of God, and His Word, and His wisdom (Theophilus, To Autolycus, 2.15).

And, noted above, in the West, around A.D. 213, the brilliant church theologian and polemicist, Tertullian of Carthage, uses the term “Trinity”: “As if in this way also one were not All, in that All are of One, by unity (that is) of substance; while the mystery of the dispensation is still guarded, which distributes the Unity into a Trinity [trinitas] placing in their order the three Persons. . . .” (Tertullian, Against Praxeas, 2, in ANF, vol. 3).

Again, it is true the exact English word “Trinity” is not in the Bible. But, as we have seen, this is a meaningless objection since there are many words that are justifiably used to communicate the truth of God, not specifically utilized in the Hebrew or Greek text (e.g., “incarnation,” “self-existent,” “omnipresence”; etc.). The point being that the Christian church has used many extra-biblical terminology words to convey divine revelation. Sola Scriptura is not simply adhering to the words of Scripture, but it is also being faithful to the teaching of Scripture. Regrettably, far too many people are deceived into thinking that the latter must be rejected if it does not incorporate verbatim the language of the former.

Descriptive theological words do not necessarily have to be the exact words form the original languages to communicate a biblical truth. The reason that the Protestant church rejected (and rejects) the dogmas of Roman Catholicism is that Rome holds to the position that the Word of God is contained in both “tradition and Scripture.” Hence, Catholic doctrines like Purgatory, praying for the dead, the Immaculate Conception of Mary, ex cathedra, (i.e., the infallibility of the Pope), etc., are not doctrines derived from Scripture (the written Word), but rather church tradition.10 For these teachings are foreign to Scripture. Thus, the Protestant church repudiates that claim whereby holding to Scripture alone11 as the sole infallible rule of faith for the church—Scripture is sufficient. “Do not,” Paul says, “go beyond what is written” (1 Cor. 4:6 NIV).

We are dealing, therefore, with the biblical data for the Trinity. Again, the precise terms to which define the data (viz. formularized doctrine) came later. So the assertion that the Trinity did not emerge until the fourth century confuses the doctrinal word “Trinity” with the biblical data of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which, as we will enjoy shortly, the early church envisaged. They did not see God as a single undifferentiated Being, but the God who revealed Himself as tri-personal.

OBJECTION #5: THE CHURCH FELL INTO TOTAL APOSTASY

JWs assert that the Early Christian church fell into Complete Apostasy after the death of the Apostles.

RESPONSE: This is an argument from ignorance. When did so-called apostasy happen? What year? In point of fact, there is not a shred of anything that would indicate or even infer that the entire Christian church fell into apostasy. The verses that they use say that only “some” will fall away or that “many” will abandon the faith but never once does Scripture say that ALL will apostatize. To assert this notion is an “easy-out” for JWs that say that: The original Christian Church did not teach Jesus was God. Both Mormons and JWs maintain this idea of a total apostasy only to avoid the truth that the early Christians taught what Christians believe today: THERE EXIST ONE TRUE GOD and JESUS IS THE ETERNAL GOD DISTINCT FROM HIS FATHER.

If the early Christian church apostatized, why do we read in Revelation 2:1ff. that the Ephesus church was commended by God for not tolerating wicked men and testing those who claimed to be apostles but were false. And we read of six other functioning Christian churches. The point is this: the Apostle John wrote Revelation, in or around A.D. 70-90!– no more than forty or sixty years after the resurrection Christ!

So, did the entire Christian church fall after that? How could this happen? What does that say about the condition of the early Christians? Where they so spiritually bankrupt that they suddenly fell to paganism? Or suddenly just quit believing? What does that say about God? Could He not hold His own church together? Where is the evidence for this?

That the whole Christian church is even able to fall-away is notion that is sharply refuted by the apostles and Jesus Christ Himself:

Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. . . . And Jesus answered and said unto him. . . . “That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:16-18; KJV).

“All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20; emphasis added).

Jesus promised that He would never leave His church, nor would the gates of hell come against her. Likewise, the apostle Paul explains: “To him [Jesus] be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen (Eph. 3:21). In contrast to the assertions made by the JWs, that His teachings were somehow lost, Jesus made a clear promise that His teachings would indeed last: “You did not choose me, but I choose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last” (John 15:16; emphasis added). As seen above, the church Fathers from Ignatius, to the great defender of the Trinity, Athanasius, and after, believed and taught that: Jesus Christ was the eternal God Creator of all things.

Think about it, if there were no true Christians until the JWs emerged (1870), then, would it not follow that we would find distinctive Watchtower theology somewhere in church history? We have records of virtually every teaching that was prorogated from the first century. Where in church history though were the teachings of the JWs? And of course the Mormons (who make the same church fell in total apostasy claim) have the same problem: where was distinctive LDS doctrine before Joseph Smith (1830)?

Historically, we do have records of virtually every promulgated theology. However we do not have ANY historical record of distinctive Watchtower theology. Hence, are we to believe that for over 1800 years Jehovah did not have a witness until Charles Taze Russell (JW’s founder) came on the scene? The only teaching that even resembles Watchtower theology (esp. Jesus as a created being) was Arianism.1 Accordingly, the Christian church roundly and sharply condemned Arianism because it denied Jesus Christ as eternal God, as the JWs teach.

OBJECTION #6: THE TRINITY IS THREE GODS

Most JWs grossly misrepresent the doctrine of the Trinity by asserting that the Trinity is three separate Gods.

RESPONSE: Again, this a typical straw man argument. The doctrine of the Trinity is not three Gods. The doctrine of three Gods is tritheism, not Trinitarianism. Three Gods is how Mormons view the Godhead. The foundation of the Trinity is pure ontological monotheism: ONE GOD. One Being revealed in three distinct Persons, coexistent, coequal, and coeternal.

OBJECTION #7: THE TRINITY IS ILLOGICAL

The SYBT says that the Trinity is, “Beyond the grasp of human reason” (4). And that God is, “Not a God of confusion” (ibid.). From that line of thought, JWs will argue that Trinity cannot be true, it too confusing.

RESPONSE: For something to be illogical, it would have to contradict reason. The doctrine of the Trinity does not contradict reason. The Trinity is not 1 person in 3 persons or 1 God in 3 Gods. It does not follow that because something is not completely explicable that it cannot exist or cannot be true. For example, many of the formulations in physical science, not contrary to reason, and may be apprehended (though it may not be comprehended) by the human mind.2 Does anyone completely understand how light travels? Does it travel as a wave, corpuscular or quantum phenomenon? Yet, we believe in the reality of light, even though we cannot totally comprehend it.

The Trinity may not be totally comprehendible, but we can surely apprehend how God has revealed Himself to us through Scripture: There is ONE TRUE GOD; the Father is God the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God. And the three are clearly differentiated. One God revealed in three distinct Persons. We cannot simply put God in easy-to-understand categories to gratify our feeble minds. We are called to worship God how He revealed Himself to us in His Word, anything less, is not worshipping, or honoring the true God.

The JWs reject the Trinity and hence they reject God. God is tri-personal He is not a unipersonal God as taught by the JWs. They are without excuse:

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.” (Isa. 40:28).

 

Notes

1, Early in the fourth century, Arius of Alexandria, postulated his teaching that Jesus was a different substance (heteroousios) than that of the Father. He used some of the same argumentation that the JWs use today. And of course, Arianism was completely refuted as heresy at the Council of Nicea (A.D. 325).

2, Example taken from: Robert M. Bowman, Jr., Why You Should Believe in the Trinity, An Answer to Jehovah’s Witnesses (Baker House Books, Grand Rapids Michigan), 17.

Read Acts 20:17-28:

Did they listen? Yes: see Revelation 2:1-3

*If we do not SPEAK OUT Against FALSE teachings, the FALSE TEACHINGS will be construed as TRUTH

1 Timothy 4:1:

But the Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrine taught by demons….

10 Marks of a Non-Christian Cult And False Teacher

NON-CHRISTIAN “CULT”: A group of people gathered around someone’s (typically one man) interpretation of the Bible and they always claim that they are Christian (as with Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Oneness Pentecostals, Christadelphians, etc.) and yet deny one or more essential doctrines of Christian (i.e., denying either the Trinity, deity of Christ, justification though faith alone, and/or the *physical* resurrection of Christ Jesus).

Christianity Defined: John 17:3; 8:24; 1 John 2:22-23; Gal. 1:6-8

Thus, Christianity is defined by the Person, Nature, and Finished Work of Christ

Essential theology vs. Peripheral theology

Essential theology: Gospel. See Paul’s definition of Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4: the Person of Christ (God-man), His real death (i.e., His cross-work including His substitutionary atonement—God’s work in justification), and His *physical* resurrection—that is Paul definition of the Gospel.

· Deity of Christ (John 1:1; 20:28; Phil. 2:6; Col. 2:9 (Creator); Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:3, 8-10)

· Incarnation (2 Tim. 2:8; Rom. 1:2-3; cannot deny it: 1 John 4:1ff.)

· Death (what did His sacrifice achieve? Atonement, Justification )—Rom. 5:8-10)

· Physical RESURRECTION (see John 2:19ff.).

· Finished Work (real Death, Atonement—Justification Mark 10:45; John 6:37-40, 44; 19:28, 30;; Rom. 4:4-8; 5:1, 8-11; 8:1, 29-32; Gal. 1:6-8).

Cannot deny these essential doctrines

==================================================================

Membership of CULTS OVER 80% OUT OF Christian churches

10 Marks: Not necessarily in chronological order

MARK 1: One person’s interpretation of the Bible, in which a “new revelation” contradicting Scripture is always postulated.

LDS: Joseph Smith,: Many Gods, a polygamous God with body parts,

  • The notion that that folks with “dark skin” were cursed
  • Reinstating the Levitical Priesthood
  • And many other so-called “NEW REVELATIONS.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Claim to be a prophet:

AS PROPHETS FROM God THEY TELL US AS TO WHAT God really said:

Who will be Jehovah’s prophet? Who will be the modern day Jeremiah? The plain facts show God has been pleased to use Jehovah’s Witnesses (WT, 15 Jan. 1959, 40-41).

God has on earth a people, all whom are prophets, or witnesses for God. . . . Jehovah’s Witnesses (Awake, 8 June 1986, 9).

Thus, JWs made these by so-called “DIRECT REVELATION” from Jehovah Himself:

  • The Trinity is a False Pagan doctrine
  • Jesus was NOT God
  • Jesus did not physically resurrect from the dead
  • Justification by faith and works, and only for the 144.000 in heaven

Many WORD OF FAITH preachers assert a NEW REVELATION

Such as Jesse Duplantis’ so-called trip to heave wherein he states in his book: “Close Encounters of the God Kind” that

  • Jesus had light brown hair, 89.
  • Johan was being affected by sin in heaven, 107.
  • God the Father can be seen, 113.
  • God is a big Man with big hand and feet, 114-115 (see the Mormon scriptures, Doctrine and Convents section 130:22, where Smith states the same: ““The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s.”
  • Angel thrown against a wall, 115.
  • Preexistence of souls, 119.
  • The Holy Spirit is not omnipresent (everywhere), 118-119.
  • Adam seeing God the Father in contrast to John 1:18; 2 Tim. 6:67), 13.
  • Popcorn filed the car, 25

MARK 2. Visitation from God or an ANGEL(S) ALWAYS Providing a NEW revelation:

Joseph Smith:

His so-called First vision in 1820. However there are more than six so-called versions of the *first vision.* But the LDS’ accepted one is from 1838:

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt. . . . (Pearl of Great Price, Smith 2:19).

What was the NEW REVELATION THAT THE ANGEL BROUGHT: The ENTIRE CHURCH had FALLEN into a state of TOTAL apostasy AND God chose Joseph Smith Jr. to restore it.

JWs: NWT: angels directed the translators

Islam: It was the angel Gabriel that brought the Koran to Mohammad:

Literally HUNDREDS OF BOOKS ON ANGELS

Galatians 1:6ff (Judaizers) READ: 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-15

MARK 3. They Deny ONE OR MORE ESSENTIAL DOCTRINES of historic biblical Christianity—

Jesus Christ was eternal God in the flesh; TRINITY; Justification through FAITH ALONE; etc.

FOR EXAMPLE:

(a) The doctrine of the Trinity IS misrepresented, normally as either THREE GODS or MODALISM—esp. by the JWs); at times EVEN BY CHRISTIANS

The JWs:

Never was there a more deceptive doctrine advance than that to of the Trinity. It could have originated only in one mind, and that the mind of Satan the Devil (Reconciliation, 101).

LDS: Define the Godhead as THREE separate gods in purpose: (Meeting in the Grove, east of the Temple, June 16, 1844):

I will preach on the plurality of Gods. I have selected this text for that express purpose. I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. It has been preached by the Elders for fifteen years (1829?).

I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods. If this is in accordance with the New Testament, lo and behold! we have three Gods anyhow, and they are plural: and who can contradict it! (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 370).

Oneness theology: FLAT OUT DENY THE TRINITY: asserting that the Trinity teaches 3 gods: Thus positing a UNIPERSONAL God

ALL NON-CHRISTIAN CULTS Redefined the Person of Jesus Christ and the term “SON OF GOD”:

  • LDS>> PHYSICAL SON
  • JW >>> MICHAEL THE ARCH- ANGEL “LESS THEN”
  • ONENESS: >>>> A Unipersonal DEITY

ALSO THEY misrepresent the biblical doctrine of Justification:

Roman Catholicism: Council of Trent’s Degree on Justification, Canon X1:

If anyone says that people are justified; either by the sole imputation of the righteousness (justitia) of Christ or by the sole remission of sins… or even the grace by which we are justified is only the favour of God, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA

LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie; Mormon Doctrine

Indeed, one of the greatest religious contentions among the sects of Christendom is whether men are justified by faith alone, without works, as some erroneously suppose.… (408).

one of the untrue doctrines found in modern Christendom is the concept that man can gain salvation (meaning in the kingdom of God) by grace alone without obedience (Mormon Doctrine, 671).

JWs Watchtower Mag:

To get one’s name written in the Book of Life will depend upon one’s works (4-1-1947, 204).

AND AS WITH the LDS, groups such as the Church of Christ, Roman Catholic Church and the UPCI teach BAPTISM = SALVATION. Thus, they all teach that BAPTISMAL REGENERATION (i.e., works + faith = salvation).

Further, *Many deny the physical resurrection (JWs, Christian Science)

For JOHN, The physical resurrection was a TEST OF ORTHODOXY (1 John 4:1-3; 2 John 7).

*Many Deny the Incarnation of Jesus Christ (John 1:14): Oneness, JWs (that God became flesh).

ALL cults and world religions reject

MARK 4. They, after denying one or more essential doctrine, always CLAIM that they are “Christian.”

LDS, JWs, Oneness, Christian Science, Christadelphians, etc

MARK 5: Exclusivism—the only true church

(EXPLAIN THIS MARK)

LDS, Brigham Young:

“No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith.

From the day that the Priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding up scene of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, 289).

LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie:

“There is no salvation outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Mormon Doctrine, 670).

Roman Catholicism: Extra Ecclesia, nullus salus

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215

There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.”

Pope Boniface VIII, In 1302, in his Papal Bull (Unam Sanctam) stated:

“We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

MARK 6: Faulty Hermeneutics

Every Christian should have a solid understanding that their interpretation is correct before applying it:

2 Peter 3:16

In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul exhorts Timothy to

Be diligent to present yourself approve to God as a workmen who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the Word of truth.

“accurately handling”: orqotomew which means “cutting straight

In Greek literature, the term was used to describe the task of a guide, whose goal was to cut a straight path

ALL cults ignore of RULES OF BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION:

SUCH AS

Grammatico-syntactical considerations. We must study the grammar and syntactical structure (i.e., word arrangement; structure of passages) meaning of words (lexical detail) the in its original significance:

EXAMPLE: The NWT of John 1:1 reads:

In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.

)En a)rx$= h=(n o( lo/goj, kai\ o( lo/goj h=(n pro\j to\n qeo/n, kai\ qeo\j h=(n o( lo/goj.

By ignoring the grammar in the original, they render (qeo\j (theos, God) as indefinite. However, only by not considering the grammar, syntax and, of course, context can an Indefinitized theos interpretation work.

1. qeo\j cannot be indefinite (one God if many) for that would go against John’s own monotheistic theology.

2. theos is, grammatically, an anarthrous predicate nominative (pre-Verbal). An anarthrous nominative PREDICATE tells us something about the subject, logoj. Thus, semantically theos is QUALITATIVE—not indefinite.

  • It speaks of the QUALITY of the subject, not identity.
  • NOT “WHO,” BUT “WHAT”
  • A PREDICATE NOMINATIVE describes the class or category to which the SUBJECT belongs. Hence as to the Logos’s QUALITY as God
  • QUALITATIVE AS IN John 1:14; 4:24

3. Syntactically, theos (God) is in the *EMPHATIC POSITION* (FIRST IN THE CLAUSE) (making an indefinite rendering even more improbable).

WORD of FAITH: (esp. Copeland, Myers) USE Luke 23:43 To support the doctrine that Jesus had to go to hell to atone:

Luke 23:43 “And He said to him, Truly, truly I say unto you, Today you will be with Me in paradise”

Also, non-Christian cults ignore

>> Historico-cultural considerations. The understanding of the historical setting in which particular books were written.

ALL Epistles were written to un-deceive Christians.

1st and 2nd John and Col. Galatians and Romans refuted the teachings of the Judaizers; etc.

JWs DENY that Jesus was the Agent of CREATION because of Col. 1:15: (“firstborn, beginning of creation)—but Paul here is refuting the Gnostic doctrines.

1:15 He is the image [ei)kw\n] of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

1:16-17 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.[1]

1:20: and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. 1:22: yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach. . . .

2:9 In Him ALL the FULLNESS [plh/rwma] of deity [qeo/thtoj] dwells [katoikei=] in human flesh [swmatikw=j].[2]

They IGNORE Contextual considerations. Recognizing the context. Context always determines the meaning of the passage as well as the meaning of the words (e.g., firstborn; Justified; Kurios; theos; etc.).

THEY IGNORE THE Basic Principals of Hermeneutics

#1, The Bible as Literature. The Bible is to be studied literally. We must know the type of style that is being utilized in certain passages: E.g., Hyperbole (an overstatement for emphasis, Luke 14:26), Puns, Proverbs, Parables,

· Allegories, Phenomenological language (describing God’s activity in an observational fashion, Ps. 19:4),

· Anthropomorphisms (ascribing human characteristics to God to understand his activities), and Zoomorphisms (ascribing animal characteristics, Ps. 91:4). ADV: LDS above

#2. Analogy of Faith. The difficult passages must be interpreted by the clear passages. No contradictions

#3. The Priority of the Didactic (teaching). All historical narratives are to be interpreted by the didactic portions of Scripture. [Example the book of ACTS].

#4. The Priority of the Explicit. The implicit should be interpreted by the explicit (John 3:5).

And FINALLY, #5. Lexical Detail. The original meaning of words in its original significance must be observed (i.e., Heb, Aram. and Gk.).

FOR EXAMPLE, JWs: “Firstborn” (prwto/tokoj) = FIRST ONE CREATED

In Genesis 41:51 Manasseh is called “firstborn” and Ephraim is called “second.” But in Jeremiah 31:9 Ephraim is called “firstborn.”

Exodus 4:22: Israel is called “firstborn.”

Psalm 89:27: David is called “firstborn.”

If Paul wanted to convey that Jesus was “first-created” he certainly could have used the word prwto/-ktistoj meaning “first-created” to do so (cf. 2 Cor. 5:18: kainh\ kti/sij, “new creation

Or the term “Begotten”

  • JWs: created
  • Oneness[3] the origin of the Son.
  • LDS sexual relations

In simple terms, the compound word monogenhj is derived from monos meaning “alone,” or “one,” and genos meaning “class” or “kind.”

Hence, ho monogenēs huios simply means the “one and only Son” (cf. NIV), “unique Son,” or “one of a kind Son” (e.g., Heb. 11:17). Therefore, monogenēs is a relational term (as utilized by the early church), which does not carry the idea of begot,” “to give birth,” etc. The lexical support is overwhelming.

Other mistranslated words: qeo/thtoj (Col. 2:9 “divine quality” NWT);

MARK 7:= The Bible is NOT the sole authority, but secondary to the religious organization.

Every non-Christian cult has a reason as to why sola Scriptura does not work.

  • JW: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
  • LDS: Quad.
  • In their 8th Article of Faith: “We believe that the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God (Pearl of Great Price).
  • There were many plain and precious things lost or taken from the Bible.[4]
  • Roman Catholicism: Not Scripture alone, but rather Scripture and Tradition are the Word of God

Ex cathedra (Vatican I, 1870 pope Pius IX)

Too frequently, the “Spirit” supersedes the Bible.

WE are told to TEST ALL THINGS

Do not GO BEYOND WHAT IS WRITTEN (1 Cor. 4:6)

Acts 17:11 vs. 2 Thess. 2:1-2*

MARK 8: Doctrinal and/or Textual Changes.

JWs: False Prophecies;

NWT John 1:1; 8:58; Col. 2:9

LDS: False Prophecies (polygamy[JD 11:269]; Blacks). Early teachings VS. Modern teachings;

JST at John 1:19 (1:18)

MARK 9: Causing feelings of guilt when leaving.

Brigham Young claimed that these who leave the Mormon Church would turn “wrinkled” and “black.” The following curse was pronounced by Brigham Young:

“But let them apostatize, and they will become gray-haired, wrinkled, and black, just like the Devil.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 332

MARK 10: TOTAL APOSTASY

Both the LDS and JWs assert that the entire church subsequent to the death of the apostles fell into total apostasy.

Both groups misuse 1 Tim. 4:1 (“some will fall away”) and

2 Thess 2:3: Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (future?).

>>At what doctrinal point did the early church (some of which were disciples of the original apostles) err? What is the evidence?

1. No passage in the Bible teaches that a TOTAL APOSTASY will happen.

2. Jesus said that I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it

3. Eph. 3:21: to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

LDS scholars disagree as to the time of this so-called apostasy.

The notion that there was in fact a TOTAL apostasy is fundamentally indispensable for the RELIGION OF THE LDS.

IF no TOTAL APOSTASY, —then, no need for a restoration—- and hence no need for a restorer—Joseph Smith.

The churches in Rev. 2-3 the 7 churches. Rev, was written c. A.D. 80-90.

1 Peter 3:15 commands all Christians to always be ready to give a defense to give and answer for that defense, with gentleness and respect.

JOHN 17:3 JOHN 8:24

Titus 1:9

John 17:3

Glorify God

NOTES
[1] Paul utilizes different prepositions to amplify his case: All things were created “by Him” (en + dat.); “through Him” (dia + gen.); “for Him” (eis + acc.); and “in Him” (en + dat.).

[2] o(/ti e)n au)t%= katoikei= pa=n to\ plh/rwma th=j qeo/thtoj swmatikw=j

[3] Bernard unthinkingly explains that the term translated “begotten” means:

“to procreate, to father, to sire.” Thus, begotten indicates a definite point in time—the point at which conception takes place. There must be a time when the begetter [the Father] exists and the begotten [the Son] is not yet in existence, and there must be a point in time when the act of begetting occurs. . . . . So, the very words begotten and Son each contradict the word eternal as applied to the Son of God.

[4] (1 Nephi 13:20, 28; 14:23).

If you have dialogued with Mormon missionaries, you have, no doubt, been frustrated to find that Mormons constantly use Christian vocabulary and unfamiliar LDS terms to propagate the teachings of their church. Along with Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, and most non-Christian cults the Mormons will declare: “Jesus is my Lord and Savior,” “There is only one eternal God,” “I am a true Christian,” “Jesus died for me and I am saved by grace,” and other terms that sound absolutely Christian. Furthermore, there are many distinct LDS doctrinal terms that Mormons will employ as well.

Therefore, it is important for Christians to be familiar with these distinct LDS terms, as well as being able to define Christian terms that Mormons utilized in dialogue. When the Mormon say: “I am saved by grace,” what do they mean by that? Or when they say: “I believe in the Trinity,” what does that mean to them? If you do not define the meanings that are poured into words, you will agree to the terms without understanding what is really being stated.

Below is a list to some important distinct LDS doctrinal terms along with common Christian terms. The terms will be defined by LDS teaching and understanding. Hence, when Mormon missionaries use these terms you will have a better understanding to what they actually mean.

Aaronic Priesthood: The lesser of the two LDS priesthoods (see below: Melchizedek Priesthood). To be ordained to this office of Priesthood the worthy male (women are excluded) must be 12 years of age. There are three offices within this Priesthood: age 12, Deacon; age 14, Teacher; age 16, Priest. The function of the Aaronic Priesthood is the ministry of temporal needs of the church (e.g., collect the fast offerings on the first Sunday of each month; perform baptisms; assist in home teachings etc.).

Adam: The first of the human family on earth. The Ancient of Days, and is also known as Michael the archangel.

Adam-God Doctrine: Second President of the Church, Brigham Young taught that Adam was God the Father, “the only God with whom we have to do.” This doctrine was taught and preached by Young, for over twenty years. In 1852 Young stated:

When our Father Adam came into the Garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is MICHAEL the Arch-angel, the ANCIENT of DAYS!. . . . He is our FATHER and our GOD and the only God with whom we have to do (Journal of Discourses, 1:50, 1852; emphasis theirs)

Young was always consistent with this teaching. Twenty-one years after his statements in Journal of Discourses, in an article in the Deseret News, he confirmed this teaching to his Mormon devotes:

How much unbelief exists in the minds of the Latter-day Saints in regard to one particular doctrine which I revealed to them, and which God revealed unto me- namely that Adam is our Father and our God. . . . (Deseret News, June 18, 1873).

If anyone wishes to assert that this teaching was not official but rather the mere speculation of LDS Prophet, Brigham Young, notice this statement where Young refutes that idea:

I have never yet preached a sermon [as in Journal of Discourses] and sent it out to the children of men that they may not call Scripture. . . . (Journal of Discourses, 13:95; emphasis added).

Adoption: When one becomes a Mormon their blood physically changes to Jewish blood. Bruce R. McConkie explains:

By the law of adoption those who receive the gospel and obey its laws, no matter what their literal blood lineage may have been, are adopted into the lineage of Abraham. . . . to purge out the old blood, and make him actually of the seed of Abraham (Mormon Doctrine, 23 )

That this adoption involves a literal change in the convert’s blood was plainly taught by the Prophet (ibid., p. 390).

Angel: The spirit children of Father God and Mother(s) God in pre-existence.

Apostle: A person called to be a special witness for Christ. The LDS apostles are “apostles” in a most literal sense as with the New Testament apostles.

Baptism: Provides remission of sins; membership in the LDS Church; is the gate that leads to the celestial kingdom (i.e., the third and highest heaven; see: Heaven); personal sanctification. May only be performed by legal administrators of the LDS Church.

Baptism for the Dead: Baptism performed by a living person for someone that is dead. The purpose of this ordinance is to enable a person who died with out the LDS gospel to become a member of the LDS Church. Since one cannot be a member without being baptized in the LDS temple while they were still alive, a living person may be baptized in substitution.

In the spirit world, (see Spirit World) there are Mormon missionaries that preach the LDS gospel to those that died as a non-members (they are in spirit prison; see Hell). If a person should accept the LDS gospel, they can become members (assuming a living person was baptized for them). Then, after becoming a member can progress to a higher level of heaven (see Heaven).

Bible: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God” (Pearl of Great Faith: eighth Article of Faith). The only recognized Bible is the King James Version. The Bible has been corrupted by the hands of men.

Blacks: Less valiant fighters in their pre-existent life, hence God cursed them with black skin. They were also cursed as to the Priesthood until 1978. Joseph Smith stated:

Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species, and put them on a national equalization (Joseph Fielding Smith, ed., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 270; History of the Church, 5:218; emphasis added)

Brigham Young second President and Prophet states:

You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind… the Lord put a mark upon him, which was the flat nose and black skin. (Journal of Discourses, 7:290; emphasis added).

Young further states:

Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be (ibid., 10:110; emphasis added). See The LDS Church and Black Skin.

Blood Atonement: Spilling your own blood for remission of the sins which are so vial that the blood of Jesus Christ cannot cover them. Brigham Young explains:

There is not a man or woman who violates covenants made with their God that will not be required to pay the dept. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out. Your own blood must atone for it, the judgments of the Almighty will come sooner or later, and every man and women will have to atone for breaking covenants (Journal of Discourses, 3:247).

Born Again: When a person becomes a member of the LDS Church and continues to be faithful.

Burning in the Bosom: Confirmation of truth, allegedly by the power of the Holy Ghost (cf. Moroni 10:4-5).

Christian: Mormons only (cf. Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 132).

Church of the Devil: All non-LDS churches (cf. 1 Nephi 14:10).

Church of the Lamb of God: The LDS Church (ibid.).

Create: To organize elements that already exist into new form. In LDS theology, God does not create out of nothing he only forms and organizes eternal matter that has always existed. Joseph Smith said:

I might with boldness proclaim from the house-tops that God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 354).

Elohim: The personal name for God the Father.

Eternal (God): All matter and intelligences are eternal, thus, man and God, in that way, are said to be “eternal.” God has not always been God, only that his intelligence has always existed (cf. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salivation, 12; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 352-54).

Eternal Progression: The process of going from: Pre-existence to being mortal on earth, to exaltation (i.e., becoming a God) (cf. Mormon Doctrine, 238-39).

Exaltation: Becoming a God. Exaltation is synonymous with “eternal life” and “true salvation.”

Gabriel: Noah (cf. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 157).

Fall of Adam: The change to mortality when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. The fall, Mormons say, was s good thing. If Adam and Eve had not transgressed, they would not have had the capacity to have children.

Gentile: A non-member of the LDS Church.

General Authorities: Leaders of the LDS Church: The First Presidency, Council of the Twelve (apostles), the Patriarch to the Church, Assistants to the Twelve, First Council of the Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopric.

Godhead: Three separate Gods: God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. They are one in purpose and unity only, not one in nature (ontologically). Joseph Smith explains:

I will preach on the plurality of Gods . . . I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. . . . Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 370; emphasis added).

God the Father: An exalted man with a body of flesh and bones as well as sexual desires. He is the head God for this world. He was once a mortal man that became a God by obedience to law. He has a Father over him, that Father has a Father, and that Father has a Father, etc., hence an infinite regression of the Gods. He was married to his own daughter, the Virgin Mary, whereby sexual relations, begot Jesus.

Heaven: Three levels: celestial the highest; the terrestrial the middle and the telestial being the lowest of the three.

Hell: The temporary holding place where all the wicked will be tormented. Then after their resurrection, the majority will go on to the telestial heaven (the lowest level). Hell will have an end. Mormons refer to hell as “eternal” only in the sense that the temporary punishment is from an eternal God. But the Devil, his angels, and the sons of perdition will be tormented in “outer darkness” forever. (cf. Mormon Doctrine, 349-50, 746).

Holy Ghost: One of the three Gods in the Godhead. Does not have a body of flesh and bones.

Jehovah: Or “LORD.” The identity of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament.

Jesus Christ: One of the three Gods in the Godhead. He is the “LORD” or “Jehovah” of the Old Testament. His Atonement provided immortality (only) for all men. Hence, men have the opportunity to work for their salvation.

Jesus was the literal Son of Elohim (by sexual relations with the Virgin Mary). That is why Jesus is called: “Only Begotten Son in the Flesh.” (Mormon Doctrine, 546-47, 742).

Jesus was a polygamist, married to Mary, Martha, and the other Mary. Along with his Father, he also was once a mere man that sinned and was in need of redemption. He had to earn his salvation by obedience to law.

Kolob (the planet): The star nearest to the throne of God the Father (Elohim) (cf. Pearl of Great Price: Abraham, 3:2-3, 9).

Lucifer: One of Elohim’s spirit children. He is Jesus’ spirit brother. He was a good angel but rebelled and was expelled from Heaven, taking a third of the spirit children with him.

Melchizedek Priesthood: The higher of the two LDS priesthoods. Without this Priesthood, exaltation (i.e., becoming a God) cannot be attained nor can any male enter into the LDS temple (except worthy Priest of the Aaronic Priesthood may enter, only to perform Baptisms). The worthy candidate (only white males until 1978) must be 18 years of age and hold the Aaronic Priesthood. The offices of the Melchizedek Priesthood include: Elder, Seventy, and High Priest. This Priesthood was conferred on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in June, 1829 by the Apostle Peter, James and John.

Moroni: Son of the Book of Mormon character, Mormon. In 1823, the angel Moroni appeared to Smith and delivered the records (i.e., gold plates) of ancient America (600 B.C. to A.D. 421) to him. Smith translated the gold plates in 1827 and thus in 1830 the Book of Mormon emerged.

One God: There is only one God, for this world. Other Gods in other worlds have nothing to do with us in this world. Only the God for this world is to be worshipped and prayed to.

Only Begotten Son in the Flesh: Jesus Christ is called “Only Begotten in the flesh” because he was the only one (firstborn) of Elohim’s spirit children that was begotten (by sexual relations) both in the spirit and in the flesh. God the Father had sexual relations with the Virgin Mary to procreate Jesus’ physical body. Second LDS President, Brigham Young declares:

and when he took a tabernacle [body], it was begotten by his Father in heaven, after the same manner as the tabernacles of Cain, Abel and the rest of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. . . . (Journal of Discourses, 1:50; emphasis added).

The birth of the Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood–was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers. . . . (ibid., 8:115; see my article The Paternity of Jesus Christ).

Outer Darkness: The final dwelling place for the Devil, his angels, and the sons of perdition (see Hell).

Plain and Precious things: The many truths that were deleted from the original Bible.

Pre-Existence: The pre-mortal existence of mankind, as spirit children of God the Father. This is, before they come to earth. No one remembers his or her pre-existence life, also referred to as the “first estate.”

Prophet: One who speaks for God. The President of the LDS Church is God’s Prophet on earth. As with the Old Testament prophets, the LDS President is a Prophet in a technical and literal sense.

Salvation: “There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Mormon Doctrine, 670). “Salvation” in its truest sense is exaltation, which is, becoming a God. True salvation, is synonymous with exaltation and eternal life. There are two types of salvation:

1, General salvation: Because of the Atonement of Christ, all men will be resurrected to immortality and will dwell in one of the three levels of heaven (except the “sons of perdition”).

2, Individual salvation: Where men have the opportunity to work for their salvation and progress to Godhood (exaltation). This type of salvation is what Jesus and the apostles preached about. This “true” salvation can only be attained by meritorious works. The Book of Mormon is clear:

for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do (2 Nephi 25:23; emphasis added).

LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie informs the Mormon people that:

Salvation in the celestial kingdom of God, however, is not salvation by grace alone. Rather, it is salvation by grace coupled with obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel (Mormon Doctrine, 671).

Saved by Grace: Because of the grace of Jesus Christ, all men will be resurrected to immortality. Immortality comes by grace alone. Therefore, we are saved (general salvation) by grace.

Sealings: Those ordinances performed in the LDS temple whereby husbands and wives are sealed together in the marriage union for time and eternity. To become a God the man has to be married and sealed in the LDS Temple–hence, there are no single Gods.

Scripture (God’s Word): The Standard Works of the LDS Church (see Standard Works). Scripture is also the spoken word by the men of God, when moved by the Holy Ghost, which would include the President and the General Authorities of the LDS Church.

Standard Works: The Book of Mormon; Doctrine and Covenants; Pearl of Great Price; and the KJV Bible, as far as it is translated correctly.

Spirit World: The abiding place of disembodied spirits that await the day of their resurrection. This world is divided into two parts: Paradise for the righteous (faithful Mormons) and Hell (“spirit prison”) which is the temporary abode of the wicked (see Hell).

Trinity: Three separate Gods. These three Gods are: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. They are one in purpose and unity. But they are not one in nature (see Godhead).

Zion: The city of New Jerusalem, to be built in Jackson County, Missouri, is to be called Zion.