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).

Last month, I, Edward Dalcour, president/apologist of DCD, formally debated Muslim apologist Sadig Abdul Malyk, which was held at Foothill Bible Christian Church in Upland, CA.

The thesis of the debate was the deity of Jesus Christ. Being familiar with the method to which Muslim apologists defend Islamic teachings, in my opening statements I described how Mr. Malyk would handle the biblical affirmations and evidence regarding the deity of Christ. I stated that I did not expect Mr. Malyk to 1) exegetically interact with any of the passages submitted for his examination, 2) adequately respond to the unambiguous claims of deity made by Christ Himself (esp. John 5:17ff.; John 10:30; the “Alpha and Omega” claims; and the absolute “I Am” [egō eimi] declarations found in John 8:24, 28; 58; 13:19; 18:5, 6, and v. 8), and 3) I did not expect Mr. Malyk to respond to the heated reaction of the Jews when Jesus made these claims: They wanted to kill Him for blasphemy!

I also stated in my opening that due to Mr. Malyk’s denial of the deity of Christ as a Muslim, I did expect him to 1) appeal to liberal scholars such as Bart Ehrman who not only denies the reliability of the NT and thus denies divine revelation all together, but calls himself a “happy agnostic.” Ehrman, as I pointed out, would certainly see the Koran as a ridiculous piece of work, 2) deny all the passages that affirm the deity of Christ asserting that the passages in the Gospels that allegedly assert the deity of Christ and/or Jesus’ claims of deity, were either not the original work of the biblical authors (esp. John) or an incorrect interpretation. And further assert that the Apostle Paul cannot be trusted. Paul, as Muslims claim, did not accurately represent the teachings of Christ, and 3) ignore and/or evade specific passages that present the deity of Christ. In the end, as I predicted, Mr. Malyk did exactly that!

The arguments of unitarians (i.e., groups that assert a unipersonal God—namely, God as one Person) are basically the same. Assuming that “one God” means “one Person” causes unitarian groups such as the Muslims, JWs, Oneness Pentecostals, etc., to reject the idea that the Son, Jesus Christ is also God. In their mindset, that idea violates monotheism. But as biblically stated, the very foundation of the Trinity is monotheism:

One eternal God revealed in three coequal, coeternal, coexistent, distinct Persons (not 3 Gods). For it must be pointed out here: there is a distinction between “being” and “person.” “Being” is what something is, “person” is who something is. Thus, maintaining a continued awareness of this distinction is greatly efficacious in accurately communicating the doctrine of the Trinity—one Being revealed in three Persons.

Passages Muslims & JWs use to Deny that Jesus is God

The passages used by Mr. Malyk in the debate and by most JWs to deny the deity of Christ are as follows: Mark 13:32 (where seemingly the Son is ignorant of His return); John 14:28 (where Jesus says that the Father is “greater” than the Son); Matthew 16:28 (where Muslims make the absurd claim that Jesus made a false prophecy); and Matthew 27:46 and John 20:17 (where Jesus addresses the Father as His God).

Before dealing with these passages, it must be remembered that the deity of Christ is exegetically presented in virtually every NT book[1] (e.g., Matt. 12:6; John 1:1-3, 18; 8:24, 58;10:30; Rom. 9:5; 1 Cor. 2:8; Phil. 2:6; Col. 1:16-17; 2:9; Titus 2:13). So, to put implicit biblical passages against explicit passages reveals a serious flaw in one’s hermeneutic. Furthermore, these passages that Muslims and JWs use to deny the deity of Christ actually prove the converse—they affirm the deity of Christ!

Mark 13:32: “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (same with the response to Mark 10:18)

If one is going to use Mark 13:32 (or 10:18) to argue that the ignorance of the Son- shows that the Son cannot be God; to stay consistent one must use the entirety of chapter 13 and not omit verse 32 from its context. In short, the entire context of the chapter is future events from the time of which the author is writing. However, in spite of the various eschatological views proposed these days, it seems that in verse 32 (in light of Matt. 24:36), Jesus is speaking of His final Eschaton (return).

Note first, verse 27, where we read that the Son “will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.” Here the Son is said to “send forth the angels” and they will gather His elect. Does Mohammad (or Michael the archangel, as JWs believe Jesus to be) have angels that obey him? Does Mohammad have an elect? For only Yahweh has an elect class (cf. Rom. 8:33; 1 Pet. 1:1). So thus far, the full deity of the Son is clearly presented in chapter 13. So whatever Jesus actually meant in verse 32, it cannot be in objection to verse 27.

Now, let’s deal with verse 32. First, Philippians 2:7 says Christ emptied (kenoō) Himself. But how did He empty Himself? By taking the NATURE (morphē) of a slave, being made in the likeness of men. . . .” Then in verse 8, we read that the Son humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross! Thus, Jesus Christ voluntarily veiled some of His divine prerogatives, without divesting any deity.[2]

So any knowledge that the Son did not apparently have, must be seen within the context of His incarnation, thus, His emptying and humbling—He was not only God, He was God-man. Muslims and JWs confuse and deny all aspects of His incarnation and merely go to passages which denote His humanity. If the incarnation and humiliation of Christ is misrepresented and/or distorted, then, one will be hopelessly confused, and keep asking questions, such as, “If Jesus was God, why didn’t He know the day or hour of His return?, “How can He die?” “Why didn’t He know who touched Him”; and on and on it goes.

Secondly, and a key point, notice the ascending ontological (in nature) order in verse 32: “But of that day or hour”:

1) “No one knows.” Thus, no “man” knows. Thus, the first category of being is man.

2) “Not even the angels in heaven.” The next category is angels, which is a higher category of being than that of man.

3) “Nor the Son, but the Father alone.” What being is higher than angels? God. So, the ascending order: man> angels> Son shows that the Son, as God, is in a higher category than that of man and angels—hence clearly affirming the deity of the Son.

John 14:28: “The Father is greater than I.”

Just as Mark 13 actually proves the deity of Christ, John 14 likewise proves the same. First in verse 6, Jesus says that He is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life and no one can come to the Father except through Him. Neither Mohammad nor Michael the archangel, nor any mere man or angel can make such a claim. Then in verse 14, Jesus says that “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”

Prayer is to God alone, but the Son instructs His disciples to pray to Him. And in verse 23, Jesus says, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” What does this passage reveal about the Son? It indicates that Jesus is omnipresent as the Father is. Jesus claims that He and His Father will be with believers everywhere: “We will come to him and make Our abode with him.”

Up to now, Jesus reveals that He possesses the very attributes of God affirming once again His absolute deity: He is the only Way, the only Truth, the only Life, and hence, the only means of coming to the Father; He instructs His followers to pray to Him; and He claims to be omnipresent.

Therefore, when we come to verse 28, we must take the preceding passages into consideration theologically and not wrench them out of the chapter. So what then does Jesus mean? First, it must be realized that the term translated “greatest” is meizōn (from megas), which denotes position or function—not nature (cf. BDAG). In fact, no standard lexicon offers a meaning of qualitative or ontological superiority for the term megas. Note how the same term in the same form (meizōn) is used in Romans 9:11-12:

though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, 12 it was said to her, “The older [meizōn] will serve the younger” (cf. John 15:20).

If the Son wished to communicate that the Father was ontologically superior (better) than He was, He certainly could have used the term kreittōn, “better/stronger” to accomplish this.

This term can indeed denote ontological superiority (e.g., Heb. 1:4: the Son is “much better [kreittōn] than the angels”). The same word is used in verse 12: “He who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater [megas] works than these. . . .” What are these greater works? Contextually, they can only refer to greater in quantity (geography), not greater in quality (cf. Matt. 28:19).

Matthew 16:27-28: “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

All the apostles died and Jesus has not yet come. So is this a false prophecy? This assertion of Jesus making a false prophecy rests upon the assumption that the phrase, “Son of Man coming in His kingdom” speaks of His final return. Simply, the first word in verse 1 of chapter 17 is the conjunction: kai, “and.” (“and six days later . . .”). Hence, 16:28 and 17:1 are connected: the “Son of Man coming in His kingdom” is connected with the Transfiguration, which was witnessed by Peter, James, and John who were the “some of those” that “would not taste death.” This coming was not the final return, but rather a precursor to Jesus’ final Eschaton.

Finally, in Matthew 27:46 and John 20:17, Jesus calls His Father “God.” Thus, it is argued, “If Jesus is God, how can He address someone else as His God? The simple answer: Jesus is not only God, but God-man. He has two natures. As to His humanity He can grow in wisdom, feel pain, die on the cross, etc., but as to His deity He can claim that He is the “I Am” of the OT (John 8:58; cf. Deut. 32:39; Isa. 43:10 LXX); He can still the waters (Matt. 8:23-27); command the Father to glorify Him with the glory that only Yahweh possesses (Isa. 48:11; John 17:5); be the Creator of all things (John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17); claim that He is greater than the temple and “Lord of the Sabbath” (Matt. 12:6, 8).

Further, in John 20:17, Jesus carefully distinguishes His relationship with God the Father and the relationship of God the Father with others: “My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.” Jesus is the Son of God by nature; whereas believers are sons and daughters of God, by adoption.

Therefore, many of the arguments railed against the deity of Christ by Muslims and other anti-Trinitarian groups, actually affirm the deity of Christ. Aside from that, it is no wonder as to why Muslims deny the authenticity of the Gospel of John and the Epistles of Paul—they present in the strongest and clearest way that the Son, Jesus Christ, was God (e.g., John 1:1; 8:58; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Titus 2:13; see also Heb. 1:3, 8), Creator (cf. John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17), and He was worshipped in a religious context (cf. Matt. 14:33; John 9:35-38; see also Heb. 1:6; Rev. 5:13-14)–see Christ Worshiped as God

.NOTES

[1] In the OT, as well, there are numerous places that teach the deity of the Son (e.g., Gen. 19:24; Ps. 102:25-27 [cf. Heb. 1:10-12]; Prov. 30:4; Isa. 6:1-10 [cf. John 12:41]; 9:6; Dan. 7:9-14; Joel 2:32 [cf. Rom. 10:13]; etc.).

[2] In verse 6, Paul indicates that the Son was en morphē theou huparchōn, lit., “in nature God subsisting.”

Sharing your faith with those in cults, other religions or with the typical non-believer can be quite frustrating. No matter how clear and articulate you are, they just seem to be so blind to the truth. Well, they are, spiritually speaking. Scripture presents that the unregenerate man (unsaved) is in bondage, thus enslaved to sin (cf. John 8:34, 36). He is spiritually dead (cf. Col. 2:13; Rom. 3:10-19). Hence, they are unable to come to, hear, submit, or please God (cf. John 6:44; 8:47; Rom. 8:7-8)[1]. Jesus explained as to why the unbelieving Jews would not hear (i.e., believe) what He was saying: “It is because you cannot hear My word.” He did not say that they “chose not” to hear, but rather they could not hear (cf. John 12:39-40).

Salvation is of the Lord alone (cf. 1 Cor. 1:30): It is God alone that regenerates the dead sinner, which causes him to walk in the ways of the Lord. He becomes alive, a new species in Christ with a new heart (cf. Deut. 30:6; Ezek. 36-36-37; Eph. 2:10; 2 Cor. 5:17-18).

Faith, repentance, and the ability to believe are granted by God: John 6:37-40, 44; Eph. 2:8; 1 Cor. 12:8-9; Phil. 1:29; Acts 5:31; 16:14; 2 Pet. 1:1

What is “Effective”[2] Witnessing?

First of all, our presentation should be biblically based and logical (cf. Acts 17:2-3, 17; 18:28; 1 Pet. 3:15). Further, contrary to the “traditional” Christian view (i.e., to see people saved), we proclaim the gospel first and foremost because it glorifies God! Noah saw no converts, but he glorified God. Also, we are commanded to do so (cf. 2 Tim. 2:15; 4:2-5; 1 Pet. 3:15; etc.). The proclamation of the gospel is the *normal means* that God uses to bring about salvation (cf. Rom. 1:16).

Both the OT and NT authors consistently contrast and proclaim the *good news* (justification) with the *bad news* (God’s wrath; cf. John 3:36). For one cannot preach the good news without preaching the bad news—but this biblical concept is virtually absent in the teaching of many preachers today!

And remember: those with whom you are “sharing” your faith are people first, and thus are enslaved to sin, spiritually dead—just as we once were. Their WILL is ENSLAVED to their evil nature—as we once were (cf. John 8:34, 43-44; Rom. 6:16). They are held captive by the Satan—as we once were (cf. 2 Tim. 2:25-26). Only the Son can set them free (cf. John 8:36). Thus, before one can realize the do’s and don’ts of effective witnessing, one must have a biblical understanding of the spiritual state of the unsaved.

The Do’s and Don’ts[3]

DO NOT attack the person (argumentum ad hominem):

Do not let your emotions dictate how you witness (cf. Gal. 5:20-21). Never attack the character of the person. When one employs personal attacks, it only shows the weakness of his or her position and a severe lack of biblical ability to present the gospel (see 1 Pet. 3:15; 2 Pet. 3:16).

DO pray for God to give you witnessing opportunities: In Ephesians 2:10, Paul indicates that “we are created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared before hand so that we would walk in them.”

DO NOT force a gospel argument (that is a bad witness): 1 Peter 3:15 says to always provide an answer (defense) and a logical and biblical reason (i.e., a positive affirmation) for faith—with gentleness and respect.

Since God ordained the salvation of His people (both the means and end),[4] there is no reason to force a gospel argument. For the unregenerate person to which you are witnessing is dead, enslaved to sin, with a stony heart, they *cannot* hear (believe), for they are held captive by Satan.[5] For only God can remove a heart of stone, thus, only the Son can make them free.

DO make a reasonable and sound biblical argument: (cf. 1 Pet. 3:15; Acts 17:2-3; 17:21; 18:28). We should never hastily assume that we have a correct understanding of a passage without doing our homework. Every Christian should have a firm understanding that his or her interpretation is correct before presenting it. Peter says that it is the “unstudied” that distort Scripture (2 Pet. 3:16).[6] Too often Christians base their interpretations on tradition rather than exegetical confirmation.[7]

DO present a *definitive* gospel: Include salvific doctrines—namely the Person, nature, and finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul defines his gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.[8] Thus, include in your presentation the Person of Christ (He was perfect man),[9] His nature (He was perfect God—viz. God-man [incarnation], second Person of the Trinity), and His finished work (justification through faith alone, the sufficiency of cross, saved from God’s wrath—the wages of sin), and the “physical” resurrection. These are “essential” Christian doctrines. It is this gospel, says Paul that “is the power of God for salvation” (Rom. 1:16).

DO NOT pretend to know the answer to a question if you really do not know it: If you are asked a question to which you do not really know the answer, you should not act as if you know the answer. Instead, humbly indicate that you do not know the answer, but you will research and get the answer. And then, make sure you do. We worship a God who calls Himself “truth”; therefore, we should be honest in all of our interactions.

DO be concise in your presentation: Too much information at once can be non-productive. Most people cannot process too much information all at once (cf. John 16:12). Stick to one subject at a time.

DO NOT bombard folks with hundreds of passages: Too often, when Christians first begin to study the theology of the cults, for example (esp. LDS and JWs), they begin to learn many passages that refute the many theological assertions of the cults. Then, they will carelessly rapid-fire a series of passages (in one breath!) without interacting with the person with whom they are dialoguing. This is not effective. Again, stick to one subject at time. And never never quote a passage then swiftly run to another passage without exegetically discussing the first passage.

DO form your presentation and/or apologetic into “questions”: I found this method extremely effective. For even Jesus and the apostles utilized it (e.g., Matt. 5:46-47; John 3:10, 9, Rom. 6:1; 1 Cor. 12: 29-31; Gal. 3:2-5; James 2:14-26). Consider the examples below:

*Ask the non-believing Jew: “In Isaiah 53:5, what does ‘He was pierced through for our transgressions’ mean to you? Who is the “He” that was pierced?” Or “What does ‘The LORD [Yahweh] caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him in’ in verse 6 mean to you?” Or “What does Isaiah mean when he says, ‘The LORD was pleased to crush Him to put Him to grief and He would render Himself as a guilt offering, thus pleasing the LORD’ in verse 10?” Or “Who in verse 12 is said to, ‘Pour Himself out to death bearing the faults of many and praying all times for sinners?’” (translated from the Jewish Publication Society).

*Ask the Mormon: “Since you are taught that in the OT Jesus is “LORD” (Jehovah) and the Father is “God” (Elohim—i.e., the personal name of the Father),[10] how is it that in Isaiah 44:6, the LORD, who you think is Jesus) can say, ‘I am the first, I am the last; and beside me there is no God [Heb. Elohim]? So, according to your doctrine (i.e., LORD = Jesus), Jesus denies His Father’s existence!” “In Isaiah 44:8, the LORD asks, ‘Is there a God [Elohim] beside me? yea, there is no God; I know of not any.’ “Did the LORD forget about His Father? For the LORD, who you believe is Jesus, says He *knows* of no other God [Elohim]” (see also Isa. 43:10; 44:5; Jer. 10:10-11).

Do not be discouraged when your witnessing efforts seem to fail (i.e., no converts). Remember: we cannot make a dead person alive, only God can: the results of salvation are up to God. Again, we proclaim the truth of the gospel because it glorifies God. Scripture commands to “preach the word in season and out of season,” but reasonably and biblically: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things” (Rom. 10:15).

Notes

[1] In Romans 8:7-8, Paul’s uses the verb dunamai (ou dunamai, “can not”) to precisely describe the spiritual inability (as in John 6:44: “cannot come”) of the man “in the flesh” (i.e., unregenerate). The term denotes ability. A decision to receive Christ would certainly please God. However, Paul says that the unregenerate sinner does not (ou) even have the ability (dunamai) to (a) subject itself to God and (b) please God—he cannot. So, sinful man, based on his own self-determination, that is, free will, will never choose Christ—for he cannot. Paul here employs a double use of dunamai to stress this point. Thus, only if God regenerates (makes alive) the hostile, spiritually dead, rebellious sinner granting him faith and repentance does he then choose (based on his own volition as a regenerated person) to believe.

[2] What I mean by “effective” is simply a biblically sound presentation of the gospel. Saying to an *unsaved* person things such as “Jesus has a great plan for your life” or “Jesus loves you” is not the argument that Paul first presents. Rather, he systematically (as in Romans 1 for example) presents the universal sinfulness and total depravity of the unsaved (i.e., the bad news).

[3] There are certainly more do’s and don’ts other than these listed. However, I wanted to delineate some of the more significant ones.

[4] Cf. Matt. 1:21; John 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; Eph. 1:4-5, 11; 2 Tim. 1:9; 2 Thess. 2:13

[5] Cf. John 8:34, 36, 43-44, 47; Rom. 8:7-8; 2 Tim. 2:26.

[6] In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter point out that the ones who “distort” Scripture are the “untaught and unstable.” The term translated “untaught” if from the Greek word a)maqei=j (amatheis), which literally means “unstudied” or “unlearned.” Studying Scripture is a necessity for effective witnessing.

[7] For example, for years, passages such as John 3:16; 2 Peter 2:24; and Revelation 3:20 have been incorrectly interpreted and thus misapplied by the majority of Christians. Hence, the popular interpretations of these passages are squarely based on tradition, not exegetical confirmation: By misinterpreting passages, it makes God say something He never said!

[8] “The gospel that I preached to you . . . . I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures” (NET).

[9] He was perfect man, born of a virgin.

[10] Mormons are taught that in the OT, the “LORD” (Heb. Yahweh or the mis-transliterated [from YHWH] term “Jehovah” that the Mormons use) is Jesus and “God” (Heb. Elohim) is the Father (cf. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1: 27; Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine; 392). Thus, in LDS theology, Jehovah (Jesus) and Elohim (the Father) are two separate Gods. But of course, the phrase “LORD God” (“Yahweh Elohim”) is used over 500 times in the OT to refer to the one true God (e.g., Deut. 6:4). Also, pagan gods were also called Elohim (e.g., Ex. 12:12; Dan. 1:2). Frequently, though, Mormons will say that the LORD can be called “Elohim” (in representation), but He cannot be Elohim. However, there are many places where the “LORD” (Yahweh) is said to BE Elohim due to the fact that The LORD is called “the God,” that is, Elohim appears with the definite article “the” (cf. Deut. 4:35; Ps. 100:3 Jer. 10: 10-11). Moreover, Jesus is called ho theos (“the God”) throughout the NT (cf. John 20:28; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8; 2 Pet. 1:1).

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.