RESPONDblogs: Truth Will Out

The Jehovah’s Witnesses group was first formed in 1872 by Charles Taze Russell and seem to have become famous the world over for what they DON’T do.

  • They don’t celebrate people’s birthdays (no, really! What a shame, eh?)
  • They don’t allow blood transfusions
  • They don’t believe the Bible teaches that the Father, the Son and the Spirit are each persons of the one God. This is often called the doctrine of the Trinity

Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught to believe a form of Arianism. Arius was a Christian leader who lived in the second century and put forward a view of Jesus that was challenged strongly by the early Christian church leadership – he taught that Jesus was a created creature rather than God himself. This led to the development of the Nicene Creed in 325 AD which attempted to clearly document the Christian Church’s understanding of Jesus’ identity as taught by the New Testament. Arius refused to sign up to this statement – and so lost his job in the Church.


“Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, that is from the substance of the Father. He is God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father.” Nicene Creed


There’s one God who is revealed in Scripture in three persons. Father, Son and Spirit. In other words – Jesus is not a created being. Although he experienced a miraculous human birth – he is and was God before that birth. And he still is today. Mind bending stuff.


The Witnesses have stuck to their guns and persist with Arianism to this day. And to justify their position they have their own Bible Translation that they work from – the New World Translation – that has been written to support their Arian position. So here’s something else the JW will not do. They WILL NOT use a Bible translation UNLESS it is the New World Translation. To my mind, this is a cause for suspicion right there.


The problem as I see it – is this. They have written their translation in such a way as to try to avoid seeing Jesus as the second person of the Godhead. The problem is that – the Bible is FULL to the brim of this teaching! To try and remove it all…you would need to throw the Bible away and start again from scratch. Marcion attempted this in the first century, but his movement died out quickly. Rather than taking this approach, instead the JW translators have tried to “plug the holes” as they see them in the Bible text. But like a sieve with hundreds of holes in – you can’t plug them all. It’s a pointless task – the water…or the truth will always leak through the sieve eventually. And it’s the same with the Bible. The truth will always leak through…however hard you try to stop it.


Here’s a great example.

Lets look at the JW translation of John chapter 1 verses 1 to 3 (you can find the 2013 edition of the NWT here ->


What’s the problem? Well look at verse 1. Speaking of Jesus, their translation says, “the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” The JW understanding of Jesus’ identity is coming thru in their translation here. They view Jesus Christ as a being that God has created. If that created being is with God…then he cannot also BE God himself. So they are forced to describe Jesus as “a god”.

This is an example of the JW trying to plug the holes in the sieve. Look how a typical New Testament translation puts this verse:

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1, NLT)

Do you see the difference in the translation? The Word is not “a god”. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Is the JW New World Translation a good translation of John chapter 1? Does it accurately represent what the original Greek intends to say? According to Greek Scholars like Bill Mounce, no it isn’t. And the reason is very simple.

There is NO INDEFINITE ARTICLE in Greek. “a god” is an impossible phrase in Greek.

This might sound tricky…but it’s really simple. Look at an everyday example. If I say in English that, “I read the book” then I would be referring to my book using the DEFINITE article – “the”. However – if instead I said, “I read a book” – then I would be referring to my book with the INDEFINITE ARTICLE – “a”.


The New World Translation refers to the Word in verse 1 using the INDEFINITE ARTICLE – “the Word was a god.” But that cannot be what the Greek text said originally. Why? Because there is NO INDEFINITE ARTICLE in Greek. The verse cannot have said this.

Actually if you translate the Greek into English word by word (thank you Doctor Mounce!) the text reads…


In [the] beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and God was the Word (John 1:1, MOUNCE)


The section in dispute actually reads “God was the Word”. Can you see why the JW would object to that? So they have squeezed an “a” into their text to change the meaning OF the text.

So the New World Translation of John 1:1-3 does not work for language reasons. It is not accurate – don’t believe it.


But it goes deeper than this. The New World Translation version of John 1:1-3 simply does does not make any sense. What do I mean? Well – let’s look again at the passage and look this time at verse 3.



Verse 3 of the NWT tells us that all things came into existence through him. Not a single thing that does exists began to exist without his activity. Who is him? The Word!

Here is the irony. The JW translation breaks verse 1, but the truth still seeps though in their Bible. Because John 1:3 restates AGAIN what John 1:1 is trying to teach.

  • He is responsible for creating all things. If all things were created by Jesus – then he cannot also be one of the things that was created because he is personally doing the creation!
  • the Word is not created, rather he is God.
  • all things came into existence through him. Who is he? He is the Word, he is Jesus, he is God.


You will often hear this expression outside a court of law – “Truth will out!” However hard people try to bend the Bible to their own will (and this is a risk facing all of us…myself included)…God’s truth WILL come through in the end. I want to grasp his truth…because I know that it will do me good! I can’t think of anything worse than shutting the door on God’s truth for other people. But even when people try to do this, God’s good, positive and life changing truth is powerful – it will burst through anyway!


RESPONDblogs: Is the Jehovah’s Witness “Jesus” the Genuine Article?


I was getting ready to go out on Saturday morning when our front doorbell rang. I opened the door to a young lady who greeted me and began to talk to me about “religious” issues. My heart sank – I was just on my way out to a friend’s wedding! But – she seemed very earnest. And I felt a tug to stay and talk for a while. I let her speak…and then she asked whether these religious issues interested me.


I scratched my head a bit. “I’m a Christian”, I responded, “so God is very much at the centre of life…I’m not so keen on religion tho. However – let me ask you something.”


She nodded expectantly.


I asked, “Who do you say that Jesus is?”


Without a blink she responded, “Well he is God’s son.” I nodded – “Yes…but what does that mean?” She began to look a bit puzzled now. “Well I guess it means…” She stopped. I volunteered an ending to her sentence. “You reckon it means that God created Jesus? He is created BY God?” She nodded. “Yes – that’s it”, she said.


“Okay – that’s interesting because my view of Jesus is completely different from yours. He’s God. He’s not created BY God.”


She nodded and without a thought she shot back, “Let me ask you then. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray…who did he teach them to pray to?” It was my turn to look puzzled now. However many times I engage with a Jehovah’s Witness…this bit always strikes me as incredible. I carried on.


“You are right. The Bible records that Jesus taught his disciples to pray to God the Father. But you know what else the Bible shows us? That Jesus himself RECEIVED worship…personally. More than that, the Bible’s overall presentation of God has always been that three persons exist. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” She looked at me incredulous. This bit in the conversation that always hits me hard. I’m gutted that the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach their poor people to ignore and deny such a central biblical doctrine as the Trinity.


I really felt for this young lady. I was glad I’d stopped to chat with her. My heart so wanted her to get who Jesus really is! I decided to leave her with a statement and a question.


“You know, based on what we read in scripture the early church wrestled with but ultimately agreed on Jesus identity. The Jesus I am describing to you – the one who points to the other members of the Trinity and receives worship also for himself – is the prevailing view. Yes it’s tough to wrap our heads around. It looks like what I am saying has mystified you. Let me ask you. If there was no mystery to God…if we understood everything there is to know about God…it wouldn’t make him much of a God. Would it?” She smiled and nodded. And as my time had gone – we said goodbye.


As I closed the door – my heart ached. It matters who we understand Jesus to be. Why? If Jesus is NOT God – then we are completely lost! Why do I say that?

The Bible explains what humanity’s main problem is. Actually it’s not poverty or petrol prices or religious terrorism. It is sin. We underestimate the extent of our problem.

“all people…are under the power of sin.  For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:9 – 23, NLT

Why is sin a problem? Because it ruins any connection we could have with God, it messes up our relationships with other people and it ultimately leads to our demise…physically, spiritually, completely.

“For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23, ESV

“It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.” Isaiah 59:2, NLT

We all limp along carrying this crippling sin problem. It leads to our demise and our isolation from the God who made us.

Only God himself can sort out this problem. It is too big an issue for anyone else to fix! And so the Bible tells the tale of God preparing the nation of Israel and then coming in person…Jesus Christ…to give all people…you and me a way out of our sinful rebellion against God. He came to Earth to forgive sins. Only God can do that job. Because at heart, sin is mankind’s direct rejection of God.

“Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.””, Luke 7:48, NLT 

“For this is how God loved the world; He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16, NLT


That’s not me disagreeing with my friend at my front door. It’s the Bible I share with my Jehovah’s Witness friend (although her New World Translation has been slightly modified by un-scholarly people to trip her up in her understanding – outrageous!). It’s also the Church Fathers who studied under Jesus Disciples and led the first Christian Churches.


And then it struck me. It’s only valuable items that are counterfeited. People only go to the effort of creating fake 50 pound notes…because the real ones are so valuable. There’s no one in human history more valuable than the God-man Jesus Christ. Not to me…not to the writers of the Bible…not to all true Christians down thru history. No wonder there are counterfeit versions available to anyone who is unfortunate enough to accept them.

RESPONDblogs: Christianity Isn’t Based on Stolen Ideas


David Robertson is in the midst of an informal debate. The discussion is around the topic “Why Christianity is Reasonable”, and David’s talking when suddenly a guy at the back of the crowd pipes up.


“Everything you’ve claimed that is unique about Jesus Christ can be found in pagan religions that are much much older. From resurrections to births on 25th December!”


Without missing a beat, David shoots back. “You sir are a great example of what is happening in this Wikipedia Generation!” Ouch. David then proceeds to explain why the man’s statement simply makes no historical sense.


I have friends online who regularly throw this claim at me – that Christianity is simply a rehash of older pagan ideas. Of course, Dan Brown popularized this years ago in the Da Vinci Code.

“by fusing pagan symbols, dates, and rituals into the growing Christian tradition there was created a kind of hybrid religion”.

This supposedly pre-Christian God Mithras was supposedly born on December 25th, later died, and rose again after three days.


It’s a great putdown to the keen yet uninformed Christian evangelist, isn’t it?


But it doesn’t take too long to become “informed” about the un-historic and manipulative nature of these claims. Professor Ronald Nash taught for 40 years on worldview, ethics and history. And his response to the “Christianity rehash” idea is stark.


1 – It is a logical fallacy to claim that – just because two things exist side by side – one MUST have caused the other.

2 – The alleged similarities between Christianity and Mithraism are exaggerated by the people who claim it. How? They exaggerate by using Christian language to refer to pagan rituals. Like for example a “Last supper” or “baptism” in Mithraism. The followers engaged in no such thing. The parallels are forced thru use of sloppy, modern language.

3 – The chronology is wrong. The sources of information about pagan mystery religions date to 400 years AFTER Christ. How can a practice – occurring hundreds of years after documented Christianity – affect Christianity? One would need a TARDIS to square that circle.

4 – The New Testament shows that Christian teaching comes originally from Judaism alone.  There was an intolerance to influence from Greek thinking.

“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers[a] of this world, rather than from Christ.” Colossians 2:8, NLT

5 – Christianity was originally (and presented thru scripture today) as an exclusive faith. One gives one’s life to following Christ. However the pagan cults were non-exclusive. One could become initiated into the cult of Mithras, and treat it as an addition to ones existing belief system.

6 – Christianity is grounded on events of history. The mystery cults were essentially non-historical, based on myths and pictures. It is a mistake to assume the events described in the New Testament to by mythological. Similarly, it’s a mistake to assume the grounding of ancient mystery religions to be historical.

7 – The parallels that remain reflect the influence of Christianity on Paganism, not the other way round. Historical record shows pagan attempts around AD360 to counter the growing influence of Christianity in the Greco-Roman world by imitating certain parts of it….offering a pagan alternative, if you like.


More details here:



You know, the internet is an echo chamber for memes and ideas. I for one would like  to do what I can to feed some reason into that noise. When you look at all the information – reason suggests that because Christianity is earlier, and a different order than Mithraism, the two cannot be related. Unless, of course, Mithraism sought to emulate parts of the established Christian tradition to gain converts.