Archive for the ‘Jehovahs Witnesses’ Category

4/13/2013 Someone’s Knocking At Your Door

April 12, 2013

What will be on the Deeper Waters Podcast on 4/13/2013? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Tomorrow on the Deeper Waters Podcast, we’re going to be talking about Jehovah’s Witnesses. The link to where you can listen to the show can be found here. Many of us have had these people come by. In fact, I’m having them come by on a regular basis right now. To some of us, they can be just nice but overzealous people. To others, they’re those annoyances that lead us to lock the doors and lower the blinds on the windows. Yet who are they?

My guest for this will be my friend Mike Matuszewski. (I hope I get that name right on the air!) If you haven’t heard of him, it’s because he’s a friend I know through Facebook, but part of the purpose of Deeper Waters is to get out there in the public people who I think should be out there more. In this community, it’s important that we build up one another so that we can better be able to do ministry in the body of Christ.

I plan tomorrow on not really focusing on the Trinity. That is a big issue, but we just had Robert Bowman come on to discuss that so this time, I plan on talking about the Witnesses themselves. Who is this group? How did they get started? What is the status of them today? Are they Christian? If not, why? (And no, they’re not)

We will also be discussing how it is that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society works. The Watchtower does an incredible amount of publishing. What does that have to do with Christians today? How fast is the Watchtower growing? What threat does it pose to Christians today?

The Watchtower is also well known for many of its predictions on when the end is going to come and as it is, like the Bible, they have a perfect record. Unlike the Bible, their perfect record is perfectly wrong. How has the organization been affected by all of these false prophecies?

Also, is it really a good idea to bring up those prophecies when the Witnesses come by? What is the best method one can go about reaching a Jehovah’s Witness that can break through the thinking that one is taught by the Watchtower? Should we focus on the Trinity? The Prophecies? Salvation by grace through faith? Where exactly should we go?

Of course, there are many other issues that could come up that make Jehovah’s Witnesses a fascinating topic of discussion. What is it like at a Kingdom Hall? What is the point of the “no blood” cards that one sees in their wallets? Why do they not celebrate birthdays and holidays? Why is it that they take no part in anything that is political?

Please join me tomorrow then from 3-5 EST as I discuss with Mike Matuszewski the Jehovah’s Witnesses. If you want to call in and be a part of the fun and ask a question, the number will be 714-242-5180. I hope you will be tuning in tomorrow!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Doomsday

September 5, 2012

How does a dialogue go with JWs on this topic? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

As I was sitting in our living room recliner doing some work on the laptop, my wife said she heard someone outside. I look and notice a car has pulled up and coming out are two nicely dressed women carrying books and bags.

“Honey. I think we have Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

So I watch and when they get to the door open it and say that my wife thought she heard someone. When they identify themselves, I ask them if they’d like to come in. They tell me they can only stay for a minute and then hand me a copy of their “Awake” magazine talking about Doomsday. Let me warn you at the start that in my recount of the exchange, that you will see my Preterist understanding of Scripture.

So their first passage they go to is Psalm 37:29 which reads as follows (All verses are being read from their own New World Translation, NWT):

“The righteous themselves will possess the earth,
And they will reside forever upon it.”

I told them I agree with that. I do think God has a plan for the Earth and that we are meant to inhabit it into all eternity. This was a surprise to them so they asked me what I thought it would take for that to be brought about. I answered that I think the gospel has to be preached everywhere and believed majority worldwide. They said they disagreed with that and first indicated where they thought I was correct in Matthew 24 which they said they think talks about the end and how in verse 14 it says:

“And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”

But in Matthew 7 we read:

“13Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it;14whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.”

I replied by turning to Matthew 13 and showing them this first in verse 33:

Another illustration he spoke to them: “The kingdom of the heavens is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three large measures of flour, until the whole mass was fermented.”

And then before that in 31-32.

31Another illustration he set before them, saying: “The kingdom of the heavens is like a mustard grain, which a man took and planted in his field;32which is, in fact, the tiniest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the largest of the vegetables and becomes a tree, so that the birds of heaven come and find lodging among its branches.”

I pointed out to them that in each of these cases, something starts off small and goes through the whole of what it starts to penetrate. With the mustard seed, we can remember that in Daniel 4 there was a prophecy about a tree filling the whole Earth. I finally took them to Matthew 16. Verse 18 reads:

“Also, I say to you, You are Peter, and on this rock‐mass I will build my congregation, and the gates of Ha′des will not overpower it.”

Gates are defensive. The kingdom of God is on the move and it will never be the minority. They were stumped at this point to which I said “Let’s go back to Matthew 24. You say you think it says the end is coming. The end of what?”

“Oh. The end of the Jewish system which happened in 70 A.D. (I was surprised that they had that right) and the end of this system of things since it says that this is the great tribulation and that no time has come like it or ever will come again.

I asked them in response if they thought Jesus was the wisest king who ever lived. They told me He wasn’t a king on Earth. When I told them He is one now, they agreed He is the wisest. With that, I turned to 1 Kings 3. In verse 12 we read the following promise to Solomon from God.

“look! I shall certainly do according to your words. Look! I shall certainly give you a wise and understanding heart, so that one like you there has not happened to be before you, and after you there will not rise up one like you.”

So I told them that if they take that text literally, then Solomon is wiser than Jesus which is a problem. It is better to read it as hyperbole and how instead, what is being said in Matthew 24 is that this is an example of the worst possible thing.

At this, they asked me if I believe anything big is coming. I said I certainly do and it’s the event that’s not talked about in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, which leads me to think that that passage is not about this event. That is the bodily return of Christ and the mass resurrection from the dead.

At this point, they told me that Jesus laid down His body. Why would He take it up again? I responded that I saw no reason to think that He did not rise bodily. I pointed out that we are told that our bodies will be like His body and if we rise bodily, then it is because He did. They agreed that we do rise and live in perfect bodies on Earth, but flesh and blood does not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. (I do realize they have a different idea about who goes to Heaven based on the 144,000)

I pointed out that that is a euphemism and gave the example in Genesis. When Noah’s nakedness is seen by his son, it doesn’t mean his son just inadvertently walked in and saw his dad naked. That might be awkward, but no great sin. It means that his son did something to him that should not have been done while his Dad was naked and in a drunken stupor. It was a euphemism. The same is the case with flesh and blood which just means sinful human nature.

At this point they did have to go as they had indicated earlier. Let’s pray they return and are open to having their views examined and following the evidence where it leads.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Should You Believe In The Trinity Conclusion

March 24, 2011

Welcome back everyone to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’ve been going through the Watchtower booklet of “Should You Believe In The Trinity?” and tonight, we’re going to wrap things up as it looks like the Watchtower has and the arguments are all done. I don’t plan to cover new information tonight, but rather to just bring closure to what I hope has been for you an enjoyable and educational series.

First off, I could grant for the sake of argument that the Trinity is false. Granting that, this booklet is still a terrible booklet. Why is that? There is no interaction with Christian arguments. Christians are cited for disagreement more than anything else. We must always remember to beware the sound of one-hand clapping.

There is also the problem then of just referencing period. The Watchtower does not tell me where I am to find the information that they provide. That makes it very hard to track down which I think is the point. Who wants people tracking down this material to see how badly it’s being misquoted. I specifically suggest the reader look back to specific instances where it can be shown that misquoting and taking out of context is taking place.

This is interesting considering that credits are given even for the artwork….

Second, the argumentation just doesn’t follow. Often times, the Watchtower confuses the Trinity with modalism, such as the claim that Jesus cannot be the same person as the Father. Trinitarians agree with that. The sad reality is that the reason this works on Christians a lot of times is that the Christians have not been doing their homework on the Trinity and that is because of a lazy anti-intellectualism that has grown in the church. Just worship Jesus. What matters is how you feel. Don’t think about stuff. Avoid doctrine.

Third, this is a call to the church to do better. It’s been said that the average JW can turn the average Christian into a doctrinal pretzel in 90 seconds or less, and that’s because JWs do study more than Christians do. Now I’ll grant that it’s more indoctrination on their part than it is study, but they are taking their beliefs a lot more seriously than most Christians do.

We Christians need to realize that the Trinity is not just a doctrine that we say we believe and use to beat up Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is foundational to us. It should provide life and joy to us. We should be in utter awe of the doctrine of the Trinity and realize the rich depths it has. I urge you to read not only about defending the Trinity, but realizing the difference that the Trinity makes.

Thus, I conclude my long project of looking at this booklet and I do hope that it has been of service. If someone uses some of this material and wins a Witness to Christ, I would absolutely love to hear about it. If it helps you also, keep in mind we are supported here by your prayers and donations. I hope you will do the former and consider at least the latter.

Tomorrow, we shall discuss something different.

No Conflict

March 23, 2011

Welcome back everyone to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’re nearing the end of our look at the Watchtower booklet of “Should You Believe In The Trinity?” Tonight, we’re going to go past the Colwell rule section as I believe those who are experts in Greek should speak there, but I am going to take on the next section called “No Conflict.”

The Watchtower asks us that if Jesus is a god, does that disagree with the biblical idea that there is only one God? To them, not at all, for there is only one God Almighty. No one else is in that position.

This doesn’t work however because few of the gods in the pagan systems that were polytheistic were considered Almighty. It was not the amount of power the gods had that was at issue. YHWH would not have said “You can believe in Molech just so long as you recognize that I am Almighty. No. YHWH shared his glory with no one. (Interesting that he shares it with Jesus.)

Were angels called gods in the Bible and is satan called a god? Yes. He is. Human rulers are said to be gods as well. What kind of gods are we talking about? We are talking about functional gods and not ontological gods. These beings functioned like they were gods in a sense, but they are not gods by their being.

The Watchtower asks if Jesus is to be called Almighty based on Isaiah 9:6. No. Jesus is a “Mighty god.” (Do note also that YHWH must be the same since he’s called that in Isaiah 10:21) In fact, I would place a great emphasis on Jesus being called Wonderful in Isaiah 9:6. That is the title the Angel of the Lord used of Himself in Judges 13 and the Angel of the Lord I would and have argued is ontologically equal to God and an appearance of the pre-incarnate son.

What about John 20:28? The Watchtower says some scholars think Thomas could have been making an exclamation of astonishment. Who are these scholars? I could tell you if the Watchtower had told us. However, while today we may say “My God” when something happens incredible, the Jews were not nearly so flippant. What Thomas said was “The Lord of me and the God of me” and it was said to Jesus in response to Jesus’s words to him.

But the Watchtower says this can’t be what was meant since John 17:3 says otherwise, which I think is their favorite verse. Again, this isn’t a problem. Jesus is subsumed under the identity of the one true God by being God’s Wisdom. It fits in just fine with Jewish thinking.

What about John 20:17 where Jesus says “my Father and your Father and my God and your God.” Note that he does not say “Our.” Jesus has his relationship by nature but we have it by adoption. Are we to think Jesus was an atheist however? Not at all. Seeing as he submitted to the Father, what is the conflict in having Him say the Father is God?

Finally, we are told that these were written so that we might know that Jesus is the Son of God, and I agree, but then we are told Son is literal. It is the same as a natural father and son.

Because I know several natural relationships that come about from a virgin birth with a son having pre-existence….

We shall continue next time.

“The Word Was God”

March 21, 2011

Welcome everyone to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Tonight, we’re going to be continuing our look at the Watchtower booklet “Should You Believe In The Trinity?” Tonight, we’re going to look at the rather lengthy section that they have on “The Word was God.”

Those who know about the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses know that they translate this as “The Word was a god.” Of course, I think if they do take that seriously, then they are indeed polytheists, as has been said before. On the other hand, there is a sense I could allow the translation and I would still not have a problem. It could be valid to say Jesus is a god in the way that Wisdom would be considered divine.

The Watchtower makes it a point to say that if the Word was with another person, it cannot be that other person. They quote the Journal of Biblical Literature where Jesuit Joseph A. Fitzmyer says if the latter part were rendered “the God” it would contradict the preceding clause that says the Word was with God.

The reality however is that this is exactly what Trinitarians argue! We do argue that if it said “The God” then that would mean that it was saying that Jesus was the God he was with and that he and the Father would be identical in person. The Watchtower has taken what Trinitarians argue and replaced it with a straw man. It’s a fine argument against modalism, but it does nothing to Trinitarianism.

The Watchtower then goes to a long list of translators that did not translate it the way most do today. Considering my response yesterday, things have not changed. A long list of English translations that agree does not justify that translation. It could still be wrong. Yes Watchtower. Thirty million Frenchmen can indeed be wrong. After all, I can show even more translations that say otherwise. That does not mean I win the translation war.

The Watchtower tells us that there’s two uses of Theos in the text. The first refers to Almighty God, which is the start of the question-begging. For them, Almighty God is one person and thus if anyone is with Almighty God, then by definition, that person cannot be Almighty God.

Now it is true that there was no indefinite article in Greek, but that does not mean that every noun that does not have the definite article before it should have “a” before it. For instance, should we read John 1:6 as saying that a man was sent from “a god.” In fact, John 1:1 says “In the beginning” but there is no definite article before “beginning.”

The reasoning usually given by commentators is that John 1:1 is a predicate normative. There are two nouns in the normative case and when a case as this one described shows up, the second use of the word Theos would be to describe the nature of the subject under question. In other words, God can be predicated of the Word.

Again, there is nothing new here really and the Watchtower has a case that I daresay they would have a hard time finding a scholar of Greek who would defend it.

We shall continue next time.

I Am

March 20, 2011

Welcome back everyone to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’ve been going through the Watchtower booklet of “Should You Believe In The Trinity?” At the moment, we’re looking at verses that the Watchtower says Trinitarians use to back the Trinity but that the Watchtower claims doesn’t work.

This one starts at John 8:58 which should be recognizable as an allusion to Exodus 3:14. The Watchtower takes us back there however and cites the opinion. Interesting that the Watchtower goes back to one person who was writing about 50 years prior to the publication of this booklet. I’m not surprised. It seems the Watchtower method is to go through history, find one person who agrees with their view, and then shout out that they have confirmation.

You can find scholars however who will argue for nearly any position. I’m not against scholarship of course, but the reality is not that you believe something because scholars say it, but you need to know why the scholars say it. Of course, if many scholars say something and especially if it’s a case of something that would not be advantageous to their position, there’s good reason to affirm it.

The Watchtower tells us that some translate this as “I will be.” Why? Well, don’t ask such questions. You won’t find an answer. The Watchtower thinks it’s sufficient to show that one person agrees with them. It would be good of them to give the reason why their scholar is right and why everyone who disagrees with them is wrong.

When it comes to their justification of John 8:58, we have instead a long list of translations that do not translate it as “I AM.” Well if that’s the game that they’re playing, all anyone needs to do is go to any Bible web site themselves and count out how many translations render the verse a certain way.

In fact, I have here just such a collection.

The Watchtower has five translations listed. I have more. Is it the case then that I automatically win the translation war? No. Instead, we’d want to look at the reasons why scholars do translate the verse the way that they do. However, there is just such a resource that does show the verse to be read as “I Am.”

And that source happens to be from the Watchtower.

It’s the Kingdom-Interlinear Translation. All you have to do is if you come across the rare JW who has this, just ask them to open it up to John 8:58 and read what it says on the side of the Greek. Lo and behold, they will read that it says “I am.” In this case, who am I to argue with the Watchtower?

Do I have independent reasons for believing it’s translated correctly traditionally? Yes. Jesus was not speaking about how old he was. He was speaking about existence. He was around before Abraham. He was around because He always was. What was the response of the crowd? They wanted to stone him. Was he claiming to be just older than Abraham? If so, they would have simply thought him a lunatic. No. The problem was not that the Jews misunderstood Jesus. They understood him entirely. He made a divine claim and they knew the response to that was stoning.

We shall continue next time.

I And The Father Are One

March 19, 2011

Welcome everyone to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth! We’re still going through the Watchtower booklet “Should You Believe In The Trinity?” We are finally on the part where we are discussing biblical prooftexts and tonight, we are going to look at John 10:30.

The Watchtower takes us to John 17:21-22 in response where Jesus prays that his followers would be one with Him and the Father. Was he praying that they would be one entity? Since that is the case, then surely in the instance of John 10, he is not saying that he and the Father are one entity.

This could depend on what the Watchtower means by entity, which is simply unclear. They have consistently confused the idea of the Trinity saying that the Father and the Son are not the same person and since there is a difference between the two, the Trinity must be false, a position they should know is not Trinitarianism.

Now does being one sometime refer to something other than ontological oneness? Of course. However, how are the Father and Son one? They are of the same nature. They are of a nature of love and holiness. This would include a unity of purpose, but it would also go beyond such a unity.

How are the disciples to be one? Paul tells us in Philippians. We are to be of like mind. We should all be going forward with one pursuit. We can speak of a group of men acting as one man. In this, they are in union with one another and there is no division between them.

This nature is also holiness. We are to be holy because God is holy, as we are told numerous times in Leviticus. The Son shares that holiness and love with the Father by nature. We as the followers of Christ have that by adoption. It is granted to us by the gift of grace.

The Watchtower also tells us that Jesus immediately denied this charge. He did not. The Jews knew quite well what he was claiming so he answered them from their Scripture. It is a passage of Scripture that many Christians have not understood, but when it is understood, it turns out to be a powerful argument for the deity of Christ from this passage.

Jesus points to their Scripture which they claimed came from an infallible authority and says “Does it not say in there ‘ye are gods.’ ” Now who is it that he’s talking about? In this case, it’s about wicked men, wicked men who I believe were the leaders of Israel at the time. These men who were evil nevertheless in their position of leadership had a functional role as gods.

If wicked men can be functionally gods to Israel, how much more then can Jesus, the one who is the Son of God, be ontologically equal to the God of Israel? After all, if the wicked can claim a title and it be true, then the righteous can claim it and it can be true to a greater extent.

The Jews knew this full well so they sought to stone him again.

Again, the Watchtower I do not believe has made their case strongly enough here. Yes. I realize John Calvin disagreed. Even if he was right, there are many other passages. However, in this case, I will stick with what most have said.

We shall continue next time.

Three In One

March 18, 2011

Welcome back everyone to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’ve lately been going through the Watchtower booklet of “Should You Believe In The Trinity?” Now, we’re finally going to start going to specific Trinitarian prooftexts that can be used to support the Trinity. Some I will find weaker than others. Some I would not even use. However, let’s start with three in one passages the Watchtower brings up.

The verses are 2 Corinthians 13:13-14, 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, and Matthew 28:19. I would agree that these verses in themselves do not prove the Trinity. The Watchtower makes much about whether a verse explicitly states the Trinity. I do agree that there is no verse that explicitly states the Trinity. I do not see why that is a problem however and it is up to the Watchtower to convince me that that is what must be done for any doctrine.

Matthew 28 however I consider the most important of all of these. Note that the actions are to be done in the name, singular, of the three persons. It does not mean they all share the same name in the sense the Watchtower means of Tom, Dick, and Harry. It means that they all possess the same authority. Now how is it that the Son and Spirit possess the same authority as YHWH and that they can be subsumed under His name?

One would think that for an organization that makes much of knowing what the name of God is, that they would take this much more seriously.

The Watchtower also brings up the baptism of Jesus and says that this does not prove the Trinity. Again, I agree. The Watchtower keeps forgetting that the Trinity is a cumulative case. It is a building block of the Trinity. For the Trinity to be true, there must certainly be three persons.

Reading this kind of thinking makes me think of how I can read atheistic rebuttals to the five ways of Aquinas for instance that think it’s something to say “But this argument does not prove that God is triune and possesses all the omni-attributes.”

At that point I just want to say “It wasn’t supposed to.” Neither were these verses supposed to prove the Trinity, although it is interesting how many verses there are that have all three persons mentioned as interacting together. They do not prove the Trinity, but they certainly can support it. They are what we call a necessary but not a sufficient condition.

Finally, the Watchtower says that 1 John 5:7 was added in later. With that, I agree, and I think it’s a shame when Christians want to jump straight to this verse to prove the Trinity. Even if you think it’s valid, you have to get into a whole other argument just to get it to be accepted. There are better texts to go to and ones that do not depend on a questionable text.

I thus conclude that the Watchtower is simply making the mistake that the new atheists also make. It is an all-or-nothing game instead of realizing that there is a cumulative case to be made.

We shall continue next time.

More On The Spirit

March 16, 2011

Welcome back everyone to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Tonight, we’re going to finish looking at the Holy Spirit. There’s just three sections remaining and I’d like to tie them all in together. Our discussion is coming from the Watchtower’s “Should You Believe In The Trinity?” Thus far, we have not found much in their arguments. Let’s sum up the look they have of the Holy Spirit tonight.

To begin with, we are told the writers of the Old Testament never considered the Spirit a person. Okay. I’d be willing to grant that. So what? Their doctrine was developing. The writers of the Old Testament never conceived that a new set of books would come and be called the New Testament.

They also state that it is not unusual for something to be personified. In this, they are correct. However, that does not prove that personification is taking place in the case of the Spirit. Its not enough to say “Here are some examples of personification.” What must be done is to demonstrate that the descriptions of the Spirit are personifications.

The Watchtower also tells us that in 1 John 5:6-8, the Spirit, water, and blood are said to be witnesses. Blood and water aren’t persons, and thus, neither is the Spirit.

Very well.

In John 5, those that testify of Jesus are Jesus Himself, the Father, John the Baptist, the miracles Jesus was doing, and the Scriptures.

So which is it Watchtower? Are miracles and the Bible persons or are the Father, Son, and John the Baptist non-persons? There is no problem putting personal and non-personal sources together.

In actuality, 1 John 5 makes great sense. Water and blood could refer to Christ’s human nature, a counter to gnostic tendencies, or they could point to the baptism and crucifixion, or they could just point to the crucifixion. The Spirit meanwhile is a witness for Gnostic teachers who were making much about “spiritual claims”. John would be saying that the Spirit they have is sufficient to know Jesus came in the flesh.

What about language of filling which the Watchtower says would not be used if the Spirit was a person.

Then based on Ephesians 1:23 which says Christ fills all things and Ephesians 4:10 which says Christ fills the universe, Christ is not a person.

The idea of filling is most likely meant to convey the immediate presence of God in the life of a Christian through the Holy Spirit.

When we are told the Spirit speaks, that’s said to be done through humans or angels. Unfortunately, a text like Acts 13 is not dealt with in this case and it would be interesting to see the Watchtower demonstrate that that was through humans or angels.

And in fact, even if it was, so what? God can speak through humans and/or angels. What conclusion can be drawn then about the Spirit speaking through humans or angels? None whatsoever.

In commenting on Matthew 28:19, the Watchtower states that name does not mean a personal name. We agree. They state it is more like we ask someone to stop in the name of the law. We also agree. Finally, they state that the Spirit is included to show that the Spirit is from God and acts by divine will. We also agree.

If we are to say that the Spirit is impersonal however, will we not say the same of the Son? Could it be all three have divine authority because all three are fully divine?

As for neuter pronouns being used for the Spirit, this is because the word for spirit is a neuter word. Too much is made of grammar in this case, but I suggest the reader seek out those skilled in Greek grammar on this point.

As for the final point, some references would be nice. However, any Catholic source would readily state that the Bible does teach the personality of the Spirit and the deity of the Spirit. Without references, one really cannot tell. Surely it cannot be that the Watchtower wants it that way….

An Active Force

March 15, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’ve been going through the Watchtower booklet of “Should You Believe In The Trinity?” We’re not covering that Jesus never claimed to be God as I believe that has been sufficiently dealt with. Instead, I plan to move on to covering the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. According to the Watchtower, the Spirit is not a person but is rather God’s active force.

In Genesis 1:2, the Spirit of Jehovah is to be over the surface of the waters preparing the acts of creation. Granted, this could work fine with an active force, but it could also work fine with a personal “force.” What the Watchtower will have to do is to both demonstrate that there is positive evidence in Scripture that the Spirit is non-personal, and also deal with all the positive evidence that the Spirit is personal.

The Watchtower also tells us that the Spirit came upon people as a form of enlightenment. Now that’s not the term I’d use, but there is really no quibble here. It was often noted in the Old Testament when the Spirit came upon someone so that they were prepared to do something unusual for God.

This also includes the recording of Scripture which the Watchtower tells us. Orthodox Christians also agree that men wrote from God as they were guided by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit moved through each writer to bring about what God wanted us to have. Again, we have total agreement with this.

The Spirit we are told also led Jesus into the wilderness after baptism which is an important point. Because God is directing someone to go somewhere, that does not mean it’s all going to be a bed of roses. The Spirit is not meant to be an antidote to suffering but a relief that one has in suffering.

The Watchtower fortunately also includes Psalm 139 but has an interesting take that God’s Spirit can reach anywhere. At this, I would disagree since Witnesses I know do not agree with omnipresence. It’s not that God can reach everywhere but that He is everywhere in the sense that He is the cause of the existence of every place.

We find the same thing when we get to the idea of power beyond normal which the Watchtower covers next. The Watchtower asks if a divine person entered Samson and caused him to defeat the lion. If they mean in the sense of possession as in demon possession, I would not think so. If they mean the Spirit gave some of His power to Samson in some sense, then yes. Just saying that the Holy Spirit caused Samson to do this does not argue against the personhood of the Spirit.

Do we have arguments against that? Yes we do. Those are in the next section however. This post is simply to lay down some groundwork. There are areas of agreement and it’s good to bring that up with the Witnesses you know. It’s where there are differences that the problems emerge, and we’ll cover that tomorrow.