My response to the Missionaries sent by the Jehovah Witness

   I seem to be living in an area of the country that is targeted by missionary societies of the Jehovah Witness’s.  They have come from all over the country to stop by and “share a message of hope.”  We’ve had them from as far north as New Hampshire, New York, and even a few from the west.  In general, y’all are really nice folks.  You stop by, share a scripture or two, generally from the Psalms, pass out a tract or two and then head on your way.  It’s kind of nice to have you come by and it is refreshing to see that there are people still “out there” who believe enough in their convictions to travel door to door.  So, if you are reading this, then you’ve stopped by, shared your message, gave me a tract, and then I handed you this one.  If you are reading this, then it tells me that you’re at least interested in what I have to say.  The problem with many missionaries is that they are just not concerned with what the people they minister to have to say.  They want to do all the talking.  If you are reading this, then you’ve come by my house and I’ve let you do all the talking then I’ve handed you this tract.  So, here is the real issue.  Do either one of us really care what the other has to say?  Are you going to just trash this because you are not interested in reading what the people you’re trying to convert have to say?  If so, why even bother coming on a missionary trip.  Are you required to complete this missionary journey and are you just checking the religious block on what you’re supposed to do?  If that is your intention, throw this paper away or give it to someone who is interested in hearing what someone you are trying to convert has to say. 

     For my part, I want you to know that I have read the tracts that you have given me.  I’ve read, “What the Bible really says”, I’ve read several issues of the “Watchtower” that some folks have dropped off, and I own a copy of the New World Translation, the bulk of which, I have read.  I have taken the time to consider what you have to say.  For the most part, you and I are going to agree on the bulk of our theology.  However, there is one part of our theology that we disagree on and I would like to discuss this with you.  If you are not interested, stop reading here.  Throw this away; maybe give it to your pastor.  If I have retained your attention, then let me begin by telling you a little about myself.

     I was an alcoholic and drug addict for about 15 years.  I had a radical encounter with Jesus Christ that changed my life.  I was sitting in my living room and a vision came to me.  I was completely sober and was actually having a fight with my girlfriend about going to church.  A brilliant white light appeared to me out of the corner of my eye.  I turned to see what the light was.  As I turned, I say a white robed man.  The brilliance of the light was coming off of His robe.  His hair was white like wool, His eyes look like fire.  He had a golden sash across His chest and was wearing what I thought were bronze boots.  He spoke to me and said, “Jonathan, if you don’t stop drinking, you are going to lose everything.”  I didn’t know what that figure was but I did know that voice.  It was the voice of Jesus.  I knew it like I know the voice of my mother when she calls from the back of the house.  She need not identify herself, I know her by her voice.  This is how I knew that this was Jesus.  Over the next 24 hours, I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to God and I was born-again.  I had a burning desire inside of me to read the scriptures after this event.  I read the New Testament pretty quickly when I came to the book of Revelation, I stumbled across something that has completely changed my worldview.  This is the verse.  “And I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me, and, having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands and in the midst of the lampstands someone like a son of man clothed with a garment that reached down to the feet , and girded at the breasts with a golden girdle.  Moreover, his head and his hair were white as white wool, as snow, and his eyes as a fiery flame.   And His feet were like fine copper when glowing in a furnace; and his voice was as the sound of many waters.” (Revelation 1:12-14 New World Translation) The apostle John had just received a vision of the resurrected Jesus.  This radically changed my life because this was exactly the same thing that I had seen in my living room.  Some two thousand years later, I had the exact same vision of the resurrected Jesus.  And, if Jesus is resurrected, then scripture is accurate.  If Jesus is resurrected, then He must be all that scripture claims that He is.  This leads me to the point of contention with the Jehovah witness theology.  I believe that Jesus was the incarnate Son of God and I believe that the translators who wrote the New World Translation demonstrated a theological bias when they translated their bible.  This is what I wish to discuss.  Why?  Because the rest of our theology will probably match up because the rest of our scriptures match up.  I’ve read 15 different translations of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  I am currently reading five new ones.  I’ve studied Greek for the past year and I’ve studied Hebrew for the year prior to that.  Currently, I’m revisiting Hebrew to get a better grasp of it.  I plan to study Latin after that to get a better feel for the Latin Vulgate.  I’m giving you my resume because I want you to know that I seek truth in the scriptures.  I want to know if you seek the same truth.  Are you a truth seeker or just affiliated with a religious organization?  I want you to know that the conclusions that I have come to I have not come to lightly but have studied them for years.  If you are interested in them, then keep reading, if not, stop here.  I want you to know that I don’t look upon you as a bad person, or as an evil person, I look at you as another image bearer of God seeking truth in a fallen and cursed world.  I’m not trying to convert you.  I’m not associated with any denominations or religious organizations.  I just want to share what I’ve learned.  Let me share the truths that God has shown me.

     The Greek of John 1:1 is:  en arch hn logos, kai o logos hn pros ton qeon, kai qeos hn o logos. The New World Translation translates this verse, “In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.”  Personally, I would translate this verse, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  This is a difference in the way we would both translate the Greek.  I believe that the way I have translated it is exactly the way that the New World Translators would have translated it if it were not for a theological bias over the deity of Jesus.  I will show you several examples of how the New World Translators have translated several verses in keeping with my translation.  That’s right; the New World Translators should have translated “qeos” as “God” rather than “a god” by their own standards of translation.  Let me explain.

     Greek has no indefinite article “a”.  It has definite articles “the” but no indefinite article.  However, a translator can insert an indefinite article into a translation because, sometimes in Greek, the indefinite article is implied although not explicitly stated.  So, it is possible to translate the verse as “a god” but if this is going to be our position, then we must be consistent in how we translate the word throughout the remainder of scripture.  Well, “qeos” is used over twenty times in the New Testament, so we should see that the New World translation, if it is consistent in its Greek, using “a god” for this Greek word.  What do we see?  The exact opposite.  The New World Translators translate “qeos” as “God” over twenty times in the New Testament.  It only uses “a god” in two places (John 1:1 and John 1:18) which specifically address the deity of Jesus.  This demonstrates a theological bias and not an endeavor to accurately translate the Greek.  In the other twenty places in the New Testament, they have translated the Greek just exactly as I translated John 1:1.  Could there be a Greek explanation for this?  They seem to think so.  But before we move on to it, I want you to have the references where “qeos” is correctly translated “God.”  They are:  John:1:6,12,13,18; 3:2,21; 6:45; 8:54; 9:16,33; 13:3; 16:30; 19:7; 20:17, I John 3:2; 4:12; 2 John 3,9; Revelation 21:7.  This survey suggests that 98 percent of the time the New World Translation uses good Greek but it has a theological agenda when translating about Jesus.  What is their explanation?

     The translators say, “theos is a singular predicate noun occurring before the verb and it is not preceded by the definite article.  Thus, the insertion of the “a” is appropriate in translation.  Alright, this seems to make since with the verse in question.  kai qeos hn o logos literally is translated, “and a god was the word” according to the Greek translation standard put forth by the New World Translators.  Good, now we are getting somewhere.  If this is to be their standard for predicate nomitive singular nouns that are not proceeded by the definite article, then there should be evidence of this in other places in scripture.  Again, the translators don’t normally translate predicate nomitive singular nouns with the indefinite article.  You don’t have to understand Greek to understand that if they are only using this rule on the passages that discuss Jesus divinity that they are pushing a theological bias and their translation is inaccurate.  The clearest example of how the New World Translators have not kept their own standards of translation is in John 8:54.

     oti qeos umwn estin is the Greek of John 8:54.  Please notice that qeos is proceeded by oti which is not the definite article but a conjunction which means “because.”  Thus, we have the singular nomitive noun not proceeded by the definite article, so the translation should be “a god.”  One would expect the translators of the verse to write, “Because a god yours, he is.”  This would be consistent with their singular predicate nomitive rule.  How do they translate it, “but He who you say is your God.”  Why do they negate their singular predicate nomitive rule?  Because it makes the most sense in the Greek.  If this is true of John 8:54, then it must also be a possible translation for John 1:1.  In my opinion, it is the most accurate.  The os ending on the word tells us that this is the nomitive case which simply means that it is the subject of the sentence.  The subject of the sentence rarely takes an indefinite article although it is possible.  More likely, God rather than, “a god” would be the natural translation of the Greek.  There is no indication that the indefinite article needs to be inserted in the translation.  Here are some other places where the New World Translators negated their singular predicate nominal without the definite article rule:  James 2:19, John 1:49, John 5:27 (Son is the singular predicate noun which they should translate as “son” or “a son” but they don’t, they the translate it with a capital “S” which seems to counteract their theology that Jesus was not divine, they missed a wonderful opportunity to be consistent with their translation here.  Why weren’t they, because it is simply bad Greek) Do you surrender yet?  I could go on and on, but rather than give a full exhaustive critique, let me just list a few more discrepancies for your perusal and discussion with your pastor, friends, and family.

In John 5:18 the NWT has, “On this account, indeed, the Jews began seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath but he was also calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God.”  This verse tells us why the Jews wanted to kill him and the claims that Jesus was making.  He was claiming to be equal with God.  Not his son and not a god, but equal to God.  So, the New World Translations states that the reason they sought to kill Him was because He made Himself equal to God.

In John 8:58 Jesus says, “Before Abraham came into existence, I have been.”  This is what the New World Translation has.  The Greek here is ego eimi which is literally translated, I, I am.  The ego is put there for an added emphasis.  Incidentally, this is the same phrase that the Septuagint (The Greek translation of the New Testament translated around 200-300 BC) uses for Exodus 3:14, the name of God.  This is exactly what Jesus was telling the Jews, that He was equal with God, and the fact that they understood this claim is evidenced by their picking up stones to kill him for blasphemy.

    In conclusion, it is not my attempt to convert you to any organized religious denomination.  In my opinion they are divisive and cause disunity within the body of Christ.  I merely encourage you to seek the truth from the scriptures.  The bulk of the evidence that I have presented to you points to the fact that even the New World Translators didn’t really buy into their theological justifications for translation because of their own inconsistencies.  Hence, I believe that Jesus is equal with God and this is the bulk of the New Testament evidence from the Greek.  If you are still reading this, I commend you for at least hearing what someone else has to say.  It is my prayer that I have challenged what you believe.  Ultimately, a belief that is not challenged and tested isn’t worth much.  I appreciate that fact that you have challenged mine.  It is through the defense of the faith that my conviction grows stronger.  Thanks for the opportunity to give you this tract.  Tell your mission committees to send more missionaries so I can give our even more tracks like this one.  For my part, you make evangelism for me easy because you come right to my front door.  May the God of Peace Grant you wisdom and understanding.  “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the accurate knowledge of Him.”  (Ephesians 1:17, The New World Translation)  If you want to discuss this further, email Jon at cre8spase@aol.com.

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