In this article I am particularly addressing those among our neighbors, friends, and readers who are Jehovah's Witnesses, a religious alliance now totaling over two million members worldwide. Over the years I have come to be personally acquainted with a number of you. In spite of our very significant differences, I have often had to admire the boldness and zeal with which you go about proclaiming that which you consider to be the truth. And the fact of the matter is, there really are a fair number of social, political (and even doctrinal) issues on which we are in almost total agreement. But one of a number of absolutely critical, totally unnegotiable subjects that inevitably divide us pertains to the Divine Nature (that is, the actual and full Deity) of Jesus Christ. Was He really God? Is He fully God? You say "no". We say "yes". And never the twain shall meet. Both cannot be true. Please understand that I do not at all question the sincerity of your profession. But you must at least agree with me about the fact that it is possible, after all, to be sincerely wrong, i.e. the Flat Earth Society. And neither zeal nor boldness in proclamation necessarily indicate truth or righteousness, i.e. Jim Jones. Actually, truth should be fully able to vindicate herself. So if you're right and I'm wrong, there should be good and sufficient evidence of the truth of your doctrine and faith. I therefore have a request, or maybe even a challenge. Answer the four question sets below in simple, written form, by mail. If it is mutually agreeable and feasible, we will plan to include your unedited response(s) in some future issue(s) of Areopagus Proclamation as a basis for further dialogue. Perhaps even more significantly, your simple and intelligent response to the following four question sets has the potential of moving me, personally, from the conclusion with which I otherwise seem to be left --that you in fact have no credible response to these questions. 1 If Jesus is not fully God, why is He (just like Jehovah in Isaiah 44:6) called the "first and the last" in Revelation 22:13, why is He worshiped as God by the angels in Hebrews 1:6 and by men in Revelation 15:3-4; 19:10, and on what basis can He forgive sin (Mark 2:5-7), something that even the Jewish scribes realized only God can do? 2 Why did so many first century Jews want Jesus (and His followers, for that matter) dead? If not because of His "blasphemy", His categorical claims to Deity (John 5:18; 10:30-33), for what crime and on what legal basis worthy of physical death by crucifixion in that historic era was Jesus' death being proposed? If claiming Deity was the crime, was He lying? How then do you maintain that He was good? 3 How can you credibly reconcile the teaching of Deuteronomy 18:20-22 with the blatantly false prophecy of Charles Taze Russell (born 2/16/1852 and founder of the Watchtower & Tract Society, the headquarters of your organization) in stating that the world would see "the full establishment of the Kingdom of God in the earth at A.D. 1914" (Thy Kingdom Come, C. T. Russell, ©1891, p126)? 4 Provide me with the name of even one reputable, religiously objective, living scholar of the Greek language who will vouch for the integrity and reliability of your New World Translation (NWT), the basis for so many of your unorthodox conclusions. (By "religiously objective", let's agree to mean someone who is neither a Jehovah's Witness nor an evangelical Christian). And oh, yes, by the way, who WERE the "scholarly" translators of the NWT anyway? Please supply their full names and educational credentials. FURTHER RECOMMENDED READING ON THIS SUBJECT "Letter to a Jehovah's Witness" by Roy Zuck, reprinted from Moody Monthly magazine (3/83). This simple but very excellent treatise is available from AIIA without charge, upon request.
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