This letter is a response to a Mr. Mark P. Jones. He recently sent me a letter on behalf of the Jehovah Witnesses. I decided I would post my response as well as send the letter to him personally.
Dear Mr. Mark P. Jones,
I recently received your letter and invitation in the mail. First I would like to thank you for taking the time to send me you letter and invitation. I hope you do not mind a response to some of the questions you posed to me on the invitation. To start, you asked me “would you like to know the truth?” This assumes that I do not know the truth and that you can enlighten me as to what the truth is. I know that your organization does not believe in the deity of Christ or the Holy Trinity, this is reflected in the question posed on your invitation to me that asks, “How do you view Jesus? As a newborn baby? A dying man? Or an exalted king?” These assume that Christ is only a man and not both fully man and fully God. This is an error to think of Christ as only a man.
What man can die for man’s sin? Can sin pay the price for sin? This is essentially what you believe, no man is free from sin, no man can be made spotless and then become a sacrifice for all sin. Man is made spotless through Christ, who is God and took flesh, thereby uniting the flesh and divine. This is why St Paul refers to Jesus Christ as the mediator between God and man. Only Christ, full God and fully man, can unite God the Father and mankind through His perfect sacrifice. If Christ is man, then the sacrifice is blemished. You may assert that God made Christ perfect in some way, but then why did Christ have to die? If God can perfect us all without any sacrifice, then why not do that?
I fear that this error will keep you and all of Jehovah Witnesses apart from God. Even in the earliest of the Church, the disciples of the Apostles are witnesses to the deity of Christ. St. Ignatius of Antioch, who was a disciple of the Apostles, states in his letter to the Smyrneans that: “ I give glory to Jesus Christ the God who bestowed such wisdom upon you; for I have perceived that ye are established in faith immovable, being as it were nailed on the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, in flesh and in spirit, and firmly grounded in love in the blood of Christ, fully persuaded as touching our
Lord that He is truly of the race of David according
to the flesh, but Son of God by the Divine will and
power, truly born of a virgin and baptized by John
that all righteousness might be fulfilled by Him,
1:2 truly nailed up in the flesh for our sakes under
Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch (of which fruit
are we that is, of His most blessed passion); that
He might set up an ensign unto all the ages through
His resurrection, for His saints and faithful people,
whether among Jews or among Gentiles, in one body of
St. Ignatius is pretty clear, Christ is God. He then reinforces this in his epistle to the Ephesians when he says: “ For our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary in accord with God's plan: of the seed of David, it is true, but also of the Holy Spirit.” And again in his epistle to the Romans, St. Ignatius once again states: “To the Church beloved and enlightened after the love of Jesus Christ, our God, by the will of him that has willed everything which is.” St. Ignatius was taught by the Apostles, wouldn’t his teachings reflect that of the Apostles? It seems logical, since St. Peter the Apostle ordained him as bishop of Antioch and in every one of his letters Ignatius reiterates this very same belief. To demean the judgment of the Apostles would be to demean the judgment of Christ Himself.
Clement of Rome, a disciple of St. Peter the Apostle, writes, in his first letter to the Corinthians that: “Have we not one God and one Christ? Is not the Spirit of grace, which was poured out upon us, one? For, as God lives, and as the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost live.”
St. Justin Martyr, in his First Apology, writes: “The Father of the universe has a Son, who also being the first begotten Word of God, is even God.” And in his dialogue with Trypho St. Justin states: “Christ is called both God and Lord of hosts.” Why is St. Justin, St. Clement, and St. Ignatius, all of whom are well known, writing against what you believe? The epistles of Clement were actually considered part of biblical canon in the earliest of the Church and St. Clement is even mentioned by name in Phillipians 4:3 by St. Paul.
Tatian the Syrian, in his address to the Greeks, writes: “We are not playing the fool, you Greeks, nor do we talk nonsense, when we report that God was born in the form of a man.” This is just another example, amongst many, that early Christians believed in the deity of Christ and not the teachings of Jehovah Witnesses. In fact, if I were to continue quoting them, this letter may look more like a book. I challenge you to find me an ante-nicean Christian writer who’s beliefs could be considered identical to the Jehovah Witnesses. This poses a problem for you because many of your beliefs are rather recent. For instance the rapture is derived dispensationalism, a 19th century invention of John Nelson Darby.
I fear that you have only read what the watchtower tract society has published and not anything outside of it. This would be doing yourself a great disservice since this organizations roots go back to Charles Taze Russell, not the apostles.
Since the beginning of your church starts with Russell, how is it that you justify Mt. 16:18 where Christ states: “Upon this rock I will found My church, that even the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” This means that the Church Christ founded should still be here today, and as a matter of scripture and historical fact, it should be able to prove its roots in Christ through the apostles. Not by erroneously interpreting scripture, but demonstrating your beliefs were prevalent throughout the early Christian writers. In fact, to say that early Christians did not believe in the deity of Christ or the Trinity is pure fiction. Early Christian writers, including the disciples of the Apostles, speak of the triune God. The word Trinty or “Trinitas” in latin was coined by Tertullian in the early second century. Prior to that, the Greek word “Triad” was used. Scripture does not use a word to define this but instead gives the definition of the Trinity. Christ says in Mt. 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The usage of the word name and not names is plainly obvious. Christ is referring to the Trinity while not actually using a specific name for the Trinity. This is eerily similar to the passage in Genesis 1:26, which has not been omitted from your new world translation, that states “Let Us make man in Our image.” Here again God is not referred to in the singular but plural, why is that? If God is not triune, then this passage, along with Mt. 28:19, are incorrect.
So, according to what you believe, after Christ died, the Apostles wrote some books and then no Jehovah Witness either existed or wrote anything until Charles Taze Russell? I ask this because the fact of the matter is, there is no writing from anyone that could be considered Jehovah Witness prior to Charles Taze Russell. What I mean by that is that not one single person who holds to the same beliefs and practices as the Jehovah Witnesses today, existed in the early church or anytime prior to Charles Taze Russell’s foundation of zion’s watchtower tract society in 1881. This was founded after predictions of the rapture, by Russell and Nelson Barbour, did not come to fruition and the majority of his followers left him. This was not his only failed prediction.
How exactly do you justify this gap of 1,800 years in which not one Jehovah Witness existed? If there were Jehovah Witnesses that lived during this “gap” period, why is there no evidence to their existence. There are no ancient “kingdom halls” there exist no writings that attest to their beliefs, there is literally nothing to prove their existence prior to Russell. Why is it that we do find writings from the disciples of the Apostles and they are clearly not Jehovah Witnesses? Why do they speak of Christ as God and the triune God? Why do the early Christians practice liturgical worship and not the equivalent to townhall meetings?
You asked me, “Do you want to know the truth?” I think it is evident, either your understanding of truth is perverted or you have been mislead by erroneous teachings and are fervently defending what you perceive to be truth. Either way, you are incorrect in your beliefs, I hope that my response is but a stepping stone for you, and possibly for others to rid yourself of this disease and come home to the true Apostolic Orthodox Church, founded by Christ our Lord God and Savior!