It is obvious, even to the passing observer, that our nation has moved farther away from its traditional ideas and its general focus upon godly principles. For the child of God, it can become disheartening, discouraging, and down right scary to think about a continued move in the current direction. So many things do not make sense to us. We see the emergence of a new world view, which gives little to no attention to God, except to attack Him. Man has tried to change God's definition of the home. Man has tried to change God's definition of life. Man has tried to change God's definition of the creation of the world. So many things seem to be going against the truth, which has been delivered to man through God's inspired word. In circumstances like these, there are some specific things that Christians must remember.
Government Can Not Save Us!
God does not have a national system today equivalent to the system He had with Israel. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not applicable in the same way it was during the Mosaic age, because the USA is not God's nation, nor is it called by His name. God's nation which is called by His name today is the church of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ did not die for the USA alone, nor is the USA the only location on the map where God's people dwell. The kingdom which Jesus came to establish (His church) was the one which would break all others into pieces. His kingdom will last through eternity, while all other kingdoms only last a short while, relatively speaking. We must recognize that baptism into Christ does not put us into a physical nation, but an holy nation (1 Pet. 2:9).
The Government, therefore, is not the answer to all problems. The government cannot stop immorality. The government cannot stop wickedness. The government cannot stop ungodliness. If we think the government will take care of those things, we have put our trust in the wrong thing.
The Bible teaches that sin and wickedness would always be with us (1 Cor. 5:10), and that the majority of those who live on this earth will take the wrong path, which will lead to destruction (Mat. 7:13-14). We need to put our trust in Jesus of Nazareth, who proved by many wonderful works to be the son of God.
Should We Obey God or Government?
Well, the answer to that question is "both" if at all possible, but sometimes we recognize that the laws of the land are not in keeping with the laws of God. In those circumstances, the Bible is clear: "we ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). This does not mean we should rise up violently against our government or its representatives, that is not the purpose of the Kingdom of Christ (John 18:36). The faithful child of God will always stand for God's will, no matter what the circumstances or the cost. But he must always act in a way which is becoming of a Christian, one who correctly wears the name of Christ.
While we might "pledge allegiance to the flag" (which has its roots in nationalistic socialism), our fullest allegiance is to God Almighty. We must recognize that we are first and foremost a Christian, no matter where we may reside. This world is not our permanent home, our citizenship is in heaven (Phi. 3:20). While our patriotism may be part of our life, Jesus is our life (Col. 3:4).
God Rules in the Kingdoms of Men (Dan. 4:17, 25)!
This is an absolute which we must not forget. God's general providence falls upon all of mankind, while His special providence is available for His faithful children (Mat. 5:45; 6:24-33; Rom. 8:28). God has a plan, and is providentially working His plan. It is not up to us to always know His ways and His devices (Isa. 55:8-9), it is our duty to follow what has been revealed to us and leave the rest up to Him (Deut. 29:29). That is the perfect example of a trusting faith (Pro. 3:4-6).
Go...Teach All Nations!
Our duty is not to fret and worry, our duty is to teach. The Apostles went into all the world under the rule of one of the most wicked empires the world has ever know. The historian Suetonius has documented some of the debauchery and indecency of twelve of the rulers of that empire, some of whom reigned during the time of Christ and the Apostles. They did not allow the world around them discourage them from the charge that was given to them, which was preaching and teaching the Gospel (Mat. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16).
Let your voice be heard at the ballot box, which is our duty as American citizens. But even more so, we MUST let our voices be heard as we teach the soul-saving Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world.
By Will Anderson
Once a month I hope to use my blog here at Only Hope Publications to highlight a new religion that is "up and coming" in the religious world and see if we can understand it and how it compares and contrasts to New Testament Christianity. This series is going to be called the "New and No-Worthy Series" and will hopefully be released the last week of each month (unless I see fit to do it earlier). We will be using various sources for these posts including, but not limited to, Wikipedia for it's ease of use and vast amounts of information on religions that may or may not have reached the point of being widely published.
This month's New and No-Worthy is the religion of Eckankar.
Name - The name "Eckankar" seems to be derived from another religion called Sikhism, which will be discussed later in our series. Given the definition from Eckankar itself, the name means "Co-Worker with God"
Founder, Leaders & History - The religion of ECK, another name for Eckankar, began in Las Vegas, NV in 1965 with the founder being Paul Twitchell, who was born in Paducah, KY and was once a member of the Church of Scientology, being one of the first in the religion to reach the status of "clear." After the end of Twitchell's leadership the religion's base of operations was moved to Menlo Park, CA in 1975 by Darwin Gross, an ex-Mennonite, and then to its current location of Chanhassen, MN by its current leader Harold Klemp, also known as Wah Z to the followers of Eckankar. Throughout its time as an established religious ideal, Eckankar has faced a number of problems, not the biggest of which was the major legal dispute over misappropriated money which resulted in Klemp's attaining the statuses of Mahanta, a term meaning "the highest state of God Consciousness on Earth," and Living ECK Master, which means the spiritual leader of the religion.
In this section, I'd like to simply quote from the Eckankar Wikipedia page:
With just this short introduction to the religion of Eckankar, one can realize that the comparison between it and true Christianity is somewhat limited. The one thing that we can point out is the definition of the word "Eckankar." It is true that the New Testament Christian is, in a sense, a co-worker of God in that he has the responsibility to go and to preach the Truth of the Gospel to the world (Mark 16:15-16) and that this means of evangelism is the way by which God converts the sinner and brings him to the knowledge of the Gospel, to which he then must obey (1 Corinthians 1:18-21, James 5:19-20, cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). Sadly, that is the only likeness that can be found between the two religions and it is a stretch at best.
Contrast to NT Christianity:
This is where the rubber meets the road, so to say, and the religions are jettisoned far apart from one another. The vast difference between ECK and the truth of New Testament Christianity, which was given by the Creator of the universe, can be seen through a quick evaluation of the above points of Eckankar's beliefs.
While Eckankar, or ECK, is a fascinating study, it is not the way by which a man can be saved from his sins nor is it a philosophy of life that could be held while remaining a Christian. It is to be seen just as all other religions are to be seen, a creation of man for the gain of something other than spiritual and religious righteousness. It is upsetting that so many, some 50,000 people, have placed their souls in the hands of this religion.
By Lee Snow
Recently I heard a term on a social networking site which I had never heard. It was being spoken of in a positive manner as a new approach to “Christian Belief”. The term is “Christian Moderate”. The term actually does not sound offensive or harmful, yet as I began to investigate the term it became extremely frightening. Listed below are the “fundamental” beliefs of one who claims to be a Christian Moderate after performing a web search.
The 8 Points of Moderate Christianity:
All Need a Savior:
Romans 3:23 (KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
Romans 6:23 (KJV) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Salvation has always been conditional:
John 8:24 (KJV) I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
John 3:36 (ASV) He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life; but he that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Next, the Moderate Christian believes “God is more generous in grace rather than less”. First if there is no need for a Savior, why is there a need for grace? I agree God abounds in giving grace, but do not believe He gives it unconditionally.
God’s Grace Does Abound!
Romans 5:20 (KJV) Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
The verses above demonstrate His grace, but these verses are often mis-used and mis-taught. Eph 2:8-9 does not teach that the alien sinner has no responsibility in the matter of salvation. The problem with this verse is often the reader misunderstanding the word “faith” in context. One is saved through “faith”, which is the system of faith, the scheme of human redemption, the Gospel system. Consider Galatians 1:23 (KJV) “But they had heard only, that he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed”. Notice how Paul preached “the faith”, or as we understand the “Gospel”. God freely gives grace, but there are requirements to receive it. The grace of God is given when one comes in contact with the blood of Christ through baptism.
Ephesians 1:7 (KJV) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.
1 Peter 1:2 (KJV) Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
Romans 3:24 (KJV) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:3-5 (KJV) 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.
1 Peter 3:21 (KJV) The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
One cannot be faithful apart from Jesus
John 8:24 (KJV) I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
There is only “One Faith” (No Denominations)
Ephesians 4:5 (KJV) One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
The Church is singular in nature!
Ephesians 5:23-27 (KJV) 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Ephesians 1:22 (KJV) And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Ephesians 5:32 (KJV) This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
1 Timothy 2:4 (KJV) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV) 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
2 Timothy 4:2-4 (KJV) 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Leviticus 18:22 (KJV) Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
Leviticus 20:13 (KJV) If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Romans 1:23-27 (KJV) 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (KJV) 9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Timothy 1:8-11 (KJV) 8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; 11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV) 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
John 13:34-35 (KJV) 34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Philippians 4:8 (KJV) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Matthew 25:46 (KJV) And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
2 Peter 3:10 (KJV) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Revelation 20:10 (KJV) And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Romans 11:22 (KJV) Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
John 5:29 (KJV) And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Believe the Gospel: John 8:24 (KJV) I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
Repent of Sins: Acts 17:30 (KJV) And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Confess the Christ: Romans 10:9-10 (KJV) 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Be Baptized by immersion for the remission of sins: Mark 16:16 (KJV) He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Remain Faithful: 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (KJV) 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Isaiah Chapter 53
John 6:44 (KJV) No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 6:40 (KJV) And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 6:39 (KJV) And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
1 Thessalonians 4:14 (KJV) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
Although I could have gone into much greater detail, I think it is clear that those who claim to be “Christian Moderates” are in fact not Christians at all according to the Scriptures! Based on their beliefs, I would not call them “Moderate Christians”, but rather “Believers in another Gospel”.
Galatians 1:6-9 (KJV) 6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
"Sweet home Alabama, Lord I'm coming home to you" are words that have been sung by thousands of proud Americans who love this country and love the beautiful landscape of the south. There is nothing wrong with patriotism, pride in one's country or geographical region, and a fascination with God's beautiful creation; after all, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork" (Ps 19:1). However, some have taken the lyrics to a Lynyrd Skynyrd song about Alabama literally to the point that Alabama and the culture of the south has become the "lord" and their source of salvation. It is called "Southernism" and it is a rampent belief system found throughout the south eastern part of the United States. Consider the doctrine of Southernism:
The Legal Standard
"Mama lives by the Bible, The Bible lives by the bed" are lyrics by Trent Tomlinson in a song entitled, "One Wing In The Fire". The song is about a daddy that gets drunk on Saturday nights, doesn't live right, but, by the songwriters standard, is really an angel with no halo and one wing in the fire. The idea is that even though daddy's life is defined by wickedness and although he doesn't pay much attention to the scriptures, mama is still upholding the family by using the Bible while trying to drag daddy into living right. The Legal Standard for Southernism is not the Bible, it's mama!
Those who practice Southernism engage in religious activities based upon the standard that mama has set, regardless if that standard has actually been set by God. In other words, a family practicing Southernism relies upon mama to know and set the bar for all things religious not ever verifying whether those things which mama upholds are indeed in accordance with the word of God. Therefore, the Biblical knowledge the exists throughout the Southernist family is rooted in any little amount of scripture that mama may have referred to or emphasized as important. The Southernist fails to realize that mama's standard is not the standard of eternal judgment, and that all men will be judged by Christ's words (cf. John 12:48). Whatever mama's understanding of the Bible may be, no one is going to be saved by what mama knows because "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Cor 5:10).
"There ain't no need to gather with the church because when I am out on the lake, there ain't no body but me and God out there anyway and that is my worship." These are some words quoted to this author that were in response to a question about attending worship services. Since the standard of Southernism is mama (as noted above), worship services only become a priority when mama says they are. These times usually include moments of family gatherings or holidays- such as Mother's Day, Family Reunions, Christmas, Easter, and maybe New Years. Based upon the standard of mama then, those that practice Southernism have chosen to serve and worship "the creature more than the Creator" (Rom 1:25).
Worship services for the Southernist may include a Sunday out on the lake fishing from dawn till dusk, a Sunday in the deer stand and in the woods that is devoted to shooting, skinning and preparing venison, or tailgating for, watching, and replaying the Sunday football game and/or Nascar race. Such worship is accompanied with the drinking of beer, smoking of cigarettes/cigars, and/or dipping from the Skoal can that is kept in the back pocket. The Southernist pays no attention to the numerous commands in scripture that focus on the gathering and affection to be shared by the saints (cf. Heb 10:24-25; 1 Cor 11:18; Eph 4:32; 1 John 4:7; Jam 5:16) because mama just never made those commands nor the essentiality of worshipping God in spirit and in truth (cf. John 4:24) a priority.
The Southernist's moto is "Nevermind that I don't live right, worship God in spirit and truth, or use the words of Christ as my standard- I am a good American guy that works hard and provides for my family." Justification in Southernism is found in a man's work. "If a man works hard, then worship doesn't matter. If a man works hard, then God's commandments don't matter. If a man works hard, then God is pleased enough." However, such a mindset of justification didn't work for a man named Cain back in Genesis chapter 4. In Genesis 4:2, the Bible says that "Cain was a tiller of the ground." Cain worked hard, labored on the land, and used his hands. However, when Cain worshipped God (cf. Gen 4:3), God did not approve of his worship because it was unacceptable and was not based upon God's word (cf. Gen 4:5; Heb 11:4; Rom 10:17). Cain did not find justification by simply working hard while yet failing to recognize and obey God's pattern for worship .
God certainly commands that a man work and earn his living (cf. 2 Thess 3:10-12). However, salvation is not by a man's occupation. A man's occupation did not die on the cross. A man's occupation did not deliver words of spirit and of life (cf. John 6:63). A man's occupation is not the way unto the Father (cf. John 14:6). A man's hard work does not justify him before God, Jesus, and only Jesus, justifies men before God.
Southernism is real. It is a vast religious group that defines the beliefs of many- some who are in the south and some who are not. Although there are many portions of Southernism that involve God (ie. mama's Biblical knowledge is the standard, being in God's creation equates to acceptable worship, and working hard in your occupation pleases God), Southernists must understand that there is a difference between associating with God and being in fellowship with God. Just because God is recognized and acknowledged by the Southernist does not mean that God approves of the Southernist. God does not command association, God commands sacrificial devotion (cf. Luke 9:23; 1 John 1:7). Southernism doesn't save, but Jesus does!
By Sean B. O'Brien
I’d like to take this week’s blog and point you toward some helpful articles written by other members of the Lord’s church that will give a better insight into the problem that Christians are facing in this world, the false religions of man. It’s never pleasing, for anyone with the mind of Christ, to ponder the fact that the vast majority of people living on earth will not be accepted into Heaven on the Judgment Day (Mat. 7:13-14) but if we are going to take God’s word and apply it to our lives like He says we must in order to be profitable unto Him (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16-17) then we are going to have to realize this fact. But, that’s not the end of the discussion! Yes, many people, millions of people, billions of people will not follow God’s word but many will if they are shown the Truth. That’s why Jesus Christ Himself gave us the responsibility, obligation and privilege to go to everyone and see which are willing to obey (Mat. 28:19-20).
I’m reminded of a story I once heard of a preaching student. After a full day of door knocking and passing out material it was time for dinner. The students finished their meal and one spoke up with the words, “I’m going back out door knocking, does anyone want to go with me?” When asked why he was going back out he responded, “I’m looking for that ONE soul that is looking for the Gospel and until I find him my job is not done.” Let that be our mind when contemplating the lost nature of our world and the fact that the false religions of it are one of the biggest reasons for their lost condition!
Here are the articles for your perusal:
1. Why Can’t Religions Groups Get Along? by Wes McAdams
2. Corn Dogs, Sauerkraut and Cottage Cheese by Neal Pollard
By Lee Snow
The topic of today’s blog is to address the Denial by the Jehovah’s Witness of the doctrine of the trinity. Now, I know the word trinity is not found in the Bible, and this was one of the first questions asked by the Jehovah’s Witnesses as they visited my house. However, the scriptures clearly teach the trinity, especially when speaking of the Godhead. The Godhead (trinity) can clearly be seen in the following examples:
1. Matthew 28:19 (KJV) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
2. Hebrews 1:8 (KJV) But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
3. John 1:1 (KJV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
4. 1 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
5. Colossians 2:8-9 (KJV) 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
6. Titus 2:13 (KJV) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
7. Philippians 2:5-6 (KJV) 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
8. John 5:18 (KJV) Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
9. John 10:30 (KJV) I and my Father are one.
Now that we have looked at some verses which show the different forms of the Godhead, I would like to address the verse which the Jehovah’s Witnesses use to limit the Godhead to one, thus making Jesus Christ an inferior deity. Not only do they make Jesus an inferior deity, but they claim he is Michael the Archangel and the brother of Satan. Proving Jesus is not an inferior deity should also prove the other two claims are false.
Below I have attached the King James Version and the New World Translation (Jehovah’s Witness version) for comparison before we attack this issue. Also note at the end of this article I will place the correctly diagrammed verse in Greek with the Interlinear translation for reference as additional refute to their rendering of John 1:1.
John 1:1-2 (King James Version) 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God.
John 1:1-2 (New World Translation) In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. This one was in the beginning with God.”
In the Jehovah Witnesses book “What Does the Bible Really Teach”, the following remarks are found:
Which translation of John 1:1, 2 agrees with the context? John 1:18 says: “No one has ever seen God.” John 1 Verse 14 clearly says that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . we have beheld his glory.” Also, John 1:1-2 say that in the beginning he was “with God.” Can one be with someone and at the same time be that person? At John 17:3, Jesus addresses the Father as “the only true God”; so, Jesus as “a god” merely reflects his Father’s divine qualities.—Heb. 1:3.
Let’s address their question as listed above. “Can one be with someone and at the same time be that person?” Just because it is difficult to understand how God did something does not detract from what the Bible teaches. The Greek actually says in John 1:1-2 when rendered “exact”:᾿”Εν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος”, which translated states: “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and God was the word. However, the correct English translation is "...and the Word was God," not "and God was the word." The reason for this is because there is only one definite article ("ho"="the"). In a clause where two nouns are in the nominative ("subjective") form ("theos" and "logos"), then the noun with the definite article ("ho"="the") is the subject. In this case "ho logos" means that "the word" is the subject of the clause. This is also referenced in the Greek Diagram of John 1:1 below. Now, let’s combine this with John 1:3 (KJV) “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” This causes a serious problem for the Jehovah’s Witness because they claim that Jesus was a lower deity made by God. But wait, that’s not what John 1:3 says. According to John 1:3, Jesus made all things, but logically He could not have made himself. This is in perfect alignment with John 1:1 which says He was at the beginning. There is no way around the fact that Jesus, just as God, was eternal.
Now, consider Jesus’ words in John 10:30 which I have shown the Greek (ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν.) It is translated correctly in the King James Version. John 10:30 (KJV) “I and my Father are one”. This statement only has a remarkable impact if one understands how the Jews looked at the relationship between the father and the son. The son was considered equal in authority to his father and could perform business transactions in his father’s name. It is a totally different thought process than we have today. Today, we view the son as lesser in value or rank than the father. But, when you look at the verse, it is apparent the Jews of His day clearly understood what he meant. Notice the very next verse: John 10:31 (KJV) “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him”. The Jews, not believing that he really was the Son of God thought he blasphemed by making himself equal to the (His) father. When Jesus said we are one, he not only confirmed his Diety, but also confirmed his authority and equality with the father. Consider carefully, the next comment in the Jehovah’s Witness book “What Does the Bible Really Teach?”
Is the rendering “a god” consistent with the rules of Greek grammar? Some reference books argue strongly that the Greek text must be translated, “The Word was God.” But not all agree. In his article “Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1,” Philip B. Harner said that such clauses as the one in John 1:1, “with an anarthrous predicate preceding the verb, are primarily qualitative in meaning. They indicate that the logos has the nature of theos.” He suggests: “Perhaps the clause could be translated, ‘the Word had the same nature as God.’” (Journal of Biblical Literature, 1973, pp. 85, 87) Thus, in this text, the fact that the word the•os′ in its second occurrence is without the definite article (ho) and is placed before the verb in the sentence in Greek is significant. Interestingly, translators that insist on rendering John 1:1, “The Word was God,” do not hesitate to use the indefinite article (a, an) in their rendering of other passages where a singular anarthrous predicate noun occurs before the verb. Thus at John 6:70, JB and KJ both refer to Judas Iscariot as “a devil,” and at John 9:17 they describe Jesus as “a prophet.”
Not only is the statement above not correct according to all well-known Greek Scholars, but the remarks were taken out of context and against the authors wishes as shown below.
I have attached a letter at the bottom of this article titled “exhibit 1” which denies the author (Philip B. Harner) ever made this statement. The writer officially asked them to quit misquoting his work. Not only did they not quit, but have continued to do so against his wishes since 1950! Below, I will show that the New World Translation translators do not even follow their own rules except for when it is beneficial to their doctrine.
Notice the chart below showing the Jehovah’s Witnesses are inconsistent in their translation and do not follow their own rules as they claim is the standard for John 1:1-2. According to their own rules, they mis-translate John 1:6, 1:12, 1:13, and 1:18. Due to time and the number of errors in the New World Translation, I will limit the examples to John Chapter 1.
How the NWT Actually reads How the NWT should read if it followed its own rules:
1:1b the Word was with God the Word was with God
1:1c the Word was a god the Word was a god
1:2 in the beginning with God. in the beginning with God.
1:6 a man sent forth as a representative of God a man sent forth as a representative of a God
1:12 to become God's children to become a God's children
1:13 man's will, but from God man's will, but from a God
1:18a No man has seen God No man has seen a God
1:18b the only begotten God the only begotten a God
It should be clear from the above information and mistranslated examples taken from John chapter one of the New World Translation, that the Jehovah’s witnesses apply Greek grammatical rules in whichever method fits their doctrines.
LETTER TO WATCHTOWER REFUTING PUBLICATION QUOTATIONS
By Shawn Bogemann
http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/b/r1/lp-e/43/1#h=1:0-1:139 (Located under the heading John 1:1-2)
Our world has increasingly turned to the philosophical idea of Postmodernism. Postmodern thought is essentially a "live and let live" mentality. It promotes not only tolerance, but acceptance of all types of lifestyles and schools of thought. One, very visible, proof of this idea is the coexist stickers which many have placed on the bumper of their cars. These stickers promote the idea that there are many paths to religious enlightenment and many path to Deity. There are some serious questions, which would come to the minds of those with good and honest hearts, about these ideas.
Should We Live and Let Live?
Is it our duty to be involved in the lives of those around us, or should we "leave well enough alone" those with whom we interact daily? When listening to our politicians, there is a noticeable difference in the terminology which they use to talk about our 1st amendment rights. They have begun to talk about freedom of worship instead of freedom of religion. Although there only seems to be a slight difference, the implication is a drastic change to the ideas of our founders. Freedom of worship is intended to keep our freedoms within our "houses of worship" and our private lives, but they are not to extend to into our public lives. Freedom of religion, which is what is outlined in our Bill of Right, means we have the freedom to live and act upon our beliefs at all times. Reality teaches us that one cannot separate his actions from the belief set which he has, although that is the intention of this new language.
Jesus teaches us our obligation to "teach all nations" and "preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15; Mat. 28:19). It is impossible to do those things without being actively involved in the lives of those around us. In many cases, we have decided to practice isolationism within ourselves, but that is clearly not a biblical principle. The Apostle Paul writes that we can only be isolated from the world when we are taken out of the world (1 Cor. 5:10). Building relationships and being a part of the lives of others are critical aspects of evangelism. We cannot act in a forceful way towards others, but we must let love, sincerity, and truth be seen through our words and actions toward all of humanity (Mat. 5:14-15; Gal. 6:10).
Should We Coexist?
There is a sense in which we have no choice but to coexist. To coexist means that individuals live at the same time. The Bible clearly teaches that we will live at the same time as the ungodly and those with different belief sets, but we cannot coexist in the sense that is meant by those pushing the idea shown by the bumper sticker. Their intention is to allow all to follow and believe in whatever path will lead them to a higher power or sense of enlightenment, without anyone saying that another way is better and right. We cannot simply stand aside and allow people to believe whatever they would like without ever speaking up for the God of heaven. The words of warning given to Ezekiel, the prophet of old, should be applied and heeded today:
When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul (Ezekiel 3:18-21).
Are There Many Paths to God?
This question gets to the heart of the matter. If there are many paths to God, we should not make any distinction between another way and ours. Jesus speaks clearly about the number of paths to God. "Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:5-6). "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Mat. 7:13-14).
There is only one way, there is only one path, there is only one gate, and there is only one hope for the salvation of humanity, through the shed blood of the Son of God who has all authority and sits at the right hand of the Father.
Should we live in peace with all? Absolutely (1 Tim. 2:2), but we cannot reject our obligation to teach the saving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God's only means of salvation today (Rom. 1:16).
By Will Anderson