Paragraph 12 of Chapter 4 (p. 42) of “Bible Teach” refers you to the Appendix entitled “The Truth About the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” (pp. 218-219). I will call this “The Anti-Trinity Appendix.”
If you have decided to discuss the full doctrine of the Trinity at this point in your study with the Witnesses, you will want to discuss this appendix in some depth. If you prefer to leave that discussion for later (Chapter 10 or Chapter 15), you can come back to this discussion at that point.
The appendix begins with this statement (p. 201): “PEOPLE who believe the Trinity teaching say that God consists of three persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each of these three persons is said to be equal to the others, almighty, and without beginning. According to the Trinity doctrine, therefore, the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, yet there is only one God.”
That is actually a good statement of the Trinity doctrine!
But p. 202 follows that up by saying, “Many who believe the Trinity admit that they are not able to explain this teaching. Still, they may feel that it is taught in the Bible.”
That statement provides a springboard for you to discuss anything I covered in The Jesus Is the God-Man Approach and The Holy Spirit Is God Approach from my book, Getting Through to Jehovah’s Witnesses: Approaching Bible Discussions in Unexpected Ways, including presenting a positive biblical case for the Trinity rather than just a response to Watchtower proof texts.
In addition, I have previously posted “Explaining the Trinity,” which you might find helpful.
Page 202 states, “It is worth noting that the word ‘Trinity’ never occurs in the Bible.” If the Witnesses raise this issue with you, point out that neither do the terms “theocracy,” “organization,” “Governing Body,” or “unbaptized publisher,” all expressions the Watchtower uses frequently. As the page goes on to note, the real question we need to examine is whether the idea of the Trinity is found there.
Page 202 argues against the rendering in John 1:1 that “the Word was God,” stating that a number of Bible translators don’t use the phrase.
In response, I would simply say that the vast majority of them did and still do use it.
The Anti-Trinity Appendix (p. 203), argues, “John also states that the Word was “with God.” But how can an individual be with someone and at the same time be that person?
Despite the good definition of the Trinity doctrine with which the Appendix began—”that God consists of three persons…”—here it claims that the Trinity doctrine teaches that the Father and Son are the same person. That’s a heresy called modalism. It’s not trinitarianism.
John 1:18: “No man has seen God at any time.”
On page 203, the Appendix also cites John 1:18 as saying that no man has seen God at any time. Yet, many people saw Jesus.
I discuss this issue in the God-Man Approach (pp. 176-177). Essentially, they are making the following argument:
- No man has seen God at any time.
- Many men have seen Jesus Christ.
- Therefore, Jesus Christ cannot be God.
In response, you can show them three Old Testament passages where people did see God—Exodus 24:9-10, Exodus 33:20-23, and Isaiah 6:1. Have them read those passages aloud and ask for their explanation.
The common factor of these passages is that although they saw some manifestation of God, they did not see him in his entirety, that is, the entire essence of his being. It is true that no human has seen God’s entire essence, but they have seen Jesus Christ, and he reveals to us what the Father is like (John 14:9). So in no way does John 1:18 disprove the deity of Christ.
John 17:3: “…the only true God…”
On page 203, the Anti-Trinity Appendix cites Jesus’ prayer in John 17:3 in which he calls the Father “the only true God.” The Watchtower argument is that Jesus is not “the true God.” It also argues that by saying that he wrote his gospel to show that Jesus was “the Son of God” (John 20:31), that means Jesus is “a god,” but not Almighty God.
As I said in the God-Man Approach (pp. 172-173), there are several good responses you can make to that argument:
- Have one of the Witnesses read aloud Jude 4: “My reason is that certain men have slipped in among you who were long ago appointed to this judgment by the Scriptures; they are ungodly men who turn the undeserved kindness of our God into an excuse for brazen conduct and who prove false to our only owner and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Watchtower translation).
- Ask, “By calling Jesus ‘our only owner and Lord’ is the scripture saying that the Father is not our owner and Lord? That’s the same reasoning you are using to say that Jesus’ calling the Father ‘the only true God’ proves that Jesus can’t be the true God as well.”
- You can also ask, “If Jesus meant to exclude himself when he called the Father ‘the only true God,’ then wouldn’t that make Jesus a false god?”
- If they try to convince you that—as the Watchtower translation renders John 1:1—Jesus is “a god,” the best reply is simply to ask, “Is Jesus a true god or a false god?”
- Also, in John 20:28, Thomas called Jesus, “My Lord and my God.” Literally, “the Lord of me and the God of me.” If Jesus meant to exclude himself as being “the true God,” why didn’t he rebuke Thomas for his statement?
The Appendix (p. 204) also notes that Jesus said only the Father knows the day or the hour of Christ’s return. It argues as follows: “Jesus says that the Father knows more than the Son does. If Jesus were part of Almighty God, however, he would know the same facts as his Father. So, then, the Son and the Father cannot be equal.”
I answered this point in the God-Man Approach (pp. 158-160). Jesus was a man as well as God. As a man, he voluntarily accepted human limitations. That doesn’t disprove his deity.
The Watchtower has heard that response before, so the Anti-Trinity Appendix adds this statement: “Yet, some will say: ‘Jesus had two natures. Here he speaks as a man.’ But even if that were so, what about the holy spirit? If it is part of the same God as the Father, why does Jesus not say that it knows what the Father knows?”
In answer, first consider the context. Jesus wasn’t even discussing the Holy Spirit at that point.
You can also reply with what I recommended in The Holy Spirit is God Approach (p. 187). Ask the Witnesses to read aloud 1 Corinthians 2:10-11: “For it is to us God has revealed them through his spirit, for the spirit searches into all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the things of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So, too, no one has come to know the things of God except the spirit of God.”
Ask, “How can an impersonal force search into anything? How can an impersonal force know the things of God? In fact, how can an impersonal force know anything at all?”
That concludes my discussion of the Anti-Trinity Appendix.
Now back to Chapter 4 itself.
Paragraph 14 (p. 42) says, “But you may wonder, ‘How was it possible for a spirit creature to be born as a human?’ To accomplish this, Jehovah performed a miracle. He transferred the life of his firstborn Son from heaven to the womb of a Jewish virgin named Mary. No human father was involved.”
Recall what I said earlier, that The Jesus Isn’t Michael Approach (pp. 153-154) points out that two Watchtower teachings about Jesus’ identity (that he was an archangel turned human and that he was a perfect man like Adam, no more, no less) contradict each other. You can raise this point with the Witnesses at this point in the discussion as well.
If the Witnesses are still willing to continue your meetings at this point, you can go on to discuss the rest of Chapter 4.
 Taken from Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses by Ron Rhodes, Copyright © 1993/2009 by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97408, www.harvesthousepublishers.com, p. 228