January 1, 2013

Jesus Christ / Jehovah's Witnesses Q&A, part 1

Jesus Christ - The Answers to Our Questions

An Evangelical Response to the April 1, 2012 Watchtower

As an evangelical Christian, I count it a precious biblical truth that Jesus Christ is the Savior sent by the Father.  Jesus is a life-changer in the most profound sense. As a Christian, one of the deep impacts Jesus has had on my life is to give me a desire to speak truthfully about him. And so we arrive at the reason for this series of blog posts - a heartfelt desire to portray Jesus in the awesome light of truth contrasted with the tiny, confused, inaccurate picture of Jesus presented by the Jehovah's Witnesses.

The April 1, 2012 edition of the Watchtower magazine focuses on Jesus Christ and presents the unique understanding of the Jehovah's Witnesses concerning who he is.  Or as they have named the edition, "Jesus Christ - The Answers to Our Questions".

The answers given in the Watchtower magazine are very condensed, too brief to be truly helpful.  God willing, I will seek to provide responses that are full enough to be helpful in seeing the truth about Jesus Christ. Rather than create an overly lengthy blog post, I will be breaking my response up into a series of shorter posts. I hope the format proves to be helpful to you, dear readers.

Before Getting To The Questions

In the introduction of their magazine, the editors of the magaine spell out their method for answering the questions that will follow.

"The truth about Jesus can be discerned in his
words and actions, which are recorded in the four
Biblical Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
That inspired record is the basis for answering our
questions about Jesus."  (Watchtower, 4/1/2012, p.4)

Before we get to the questions, let's spend a little energy considering the impact this method could have. The Watchtower has effectively truncated the full testimony of Scripture by exclusively focusing on the four Gospels.  Is this a wise approach?  Are there important truths about Jesus Christ presented throughout the Bible?  The Watchtower leads the reader to believe that their answers to the questions are well-grounded and fully-formed.  Later in the publication, they emphasize that what we believe about Jesus really does matter (and I wholeheaertedly agree with them on that point - it truly does matter what we believe about Jesus).

Has the Watchtower decision to restrict the source material to the Gospels short-changed their answers in this issue of their magazine?  Yes.  Yes.  A thousand times, yes!  When we dive into the Biblical record, we find a rich palette painted across the canvas of the Old Testament concerning his unique sonship (Proverbs 30, Psalm 2, Isaiah 7 & 9); his unique Messiahship (Genesis 3, 9, 12, 49; Deut 18; and many others); many types and figures foreshadowing his multi-faceted uniqueness (Melchizedek, Abraham & Isaac, Boaz, Jonah, Moses, David, the entire Jewish priestly and sacrificial system, the Day of Atonement) and the list goes on.

In the New Testament we find the length and breadth revolving around Jesus Christ, bringing forth treasured view after view of his person, ministry, kingship, and Deity. It would not be unfair to describe the entire Bible as the book of Jesus Christ; for it either prefigures, predicts, or proclaims his greatness.

The Watchtower's approach in this issue of their magazine is overly-restrictive.  The truth about Jesus reaches far beyond the four Gospels, beginning in Genesis and ending in Revelation.  The Watchtower limits its investigation unwisely and, in so doing, creates an incorrect caricature of Jesus Christ. 

We will see where the Watchtower misses the mark in subsequent posts in this series.  Stay tuned.

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