Monday, March 23, 2009
Knowing that I am probably running the risk of be labeled a “stalker” (“stalker” in James R. White’s vocabulary = one who dares to criticize any of his contributions; others who ‘lovingly’ have been given this label include: Dave Armstrong, Tim Enloe, and Paul Owen), I still feel somewhat compelled to offer a few comments on James’ latest blog post: Reflections on a Two and a Half Hour Conversation with a Witness Elder.
Now, my interest in this particular post primarily stems from two important reasons: first, I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness (4th generation); and second, my ongoing studies into subordinationism.
“The conversation focused, properly, on Jesus Christ and His relationship to the Father. Even more importantly, it focused on the text of Scripture. It was not, however, the normal game of Bible ping-pong, one verse cited on each side, back and forth. Though I was happy to respond to any texts he raised, for the most part I was presenting to him key texts demonstrating that the NT writers identified Jesus as Yahweh. Then I added in examples of mistranslation on the part of the NWT as well.”
Me: I suppose that the above approach ‘works’ for one who is a professional apologist and whose ‘opponent’ is a layman (even though Albert happens to be an elder, the actual amount of time he would have been able to spend on the issues that James raised, during his 30 plus years as a JW, would have been quite limited, for most JWs hold down a regular 40 hour a week job, spend at least 10 hours a month in their ‘door-to-door’ ministry, and 5 hours a week in structured ‘meetings’). As James’ debate, Jesus Christ: God or a god?, with Greg Stafford has clearly demonstrated, such an approach does not fair as well with one has acquired a few more skills than the typical JW possesses. (And further, I cannot help but sincerely wonder if the dialogue would have been a different one if the discussion had been between an average lay Christian and an average Jehovah’s Witness.)
James then said:
“I should note that the meeting did not just have one goal in mind. Those who observed and listened (Bill, two young people from our congregation) were able to see as well the clear testimony of Scripture to the truth of the Trinity. My hope is that they will be greatly encouraged to proclaim those truths in the future as well.”
Me: My 30 plus years of study into the Bible (as well as the Church Fathers and theology) has certainly taught me that the belief/statement there exists a “clear testimony of Scripture to the truth of the Trinity” is not based on objective evidence—the ‘facts’ present something quite different. For those interested in a bit more sober treatment/s on this topic, I would like to recommend my ongoing series on SUBORDINATIONISM, as well as some of the threads included under the topics on the TRINITY and DEVELOPMENT OF DOCTRINE.
And lastly, if you really want to sink your teeth into an informed, stimulating defense of subordinationism, head on over to FOSTER’S THEOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS, I suspect that even a professional apologist of James’ stature would be significantly challenged.
Grace and peace,