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Deceptive Quote: Trinitarian

Fails to inform the reader that the Egyptians would label JW's as trinitarians, seeing little difference with their "trinity of Osiris, Isis, and Horus, constituting a divine family of father and son."

Hastings, James: Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics

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Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings quoted in, Should you believe the Trinity?, Watchtower publication

Watchtower Deception exposed:

How the Watchtower quoted the source

What they left out to deliberately misrepresent the source and deceive you:

"In Indian religion, e.g., we meet with the trinitarian group of Brahma, Siva, and Visnu; and in Egyptian religion with the trinitarian group of Osiris, Isis, and Horus . . . Nor is it only in historical religions that we find God viewed as a Trinity. One recalls in particular the Neo-Platonic view of the Supreme or Ultimate Reality," which is "triadically represented." (Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings, quoted in, Should you believe the Trinity?, Watchtower publication)

"(b) Although the notion of a divine Triad or Trinity is characteristic of the Christian religion, it is by no means peculiar to it. In Indian religion e.g., we meet with the trinitarian group of Brahma, siva, and Visnu; and in Egyptian religion with the trinitarian group of Osiris, Isis, and Horus, constituting a divine family, like the Father, Mother, and Son in medieval Christian pictures. Nor is it only in historical religions that we find God viewed as a Trinity. One recalls in particular the Neo-Platonic view of the Supreme or Ultimate Reality, which was suggested by Plato in the Timmoeus; e.g., in the philosophy of Plotinus the primary or original Realities are triadically represented as the Good or (in numerical symbol) the One, the Intelligence or the One-Many, and the World-Soul or the One and Many. The religious Trinity associated, if somewhat loosely, with Comte's philosophy might also be cited here: the cultus of humanity as the Great Being, of space as the Great Medium, and of the earth as the Great Fetish. (c) What lends a special character to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is its close association with the distinctive Christian view of divine incarnation." ... " As Augustine said, "if in the books of the Platonists it was to be found that 'in the beginning was the Word,' it was not found there that 'the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.'" ... "None the less Christ is acknowledged as the eternal Son of God and the supreme revelation of the Father, and the quickening Spirit of life is acknowledged to be derived ' from on high." And so, when the early Christians would describe their conception of God, all the three elements-God, Christ, and the Spirit-enter into the description, and the one God is found to be revealed in a threefold way." (Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings, Trinity, p 458)

"At first the Christian faith was not Trinitarian . . . It was not so in the apostolic and sub-apostolic ages, as reflected in the N[ew] T[estament] and other early Christian writings." (Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings, quoted in, Should you believe the Trinity?, Watchtower publication)

Economic and essential trinity:- (a) The transition from the Trinity of experience to the Trinity of dogma is describable in other terms as the transition from the economic or dispensational Trinity [Greek] to the essential, immanent or ontological Trinity [Greek]. At first the Christian faith was not Trinitarian in the a strictly ontological reference. It was not so in the apostolic and sub-apostolic ages, as reflected in apostolic the NT and other early Christian writings. Nor was it so even in the age of the Christian apologists. And even Tertullian, who founded the nomenclature of the orthodox doctrine, knew as little of an ontological Trinity as did the apologists; his still the economic or relative conception of the Johannine and Pauline theology. So Harnack holds, and he says further that the whole history of Christological and Trinitarian dogma from Athanasius to Augustine is the history of the displacement of the Logos-conception by that of the Son, of the substitution of the immanent and absolute Trinity for the economic and relative. In any case the orthodox doctrine in its developed form is a Trinity of essence rather than of manifestation, as having to do in the first instance with the subjective rather than the objective Being of God. And, just because these two meanings of the Trinity-the theoretical and the practical, as they might also be described-are being sharply distinguished in modern Christian thought, it might be well if the term 'Trinity' were employed to designate the Trinity of revelation or the doctrine of the threefold self-manifestation of God), and the term 'Triunity' (cf. Germ. Dreienigkeit) Adopted as the designation of the essential Trinity (or the doctrine of the tri-personal nature of God). (Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings, Trinity, p 461)

What else did they fail to quote from this source?

What they fail to tell the same article also says:

As Augustine said, "if in the books of the Platonists it was to be found that 'in the beginning was the Word,' it was not found there that 'the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.'" (Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings, Trinity, p 458)

In the New Testament we do not find the doctrine of the Trinity in anything like its developed form, not even in the Pauline and Johannine theology, although ample witness is borne to the religious experience from which the doctrine springs. None the less Christ is acknowledged as the eternal Son of God and the supreme revelation of the Father, and the quickening Spirit of life is acknowledged to be derived ' from on high." And so, when the early Christians would describe their conception of God, all the three elements-God, Christ, and the Spirit-enter into the description, and the one God is found to be revealed in a threefold way. (Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings, Trinity, p 458)

Truly, if the doctrine of the Trinity appeared somewhat late in theology, it must have lived very early in devotion." (Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings, Trinity, p 458)

In any case the orthodox doctrine in its developed form is a Trinity of essence rather than of manifestation, as having to do in the first instance with the subjective rather than the objective Being of God. And, just because these two meanings of the Trinity-the theoretical and the practical, as they might also be described-are being sharply distinguished in modern Christian thought, it might be well if the term 'Trinity' were employed to designate the Trinity of revelation or the doctrine of the threefold self-manifestation of God), and the term 'Triunity' (cf. Germ. Dreienigkeit) Adopted as the designation of the essential Trinity (or the doctrine of the tri-personal nature of God). (Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings, Trinity, p 461)

It should be observed that there is no real cleavage or antithesis between the doctrines of the economic and the essential Trinity, and naturally so. The Triunity represents the effort to think out the Trinity, and so to afford it a reasonable basis. The first Christians had with St. Paul a saving experience of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the love of God, and of the communion of the Holy Ghost; and the theologians of the ancient Church sought to set forth the Christian experience in logical terms of reason. In the effort they were led, inevitably, to effect an alliance between the gospel of their salvation and the speculative philosophy, and more especially the Platonism, in which they had been trained, while, in making room for the Christian gospel within the world-not altogether hospitable of the Greek philosophy, they found themselves translating their empirical knowledge of God-the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ-into a doctrine of diversity or multiplicity, as distinguished from merely abstract unity, within the divine Nature itself. In other words, in thinking out the Trinity they arrived at the Triunity. None the less the greatest and most influential of the Christian Fathers, Origen, Athanasius, Basil and the Gregories, Augustine, all acknowledged that, for all the light thrown upon it in the Biblical revelation, the divine Nature remained for them a mystery transcending reason. (Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings, Trinity, p 461)

Our comment regarding first quote

In utter deception, the Watchtower selects the quote, "Egyptian religion with the trinitarian group of Osiris, Isis, and Horus, constituting a divine family, like the Father, Mother, and Son" but leaves out the fact that the Egyptian trinity was a divine family complete with Father (Jehovah) and Son (Jesus). The parallel between Egyptian polytheism and trinity in number three, Jehovah's Witnesses quickly identified, but in a prime example of selective quoting, they fail to tell you that there is a clear parallel between the Egyptian trinity and the Watchtower view of God in that both have a divine family of Father and Son. (Of course the divine family is also similar to the Trinitarian view.)

Our comment regarding second quote

In the quote: "At first the Christian faith was not Trinitarian in the a strictly ontological reference. It was not so in the apostolic and sub-apostolic ages, as reflected in apostolic the NT and other early Christian writings." you will notice that each section they leave out states the exact opposite of what they represent Hastings actually saying! The discussion Hastings is having is well above the average JW's ability to understand without reading a few good books on the Trinity. Unfortunately, because JW's are forbidden from reading "apostate materials" or "spiritual pornography" they will never understand what Hastings is saying! But quite simply, Hastings is saying what any informed trinitarian would say namely: That the word trinity is used in two senses.

Economic Trinity: First in a simple sense, as we find in the Bible, where there is an affirmation of the deity of Christ and the personality of the Holy Spirit combined with a mono-theistic view of God, but without any explanation as to how the whole thing fits together and works. The simple affirmation of the "threeness of God", seen at the Baptism of Jesus and the baptism of every Christian, is the Economic Trinity

Ontological Trinity: Second, the developed trinity or as the Watchtower leaves out the, "strictly ontological" trinity, is the theological explanation as to how a mono-theistic view of God can have threeness. This second definition of trinity explains how the plumbing works and goes far beyond a simple affirmation of the threeness of the mono-theistic God.

It is the second definition of Trinity, the Ontological trinity, as defined above, that every informed trinitarian will admit is not in the Bible.

Deception Exposed:

It is deceptive to quote from a source that shows similarities between pagan triads and the Christian trinity, in order to prove that the Christian trinity originated with the pagans BUT fail to tell the reader that the very same sentence identifies another similarity between pagan triads and the Jehovah's Witness view of God, namely that both constituted a Father - Son divine family!

In absolute deception, the Watchtower writers, who understands the difference between economic and ontological trinity, create a false dilemma in the mind of the reader by projecting the thought that if the Ontological trinity is not in the Bible, that Jesus is therefore a creature and the Holy Spirit is nothing more than electricity! (The average Jehovah's Witness has never even heard of the terms "economic and ontological trinity" but the Governing body knows better and aims at deceiving by deliberately leaving that important qualifying term out of the quote.

For Arians (JW's, Christadelphians) to appeal draw parallels between Hindu polytheism and Christianity, to support their false doctrine is nothing short of incredible! Doing such is as dishonest as it is deceptive! JW's have not comprehended that if they had the Governing Body themselves sit down and explain their view of God to the Hindu's (Father-true God, Son-a god and Holy Spirit-the force or energy of God), that the Hindus would immediately label JW's as TRINITARIANS or TWINITARIANS! Stated differently, from the perspective of Hindus, there is NO REAL DIFFERENCE between the Trinitarian view of God and the Arian (JW's) view of God. Hindus, would label both views as POLYTHEISM! The Governing Body really blundered when they chose this route! We dare JW's to explain their view of God to Hindus, and ask if they would call it is polytheism! As you can see what JW's left out of the quote, The "Father and the Son", as taught by JW's, are exactly the type of polytheistic "divine family" the writer is talking about!

Full Texts:

"(b) Although the notion of a divine Triad or Trinity is characteristic of the Christian religion, it is by no means peculiar to it. In Indian religion e.g., we meet with the trinitarian group of Brahma, siva, and Visnu; and in Egyptian religion with the trinitarian group of Osiris, Isis, and Horus, constituting a divine family, like the Father, Mother, and Son in medieval Christian pictures. Nor is it only in historical religions that we find God viewed as a Trinity. One recalls in particular the Neo-Platonic view of the Supreme or Ultimate Reality, which was suggested by Plato in the Timmoeus; e.g., in the philosophy of Plotinus the primary or original Realities are triadically represented as the Good or (in numerical symbol) the One, the Intelligence or the One-Many, and the World-Soul or the One and Many. The religious Trinity associated, if somewhat loosely, with Comte's philosophy might also be cited here: the cultus of humanity as the Great Being, of space as the Great Medium, and of the earth as the Great Fetish. (c) What lends a special character to the Christ. inn doctrine of the Trinity is its close association with the distinctive Christian view of divine incarnation. In other religions and philosophies we meet with the idea of divine incarnation: but it may be claimed that nowhere is the union of God and man so concrete and definite, and so universal in its import, as in the Christian religion. As Augustine said, "if in the books of the Platonists it was to be found that 'in the beginning was the Word,' it was not found there that 'the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.'" It is the very central truth of Christianity that God was historically manifest in Christ, and that He is still revealed in the world as the indwelling Spirit of the Church or community of Christ's founding. This Christian faith in the incarnation of the divine Word in the man Christ Jesus, with whom the believer is united through the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, constitutes the distinctive basis of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity." ... "(b) In the New Testament we do not find the doctrine of the Trinity in anything like its developed form, not even in the Pauline and Johannine theology, although ample witness is borne to the religious experience from which the doctrine springs. None the less Christ is acknowledged as the eternal Son of God and the supreme revelation of the Father, and the quickening Spirit of life is acknowledged to be derived ' from on high." And so, when the early Christians would describe their conception of God, all the three elements-God, Christ, and the Spirit-enter into the description, and the one God is found to be revealed in a threefold way. This is seen in the baptismal formula,' In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,' which at least reflects the usage of the apostolic Church, and in which the members of the Trinity are already all three associated together. It is also to be seen in the familiar words of St. Paul, 'The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost.' This last has been called, and justly so, the great Trinitarian text of the NT, as being one of the few NT passages, and the earliest of them, in which the three elements of the Trinity are set alongside of each other in a single sentence. If the passage contains no formulate expression of the Trinity, it is yet of great significance as showing that, less than thirty years after the death of Christ, His name and the name of the Holy Spirit could be employed in conjunction with the name of God Himself. Truly, if the doctrine of the Trinity appeared somewhat late in theology, it must have lived very early in devotion." (Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings, Trinity, p 458)

Economic and essential trinity:- (a) The transition from the Trinity of experience to the Trinity of dogma is describable in other terms as the transition from the economic or dispensational Trinity [Greek] to the essential, immanent or ontological Trinity [Greek]. At first the Christian faith was not Trinitarian in the a strictly ontological reference. It was not so in the apostolic and sub-apostolic ages, as reflected in apostolic the NT and other early Christian writings. Nor was it so even in the age of the Christian apologists. And even Tertullian, who founded the nomenclature of the orthodox doctrine, knew as little of an ontological Trinity as did the apologists; his still the economic or relative conception of the Johannine and Pauline theology. So Harnack holds, and he says further that the whole history of Christological and Trinitarian dogma from Athanasius to Augustine is the history of the displacement of the Logos-conception by that of the Son, of the substitution of the immanent and absolute Trinity for the economic and relative. In any case the orthodox doctrine in its developed form is a Trinity of essence rather than of manifestation, as having to do in the first instance with the subjective rather than the objective Being of God. And, just because these two meanings of the Trinity-the theoretical and the practical, as they might also be described-are being sharply distinguished in modern Christian thought, it might be well if the term 'Trinity' were employed to designate the Trinity of revelation or the doctrine of the threefold self-manifestation of God), and the term 'Triunity' (cf. Germ. Dreienigkeit) Adopted as the designation of the essential Trinity (or the doctrine of the tri-personal nature of God). (b) It should be observed that there is no real cleavage or antithesis between the doctrines of the economic and the essential Trinity, and naturally so. The Triunity represents the effort to think out the Trinity, and so to afford it a reasonable basis. The first Christians had with St. Paul a saving experience of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the love of God, and of the communion of the Holy Ghost; and the theologians of the ancient Church sought to set forth the Christian experience in logical terms of reason. In the effort they were led, inevitably, to effect an alliance between the gospel of their salvation and the speculative philosophy, and more especially the Platonism, in which they had been trained, while, in making room for the Christian gospel within the world-not altogether hospitable of the Greek philosophy, they found themselves translating their empirical knowledge of God-the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ-into a doctrine of diversity or multiplicity, as distinguished from merely abstract unity, within the divine Nature itself. In other words, in thinking out the Trinity they arrived at the Triunity. None the less the greatest and most influential of the Christian Fathers, Origen, Athanasius, Basil and the Gregories, Augustine, all acknowledged that, for all the light thrown upon it in the Biblical revelation, the divine Nature remained for them a mystery transcending reason. (Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings, Trinity, p 461)

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Written By Steve Rudd, Used by permission at: www.bible.ca

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