I am beginning a new series. Foundational for understanding how Jesus can be fully God and fully man is to make sure you have read my previous Trinity series. I begin with a true story.
While working as a pastor for Mission Hills Church in Escondido, I was approached by a man attending our church services. His wife had become close friends with a Jehovah Witness co-worker and was now considering joining their church. He said he was desperate and wanted help in showing his wife the truth of Christianity. I told him I could help and I looked forward to meeting his wife.
A couple of days before our meeting, I got a call from the husband that his wife wanted to not only meet with me but with a Jehovah Witness to present the other side. I said this would not be a good situation, as we would argue the entire time. He said these were her terms and either the Jehovah Witness came alone or I joined in on the conversation. So I told him I would do it.
I have to tell you this is outside my comfort zone. Would I be a good ambassador and help his wife see the truth? I spent the whole weekend getting ready for our Monday evening debate. I specifically spent time studying John 1:1 because she wanted answers to whether Jesus was “God” or “a god.” Fortunately, I had just finished my second semester of a doctrine class at Biola University (seminary) and we spent two days discussing John 1:1. Armed with prayer and hours of preparation I was ready.
Monday evening arrived and as I entered the house I was surprised to find two Jehovah Witnesses seated at the table. Both wore ties and had their books stacked beside them ready to challenge my beliefs. As I sat down I felt an inner confidence.
After introductions we began the debate. I volunteered to go first and everyone graciously agreed. This was going to be to my advantage. When debating a good tactic is to go first. You set the table for what is about to follow; you force your opponent(s) to play by your rules.
I began by showing how the Trinity is Biblical utilizing the 3 pillars: The Bible teaches, 1) there is only 1 God, 2) Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct persons, and 3) each person is God. I gave my definition; one God subsists in 3 persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; co-equal and co-eternal. I supported each pillar with a few verses. Then knowing their favorite scriptures, I decided to explain them before they had an opportunity to use them to refute my position. I said if you understand the workings of the Trinity you would understand how the Son in human Flesh could say the Father is greater (John 14:28). The Father is greater in position because Jesus humbled himself to become a man. It was also acceptable for Jesus to call the Father “My God” (John 20:17) because of His equal relationship with the Father. Jesus in human flesh was not an atheist and he would pray to the Father. In fact, calling the Father “my God” in John 5, the Jews said he was calling Himself God. For at least ten minutes I continued through some of their best arguments against the Trinity.
After I finished my opening remarks they began to make their case. Each time they brought up a scripture against my position, I simply said, “Don’t you remember, I dealt with that passage in my opening statement. These verses are consistent with a correct understanding of the Trinity. Your trouble stems from your lack of understanding how Jesus can be fully God and fully man. If you understood this all these so-called problems would be cleared up. These passages actually strengthen my case for the Trinity. ” My strategy totally frustrated them.
We debated for 2 hours, spending 30 minutes on John 1:1 alone. Finally, the wife called the debate to an end and had these words to say; “I would like to thank all of you for coming here to express your views. I now know what I believe to be true and I am comfortable with these words, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and THE WORD WAS GOD!” The truth had won out; Jesus is fully God and fully man. The two Jehovah Witnesses left quietly and quickly. I was not any smarter than these individuals but it is always easier to defend truth rather than error. I could see tears of joy in the eyes of the husband. As I left he gave me a big hug. Upon entering my car I rejoiced. It was a great feeling to be used by God as an ambassador to communicate His truth.
My goal is by combining the information found in this series and my previous Trinity series, you’ll be better prepared to defend the Christian beliefs. Most people who don’t believe the Trinity struggle with how Jesus can be fully God and fully man. I hope to clear away any misconceptions. Jude 1 challenges us to contend for the faith. My hope is to equip you to do that at your door.