Part 3: False quotes from pamphlet “Should You Believe in the Trinity?”

I will now provide some quotes supporting their anti-Trinitarian position from the Booklet “Should You Believe in the Trinity?”  In part 2 I showed how the Watchtower Organization desires to be accurate and truthful when quoting sources to support their doctrines.  The Jehovah’s Witnesses Organization laid down the following criteria for quoting authors:

  1. Be accurate in all statements
  2. Do not twist the meaning by using partial quotations
  3. Do not misrepresent the thoughts or beliefs of the writer

I will first provide the quote from the booklet and then give the actual quote found in the source materials.  This will show whether or not the Watchtower Organization is consistent with their standards of accuracy.

Below is a section taken from “Should You Believe in the Trinity?” page 4.  Embedded in the paragraph is a partial quote from the Encyclopedia Americana.  This paragraph flows from their contention the doctrine of the Trinity is contrary to normal reasoning.

  • “Many sincere believers have found it to be confusing, contrary to normal reason, unlike anything in their experience. How, they ask, could the Father be God, Jesus be God, and the holy spirit be God, yet there be not three Gods but only one God? …THIS confusion is widespread. The Encyclopedia Americana notes that the doctrine of the Trinity is considered to be ‘beyond the grasp of human reason.’”

Actual quote from The Encyclopedia Americana:

  • “It is held that although the doctrine is beyond the grasp of human reasoning, it is, like many of the formulations of physical science, not contrary to reason, and may be apprehended (though it may not be comprehended) by the human mind[1].”

Here we see the Watchtower utilizing only a few words from the original quote.  Remember they believe you should never twist the author’s intentions by using partial quotations.  Yet this is exactly what they do.  The Watchtower uses a partial quote to show their belief that the Trinity goes against human reason.  The full quote says just the opposite.  The Encyclopedia Americana clearly states the Trinity is not contrary to reason and can be apprehended.  Did they accurately reflect the thoughts and beliefs of the writer?  Obviously not!

Notice also there is no footnote for the quote.  All they list is title of the source but don’t provide the year, volume, name of the author or editor, page number or any other useful information for looking up the actual quote.  None of the quotes in the booklet have this information.  Are they trying to hide something from the readers?

Quote from “Should You Believe in the Trinity?”

  • Bernard Lohse says in A Short History of Christian Doctrine, “As far as the New Testament is concerned, one does not find in it an actual doctrine of the Trinity.”

Actual quote from A Short History of Christian Doctrine:

  • As far as the New Testament is concerned, one does not find in it an actual doctrine of the Trinity.  This does not mean very much, however, for generally speaking the New Testament is less intent upon setting forth certain doctrines than it is upon proclaiming the kingdom of God, a kingdom that dawns in and with the person of Jesus Christ.  At the same time, however, there are in the New Testament the rudiments of a concept of God that was susceptible of further development and clarification, along doctrinal lines[2].

The twisting of meaning is this quote is so obvious it is ridiculous.  The Watchtower Organization is using a partial quote to support their contention the New Testament does not teach the doctrine of the Trinity.  However, as before they leave off the parts of the quote that give the actual meaning of the statement.  Basically, Lohse is saying that the New Testament was more intent on proclaiming the gospel and identifying who Jesus is, rather than providing in-depth teachings on doctrines.  As the early church reacted to heretical teachings we get the majority of the writings and setting forth of doctrines based on the Bible.

The Shield of the Trinity is a diagram of the ...

One heresy, Arianism taught that Jesus was a created god, a lesser god. Arius had beliefs similar to Jehovah’s Witnesses.  The early Christian church overwhelmingly condemned this false teaching in 325 AD.  God has always been Triune and the church had always believed in the Trinity.  Until false teachers rose up and infiltrated the church, they just didn’t need to express that belief in words.  Lohse actually says the New Testament gives us the basics upon which a doctrine of the Trinity could later be developed.

Do you see how deceptive the Watchtower Organization is?  By partially quoting Lohse they can make him sound like he supports their teachings, when in fact he doesn’t.  Again they violate their standards of honesty.  Why would an organization twist the writings of authors to make their case?  How can they say they are committed to truth and then lie?  Who are they fooling?

Go to part 4 here



[1] The Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 27, p. 116

[2] Bernard Lohse, A Short History of Christian Doctrine,  1966, p 38

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