Part 4: Pamphlet misquotes James Fortman

I have one more quote to demonstrate the deceitfulness of the Watchtower Organization.  Again it will show how they twist the meaning of the writer.

Quote from “Should You Believe in the Trinity?”

  • Jesuit Fortman states: “The New Testament writers…give us no formal or formulated doctrine of the Trinity, no explicit teaching that in one God there are three co-equal persons…Nowhere do we find any Trinitarian doctrine of three distinct subjects of divine life and activity in the same Godhead.”

Actual quotes from James Fortman:

  • They [NT writers] give us no formal or formulated doctrine of the Trinity, no explicit teaching that in one God there are three co-equal divine personsBut they do give us an elemental Trinitarianism, the data from which such a formal doctrine of the Triune God may be formulated.”
  • “The clearest expression of this pattern is found in the baptismal formula where Matthew presents the three together as at once a triad and a unity.  But nowhere do we find any Trinitarian doctrine of three distinct subjects of divine life and activity in the same Godhead.  And when the three are coordinated on the same divine level in a triadic pattern there seems to be no realization of the problem of the relationship between the three and of the three to the same Godhead[1].” 

This time the Watchtower Organization quotes Fortman from two different parts of his book.  Notice how they utilize the “…” to make the two sections fit together.  All the words that support the doctrine of the Trinity have been removed.  Fortman says the New Testament has the data to support a doctrine like the Trinity.  He goes on to say the clearest formula is found in Matthew 28:18-19 “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. [19] “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.’”  Matthew places all three persons of the Trinity on an equal level.  The disciple was to be baptized in “the name,” singular, indicating one being.  Remember the Trinity can be defined as one God subsisting in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; co-equal and co-eternal.  Fortman contends, “…there seems to be no realization of the problem of the relationship between the three and of the three to the same Godhead.”  This baptism formula is clearly Trinitarian. However, the Watchtower Organization twists Fortman’s words to make him sound like he is anti-Trinitarian.   Intentionally, they also leave off the title of his book, “Triune God.”  They are trying to hide the truth.  Fortman is a committed Catholic who believes strongly in the doctrine of the Trinity.

They say they are an organization of truth.  Jesus had some words to the Jehovah’s Witnesses concerning truth.  Speaking to the Jewish religious leaders, Jesus said the following: John 8:43-45 “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.”  The Watchtower Organization in their lies, are following Satan’s lead.  They cannot speak the truth because it would condemn their false teachings.

I am only going to post three misquotes (see part 3); there are many others.  I have made my case and shown the Watchtower is a deceitful organization.  On the internet there are sites that further expose the lies of this booklet.  One particular site that I have found useful is “4witness.org.”  You can find a page by page refutation of the booklet.

My teacher friend, who I showed these false quotes, chose to stand by the lies of the organization.  I walked out of his house frustrated but with joy because I had shared the truth.   My sense was he really didn’t believe what he was telling me.  My only hope was this information shook the foundation of his beliefs.  Don’t be surprised when you use these quotes, the Jehovah’s Witnesses will act as if they don’t care.  Over time exposed to enough false information and deceitful quotes of the Watchtower Organization, they may walk away; many have.  God can use you to help them see the truth.

Go to part 5 here



[1] Edmund J. Fortman, Triune God: A Historical Study of the doctrine of the Trinity, (Philadelphia: Westminster Press 1972),  pp. xv-xvi

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Carl December 19, 2013, 3:52 am

    Steve Bruecker contends that the Watchtower organization is deceitful and that it twists the meaning of Catholic writer, Edmund Fortman. But is that true? Judge for yourself. The Watchtower brochure, “Should You Believe in the Trinity?”, quotes Fortman as saying: “The New Testament writers…give us no formal or formulated doctrine of the Trinity, no explicit teaching that in one God there are three co-equal persons…Nowhere do we find any Trinitarian doctrine of three distinct subjects of divine life and activity in the same Godhead.” Now, tell me, did Fortman say these words, or didn’t he? The answer is that he did. As he said: the NT Bible writers “give us no formal or formulated doctrine of the Trinity, no explicit teaching that in one God there are three co-equal person.” If Steve Bruecker feels that the Watchtower organization twisted this quote, why doesn’t he tell us where Fortman says in his book that the NT Bible writers DID give us “a formal or formulated doctrine of the Trinity”? I can’t see how the Watchtower twisted anything.

    Now, let’s see what Edmund Fortman says in his book that was not quoted by the Watchtower. He says the NT Bible writers “give us an elemental Trinitarianism, the data from which such a formal doctrine of the Triune God may be formulated.” If that’s true, where in their Bible writings do they say that:

    1. “we worship one God in trinity”? NOWHERE!

    2. the Father, Son, and holy spirit “are one God”? NOWHERE!

    3. “in this trinity, none is greater or less than another”? NOWHERE!

    4. “the whole three persons [of the trinity] are co-eternal together and co-equal”? NOWHERE!

    5. the Father, Son, and holy spirit “are one Uncomprehensible”? NOWHERE!

    6. “he that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity”? NOWHERE!

    So, where is this “elemental Trinitarianism” that Fortman says was given by the NT Bible writers? I don’t see it. Do you?

    Fortman also says: “The clearest expression of this [trinitarian] pattern is found in the baptismal formula where Matthew presents the three together as at once a triad and a unity.” By mentioning the Father, Son, and holy spirit in the same verse, does Matthew say or even imply that they are three co-equal, co-eternal persons who are each called God and that they also make up the same God, which, of course, makes no sense? No, they didn’t. So, where is this “expression of a [trinitarian] pattern at Matt. 28:19? It’s not there.

    So, does “the New Testament have the data to support a doctrine like the Trinity”? NOT EVEN CLOSE!

    The truth is that the Bible doesn’t support the trinity doctrine. For instance, while the trinity doctrine says that the Father, Son, and holy spirit “are one God,” Jesus called his Father–a single person–the “ONLY true God.” (John 17:3) Paul agreed, saying: “There is one God, the Father.” (1 Cor. 8:6)

    I can’t figure out why Steve Bruecker singles out Jehovah’s Witnessess to pick a bone with, especially since there are so many “Christian” denominations that are openly opposed to the Bible, like those who feel that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle, evolution is compatible with the Bible, that a Christian’s participation in warmed conflicts is fine, and that observing pagan holidays is okay. Did one of Jehovah’s Winesses accidentally run over Steve’s cat?

  • Steve Bruecker December 19, 2013, 5:05 pm

    Dear Carl,
    I will begin by quoting the Watchtower Organization: “Be very careful to be accurate in all statements you make. Use evidence honestly. In quotations, do not twist the meaning of a writer or speaker or use only partial quotations to give a different thought than the person intended: Also if you use statistics, use them properly. Statistics can often be used to give a distorted picture.” Source: Qualified to be Ministers 1955 Watchtower Bible and Tract Society

    If the Watchtower is going to follow their own rules, we should see when they quote sources they are accurate and would never misrepresent or twist the meaning of a writer. What we shouldn’t find in their publications is a misrepresentation of the views of Trinitarians by leaving out key words.

    And yet this is what we find in their booklet, “Should You Believe in the Trinity.” Let me demonstrate hypothetically what this looks like. Carl I will use you in this example. First, let’s say you wrote an article saying the following:

    “After months of study I am completely convinced the Trinity is false and the Son and Holy Spirit were not the 2nd and 3rd persons of the Trinity.”

    (I am continuing this hypothetical situation) Now I write a post supporting the Trinity and I need quotes. I see Carl is a scholar and I decide to quote him in my article. Here is what I post:

    Carl says: “After months of study I am completely convinced… the Son and Holy Spirit were…the 2nd and 3rd persons of the Trinity.” Every word quoted you posted in your article.

    Similar to the Watchtower, I used ellipses (…) to eliminate key words and phrases. Carl you obviously don’t have a problem with how I quoted you. I used your words. Now let me quote you from your comments to me on the words of Fortman as quoted by the Watchtower. “Now, tell me, did Fortman say these words, or didn’t he? The answer is that he did.” So by the same reasoning, since I used your exact words, you don’t have a problem with how I quoted you.

    The book the Watchtower quoted from is called The Triune God by Edmund Fortman. And yet they misrepresented his views by the use of ellipses. Fortman is a Trinitarian. And yet he was used to support their anti-Trinitarian views. They went against their own standard of truth I quoted in the beginning of my comments. This is deceitful!

    The Matthew formula states: Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Notice Matthew says “…in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” He didn’t say in the names but in the name singular. All 3 persons of the Trinity are the one God (name singular). Equality in nature and/or substance is clearly evident in this formula.

    Your attacks on the Trinity are unwarranted and are dealt with in my series called “Loving the Trinity.” Also read the series “Believing in Jesus as God and man.” The Trinity is a solution, not a problem to what the scriptures teach.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses are not a Christian denomination. Their Arian beliefs were labeled a heresy in 325 A.D. at the council of Nicea. My motivation for my series was to help Jehovah’s Witnesses avoid eternal punishment. Jesus said this to the Jewish religious leaders in John 8:24 “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” All Jehovah’s Witness will die in their sins and at death will spend eternity in hell unless someone helps them. I am trying to warn them to turn to the truth and to caution others to avoid their heretical beliefs.

    Steve

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Exposing the Deceit of the Watchtower Organization
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