Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses Convention – Program 5

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Joan Cetnar, Duane Magnani, Lorri MacGregor, David Reed; ©1999
The Watchtower Society claims that the doctrine of the Trinity is a false doctrine. Upon what do they base this teaching?


Today on the John Ankerberg Show, you will meet four former Jehovah’s Witnesses who will share with you the startling evidence that proved to them that they had been deceived by their own religious organization.

David Reed became an atheist in his teens, went to Harvard University and after a year left in a determined search for God. Jehovah’s Witnesses befriended him and he joined the Watchtower, but over time, reading his Bible and examining the claims of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, he realized that he had been deceived. He left the Watchtower organization and put his belief in Jesus as his Savior.

Lorri MacGregor became a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses at age eighteen and later almost died refusing a blood transfusion. When she began to honestly question what the Watchtower taught, she was excommunicated and cut off. Eventually her study of the Bible brought her to true belief in Jesus Christ.

Duane Magnani was a child of Jehovah’s Witness parents. He left the Watchtower and later was recruited as an adult; eventually the evidence led him to leave the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Duane is now recognized as a fully qualified expert in court cases on beliefs and practices and has testified in over 110 child custody cases.

Joan Cetnar was raised in a Jehovah’s Witness home and was one of the heirs to the S.S. Kresge fortune. Joan married a Jehovah’s Witness leader and joined him in Brooklyn Headquarters in New York. She was able to observe firsthand how the president and other leaders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses lived. She left the Watchtower Society and became a Christian when she realized the Watchtower was not teaching her what the Bible said. Her convictions separated her from her family and cost her an inheritance which would have made her a millionaire.

We invite you to listen as our guests present the evidence they discovered concerning the false teachings and claim of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization.

Program 5: Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses Convention
The Trinity

Ankerberg: Welcome! We are at a very interesting convention in Pennsylvania where the majority of our audience are people that were a part of the Jehovah’s Witnesses for most or all of their lives until they came across some information that persuaded them that they had been deceived, that they were wrong, and they became Christians. We also have guests on stage that came out of the same situation. Some of them grew up as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some of them converted into the Jehovah’s Witnesses. But then, after a time, they learned some information that caused them to leave and also place their faith in Jesus Christ as being God.
Now, to many of you that are listening that aren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses, you might say, “Well, that’s not so strange.” But to Jehovah’s Witnesses, that is strange. And especially, if you’ve ever had one come by your door, one of the first things they’ll talk about is the fact of the corruption of Christian teaching and that there’s one that’s really big at the top of their list that’s really satanic, and that’s the doctrine of the Trinity. And they’ve had some real solid teaching. In fact, they might have shown you a book like this: Should You Believe in the Trinity? In fact, let’s just take a little survey of all the folks here in the audience. How many of you folks, you can remember this one here? You actually received this and gave it out yourself? Put your hands up. Okay. So you all knew about this one, Should You Believe in the Trinity? This one was printed in 1989, and at that point it says that they had printed five million copies of this little book. And this is, of course, a long time after 1989, so you wonder how many of these little books are in circulation.
This is an important question. Does God reveal himself as the Father being God, the Son being God, and the Holy Spirit being God—there only being one God? And we’re going to talk about that with our panelists today who all believed that the doctrine of the Trinity was satanic at one time in their life. Lorri, let me start with you. In this publication here, the Witnesses are told that the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is really a false doctrine. What do you think about this publication?
MacGregor: Well, we were most interested to examine this publication but the Watchtower publishers made it extremely hard on us. They deliberately left off page numbers, authors, publishers, edition years, and used long out-of-print books in their quotes. But I want to say, we researchers persevered and we tracked down every last one of their quotes that they used in this book Should You Believe in the Trinity? And we have some very interesting conclusions to bring to you today. And I think every honest-hearted Jehovah’s Witness should stay tuned in, because they’re really going to learn something about their organization.
Ankerberg: Let’s take it at the top, David. Jehovah’s Witnesses claim in this booklet that confusion is widespread in the Christian church regarding the Trinity and they quote the Encyclopedia Americana, of all things, that they quoted in this booklet that they hand out by the ton here. Did they quote correctly? Tell us about it.
Reed: Well, they only quoted it partially. They did the same thing that they do often with Bible verses—just quote part of it out of context. If you read the rest of what the Encyclopedia Americana said, it went on to say that the doctrine of the Trinity was not contrary to reason and may be apprehended, though it may not be comprehended, by the human mind. So really, the Watchtower is using this quote to say something different than what the Encyclopedia Americana meant to say.
Ankerberg: Give us the quote as it appears in here.
Reed: The Watchtower quoted it, they say, “The Encyclopedia Americana notes that the doctrine of the Trinity is considered to be ‘beyond the grasp of human reason.’”
Ankerberg: And that’s where they stopped.
Reed: Yes.
Ankerberg: And yet when you read the article, what does it say?
Reed: The article goes on to say that “it is not contrary to reason and may be apprehended, though it may not be comprehended, by the human mind.” So it’s really the opposite of what the Watchtower left people with.
Ankerberg: So they’re deceiving people using the Encyclopedia to deceive them.
Reed: By just giving a partial quote, yes.
Ankerberg: That’s right. Joan, on page 4 of this booklet, Jehovah’s Witnesses say that “Trinitarians are not agreed among themselves about this doctrine.” Where did they get that?
Cetnar: That particular quote was from the Dictionary of Religious Knowledge, which has been out of print since 1875. And they neglected to include the portion where the early Church Fathers supported the Trinity doctrine. And here’s what the Dictionary really says: “It is certain, however, that from the apostolic times they paid worship to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” And the article goes on to say, “The Bible represents God to us as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” “The Bible represents God.” So it’s the exact opposite from what the Trinity booklet is trying to portray.
Ankerberg: Duane, let’s keep going on this thing, alright? It says in this booklet they point that the word Trinity is not used in the Bible at all. So they ridicule Christians for using the word Trinity, for using the word “mystery” when discussing the Trinity. Comment on this portion in their book.
Magnani: Well, I guess if we were to say that the word Trinity is not a valid word, then neither is “theocracy,” because you can’t find “theocracy” in the Bible, either, but you can find the concept: God rule. I think that the Witnesses are just picking on the word Trinity because their organization has decided to do that. As far as “mystery,” yes. On page 5 they call it “a confusing mystery” and they claim that’s because God is not a God of confusion. But, you know, if you look in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation, which is their Greek-to-English translation, they themselves use “mystery” right in connection with God at Colossians 2:2. So, you know, they’re using “mystery.” I think that “God is not a God of confusion,” either, and I think they ought to clear up the confusing illustrations that they’ve got in their magazines about the Trinity, because they are using the word mystery themselves.
Ankerberg: Let’s keep going here, Lorri. Give us some more quotes right out of this publication that they have told you as Jehovah’s Witnesses before and is still being circulated today.
MacGregor: Alright. They have a method they use throughout this booklet. It’s a devious technique, and I can only describe it as the judicious use of “dots.” That is, they join up unrelated phrases, sentences, partial statements with the ever-popular Watchtower dots. We found partial quotes, John, that were pages apart from each other in the original, and yet they were linked up by the Watchtower with their everlasting dots. And in almost every case, the original said the opposite of the view the Watchtower was presenting in this booklet. I call this deliberate misrepresentation of the facts. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, however, might have another name for it: Theocratic War Strategy, justified lying.
Ankerberg: Yes, and this thing should bother Jehovah’s Witnesses that are listening, okay? Let’s get real here, okay? You can’t do this and be honest. You can’t do this in the name of God, because God doesn’t have to lie to persuade people to follow him, okay? God tells us the truth in Scripture. And what we’re saying here, before we actually get to unscrambling and presenting the biblical evidence for why a person might believe that Jesus is God, the Father is God, and the Son is God, and as Matthew 28 says, “Go and preach/teach in the name,” singular, “of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” the fact is, that is the evidence. We might not be able to explain it all, but that’s what God told us about himself. Before we get to that, alright, if the evidence is being distorted, there’s something wrong with that group of people, alright? You don’t lie in the name of God. And what you’re saying here is you can go through this thing quote by quote, what you folks actually did is, you looked them up. They’re lying through their teeth.
Cetnar: That’s right.
Ankerberg: You found a doctrine that is false that they are trying to teach. Is that where you’re coming from, Duane?
Magnani: It’s the “lie” issue. It truly is. You know, I have a book here. It’s written by Jews. These are not Christians; these are Jews. In fact, it’s a Jewish response to missionaries, and this book is honest enough to state that if you happen to believe the words of Jesus Christ himself or if you happen to believe what Jesus himself taught about the Trinity as Christians believe it, in other words, if you believed what Jesus said, you would be a Trinitarian. But they don’t accept the New Testament. But at least the Jews who are witnessing to Christians about their faith accept the fact that Christians believe in the Trinity and it’s found in the New Testament. It’s just that the Jews don’t accept the New Testament. I think that’s at least honest, John.
Ankerberg: Yes. We’re going to take a break here, Duane, and we’re going to come back and talk more about this book. And the reason that we’re centering in on this book is that if you’re a Jehovah’s Witness out here, you’ve probably got one. Not only have you got one, but you’re teaching from this and you believe it!
Cetnar: Right.
Ankerberg: We’re going to look at some more quotes, so if during the break, if you want to, go find this thing and bring it back and we’re going to talk about it some more and we’ll look at some of these “dots” and what was missing, okay? So stayed tuned.

Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back, and we’re talking about the Jehovah’s Witnesses and their doctrines that they teach and the ones they deny. And one of the sticking points between Christianity and the Watchtower Society that keeps many of the Jehovah’s Witnesses from accepting the deity of Jesus Christ is the doctrine of the Trinity. In fact, they’ve printed up more than five million of these books, Should You Believe in the Trinity? And if they come to your door, they may give you this book. And they believe this. The problem is, if you look at the quotes for where they’re getting their “evidence,” we’re finding out they lied in the quotes. They’re not giving you solid information.
You say, “Where is that? Where can I prove that? Where can I see that evidence?” Well, Joan, let’s look at another one. Page 7. They quote the New Catholic Encyclopedia, and they do it in such a way that it seems to support their view of God. Alright, unscramble it. First of all, tell us what they say, and then show us where they’ve deceived people.
Cetnar: What they’re trying to prove is that the Trinity doctrine never existed before 325 AD, in the fourth century. So they quoted the New Catholic Encyclopedia where it says this: “The formulation ‘One God in three Persons’ was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith prior to the end of the fourth century,” dot, dot, dot.
I want to know what’s missing. Well, what’s missing starts out—it’s usually a “however” or something else; in this case it’s a “but”—“But it is precisely this formulation that has first claim to the title ‘the Trinitarian dogma.’”
And then later on as you go down further, it says, “Among the second century apologists, little more than a focusing of the problem is that of plurality within the unique godhead.”
Ankerberg: So the very thing they’re trying to deny, if you looked it up, it would affirm it.
Cetnar: That’s right.
Ankerberg: And the fact is, the liberals do this a whole lot, too, is they keep saying that, you know, that the Creeds were formulated by the Councils and so on, forgetting that there’s a whole bunch of statements by the Apostles in the New Testament to start with and the Church Fathers were talking all about it before we ever got down to the Creeds. And so you’re saying the same thing.
Duane, go on. They talk about the fact that this thing is not ever taught in the Old Testament. Give us the quote where they’re taking that from, and then roll on with it.
Magnani: Well, they say that the publication, The New Catholic Encyclopedia, they say out of that, referring to that, that the Trinity is not taught in the Old Testament.
Now, again, as we’ve seen before, this is a case of “abrupt stop” too soon. All you have to do is go on with the quote to get the truth here. It says, “As we continue, in many places of the Old Testament, however, expressions are used in which some of the Fathers of the Church saw references of the foreshadowings of the Trinity.” Why leave that out? I mean, obviously, that’s the whole point!
Ankerberg: That’s right.
Magnani: That’s the whole point, that the Church Fathers saw not only the Trinity in the writings of the Apostles and in the New Testament, but all the way from Genesis.
Ankerberg: David, they have the audacity to quote the New Encyclopedia Britannica as saying the Trinity doctrine “doesn’t appear” in the New Testament! Is that what the New Encyclopedia Britannica really says?
Reed: No. In their misquoting by just quoting part of it, what they actually quote in their booklet says, “Neither the word trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament.” But if you continue to actually read the article in the Encyclopedia, you find out that they’re saying that the doctrine does appear implicitly in the New Testament. And the article concludes by saying, “Thus, the New Testament established the basis for the doctrine of the Trinity.” So it’s just as if I had said, “I didn’t walk into the room and I didn’t run into the room, but I jumped into the room,” and somebody quotes me and says, “Well, he said he didn’t walk or run into the room, so he wasn’t there.”
See, they’re leaving out the fact that the Encyclopedia’s point is that the doctrine is implicitly taught in the New Testament, and they’re quoting just the first part which makes it appear the opposite.
Ankerberg: So if you look up all of the quotes in whether or not you should believe in the Trinity, you will.
Reed: Absolutely!
Cetnar: That’s right.
Reed: That’s right. If you don’t focus on the “dots” but you focus on what they really said, you’ll believe it.
Ankerberg: And what do you conclude, Lorri, about an organization that takes the facts and deliberately distorts and lies to the people about what they’re presenting?
MacGregor: Well, I want everyone to know that in the world of the cults there are two classes of people. At the high levels are the deceivers; and at the lower levels are the deceived. And perhaps tonight some Jehovah’s Witnesses will recognize that they have been deceived because if they honestly check this out and read the full quotes, they will have no choice but to believe the Trinity doctrine was taught in the Bible.
Ankerberg: Okay. But now we’ve got to unscramble this. Just because they lied about this doesn’t mean we have shown that the God of the Bible is really Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the One God. And this was a hard one. What was the evidence? How did you unscramble this? Start any place that you want. How did you come to this idea that Jesus was God?
MacGregor: Well, in my own case I set myself free from the Watchtower Society by reading their purple Kingdom Interlinear Translation. I didn’t read the Watchtower side, I looked at the words underneath the Greek. I found out Jesus was called “ha theos,” “the God.” I found that even the Father called him God, “ha theos,” in Hebrews. And I also found out that all the fullness of the godhead was dwelling in Christ, even in the flesh. I further found out that there was only one true God in the Bible. All other gods were false. If this one true God was called the Father, and he was, then the Father is that one God. If the Son is called God, and he is, then the Son is that one God. If the Holy Spirit is called God in the Scriptures, and he is, then the Holy Spirit is that one God. And since there is only one true God, then the three Persons are the one true God.
Ankerberg: I tell you, it’s amazing. You guys probably know that Julius Mantey, one of the leading Greek scholars in the world, was constantly quoted by The New World Translation.
Cetnar: Yes.
Ankerberg: And I have his quote about what he thought about The New World Translation. He says, “It is a distortion of the New Testament. The translators used what J. B. Rotherham has translated in 1893 in modern speech and then changed the readings in scores of passages to state what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe and teach. That is distortion, not translation.”
Now, the fact is, you’ve got Bruce Metzger at Princeton; you’ve got a whole group of Greek scholars that have examined The New World Translation and simply have said that this is not honest; this is not accurate; it is not true. To the person who would say, “I’m going to at least give you a few seconds here to open my mind to who Jesus really is,” what were the things that you were taught about Jesus and then unscramble that for the folks that are listening.
MacGregor: I was taught that Jesus Christ was a secondary God, the archangel Michael; and on earth only a good man. When he died and was resurrected, he became Michael the archangel in the heavens again. But what Jesus himself says about himself is far more important, and Jesus took the divine name of God and applied it to himself in John 8:24 where he told the people then, he said, “I said therefore to you that you shall die in your sins for unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins.”
Also, Acts 20:28 says that God purchased the church with his own blood. How much clearer do we have to be? If you have the right Jesus Christ, you are right for all eternity. If you have the wrong Jesus Christ, you are wrong for all eternity. Please, Jehovah’s Witnesses! Take a look at some of the stuff you’re being fed by Headquarters. It is a lie; it is a deception. Don’t believe it. Trust in Jesus Christ and cry out to him for your salvation.
Ankerberg: David, besides saying that Jesus is God, what else did you have to learn? What was the good news, besides learning that he was God, that Jesus also told you that you didn’t know as a Jehovah’s Witness?
Reed: Well, I was told as a Jehovah’s Witness that Jesus was not my Mediator; he was only the Mediator for the 144,000, of whom only 8,000 were left on earth. So that left me with them as my mediator, and they weren’t a very good mediator. But I learned that Jesus is my Mediator. And not only that, he’s my Savior. Being in a certain organization doesn’t save me. I chose to let him be my Lord rather than follow and obey the Watchtower organization. Jesus really cares about me. He loves me and I’m glad to obey him and follow him.
Ankerberg: Yes. I think those of you that are Jehovah’s Witnesses that are listening in, if you recognize that your own publications have been lying to you, distorting the truth, and you would say, “If Jesus is God, why is that good news?,” if you’re a sinner and I’m a sinner and Jesus is offering a gift, I mean, you can work your way to Heaven if you want to, but if Jesus is saying, “Look, you don’t have to. I’ll give you a gift. I’ve done it all”—in fact, you better realize that he did do it all and he is willing to take all of your sin problem, take all the sweat, all your going door-to-door, forget all that, just accept his gift of eternal life, he promises you heaven like he promises anybody that will come to him and accept his gift. Is that in the New Testament? Yes, it is. We’ll talk about it a little bit more next week, and we’re going to have “Questions and Answers,” questions from our people in the audience and answers from our people on stage, maybe the very question that you are asking at home, so I hope that you’ll join us.

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