On Christmas and Unsound Arguments

At every Christmas period, the social media is often awash with anti-Christmas zealots. The spectrum ranges from dyed-in-the-wool fundamentalists to heretical sects (like Jehovah’s Witnesses) to Hebrew-Roots adherents who present Hanukkah as a viable alternative.

Here, I will be responding to the unsound sticks of one Femi Aribisala who heads the Healing Wings cult.

Since 2012 when I first came across Femi Aribisala’s articles, he has carved a niche for himself as a critic of the Bible, Christianity and Christian holidays. His articles are often well-circulated by Muslims and other anti-Christians who are always eager to throw any media propaganda trash at the Bible.

I will be responding to his article titled “Why Christians Should not Celebrate Christmas” and I appeal to all those who loll out their tongues at his articles to fact check them and think critically before accepting his claims. His words are in bold.

Jesus never told anyone to celebrate his birthday. If he wanted to do so, he would have told us when and how. He did not.

Typical anti-Christmas talking point. This argument presumes that every celebration that is not directly commanded by Christ must be an innovative error. Did Mr Femi receive a command from Jesus to start writing newspaper articles before he did? Did the Lord command him to start his “Healing Wings” group? Did Jesus tell him when and how? I’m sure He didn’t.

In the same vein, the Lord Jesus doesn’t have to command His birth to be celebrated before it’s deemed acceptable. Celebrating Christmas is a personal decision, and as much as non-essential matters are concerned, “Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” (Rom. 14:5).

God does not structure us into a labyrinth of rules or produce Christians on a factory assembly line.

Moreover, we know from the Scriptures that the early church never celebrated Jesus’ birthday. There is no such record in the Acts of the Apostles. We are told to remember the Lord’s death (Lk. 22:16) and not to celebrate his birth.

This is straight out of Watchtower writings. The hypocrisy here is that Aribisala believes apostle Paul was never a true Christian, that the Epistles are his perversions of Christ’s teachings.

Yet the very Acts of the Apostles he is appealing to offer credible evidence to the contrary. If the book of Acts is a reliable account of the early church, it must also be reliable enough to prove apostle Paul was a true Christian.

Now, if Jesus’ birth was as insignificant as this man wants us to believe, the Gospel writers wouldn’t have recorded it. Christ’s conception was announced by an angel; His birth was heralded by angels and His infancy was protected by God. The events surrounding His birth were fulfillment of Bible prophecies just as His death.

Aribisala goes on to parrot the Jehovah’s Witness argument that celebrating birthdays is bad because Pharaoh and Herod executed people on their birthdays (Gen. 40:20-22, Mt. 14:6-11). Nice try, but Pharaoh and Herod were basically evil people who killed people on every other day, not just on their birthdays.

December 25 celebrations actually started with sun worshippers during the time of Nimrod, the man who supervised the building of the tower of Babel. His widow, Semiramis, said to be queen of heaven had a son called Tammuz; venerated by many as the god of the sun.

This drivel is straight out of Jack Chick’s tracts and comics. For example, in their crusader comic, The Force, we read:

The queen of Babylon (Semiramis) ordered the world to celebrate the birth of her son, ‘Tammuz.’ He of course, was the sun god, Baal…” (p. 26).

This sensational story suffers from a host of problems:

a) There is no Biblical evidence that Nimrod supervised the building of the tower of Babel. The Bible says little about him and there’s no historical record of him. The Jack Chickian tales of Nimrod starting a religion or murdered by Shem should be taken with a pinch of Abakaliki salt.

b) Nimrod didn’t live in the same century as Semiramis, so it would have been impossible for them to be husband and wife. No reference work – Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Americana, Encyclopedia Judaica, Encyclopedia of Religion or World Book Encyclopedia – puts Nimrod and Semiramis as contemporaries let alone as a couple.

c) Semiramis was never worshipped as a goddess or the queen of heaven. In fact, there is no trace of Semiramis in Sumerian or Babylonian records. She ruled over Assyria, not Babylon, and lived in the 9th century BC.

But worship of the queen of heaven goddesses predates Semiramis by many centuries. For example, an inscription on Asherah shows it dating as far back as the 18th century B.C. (Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, Myth of the Goddess, 1991, 454).

d) Tammuz was a Sumerian deity who was a lover to Inanna (later Ishtar) and a child to Enki and Ninsun. Tammuz is never described as an actual person and never mentioned as the son of Semiramis or Nimrod in any standard encyclopedia.

It’s a shame that a writer would still be publicly peddling an old, discredited fiction in this Information Age.

It was believed Tammuz died on December 22 and rose from the dead three days later

More powdered sparrow eggs from the stables of Hislop and Chick. The Easton’s Bible Dictionary under Tammuz says: “In the Chaldean calendar there was a month set apart in honour of this god, the month of June to July, the beginning of the summer solstice.”

Fausset’s Bible Dictionary says “An annual feast was kept to him in June.” Aribisala obviously has a very poor information source at his disposal.

Emperor Aurelian of Rome proclaimed the sun god Tammuz to be principal patron of the Roman Empire on December 25, 274 AD. The date corresponds with the winter solstice when pagans celebrated the renewed power of the sun.

Aurelian’s institution of the pagan festival on this date seems to have been to rival Christians who observed the date.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church notes an old tradition that fixed the date of Christ’s birth by counting 9 months after March 25 (or April 7), the vernal equinox on which some early Christians celebrated His conception giving rise to December 25.

Early church writers before Aurelian, like Julius Africanus “argues in his Chronicle (A.D. 221) for a date in the winter, December 25” (Everett Ferguson, Encyclopedia of Christianity, 1999, 251)

December 25 had no significance in the Roman pagan festal calendar before Aurelian. Thomas Talley notes that although Aurelian dedicated a temple to the sun god, “the cult of the sun in pagan Rome ironically did not celebrate the winter solstice nor any of the other quarter-tense days as one might expect” (Michael Anderson, Symbols of Saints, ProQuest, 2008, 42-46).

Constantine … forced all the pagans of his empire to be baptised into the Christian church … December 25, the date of Tammuz’s alleged rebirth was then designated as also the birthday of Jesus.

There you have it. Constantine forced all pagans into the church, even though the emperor himself is depicted on the Arch in Rome sacrificing to pagan deities! If anything, he was quite sympathetic to paganism.

This man is using one myth to prop up another myth, but he missed one fact: setting up a Christian holiday to replace a pagan holiday is not equivalent to marrying Christianity to paganism. What ancient pagans did on December 25 has no relevance to what modern Christians do on this date.

For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.” Jeremiah 10:3-4

This is allegedly condemning the Christmas tree, but these folks all stop the quote at vs. 4. Verse 5 says “Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.

This is referring to gods made out of wood. Nothing here describes modern Christmas tree.

The same scenario is described in Isaiah 44 about carpenters shaping wood “in form of man … that it may dwell in a shrine … he makes a god, his idol; he bows to it and worships it” (vs. 13, 17).

That pagans in the past worshipped a tree doesn’t mean Christians who decorate a Christmas tree today are doing the same thing. I don’t see Christians bowing and praying to Christmas trees. If they were idols, no one would be throwing them out in the trash after a while.

[Pagan Greeks] used it [decorated trees] to worship their god Adonia. They claimed Adonia was killed and brought to life by the serpent Aessulapius

What has this man been reading? National Enquirer? Aliens? Adonia is the name of a festival, not a god. The proper name is Adonis.

Asklepios (Latin: Aesculapius) is a Greek god of healing and medicine depicted holding a staff with a coiled serpent. Again, Aribisala can’t get simple spellings or facts right. The feast of Adonia was not celebrated during winter and obviously not with “Christmas trees” either.

Smith’s Bible Dictionary says “A festival in honor of Adonis was celebrated at Byblus in Phoenicia … It took place in July, and it was accompanied by obscene rites.”

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says “The women of Gebal used to repair to this temple [of Venus] in midsummer to celebrate the death of Adonis or Tammuz.”

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible says the river named after Adonis “was fabled to run blood at his festival in August. The women of Phoenicia, Assyria, and Judea worshipped him as dead, with deep lamentation, wearing priapi and other obscene images all the while.”

That Aribisala had such chutzpa to publish this gobbledygook on at least two national newspapers speaks a lot of volumes. He seems to know his fans on the social space too well – ignorant, gullible and fanatical. But there is one thing I’m certain of, if you have truths on your side, you don’t need to bend facts or resort to fictitious claims.

The “Mirror Image” Syndrome

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Just as an image formed on a plane mirror is a duplication or reflection of the object placed directly opposite its surface, there is also a dangerous condition that can affect Christians contending for the faith which can make them start to reflect what they are contending against.

A person opposed to a set of errors can also develop signs of errors: becoming dishonest, hateful and rigid. I call it the “Mirror Image Syndrome.”

When this syndrome affects a cult expert, he can take on the very cultic mindsets he is standing against – exclusivism, elitism and tyranny of thoughts.

Sometimes it’s baffling how a person would seem to stand on an impressive edifice of Christian scholarship only for you to realise that his intellectual integrity is actually in the pits.

The more famous and influential a Christian figure is, the more they need to be held accountable for what they say or write in public, especially, if their agenda is more important to them than truth.

Previously, I used Rebecca Brown and Daniel Yoder as examples of how spiritual warfare can devolve into spiritual quackery when integrity is lacking.

In this piece, I will be using another popular Christian author to highlight the blighting effects of the Mirror Image Syndrome.

For five decades, Chick Publications, the organization founded by Jack Chick, has published hundreds of illustrated gospel tracts in different languages, along with many Christian articles, comics, books and videos on issues like abortion, homosexuality, false religions, evolution and Bible versions.

Fittingly, Dr. Rebecca Brown once worked for Mr. Chick. In her words, “Jack Chick is one of the kindest and most honest and Godly men I have ever met. He taught me many valuable things in the Lord’s work.” [1]

In the May/June 2016 Battle Cry article, we are also told that:

Many parents write to Chick Publications, grateful for the unwavering stand for the Truth in the tracts and books.”

Since 2003, I have feasted on many Chick materials. They influenced my early Christian walk and I believed every word in their materials as truth.

But when I began to double check things for myself, I started to question some of the “facts” being disseminated by Chick’s ministry said to be “standing for the Truth”:

1. The testimony comic series of ex-Jesuit priest, Alberto Rivera (1935-1997) drew much ire to Chick’s ministry when it was published.

Whether his testimony was genuine or fraudulent is still debatable. He gave dates and names of places and presented his ID card and papers. To an extent, he also defended himself before his critics.

Notwithstanding, there were several glaring errors and outright embellishments in his stories which cast much doubt on the veracity of his claims.

In the Double Cross, after he had left the monastery with his sister, the Mother Superior said with a frown:

“He is damned forever! The Virgin will take care of this Father Rivera. He is another Judas that has sold out our Holy Father, the Pope.”

How did Rivera know she said this?

Later, a Vatican priest asks his fellow, “Would Father Rivera go to the Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Mormons?” the other priest replies, “Never! He’s a real Christian and he knows about their false teachings.” [2]

Rivera wasn’t present there, so how did he know they said this?

Was he also suggesting that Catholic leaders don’t consider themselves to be real Christians but secretly admit that Protestants are?

Either Rivera or Chick was putting words into these people’s mouths to further an agenda.

2. The series spent more ink spreading Jesuit hysteria and instilling mistrust in readers than presenting the gospel to Catholics.

Alberto alleged that Kathryn Khulman was a Catholic “undercover agent” sent to the Pentecostals; Jim Jones was “another undercover Jesuit” who sacrificed his flock to fulfill his oath [3] and Fidel Castro was also a “well trained Jesuit under oath.” [4]

No credible evidence was presented to back up these accusations. The reader is simply asked to take Rivera’s word for it because he purportedly knew some centuries-old, “hot secrets” of the Vatican.

3. The Alberto comics are laced with Vatican conspiracy theories, wild enough to make Dan Brown green with envy.

Rivera claims the Nazi and Communist parties, the KKK, Illuminati, Masonry, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormonism, Christian Science, Unity cults and Islam were all founded and developed by the Catholic Church or Jesuits. [5]

Again, no evidence of these claims was given. While I agree that Catholicism is an aberrant religious system with a bloody history, to blame it for every other cult and social or political plague on earth is tabloid sensationalism and sheer inanity.

Satan has been creating false religions long before the Vatican came on the scene and he doesn’t need it to create a newer one today. Christians who wish to reach Catholics with the truth should not use these materials.

4. Chick’s Statement of Faith on their website says:

[W]e believe God in His Singular providential care has KEPT HIS WORD all through the ages, right down to the present day as found in the King James Version. We consider this version our final and absolute authority, above and beyond all other authorities on earth.”

This is “KJV Onlyism” in its strictest form. Its chief flaw is the silence on which Bible version was God’s Word “all through the ages” before the 17th century when the KJV emerged.

Their fully illustrated book, Did the Catholic Church Give us the Bible? tries to give the reader a “chain” of preservation:

In a valley in the Alps was a people that God used to translate His preserved words into Latin. These people were called the ‘Vaudois.’ They lived in the Piedmont Valley of the Alps, at the northwest corner of Italy, east of France. In about 120 AD some got saved, and went to Antioch to receive God’s words.” [6]

Where did they get this piece of information from? No citation or reference was provided there. Why? Because the statement is a lie.

The Vaudois (or Waldenses) were followers of Peter Waldo (1140-1205 AD). How could they have existed a millennium before Waldo was born? If the Vaudois didn’t exist at that time, to assert they went to Antioch to receive an Italian Bible is pure fabrication.

5. In order to cover up the fact that the KJV came from a Greek text by Desiderius Erasmus, a Catholic priest, the book says:

God chose Erasmus as His vessel to shine the light of the Gospel during the hellish Dark Ages … Erasmus was God’s undercover agent! By day he was a faithful Roman Catholic serving the pope, working diligently in the libraries. But at night he wrote tracts that ridiculed the Catholic system… This was a dangerous game. But Erasmus played it because he utterly despised the devilish pope.” [7]

A footnote said: “Much of the information in this section comes from the excellent research of Gail Riplinger’s In Awe of Thy Word (2003), Chapter 27.”

The term “excellent research” is meant to psyche the unwary reader. In fact, Gail Riplinger’s research is as “excellent” or reliable as National Enquirer, TMZ or any other gossip tabloid.

While Erasmus attacked the corruption and immorality among the clergy, he was a real Catholic to the end.

Erasmus was “a devoted worshipper of St. Anne” and he wrote “a collection of prayers to the Holy Virgin.” He believed in the Eucharist and upheld papal authority.

He pledged to always be “a faithful subject of the Holy See” and wrote: “Christ I know; Luther I know not. The Roman Church I know, and death will not part me from it till the Church departs from Christ.” [8]

He never recanted his beliefs.

If Chick and Daniels cared more about truth, their information should have come from Erasmus’ original works instead of a secondary work of a KJV Onlyist fraud.

By the way, if being an “undercover agent” was evil for Jim Jones or Kathryn Khulman, why was it acceptable for Erasmus?

6. This Give Us The Bible book – typical of Chick materials – devotes several pages to conspiracies and poisoning the well.

On page 137 is a cartoon of a Christian reading the NIV Bible and Satan holding his head saying: “Haw haw! GOTCHA!” The heading says, “CHRISTIANS NOW READ HIS BIBLE!”

This is meant to instill fear into readers to think those who read a modern Bible version are under Satan’s grip.

Page 125 shows a chart linking the NIV Bible to its Zondervan publisher (formerly owned by Harper Collins Inc.) and this links to the Satanic Bible and the News Corporation owned by Rupert Murdoch, a Catholic knight. This nothing but guilt by association.

It was intended to link the NIV with “the Catholic Church” or “The Satanic Bible” in the reader’s mind. If only the authors knew that Zondervan has published KJV Bibles, they would have probably refrained from such emotional manipulation in their book.

In the absence of solid facts to bolster their arguments, the authors resorted to inflaming emotions.

7. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fiction as “something invented by the imagination or feigned; specifically an invented story.” It’s also called a fable or fabrication.

For instance, if a person today writes a story about Abraham in Ur, imputing words to the characters in the story, he has written a work of fiction.

In the illustrated book published by Chick Publications, Babylon Religion, the first chapter gives us a detailed account of before and after the Flood, including the words and thoughts of the characters. On page 16, Satan soliloquized:

One of Noah’s sons has got to be the weakest link. I’ll find him and make him serve me!” He tells Cush: “Look, Cush, you don’t need this pressure. You’re a man. GO BUILD YOUR OWN CITY!” So Cush “built the tower of Babel … to unify the people under one religion.” [9]

When you compare this with Genesis 10:8-10 you can easily see that Chick and Daniels wrote from their own imaginations.

We are told: “Nimrod had hated Shem and all followers of God Almighty so he started to persecute them with the help of his secret police … Nimrod and his wife demanded human sacrifices, which were devoured by him and his priests.” [10]

On page 34 Shem charged: “Nimrod is pure evil! He must be stopped once and for all!” Then “he came to Babylon and with righteous anger sliced Nimrod into pieces. Everyone was caught off-guard. The priests went into hiding and his [Nimrod’s] false religion came to a standstill.”

There is no biblical or extra-biblical evidence that:

(a) Nimrod had a wife, much less Semiramis.

(b) Nimrod started a religion or was worshipped as a god.

(c) Shem had followers much less were persecuted.

(d) Shem murdered Nimrod.

In fact, there is no historical record of Nimrod; only a strong possibility that he is the same as the legendary Gilgamesh.

8. On page 40, Satan tells Nimrod’s widow, “Stick with me, Semiramis, and I will make you the Queen of heaven!” Holding up her baby to the Babylonians, Semiramis says: “Behold Nimrod, your slain and risen god!” (p. 41).

In reality, there is no trace of Semiramis in Sumerian or Babylonian records. The only Semiramis (which is a Greek name) known in history is Queen Sammu-ramat, wife of Samshi-Adad V of Assyria who ruled approximately 824-811 B.C.

A Babylonian priest, Berossus, (c. 3rd century B.C.) in his Babyloniaca, lists the kings of Babylon and makes a reference to Semiramis ruling in Assyria – not Babylon – after 812 BC. This date matches the period the historical Sammu-ramat lived. [11]

This proves Nimrod and Semiramis didn’t live in the same century. There is a gap of more than 1000 years between them.

No reference work – whether it’s the Encyclopedia Britannica, Jewish Encyclopedia or the World Book Encyclopedia – places Nimrod and Semiramis as contemporaries, let alone as a couple.

Page 52 says: “Ancient and modern writings are clear that Tammuz and Semiramis got married.”

False. Tammuz was a Sumerian deity. He is never described as a real person and never mentioned as the husband or son of Semiramis in any standard reference work.

Semiramis was not worshipped as a goddess and she is not Ishtar, Astarte or Inanna because these deities predate her. Even Daniels and Chick quote a work on page 198 saying:

The goddess Ashera was probably the oldest [Canaanite goddess]. As early as 1750 BC a Sumerian inscription refers to her as the wife of Anu, who can be identified as El, the father god of the Canaanite pantheon…” [12]

This disproves their basic theory on page 82 that “All goddesses were made from one woman [Semiramis].” These deities have been worshipped for centuries before Semiramis. All pagan goddesses are demons, not geographical mutations of a dead Assyrian queen!

Page 53 tells us: “As ‘Asshur’ Tammuz rode north and built four cities, including Nineveh.”

A footnote gives Genesis 10:11-12 as reference but vs. 22 says this Asshur was one of “the children of Shem”!

The plots between Semiramis and Tammuz illustrated between pages 52-59, were based on nothing but “ancient myths!” I remember been disappointed when I first read this book, because I had expected a scholarly work.

How sad that Mr Chick who has attacked the myths and fables of Roman Catholicism, Mormonism and Paganism has resorted to the same.

Personally, I will think twice before I allow my name be put on a Christian book filled with lies, shoddy research and “tales [Gr. mythos] artfully spurn” by pagans (2 Pet. 1:16). A soldier of the cross would rather starve than profit on falsehood.

I know some of my readers will say, “But his works have brought many people to Christ.” I’m not disputing that, but we must not become so naive that we lose our understanding of Scripture’s warning:

“Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying…” (1 Tim. 1:4)

As Christians, we must not lose sight of the Biblical standard of honesty and integrity of character and we also need to watch out for this syndrome in our lives.

Notes

[1] Rebecca Brown and Rev. Daniel Yoder, Standing on the Rock, Solid Rock Enterprises, 2002, p. 64.

[2] Double Cross, Chick publications, 1981, pp. 9-11.

[3] Double p. 27

[4] The Godfathers, Chick, 1982, 31.

[5] Godfathers p. 4, 31; The Force (1983), p. 25; The Prophet (1988), pp. 12-23.

[6] David Daniels and Jack Chick, Did the Catholic Church Give us the Bible? Chick, 2005, p. 40.

[7] Did the Catholic Church, p. 67.

[8] Anthony Froud, Life and Letters of Erasmus, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1894 pp. 86, 279, 261.

[9] David Daniels and Jack Chick, Babylon Religion, Chick, 2006, pp. 20-21.

[10] Babylon Religion, pp. 32-33.

[11] “Berossus and Babylonian Eschatology” Iraq, 38.2 (Autumn 1976:171-173) p. 172.

[12] Anne Baring and Cashford Jules, Myth of the Goddess, Penguin Books, 1991, p. 454.

A Case Study of Watchtower Falsehood (Part III)

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The Watchtower Society being so desperate to indoctrinate their readers against the Trinity doctrine really tried to link it with Paganism (pp. 9-12). But their fabric kept falling apart at its seams.

On page 9, under the heading “The Triads of the Great Gods,” they quoted the Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology to prove that ancient Babylonia and Assyria believed in triad of deities which influenced the Christian Trinity but they left out this part:

He [Anu] was god in the highest sense the supreme god. All other deities honoured him as their ‘Father’ that is to say their chief…” (pp. 54-55).

This wasn’t included because the Babylonian triad actually looks more similar to the Jehovah’s Witness theology of a supreme Father called Jehovah and other lesser gods – Jesus, angels, devil and men – than the historic, orthodox doctrine of the Christian Trinity!

On page 10 are pictures of triad deities and the “Christian Trinity” aimed at ‘proving’ that the Trinity came from paganism. This is actually an appeal to emotion. These deities didn’t influence the Trinity doctrine in any way.

All scholars agree that ancient Babylonian religion was polytheistic, not “trinitarian.” The same goes for ancient Egyptian, Greek, Canaanite and Sumerian religions.

The Egyptian Osiris, Isis and Horus belonged to a large family of gods like Set, Nut, Seb, Apnu etc. with their head being Amon-Ra. Is this the Christian Trinity? Absolutely not.

The tactic of trying to fault the Trinity by pointing to pre-Christian pagan cultures with similar beliefs is not only a fallacy of wrong parallel, it is in fact, lame. In another publication, they stated that:

The universality of the flood accounts is usually taken as evidence for the universal destruction of humanity by a flood … So we can confidently conclude that the Flood legends confirm the reality of the Biblical account.” (The Watchtower January 15, 1992, 8).

If the flood legends in many pagan cultures confirm the Biblical account, then the trinity beliefs in many cultures can confirm the Divine Trinity.

Another thing to note is that, most of the sources they used in an attempt to link the Trinity with paganism were either heretical or anti-Christian works. In other cases where this wasn’t done, they resorted to their favourite tactic – misquotation.

On page 9 for instance, the Encyclopedia Americana (Vol XXVII, 294) was quoted:

“Fourth century Trinitarianism did not reflect accurately early Christian teaching regarding the nature of God; it was, on the contrary, a deviation from this teaching.

But page 301 of the same work says: Neither will Unitarians accept any dogma as true because Scripture teaches it … The Unitarian church … maintains that [the Bible] writers were subject to errors.”

Here they were quoting an article on the Unitarians as an authority on the history of the Trinity! How preposterous!

Why is the Watchtower so desperate that they would resort to quoting the opinions of Bible haters for what Christians are to believe?

Again, on pages 3, 6 and 11, they quote Arthur Weigall’s The Paganism in Our Christianity (1928, 197) which is a Unitarian cultist book:

“The origin of the [Trinity] is entirely pagan.” But the final paragraph of this book has this to say:

The mistaken attitude of Christianity is very largely the fault of St. Paul … Paul was not very interested in Christ the Teacher; he was more concerned with Christ the divine Human Sacrifice.”

Why in the name of integrity would a writer quote a cultist as an authority of Christian belief?

The Watchtower writers couldn’t obviously find works by reputable Christian scholars they could use to attack the Trinity, so they had to use anti-Christians like Alvan Lamson, Andrew Norton or E. W. Hopkins.

Such a feat shows that the Watchtower Society grossly disobeys its own directives in Qualified to be Ministers (1967, p. 199):

Be very careful to be accurate in all statements you make. Use evidence honestly. In quotations do not twist the meanings of a writer or speaker or use only partial quotations to give a different thought than the person intended … And use reliable, capable authority.

On page 14, there is a section titled “Jesus a Separate Creation”. A part of it reads:

“…Jesus was a created spirit being, just as angels were spirit beings created by God…[He] was ‘the first-born of all creation.’ (Colossians 1:15 NJB) He was ‘the beginning of God’s creation.’ (Revelation 3:14, RS)…Yes, Jesus was created by God as the beginning of God’s invisible creation.”

These are claptrap arguments. First, nowhere did the Bible ever say “Jesus was created.” The idea of Jesus being an archangel is totally false and has been addressed here.

That Colossians 1:15 used as “proof” is invalid because the word “firstborn” does not imply “first created”. Two different Greek words are used for them (prototokos and protokistos) respectively.

JWs have craftily added the word “other” in brackets 4 times to Col. 1:14-18 in their translation to support the error that God created Jesus and Jesus made all other things.

But the “firstborn” means “preeminence” and “eternal preexistence” (Strong # 4416). It doesn’t mean ‘first created’. According to Greek scholar Marvin Vincent:

‘First-born’ points to eternal pre-existence …We must carefully avoid any suggestion that Christ was the first of created things, which is contradicted by the following words: ‘in Him were all things created‘” (Word Studies in the New Testament, 1946, 3:468).

The Greek word translated as “beginning” in Rev. 3:14 is “arkhe” which denotes the Creator, Originator or the One Who starts and stops time. In Rev. 21:6 and 22:13, God Himself is called Alpha and Omega, the Beginning [ar-khe] and the End. Therefore, the title applies to God as it applies to Jesus.

From pages 14-20, most of what the booklet attacked are straw man arguments about the Deity of Christ. The Watchtower Society may have convinced JWs that they are demolishing the Deity of Christ there, but what they did all through was slash away at straw man points.

Let me dig up three more misquotations.

Page 16: The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, edited by Gerhard Kittel (1967, Vol IV, 736) says: “[Monogenes] means ‘of sole descent’ i.e without brothers or sisters … But the word can also be used more generally without reference to derivation in the sense of ‘unique’, ‘unparallel’, ‘incomparable.'”

Page 20: “The fact has to be faced that New Testament research over, say, the last thirty or forty years has been leading an increasing number of reputable New Testament scholars to the conclusion that Jesus himself may not have claimed any of the christological titles which the Gospels ascribe to him, not even the functional design ‘Christ’ and certainly never believed himself to be God” (G. H. Boobyer in John Ryland’s Library Bulletin 1697-8, 50: 251).

This was a work written by another cultic group attacking Christian belief but the magazine cleverly omitted the points which trashes their belief in Jesus as Christ yet they steal their arguments!

Page 22: “Although the NT concepts of the Spirit of God are largely a continuation of those of the OT, in the NT, there is a gradual revelation that the Spirit of God is a person. The majority of NT texts reveal God’s spirit as something, not someone, this is especially seen in the parallelism between the spirit and the power of God.” (The New Catholic Encyclopedia, 13:575)

In their conclusion on p. 30, they wrote:

“…Trinitarians have often persecuted and even killed those who rejected the Trinity doctrine…They have killed their fellow Trinitarians in wartime … all in the name of the same Trinitarian God? … Thus the teaching of confusing doctrines about God has led to actions that violate his laws.

This mode of argumentation is called “poisoning the well.” It’s an attempt to create a very negative image of your opponent such that you don’t even want to consider what he really believes or to listen to what he has to say.

By making these vague or exaggerated accusations against Christians who believe in the Trinity, the Watchtower Society seals up the trap to prevent JWs from seeing their own deception.

Interestingly, this statement is coming from a religion that is horribly stained with the blood of its own adherents who have chosen to die for their heresies instead of accepting blood transfusion.

They continued: “By honouring God and worshipping him on his terms, we can avoid the judgement that he will soon bring on apostate Christendom” (p. 31).

Such hypocrisy! Does it honour God to promote falsehoods in His name? Does it honour God to hack up quotations and hide scholarly evidence that refute your views? Does it honour God to quote people who oppose His Word and deny His nature as authorities?

Do you worship God on His own terms by getting around your own rules and misleading your followers? This booklet says it all: the Jehovah’s Witness religion is a false one!