Glen T. Winstein

Subtitle

GTJ Brooklyn 10

 

  Winstein--10

  How the two views compare

  The mainstream view has the better case because....

  Where I stand on the eternal Jesus and personal spirit/created Jesus and
    impersonal holy spirit comparison

 

  How the two views compare

  The mainstream view has the better case because....

  Where I stand on the eternal Jesus and personal spirit/created Jesus and
impersonal holy spirit comparison

  Either view had something it said for about any of the verses until I checked
out some of the JWs leaders' methods used to create exclusivist reasons and they
fell through like they did on anything else I've seen them cook them up for (pp.
1a,4,6,12-42).  I think of it in four categories.  The second isn't much use to
decide with, but I get an impression from the first which builds with the third
and fourth.
 

  1. Most of the verses, taken alone, are easy to imagine for either view with-
out asking any experts to explain them for me.  For the JWs leaders' version, I
end up taking a lot of God things for Jesus figuratively and personal things
about the holy spirit as poetic personification without seeing why, though, once
the JWs leaders' methods used for elitist reasons discounted those reasons--in
fact, seeing reasons not to.

  2. The "explainability issue" described at the bottom of p.7 tells me the
halfway attempt at a rationalistic view (in a deliberation about unique abili-
ties of God, yet) the JWs leaders propose or imply doesn't decide anything.
Both views see God as having both abilities explained there called into play
with the two Jesus ideas, and neither can thoroughly understand how God does
either one.  Rationalism about it would rule out both of them, not prove one
over the other.  Either way, it's a faith commitment about God who could do it
either way.

  3. Some of the verses seem more difficult for one view or the other.

  - mainstream view

  Jesus grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52).  By either view of Jesus, he was emptied to
human form (Philippians 2:7).  To represent an ordinary human yet be sinless, he
grew while true to wisdom and sinlessness.  The difficulty could be in imagining
God's Son, typically understood as knowing everything, emptied to the state of a
child who grew in wisdom.  Luke's infancy passage is brief, so with either Jesus
idea you basically imagine a greater intelligence emptied to the form of a very
simple one initially.  Since God knows everyone's thoughts and hearts, he could
understand the child state perfectly and duplicate it in emptying the Son to
human form, then helping the Son grow in the grace and guidance of the Father
and holy spirit.

  One way to explain that is that whatever Jesus knew (which would grow as for
any human), he knew correctly and sinlessly (as for God) with the potential to
know more (as for God) as the Father willed it.

  At Luke 2:40, Jesus was filled with wisdom with the grace of God upon him as
he grew.

  Charis, "grace," means "a beneficent disposition toward someone, favor, grace,
gracious care/help, goodwill." ("A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament
and Other Early Christian Literature" by Walter Bauer and Frederick W. Danker,
Third Edition; based on a previous English edition by W.F. Arndt, F.W. Gingrich,
and F.W. Danker, 1957, 1979)
  http://www.jesuswalk.com/lessons/2_39-52.htm

  At 2:47, everyone was amazed at the wisdom in his answers in his discussions
with the teachers at the temple courts.

  At 2:49, when his parents found him in the temple, Jesus said, "How is it that
you sought me?  Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"  And they
did not understand the saying which he spoke to them."  Jesus would be in the
temple to fulfill the law of a child in Israel, and his heavenly Father would
take precedence over his family.  "In my Father's house" could also be ""about
my Father's work."

  The ability of the child to be sinless could be like the ability Adam and Eve
had when new to life yet perfect and sinless.  At 2 Cor.5:21, Jesus knew no sin.
And his sinless growth with God's grace would absorb the wise things and reject
others so well that everyone was amazed.

  - JWs leaders' view

  The idea was established with Prov.8:22-31 and the Wisdom literature that peo-
ple could imagine God's own wisdom personified and sent to people with "God and
Wisdom" etc. phrasing, Jesus is called Wisdom, and the same thing happens with
God and Logos at the start of the book of John (p.8).

  The JWs leaders' version of Prov.8:22-31, with archangel Michael (Jesus) that
God created through to indicate him as a messenger or such, is repeatedly denied
by God: God repeatedly denied that there was anyone with Him for creation (main-
ly in Isaiah) (pp.6b and 8).

  First century Jewish monotheism hadn't allowed a second god for centuries by
the time of the apostolic age (p.6b).

  Some of the main things in first century Jewish monotheism that distinguished
belief in one God were that only God is worshipped, prayed to, and spoken of
with the Shema, and all three things were done for Jesus with Jesus being the
Lord of "one God and one Lord" verses--in Thomas' case, both (John 20:28) (pp.6b
and 8).

  John otherwise uses the God and Wisdom = God and Jesus/Logos idea by way of
Isaiah in order to serve the double duty of both promising the Messiah would be
called "God" (p.8) while condemning the Canaanite belief in lesser "gods" to
keep the focus monotheistic (p.6b)

  The reason the JWs leaders give to see a way for their view with those diffi-
culties is that they identify Jesus as archangel Michael.  Jesus isn't called
archangel Michael in the NT, prophesies in the OT, symbolism about the future in
Revelation, early Christian history, scribal errors, or most of Brooklyn (pp.8,
9).

  Jesus doesn't call himself archangel Michael to stop a false charge of the sin
of blasphemy, including when talking to rock hurlers at John 8:58--he says one
of his more notable "ego eimi"s to identify himself with the mainstream view and
not as archangel Michael (p.8).

  Likewise, what's with the JWs leaders' Stephen not explaining he thought Jesus
was archangel Michael was Jesus though a trial for blasphemy at the Sanhedrin,
being harassed  across town, a long speech about his beliefs, and being stoned
to death? (Acts 6,7).  If he was the JWs leaders' Stephen, he'd fly a plane into
your boat.

  The JWs leaders' stance is weaker in explaining the crucifixion and atonement
(see p.8).  By the JWs leaders' explanation, only Adam was responsible, he's
dead, God had nothing to do with it, yet God made a sacrifice with an archangel
who had nothing to do with it.  This is God's judgment?  No wonder some things
about the world are a mess.

  The holy spirit is called spirit, which can mean the invisible being of some-
one, is called personal things a lot, and not called "not personal," instead of
being called power, never called personal things, and called "not personal."
The JWs leaders' case about the holy spirit uses the selection of the facts that
fit the theory, like their case for stake instead of cross (p.1a), instead of a
forthright overall view.  If God meant the JWs leaders' holy spirit, He shot
Himself in the anthropomorphical foot.  There's something wrong with the inter-
pretation if you or I go against God in the language section of a Civil Service
test where you pick the phrase of a multiple choice that says something the most
clearly and God doesn't get the clerk job.


  4. Related history is better for an indication that the historical mainstream
view was the originally intended view.  It shows up early with guys with better
credentials then regularly thereafter (p.9--compare p.1a).
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_early_Christianity
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_Christianity

  The JWs leaders' stance has it that the original Christians had the JWs
leaders' views but were strangely non-committal and disappeared quickly, fol-
lowed by others who took a lot of "YHWH"s out of scriptures, written over de-
cades in various places and spread to even more, and replaced them with
"Lord"s and disappeared quickly, so that when the Arian debates came up, no-
body made any reference to knowing about it, and you'd think the Arians or
others who debated would have brought it up.
 
  The JWs leaders' most frequent argument is basically that they can't imagine
God's own wisdom personified, not as a separate created being, and sent to
people.  Except in the first century, they could--in the Jewish Wisdom litera-
ture and in that the Christian Greeks didn't consider the physical world as evil
so consider the Logos as needing to be a separate created being (p.8).
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logos_%28Christianity%29


  The decades the NT was written in is a long time for God and the NT writers to
have made the screw-ups mentioned above if they'd meant the JWs leaders' view.

  The division with the Christians and Pharisees, later to lead the most popular
group of the non-Christian Jews to rabbinical Judaism, or debates between Chris-
tians, should have left a record of Christians explaining the JWs leaders' view
about Jesus as Michael and it didn't.  We don't even have a record of the Arians
calling Jesus created archangel Michael (p.9).

  The rejection of the mainstream view of Jesus by rabbinical Judaism, that their
interpretation of "one God" precludes it, seems like a reaction to the main-
stream Christian view, a way to define the Jewish view as not being the Chris-
tian view (p.7), whereas the post-Exile Jewish rejection of the JWs leaders'-
type Canaanite use of "gods" preceded Christianity by centuries (see the section
on "'A god'--Jesus as archangel Michael the Messiah god who was called 'Lord'
too much and not called 'Michael' at all" on p.6b).

  It's hard to imagine the Jewish people in Jesus' culture accepted the use of
the word "god" for those representing God, especially when one of the key pas-
sages on the subject, John 8:58, has Jesus defend his self-identification as not
blasphemous by referring to a passage where God condemned the Canaanite idea a
long time ago and identified himself with one of his "ego eimi"s, not a claim of
being archangel Michael, and the objection of the others who didn't believe him
was still that his claim was blasphemy (see the section on "I am" on p.8).

  Though the JWs leaders claim that the mainstream view came from philosophy,
the most relevant concern about that I know is that John used the word Logos.
The popularity of the wisdom literature, such as Prov.8:22-31, is enough for
John to have considered to have meant John 1:1 to mean God's own wisdom became
incarnate.  But if you add that John may have chosen the word "Logos" due to
what's similar about the idea of the Greeks' Logos as God's wisdom used in crea-
tion, it reaffirms the mainstream view--it wouldn't be how he'd indicate arch-
angel Michael, especially since no one called him that.

  The World Christian Encyclopedia estimates that by 100 AD there were 1 mil-
lion Christians in the Roman Empire out of a population of 181 million.
  http://www.towerwatch.com/Witnesses/statistics/partakers.htm

  David B. Barrett estimates there were 800,000 Christians by that time. (David
B. Barrett and Todd M. Johnson, World Christian Trends AD 30-AD 2200, Pasadena,
CA: William Carey Library, 2001, 19)
  http://books.google.com/books?id=N3OJ0sz35dsC&pg=PA328&lpg=PA328&dq=800000+
christians+ad+100&source=web&ots=PESFP9Hs1A&sig=Vp8WH2LCDgZ0ngZoqKbWEoV8dC0&h
l=en#v=snippet&q=800%2C000&f=false

  (At the site at the link above, type "800,000" in the box and click "Go" be-
side it to be taken to the right page.)

  By the JW leaders' idea of a great apostasy and restoration of the original
Christianity, the JWs leaders' alleged 144,000 would have included some of the
earliest Christians yet the 144,000 is still open to new membership.  The earli-
est ones would have diminished to a very small minority or disappeared very ear-
ly.

  The JWs leaders' view requires us to imagine that some of the worst teachers
of Christianity were the apostles and their students.  If they meant to teach
the JWs leaders' view, they didn't just have some scoffers in the crowd--the
widespread opinion was that they were lousy teachers about Jesus and the holy
spirit.  If we imagine 50,000 (or ?) of the JWs leaders' "144,000" among the
earliest Christians, the majority were saying, "Apostle John--what does he
know?" and such.  If something in one of the categories I gave above required
it there would be a reason to try to imagine it, but the JWs leaders' view
doesn't win the categories.

  After all the trouble God went through with the crucifixion to draw people to
Himself, He wouldn't have stopped inspiring the writing of scripture but would
have made the apostles do the rewrite necessary to make the JWs leaders' views
of Jesus as archangel Michael and the holy spirit as impersonal clear to most of
the Greeks.

  I could explain how without using both sides of a 3 x 5 card--just call the
Son "archangel Michael" and the holy spirit "power" all the way through--no
"God" things for Jesus or description of the holy spirit as personal.  Various
Isaiah verses should be changed from things like "besides me there is no god" to
"besides me there is a god, just not as many as some people say," and there
shouldn't be any prayer or worship or Shema phrases which are self-defeating
ways to indicate archangel Michael.  It would call for a major re-write, though.
The JWs leaders' version gives God as having decades to write as clearly as an
average person but not be able to do it.

  (He would need to change the writings by Paul to have him praise the strength
of faith of those who worry about the pagan connotations of things, add a few
details to things in Daniel and Revelation, etc., while he's at it, p.1a)

  The NT was written over a period of decades in various places, with about a
million Christians by the end of the 1st century.  The JWs leaders' view takes
their same basic arguments to the Greek definitions, and makes a case that the
Greek would need to be understood the JWs leaders' way.  So most early Christian
Greeks, the target audience, would need to be thought to not understand Greek as
good as them, either, though the NT mostly uses plain Greek (compared to the
book of Hebrews) and it seems silly to imagine.  Most of the early Christians
spoke Greek and had the mainstream view.  We have no record of them having the
JWs leaders' view (pp.6b,8,9).

  That's a pretty far cry from the usual JWs leaders' forced point that the
mainstream Jesus view is unimaginable in Greek.  The linguistic possibilities for
the JWs leaders' view deserve a fair trial, but the case is weak.  What's the
JWs leaders' expert linguistic reason for no one calling Jesus "archangel Mi-
chael"?  Overlooking certain passages by John and Paul, take Luke, who wrote
Acts 6 and 7--what linguistic possibility makes any sense out of Stephen not
saying it if that's who Jesus was?  It's easier to imagine a lot of the scrip-
tures written simply and clearly but differently if the original intention was
to ensure the target audience took the JWs leaders' ideas from it.

  The JWs leaders' case involves God leaving it up to the readers to imagine
unwritten "archangel Michael"s (p.8) and "other"s (p.6b), etc.  It's like imag-
ining evidence beyond the current evidence given that would lead to a reinter-
pretation of it and a different judgment in a court case.  It seems very un-
likely we'd have the current evidence if the imagined version gave the right ac-
count of the original event, and the JWs leaders' judgment isn't the judgment
you get based on the current evidence.  I hope nobody takes the method to judge
or be critical the JWs leaders want followers to use about the JWs leaders' ex-
clusive claims and ever uses it to do jury duty for anything important.

  That's why I think the basic created Jesus and impersonal spirit idea is imag-
inable in some way but has much going against the idea of it being the original-
ly intended view.  The JWs leaders' view of Jesus as archangel Michael the "god"
who was called "Lord" too much and not "Michael" at all and invisibly returned
or turned his attention to Earth in 1914, that the early Christians were unfam-
iliar to the Wisdom literature understanding of God's own wisdom personified
with "God and Wisdom"" phrasing but had a  Canaanite idea of an acceptable "god"
complete with prayer, worship, and Shema-type references, that there was a great
apostasy about it right away because God can't express himself as good as an
average person and he picked lousy teachers to teach Greeks who didn't under-
stand Greek very well and were poisoned by evil philosophy is...I would need a
prophetic sign of God for that, and what I have for that's on p.1a.

  That no doubt why Watchtower leaders since Russell have tried to make predic-
tions like prophets as an extra effort of persuasion that they had special in-
formation that makes a difference in the case, but an overview of their track
record goes against the credibility of the idea.

  The real reason for the JWs leaders' concept of Jesus and the holy spirit goes
back to Russell's efforts to distinguish his literature for sale by affecting
the elitism of his "144,000" pretension.  Then and since, their methods of try-
ing to fool customers that their exclusive rules for salvation are proven to
have been intended by the Bible authors don't indicate sincere difference of be-
lief on their part but a cynical way to stake out a religious literature sales
marketing group.

****

  Outside of the JWs, the door of studies has been wide open for so long, in-
cluding among students and opponents of the Bible and comparative religion
courses at colleges, challenging each other's belief and non-belief views, that
the JWs leaders' claims of most others being wrong about distinctive JWs lead-
ers' stances because others ignore the evidence and just hang on to old tradi-
tions that arose several centuries after the apostles lived makes JWs who buy
that as out of touch about it as the Governing Body wants them to be.

  JWs occasionally correct people who hadn't given much or any thought to the
JWs leaders' views.  But the non-JW has a relatively better excuse for not know-
ing the other's view since past JWs leaders' literature is mainly available in
JWs Kingdom Halls (a partial, even revised, recent version of it at that).  And
the JWs leaders fail to show they have as good a case for what's indicated
scripturally and historically as better indicated as the originally intended
view, so it isn't generally felt that there's a responsibility to know about it.

  I don't mean debates over outdated interpretations of Genesis and Creationism,
which wouldn't be very exclusive or new either way.  It more commonly comes up
with parts of the 4th century Arianism idea (p.9), via Charles Russell's version
of the 19th century Millerite idea of Jesus as archangel Michael as a god,
amended since then to require followers not to worship Jesus and change Rus-
sell's idea about Jesus visibly, then invisibly, returning in 1914 a bit (pp.1a,
8).  It's since required that Jesus/archangel Michael the "god" was called
"Lord" too much (p.6b) and, since 1914, invisibly turned his attention toward the
Earth, sat on his throne and was invisibly "seen" by all, and got back up off
the throne and just looked toward the Earth again (p.1a) (consult the latest JWs
leaders' literature to learn Jesus' current invisible standing or sitting stat-
us), which is, ironically, allegedly a view you don't find in early Christian
history because the Greeks were given a forced presentation of extraneous phil-
osophy and tradition (p.9).

  It's the issue that's most motivated the JWs leaders to customize a Bible (p.
6b) and related history (pp.1a,8,9) to make it suit the claim that the JWs lead-
ers restore the original church and there was a great apostasy soon after the
apostlic age, etc.  Such a stance is used differently by other modern Millerite
religions, if not using some of the JW leader's methods, which shows the variety
possible with that stance without it making the JWs leaders' case.  It's more a
matter of most people not being familiar with relatively obscure modern reli-
gious leaders' efforts to play prophet.

  Criticism the JWs leaders make of those who hadn't thought of the JWs leaders'
interpretation choices is a two- edged sword, though, since the JWs leaders'
literature ironically plays prophet in making many of those same verses out to
be ones you can only interpret the JWs leaders' way.  The JWs leaders' litera-
ture is unspokenly written as though the writer is unfamiliar with research into
the common non-JW literature though explicitly asking the reader to think the
writer is supported with it (making the facts fit the theory).  Non-JWs more
often have a relatively stronger case that JWs seem less informed about an over-
view of the subject.

  Ironically, it's a case of a JW leaders writing, or presiding over writing
that uses, forced points, not representing general or JW history in a forthright
balanced manner, trying to keep their followers in the dark with that purview
and the threat of disfellowshipping for persisting to think otherwise, and, un-
fortunately for their claim of being God's sole messengers, playing prophet
while only showing exclusiveness with signs of "not God" when clear decisive
factors are shown one way or the other, to persuade to their view.

****

  In the mid-1980's, when I first studied the Bible and the JWs leaders' litera-
ture about it, I investigated the JWs leaders' exclusive modern claims about the
popular old Bible material at the public library.  I showed a new JWs friend a
Xerox of Tertullian's Apology 21 (p.9) to compare with the "Should You Believe
in the Trinity?" brochure representation of Tertullian as teaching created
Christ.  He argued that the Apology 21 showed Tertullian taught created Christ
for about 20 minutes (!), then accused me of being an enemy who wasn't to talk
to him anymore.  I thought he blew a brain cell.

  It was only later that I found out about how the threat of being disfellow-
shipped from family and friends (p.3) causes some JWs to act like that.  But it
was obvious that I was onto a scam and that just reaffirmed the impression.  I
already knew that the JWs leaders' scam is as easy to research as just looking
in books the JWs leaders quote from, or finding out what the most reasonable
things are that non-JWs actually say as compared to what the JWs leaders said
they'd say.  But even more conspicuously, the JWs leaders protect their preten-
sion of exclusiveness by requiring all their distinctive stances for salvation
then misuse scriptural disfellowshipping rules to exercise a heavy-handed and
calculated damage control for it to minimize how many followers get wise to it
and spread the word around the marketing group.

  The other weird JWs thing that happened, just before I was told they wouldn't
come teach me anymore, was in relation to the blood transfusion issue, which
particularly bothered me since people can die from it.  A different JW, also an
otherwise bright friendly fellow I liked, and the one who tended to lead the
talks, tried to persuade me for about as long that "things offered to idols" was
an absolute to be consistent with his defense of the JWs leaders' view about ab-
staining from blood, which he thought was an absolute.  He mistakenly thought
the JWs leaders' view of "things offered to idols" (not as commonly known, I
guess) was that Christians shouldn't eat them at all.

  Besides trying to explain the more common view--that it meant to not to eat
"things offered" around Jewish people who didn't eat them at all, I explained
the JWs leaders' view--to not eat the "things" when they have an idolatrous con-
notation, which is around an idol temple or when announced as such.  He was us-
ing neither one--he was using the Jewish view (!).  So I ended up not being vis-
ited by JWs anymore because the JW couldn't get me to agree with the Jewish
view.

****

  Since the JWs leaders claim such elitism, they regularly attack various main-
stream Christian beliefs.

  This issue (pp.6b-10) is therefore a good source of information about the re-
lationship between the JWs leaders' literature and JWs followers.  I'm seeing
some recurring methods used by the JWs leaders in creating the impression that
their distinctive stances are the only reasonable interpretations of the Bible
and related research sources.  The JWs leaders' forced points and misuse of re-
search material when they try to prove such elitism not only undermine the cred-
ibility of them being the real deal of their claim but even just sincere.

  My focus is particularly concerned with when this can lead to any unnecessary
division between people (p.3) or worse, notably in regard to their requirement
that JWs followers obey their rules about worldliness in hostile political sit-
uations (p.6) or rules about the medical use of blood and major blood fractions
(pp.12-42).