Debates with Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) often prove frustrating, an endless ping-pong of futile talk, especially when the topic is the Holy Trinity. While essential Christian doctrine asserts that God subsists in three eternally distinct persons — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit — JWs craft their New World Translation (NWT) to mask the New Testament’s otherwise clear teaching that Christ is true deity equal to the Father. JWs deny the deity of the Christ and subordinate Him to the Father (e.g., Christ is the Father’s first creation).

It is not uncommon that believers leave conversations with JWs perplexed, given that JWs are often trained in challenging biblical support for the Trinity. The process often involves believers presenting JWs with a biblical passage that supports the doctrine of the Trinity, which is then followed by the JWs presenting a biblical passage that appears to question the doctrine of the Trinity. This process may be repeated over and over until one or both persons end the conversation in frustration after experiencing hitting a ’brick wall’ with no hope of making any impact. However, there is another way to present the deity of Christ to JWs, one that bypasses the typical method of interaction, and instead confronts them with a number of powerful examples of how the NWT applies a specific rule inconsistently to “restore” God’s divine name in the New Testament. The purpose of this article is to provide believers with a practical two-step approach to showing JWs how the NWT is a highly unreliable translation of biblical texts.

According to the WBTS, the divine name should be “restored” in the New Testament when a verse contains “either direct quotations from or indirect references to scriptures that use the Tetragrammaton [the four Hebrew letters signifying the divine name YHWH] in the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament.” For the sake of discussion with a JW, we accept the practice of “restoring” the divine name in the NT, but in doing so, we clarify that one must carefully apply this “restoration” rule consistently. The two-step approach is to show sets of NT verses with corresponding OT quotations — one in which the NWT applies the “restoration” rule and one in which it breaks it. The reason for this is simple — the WBTS’s theology does not allow for the rule to be applied consistently. If it were to be applied consistently, the deity of Christ would become clear. Your task is to show the inconsistency of the NWT’s application of the “restoration” rule to the JWs, as well as the implications that this has for the interpretation of the verses.

This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with Journal author Ziggi Ivan Santini about his online-exclusive article, ” ‘Restoring” ‘ the Divine Name in the New World Translation? A Strategy for Dialoging with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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