Well, I was trying to see if I got something wrong in my research, can a JW research this for me and tell me if I am wrong?
I checked out the people Watchtower quoted from and made an entire essay (that I assigned myself) on it. It's so important that, when you trust a person with your salvation, you remember that's exactly what they are...a person. Therefore, all information should be verified and not just accepted because one source says that's the way it is.
I keep on coming back to the IRS when I think of religion. Why does everyone hate them so much? Because they audit themselves and are accountable to no one else. It is the same with our faiths. Only, with that, it is our eternity that we are putting at risk if we only trust one source that is accountable to no one but themselves and tells you not to look outside of what they say is true. What's the harm if they are right? All you will do is confirm that they were on the right track and it will only serve to make your faith stronger. Here is a little snip of my essay (please forgive some quotes which are only partially color coded. I tried to fix the format multiple times but seem to have difficulty. I will put what is directly from Watchtower with a (WT) before it):
Major sources of information for my research were: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page Watchtower: www.watchtower.org , The Fathers of the Church: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/ And a Neutral source w/ C.E. dates:http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/
After the suggestion of a Jehovah’s Witness friend, I went directly to the Watchtower site for the official publication of "Should you Believe in the Trinity?". This is a wonderful way to make sure that all information found is accurate and all claims and quotes really were made by the Watchtower. I want to make it perfectly clear that I did not enter this research project expecting to find "deceit" and "conspiracies". I simply wanted to know what Watchtower claims about the Trinity and if their arrival at this conclusion was accurate and honest. After all, there is always the chance that they have information I haven’t heard yet....
I just needed to make sure they were reliable sources. What makes them reliable?
1. They need to be providing information and nothing more. No "bashing" (or even mentioning) Watchtower in any way.
2. If it’s not neutral, it needs to be verified by a neutral source, which favors neither the Trinitarian nor the non-Trinitarian view.
Note: Emphasis in quotes has been added and quotes from the Watchtower publication -highlighted in blue- have not been paraphrased so that the information and message provided may be viewed and understood in it’s entirety...
(WT)"Primitive Christianity did not have an explicit doctrine of the Trinity such as was subsequently elaborated in the creeds."—The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology.
First let us note that the actual quote (though not written down by him) was made by Protestant theologian Karl Barth. Here is the quote in context. This entire quote is from the source mentioned at the end:
"The Trinity... "The Bible lacks the express declaration that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are of equal essence and therefore in an equal sense God himself....But the NT does contain the fixed, three-part formula of 2 Cor. 13:13 (EVV 14) in which God, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit are mentioned together (cf. I Cor. 12:4 ff.). The Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit occurs only in the baptismal formula in Matt. 28:19... All this underlines the point that primitive Christianity did not have an explicit doctrine of the Trinity such as was subsequently elaborated in the creeds of the early church." (New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Brown, Colin, 1932, God, vol 2, p84, J. Schneider)
(WT)"The early Christians, however, did not at first think of applying the [Trinity] idea to their own faith. They paid their devotions to God the Father and to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and they recognised the . . . Holy Spirit; but there was no thought of these three being an actual Trinity, co-equal and united in One."—The Paganism in Our Christianity.
This quote, by Historian Arthur Weigall, is rather interesting... and subtly dangerous. I did not bother to post the context because a much more important question is raised by quoting this person. Why would Watchtower quote someone who believes that, in no way, is the bible God’s word? Arthur is a modernist who would have no qualms in turning against Jehovah’s Witnesses just as quickly as he would turn against Trinitarians. He not only finds the Trinity to have Pagan origins, but he also finds the virgin birth, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension to be pagan. One only needs to read "The Paganism in Our Christianity" to learn this for themselves. It makes me wonder why Watchtower, in this manner, would yoke (connect) themselves with this unbeliever. Thereby Watchtower is lending credibility and putting the value of truth to Arthur Weigall who, in whole, discounts even their own faith. Either Watchtower took this quote out of context or they are subscribing to the anti-bible views of Arthur Weigall...
(WT) Justin Martyr, who died about 165 C.E., called the prehuman Jesus a created angel who is "other than the God who made all things." He said that Jesus was inferior to God and "never did anything except what the Creator . . . willed him to do and say."
1. I notice that, when Justin is quoted, the quotes do not include Justin actually saying "Jesus a created angel" and "Jesus was inferior to God". Even if these were not his exact words, it would makes sense to put in there what Justin said about Christ. These were inserted by Watchtower and I cannot find a quote anywhere which says in any form that the pre-human Christ was a created angel (though He was called Angel).
3. Not that the quotes (given by Watchtower) are not there in some form, but I cannot find them anywhere in the manuscripts of Justin Martyr. I can only assume that they were bits and pieces of multiple quotes due to the fact that, with other sources (other than Watchtower), I can easily take just a portion of a quote and locate it within a manner of minutes. So, the next best thing is to look at the quotes I can find (writings - which I have paraphrased - date approx. 150-160 C.E.).
" Now the Word of God is His Son, as we have before said. And He is called Angel and Apostle; for He declares whatever we ought to know, and is sent forth to declare whatever is revealed; as our Lord Himself says, "He that heareth Me, heareth Him that sent Me." From the writings of Moses also this will be manifest; for thus it is written in them, "And the Angel of God spake to Moses, in a flame of fire out of the bush, and said, I am that I am, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of thy fathers; go down into Egypt, and bring forth My people." And if you wish to learn what follows, you can do so from the same writings; for it is impossible to relate the whole here... Whence also the Spirit of prophecy rebukes them, and says, "Israel doth not know Me, my people have not understood Me."...the Father of the universe has a Son; who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God.... (First Apology, Chapter 63/LXIII)
And this does not even include some of the other quotes from Justin (locations provided for verification of entire quotes). Even if the color is wrong, what is in quotations is still from the source mentiuoned at the end of each quote:
[Justin to Trypho] "As you wish, Trypho, I shall come to these proofs which you seek in the fitting place; but now you will permit me first to recount the prophecies, which I wish to do in order to prove that Christ is called both God and Lord of hosts."
(Dialogue with Trypho, ch. 36/XXXVIII) [Trypho to Justin] "...when you say that this Christ existed as God before the ages, and that He submitted to be born and become man"
(Dialogue with Trypho, ch.48/XLVIII)
[Justin to Trypho]"Therefore these words testify explicitly that He [Christ] is witnessed to by Him who established these things, as deserving to be worshiped, as God and as Christ." (Dialogue with Trypho, towards the end of ch. 63/LXIII)
"And Trypho said, "You endeavor to prove an incredible and well-nigh impossible thing;[namely], that God endured to be born and become man" (Dialogue with Trypho, beginning of ch 68/LXVIII) ...
I quoted more from this early father as well as each other father that was mentioned in the Watchtower publication. Including a very important quote from Tertullian which states :
That this rule of faith has come down to us from the beginning of the gospel, even before any of the older heretics,... which supposes itself to possess the pure truth, in thinking that one cannot believe in One Only God in any other way than by saying that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are the very selfsame Person.... while the mystery of the dispensation is still guarded, which distributes the Unity into a Trinity, placing in their order the three Persons -- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost: three, however, not in condition, but in degree; not in substance, but in form; not in power, but in aspect; yet of one substance, and of one condition, and of one power, inasmuch as He is one God, from whom these degrees and forms and aspects are reckoned, under the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Against Praxeas, practically all of Chapter 2)
This is the concluding page:
These quotes do not even take into consideration some of the other very early church quotes. Also, each one of these quotes is dated no later (even in liberal circles) than 75 years before the 325 C.E. year stated by Watchtower.
(WT) Summing up the historical evidence, Alvan Lamson says in The Church of the First Three Centuries: "The modern popular doctrine of the Trinity . . . derives no support from the language of Justin [Martyr]: and this observation may be extended to all
the ante-Nicene Fathers; that is, to all Christian writers for three centuries after the birth of Christ
. It is true, they speak of the Father, Son, and . . . holy Spirit, but not as co-equal, not as one numerical essence, not as Three in One, in any sense now admitted by Trinitarians. The very reverse is the fact."
(WT) "Thus, the testimony of the Bible and of history makes clear that the Trinity was unknown throughout Biblical times and for several centuries thereafter." Is this statement truly what we see, in light of further examination of early Christian teachings? What assumptions were made at the beginning? Watchtower stated "THE ante-Nicene Fathers were acknowledged to have been leading religious teachers in the early centuries after Christ's birth. What they taught is of interest." and so true are those words. They said that the fathers did not teach the doctrine of the Trinity. What do we see when we look for ourselves?
1.We see that there was definitely confusion on how to express that God was one but three...
2.Confusion on how to teach that the Son was equal yet submissive...
3. That the Holy Spirit was equal in honor, power and dignity but not all were sure yet if he was born or innate.
However we can see plainly that, though there was some confusion on how it should be taught, the Trinity doctrine was well voiced much farther back than the 325 C.E. date which Watchtower stated. This teaching, which Watchtower said "was unknown throughout Biblical times and for several centuries thereafter", is clearly written in many places and in many different ways. From what can be seen, it seems that what modern sources mean by the Trinity not being an "explicit" doctrine or not being "solidly" taught, they mean it wasn’t finalized and documented (so as to have one official message taught by every sect), until after 325 C.E.. There is no possible way one could read the quotes from the early church fathers and then turn around and say that these same fathers never taught the doctrine of the Trinity. What conclusions are we left with which would still make Watchtower a reliable source for our information? This essay, in which I (1ofHissheep/Kat) personally invested every quote from the sections I mention, is showing deceptive inftentions by Watchtower. If they are willing to misquote and lie just to prove their point, who else did they misquote and what else did they lie about? If I am wrong on any of these statements or conclusions, I am willing to conceed that point if a Jehovah's Witness steps forward with evidence to the contrary. Not quotes from Watchtower but actual research that they have done themselves.