How would you respond to these [three] questions, if they were put to you by an outside observer, such as a practicing Hindu from India?
(1) If the Trinity is false, why do most self-described Christians believe it?
I know your questions were directed to @Podobear, and perhaps you might think it to be a bit unfair for me to be posting my own responses to these, but here they are:
(1) Short answer:
Because many people today are in spiritual darkness, being in bondage to cherished false religious teachings like the Trinity doctrine and "Once Saved, Always Saved," yet another false doctrine having no scriptural support.
The very fact so many professed Christians today believe in the Trinity proves that they have not been taught the truth and that they do not know either God or Christ.
(1) Long answer:
Most of the world, and not just "self-described" (or professed) Christians, but all of those that do not know the true God, Jehovah, are living in a state of spiritual darkness, alienated from the life that belongs to God because of the ignorance that is presently in them.
When Adam and Eve sinned against God, they forfeited their right to live forever on earth, but because of their rebelliousness and refusal to obey God, they also lost for us -- their offspring -- the right to live forever on earth as well for through Adam we became as spiritual unclean as was our father, Adam, who sold all mankind into bondage to sin and death, so that, although through no fault of our own, we became both alienated from and enemies of God.
In His mercy though, God immediately took remedial steps to remedy our sad plight by determining to set His son's soul, or life, as a ransom sacrifice for the sins of redeemable mankind based on faith in this provision in order that He might reconcile the world again to himself by making peace with sinful mankind by declaring some among mankind righteous for life in heaven through their faith in Jesus' shed blood and assign to those chosen administrative roles in a heavenly government that would receive a heavenly inheritance and also become joint heirs with His son as kings and priests in a heavenly administration provided by God for the blessing of those that would also have the prospect of being declared right for life here on earth to reverse the effects of sin.
God knew that it would take some time to teach sinful mankind the way of righteousness, so over several thousands of years. starting with Adam, God used men to make a written record of certain events through which record He would gradually reveal more and more about Himself and His righteous standards while progressively revealing His purpose for the earth and mankind on it.
Just as it is true today, so it was in the beginning that God knew that there would come to be born some that were past all moral sense, even giving themselves over to loose conduct to work uncleanness of every sort to the extreme with every inclination of the thoughts of man's heart was being only bad all the time so starting with Adam, God raised up prophets to also record prophecies that would prove to be a source of hope to those reading who were without hope in the world, but were sighing and groaning over all of the detestable and ungodly deeds that people were saying and were being done in their midst. God even entrusted to the fleshly descendants of Abraham, one of the men that had both worshipped and feared God, a written code, a spiritual law that comprised God's sacred pronouncements, which served to make mankind's sinfulness manifest, thus making his need for a savior more acute since no sinner required to observe the Law was able to do so.
After His having incorporated many prophecies that would help one to be able to identify the One to whom all of these prophecies point, the time came for Jesus' birth which would ultimately lead to Jesus' anointing as an adult as the Christ, in connection with his ministerial work. His ministry involved the healing of those in spiritual bondage to religious traditions that dishonored God and in his healing some that were physically sick or infirm, all of which identifying Jesus as being "the Prophet," as well as the Messiah or Christ, God's son, whose teaching underscored the need to pursue God's kingdom and His righteousness. His ministry also served to shed much light upon life and incorruption by means of the good news that was preached, not just during Jesus' ministry, but especially during the days Jesus' apostles after they had received the promised holy spirit.
Now following Jesus' ascension to heaven came the outpouring of God's holy spirit upon Jesus' disciples, which provided spiritual enlightenment about God's purposes and removed the wall that had forced the Jews to keep the uncircumcised nations, who had been alienated from the state of Israel and were strangers to God's covenants, at bay since they had formerly been viewed as unclean by circumcised Jews, reconciling the two peoples in one body to God through the good news so that the greatly diversified wisdom of God, according to the eternal the eternal purpose of God that He formed in connection with Jesus Christ, might be made known through the Christian congregation.
While in other generations, the sacred secret of God's will had not been made known to mankind, it was during the first century AD that it was revealed by means of God's holy spirit that God had begun choosing those among the first to exercise faith in Jesus' ransom to become joint heirs with Christ in God's kingdom as a "little flock," which choosing has continued to the 20th century. Later, it was progressively revealed that "other sheep," with the prospect of living forever on earth would have righteousness imputed to them and declared righteous as friends of God were being gathered for salvation and so many people today are now flocking to God's organization.
Many people today continue to walk in the unprofitableness of their minds, for they are unknowingly in spiritual darkness, some in spiritual bondage to false religion, because Satan the Devil, the god of this system of things, has blinded the minds of these unbelievers. But what they aren't being taught is that one must continue in the faith, established firmly on the foundation, Jesus Christ, and steadfast, not allowing anyone or anything to shift them away from the hope of that good news.
So the fact that many professed Christians today believe in the Trinity is proof that they have never really heard Jesus in their churches, never really were taught by means of the Christ, because had they learned from the Christ they would never have embraced this false doctrine they cherish, nor "Once Saved, Always Saved," which is another false doctrine for which there exists absolutely no scriptural support at all, for the spirit of God is a force that actuates the mind enabling the Christian to don a new personality created according to God's will in true righteousness and loyalty.
(2) Why does your faith hold the issue as a litmus test, but most self-described Christians do not?
I'm not exactly sure that you mean, for many people that are now Jehovah's Witnesses came to abandon their belief in the Trinity once they were convinced to that this was not something that the Bible teaches. There are some folks that never become Jehovah's Witnesses though because they are unable to shake their belief in the Trinity, but they continue to attend meetings with us and they do so with the understanding that we do not believe in or teach this doctrine.
(3) Do you feel very grateful that you came to be in association with true Christians, given that the odds are very much so against you?
If you are in the mood for discussion, please explain your views on the nature of Jesus Christ (given that Hebrews 1:5 and 1:13 eliminate the possibility of his being an angel) while we wait for debator to answer my post.
When anyone reads the first two chapters of Hebrews without theological underpinnings, it is clear that the apostle Paul is not just speaking generally about the angels of God through whom God communicated to the Hebrew forefathers "long ago," but Paul is referring to one angel in particular through whom God spoke, who he calls "a Son ...through whom [God] made the systems of things," and who we learn, based on Paul's quoting Psalm 102:25-27 and applying this psalm to Jesus, to have been responsible for laying "the foundations of the earth" as well as the heavens, and which we also learn, based on Paul's quoting Nathan's prophecy at 2 Samuel 7:14 to Jesus, to be a very distinguished angel. (Colossians 1:15, 16)
Contrary to what you evidently believe to be true about the Lord Jesus Christ -- and you are certainly entitled to your opinion -- neither Hebrews 1:5 nor Hebrews 1:13 eliminating the possibility of Jesus having been an angel both before he became a human being and after his resurrection and ascension to heaven. Anyway, obediently getting actively involved in the disciple-making activity now taking place during these last days as Jesus commanded for a witness and living our lives in accord with the good news is what we must do if we truly believe in Jesus and are exercising faith in the ransom provision that means everlasting life. Certainly arguing over whether Jesus was 100% human and 100% God (having a 200% hybrid nature?) or whether Jesus is Jehovah, but not the Father, and even being awarded the gold trophy for winning such an argument just isn't the same as our telling others about the good news in order that we and those we tell might be saved.
Now engaging others in such arguments that have obtained since the fourth century AD over Jesus' divinity to no real purpose is useless, for nowhere do we read in the Bible that the one that is awarded the win in such contests will be saved, do we? But what we do read in the Bible is about those who have been reconciled to God through Jesus through their acceptance of the ransom 'provided they continue in the faith,' and that it is only 'those that have endured to the end are the ones that will be saved' (Colossians 1:23; Matthew 10:22). At any rate, the following is a brief "commentary" on Hebrews chapters 1 and 2, and when reviewing these two chapters, ask yourself the question, For what purpose does the apostle Paul have here talking about angels? What is his point?
1 God, who long ago spoke on many occasions and in many ways to our forefathers by means of the prophets, 2 has at the end of these days spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things. 3 He is the reflection of [his] glory and the exact representation of his very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power; and after he had made a purification for our sins he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty in lofty places. 4 So he has become better than the angels, to the extent that he has inherited a name more excellent than theirs.
While God had formerly raised up men who served as His prophets to communicate His will, it was during the last days of the Jewish system of things that God spoke to men through His Firstborn Son and Heir through whom God made the world, Jesus Christ. Jesus reflects God's glory for, like His heavenly Father, Jesus is now also a Spirit, and by his word he manifests the same authority as does his heavenly Father over all of the things kindly given to him by God, and after Jesus had paid the ransom to cancel mankind's debt to God as was raised up, he was exalted to a position at God's right hand and given an office higher than that held by or given to any of the other angels of God.
HEBREWS 1:5, 6
5 For example, to which one of the angels did he ever say: "You are my son; I, today, I have become your father"? And again: "I myself shall become his father, and he himself will become my son"? 6 But when he again brings his Firstborn into the inhabited earth, he says: "And let all God’s angels do obeisance to him."
Out of all of God's angels in heaven, to which of them did God ever declare to be his son, or to be his father. When during his second coming God next sends his Firstborn into the world, all of God's angels will also serve him even as they serve God directing their worship to God through Jesus.
7 Also, with reference to the angels he says: "And he makes his angels spirits, and his public servants a flame of fire." 8 But with reference to the Son: "God is your throne forever and ever, and [the] scepter of your kingdom is the scepter of uprightness. 9 You loved righteousness, and you hated lawlessness. That is why God, your God, anointed you with [the] oil of exultation more than your partners." 10 And: "You at [the] beginning, O Lord, laid the foundations of the earth itself, and the heavens are [the] works of your hands. 11 They themselves will perish, but you yourself are to remain continually; and just like an outer garment they will all grow old, 12 and you will wrap them up just as a cloak, as an outer garment; and they will be changed, but you are the same, and your years will never run out."
Of all of God's angels, who are servants that provide a public service, God's Firstborn was the only one that was declared to be God's Son, the only one who, as such, has come to inherit God's throne due to his integrity and love for righteousness, so that his rulership has come to have greater than that over which other rulers anointed by God were given. As the One that had in the beginning been given the responsibility for the creation of the earth and the heavens, Jesus now has an indestructible life, so that while the things he made are not indestructible and can perish, he will never die and so he lives forever.
Since Jesus now possessed immortality, which the other angels do not, it would not inappropriate to think of Jesus as being a God in his own right since the very foundation of his throne is God, as long as we do not forget that is Jehovah from whom Jesus received his throneship, his power and his great authority. (John 20:28; Revelation 3:12)
HEBREWS 1:13, 14
13 But with reference to which one of the angels has he ever said: "Sit at my right hand, until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet"? 14 Are they not all spirits for public service, sent forth to minister for those who are going to inherit salvation?
To none of the other angels did God ever offer a seat at His right hand or to give to any one of them authority over earth's inhabitants, even though all of them are faithful servants of God whose role is to actively minister to the needs of God's servants on earth.
2 That is why it is necessary for us to pay more than the usual attention to the things heard by us, that we may never drift away. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved to be firm, and every transgression and disobedient act received a retribution in harmony with justice; 3 how shall we escape if we have neglected a salvation of such greatness in that it began to be spoken through [our] Lord and was verified for us by those who heard him, 4 while God joined in bearing witness with signs as well as portents and various powerful works and with distributions of holy spirit according to his will?
The importance of listening to the things that the Lord Jesus Christ says cannot be stressed any greater than to point out that if in the past, when the angels of God as God's representatives were sent as spirits to transmit messages to God's servants on earth, the word they spoke proved to be firm and lifesaving, then how much more lifesaving would the word spoken by Jesus that we hear today be with God bearing witness through distributions of holy spirit, for we will certainly drift away if we do not pay strict attention to what things God says to us through the Lord Jesus Christ.
5 For it is not to angels that he has subjected the inhabited earth to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But a certain witness has given proof somewhere, saying: "What is man that you keep him in mind, or [the] son of man that you take care of him? 7 You made him a little lower than angels; with glory and honor you crowned him, and appointed him over the works of your hands. 8 All things you subjected under his feet." For in that he subjected all things to him [God] left nothing that is not subject to him. Now, though, we do not yet see all things in subjection to him; 9 but we behold Jesus, who has been made a little lower than angels, crowned with glory and honor for having suffered death, that he by God’s undeserved kindness might taste death for every [man].
Jehovah has not subjected the new earth that God is making to angels, but given dominion over it to His Son, who was made a little lower than the angels, but then was crowned with glory and honor and appointed as administrator over all things in the heavens and on earth after he had tasted death for the sake of all mankind. That God left nothing that isn't subject to Jesus is what makes the resurrected Jesus a much more powerful god than the other angelic sons of God, but the God maker is still Jehovah.
10 For it was fitting for the one for whose sake all things are and through whom all things are, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Chief Agent of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he who is sanctifying and those who are being sanctified all [stem] from one, and for this cause he is not ashamed to call them "brothers," 12 as he says: "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the middle of [the] congregation I will praise you with song." 13 And again: "I will have my trust in him." And again: "Look! I and the young children, whom Jehovah gave me."
As the Chief Agent of life for those who are being sanctified through sufferings and are being declared "sons of god," Jesus is not ashamed to call his followers his brothers even as he himself suffered.
14 Therefore, since the "young children" are sharers of blood and flesh, he also similarly partook of the same things, that through his death he might bring to nothing the one having the means to cause death, that is, the Devil; 15 and [that] he might emancipate all those who for fear of death were subject to slavery all through their lives. 16 For he is really not assisting angels at all, but he is assisting Abraham’s seed. 17 Consequently he was obliged to become like his "brothers" in all respects, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, in order to offer propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself has suffered when being put to the test, he is able to come to the aid of those who are being put to the test.
Just as those of Abraham's seed ("the 'young children'") for whom Jesus died are human beings, Jesus himself become like them, a human being, that through his death he might free them from enslavement to fear of death in Satan's world, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest for their sake and a suitable ransom for mankind's sins, which experience has given Jesus a much better vantage point than of the other angels when it comes to rendering aid to those under trial since they have never experienced the suffering that he and his brothers on earth have suffered.