Project Documents

Date of Award

1984

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Nancy Jean Vylaneister

Second Advisor

Arnold Kurtz

Third Advisor

Hans LaRondelle

Abstract

This project explores biblical Christology and Soteriology and compares the findings of the study with the position of the Watchtower Society on these two doctrines. Since Watchtower teachings are found to be a t variance with the biblical view and cannot rightly be called Christian, Jehovah's Witnesses are in need of evangelization.

Christianity is both revelation and religion. The revelation of God and of His divine Son is, in and of itself , only part of Christianity . There needs to be the human response—religion — to the lordship of Jesus Christ. This combination of revelation and the response of faith, obedience, and commitment constitute Christianity . However, since without the re v e la tio n of Christ there could be no response, Christ must be considered the essence and very center of Christianity, not merely its founder. In order to appreciate the centrality of Christ, one must study His person, nature, and work. The divine-human nature of Christ, enigmatic as it may seem, is a biblical fact and is well documented in historical Christianity . Other aspects of Christ's life that set him apart from any other being and make him alone capable of saving human beings are in carnation, sinlessness , and substitutionary death. Finally, without the resurrection, nothing of what Christians believe about Christ could be true. An examination of the Watchtower teachings regarding Christ indicates that Jehovah's Witnesses have a different understanding of Jesus and His work from that taught by the Bible and reaffirmed by Christian theology. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Christ is not wholly divine, his death is not sufficient for total redemption of the human family, his r e su rre c tio n was not bodily, and his merits are not sufficient to insure the salvation of all--human merits must be added. A study of Johannine passages used by Jehovah's Witnesses to discredit the divine preexistence of Christ serves to reaffirm the traditional Christian position. Because Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept the biblical revelation of Christ nor respond to him as absolute Lord and Savior, they are in need of receiving the Gospel. However, this witness should appeal not only to the mind but also to the heart. Antagonism and censure are not appropriate to witnessing. Therefore, specific instructions regarding how to conduct debates are given for pastors and laypersons. In all cases, the exaltation of the divine Christ whose life and death are all - sufficient for salvation is to be the essence of evangelization of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Subject Area

Jehovah's Witnesses

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