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Good evening, Mr. Hepburn.  I hope this writing finds you and your family well, and in good health.

I simply wanted to take a moment to let you know that I deeply appreciated your attempt to HONESTLY portray what Trinitarians believe, even though I realize you vehemently disagree with the teaching.  I am referring to the completely false statement from Christaras, when he claimed that....

" So they're saying that Jesus was with Jesus! How many Jesus are there?"

You replied by pointing out this ridiculous error, by writing...

"The people such as Derrick do not  believe that John 1:1  is ... " saying that Jesus was with Jesus"...  They actually understand that, in the trinity, there are three distinct and separate individuals.  They read into John 1:1 that Jesus was with   "the Father"  and that Jesus shared the same nature as the father both being a part of the "godhead" but that there are distinct and seperate individuals."

I just want to applaud, and thank you, for taking the time to set this false notion straight.  I have no doubt in my mind, that many JWs here would simply have let that false statement stand, and then run with it.  You showed integrity and class, and a desire for honesty.  I appreciate the fact that you see the need to keep things honest, even when speaking of doctrines that you do not personally hold to.

I also want to commend you for not getting involved in the attempted mud-slinging.  This individual decided over the week-end, to launch a campaign to slander me, because I asked him to back off in the amount of questions that he was sending me.  I had told him plainly and politely, that I had no problem with answering his questions, provided they were relevant to this category, and not sent so frequently that they dominated all of my time.  This individual, regrettably, could not respect that.  He wrote me privately on Saturday morning, to which I responded.  I also told him I had a very full week-end, and was making my answer short for that reason.  In a matter of minutes, he had written again.  I asked him to please wait until after the week-end, to write again.  He would not do that, but sent yet another question.  I rejected it, so he has decided to launch a campaign of revenge.  That is his privilege, and doesn't bother me in the least.  I am truly sorry that he has now made you, the target of constant and incessant writings.

I guess if there is one point in your reply to him that I feel the need to briefly address, it would be the point about Modalism being "another form" of the Trinity doctrine, and that Modalists will "say they believe in the Trinity".

Actually, Modalism and Trinitarianism are mutually exclusive belief systems.  When one is a Modalist, they cease to be a Trinitarian.  In fact, you referenced Oneness Pentecostals.  I need to point out that Oneness Pentecostals do not "say they believe in the Trinity".  In fact, they vehemently deny it.  I know...One of my ex's, was a Oneness Pentecostal, oddly enough.  Found it out the hard way...She took me to a tent revival one evening, and a guy got up with a guitar and sung a song that he had written, entitled "I Don't Believe Your Trinity Doctrine".  I looked over at her, thinking she would be as uncomfortable as I was, but she was clapping her hands to the song.  I was thinking..."Okay, this ain't gonna work out".  And it didn't.  

That's a little humorous incident from my younger days, but it does illustrate that Modalists do not claim to believe in the Trinity.  

But other than that minor point, I appreciated your reply, and the way you took a stand for what is right.  Even down to the fact that Christaras told you he believed that man has a soul apart from his body, and you used that point to show that you didn't agree, but nor would you ridicule him for it.  

Now, the truth is, he didn't even believe that, a week ago.  He told me then, that he believed man was just a body.  Now, he has changed, all in a matter of a week.  He is all over the place, doctrinally.  A week ago, he labeled JWs as "the worst fanatics".  Now, due to his anger with my asking him to put some space between his constant questions, he has done an about-face on that, too.  

He is merely upset because I have addressed every single argument he has raised, from the Scriptures, and didn't tell him what he wanted to hear.  He came to me trying to use Jesus and Lazarus to prove his point that man does NOT have a soul, so I showed him some comments from Jesus in other passages, and he actually implied that "maybe Jesus was contradicting HIMSELF".  First, it was Paul who was being misled with false ideas from Hellenistic Jews, and then Jesus contracts Himself.  There simply isn't much intelligent reasoning that you can do with someone who thinks everyone is wrong but them.

Anyway, I will not drag you into this.  I hope he will get the hint, as well, that you don't enjoy that type of activity.  I just wanted to thank you for always being a class act, and showing integrity in your answers.  I don't always agree with you, but I do respect the way you carry yourself.  Others could take a lesson from it.

Have a great evening, Mr. Hepburn.

Answer
Greetings Derrick,

Thank you for your thoughts, I appreciate it.

Unfortunately there is so much misinformation about so many things that come to the for here on this forum and on others. Too many people do not take the time to really try to understand where the other person is coming form, and, all to often have heard bits and pieces of a topic without examining it for themselves.

JWs get a very bad wrap from so many people because of hear say and innuendo and misquotes, and it goes the other way as well.  Unfortunately as I said before the vast majority of people that  go to some form of church have no real understanding of the trinity.  Many JWs have come from such backgrounds so they bring with then the ill-informed doctrine as they have had it explained to them at their former church.

In our handbook “Reasoning from the Scriptures” we find a very brief description   of  both ideas of the trinity mentioned

Quote
Definition: The central doctrine of religions of Christendom. According to the Athanasian Creed, there are three divine Persons (the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost), each said to be eternal, each said to be almighty, none greater or less than another, each said to be God, and yet together being but one God. Other statements of the dogma emphasize that these three “Persons” are not separate and distinct individuals but are three modes in which the divine essence exists. Thus some Trinitarians emphasize their belief that Jesus Christ is God, or that Jesus and the Holy Ghost are Jehovah. Not a Bible teaching.
End quote

Even though that is there for all JWs to see it seems many just stay by the confused idea that they had before becoming a JW.  My  personal experience is that very few people actually know the official trinity doctrine teaches.  It is important that when ever this doctrine is discussed that both parties have an idea where each other stands on the matter so as to avoid confusion and crossed wires.

I do  not know any  “Oneness Penitentials” nor do I ever recall ever meeting one, I have to the best of my knowledge only ever heard about them.  So I will try to keep in mind that they do not believe in the trinity.

No matter what we believe, if we are going to go on a public forum and  represent our group,  then we must always try to do so in the best favourable light as possible.  (it reminds me of the saying “ you attract more bees with honey than with vinegar ”) There should be no room for any slander or putting people down for what they believe.  Using reason and tact is in line with the council of Peter at 1 Peter 3:4  This was address to the woman on the congregation but the principle apples to all  “but let it be the secret person of the heart in the incorruptible [apparel] of the quiet and mild spirit, which is of great value in the eyes of God.” (1984 NWT).    I do not want my name associated with mudslinging even if it comes form a person asking a question.  

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Brenton Hepburn

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I AM one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I am always learning. I am NOT an expert in the full sense of the word but I can answer questions on the reliability of the NWT - the so called mind control problems-so called prophecies - how being a JW affects the individual and relatives and general practices and history of Jehovah’s Witnesses. >>WARNING<< Please be aware that there are people here who ARE NOT practicing JWs. By all means ask these ones questions. Depending on the question you will get an honest answer, but, generally the answer you get, will mislead you as to what we believe, often because, they do not give ALL the relevant details. These ones will, have an agenda against JWs., and will at times give answers that are not correct in regard to JW teachings and practices. If you are after a answer from one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, please read some of the answers that the various experts have published before choosing someone. If you want to ask one of the NON JWs a question, that is fine, BUT if you want a balancing view after asking one of the NON JWs, ask a JW the same question. PLEASE ALSO NOTE: There(have been)and are, some "experts" here who are NOT always the most courteous and polite, at times are actually quite rude, that applies to both JW's and non JW's and their answers may offend, especially when they get personal and attack the character of the person and not the message. Unfortunately some here that have done that. So it IS IMPORTANT to chose an "expert" that YOU feel will best suit YOU by reading some of their past answers . . . . .

Experience

I have been a publisher since 1964. When I first went on the internet I found a lot of negative information dealing with Jehovah’s Witnesses covering prophecy, mind control and what many said was a very bad translation of the Bible known as the NWT. It shook my faith. After may hours researching these topics I could see why some felt that way, but, I was also able to explain why there were these misleading views. I can now set matters straight for anyone that has negative information about Jehovah’s Witness to show them that such information is at best misleading and at worst dangerous lies.

Education/Credentials
I have been a student of the Bible for many years, am trying to teach myself Biblical Greek. Was a public tax accountant for many years untill SEP 2009 when I gave it up due to health problems.

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