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Testimony from a Former Jehovah Witness

Matthew Fenn is a former Jehovah Witness saved by God’s grace through the reading of Philippians chapter 3.

Read his edifying story, here.

“But when I read this passage, I read that was talking about “not having a righteousness of his own”. That blew me away. It blew me away because it was so different from what the Watchtower teaches. The Watchtower teaches that God only saves the godly. The Organization says that Jesus helps us but we also need to help him. He isn’t enough to save us, we need to do something as well. Their version of salvation is Jesus giving the sinner the same chance as Adam had. Jesus needs us to participate and contribute to our own salvation. As a result it isn’t humble, it’s proud. It isn’t joyous, but very angry, critical, and mean. It’s isn’t grace, it’s nothing but pure law.”

After Fenn’s conversion, he would meet with the JW Judicial Committee, which was very telling. So read the whole story!

Here is video of his story: http://ponderingchrist.blogspot.com/2010/11/heres-my-story.html

An Excellent Review of Truth in Translation

···Dr. Thomas Howe is Professor of Biblical Languages and Director of the Apologetics Program for Southern Evangelical Seminary. He is in the process of writing a scholarly response to Dr. Jason BeDuhn’s work Truth in Translation. This is a link to an early draft of his review. It is very good but it is not the complete response. The complete response will be available early 2010.

···Some quick words about the linked version:

  • As mentioned earlier, it is partially done. Fuller work is being done to it, so consider this a (very in-depth and worthwhile) preview.
  • The contrast is stark from the two works. In fairness to Dr. BeDuhn, his work is intended to be for general consumption and Dr. Howe’s is intended to be more technical. Of course, that does not shield BeDuhn from critique, but the reader should simply note the difference in writing and detail.

···I’ll post another link of where one can get hold of the response when it becomes available. In the meantime, enjoy Dr. Howe’s work.

Truth in Translation: Evaluating Dr. BeDuhn’s Treatment of Granville Sharp’s Rule

Some time ago I began what was intended to be a series of articles addressing translation issues raised by Dr. Jason BeDuhn of Northern Arizona University. It certainly was not my intention to take so long to return to the articles, and some of our readers have gently, but consistently reminded me (not to mention a certain elder at my church) that such a work beckons a response if for no other reason than to dispose of some of the erroneous arguments and conclusions put forth by BeDuhn. Considering the rather high standard he set for himself in his work and considering the amount of play his name is getting by Jehovah’s Witnesses as a neutral Greek scholar, it seems important to address.

But, first, I would like to make a correction from my first post. There I mentioned that Dr. BeDuhn’s doctoral studies were in Manichean studies. That is incorrect. His doctoral degree is in Comparative Religion. His doctoral dissertation was on Manicheaism. Indeed, that is where his specialty lies. It is important to point this out because Dr. BeDuhn denigrates the qualifications of many Old and New Testament scholars of various translations by stating that they were theologically trained and possess some adequate training in the biblical languages. When one considers the considerable weight of scholarship that was on the original translation committee of the NASB, for example, one must acknowledge that there is a significant imbalance to the words Dr. BeDuhn gave in regards to the scholarship of such projects. Dr. Moises Silva, for example, is a well-known scholar with many significant works relating to biblical linguistics and translation, hermeneutics and exegesis (some which have been standard textbooks for colleges and seminaries such as Biblical Words and their Meanings: And Introduction to Lexical Semantics). Men such as Dr. Bruce Waltke were on the original translation committee as well. Dr. Waltke still has the standard 2nd year textbook for Hebrew Syntax. Many other recognizable names are here: (and let’s not forget that certain highly recognizable name for the textual consultants of the NASB Update – something of a household name for readers of this blog).

Such dismissals did not serve Dr. BeDuhn well since it positioned him to a higher level of scholarship than men such as these who have written significantly on and contributed greatly to the biblical scholarship Dr. BeDuhn claims to uphold. As I have mentioned earlier, I am willing to assign Dr. BeDuhn the status of scholar, but there is nothing in his writings that have persuaded me that he is a biblical scholar, and that distinction is significant to this conversation.

To that end, I wish to discuss some of the chapters of his work Truth In Translation. It is not my intention to address every issue he raises, but merely to demonstrate that Dr. BeDuhn seems to lack either the information or the neutrality he claims to have in order to approach this subject.

For this article I have chosen Chapter 8: Words Together and Apart. Here, Dr. BeDuhn addresses Granville Sharp’s Rule looking at certain passages of Christological significance. Dr. BeDuhn cites Titus 2:13 as evidence of theological bias inserted into the translation. He cites numerous translations to make his point, but two will suffice for this discussion.

KJV Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the
great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

NASB Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of
our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,

Immediately you may notice that there is a distinct manner in which the two nouns ‘God’ and ‘Savior have been translated. The KJV translates the two nouns as referring to two distinct persons, presumably of the Father and of Jesus Christ. The NASB, however, translates the two nouns as both referring to Christ. Why the difference’ Dr. BeDuhn explores this question by citing what he believes are parallel passages within Titus (Tit 1:4) and 2 Thessolonians (2 Thess 1:12).
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Witnesses Now for Jesus (Live)

Every year, Personal Freedom Outreach put together a convention for former Jehovah’s Witnesses in New Ringgold, PA (what a beautiful place this time of year*). If you are a Jehovah’s Witness, a former JW, or simply interested, you can watch many of the sessions live online (this is the first time they are broadcasting live).

I am not familiar with all the speakers, so I can not account for everything you will hear. I do know some of them (e.g. Don Veinot, Bob Anderson, Dick Fisher, and others), who have been in Countercult ministry for quite some time.

Here is a brochure with all the sessions and speakers, and if you want to listen live go here (I believe you need to create an account, which is easy to do).

*Funny thing is, when we were living in PA I would travel up Saturday (with my wife) to the retreat center, stop in and say hello to a few folks, then leave. It is such a beautiful time of year in Mountains of PA, we couldn’t resist simply driving around looking at the trees.

I do know that many are encouraged during this weekend. Last time I went, there were former JWs who traveled from Japan to attend the convention.