Saturday, January 17, 2015

Romans 10:13 Salvation From God and His Son

I was preparing some notes I had gathered to write an article on differences I observed the Mormon religion had with the Bible. I had come across some indisputable evidence demonstrating the fallacies of their beliefs (or so I thought). But then I reflected that I had never been a Mormon so, unlike observations I have made about my former Catholic faith, I really could not speak with any experience or authority on the matter. I also remembered that I have a dear relative that is Mormon that I respect as an intelligent person and I knew she also taught the religion to children in her faith. So I determined to write her asking help in understanding her acceptance of points I felt no rational person could ever believe.

Besides respect for my relative, there is another underlying reason I have for contacting her--I know that things found on the internet can be misstated, misunderstood, taken out of context, and even intentionally twisted. I know i would not appreciate someone misrepresenting my faith (although that happens frequently), so inspite of being imperfect like everyone else, I do make every honest effort to understand something before writing about it on my blog. (I am still refining that article.)

“Driving home” (accentuating) the above point, the author of the same material I read on Mormon beliefs also commented on Jehovah’s Witnesses. (No surprise there. In fact, this fellow gives the impression that he is the only person who understands life correctly. Everyone else is demonic and associate with the Masons.) After spewing his cursory, shallow reasoning, he culminated with a point he felt completely discredited the New World Translation (NWT).

In 2013, the NWT underwent a substantial revision (PDF, Web online verison). Although it was already a modern-English Bible translation, changes in phrasing to make it easier to read were deemed necessary. This is nothing unusual, it is a trend amongst most translators today to render the Bible thought-for-thought, instead of literally word-for-word. These rendering methods are actually hotly contended. While the old camp insisted that word-for-word was the best and most loyal way to translate, the newer camp was readily able to cite instances where such thinking would completely (and inaccurately) change the intended meaning. Especially with certain idioms common to the original languages of the Bible, this is a big problem.

But I digress. He cited our rendering of Romans 10:13. (Other translations here.) The problem he had with our rendering is that the context shows that prior to verse 13, Paul was obviously talking about Jesus Christ. Yes, indeed. The thing this man so conveniently (or perhaps ignorantly) passed over was the quote marks in verse 13. Paul was quoting from the Hebrew writings, specifically from a passage in Joel, chapter 2, verse 32. Joel lived and wrote before Jesus came to earth, so when he wrote what most translations render as “LORD,” what he actually wrote in the Hebrew language was the Tetragrammaton (YHWH), which happens to be what many modern translations actually render as God’s name (Yahweh or Jehovah).

So does this prove then that Paul was making Jesus and Jehovah out to be the same person in one? No. Most claiming Christianity can readily recite Acts 4:12, essentially stating that God provided no other name by which we may get saved. Picture a father and son (which coincidentally is the relationship that the Bible says Jehovah, the Father, and Jesus, the Son, share--not twins, not brothers). Say a father and son are out fishing when the waters start to become very choppy and they hear cries for help in the distance. They go to the rescue. The father ties a lifeline to the son’s waist, throws him in the water and the son, in turn, uses floatation devices tied to himself to give to those in need that are struggling in the water. Finally, the father pulls everyone back to the boat.

Question: Who saved the endangered people, the son or the father? If you answer “both,” that would be the most accurately correct answer. It is the same case with what was done to save mankind from sin. If God had not provided Jesus, it would have been as much use as the father in the boat letting go of the rope holding his son--no one would have won. The father would have lost his son, the son would have lost his life and the lives of everyone holding onto the lifelines that were thrown to them. That essentially is the effect of a false prophet--someone who cannot lead us back to the Father because the father has not approved him.

In agreement with Peter’s words at Acts 4:12 (and elsewhere in scripture), Paul cited our need to rely on Jesus, then, quoting from Joel, demonstrated that Jehovah is where “the buck stops” when it comes to salvation.

Final note: The author of the video I am referring to concluded that as much as Jehovah’s Witnesses try to prove that there is no trinity, our rendering of Romans 10:13 demonstrates Jehovah and Jesus are the same person. I had to chuckle at that statement. First, because I just demonstrated that it was his misunderstanding (intentional or not) that was confused, not us. Second, because he adamantly claimed (without substantiation) that the weight of scripture proves Jesus is God. The truth is, the weight of scripture demonstrates that Jesus taught he was subject to God, and therefore not equal to Jehovah God.

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