Bible Questions Stump Clergymen
UPON the urging of some of their relatives two women witnesses of Jehovah attended a Lent midweek service at a New Jersey Presbyterian church. This they did, however, only because they were assured that there would be an opportunity to ask questions by means of question cards, the asking of which might help to expose error.
As the group entered the church each was given a card with space for two questions. There were three clergymen on the platform and while the guest clergyman was speaking, a rather young man compared with the resident clergyman who had been preaching for some forty years, these two witnesses wrote out their questions. Upon the conclusion of the talk the clergyman who was host asked the ushers to collect the question cards. As the only ones who had written out any questions by then were the two witnesses, their questions were at once used.
The first question was: “In view of the definition of the trinity, which states that the Father, Son and holy spirit are all equal in power, substance and eternity, how is it that even in the heavens the Son is in subjection to the Father?—1 Cor. 11:3; 15:28, etc.”
The host read the question and as he did so his face turned colors. The guest came forward slowly with head bowed, thinking hard and with his hands clasped behind his back. Then he shrugged his shoulders, raised his hands in a gesture of hopelessness and said with a sheepish grin: “Well now, that’s a very deep question and I’m sure that the one who asked it won’t be satisfied with this answer—it would take about an hour to fully answer it—and that is that the trinity is a divine mystery and we are not expected to understand it.” With that he sat down.
Then the second question was read: “Why are we led to believe that immediately after death we go to heaven or to hell, when, as Christians, our whole faith is based on the resurrection, which the Bible tells us will not take place until after the world’s end, at which time Christ will raise all those in his memory?”
Again the guest clergyman repeated his gestures of helplessness and the audience, as well as the two clergymen on the platform, smiled. Finally he said, “These are very difficult questions tonight,” at which everybody chuckled. He then repeated that it would take too long to answer this question and that even then it would not satisfy the one who had asked it. If anyone wanted to speak to him after the service it would be all right, but it should be borne in mind that there would be a new members’ get-together afterward. He concluded with, “We need not worry about the hereafter anyway, we must be concerned with living good lives now.”
The next question read asked why the cross should be used so much by “Christian” religions in view of its pagan origin. For the third time the audience saw this clergyman admit his being stumped by a Bible question, this time also he shaking his head. Then he remarked that there were different kinds of crosses, illustrating them with his hands, and added that it did not make any difference where the cross originated.
Then came the fourth and last question posed by the witnesses: “In view of 1 Corinthians 1:10, where Paul says Christians should have no divisions among them and that they should all speak the same thing, how is it that there are so many different religions all professing to be Christian?”
This time the clergyman who was the host and who had been reading the questions chose to answer. He told that when he first became a clergyman there were some twenty-seven different Presbyterian groups but now, because of the fight for unity, there were only eight, and within a few months they expected it to be only seven. He confessed that the disunity among Protestants was a disgrace, but added that they were putting forth every effort toward unity.
By this time some twenty more cards were being held aloft but there was no more time for questions. In closing, the host thanked the guest and said to him: “I’m certainly glad that I didn’t have to answer those questions tonight!” The people filed out in pensive mood; the witnesses, however, were silently rejoicing.
Truly the clergymen of Christendom today are the counterpart of the religious leaders of Isaiah’s day, concerning whom it was written: “And all vision is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee; and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed.”—Isa. 29:11, AS.