Debate topic: “All Christians in the New Covenant will live forever in heaven with Christ.” Fred Torres is a Jehovah’s Witness and affirms. My friend Mike Felker of The Apologetic Front denies. Fred and Mike have been recording a modular debate; they each recorded and sent me their opening statements and rebuttals separately over a span of weeks, with live cross-examination and listener-submitted Q&A. This episode contains part 2’s cross-examination. Listen to episode 91, “Heaven Lasts Forever,” for part 1’s opening statements and first rebuttals. Please email me your questions to Fred and Mike for the third installment’s second rebuttals, Q&A and closing statements.
- Zerbin, New Earth, from the New Earth Single, 2011
- Stand to Reason with Greg Koukl
- The Stand to Reason radio program is live on the air every Sunday 2-5 pm PST on AM 740 KBRT.
- Listen online using Flycast here.
- Also available in podcast form; each episode is published to the podcast the day after it airs.
Episode 93: New Earth [ 42:56 | 39.34 MB ] Play Now | Play in Popup | Download (2487)
Pingback: 2nd part of the Debate is up! « The Apologetic Front
It is interesting to reflect on the fact that the Bible requires interpretation, be it by individuals, churches, or other collectives. Christians would hopefully defer to the established Orthodox position before any doctrinal shifts are considered. Age in and of itself is of course no guarantee of authenticity, but it does have the advantage of a rich heritage, the test of time, the endorsement and insight of experience, the faith of many martyrdoms, the love and integrity of Christian devotion and the prayers and accumulated wisdom of centuries. We are able to weigh this tradition; to consider any merits or demerits; to voice any concerns; to confess and repent of our many sins and receive forgiveness in Christ.
Notwithstanding the sincerity and dedicated martyrdoms of many Jehovah’s Witnesses, which should not be disdained, they are, as a society, comparatively new on the scene. Furthermore, having largely discarded the wisdom of the Christian past, the interpretation of the Bible is now determined by the contemporary “light” of their organisation, founded in the 19th Century. This means that, for them, novel doctrines can come and go. With regard to the current debate, for example, their founder, Charles Taze Russell, posthumously tells us that “the Great Crowd” of Revelation 7 are “born again” “half- baked Christians, not wholly devoted to the Lord”, affiliated with Christendom, who, nevertheless, will be, not on the paradise earth as now taught, but in heaven. With regard to them and the “Royal Priesthood” (with whom they are contrasted), Russell alleges that, “the Scriptures show two degrees or kinds of Heavenly salvation…”(The Finished Mystery – 1918 version). Notice that Russell says that “the Scriptures show” this. Needless to say, Russell contradicts entirely the interpretation of Fred Torres. As we know, Russell died last century and Fred Torres now echoes the current doctrinal position of the Watchtower Society concerning the Great Crowd. If, in the future, the Society again changes its views on what “the Scriptures show”, Fred will also be obliged to change (or face expulsion) and a different debate would perhaps emerge.
So, as said at the beginning, the Bible requires interpretation on both sides of the divide. What “the Scriptures show” is not necessarily as explicit as we might hope. The disadvantage for Fred is that he will not be allowed to survey his Society’s tradition and challenge the wisdom of any future changes without the fear of losing his place in paradise. May God have mercy!
Pingback: “All Christians in the New Covenant will live forever in heaven with Christ.” Fred Torres is a Jehovah’s Witness and affirms. Mike Felker of The Apologetic Front denies. | The Greatest Debate