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  1. The country is home to 1,000 Catholics, spread among three scattered parishes St Michael the Archangel church, Bishkek, which was built in 1969 by ethnic Germans. According to Fr Janez Michelcic, a Slovenian Catholic priest who gives the weekly English-language sermon, 60-70 people attend Mass on Sundays – yet none of the congregation speaks English. Down a dusty lane in the outskirts of northern Bishkek sits an unremarkable two-storey building. Atop is placed a slight, solitary cross. In an overwhelmingly Muslim neighbourhood where the sounds of farm animals fill the air, Kyrgyzstan’s only Catholic church – a remodelled house – finds itself in unlikely surroundings. A notice board to the right of the church displays a sun-worn photo of Pope Francis next to a temporary notice: “No Mass in English from July 3rd till August 21st”. Cyrillic script church notes make up the remaining literature. If the signs and notes suggest a vibrant Catholic community is flourishing in the capital of Kyrgyzstan, a mountainous country surrounded by China,Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and coloured by Soviet and Islamic histories, they are misleading: the church is bolted closed six days a week. The St Michael the Archangel church was built in 1969 by ethnic Germans. According to Fr Janez Michelcic, a Slovenian Catholic priest who gives the weekly English-language sermon, 60-70 people attend Mass on Sundays. Yet Michelcic says none among his congregation speak English. Kyrgyzstan’s other two parishes are located hundreds of kilometres to the south, across some of the world’s highest mountain ranges, and serve tiny communities of about 70 worshippers in total. Kyrgyzstan is home to about 1,000 Roman Catholics, many of them remnants of the hundreds of thousands of Germans, Ukrainians and central Europeans shipped out during the height of Joseph Stalin’s paranoia in the 1940s. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 saw about 100,000 ethnic Germans, mostly Lutherans and Catholics, return to Europe or leave to settle in the US. Thousands more Russian Christians have left over the past decade in search of better economic opportunities. Christian branches Catholics make up a small number of the broader Christian population, dominated for decades by followers of the Russian Orthodox Church, and more recently by a not insignificant trend of proselytising by international evangelical Christian groups. Just 17 Catholics were baptised in 2010, said Michelcic. That number reached a high of 29 in 2013, but fell back to 20 for 2015. The country’s only Catholic bishop died last month. In addition to this instability, the Kyrgyz authorities have mounted barriers for Christian groups that may bode ill for the country’s Catholics. “There are certain difficulties at the administrative level, because the Kyrgyz law distinguishes between the ‘foreign’ and the ‘local’ religious organisations,” said Michelcic. “And the Catholics, although all of them citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic, are considered ‘foreign’.” The flood of evangelical Christian groups from the US and Korea – by 2009, about 22,000 Kyrgyzs had converted to Protestantism, according to experts – has both heightened competition and drawn the state’s ire. “In the late 1980s, the first Kyrgyz church was started by an ethnic German from Kyrgyzstan who came out of the Russian Baptist Church. In the early 1990s, the spread of Kyrgyz churches grew largely through Kyrgyz Christians,” said David Radford of the University of South Australia. According to a report from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), in 2011 two Jehovah’s Witnesses were convicted of distributing DVDs belonging to the outlawed Islamic Hizh ut-Tahrir terrorist organisation. Others, including members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly known as Mormons, have been ruled by Kyrgyz courts to be “destructive and totalitarian”. In 2014, authorities attempted to seize a church in Bishkek belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ, the largest Protestant denomination in Kyrgyzstan with about 12,000 members. The move was averted last January after a court ruled against the decision, which had been made by a former government. Cautious on foreigners According to Radford, leaders from the powerful Russian Orthodox and Islamic faiths have an interest in seeking government support in order to maintain their privileged positions, while the Kyrgyz government is cautious of foreign religious groups because they unsettle the status quo. A 2009 law on religion, backed by the Orthodox Church and mainstream Islamic leaders, sought to gain a handle on emerging religious groups by requiring them to register with the state and to include names of at least 200 members. Unauthorised religious activities would result in significant fines. “Non-traditional Christian communities are seen as potentially causing or challenging social/community harmony through conversions,” Radford said. “The government is concerned with religious extremists, whether it is Muslim or Christian.” Still, the fact that the government maintains diplomatic relations with the Vatican is a comfort for many Catholics caught between the state and the growing popularity of evangelical organisations. Michelcic’s belief in his own faith has given the Catholic priest reasons to be positive about the years ahead: “I consider that the future is in God’s hands.” http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/asia-pacific/kyrgyzstan-s-christians-battle-falling-numbers-and-restrictions-1.2785512
  2. John 1:1 Is Jesus Christ ‘a god’ or ‘God’? Watchtower Teaching: The NWT translates the first ‘θεος’ in John 1:1 as ‘God’, and the second ‘θεος’ as ‘a god’. In the Greek, there is a definite article ‘the’ (‘ό ’) before the first occurrence of God (ό θεος = the God). However, there is no definite article ‘the’ before the second occurrence of ‘God’. The Watchtower argues (falsely) that, when a noun has a definite article (like ‘ό θεος’), it points to an identity or personality, such as the person of Jehovah God. The WT claims (falsely) that the same phrase (‘ό θεος’) is never used of Jesus Christ in the NT (Watchtower, 1 July 86, p31). (Note: ‘ό θεος’ is used of Christ in Matthew 1:23, John 20:28 and Hebrews 1:8). The Watchtower claims (falsely) that when a singular predicate noun has no definite article, and it occurs before a verb (as theos in John 1:1c), then it points to a quality about someone, so that here it says that Jesus (the Word) has a divine quality, but is not God Almighty (KIT, p.1139). They alone translate Jesus as ‘a god’. To support this view they quote: i) Johannes Greber NT (1937), a SPIRITIST who claimed that spirits helped him translate the NT (Watchtower, 15 September 62, p.554; 15 October 73, p.640). The WT KNEW he was a spiritist in 1956 (Watchtower, 15 February 1956, p 110, 111), yet they still quoted him. ii) Dr Julius Mantey, who REFUTES their translation saying: ‘They have forgotten entirely what the (word) order of the sentence indicates that the “ λογος” (“logos” or “Word” in English) has the same substance, nature or essence as the Father. To indicate that Jesus was “a god” would need a completely different construction in the Greek. They misquoted me in support of their translation. 99% of Greek scholars and Bible translators in the world DISAGREE with JWs.’ Bible Teaching: The NWT is wrong in translating John 1:1 as ‘a god’ for these reasons: 1. JWs claim that, because the second ‘θεος’ (theos) has no definite article, we should translate it as ‘a god’. (Kingdom Interlinear Translation, p 1139). Then why has the NWT JW version broken their rule four times in John 1:6, 12, 13, 18 by translating ‘θεος’ with no article as ‘God’? They are inconsistent, as seen below: Verse 1: Verse 6: Verse 12: Verse 13: Verse 18: If the NWT was consistent, they should translate ‘θεος’ as ‘a god’ in these cases too: v. 6 ‘There was a man sent from a god.’ v.12 ‘to them gave he power to become the children of a god.’ v.13 ‘nor of the will of man, but of a god.’ v.18 ‘no man hath seen a god at any time.’ This is clearly wrong and ridiculous. Why only in verse one do they refuse to translate ‘θεος’ as ‘God’? Because they don’t want Christ to be Jehovah God. The Watchtower’s mistranslation of John 1:1 is not supported by any Greek grammar textbook. Many other verses have ‘θεος’ + no article, and yet are correctly translated as ‘God’, such as Matthew 5:9; 6:24; Luke 1:35, 78; 2:40; John 3:2, 21; 9:16, 33; I Corinthians 1:30; 15:10; Philippians 2:11,13; Titus 1:1; Romans 1:17, 18. 2. JWs say that by translating ‘θεος’ as ‘a god’, then Christ is a lesser god, a divine person. Answer: If John had intended this adjectival sense (ie ‘the Word was divine’), he had an adjective θειος (theios=godlike2304) available to use as found in II Peter 1:3, 4 (‘divine power’ and ‘divine nature’), if Christ was just a divine lesser god. Instead, John uses ‘θεος’ meaning ‘God’. Spiros Zodhiates, in his book Was Christ God? ( p.102), states assertively: ‘It would, therefore, be totally wrong to translate the statement that John makes in John 1:1 as “the Word was divine”. The word which is used in the original Greek is θεος (theos) “God”, not θειος (theios) “divine”. Jesus Christ did not merely have divine attributes, but He was God in His essence and nature. He was not a man who attained divinity, but God who humbled Himself to take upon Himself human nature in addition to His deity.’ 3. Contrary to the Watchtower claim, ‘θεος’ (God) with the definite article (‘ό’) is used of Jesus Christ in the New Testament: i) John 20:28. ii) Matthew 1:23. iii) Hebrews 1:8. Hence, the same word ‘ό θεος’ (ho theos) used of the Father is also used of Christ. 4. JWs say that Jesus is ‘a god’. Jehovah disagrees with them in Isaiah 44:8 by saying: ‘Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.’ (KJV and NWT). Jehovah says that there is no ‘a God’ beside Him. This shows John 1:1 in the NWT to be wrong. Hence, Jesus cannot be ‘a God’, so He must be ‘the God’. 5. Ancient UNCIAL Greek manuscripts were all written in capital letters, so one could not distinguish between ‘God’ and ‘god’, except by the context, and whether the writer believed in one true God or in more than one god. Ask: Did the Apostle John believe in one true God or more than one true God? Since John believed in one true God, we conclude that Jesus is the one true God in John 1:1. 6. JWs say that Jesus is ‘a god’ with Jehovah, as seen from ‘the Word was with God.’ They say that if Christ is ‘with’ God, He cannot be God. Answer: ‘with’ (Greek ‘ προς’) means that Christ was so intimately connected with God, that He is God. ‘There are no gods together with me’. (Deuteronomy 32:39 NWT) ‘There is no god with me.’ (Deuteronomy 32:39 KJV) Hence, Jehovah says that there are no gods with Jehovah, so Christ must be Jehovah God. 7. Every Greek scholar in the world is against the NWT translation of John 1:1 ‘the word was a god’. Examples include: M.R.Vincent: ‘The λογος (logos) of John is the real personal God’.(Word Studies in Gk N,T ,p.383) K.Wuest: ‘The Word was as to His essence absolute deity’.(Word Studies in Gk.NT p 209) A.T.Robertson: ‘the Word was God, of Divine nature; not “a god”.’(Expositors Gk Testmnt, p.684) Spiros Zodhiates: ‘In John 1:1, Jesus Christ in His pre-incarnate state is called the Word, presenting as the second person of the Godhead.’ (NT Word Study Dictionary, p 935) W.E.Vine: ‘the λογος (logos), the Word, the personal manifestation, not of a part of the divine nature, but of the whole deity.’ (Complete Expository Dictionary of NT Words, p683) 8. All other gods are false gods. Hence, Jesus Christ in John 1:1 must be either the only true God Jehovah or a false god. Which one? 9. Church Writers writing before 325 AD all agree that John 1:1 is ‘the Word was God’, and that it means that Jesus is fully God and man. This verse was never disputed before the occultist Greber’s NT was published in 1937. Notice 12 Church writers before 325 AD who all quote John 1:1 correctly as ‘the Word was God’. Question: Why do NONE of them quote it as ‘a god’? • These early Church writers knew Greek as their mother tongue and first language, • These men often were quoting from the original autographs. 1) Irenaeus, (120-202 AD) Vol 1, p 328,Vol 1, p 428,Vol 1, p 546 2) Theophilus of Antioch (115-181 AD)Vol 2, p 103, 3) Clement of Alexandria (153-217 AD) Vol 2, p 173, 4) Tertullian (145-220 AD), Vol 3 p 488, p 489, p 602, p 607 5) Origen (185-254 AD), Vol.4 p 262, Origen de Principiis p 291, p 553 Origen against Celsus p 603, p 642, 6) Cyprian (200-258 AD), Vol 5 p 516, p 518 7) Novatian (210-280 AD), Vol 5, p 624,p 624, p 642 8) Hippolytus (170-236 AD), Vol 5, p.288. 9) Thaumaturgus (205 AD), Vol 6,p.69 10) Methodius (260-312 AD), Vol 6,p.381. 11) Alexander (273-326 AD),Vol 6,p.292 12) Tatian’s Diatessaron (150 AD), Vol 10, p 43 Note: Compare these quotes by Ante-Nicene Church fathers which contradict the Watchtower’s invented quotes of Church fathers on p7 of ‘Should you believe in the Trinity?’ 10. TheWatchtower’s Kingdom Interlinear Translation (KIT, p.401) quote of John 1:1, in the left hand column has ‘god was the Word’, which CONTRADICTS the right hand column NWT translation which says ‘the word was a god’. Hence the Word (Christ who became flesh, v.14) is called ‘God’ on the LHS of the page, and ‘a god’ on the RHS of the page. 11. Greek grammar rules out ‘a god’. JWs say that for Jesus to be Jehovah God here, there should be the definite article ‘the’ (Greek ‘ό’) before God (θεος). Because ‘θεος’ does not have the definite article ‘ό’ before it, JWs conclude that ‘the word’ was indefinite, and means ‘a god’. Answer: A.T. Robertson Greek authority says (A Grammar of Greek NT, p.767): ‘Nouns in the Predicate: The article is not essential to speech....The word with the article (“ό”) is then the subject of the sentence, whatever the word order may be. So in John 1:1, “ ό λογος” , the subject is perfectly clear (“the word” = “ό λογος”, and it can only be “the word was God”.’ Key: Hence the article ‘the’ (ό) points out the subject (ό λογος) of the clause, and points out the predicate (θεος ) without the article. If John had written ‘ό θεος ην ό λογος’ as the JWs would want, then John would be teaching false doctrine of Sabellianism (that Christ is all of God, that God and Christ are interchangeable, that the Father was the one who became incarnate, suffered and died). Note: If the article is used with both the subject (ie. λογος ) and the predicate (ie. θεος), they would then be interchangeable as the subject nouns are in I John 3:4 (η αµαρτια εστιν η ανοµια) then both ‘sin is transgression’ and ‘transgression is sin’ are true’. But in I John 4:16, ‘ ’ can only be ‘God is Love’, not ‘Love is God’ (because the article points out the subject). If the Greek language allowed us to say ‘Love is God’ just as readily as ‘God is Love’ in this verse, then God would not be a person, but just an abstract quality. (see Was Christ God?, Spiros Zodhiates, p.98). Conclusion: Hence, the absence of the definite artice ‘?’ in John 1:1 is deliberate in order to identify ‘the Word’ as the subject of the sentence and to make it only to read as ‘the Word was God’. It has nothing to do with Christ being a lesser god as the JWs claim. Hence, contrary to the NWT and The Emphatic Diaglott, the Greek grammatical construction leaves no doubt whatsoever that ‘the Word was God’ is the only possible rendering of the text.
  3. THE TRINITY OF THE GODHEAD SEEN IN NATURE. Question: How is the Trinity of the Godhead seen in nature as in Romans 1:20 ‘for the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. Answer: a) We see God’s eternal power in earthquakes, volcanoes, wind, millions of stars, galaxies, waves, floods, lightning, sun, moon, nuclear bombs, etc. b) We see the Trinity of the Godhead with so many things coming in ‘threes’, reminding us of Father, Son, Holy Spirit, all three members of the creator Godhead. Examples include: 1) The Physical Universe: Space, mass, time. 2) Space: 3 dimensions of space are: length, breadth, height. 3) Mass: 3 phases of matter are: solid, liquid, gas. 4) Time: 3 tenses of time are: past, present, future. 5) Light: 3 directions of light wave oscillation are: horizontal, vertical, back and forward. 6) Colours: 3 primary colours of light are: red, blue, yellow. 7) Kingdoms: 3 Kingdoms are: Animal, vegetable, mineral. 8) Animal: 3 main kinds of Animal are: fish, bird, land animals. 9) Minerals: 3 main kinds of Minerals are: igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic. 10) Heavens: 3 heavens are: atmosphere, space, God’s throne. 11) Man: 3 components of Man are: body, soul (personality), spirit. (I Thess. 5:23). 12) Divine institutions: 3 Divine institutions are: marriage, human government, church. 13) Musical notes: 3 notes make up a musical chord. 14) Sub-atomic particles: 3 main sub-atomic particles are: proton, electron, neutron,. 15) Mankind: 3 divisions of the human race: Jew, Gentile, Church of God. (I Cor.10:32).
  4. CHRIST’S BODILY RESURRECTION ‘I have power to take it again’ Jn 10:18 Watchtower Teaching: ‘Jesus was raised to life as an invisible spirit. He did not take up again that body in which he had been killed . . .’ ‘Let your Name be sanctified.’ (p.266). The Watchtower teaches that Jesus’ body was disposed of by God. The NWT mistranslates I Peter 3:18 as ‘being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit’ to teach merely a spiritual resurrection of Christ. Bible Teaching: I Peter 3:18 refers to when Christ died. His Spirit went and preached to spirits in prison (v. 19,20). After three days, Christ’s physical body was raised. I Peter 3:18 (KJV) correctly reads: ‘being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.’ Which Scriptures best teach Christ’s bodily resurrection? 1. ‘They were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.’ (v.37) He said unto them, ‘Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.’ (Luke 24:37, 39) Notice that the resurrected Christ says here that: (1) He is not a spirit; (2) His resurrection body has flesh and bones; (3) His physical hands and feet are proof of His physical resurrection; Jesus is trying to convince them that He, ‘I myself’ has a permanent physical body which still had the nail scars in His hands and feet. This is opposite to the WT teaching that Christ’s body was disposed of and that He became only a spirit. If the WT claim was correct, then Jesus would be deceiving the disciples here in showing them His body. 2. ‘Then saith he to Thomas, . . . reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.’ (John 20:27) Here Jesus says that He has a physical side that He challenges Thomas to touch. 3. ‘Neither did his flesh see corruption.’ - Acts 2:30,31 Notice the following: a) God promised David that ‘according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ’ to sit on his throne.’ (v.30). This is a bodily resurrection of Christ, not spiritual. The NWT omits this because of its corrupt Westcott-Hort Greek text. Well over 38 manuscripts have it. b) ‘neither did his flesh see corruption’ (v.31) means that Christ’s body did not decay. Why? Because Jesus was raised from the dead in a material, fleshly body. 4. ‘I will raise it up . . . he spake of the temple of his body.’ - John 2:19-21 ‘Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up (v.19). But he spake of the temple of his body.’ (v.21) Jesus here promised that He Himself would raise up His own body after three days. Notice how Jesus uses the word ‘body’ meaning a bodily resurrection, not a spiritual resurrection. 5. Christ promises to eat of the fruit of the vine in the Kingdom. Only a body can eat. ‘I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the Kingdom of God shall come.’(Luke 22:18) Jesus here showed that his resurrected body would be able to eat and drink even in the Kingdom of God. Notice that a non-material spirit cannot eat and drink. Jesus promised the disciples in Luke 22:30 ‘that ye may eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom.’ Question: If Jesus expected to become an immaterial spirit, why would He promise the disciples that they would eat and drink with Christ at His table in His Kingdom? 6. Christ ate a broiled fish and a honeycomb in front of them. Luke 24:41,42. 7. ‘he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies’. Rom. 8:11 As Christ’s body was raised physically from the dead, so shall our mortal bodies be raised. 8. His resurrection body could ‘breathe on them’(John 20:22). A spirit cannot breathe, can it? 9. ‘His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives...’ Zechariah 14:4 A spirit does not have feet. Only a physical body has feet as Jesus has at His second coming. 10. ‘One shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands?’ Zechariah 13:6 Question: How can a non-material spirit have wounds in his hands which can be observed? 11. The resurrected, glorified Christ touched John, laying his right hand on him. Rev. 1:17 Watchtower Objection: JWs quote I Corinthians 15:44,50 to support their claim that Jesus was raised from the dead as a spirit creature: a) ‘It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.’ (v.44) b) ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.’ (v.50). JWs claim that Jesus must have had a spiritual resurrection, because flesh-and-blood bodies cannot exist in heaven. They claim that mortality and corruption belong to the fleshly body. Bible Teaching: a) The Greek word for body, ‘soma’ (4983), always means a material body, an organised whole made up of parts, when used of a person (Zodhiates, NT Word Study,p.1358). The spiritual body in I Cor.15:44 is not an immaterial body, but a supernatural, spirit-dominated body. It is a body directed by the spirit, as opposed to a body under the dominion of the flesh. There are no exceptions to Paul using ‘soma’ for a material body. Paul even refers to a believer as a ‘spiritual’ man who judges all things (I Cor. 2:15), yet Paul did not mean an immaterial invisible man with no physical body. He meant a spirit-controlled man with a flesh and blood body. QUESTION: In I Corinthians 2:15 (‘He that is spiritual judgeth all things’), is Paul discussing an invisible spirit creature or a material, flesh-and-blood human? Can you see that being ‘spiritual’ does not demand a non-material body? The same is true in I Corinthians 15:44. b) Key: In v.50 ‘flesh and blood’ is an idiom meaning that mortal, perishable, earth-bound humans, as we are now, cannot have a place in God’s glorious, heavenly Kingdom. c) ‘this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.’v.53 Nothing is taken away from us (materialness). Instead immortality is ‘put on’ or added to us. Question: Don’t the words ‘put on’ mean adding something to humanity (that is immortality), not taking away something from humanity (our material body)? Conclusion: Since Christ’s resurrected body could eat, drink, breathe (John 20:22), show His hands and feet with scars (Luke 24:40), be touched, and have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39), it is certain that this body was a material body. This is especially true since Jesus corrected the disciples’ misconception that they had seen a spirit (Luke 24:37). For the JWs to say that a body is not a body, is their last resort of redefining common words.
  5. Pope Francis demonstrates love for neighbor by welcoming 12 Syrian Refugees to the Vatican. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36063300

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