So tonight I was able to give a response to my Jehovah Witness co-worker who had given me a tract a while back about their belief concerning the Catholic Trinity. I had given it a read and nit-picked at how inaccurate it was, even going as far as to make notations in the tract for reference. By the end, all he could fall back on was the question “If Jesus was God, why did he pray to himself” and “I’m bible only.”
I need to address his question about Jesus praying to himself from a Catholic perspective, but first allow me to give the backstory for your discernment:
I greeted him and informed him that I had read his tract, much to his delight. He was eager to hear my response, naturally. I made my point that I thought the tract had inaccuracies, and upon investigating it’s claims, I discovered that it didn’t have all the facts straight. My second point was that Constantine didn’t preside over Nicea as it had claimed—without getting into specifics. My next point was that the organization of the Watch Tower made claims about prophecy that failed. He tried to dismiss it but I reminded him what the bible teaches about prophets and how they deserve to die if they make failed prophecies. He agreed, and dismissed it all of course, labeling it “The Old Organization.” But they follow the new organization who isn’t based on the errors of a bible study group of the past. Naturally, he made the claim they discuss the bible back and forth and come to new conclusions and that their understanding of bible teaching is progressive and constantly being better understood. I was not impressed and informed him that the organization cannot be trusted.
My third point was that the Early Church Fathers taught that Jesus was YHWH incarnate, that these were the christians that Pagan Rome persecuted before Rome adopted christianity as the state religion, and these were the same christians who are responsible for the very bible, though not the translation, that he uses today.
Naturally, he had very little to say but to fall back on “bible only” and “Why did Jesus pray to himself if he was God” and I could see in his eyes that he was upset and frustrated and I appealed to him to keep an open mind, just as I had done with him, and to hear from the Catholic perspective why they hold that teaching, because after all, it is only fair after hearing his views. He did make the point he is an individual who keeps an open mind. And he left me saying “bible only…bible only”. I’ll see him again, no doubt, and told him I don’t have all the answers and can’t really address his question. I told him Jesus had a human mind and was in submission to the father, but that was about it before he had to go, and appealed to him to hear from an educated catholic perspective on the matter.
Which brings me to the point of this post. I’d like to hear the catholic teaching on why Jesus prayed to God even though he was God in the flesh in order to address his question “Why did Jesus pray to himself if he was god.” Of course, I know Jesus and the father are two different persons, but how do I go about explaining that when he thinks God cannot pray to himself and cannot be more than one person while being the same god.
I’ll need to re-read the Church Fathers from 2nd and 3rd century AD on their teachings about Jesus being God in the flesh, so if anyone can help me save some time by posting quotes, that would be very helpful and I’d appreciate it. This would show him that his tract is in error about the early church fathers not believing that Jesus is YHWH incarnate. Another thing that would be helpful would be verses from the bible (according to catholic faith) that teaches that Jesus is God from both old and new testament and that supports the Trinity belief.
Thanks. I plan to just give him the material and let him make up his own mind, that way I can just avoid a verbal confrontation and any quarreling.