The Cross of Christ
Introduction by D.M. Jehovah's Witnesses firmly believe that Jesus Christ did
not die on a cross, but rather on a "torture stake." Some of you right now, may be
saying, “what’s the big deal?” This certainly isn’t as important as the blatant false
doctrine of the Watchtower. I agree with you. But, I can’t help but think this is
important for the very fact that Jesus "endured the cross, despising the shame"
(Hebrews 12:2) and; that He bid us to take up our own cross, as we follow Him
(Matthew 10:38; 16:24 and more). Saddest of all, rather than the J.W. defending
the cross of Christ, they are denying it. They have become "enemies of the cross of
Christ" (Philippians 3:18).
Another thought regarding this--if we are given the opportunity to discuss
with the J.W. the “cross verses stake” we are able to, once again, show an error in
the J.W. teaching. We are breaking down the walls of falsehood, and hopefully
building up, for them, truth.
Before you speak to the J.W., it’s important to realize why the J.W. believes
that Christ died upon a stake, verses a cross. They were taught that in the classical
Greek, the word stauros, means “stake.” In their book, Aid to Bible Understanding
(pgs. 1608-1609), the J.W. will read that stauros is a “torture stake,” and that “there
is no evidence that the writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures used it to designate
a stake with a crossbeam” (Ibid.)
The above quote is completely deceptive. Anyone who has studied
elementary Greek would know that the word stauros can also mean “cross.” In the
Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, stauros means:
a stake or post (as set upright), i.e. (Spec) a pole or cross (as an instrument
of capital punishment) flg. exposure to death, i.e. self denial; by the impl.
The atonement of Christ:–cross.
Clearly stauros means stake, but it also means “cross.” Below, there are a
few questions we can ask the J.W.s to help them think about this further. Also, we
can show the J.W. that throughout their church history, they use to believe that
Christ died on a cross. See the link below (feel free to print out):
Click here to view Cross
So, what can we say to our J.W. friend?
1) Who is right? Charles Taze Russell, Joseph Rutherford, and the early
Watchtower organization who said Christ died on a cross? Or, the current
**Remember, Jesus supposedly started guiding the Watchtower in 1914,
therefore, it would have been Him who guided them in the belief of the cross. So,
who's guiding the Watchtower now? If it’s still Jesus–is He confused? Did He at
first think He died on a cross, but now, He has changed His mind, and now believes
He died on a stake?
2) Who is right? The Bible which clearly shows us that Christ died on a cross
(John 19:25; Acts 5:30; 1 Corinthians 1:17; Galatians 6:14; Philippians 3:18;
Hebrews 12:2 and more), or the Watchtower organization which has changed it's
mind, and now says Christ died on a torture stake?
3) In regards to the word, “stauros,” ask the J.W. to take a close look at the
picture (from Knowledge, pg. 66–given in the link). Then ask the J.W., “how
many nails are used?”
The J.W.(s) will answer, “one nail.”
The J.W.(s) will also have to acknowledge that if a stake was used, only one
large nail would be used to hang Christ.
4) Next, have the J.W. go to John 20:25, from their own New World
Translation. It’s a familiar passage. Yet, J.W.’s are thinking much about it. Let’s
help them see what Thomas is truly saying here:
Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails and stick my finger into the
print of the nails and stick my hand into his side, I will certainly not believe.
Notice, the plural in the word, “nail.”
Ask: How could Jesus have the print of nails, if a stake was used?
Explain: The only way nails could be used, is if Christ died on a cross. As
we know, “stauros,” in the classical Greek, can also mean “cross.”
© Donna Morley, 2008
Faith and Reason Forum