Reader response to the Cross or Pole (Stake) discussion
I disagree with the Jehovah's Witnesses argument that Christ was crucified on a stake for the following reasons:
1) The literal translation does not exclude the possibility of a cross. It's most common definition is wood. It could have been a stake or a cross.
2) Traditionally it has been accepted as a cross and most scholars that establish the NASB, KJV, NKJV, NIV versions of the Bible seem to agree on this. "Stake" is not used except for in the JW bible - New World Translation.
3) Matthew 27:37 states and they put up above his head the charge against Him which read,"THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS." (Above His head, not hands. There are other indications throughout the Bible that indicate it was a cross as well.)
4) And mostly; with the majority of the conversations that I have had with Jehovah's Witnesses , if not all, it was my belief that it was their intention for me to doubt the Bible I read from. (NASB, KJV, NKJV, NIV.) Their approach is to use DOUBT to win the argument, so that their bible - the New World Translation, which has been clearly altered from original text in many places - becomes authoritative.
5) And in congruence to 4; I don't see how it would make a difference if it was a stake. Christ was crucified and because of His death we all have the opportunity to have our sins forgiven.
On a side note, the statement in the argument for for a stake about Das Kreuz und die Kreuzigung (The Cross and the Crucifixion), by Hermann Fulda, states: "Trees were not everywhere available at the places chosen for public execution..." Was he there? How does he know if there were no trees around?