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A Church Established in 147 BC?

August 9, 2009

In some of my spare time this summer I’ve still been trying to peck away at reading through the Book of Mormon verse-by-verse.  Sometimes I run across things that strike me as very out of place given the dispensation that the book was supposed to have been written in.  One example is in Mosiah, where a church was established approx. 147 years prior to the birth of Christ:

And they were called the church of God, or the church of Christ, from that time forward. And it came to pass that whosoever was baptized by the power and authority of God was added to his church (Mosaiah 18:17).

According to the footnote, this was said to have taken place around 147 B.C. This passage (and the rest of the “church” references throughout the Book of Mormon) present several problems from a Biblical standpoint.

First of all, these Book of Mormon references to the church are out of dispensational order:

  • In the Bible, there is a conscpicuous absence of any references to the church prior to the coming of Christ (the reason for this is made clear in scripture and will be discussed in the next point).  The first Biblical reference to the church is found in Matthew 16 where Jesus promised that He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it.  Jesus founded the church, which is His body that He purchased with His blood.

feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood (Acts 20:28).

The Greek word used here for “purchased” means to make around oneself, i.e. acquire (buy):–purchase” (Strong’s).  How could the church have existed before Christ purchased it with His blood?

  • Further, the Bible informs us of the reason why there are no references to the church prior to Christ.  The church was a mystery revealed after Christ’s ascension that had not previously been revealed to anyone.

for his body’s sake, which is the church…Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints (Colossians 1:23-26).

This passage creates a problem for the possibility that there could have been a church in 147 BC.  The verse is specific as to the time that the church was revealed (i.e. “now”).  This letter to the Colossians was written in approx. 64 AD (that’s roughly 210 years after the church was said to have been established in the Book of Mormon).

Ephesians was written around the same time as Colossians and also specifies the timeframe for the revelation of the church:

“Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit…” (Eph. 3:5).

So we see here a real question as to how there could have been a church in 147 BC when the New Testament says the mystery of the church was not revealed in any prior ages.  You might suggest that the church was only hidden from the New Testament saints, not the Book of Mormon peoples living in the New World. However, the passage says that the church was not previously made known unto “the sons of men.”  Wouldn’t this include the Book of Mormon peoples (if they existed)?

Not only is the appearance of a church in 147 BC out of dispensational order, but there is another problem.  There is a verse in Mosaiah that is strikingly similar to Acts 2, yet out of place in what was supposed to be around 120 BC.

And they were called the people of God.  And the Lord did pour out his Spirit upon them, and they were blessed, and prospered in the land (Mosiah 25:24).

There is a very unique word choice in this verse.  I ran a search on my Bible software and could only find 2 references in the Old Testament to the Spirit being “poured out” (Pr. 1:23, Joel 2:28-29). In both instances, they were prophecies looking ahead to a future outpouring that God was promising.  There is only one reference in the New Testament which describes this prophecy being fulfilled.  In Acts 2:17-18, Peter quotes from the Joel prophecy to show the people that Pentecost was a fulfillment of the outpouring of the Spirit that God had promised.

But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh (Acts 2:16-18).

A couple of things to take note of:  Joel’s prophecy was intended for “the last days.”  It is clear from a review of the rest of scripture that “the last days” always refers to time periods sometime AFTER Christ.  Old Testament prophecies looked ahead to the “last days.”  New Testament writers wrote that they were in the “last days.”  Are there any exceptions to this that anyone knows of?  Did any Old Testament writers indicate that they were living in the last days?  Obviously some of the prophets in the Book of Mormon were said to be living closer to the time of Christ than the Old Testament prophets.  However, does this allow for a prophecy for the “last days” to be fulfilled in their dispensation, approx. 120 years prior to the birth of Christ?

What are we to make of this Book of Mormon claim that there were people in the New World who established a church prior to the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ, and who experienced a Pentecost-like fulfillment of the “last days” prophecy prior to the time when Peter says this prophecy was first fulfilled in approx. 33 AD?  Were there other prophets that appeared somewhere in the New World that were baptizing people and preparing the way for Christ prior to the coming of John the Baptist?  According to the Book of Mormon there were. According to the Bible this presents some contradictions and confusion.

In addition to the above-mentioned problems, there is the issue of Malachi 4:5. This Old Testament prophecy closed out the Old Testament canon with a look ahead to the promised prophet who would prepare the way for Christ.  This prophecy was specific to a person: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”

  • John the Baptist came, in fulfillment of this prophecy (see Matt. 11:13-15), and prepared the way for Christ.
  • Christ came, in fulfillment of prophecy, and purchased His church with His own blood.
  • Jesus instructed His disciples to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit who had not yet been poured out.
  • The Spirit was then poured out, in fulfillment of prophecy.
  • The New Testament refers to the church as a mystery that was not revealed in ages past.  The Old Testament, consistent with this story, contains zero references to the church.

The Bible presents one unified story with clear distinctions between the dispensations.

How does the Book of Mormon fit in here?

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225 Comments leave one →
  1. August 9, 2009 3:55 am

    Keep in mind that the Book of Mosiah was written by a guy who lived almost 300 years AFTER the birth of Christ.

  2. August 9, 2009 6:03 am

    Amen Jessica,

    The church of God is Jesus Christ. It is not a denomination. The bible is the fullness of the gospel of Jesus and God. It needs no other book for man’s salvation.

  3. August 9, 2009 2:32 pm

    Seth,

    I am not convinced that placing the blame for the anachronistic use of “church” in Mosiah at the feet of Mormon is satisfactory. First, correct me if I am wrong, Mormon used various records to assemble his history and the introduction of anachronistic theology should have been prevented by using these records. Second Mormon writes not only about a “church” but also specific practices and beliefs and practices that have a place and a role in redemptive history such as baptism and the Spirit of God. If you are suggesting that Mormon, using available records, knowingly describes practices and beliefs that are anachronistic then this brings into question Mormon’s reliability as a historian.

  4. August 9, 2009 3:08 pm

    Stephen Robinson: “It seems to me that this boils down to whether Latter-day Saints (or Evangelicals) are wrong about pre-Christian prophets possibly knowing the Christian gospel.” (from How Wide The Divide?)

  5. August 9, 2009 3:23 pm

    It seems to me that it boils down to whether Luke or Mormon are wrong about Pentecost.

  6. August 9, 2009 3:28 pm

    “then this brings into question Mormon’s reliability as a historian.”

    Good thing we don’t need to rely on him as a historian.

    I tend to agree with Clean Cut that there was more to Messianic Judaism than Bible-only Evangelicals are willing to give credit for. But I thought I should raise other possibilities anyway.

  7. August 9, 2009 4:30 pm

    Yes we could refer to the Jewish belief in 2 messiahs a prophet and King or the belief in 3 Messiahs, but we are not taking about messianic Judaism are we. We are talking about the gift of the Spirit of God pre-Pentecost and if Mormon does not at least jive with Luke we can dismiss his reliability in matters theological.

  8. August 9, 2009 8:22 pm

    Yeah, well… all you’re really going off of is the Bible here. And the archeology is fairly limited on the subject.

    So I guess we’ll never know.

    I haven’t really paid much attention to the discussion you’ve been having about Luke yet. So no comment there as of now.

  9. Yehuda Lyon permalink
    August 10, 2009 12:32 am

    There is no archeological evidence that the Nephites ever inhabited America.

  10. August 10, 2009 1:20 am

    Thanks for the edit Jessica.

    Yehuda,

    There is archeological evidence for the seige of Troy too.

    Do you believe in Zeus?

  11. Yehuda Lyon permalink
    August 10, 2009 2:18 am

    Your reply is a non-sequiter. Makes no sense to me. I said there is NO evidence.

  12. August 10, 2009 2:25 am

    It doesn’t matter.

    Your historical data does not have anything to do with the Bible’s faith claims anyway. So I fail to see why the fact that Jerusalem was a real place means I should accept the Bible’s faith claims.

    And, by the way, there actually is historical data supporting the Book of Mormon historical claims.

    For instance, Nephi’s entire journey across Arabia has been mapped and pretty-much verified. And every decade, a few more anti-Mormon evidences against the Book of Mormon are proven baseless.

    The book has held up just fine so far.

    But I’m curious why you think that historical data is the final authority that legitimizes God’s word.

  13. Yehuda Lyon permalink
    August 10, 2009 2:48 am

    I didn’t say it was the FINAL authority that legitimizes God’s Word. The Lost City of Atlantis and Nephiteville are conjured myths. They don’t really support sound religious doctrine. And whatever happened to those doggone disappearing gold plates?

  14. NChristine permalink
    August 10, 2009 2:50 am

    Hi Seth,

    Your historical data does not have anything to do with the Bible’s faith claims anyway.

    Interesting point. Some things for your consideration:

    The resurrection of Jesus is the heart of the Christian faith (I Corinthians 15), and there is good evidence for Jesus’ resurrection. It can be established with a rather high degree of historical probability (i.e., almost all scholars believe it, regardless of belief) that the disciples claimed to have seen the resurrected Jesus, and that they truly believed this claim. This claim of theirs is supported by several facts that the majority of scholars accept — for example, the empty tomb, the conversion of Paul the church-persecutor, and the conversion of Jesus’ skeptical brother James. The latter two facts are accepted by a vast majority of scholars. Two thousand years’ worth of naturalistic theories don’t account for all the data and thus are widely discounted by contemporary scholars of all stripes. It seems to me that believers in Christ are historically justified in accepting the faith claims they do.

  15. August 10, 2009 3:05 am

    The historical witness of the resurrection is no more objectively compelling than the account of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon.

    Atheists would denounce BOTH as equally biased and suspect.

    Yehuda, I’m sorry you feel that God must provide you with at least some historical proof before you will believe.

    Blessed are the millions of Christians throughout history who have had ZERO historical proof of the Bible available to them, and have yet believed anyway.

  16. Stephanie permalink
    August 10, 2009 3:21 am

    The historical witness of the resurrection is no more objectively compelling than the account of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon.

    I disagree Seth. Please look for a moment at the witnesses of the book of Mormon. Martin Harris left the LDS church, recognized James Strang as the successor to Joseph Smith, changed religion 4 times, then rejoined the LDS church at the end of his life. David Whitmer was excommunicated. Hiram Page was excommunicated. Oliver Cowdery was excommunicated for apostasy. Incidentally he also recognized James Strang as the successor to Joseph Smith. Compare these men to the disciples of Jesus. Ten of the eleven original disciples died martyrs deaths. The Apostle John was banished to the Island of Patmos. Why would you allow yourself to die for something that wasn’t true? Either they all were greatly deceived or they saw the resurrected Christ of which they testified.

  17. August 10, 2009 3:35 am

    Of course you disagree Stephanie. It ruins a couple pet arguments.

    But your facts about Martin Harris and company leaving means nothing.

    In fact it simply makes them even more credible, because they now become hostile witnesses.

    Evangelicals always like to make a big deal about how Paul was a “hostile witness” because he started out persecuting the church of Christ and then converted. Somehow, this makes Paul more credible.

    Well, we have three men who left Joseph Smith and the LDS Church. And to their dying day, each of them stuck to his story. Oliver Cowdery fought with Joseph Smith over allegations of Joseph committing adultery, was accused by fellow Mormons (along with David Whitmer) of hording land for speculative real estate deals rather than sharing it with his fellow Mormons. The Danites even plotted to kill both Oliver and David.

    Such were the circumstances under which Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer were excommunicated and run out of town in Missouri.

    Now, given those facts, wouldn’t you say that if anyone had a motive to speak up and expose Joseph’s fraud, it would be those two men?

    But neither did. Both remained firm in declaring that the plates and the angel were the real deal. Never once did they deny the story. Both held Joseph to be a fallen prophet – to which the attributed their leaving the church. But neither denied the visions. Oliver returned to the church. David did not.

    I don’t know how you can get a much better witness than that.

  18. August 10, 2009 3:36 am

    And if you want to talk about “martyrs’ deaths” Mormons have hundreds of such stories. Not just Joseph and Hyrum, but many, many others.

  19. Stephanie permalink
    August 10, 2009 3:54 am

    Seth,

    I think you jump to conclusions to assume what I am trying to say. I’m not saying that the excommunicated witnesses didn’t see plates or didn’t see a vision. They said they did, so who am I to argue? I’m simply pointing out that whatever they saw was not convincing enough for them to remain true to Joseph Smith. Either that, or they saw enough discrepencies in Joseph Smith’s life and testimony to make them question their own belief. There is a huge difference between a life-time commitment to saying that you saw the gold plates and actually being a missionary of the gospel. The NT disciples had radically altered lives–to the point that they went to all ends of the known world to preach the gospel.

    BTW, I wasn’t going to talk about “martyrs’ deaths” as it relates to mainstream Christianity/Mormonism. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs is an excellent read (albeit sad) and insight into the persecuted church of the Middle Ages. It is pointless to get into a “my guys died more than your guys” debate. 🙂 I was just making what I believe is a fair comparison between the LDS witnesses and the disciples of Jesus.

    Stephanie

  20. August 10, 2009 4:02 am

    “It is pointless to get into a “my guys died more than your guys” debate.”

    I completely agree. This statement speaks well of you.

    As for the nature of the witnesses’ accounts, it boils down to this:

    Joseph had gold plates and an angel appeared showing the plates to these men. That’s the “Three Witnesses” of course. There were several others who witnessed to just the physical plates themselves.

    Simply noting that they left Joseph as a “fallen prophet” later doesn’t negate the original point – Joseph was originally a prophet with a ancient book mediated by angels.

    That’s a pretty dang good starting point for anyone interested in buying into Mormonism on a purely rational basis.

    But I don’t pretend that this provides objective proof such that all the world must accept it or defy reason. But neither do the Apostles’ testimonies provide such objective proof of Christ’s resurrection.

    I’m simply stating that the claim that Christianity has a historical basis is utterly irrelevant to faith claims. If you take away all the Bible’s faith claims and stick only to that which has been objectively proven by archaeology, you are left with precious little.

    In fact, you are left with the same thing you have when you sit down to read the Illiad and the Odyssey – a fairy tale dressed up in historical clothing.

  21. Stephanie permalink
    August 10, 2009 4:16 am

    Seth,

    Maybe you don’t know the same “Jack Mormons” that I do. I apologize if the term is offensive but I don’t know any other way to describe them. I think some people refer to themselves as “inactive.” I know of many who, while completely rejecting the claims of the church, do not reject Joseph Smith or BoM. I know of one person who had herself removed from the church membership and now considers herself “non religious” yet she won’t make a complete break with Mormonism to the point of saying that it is a false religion. It just “wasn’t right for her.” I know one lady that drinks coffee with the best of them, smokes, hasn’t been to church in years, yet still won’t reject her faith. Personal experiences that people have greatly shape the outcome of their lives. Look at the Charles Manson posse of girls who went out and killed people because they were so devoted to him as a person. Even during his trial and sentencing they remained mesmerized by him. It took prison time to actually break that hold. I’m not comparing Joseph Smith to Charles Manson so don’t get excited! 🙂 But, I think that if there is an inconsistency between what somebody says and does that person needs to be examined more. What causes a person to be completely “sold out” for their faith? I believe that it is a complete belief in the tenets of that faith–to the point that it is allowed to change the believers life. The question I am asking is why it didn’t change these men’s lives to the point that they followed it to the end of their days? One more question, I’m confused if you are arguing for a “fallen prophet” theory regarding Joseph Smith before? I haven’t seen you say that before and was curious if thats what you believe.

    Stephanie

  22. NChristine permalink
    August 10, 2009 4:16 am

    Hi Seth and all,

    The historical witness of the resurrection is no more objectively compelling than the account of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon.

    Interesting. Are you suggesting that a good case could be made for a subjective experience explanation for the disciples’ belief in Christ’s resurrection? I wasn’t sure what you meant by “objectively compelling.” If so, certainly the “hallucinations” theory is one some scholars turned to (particularly some time ago). Consider that there are significant problems with this theory, in that it fails to explain all the data (i.e., the empty tomb or the conversions of Paul and James), and it creates significant problems of its own (e.g., hallucinations are intra-mental and thus cannot be shared by groups of people over multiple instances and in different groupings).

    Also, to tag on to something Stephanie said — the apostles’ sincere belief in the resurrection of Christ is much more evidential than the BoM witnesses’ belief re: gold plates and an angel. If the apostles saw the risen Jesus, then the foundation of Christianity is established. If the BoM witnesses saw gold plates, this says nothing about the contents of the gold plates. The witnesses could have really seen what they said and Mormonism could still be completely untrue.

  23. August 10, 2009 6:05 am

    If the apostles saw Jesus rise, it does not establish the foundation of Christianity definitively.

    I’ve even know Muslims who accept Jesus’ resurrection – but they don’t think that makes him the Son of God. Remember – even Lazarus came back from the dead. But that doesn’t mean he was a God.

    Either way however, you are assuming infallibility of the Biblical record in your arguments here.

    An atheist would reject such arguments.

    Even if you prove the resurrection, you still haven’t proven – for example – that the book of Romans isn’t a complete fabrication. I just throw that out as an example, because you are drawing a lot of impermissible logical connections here.

    Just because Jesus rose doesn’t mean the New Testament is reliable, for example. Just because the New Testament is reliable doesn’t mean that people who read it comprehend it (as the multitude of varieties of Christianity fully establishes).

    I don’t claim that just because the Book of Mormon is true that the modern LDS Church is true. That would not be a logical conclusion. Just because Joseph Smith was a prophet does not mean that Brigham Young was, or that Thomas S. Monson is. And just because Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet, it doesn’t mean that BYU is being run correctly, for instance.

    People love to make these logical leaps. But they do not follow each other.

    The resurrection does no objectively “prove” your religion – even if you can establish it (which I don’t think you can).

    I don’t need the “mass hallucination” theory (which I agree is kind of silly). All I need to do is suggest that whoever wrote the Bible rigged the story to fit his own conclusions. And since the earliest surviving manuscript we have of the Bible is dated to over 100 years after Christ’s death and is the size of a postage stamp, that’s not a hard argument to make.

  24. Yehuda Lyon permalink
    August 10, 2009 5:16 pm

    The evidence and veracity of the Torah, Tenach, and B’rit Chadashah (New Covenant) and Jesus’ resurrection is overwhelming. He was seen by over 500 people soon after His exit from the tomb. The story of His life and His bio was first written by Mark within 40 yrs. after his death. (The word “his-tory” literally means “HIS STORY”). The biography of Caesar wasn’t written until 300 yrs. after his death. Yet, few ever question the existence and impact of Caesar’s life. “The oracles of God” were entrusted to the Jewish People, who protected and copied them meticulously and guarded them for 6000 years. The canon was composed by men who were deeply led by the Holy Spirit. Seth, if you don’t believe in the bible’s inerrancy, its because you CHOOSE not to believe–not because of a lack of evidence.

  25. psychochemiker permalink
    August 10, 2009 5:21 pm

    if you don’t believe in the bible’s inerrancy, its because you CHOOSE not to believe–not because of a lack of evidence.

    Or because the Bible never makes any claims for inerrancy, but let’s not such a simple, foundational fact get in the way of our prejudice. Why should we allow the text to change our beliefs when we have people like Yehuda who want to change the text to match his beliefs?

  26. NChristine permalink
    August 10, 2009 5:47 pm

    Hi Seth,

    Good points all – and certainly oft-cited by the atheists you mention. Here are some responses:

    You’re right—the resurrection, if established, would not in itself make Jesus the Son of God. However, if it can be established with reasonable probability that Jesus was raised from the dead, this would seem to argue rather strongly that God put a divine stamp of approval on the unique claims to Deity that Jesus made before His death. That Christ certainly made such claims can be established using even just the sayings of Jesus accepted by the most critical of scholars.

    Either way however, you are assuming infallibility of the Biblical record in your arguments here.

    Not at all. Biblical infallibility/inspiration is certainly an important topic, but it is a separate topic from the resurrection. The facts I asserted previously (death of Jesus by crucifixion, belief/claims of the original disciples that they had seen the risen Jesus, conversions of skeptic James and antagonist Paul, and the empty tomb) are accepted by the vast majority of scholars (virtually all for the first four facts) for good reasons. And none of them requires the acceptance of biblical infallibility or inspiration.

    The authority of Romans or the reliability of the New Testament are also interesting topics. But are you aware that whatever conclusions one arrives at in those topics, it has no bearing on whether or not the resurrection happened? The facts above have nothing to do with the inspiration or authority of Romans or the reliability of the New Testament. Even if the New Testament is only an ancient document, the resurrection can still be established with reasonable certainty.

    All I need to do is suggest that whoever wrote the Bible rigged the story to fit his own conclusions.

    So it sounds as though we agree that the hallucination theory doesn’t work. Am I right? The embellishment theory, which others have also suggested, also does not explain the facts regarding the resurrection. (Again, NT reliability is an important topic but a separate issue from the resurrection.) For one thing, the belief/claim that the risen Jesus appeared to His disciples can be traced back to the original disciples rather than to later embellishment. This is accepted by the great majority of scholars since the original disciples’ preaching of the resurrection is attested to not only by all four Gospel writers but by Paul, by oral traditions circulating in the early church (one dating probaby to within 5 years of Jesus’ crucifixion), and by nonbiblical writings of early “Apostolic Fathers.” Also, a gradually evolving tale of Jesus’ resurrection does not explain the conversion of two antagonistic men based upon appearances of Jesus (Paul and James), nor does it explain the empty tomb.

  27. August 10, 2009 7:53 pm

    In order to buy the Jesus story in the first place, you have to accept the Biblical story as written.

    So, biblical inerrancy DOES matter to this question.

    For example, Yehuda states that “500 people saw the risen Jesus” as if it’s a historical fact.

    It isn’t.

    That’s what the Bible SAYS.

    But why should you believe that the author wasn’t just making stuff up?

    And even if you say Mark wrote his book 40 years after Jesus death – what does that prove?

    Nothing. That’s what.

  28. August 10, 2009 9:51 pm

    psychochemiker,

    Where does the bible claim to be in error?

  29. August 10, 2009 9:57 pm

    The reading from the M’Cheyne bible calendar for today includes Psalm 12

    “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” (Psalm 12:6 AV)

  30. August 10, 2009 10:35 pm

    Yup, the word of God is like that.

    Once it is committed to paper by human beings is an entirely different matter however.

    I think psycho was more stating that the doctrine of inerrancy is never once expressly stated in the Bible itself.

    All we get is stuff like Gundeck’s mention of Psalm 12:6 – which actually doesn’t even come close to establishing inerrancy of the written word.

  31. August 10, 2009 11:25 pm

    Seth,

    I don’t want to threadjack this post but you can chose to ignore Psalm 12:6 and the countless other passages (835 from the AV that say the LORD is speaking) but I would ask you the same question I asked psychochemiker, “where does the bible claim to be in error?”

  32. psychochemiker permalink
    August 10, 2009 11:33 pm

    Righto Seth.

    I wrote, “the Bible never makes any claims for inerrancy” not “the Bible claims it is error ridden”.

  33. Stephanie permalink
    August 10, 2009 11:34 pm

    Seth, I have a question. If Joseph Smith restored the church to its original and pure state then why didn’t he restore the “errant” Scriptures to their true and unadulterated state?

  34. psychochemiker permalink
    August 10, 2009 11:37 pm

    Stephanie,

    If God had told him to he probably would have.
    The assumption that God would do that is just that, an assumption.

    Just like the assumption that God would protect the text from mistranslation (strict inerrancy) is just an assumption.

    Just like, the assumption that prophets were merely transcribers, whom God removed incorrect worldviews, spelling errors, and even doctrinal errors is just an assumption.

    These are assumptions I don’t make.

  35. Stephanie permalink
    August 10, 2009 11:42 pm

    PC,

    You are very hyper-sensitive about assumptions!! 🙂 I asked a simple question–any assumptions that are being made are coming from you! 🙂

    Back to the original question though…did God direct him to translate the Bible, because he certainly made a start on it.

    Stephanie

  36. August 10, 2009 11:49 pm

    Probably because the scriptures never were in a “pure unadulterated state” to begin with.

    Besides that, Joseph was a rather busy guy. A miracle that he got as much done as he did in the short time he had.

    Gundeck, we never claim that the Bible claims itself to be in error (except maybe by inference in a couple places). We merely assert that it makes not claims to inerrancy – a purely Protestant addition to the text (mostly stemming from an attempt to justify their rejection of the organized Church).

    When you jettison Priesthood and capital-C “Church” you have to fill the void somehow. Inerrancy was the Protestant solution.

  37. Yehuda Lyon permalink
    August 10, 2009 11:56 pm

    You want historical documentation about Jesus? Google “Josephus”, the Roman citizen and Jewish historian who wrote and lived at the time of Christ. He has some surprising things to say about Jesus! But, you probably won’t believe him either.

  38. August 11, 2009 12:01 am

    Just seems like you rely on the arm of the flesh a lot to establish your belief in God Yehuda.

  39. August 11, 2009 1:38 am

    Seth,

    Never claims to be inerrant? There is a difference between you ignoring or dismissing the claims of inerrancy and “never claims”. I think that “silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times…” goes a long way to saying inerrancy, Psalms 19 and 119 don’t leave much doubt either.

    Your claim that inerrancy is a “purely Protestant addition to the text” is demonstrably false. I think you may be conflating the doctrines of inerrancy, sufficiency, and authority of Scripture. I would point out that the Roman Catholic Church teaches inerrancy in their 1997 Catechism, “The inspired books teach the truth. “Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures.” (107) Inerrancy is the historical doctrine of the catholic Church.

    To get back on subject I am not sure what archeology has to do with the conflict between the testimony of Luke and Mormon. Mormon spoke of the church existing with the gift of the Holy Spirit in 147 BC. Jessica points out that Luke testifies to the gift of the Holy Spirit taking place at Pentecost (30-33 +- AD). John teaches the connection between Christ’s trial, death, resurrection, ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-18 14:26; 15:26; 16:7) further complicating the testimony of Mormon by placing the gift of the Holy Spirit in a redemptive historical context.

    Paul tells us over and over to test these things by the Bible. In fact Luke himself writes about Paul and Silas teaching to the Jews in Berea (Acts 17:10-14) and praises the Berean Jews because they “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (AV). The writer of Hebrews tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” not a belief in things disproved.

  40. August 11, 2009 1:48 am

    Gundeck,

    You seem to have missed my response from above, so I’ll repost it:

    You said:

    “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” (Psalm 12:6 AV)

    I said:

    Yup, the word of God is like that.

    Once it is committed to paper by human beings is an entirely different matter however.

  41. Stephanie permalink
    August 11, 2009 2:32 am

    Probably because the scriptures never were in a “pure unadulterated state” to begin with.

    Seth just to get things straight on what you believe I wonder if you could elaborate on this statement. I have discussed this topic before with LDS who believe that the Scriptures have been corrupted over a period of time. Yet, I was unaware of a belief in the concept that the Scripture was corrupted at the time of writing. Is this what you are advocating? If so, there are problems with this viewpoint. First of all and most importantly, Jesus quotes heavily from the OT, never indicating that He held it in suspicion at all. He copiously quotes long sections, applying prophecy to Himself. My Bible is full of NT cross-references to the OT passages to which they are referring.

    When Peter said that holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost it certainly doesn’t imply that there was a transcription problem at this point. The writers were under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The definition of inspiration is, literally, God-breathed. Unless you are suggesting that God coughed during this process I think we can believe with confidence that the original manuscripts were without error. The preceding verse indicates why this would be true—no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation. Many times prophets wrote of topics they had no real concept of, and yet they wrote them through the power of the Holy Spirit. If they were of private interpretation the prophet would have said to himself, “This makes no sense. I’m changing this.” Peter says the Scripture was not of private interpretation.

  42. August 11, 2009 2:47 am

    Seth,

    No I saw your post, but I find it just as confusing now as I did the first time.

    “All we get is stuff like Gundeck’s mention of Psalm 12:6 – which actually doesn’t even come close to establishing inerrancy of the written word.”

    So you view God as incapable of giving an infallible revelation by the power of His Spirit through the writer and to the original autograph? Or are you referring to transmission after the autograph?

    I’ll admit it is hard to track what you guys are talking about because you don’t use a very precise language when discussing theology. Mormons commonly deny inerrancy and then go on to talk about transmission error or canon issues. The doctrine of inerrancy extends to the original autographs. The problem is that you are coming into a theological discussion that has been going on since Marcion and making claims that only Protestants beleive inerrancy shows that you may be missing some of the important facts.

  43. August 11, 2009 3:00 am

    “So you view God as incapable of giving an infallible revelation by the power of His Spirit through the writer and to the original autograph?”

    No, he’s capable alright.

    It’s just that he wasn’t willing to do that for you and me – because of the real negative connotations that would accompany him doing so.

    However, no human language is EVER capable of preserving God’s perfect word. So it goes without saying that Greek and Hebrew are also incapable of such a feat.

    My problems with inerrancy concern both the original autographs AND the “transmission issues.” Both combine together to ensure that you will NEVER have perfect scripture. Ever. Until we die and are glorified of course.

    Stephanie, on your question about Jesus quoting from scripture…

    Much like his Father, Jesus had to work with what he had available. And if that meant citing a flawed sort of guy like Isaiah, so be it.

  44. August 11, 2009 3:13 am

    Seth,

    What negative connotations exist from infallible revelation? Can you explain?

    “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” (Psalm 19:8) I don’t see how we can deny the pure written revelation that is “enlightening to the eyes.”

  45. Stephanie permalink
    August 11, 2009 3:18 am

    It’s just that he wasn’t willing to do that for you and me – because of the real negative connotations that would accompany him doing so.

    Seth, you have accused others on this topic for coming to a wrongful assumption. Yet, here you just presented one of your own. “He wasn’t willing to do that for you and me.” And you don’t cite anything to back up that claim.

  46. psychochemiker permalink
    August 11, 2009 3:33 am

    Gundeck,
    There are two major camps (as I see it in Mormonism) regarding scriptural purity.

    The larger statistical population would tend to believe: “Written in purity, textually adulterated post writing.” The second (and smaller) population would tend to believe “Revealed in purity, written in weakness, further adulterated post writing.” I fall with the latter.

    To work off of Seth’s comments (and please correct me if I see this differently than you Seth), but when Seth says that God is capable but unwilling to ensure an infallible revelation, I understand it, that God COULD remove our agency, and weakness in not understanding what God meant. God COULD remove the prophet’s agency to write according to his own understanding of the pure revelation. But God chooses to work with us in our weakness, without removing our agency, leaving us imperfect. That does affect the transmission of the word, but not the purity in which it was given.

    I just feel that the scriptures teach us that the human mind is too small to articulate fully the message that God has for us. That He shows us a picture we barely understand, like a 2-dimension person being shown a 3-d cube. Sure, they can draw a figure in 2D that represents the 3D, but it doesn’t do the 3D image justice, doesn’t really give the fulness of the meaning. Even our own spiritual experiences, when we write them, perhaps in a Journal, don’t carry the same spiritual potency as the actual experience. The poets, songwriters, and great authors use to do a better job of capturing that spiritual essence in writing, but only “as through a glass darkly.”

  47. psychochemiker permalink
    August 11, 2009 3:36 am

    And I thought I was the one accusing others of bad assumptions, not Seth!

    It’s OK to have assumptions, but you need to be willing to back them up, that’s all. Most misunderstandings happen because people debate facts, instead of their assumptions. Most people can agree on facts, “Jesus said, if ye love me, keep my commandments.” What we can’t agree on is how to reconcile all of the facts with our assumptions. When people ignore data because it is counter to their assumptions (or, ahem, Jessica, — only seek out data in a haphazard manner to support our own assumptions) we do not end up being truthful. We mis-represent, and many (like myself) view that as dishonest.

  48. August 11, 2009 3:43 am

    In order for God to provide a perfect record a few things would have to hold true:

    1. He couldn’t use a human language to do it. Human languages are premised on flaws and inability to communicate. Anyone who has learned a new language knows this.

    2. He would have to remove the human element. He would have to essentially take over the hand of the scribe to ensure no errors or mistakes. Divine mind control if you like.

    3. He would have to do this at every stage in the process.

    4. If the perfect language of God were used, it would likely be so awe-inspiring, so mentally and spiritually overwhelming to us frail human beings that no human being would be capable of resisting it.

    All together, this would constitute such an egregious violation of human free will, that it would imply a being that I simply refuse to worship.

    Free will Gundeck. Free will.

    It’s where Protestantism falls on its face every time.

  49. August 11, 2009 4:32 am

    psychochemiker,

    Thank you for your explanation, I hope you will understand if I don’t see the direct connection with infallibility or inerrancy. Neither doctrine teach that the writers were mere stenographers of a revelatory experience or that God overrode man’s will in revelation. In fact almost everything I have read acknowledges the mystery of the mechanics of insperation, but failure to understand the mystery of a doctrine is not much of a reason to reject it.

    You might change you line from, “the Bible never makes any claims for inerrancy” to “inerrancy doesn’t fit my worldview of human agency”.

  50. August 11, 2009 4:55 am

    Seth,

    Your arguments are based on your finite view of God and a rejection of his revealed Word. It has less to do with free will than it does with being unable to accept the mystery of an infinite God communicating with a finite man.

    1 Why would human language not work? Aren’t we made in God’s image? God is perfectly capable of condescending human to us in his revelation.

    2&3 Both infallibility and inerrancy deny that God used the writer as a scribe, we accept the mystery of the act of revelation Revelation. Some have gone so far as to say that the Bible is fully divine and completely human.

    4 Why, God is perfectly capable in revealing what he want us to know without overloading our finite brains.

    The free will tack doesn’t really work because as I have shown the Roman Church believes the Bible to be “without error”. So your beef is not with Protestants or the Reformed your beef is with the entire catholic Church. Frankly it is only your finite assumption that contends that the infinite God would have to violate the free will of the writer. Free will has become your scapegoat to deny revelation.

  51. August 11, 2009 4:56 am

    Like I said – inerrancy is an assumption you have to ADD to verses like Psalms 12:6.

    The Bible never makes it a requirement. It is only a requirement because of the worldview you hold.

  52. August 11, 2009 4:58 am

    “God is perfectly capable of condescending human to us in his revelation.”

    Yes, and the moment he does so, he voluntarily becomes limited and inerrancy becomes impossible.

  53. psychochemiker permalink
    August 11, 2009 5:03 am

    Gundeck:

    I’ll agree to add “inerrancy doesn’t fit my worldview of human agency”, but that doesn’t undo the fact that “the Bible never makes claims to inerrancy”.

    The first statement is dependent on my worldview. The second is dependent on what the Bible actually states, and nowhere does the Bible say that the bible is inerrant. Hence, the statement, “The Bible never makes a claim to inerrancy” a valid statement. In order for the statement to be invalid, the bible would have to “make a claim to inerrancy” which it doesn’t. I just did a word-search and the word inerrant, infallible, did not come up in my entire Bible. Not once.

  54. August 11, 2009 5:08 am

    That limit does not reduce the truthfulness or place error into Gods revelation.

  55. August 11, 2009 5:11 am

    Why wouldn’t it?

  56. August 11, 2009 5:21 am

    psychochemiker,

    The Bible does claim to be the inspired, well tried, pure, right, perfect, blameless, faithful, upright, and true word of God.

  57. August 11, 2009 5:22 am

    Seth,

    I do not need complete knowledge of something for the knowledge I have to be true.

  58. August 11, 2009 5:31 am

    We’ve already discussed Psalms 12:6.

    I think it’s fairly clear that that verse is not claiming inerrancy. Do you have others in mind?

  59. August 11, 2009 5:32 am

    I’m not talking about an exhaustive inventory of knowledge Gundeck.

    I’m talking about what is there. And what is there is, by necessity, flawed.

  60. August 11, 2009 5:43 am

    Seth,

    There are hundreds (Ps 18:30;119:140; 19:8; Prov 30:5 etc) of them (in the Psalms alone) but I would not call you abject denial that Psalm 12:6 is not claiming inerrancy a discussion.

    Psalm 119 is an entire chapter on the word of God

  61. August 11, 2009 7:38 am

    You keep equating the “Word of God” with the written Bible Gundeck.

    This is nothing more than begging the question.

  62. August 11, 2009 2:21 pm

    Seth,

    David in Psalm 19:8 also equates the written word with the “pure” word of God. It is a given and one of my basic presuppositions that the bible is the word of God. Once again the references are pleantiful that the Scripture is the word of God.

    If you deny the Bible as the word of God then there is no real reason to worry about any other claim of the Bible. If the Bible is not the word of God then all doctrines of Scripture infallibility, inerrancy, perspicuity, authority, canon, sufficiency etc are irrelevant.

  63. August 11, 2009 2:59 pm

    That’s all or nothing thinking Gundeck.

    If you can’t have it 100% your way, you’re not going to play? Is that it?

  64. August 11, 2009 7:30 pm

    Seth,

    All or nothing thinking? Not so much. You have a continually shifting argument and have yet to present any evidence biblical or otherwise for your positions. First you claim outright that inerrancy is not in the Bible and then caricature the doctrine of inerrancy; then you posit that only Protestants beleive in inerrancy; moving on you jump into “agency”, the free will of the writer would be violated you claim, without presenting a case or biblical evidence that God is more interested in your defined free will than he is in truth; you explain that despite the fact that man is made in the image of God he cannot communicate with his Maker; you argue, with no explanation, that condensation from the infinite to the finite necessitates error; and finally you argue that the Bible is not the word of God.

    You have made your position clear you will not accept a true Bible, the argument is exhausted because we have no common ground to start from. I am only pointing out the obvious when I say that if the Bible is not the word of God then there is no need for any of the various doctrines of the Bible and that if you do not accept the necessary presupposition of the Bible as the word of God then we do not have a starting point for a discussion.

    I can continue to present passage after passage like 2 Tim 3:16 and showing the connection between truth Scripture and the revealed word of God, and you will bat them down in the same manner you have with Psalm 19. The next step in an evidential apologetic would be for me to try to convince you from archeology or something else that the Bible is the word of God. I think that we both know that I cannot do that. Evidence has a role in strengthening faith not in creating it. I could resort to bearing my testimony and give you my own subjective reasons that the Bible is the Word of God, but that wouldn’t be all that interesting and as far as being convincing it is no different from your testimony.

    It’s not that this discussion has not been enjoyable, both you and psychochemiker are to be commended for a civil and thought provoking discussion but if we do not have any common ground, the Bible is in fact the revealed word of God, then unless there is a particular text or angle you want to present, I don’t know what else to say except thank you for the enjoyable conversation.

  65. August 11, 2009 7:48 pm

    Careful there.

    I’m not claiming that nothing in the Bible is synonymous with the “Word of God.”

    What I’m saying is that the Bible as a whole cannot be interchangeable with the “Word of God.”

    Anyway, I need to get to your scripture list later.

  66. M Allen permalink
    August 12, 2009 5:39 am

    Reading through the posts here I came to the same conclusion as Gundek, and thought some of the same things and THEN I read his post. Perfect. I was thinking, if God cannot communicate with man, if man cannot clearly communicate what was given, if language is so limited as to make it incapable of clearly writing down what was communicated (even though even the communication is impossible by Seth’s standards), then what is the point? Discard the Bible and be done with it. I have read these same arguments about language and it’s limitations (and the inability of man to clearly communicate, denying that scripture could have any real meaning), articulated by other spiritualists or even atheists. They are arguments that seek to render scripture meaningless. I don’t buy these arguments though. It seems to me that language communicates pretty well in my day to day life, and wouldn’t God be better at it than most people? And wouldn’t He be able to preserve His Word? If God cannot do these things – then we are back to Seth’s arguments, with no real purpose in studying or understanding flawed writings by flawed men with possibly erroneous theological assumptions.
    However, the scriptures are holy and preserved by God, and I believe God can and does speak His Words through the reading and preaching of scripture. We can hear the voice of Christ today when we read the Bible, He is speaking to us and calling us to trust in His finished work on the cross.

  67. August 12, 2009 6:00 am

    Oh come on Allen. That’s just silly.

    If your wife was sick and the doctor offered a treatment that had a 70% chance of curing her, would you turn it down just because it didn’t offer a 100% guarantee.

    Evangelicals always seem to demand these 100% guarantees – or they refuse to play.

    Well, I for one am happy to get all the guidance God is willing to send me – flawed or not. I can use every bit of help that is available. And I’m not going to throw a tantrum just because daddy didn’t cook my scrambled eggs “just so.”

  68. August 12, 2009 2:34 pm

    Seth,

    Inerrancy, Infallibility, theopneusty or any of the doctrines of Scripture are not 100% guaranties. When these doctrines are examined, a person quickly concludes that the workings of revelation, from the infinite to the finite, is beyond our capability to comprehend. You say that Evangelicals demand a 100% guaranty or they refuse to play, I am not sure what your point is by this, even a cursory examination of the various doctrines of Scripture will show a need to embrace mystery and the unknown in affirming the biblical claims of God’s capability and intent to reveal Himself without error.

    You imply that you are humbly accepting an error riddled Bible while broader evangelicalism throws a tantrum when someone points out an error in the current translations. I am not quite sure how to take this when you compare say the Mormon and Reformed doctrines of revelation, but I think that you may have missed some of the clarifications of the common misunderstandings of inerrancy that I have pointed out.

    You have to remember Seth, an error free bible is not an evangelical claim nor a product of the Reformation, no matter how much you want to couch the debate that way. I point out again that the Roman Catholic Catechism of 1997 statement 107 that says in part, “…since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth…” This is the historic belief of the Church seen in the earliest writings of the anti-Nicene era.

  69. August 12, 2009 3:33 pm

    I’m glad to see that nuanced views of the Bible exist Gundeck.

    Overwhelmingly with online Evangelicalism however, that is not the viewpoint I get.

    It’s not the viewpoint I got during my brief stay over at Mormon Coffee. It’s not the viewpoint I get from MarkCares’ weblog. It’s not the view I get from a lot of people here. Nor over at Heart Issues for LDS. It’s certainly not what you get on exmormon.org or Recovering from Mormonism.

    For a LOT of the Evangelical posters on those venues, my caricature seems to be pretty dang accurate. People always want 100% guarantees. In fact, it used to be a major talking point Evangelicals would try to foist on me – “don’t you want to be guaranteed salvation?”

    When I started telling them no (for good reason), they dropped that line. But that doesn’t mean the same sick mindset isn’t still there.

    The disease of fundamentalist thinking is alive and well in American Evangelicalism from all I can tell.

    Ironically, I used to be a bit more open-minded about Evangelicalism before I started debating with them. My opinion of the entire movement suffered greatly from the exposure. It just seemed cursed with black-and-white thinking.

    My experiences haven’t been all bad. You, Gundeck, seem somewhat reasonable and capable of having a conversation. Tim over at LDS Evangelical Conversations is willing to be friendly and look at things from different angles, and I enjoy talking to Jack and some others. Some folks here are usually nice enough and, if you catch them on a good day good to talk to.

    But there is just so much more of intolerant fanaticism within Evangelicalism’s interface with Mormonism. The more I interact with it, the more I get the exact caricature I outlined above. The more I see the conservative religious mindset as a sort of disease on the whole movement.

  70. M Allen permalink
    August 12, 2009 4:53 pm

    Seth,

    My view is pretty simple – scripture has been preserved to show us how God has revealed Himself to us. Is every period and statement precisely as it was originally written? No, there are some textual variants. Are these variants significant? – not really, not one doctrine stands or falls based on a scriptural variant. Has it been preserved so the everyone who hears the Word preached may know the truth of Christ crucified for your sins and that you are saved by grace through faith – absolutely. Some Christians that hold to an inerrant view of holy scripture may be more aggressive, either by ignorance or conviction, but the essential element is the communication of God’s message to us, and this is preserved and the great abundance of historical manuscripts attest to this.

    On the other hand, if we don’t know and cannot know if it was even written down right in the first place – then it is pointless. In your 70% cure example, if you are holding to doctrine based on the 30% then you are out of luck – and you die. Or it could be 50 – 50, or even 30% right, 70% wrong – who’s to say? If the Doctor operating on you had 50% of the surgery right, and 50% wrong – you’re chances are pretty iffy.

  71. August 12, 2009 5:04 pm

    The problem is Allen, there actually are a lot of fairly central doctrinal disputes that Bible is not sufficient to resolve. People read a certainty into the Bible that simply isn’t there.

    The idea that God must be only a being of spirit is a prime example of this. Evangelicals are tempted to read a certainty into the Bible that is quite unwarranted.

    Then when a Mormon points this out, they get all defensive and talk about how the Bible certainly would have inerrantly communicated that message to us.

    It’s just a mindset that bothers the heck out of me.

    Both of our religions lose a lot of followers to this kind of black-and-white thinking. You don’t need a perfect Bible for the book to be useful – even priceless – for your own spiritual growth.

  72. August 13, 2009 1:05 am

    Personally, I love 100% guarantees. As I see it there are only a few of them in life… death, taxes and the fact that our current President is basically socialist being a few of them.

    The God I worship has given me a 100% guarantee of salvation and I take great comfort in that fact. Why build your house on sand when you can build it on a rock? Seems to me an easy decision.

    Darrell

  73. August 13, 2009 1:16 am

    “The problem is Allen, there actually are a lot of fairly central doctrinal disputes that Bible is not sufficient to resolve.”

    Not really Seth. The essential doctrines of Christianity are fairly well spelled out in The Bible. However, in the non-essentials we allow liberty. Oftentimes when Mormons bring up your above point, they are talking about non-essentials. As Augustine said, “In essentials unity. In non-essentials liberty. In all things charity.”

    Are there individuals who still choose not to agree with the essential doctrines of Christianity? Certainly. However, just because someone chooses not to agree does not mean they are not sufficiently addressed in The Bible. Heck, there are still people who choose to believe all kinds of crazy things, despite evidence to the contrary… the flat earth society comes to mind.

    As Gundeck pointed out, The Bible is fairly clear in its claims of inerrancy yet you still choose to disagree with it. I think your position may be more due to an a priori belief when approaching The Bible than with what The Bible actually says (i.e. Mormonism is true. Therefore, its claims that The Bible has errors has to be true.)

    Darrell

  74. August 13, 2009 1:33 am

    Seth,

    The tone of engagement between Mormons and Evangelicals is different at different sites. I find myself wincing over some of the language used and the caricature of doctrines back and forth. I am probably a little more confrontational when it comes to great apostasy issues than anything else. I am not going to deny that there is very little nuance on the internet.

    I am almost completely convinced that the internet is not the place to discuss soteriology, and I am solidly Reformed when it comes to faith and works, but I have read to many puritan books to think that the bible is as concerned with our own personal assurance of salvation as many Evangelicals think. If you want to see how soul wrenching they can be look at “A Sure Guide to Heaven” by Joseph Alleine. He will make any man examine the state of their conversion, much less boast about their assurance of salvation, and pray for grace with “fear and trembling”. Assurance is a complicated subject, the Westminster divines said a “true believer may wait long and conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it”. I am not denying assurance but I am not sure that it holds the central place in the Christian faith that some people make out.

    Sometime I truly wonder how much people know about their own doctrinal beliefs and the history of the Church. I have heard some wild things, I love it when someone lets slip that they are not a member of a Church but they feel full well and qualified to correct everyone on the internet.

    With all of this talk about infallibility and inerrancy I remembered a quote that A bible works in conversion when it comes with a Christian attached to it, and works best when the Christian stays with it.

    Have a nice evening.

  75. August 13, 2009 3:21 am

    Darrell, if the Biblical doctrines that Mormons disagree with Evangelicals on are non-essential, and peripheral, then why not accept us as “saved Christians” and be done with it?

  76. August 13, 2009 10:34 am

    Excellent question Seth. First, let me say that our disagreements are not due to Biblical doctrines. Rather they are due to the extra Biblical doctrines that Mormons bring to the debate. Nevertheless, your question strikes right to the heart of the disagreement between Mormons and Christians because our disagreements are not on peripheral issues. Rather, they are on essential issues:

    1) Nature of God
    2) Nature of Man
    3) Method of Salvation

    Etc.

    Have a great morning!

    Darrell

  77. August 13, 2009 10:39 am

    “Rather they are due to the extra Biblical doctrines that Mormons bring to the debate.”

    I should have also added that Mormons hold these extra Biblical doctrines as authoritative despite what The Bible says. Your discussion with Gundeck earlier in this thread is a good example. The Bible speaks if the inerrancy of scripture (see Gundeck’s scriptures above), yet a Mormon will not believe it due to the extra biblical teaching of the Mormon Church that the Bible has errors in it due to mistranslations.

    Darrell

  78. August 13, 2009 1:37 pm

    And traditional Christians, due to their preconceptions and agenda, ascribe more thoroughness and certainty to the Bible than it ever really had to begin with.

  79. August 13, 2009 6:49 pm

    Seth,

    You seem to now be moving into the “sufficiency” and the “authority” of Scripture. I understand the tendency to have all of our questions answered. We need to be able to humbly submit to not only what the Scripture tells us but to also acknowledge areas the Bible does not address. This is critical to the development of Christian liberty, explaining that the Church cannot bind the conscience of the faithful in any matter that Scripture does not address. It is also important for the Reformed when it comes to our worship practices.

    “Sufficiency” and the “authority” brings us back to the topic that Jessica originally wrote about. She points out the conflict with the writings of Mormon and the New Testament witness of the birth of the Church and the Gift of the Holy Spirit. Paul and Peter both tell us that we are to go to Scripture for these matters (2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21), but we also see examples of this instruction put into practice in Acts 17:10-14 and Rev 2:2. So we have not only the prescriptive command to test doctrine against Scripture we also have descriptive examples of how this is to work.

    Testing Mormons words against the words of Luke and John, as we are commanded to do, we find a significant conflict and a change of redemptive history from the New Testament to the Book of Mormon. This leaves many no other option but to reject the writings of Mormon.

  80. August 13, 2009 7:32 pm

    I think your assertion of a conflict between the accounts from Mormon, and from Acts imposes a little bit more theological precision on the whole question than I think the ancients ever actually had.

    Your assertion that the Book of Mormon contradicts the Bible in any meaningful sense is, of course, thoroughly disputed.

  81. August 13, 2009 8:58 pm

    Seth,

    I would be interested in how a 170+ year difference can be justified. I also think that the accounts of the Holy Spirit in John make it clear that there is a specific redemptive historical role of the Gift of the Spirit. Joel connects the Spirit to the Messiah.

  82. August 13, 2009 9:17 pm

    Oh fine…

    I guess we can get back on topic…

    As for the 147 year thing – don’t forget that the author of the Book of Mosiah was not Mosiah.

    It was Mormon.

    Mormon lived AFTER Christ, and I tend to think he let a bit of his hindsight and a few of his theological reads into the historical record.

  83. rblandjr permalink
    August 13, 2009 10:32 pm

    Seth,
    Your claim that the resurrection has no historical proof but Biblical accounts.

    Dr. kenneth Wuest in his Word Studies in the Greek New Testament Vol. III, Great truths to live by, pages 49 and 50 gives citiations for Christs miracles and his resurrection.

    “Josephus, the jewish historian of the first century who wrote the history of the Jewish nation, his works acceptedby the Imperial Library at Rome, writing in his book Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, chapter 3, paragraph3, testifies to three supernatural things about the Lord Jesus. In his words, “if it be lawful to call him a man,” he testified to the fact that He was Deity. When he wrote that He was a “doer of wonderful works,” he testified to the fact of His miracles. When he spoke of His cruicitixion, and said that “he appeared to them alive again the third day,” he was speaking of the resurrection of the Son of God.”
    He goes on to give a few more examples of this fact and also reasons to the limited extra biblical evidence concerning Christ.

    Hope that clears up your claim which I think is inaccurate.
    Now as far as your claims concerning inerrancy of the Bible you assume that God is incapable of communicating his truths to mankind and then having it accurately written down. I hope i stated your position correctly. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, so to speak.

    Dr. Wuest states, ” For 1500 years, until the age of printing, the manuscripts of the NT were copied by hand. During this time mistakes crept in. But through the labors of textual critics, these mistakes have been eliminated, with the result that in the best texts of the Greek New Testamentt in use today, scholars tell us that 999 words out of every 100 100 are the same as those in the dispute, is of so minor a consequence that it affects no historical fact nor doctrine. These textual critics had a bast amount of material with which to work, 4,00 Greek manuscripts, 8,00ocopies of the Latin Vulgate, and 2,00 copies of the NT in other languages, 14,000 available sources from which to reconstruct a correct text. Furthermore, these Greek manuscripts go back to the third century in an unbroken successsion, and with the writings of the Apostolic and Church Gathers, which are commentaries on the Greeek New Testament, and which quote the entire Greek text with the exception of the first eleven verses of John chapter 8, form a direct link with the original manuscripts of the NT. Tertullian, an early Church Father, tells us that the original manuscripts were still in existence A.D. 200. Thus the record of the conversation which we are to study together, (Jesus and Nicodemus) the reader in his easy chair, and the writer at his study desk with his Greek New Testament before him, is correct, and in its every word, it is the inspired Word of God” Until the dead sea scrolls were found , the oldest OT Ms dated back to 800ad which were known as the Masoretic Text. The dead sea scrolls were dated to approxiamtely 200 BC. When comparing the Book of Isaiah.
    of the 166 words in Is. 53, there are only seventeen letters in the Qumaran scrol that differ from the standard Masoretic text. Ten of these letters are simply a matter of spelling, which does not affect the meaning. Four more letters are minor stylistic changes, such as conjunctions. The remaing three letters comprise the word “light”, which is added in vs. 11 and does not affect the meaning reatly.”

    The majority of the mistakes were misspellings and word order.

    I included the three long quotes to show the evidence of the Bibles reliability.

    But none of that will affect your position on the Bible. You have been taught it is full of errors. Why investigate it for yourselves. I find that people that criticize the Bible often haven’t spent much time studying it. For you to come to your conclusions you must know hebrew, greek .,aramaic and have studied it for many years. You must have then spent many hours comparing the manuscripts that are available to come to these conclusions. Or you just read select works to prove your point.

    I have picked the standard works of LDS scripture, GP, MIssionary manual, to learn exactly what was stated and what was meant by what was stated.I just haven’t read anti-mormon literature to learn about LDS. Now my challenge to you is read the NT not just proof text pasages. I am sure you have read it some. I do not know to what extent. But read it because it does say, ” Faith cometh by hearing by the word of God”. But wait how do we know that was Gods actual words and his message to us. Jesus confirmed the reliability of the OT. The exact cannon that makes up our OT. I think his authority is beyond reproach. I will put him up against anyone else in history.
    No God doesn’t need me to stand up for His Word. I just didn’t want you to wander around in the dark. It is easy to fall into a pit you can,t get out of. Ps. 40:1-3 unless Christ saves you.

    Richard

  84. August 13, 2009 10:57 pm

    Seth,

    According to the Brief Explanation for The BOM contained at the beginning of the BOM, the principal author of Mosiah is Mosiah. You keep saying that Mormon was the Author. Mormon simply did an abrigement of the large plates of Nephi. However, the author was Mosiah.

    As a result, I believe your explanation for the 147 year gap is left somewhat wanting.

    Darrell

  85. August 13, 2009 11:11 pm

    I don’t see a problem with it Darrell. All the introduction says is that Mormon abridged the record of Mosiah. Which is not really in conflict with my earlier post. Mormon still qualifies as “author” by these lights. Even if you don’t want to give him the formal designation of “author” he certainly still qualifies as the guy who wrote the account.

    You see his hand overtly all over the record. For instance – when he waxes poetic about what a great guy “Captain Moroni” was in the book of Alma (very much struck me as one general taking time out to admire one of his own heroes and role models). Or why Alma is so littered with war accounts in the first place – it’s Mormon’s own bias as a military man showing through. He would be quite likely to write about things he found interesting.

    A person who abridges a record has a massive degree of control over the message. And if he does not subscribe to modern American notions of academic integrity, then… who knows where he’ll go with it?

  86. August 13, 2009 11:12 pm

    Richard.

    That isn’t my position on scripture.

    What I said was that God IS capable of transmitting a perfect record, but that he does not transmit a perfect record because doing so would require him to violate human free will to a great extent.

  87. August 13, 2009 11:20 pm

    Ummm, Seth, the problem is that your own Church says the principal author is MOSIAH. You personally might want to say the principal author is Mormon; however, given the fact that the copyright owner disagrees with you I would have to question your opinion.

    To abrige is not to write. It is simply to shorten in scope by removing parts.

    For you to say the main author is Mormon appears to me to be slightly misleading given the fact that the LDS Church itself says otherwise.

    Darrell

  88. August 13, 2009 11:22 pm

    I just checked the introduction Darrell. I must have missed that one.

    What was the exact wording?

  89. August 13, 2009 11:28 pm

    It is on the page titled A Brief Explanation About The Book of Mormon.

    About half way down it says…

    “The Book of Mormon comprises fifteen main parts or divisions, known, with one exception, as books, EACH DESIGNATED BY THE NAME OF ITS PRINCIPAL AUTHOR. [Emphasis Mine]

    It goes on to say how Mormon abriged (not authored) the Large Plates of Nephi from Mosiah to Mormon chapter 7 inclusive.

    Darrell

  90. August 13, 2009 11:35 pm

    And you take that to be a categorical statement of authorship Darrell?

    Are you serious?

  91. August 13, 2009 11:43 pm

    Let’s see… it says…

    “EACH DESIGNATED BY THE NAME OF ITS PRINCIPAL AUTHOR.”

    and, what, pray tell, is the name of the Book of Mosiah? Mormon???? No, Mosiah.

    So, yes, I take that as a categorical statement that the principal author is Mosiah NOT Mormon.

    Please tell me how you get that the Book of Mosiah was WRITTEN by Mormon out of that statement? For that is exactly what you have said over and over again on this post.

    Abriged (which means shortened not written) by Mormon, yes. However, the AUTHOR is Mosiah NOT Mormon.

    Darrell

  92. August 14, 2009 12:43 am

    The hand that wrote the words was Mormon. The guy who sifted through Mosiah’s account and decided what to include, and what to leave out was Mormon. The guy who editorialized frequently throughout the book, was Mormon. The guy who chose the wording of the events was Mormon.

    I believe that’s exactly what I explained in my first comment on the subject.

    Now, if you’d like to impose the same sort of infallibility assumption on the study-aid introduction the LDS Church was nice enough to include under the front cover that you do with the Bible – along with the same rigid, nitpicky, and a-contextual interpretation that I’ve seen you apply to the Bible, be my guest, I guess….

    In the meantime, I’ll be looking at the footnotes in my NIV Bible here to find “binding and inerrant doctrine” that I can hold you up to.

    I suppose next you’ll be claiming that the Book of Mormon talks about Nephite “coins” because that’s what the 1980s chapter heading says.

  93. August 14, 2009 1:12 am

    Seth,

    Regardless of the author Mormon or Moroni, Mosiah 25:23, 24 has the affect of disconnecting the Gift of the Holy Spirit and the establishment of the Church from Jesus Christ. If Mormon was unable to understand or foresee the serious theological implications of his anachronistic editing/writing then the usefulness of any of their writing is of little use except entertainment. To sever the relationship of Christ earthly ministry, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension from the Gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church of Christ, His bride, is not an oversight that can be dismissed easily.

  94. August 14, 2009 1:32 am

    “The hand that wrote the words was Mormon. The guy who sifted through Mosiah’s account and decided what to include, and what to leave out was Mormon. The guy who editorialized frequently throughout the book, was Mormon. The guy who chose the wording of the events was Mormon.”

    If you are correct then I guess the LDS Church is wrong when they say the Principal Author of the Book is one for whom the book is named… Mosiah. Hey, if you want to call your own church out on errors, go for it. Perhaps you should place a phone call to Monson to straighten him out. Then maybe next year we will have yet another change in the BOM. This past year we went from the Lamanites being the “principal ancestors of the American Indians” to simply “AMONG the principal ancestors…”. Next year due to your prophetic insight perhaps you can get Monson to change it to Mosiah only being “AMONG” the principal authors of The Book of Mosiah”.
    That would be awesome!

    Personally, I don’t think Mosiah or Mormon wrote it because I don’t believe either individual ever existed.

    Have a great night!

    Darrell

  95. August 14, 2009 2:22 am

    Seth,

    I am starting to seriously question your sanity…and mine.

    TYD

  96. August 14, 2009 3:07 am

    Yeah. No joke.

  97. faithoffathers permalink
    August 17, 2009 9:29 pm

    Have been fishing in Montana for a while. This thread is interesting to me.

    I think it alludes to a major difference in our belief systems. I have mentioned this before, and I think it is a big deal.

    Moses lived around 1400 B.C. He wrote Genesis to Deuteronomy. The latest writings in the New Testament were within 100 years after Christ’s death. That means that the writings found in the Bible span a mere 1500 years. This is a much under-appreciated fact. Yet EVs seem to extrapolate the Biblical writings to a much greater proportion of the earth’s history.

    Consider the fact that the single book of Genesis (50 chapters) covers almost 3,000 years of history (if one believes Adam and Eve lived 4,000 years before Christ). This is an extremely condensed summary for such a long period.

    The major difference I see is that EVs see Genesis as being essentially comprehensive in its treatment, but Mormons see it as the tip of the iceberg. Many EVs believe the ancient prophets knew very little if anything about Christ (I have heard one EV claim that prophets like Noah, Melchizedek, and Enoch knew nothing about Christ). Mormons believe the prophets from Adam to Noah, from Noah to Moses, and from Moses to Malachi had very deep understandings of the WHOLE plan of salvation and the mission of Christ.

    Consider the Law of Moses. EVs very frequently assume the Law of Moses encompassed everything before Christ, when in reality, it covered the period from 1400 B.C. to 33 A.D. When asked about what preceded the Law of Moses, I most often hear silence because I don’t think people think about that. What about the folks before Moses?

    We maintain that the prophets, beginning with Adam, knew the gospel of Jesus Christ in detail and participated in its ordinances and entered covenants with God from the beginning. EVs will say- that is not in the Bible, so it cannot be true.

    Consider that Enoch “walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” Genesis 5. Do you think a prophet who “walked with God” and was so close to the Almighty would not know about Christ? Such a belief is naive in my opinion. But because Genesis does not mention the name Jesus Christ, EVs seem to assume the role of the atonement was not really understood.

    Non-LDS Christianity in many ways has a very narrow view of history and God’s plan. It is my impression that EVs believe few people before Christ had a real understanding of Him. And after Christ’s atonement, everything is finished, done, nothing more to do. It just makes no sense from my perspective.

    Much of this can be explained by our different views of the Bible. EVs see the Bible, from what I can tell, as the complete, inerrent, word from God’s mouth, preserved in perfection. Nothing of importance was left out of the Bible. LDS see the Bible as a collection of holy writings from holy prophets who lived in the near east as well as the record of Christ’s mortal ministry, atoning sacrifice, and glorious resurrection. We maintain that it is a piece of the pie, but does not represent everything God has uttered to man. EVs see this view of the Bible as blasphemous. It is nothing of the sort. The Bible never claims it is complete. It never says nothing more will ever be written, or was written. Such an interpretation is in no way warranted.

    Survey the bulk of textual critics of the Bible and ask them if they believe the Bible is inerrent. It is simply crazy to claim such a thing. Yes- God’s word will stand forever. But one must understand that there is a difference between God’s promises, commandments, and covenants and the paper upon which revelations and prophecies are written.

    I can say “my word is my honor” or “I will keep my word.” If a contract containing my signature is burned in a house fire, is my word destroyed? I hope not. Similarly, verses like the one from Psalms refer to God’s promises, covenants, etc. and not necessarily every piece of manuscript upon which sacred writings are recorded. How far do you take your interpretation? Is it impossible to burn a bible manuscript? Are they water proof?

    The book of John closes with the statement “and there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.”

    We simply see different contexts for the Bible. And in my opinion, insisting on a narrow context for the Bible results not only in a unrealistic view of the world and its history, but keeps one from fully receiving “every word which precedeth forth from the mouth of God.”

    Darrell- I am surprised you are insisting that Mosiah wrote the actual words of the book of Mosiah. This reveals a great deal about your knowledge of the BOM my friend.

    fof

  98. August 20, 2009 1:40 am

    “Darrell- I am surprised you are insisting that Mosiah wrote the actual words of the book of Mosiah. This reveals a great deal about your knowledge of the BOM my friend.”

    What it reveals is that I have actually read what the LDS church teaches about the Book of Mormon… that and the fact that I have read it cover to cover numerous times.

    What I am saying is that the LDS Church says, contrary to what Seth keeps insisting, the principal author for The Book of Mosiah was Mosiah. Look it up in your own BOM… that is what they say. While they say that Mormon ABRIGED it… they specifically state that the principal author is the person for whom the book is named – namely, Mosiah. In addition, abrige does NOT mean to author. It means to shorten.

    Seth was using the idea of a later author (Mormon) in defense of one of Gundeck’s criticisms (a very good criticism I might add). I felt obligated to call him out on this as it appeared a little misleading to me. Especially given the fact that the LDS Church states otherwise.

    Darrell

  99. August 20, 2009 3:23 am

    And exactly why would the General Authorities be authoritative on this subject Darrell?

    Or, perhaps you understand the word “General Authority” to mean they are authorities on any subject that might arise.

    Either way though, I don’t think that anything in the intro says that Mosiah is flat out the one who penned the writings we’ve got in the book.

  100. August 20, 2009 3:34 am

    FoF,

    I understand that Mormons do not consider the Bible sufficient for a knowledge of God. I do not think I would describe “Genesis as being essentially comprehensive in its treatment”. I would say that Genesis is sufficient to get its point across, and that looking for canonical source materiel on creation other than Genesis is fraught with peril. Your assumption that Enoch must have known the future of all of redemptive history because he “walked with God” shows what speculation can lead to. (I read a wonderful sermon on Gen. 5:24 by Edward Griffin) I don’t know what Enoch knew, as Griffin points out his walks were in secret. What I do know is that God has progressively revealed Himself as shown in the Bible and that He has always been faithful to His covenant promises.

    You also make a common error with you remark concerning inerrancy and infallibility, there may be some on the fringe that claim that the bible was “preserved in perfection” but that is not the nominal teaching of the Church. I would refer you to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy or the writings of B. B. Warfield.

    As far as Christians not knowing what happened before that “Law of Moses” they should read their Catechisms because the Westminster divines were able to answer that question without any extra biblical material, “When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience”.

    So I will ask you the same question that I have asked Seth, why do Mormon or Mosiah refer to the gift of the Spirit of God prior to Pentecost. “And the Lord did pour out his Spirit upon them, and they were blessed, and prospered in the land (Mosiah 25:24).” Luke tells us that Pentecost was a fulfillment of (Joel 2:28-32) Joel and other Old Testament prophets connect the pouring out of the Spirit with the coming of the Messiah (Isa 32:15,Ezek 39:29,Zech 12:10 etc.)

    Mosiah 25:23, 24 cannot be seen as additional material that gives us more information about God’s plans and working, simply because they conflict with the testimony of so many in the Bible on a substantial theological matter, the Gift of the Spirit of God to His Church.

  101. August 20, 2009 9:38 pm

    “And exactly why would the General Authorities be authoritative on this subject Darrell?”

    Why wouldn’t they be?

    Afterall, it is written in the BOM itself by the copyright owner that the Principa Author is the one for whom the book is named? What makes you think you have more authority on this subject than the copyright owner?

    Darrell

  102. August 20, 2009 11:37 pm

    Geez Darrell…

    Are you actually claiming that owning a copyright makes you right?

    I mean, I’m a little sketchy on my copyright law, but I don’t recall ever hearing that infallibility was being handed out down at the copyright office.

    Have to check my old law books again I guess…

  103. August 21, 2009 1:30 am

    Seth,

    It is completely obvious that you are reaching for straws here. The BOM tells us who the author is and what Mormon did… and it was not authoring. Your apologetic argument is nothing but a misleading sidestep that you are employing so you can cling to your argument against Gundeck. The Clintonesque rhetoric you are using is not like you as I usually find you to be honest in your tactics Can you show me ANYTHING official from the LDS Church which says, as you did in this thread, “the author of the Book of Mosiah was not Mosiah. It was Mormon?” Unless you can do so, I find no reason to believe that the official LDS Church position is anything other than what the BOM actually says: The principal author is the one for which the book is named – Mosiah.

    Darrell

  104. August 21, 2009 3:33 pm

    No, it is completely obvious that YOU are reaching for straws here Darrell.

    Any argument, no matter how ridiculous, to support your paradigm of prophetic infallibility on ANY subject. There is absolutely zero reason why the LDS leadership would need to be correct on this issue. They are not authorities on textual interpretation, they are not experts on ancient languages, they are not archeologists, historians, or anything of the sort. Their backgrounds are that of businessmen, lawyers, doctors, tradesmen, and a few additions from the Church Education System administration.

    Nothing there gives me any particular reason to think they are authoritative here.

    It just seems to me that you were a black-and-white fundamentalist while in the LDS Church, and you still are out of it, and will do anything you can to uphold that totally screwed up and fruitless paradigm about God, humanity, and life in general.

  105. August 21, 2009 7:03 pm

    I asked:

    “Can you show me ANYTHING official from the LDS Church which says, as you did in this thread, “the author of the Book of Mosiah was not Mosiah. It was Mormon?” ”

    Did you provide anything Seth? Nope. I suppose that may be due to the fact that you don’t have anything to support your position other than rhetoric.

    Don’t get me wrong, if you want to believe Mormon authored Mosiah, that is fine with me. What I am not fine with is you passing off your opinion as if it is the offical LDS stance in order to self servingly sidestep Gundeck’s point. Like I said, the official LDS position is that Mosiah authored Mosiah… not Mormon.

    Another very interesting thing I noticed throughout our conversation, Seth, is how you jumped around and changed your position. You start out saying that Mormon authored Mosiah. Then, when I pointed out that the BOM says otherwise, you claim that what the BOM says is not a “categorical statement of authorship.” When that point did not prove fruiitful, you changed your position to be that the General Authorities just got it wrong on this one. It almost appears that you are dancing around and clinging to whatever argument you can… even to the point of trying to change the argument into something it is not.

    My position is that the OFFICIAL LDS CHURCH POSITION is that Mosiah authored Mosiah. As much as you want to change this argument into a discussion of fallibility/infalliblity, whether or not the LDS leadership is fallible or infallible has nothing to do with my point. Personally, I believe they are all false prophets anyway and I don’t believe Mosiah or Mormon ever existed. However, you have yet to show ANYTHING to support that the OFFICIAL LDS CHURCH POSITION is anything other than what the BOM states. So, until you can, I suggest you be more careful when you say things like “Mormon authored Mosiah,” because it is misleading.

    Darrell

  106. August 21, 2009 7:34 pm

    Something else I just noticed is that my statements were not about original authorship – which you seem to be talking about here.

    I made the following assertions:

    1. The guy who decided what words to put on the Gold Plates was Mormon, not Mosiah.

    2. The guy who decided what parts of Mosiah’s account to leave out was Mormon.

    3. The guy who littered his own commentary throughout the abridgment was Mormon.

    None of these propositions are particularly controversial. I’m a little mystified as why we are even arguing them.

    All of this is consistent with the possibility of Mormon adding a more Christian flavor to the original text of Mosiah. The LDS Church itself takes no position one way or the other on this issue.

    Their statement identifying Mosiah as “author” is not inconsistent with my statement of Mormon as the one who wrote it down and added his own two cents.

    And even if a General Authority were to explicitly reject any of my three assertions above (which they have not), I was adding in that I wouldn’t particularly care, since it is beyond their jurisdiction of divine proclamation anyway.

    Hope that clears things up.

  107. August 21, 2009 7:50 pm

    Seth,

    Thanks for your comments. I take no issues with your above assertions. The one I took issue with was the one you posted on Aug 13 at 9:17 PM when you said:

    “As for the 147 year thing – don’t forget that the author of the Book of Mosiah was not Mosiah.

    It was Mormon.”

    That was the one I responded to originally as you specifically said Mosiah was NOT the author and Mormon was. That is the misleading part I am referring to.

    I am glad we got this cleared up.

    Have a great day!

    Darrell

  108. August 21, 2009 8:34 pm

    If you want to claim I’m being sloppy and imprecise, I’ll be the first to agree.

    But I don’t think it changes the argument much.

  109. August 23, 2009 2:36 am

    For something supposedly so unimportant to your argument, you sure spent a lot of time and effort arguing it.

    Darrell

  110. August 23, 2009 4:06 am

    I said it didn’t CHANGE the argument. The point I was making remains.

  111. August 23, 2009 8:26 pm

    Well, it changes the strength of your argument considerably. The “supposed” principal author of Mosiah is a man who lived long before Pentacost. You are assuming that in the abrigement Mormon projected back upon the text and littered it with Christian wording. For simply doing an abrigement, as the LDS Church claims, this would meam Mormon took HUGE liberties. You are making nothing more than a HUGE assumption and one that flys in the face of logic. Why would Mormon, if he ever actually existed, have spoken about the Holy Spirit in reference to Mosiah? MORMON would have KNOWN that the Holy Spirit was not upon man during that time. This is a huge theological problem for the BOM.

    IMO, the better explanation is that the BOM is a 19th Century work of fiction, produced with a little demonic help, being passed off as the Word of God. This not only explains this problem, it also explain the NUMEROUS other problems with the BOM – multiple anachronisms, theological conflicts with the Bible, etc, etc, etc.

    Darrell

  112. August 23, 2009 8:48 pm

    “For simply doing an abrigement, as the LDS Church claims, this would meam Mormon took HUGE liberties.”

    Yup.

    Which, if you’d read up on the history of textual transmission, you would know is not a very uncommon practice. Mormon would be par for the course in this instance.

    You can read this as a huge theological problem for the Book of Mormon if you want. That read only works because you are assuming the Bible to be correct in the first place (which is just question-begging). You might just as easily say that the Mosiah text presents a huge theological problem for the Bible. Personally, I wouldn’t consider this a big problem for either book.

    Dinking around with irrelevant theological boondoggles is traditional Christianity’s own unique disorder.

    For myself, I don’t really ultimately care one way or the other. I’ve got some explanations for it, but I don’t think they ultimately matter much. For myself, I’m perfectly content with Acts teaching us some information about the Holy Ghost, and Mosiah teaching something else. I feel we can only be enriched by these different views.

    And if that makes nitpicky inerrantists upset, tough.

  113. August 23, 2009 8:50 pm

    I mean, does the Holy Spirit help people before or after baptism?

    It’s kind of a silly question. Who really cares which it is? And why shouldn’t it be both? Or why shouldn’t the answer to both questions be “yes – but in different ways”?

  114. August 23, 2009 9:22 pm

    “That read only works because you are assuming the Bible to be correct in the first place (which is just question-begging).”

    Yup, and the only reason you don’t assume it is a problem is because you assume the LDS Church is the only true church, JS was a prophet of God, and therefore, the BOM can’t be wrong. Two can play at that game Seth. The difference is I actually have history on my side with the Bible versus the BOM coming out of nowhere – with absolutely NO historical, archeological or evidential basis to back it up. Add that to the theological issues when comparing it to The Bible and I think you have a great formula for showing it is 19 century fiction created with a little demonic help.

    ‘And if that makes nitpicky inerrantists upset, tough.’

    Yes, for those of us who trust what God has told us – that new prophecy/prophets will NEVER contradict previous prophecy/prophets – a contradiction with what He has previosly told us DOES create a problem.

    Darrell

  115. August 23, 2009 10:00 pm

    Actually, I find the psyche behind inerrancy to be deeply distrustful of God.

    You want him all spelled-out in black and white where you can keep an eye on him.

    Otherwise, you’re worried he might get away from you and do something you weren’t predicting.

    “God on my own terms” as it were.

  116. August 24, 2009 12:07 am

    “Actually, I find the psyche behind inerrancy to be deeply distrustful of God.”

    Nothing could be further from the truth. Inerrancy means completely trusting God and taking Him at His Word. He told us He would preserve His Word and I believe Him. You, on the other hand, distrust Him and believe that despite what He said He has allowed His Word to become corrupted.

    “You want him all spelled-out in black and white where you can keep an eye on him.”

    I don’t need to keep an eye on Him because He is taking care of me… I trust Him.

    “Otherwise, you’re worried he might get away from you and do something you weren’t predicting.”

    Inerrancy has nothing to do with “predicting” God… it has to do with trusting what He has told us rather than trusting in the arm of man (JS, BY, GBH, Monson). You, on the other hand, put your trust in an organization led by a man and takes its word over that of the Bible. The LDS Church teaches the Bible is not inerrant and is riddled with error; therefore, it must be.

    ““God on my own terms” as it were.”

    OK, first you accuse me of being a fundamentalist and now you are accusing me of creating God on my own terms. These are polar opposites so which is it Seth?

    What is interesting is that I believe the LDS Church has done EXACTLY what you accuse me of doing. You don’t like what the Bible says so you twist and turn it, say it is riddled with errors, and then redefine and ignore certain things it says so you can create a God that is more likeable to you. Thus you now have a whole hodge podge of views about God within the LDS paradigm… everything from God was once a man who progressed to become a God to your own pet view of God being an overarching term that is used to describe a whole host of beings who have received the God badge.

    Personally I believe that sounds more like taking God on your own terms. Forget what the Bible says and just believe whatever you want. As for me, I just choose to trust what God has told me rather than creating God after my own image. Afterall, He has told me I can.

    Darrell

  117. August 24, 2009 12:14 am

    Seth, if you don’t mind, I have a few questions for you.

    How do you, personally, judge whether a writing is from God or not? How do you know the BOM is from God? How about the D&C or Pearl of Great Price?

    Since in your view it doesn’t matter if they appear to contradict something God has already revealed, what measuring stick do you use to judge something that claims to be scripture?

    Why have you not accepted Strange’s writings as being from God? Why have you chosen to follow the Brighamite branch of Mormonism rather than Strange or the other sects which have their own writings? Do you believe their writings are from God? Why or why not?

    I am asking these questions out of sincerity.

    Thanks!

    Darrell

  118. August 24, 2009 1:13 am

    “OK, first you accuse me of being a fundamentalist and now you are accusing me of creating God on my own terms. These are polar opposites so which is it Seth?”

    Not really. Fundamentalists do create God in their own preferred image. They make a lot of noise how they’re “just following the Bible,” but when further scholarship about said Bible arises, they tend to reject it vehemently and retreat to their own entrenched positions.

    It quickly becomes apparent they aren’t so much following the Bible as they are defending their own turf (and preserving their own preconceptions and prejudices in the process).

    The fundamentalist mind craves and demands security and abhors exploration and growth (both painful processes). Thus their obsession with asserting that everything about God has already been decided and is spelled out there in the text in black and white. They want a safe, contained God who isn’t going to challenge their own position. Thus their need for security is upheld.

    But this is really nothing more than creating a God to fill our own personal inadequacies and insecurities.

    I trust God deeply. And I know he will still be there no matter where the journey takes me. And I don’t need an inerrant Bible to hold this trust. When the Bible is nothing more than a pile of rubbish and myths (no – I don’t think we’ll ever get THAT far), my God will still have power in my life. Because he’s bigger than any book.

  119. August 24, 2009 1:27 am

    “I trust God deeply. ”

    Then why do you distrust Him when He says He will not allow His word to be altered? You position seems to mistrust Him and hold that He is powerless to or unwilling to follow through on His promise.

    While you hold this to be a higher view of God I truly fail to see it as such. The God I worship not only has the power to follow through on what He has promised, He would never not do so… as He is a God of truth. I could never worship a God who is powerless or a liar.

    Also, if you don’t mind, don’t overlook my questions on the 12:14 AM post. I am sincerely curious as to your answers.

    Darrell

  120. August 24, 2009 1:38 am

    “Not really. Fundamentalists do create God in their own preferred image. They make a lot of noise how they’re “just following the Bible,” but when further scholarship about said Bible arises, they tend to reject it vehemently and retreat to their own entrenched positions.”

    First of all, there is no scholarly consensus that has “proven” any Essential Christian doctrine wrong… so I am not sure what you are getting at here. You will have to be more specific as to what you are referring to rather than generalizing so as to imply that scholarship vehemently disagrees with tranditional Christianity.

    It also depends upon which “scholars” you are talking about. I have read that 65 -75% of scholars are what many would consider to be “conservative christians” – therefore, they would probably fall into the camp you hold as “fundamentalists”. Therefore, I am not sure how you could say scholarship has shown their positions to be wrong AS THEY THEMSELVES ARE THE SCHOLARS AND THE FUNDAMENTALISTS.

    There are myriads of scholars who hold different positions… everything from The Bible being a bunch of ancient fairytales to extreme conservative views. Should we all pass our beliefs through the Holy Gate of Scholarship before we believe it? Does one have to be a “scholar” to understand the Bible? Seems to be what you are implying here Seth.

    Darrell

  121. August 24, 2009 1:48 am

    “Thus their obsession with asserting that everything about God has already been decided and is spelled out there in the text in black and white.”

    One final comment… the above statement truly shows a vast misunderstanding of my position (and virtually every Christian friend of mine). We do not hold that EVERYTHING about God has already been decided. Actually, quite the opposite. We believe God is too great (inifinite in fact) to be fully described or understood by humans. The finite can never fully know, understand, or comprehend the infinite.

    You are misunderstanding the Christian position on inerrancy. It is not that everything about God has been decided. It is that everything that God has told us and revealed to us will never be contradicted. He won’t tell us one thing today and then contradict Himself tomorrow. That would prove God to be a liar.

    Darrell

  122. August 24, 2009 1:52 am

    Your above comments occurred while I was typing this response. I think I’ll note that I think your reading of Biblical scholarship is a bit selective. But other than that, I’m going to let the rest of those comments stand, and focus on answering your earlier questions.

    “How do you, personally, judge whether a writing is from God or not?”

    By the inherent strength of its content.

    “How do you know the BOM is from God? How about the D&C or Pearl of Great Price?”

    Because their content is good, it resonates well with my soul, enlightens my intellect, and opens up a whole world of knowledge.

    Not warm fuzzy feelings. Never had any of those, as it so happens. But pure knowledge and intellect. I love how the scriptures provide a lamp by which all the rest of historical inquiry, human philosophy, and academic endeavor is illuminated. In these books I have found a useful paradigm for challenging and interacting with the greatest thoughts, writings, and discoveries of the great minds in history.

    This is not just heartburn, or cheap emotionalism. It is a total, holistic expansion of mind, intellect, and capacity for joy and feeling.

    “Since in your view it doesn’t matter if they appear to contradict something God has already revealed, what measuring stick do you use to judge something that claims to be scripture?”

    There isn’t one. Every measure becomes a tool, nothing more. You can stack how something stands up against other scripture – that’s one tool. You can compare it to the overall trend of commentary from various servants of the Lord – that’s another tool. You can read it in light of what we have learned about humanity and its history – that’s yet another. And there is the direct witness of the Holy Spirit – that is yet another tool.

    From these, you have to construct an overall sense of the whole.

    That will not satisfy the man looking for Biblical formulas and it may seem hard. But I like a challenge.

    “Why have you not accepted Strange’s writings as being from God?”

    I actually haven’t written him off yet.

    “Why have you chosen to follow the Brighamite branch of Mormonism…?”

    Because I see little practical harm in doing so at present.

    Darrell, would it surprise you hear that I’m actually not 100% sold on the modern version of the “Brighamite branch?” I have varying degrees of conviction about various portions of my faith. I am fully confident in both the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price as coming from God (and connecting authentically with antiquity – but this is merely a bonus for me). I also frankly like Joseph Smith – warts and all. His theology opens up God and the universe in a way that is just light years ahead of anything else being offered.

    The work he produced was utterly beyond his capacities. In fact, it is utterly beyond the capacities of ANY mind in the entire 19th century. That is the mark of the divine.

    Now, jury is out for me on whether Joseph, like King David, fell later at some point. Possible, I guess.

    Was Brigham Young a legitimate heir to Joseph’s work? I’m leaning strongly that way. Brigham Young is an incredibly inspiring figure for me. I’ve encountered few characters in American history quite as impressive as he was. And his handling of both the doctrines of the Restored Gospel and the practical affairs of the Church was quite masterful. He made this a religion that people could live with, basically. I’m not entirely sold on his claims, but I’m highly impressed nonetheless.

    What about Heber J. Grant then (the one who was prophet over the next big split)?

    I could go either way, actually. I have no particularly good reasons to abandon the modern LDS Church so far. But I haven’t entirely bought into the idea that “all is well” and that the torch has been successfully carried.

    But I like this church. I find it hands-down better than anything modern Evangelicalism is offering. I get a little envious of the Eastern Orthodox on occasion. But Evangelicalism, and American Protestantism in general, holds very little structural, cultural, or theological appeal to me.

    So that’s pretty much where I’m at.

  123. August 25, 2009 4:49 am

    “The work he produced was utterly beyond his capacities. In fact, it is utterly beyond the capacities of ANY mind in the entire 19th century. That is the mark of the divine.”

    Seth, wait till I start listing on HI4LDS all the books that I just collected this past week from the 19th century. Unbelievable. I even acquired a sectional glass enclosure bookcase, made in 1901.

  124. August 25, 2009 6:13 am

    Seth there is one thing you did not mention and I was wondering why? It’s one word TRUTH.

  125. August 25, 2009 6:22 am

    Whose truth?

    Yours jm?

  126. August 25, 2009 12:38 pm

    No just truth.

  127. August 25, 2009 3:31 pm

    jm.

    At the end of the day. You are just a random guy on the internet who thinks he’s got a perfect bead on what God is thinking via an ancient document.

    That’s nothing that anyone here needs to be impressed with. So when you’ve actually got something worth reading to say, let me know.

  128. August 25, 2009 5:10 pm

    Seth,
    I’m reminded of a scene from the Great Divorce.
    “There’s no talk of religion here, just truth.” I think in heaven there’ll only be truth. On earth, we see through a glass darkly, so I agree with you. JM isn’t the source of truth.

  129. August 25, 2009 8:32 pm

    Psycho,

    I hope I am not putting words in JM’s mouth (JM, if I am please feel free to correct me). But I don’t think he is saying he is the source of truth. Rather, what he is saying is that there is ONE and only ONE truth. Truth is not relative… truth does not depend upon how we feel or think. There was a time when people thought the sun orbited the earth. However, despite how strongly they FELT about that fact, it was not true. Truth does not depend upon how we feel… truth simply is.

    Darrell

  130. August 25, 2009 8:41 pm

    Truth is not relative.

    But it is impossible for any human being’s mortal interface with God to be anything but relative. That includes jm.

    So he can declare that he’s speaking Truth all he wants. What he is really doing, is equating his relative position with the fixed-Truth. An equation that I reject.

  131. August 25, 2009 9:03 pm

    Seth,

    I appreciate your insight and willingness to share your thoughts. I guess the problem I see with your perspective is this.

    You say you judge whether a writing is from God because its “content is good, it resonates well with my soul, enlightens my intellect, and opens up a whole world of knowledge.” Essentially you are judging whether something is God’s Word by how it makes you feel intellectually and emotionally. I realize you are not talking about the typical Mormon “burning in your bosom” here, but you are essentially judging by feelings… albeit intellectual “feelings” as well as emotional feelings.

    I think you are on extremely dangerous ground here, Seth, because you have set yourself up as the ultimate judge for what is of God and what is not of God. As you have pointed out on numerous occasions, you do not believe God’s Word in The Bible to be “inerrant”. You have told me on many occassions how you couldn’t care less about contradictions between The Bible and other works that you consider to be scripture simply because scripture is not inerrant. Therefore, you are really left with no measuring stiick at all, outside of how something makes you feel.

    In reality, what you are doing here is not at all dissimilar to what our modern liberal, humanistic, relativisitic society does – judging truth by how it makes you feel. Feelings, whether they be intellectual or emotional, can be a dangerous tool to judge by when left to themselves. We are told in The Bible that our hearts are deceitful and can lead us astray yet God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet. So, should the Word judge US or should WE judge the Word? Setting scripture aside because you consider it errant and setting your feelings up as the ultimate judge is definately judging the Scripture.

    I might not emotionally care for many of the things that God demonstrated in The Bible (killing all the first born in Egypt, slaughtering whole societys, etc)… they don’t resonate well with my intellect or emotions, but do I place myself as the standard by which I judge God truth? Let’s look at a more modern example… there are many people in society who “emotionally” or “intellectually” want to look at committed gay couples and tell them that what they are doing is okay. Is this true? Is it of God? Are WE the standard by which we judge God’s truth? Or, should we look to what God has told us in His Word?

    Using our own emotions rather than God’s written Word as the standard bearer of truth is dangerous and scary.

    Darrell

  132. August 25, 2009 9:06 pm

    “But it is impossible for any human being’s mortal interface with God to be anything but relative.”

    So, you don’t believe God has the ability to show us truth? We can’t know what is true and what is not?

    Darrell

  133. August 25, 2009 11:35 pm

    We’ve already covered this ground Darrell.

    I believe God can guarantee that you’ll get his truth.

    But for him to do so would make of him the sort of being I have little inclination to worship in the first place.

  134. August 25, 2009 11:40 pm

    “But for him to do so would make of him the sort of being I have little inclination to worship in the first place.”

    So, what you choose to do instead is create a God more in line with what you want.

    Seth, The Bible makes it very clear that He who seeks the Truth will find it. But of course, I know you consider The Bible to be errant so that could just be the opinion of some crazy Jew.

    Darrell

  135. August 25, 2009 11:43 pm

    I don’t think my position is really in serious conflict with those scriptural passages that you are referring to.

  136. August 25, 2009 11:45 pm

    To say that we can’t know the truth even when we seek it – which is exactly what you appear to be saying – is most certainly in conflict with what The Bible teaches.

    Darrell

  137. August 25, 2009 11:45 pm

    Just a question here.

    If God actually did turn out to be an evil being….

    The God of the universe, objectively speaking, turned out to be like… say… the cruel Aztec gods. An evil being who delights in suffering.

    Would you worship him, just because “he’s God”?

  138. August 25, 2009 11:48 pm

    And I never said we can’t discover truth. I just seriously doubt you or jm have a corner market on it. Especially when your claims rest primarily on a seriously-biased eisegesis of an ancient text.

  139. August 25, 2009 11:56 pm

    “And I never said we can’t discover truth. I just seriously doubt you or jm have a corner market on it. Especially when your claims rest primarily on a seriously-biased eisegesis of an ancient text.”

    There is a big difference between saying you disagree with what someone says and what you said earlier… which was:

    “But it is impossible for any human being’s mortal interface with God to be anything but relative.”

    This statement implies that ALL/EVERYONE’S version of the truth is nothing but their relative view and can’t be known as being absolutely true. I reject that because I do believe what God has promised us… that if we seek the truth we can find it and KNOW that we have it.

    As for your earlier question about God being cruel – I will have to think on that one for a while before I answer. There are so many implications to it and assumptions I must make to answer it. I’ll get back to you.

    Darrell

  140. August 26, 2009 12:04 am

    Thing is, I actually do think both you and jm have discovered capital-T “Truth.”

    Just not all of it. Only a portion of it. And I feel you are taking the portion you do have and trying to shoehorn it into a bunch of other assurances. Basically, taking the truth you have and giving it much more scope than it was originally intended to have.

  141. August 26, 2009 12:40 am

    “If God actually did turn out to be an evil being….

    The God of the universe, objectively speaking, turned out to be like… say… the cruel Aztec gods. An evil being who delights in suffering.

    Would you worship him, just because “he’s God”?”

    Okay, I have given this a little thought. When you ask if God turned out to be an evil being, would I worship Him, my question then becomes – “By what standard would you judge God to be evil?”

    God is not judged by any standards, rather He is the standard by which everything ELSE is judged. God IS the standard of what is right, good, and holy. So, when you ask me what I would do if God turned out to be evil, I cannot really respond because that is not possible. For it to be possible there would have to be a standard HIGHER THAN GOD by which He is being judged to be evil. Since God is the standard and there is nothing higher than Him it cannot happen.

    Darrell

  142. August 26, 2009 1:00 am

    That’s not really an answer.

    But I guess I didn’t really expect one from you anyway.

    I would also note that if God is incapable of appealing to me, then I guess he’ll just have to lump it. If he cannot appeal to the human heart, then I don’t imagine he’s really all that good for much.

  143. August 26, 2009 1:14 am

    Seth,

    What standard of measure would you use to determine God to be evil? When you can give me a standard which is greater than God by which I can judge Him, then I will give you an answer.

    Darrell

  144. August 26, 2009 6:29 am

    Thank you Darrell, yes I agree with you.

    Seth you said, Thing is, I actually do think both you and jm have discovered capital-T “Truth.” This sounds a whole lot like the fullness of the everlasting gospel. Yet you ad to the Truth and the fullness.

    Darrell you said, God is not judged by any standards, rather He is the standard by which everything ELSE is judged. God IS the standard of what is right, good, and holy. Sounds like the perfect answer to me.

  145. August 26, 2009 6:48 am

    Two parts of the equation Darrell:

    1. God

    2. Me

    You seem to have the God thing covered.

    But that part where we humans should actually give a care about him…

    I think you need to work some more on that.

  146. August 26, 2009 8:28 pm

    Seth,

    I have been thinking a little more about your question of “what if God were evil”. Another way to explain my position on this is:

    If there were a standard by which God was judged, or, in other words, if God was NOT the ulitmate standard, then that standard itself would transcend God. It would be greater than Him. If that were the case, then what we should really be worshiping is that standard. That standard itself would be God.

    As for why we should care anything about God or Love God, I am with Paul on this one – Because He first loved us and was willing to die for us. What greater reason do we need?

    Darrell

  147. August 26, 2009 8:36 pm

    This kind of philosophical talk of an “ultimate cause” and such is good for playing logic games.

    But it’s pretty unimpressive when looking for something to actually love and have a relationship with. You might as well be talking about the fabulous, glorious, ultimate cosmic blob. There’s nothing you are presenting here for me to actually connect with.

    Darrell, do you believe that God made us capable of independently desiring him?

  148. August 27, 2009 12:33 am

    I never used the words “ultimate cause” nor am I playing games. I am answerring your question. If you don’t like my answer, that is fine. However, you have not provided anything to counter my logic other than to say you don’t like it. I told you, if you are looking for a reason to love God, the best and highest reason as I see it is the fact that He first loved you and was willing to die for you. Personally, I can’t think of a greater love

    What reason do YOU SEE for loving God? Are you simply asking this question to egg an argument/discussion on or are being genuine?

    “You might as well be talking about the fabulous, glorious, ultimate cosmic blob.”

    Specifically what did I say that described a “blob” to you Seth?

    “Darrell, do you believe that God made us capable of independently desiring him?”

    What makes you think you can’t desire God of your own free will?

    Darrell

  149. August 27, 2009 1:09 am

    It’s the highly de-personalized language you use to describe him.

    As if he was a mathematical equation rather than a person. You just seem to be deliberately downplaying any possibility of a truly human connection with God. Maybe this is part of your argument that feelings have no place in true belief. Not sure.

    But I find your focus on God being the mathematical “best” in the universe to be a bit off-putting.

    As to what measure I would measure God by…

    My own of course.

    If God wants to have a relationship with me, then I imagine that means he’s ready to be judged by me as well.

  150. August 27, 2009 1:27 am

    “It’s the highly de-personalized language you use to describe him.”

    The language we use to describe God, or anything else for that matter, does not in any way take away from His personhood or personality. For example, when I say that Tiger Woods is the best golfer in the world, does that mean that Tiger is not also funny, jovial, carefree, etc? Of course not. We are simply describing ONE QUALITY of Tiger. That is same thing we are do with God…. when we talk about Him we often describe His attributes as He has revealed them to us in The Bible. Knowing these qualities or attributes of God helps us to know and understand who He is better, yet in no way take away from His personhood or personality. For you to take my saying God is the ultimate standard by which EVERYTHING ELSE IS JUDGED to mean He is a cosmic “blob” says less about God or the language we use than it does about your own inherent issues with what you WANT GOD to be.

    “As to what measure I would measure God by…

    My own of course.”

    Seth, I honestly think this is the heart of what we have been discussing. You have in your mind what you THINK God should be and if the God of The Bible does not match up with that then you want the freedom to reinvent Him or throw Him away. The problem is, Seth, you are not the judge of what is right, holy, just, or perfect. God is. For you to place yourself as judge and jury of what God should be is nothing more than humanistic, post modern, pride. As Paul says, “what is the clay to say to the potter…”. That is exactly what YOU are doing here… you are saying if God doesn’t match up to what you think is right well then, “oh well, to the trash heap with Him.”
    Can you show me ANYWHERE in scripture where man is commanded or told to judge God?

    I pray, Seth, that you can see what you are doing and submit to God and His judgement rather than trying to get Him to submit to yours.

    Darrell

  151. August 27, 2009 2:02 am

    A couple of more thoughts on us “judging God”…

    Growth as a Christian is making life less about “us” and more about God. It is the process of emptying ourselves of pride and allowing God to work in our lives to make us more like Him. In order to do this we must realize who we truly are and who He truly is. We must realize how we are truly nothing and He is truly the ulitmate.

    The sinfulness of man often prevents us from doing this or, at the very least, makes this process extremely hard because we continually have pride swell up within us and we try to take back over… believing we are truly the best pilot for our lives and we can do better than God. While we may not think this consciously, it is ultimately what we do. We remove Christ from the throne of our lives and put ourselves back on the throne.

    It is not until we place Christ where he rightfully belongs – on the throne of our lives – and place ourselves where we rightfully belong – in the passanger seat, that we can truly grow how we should grow. I am not really sure HOW a person can do this if they place themselves in the judgement seat and judge God rather than allowing themselves to be judged BY God.

    Darrell

  152. August 27, 2009 2:05 am

    Darrell, it’s a meaningless distinction.

    Every last one of us judges God by our own personal opinions – you included.

    It’s just that you try to hide that this is what you are doing by claiming that you are “just believing what the Bible says.”

    Well, you aren’t.

    You too are adding to it.

    The only difference between you and me is that I’m willing to admit that this is what I’m doing. Whereas you are either unwilling or unable to do so.

  153. August 27, 2009 2:09 am

    You keep thinking that Seth…

    the “everyone else is doing it so why can’t I” defense doesn’t work with my kids and it won’t work with God.

    In addition, its nothing more than hogwash.

    Darrell

  154. August 27, 2009 5:11 am

    No, it isn’t an “everyone else is doing it” defense, because that implies that there is something you or I can do to completely correct it. Which is not the case.

    We can take various steps to try and correct this. But none of us will ever escape it. To do so is impossible for us alone, and I don’t think God is willing to intervene enough to force understanding here.

  155. Tomchik permalink
    August 27, 2009 5:57 am

    Seth,

    You’re my hero. You are the first person I’ve EVER seen on a blog that properly used the phrase “begging the question.” Good on ya.

  156. August 28, 2009 10:24 pm

    “No, it isn’t an “everyone else is doing it” defense, because that implies that there is something you or I can do to completely correct it. Which is not the case.”

    Yes it is Seth because you ASSUME that everyone else is doing it, you ASSUME that God can’t or won’t clear up the muck, and you, thereby, ASSUME that no one can have a real handle on the truth. These are all ASSUMPTIONS that you draw out because of your categorical rejection of The Bible as the authoritative, inerrent Word of God. If you trusted The Bible you would be comfortable with what it says and would accept it. Instead, you choose to question and feel perfectly comfortable creating, imagining and developing a God of your own choosing.

    I suppose the reason you feel comfortable doing this is because you do not believe there are consequences for what one believes. Afterall, in Mormonism only the really, really, really bad people (at least by the WORLD’S standards) go to Hell. Everyone else gets a glory greater than anything we can imagine here on earth. So why not create a God of your own choosing? There really is no price to pay if you are wrong and since the Bible is errant you can just throw out all the passages that teach otherwise.

    Personally, I believe there are real consequences for rejecting The God of The Bible and not being willing to trust in Him and Him alone. He told me I can trust His Word and I choose to believe He is powerful enough to follow through on this promise to me.

    Darrell

  157. August 28, 2009 11:12 pm

    And I have my assumptions Darrell and you have yours.

    You’re not going to get anywhere with me on this line of argument.

  158. August 28, 2009 11:28 pm

    I have my assumptions that God is truthful in and powerful enough to fulfull His promise to preserve His Word and guide us to the truth. You assume that he is unwilling to do so and the Bible is errant and not fully trustworthy. In other words my assumptions are backed up Biblically while your’s are a construct of your own personal desires for what you want God to be and do and what you find distasteful… they are a result of creating a God you feel “comfortable” with rather than accepting what God has revealed about Himself.

    Darrell

  159. August 29, 2009 5:38 am

    And I don’t think your assumptions are biblically mandated at all Darrell. In fact, I think they are antithetical to a loving God in the first place. Thus I think you are the unbiblical one here.

    Seriously, we’ve had this argument before. And if I recall correctly, we also both left that argument thinking the other person just didn’t get it. I just don’t see what point there is in talking to you about it again.

  160. August 29, 2009 2:49 pm

    “Seriously, we’ve had this argument before. And if I recall correctly, we also both left that argument thinking the other person just didn’t get it. I just don’t see what point there is in talking to you about it again.”

    You are probably right. Neither of us are likely to be convinced by the other. Nevertheless, I do prayerfully hold out hope and know that God can accomplish that which we consider impossible. But I see what you are getting at here.

    “And I don’t think your assumptions are biblically mandated at all Darrell. In fact, I think they are antithetical to a loving God in the first place. Thus I think you are the unbiblical one here.”

    I am curious as to why you believe the assumptions I noted – God is truthful and powerful enough to keep His promise to preserve His Word and guide those who are seeking the truth to it – are unbiblical. Can you cite any scripture from the Bible that demonstrates ANY of these to be unbiblical? I can certaintly cite numerous verses that demonstrate these aspects and promises of God.

    Darrell

  161. August 29, 2009 2:51 pm

    I also meant to mention… unloving? How is it unloving for God to be truthful and powerful enough to keep His promises and preserve His Word?

  162. psychochemiker permalink
    August 29, 2009 8:49 pm

    Seth R and Darrell.

    I think you both need to define what you mean by “being biblical”.

    I get the feeling, that Seth is using the definition of, “What the text actually says” is biblical whereas Darrel is using his own interpretation, synthesis, and metathought of the Bible as = biblical.

    Please read my thoughts
    here
    and ask yourselves if you’re using the same definition or not.

  163. August 29, 2009 9:15 pm

    I don’t think that Darrell would accept that description of his position psycho.

    And I think that is why we keep talking past each other.

  164. psychochemiker permalink
    August 29, 2009 10:24 pm

    Yeah, I kind of already assumed we’re all talking pas one-another. Is there any way to get us to all recognize we’re using different definitions of what it means to “be biblical” or is this a lost cause that we should all get examined for continuing to discuss it?

  165. August 29, 2009 11:06 pm

    PC,

    Arew you actually saying that I am using MY OWN INTERPRETATION of what the Bible actually says and that the Biblical text DOES NOT ACTUALLY SAY God is trustworthy and honest to keep His promises, to lead one who seeks to the truth, and to preserve His Word? I am in a bit of a hurry right now (kids need bathing and bed time is around the corner) but if you need me too I can provide some scriptures for on this one.

    Darrell

  166. August 30, 2009 2:50 am

    Like I said earlier Darrell, we all believe that the Bible says all those things about God. We also believe that God is all those things.

    We just don’t believe that this is in any way, shape, or form, a statement supporting inerrancy.

  167. August 30, 2009 10:24 pm

    Seth,

    You believe God is a God of truth and would never lie?

    Darrell

  168. August 30, 2009 11:19 pm

    Yes Darrell, and no matter how you try to manipulate this, it isn’t going to wind up equating inerrancy.

  169. August 30, 2009 11:45 pm

    Do you believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God?

    Darrell

  170. August 31, 2009 12:11 am

    In a general overall sense. But not in every last word or punctuation mark. I’m even open to entire passages being later additions. Like the last few verses of Mark, for instance – or the story of the woman taken in adultery.

  171. August 31, 2009 12:51 am

    Of course, as Seth correctly notes, reliability and inerrancy are not identical. However, the question should, I think, be raised by any student of the Bible–believer or otherwise–as to whether the Bible is, in fact, reliable as it now stands, and in what senses (history, faith, science, etc.) is it reliable or unreliable? And additionally, what are the implications of such analysis? For instance, Carl Ehrlich, in his contribution to From and Antique Land(page 332) summarizes current scholarly opinion on the biblical narrative(s) of the Exodus and Conquest:

    “The next biblical narrative complex that has more or less fallen by the
    wayside as a source for the reconstruction of biblical history has been the
    account of the descent into and sojourn in Egypt, as well as those of the
    exodus from there under the leadership of Moses and of the conquest of
    the land under Joshua. For all intents and purposes, none of the particulars
    that would allow us to place any of these tales within a definite historical
    framework has been corroborated by external archaeological evidence. The
    pharaohs (or kings) of Egypt are nameless; and Joseph, Moses, and Joshua
    are not mentioned in any extra-biblical sources. The numbers of Israelites
    who supposedly left Egypt and conquered Canaan is greater than the total
    population of Canaan in ancient times. The site of Kadesh-Barnea, where
    the Israelites supposedly spent thirty-eight of their forty years in the wilder-
    ness, has revealed no habitation during any of the centuries to which the
    Exodus may be dated. The city of Jericho, which was the first of Joshua’s
    conquests (Joshua 6), was a small nonwalled village during the Late Bronze
    and Iron I Ages; and Ai, his next conquest, was unsettled during the whole
    of the second millennium BCE. In addition, there is evidence neither of a
    large-scale invasion of the land nor of a massive settlement of people im-
    bued with an Egyptian material culture (see Dever 2003).”

    However, does this mean that Christ did not rise from the dead?

  172. August 31, 2009 1:21 am

    Seth,

    God has told us that His Word is completely truthworthy, every word is worthy for reproof, and that He would preserve every last period, comma, and punctuation mark.

    If you do not believe God can lie and in general accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God, then how you can you hold that God will not follow through on His promise to compeltely preserve His Word… down to every last period and comma?

    To me, there is a disconnect in your thinking and I believe this disconnect stems from a matter of will rather than what the Bible clearly says.

    Darrell

  173. August 31, 2009 1:41 am

    The bible doesn’t have to be completely trustworthy to be generally so.

    It’s only your own insecurities and lack of faith that prevent you from taking the text on its own terms.

    God is bigger than your book.

  174. August 31, 2009 1:43 am

    Nice turn around and attempt to change the subject and make it about me. Problem is, you dodged my question. God promised to completely preserve it down to every last period and comma. Since you believe He does not lie, why don’t you trust Him in this?

    Darrell

  175. August 31, 2009 1:47 am

    Not only that, but I think you’re missing what the real message of the Bible is.

    It’s not a history book.

    It’s not a scientific textbook.

    It’s a revelation of God. For that purpose, it is very much reliable. But if you’re looking for inerrant history, science, cosmology, and even theology – look elsewhere. That was never the purpose for which the Bible was meant to be trustworthy.

    It’s trustworthy as a personal revelation of God to the reader. But you try to wrest the scriptures and make them into more than what God intended.

  176. August 31, 2009 1:49 am

    The central question is the one Yellow Dart brought up.

    In what sense is the Bible meant to be trustworthy?

  177. August 31, 2009 1:58 am

    Nice couple of post but you still haven’t answered my question Seth.

    Here it is again…

    God promised to completely preserve it (His Word) down to every last period and comma. Since you believe He does not lie, why don’t you trust Him in this?

    Darrell

  178. August 31, 2009 2:38 am

    “God promised to completely preserve it (His Word) down to every last period and comma.”

    No he didn’t. That’s just you twisting the Bible to fit your own insecurities.

  179. psychochemiker permalink
    August 31, 2009 2:51 am

    Darrell,
    This is one of those instances where the three people you’re having a conversation with are saying, “We don’t interpret the biblical data the same way you do.”

    Further, since neither the OT nor the NT included any punctuation marks, I have a hard time seeing how God could preserve something that wasn’t even included.

    Quite frankly, Darrell, you are using your own private interpretation and judging everyone else against it.

  180. Stephanie permalink
    August 31, 2009 3:32 am

    Hi everyone!

    TYD’s post reminded me of a really good video recently put out by Expedition Bible on the Biblical city of Jericho. Check it out for yourself!

    Stephanie

  181. August 31, 2009 3:34 am

    “Further, since neither the OT nor the NT included any punctuation marks, I have a hard time seeing how God could preserve something that wasn’t even included.”

    🙂

    Funny… yes, the better translation for what the original Greek said is “not the smallest letter or least stroke of a pen”. Good catch. But my point remains the same.

    “Quite frankly, Darrell, you are using your own private interpretation and judging everyone else against it.”

    It is not my own private interpretation. It is the interpretation of nearly 2000 years of Christian thought, theology and doctrine. I am not the one swimming upstream here. You guys are.

    “This is one of those instances where the three people you’re having a conversation with are saying, “We don’t interpret the biblical data the same way you do.”

    I understand that… that is why we are having this discussion. If we agreed and interpreted the Biblical data the same way I highly doubt we would even be having this conversation. I am not sure what your point is other than to be stating the obvious.

    “No he didn’t. That’s just you twisting the Bible to fit your own insecurities.”

    Two can play at this game, Seth… Yes, He did. You are just approaching the Bible with an a priori opinion supplied by a belief in the LDS Church being true. And, since the LDS Church says the Bible is not inerrant, well, then it must not be.

    Here are a few scriptures that speak to inerrancy. I don’t expect them to have any effect on you but, here they are nevertheless.

    Ps 119:89
    Is 40:8
    Is 55:11
    Mt 24:35
    Mk 13:31
    Lk 16:17
    Lk 21:33

    One of the things that might be helpful in this discussion as well is to define what you mean when you say inerrant. I am curious, Seth and PC, what do you mean by the word inerrant?

    Darrell

  182. August 31, 2009 4:41 am

    A basic definition of inerrancy, as I understand it, would be:

    The doctrinal position that, in its original form, the Bible is totally without error, and free from all contradiction; “referring to the complete accuracy of Scripture, including the historical and scientific parts.”

    This from the widely-used “Chicago Statement on Inerrancy”:

    Article IV: WE AFFIRM that the whole of Scripture and all its parts, down to the very words of the original, were given by divine inspiration.

    Article X: WE AFFIRM that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy. We further affirm that copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the original.

    Article XII: WE AFFIRM that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit.

    Article XVIII: WE AFFIRM that the text of Scripture is to be interpreted by grammatico-historical exegesis, taking account of its literary forms and devices, and that Scripture is to interpret Scripture.

    The Statement then explains the meaning of “infallibility” and “inerrancy”:

    “lnfallible signifies the quality of neither misleading nor being misled and so safeguards in categorical terms the truth that Holy Scripture is a sure, safe, and reliable rule and guide in all matters.

    Similarly, inerrant signifies the quality of being free from all falsehood or mistake and so safeguards the truth that Holy Scripture is entirely true and trustworthy in all its assertions.

    We affirm that canonical Scripture should always be interpreted on the basis that it is infallible and inerrant. However, in determining what the God-taught writer is asserting in each passage, we must pay the most careful attention to its claims and character as a human production. In inspiration, God utilized the culture and conventions of His penman’s milieu, a milieu that God controls in His sovereign providence; it is misinterpretation to imagine otherwise.

    So history must be treated as history, poetry as poetry, hyperbole and metaphor as hyperbole and metaphor, generalization and approximation as what they are, and so forth. Differences between literary conventions in Bible times and in ours must also be observed: since, for instance, non-chronological narration and imprecise citation were conventional and acceptable and violated no expectations in those days, we must not regard these things as faults when we find them in Bible writers. When total precision of a particular kind was not expected nor aimed at, it is no error not to have achieved it. Scripture is inerrant, not in the sense of being absolutely precise by modern standards, but in the sense of making good its claims and achieving that measure of focused truth at which its authors aimed.”

    Seems like a lot of equivocating to me. It also seems to require a degree of insight into the textual history, the ancient society and culture, and the original intent of the authors that no living mortal could ever hope to achieve. In fact, it is impossible to even know everything that the above calls for unless you, in fact, possess the same omnipotence that God himself has.

    Convenient to make a statement about the Bible that can only be verified once you obtain omnipotence yourself.

    Then the whole statement basically undermines it’s own forcefulness by including this bit about Transmission and Translation:

    “Since God has nowhere promised an inerrant transmission of Scripture, it is necessary to affirm that only the autographic text of the original documents was inspired and to maintain the need of textual criticism as a means of detecting any slips that may have crept into the text in the course of its transmission. The verdict of this science, however, is that the Hebrew and Greek text appear to be amazingly well preserved, so that we are amply justified in affirming, with the Westminster Confession, a singular providence of God in this matter and in declaring that the authority of Scripture is in no way jeopardized by the fact that the copies we possess are not entirely error-free.

    Similarly, no translation is or can be perfect, and all translations are an additional step away from the autographa. Yet the verdict of linguistic science is that English-speaking Christians, at least, are exceedingly well served in these days with a host of excellent translations and have no cause for hesitating to conclude that the true Word of God is within their reach. Indeed, in view of the frequent repetition in Scripture of the main matters with which it deals and also of the Holy Spirit’s constant witness to and through the Word, no serious translation of Holy Scripture will so destroy its meaning as to render it unable to make its reader “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).”

    Oh, well that’s great.

    So, after all that talk about the text being perfect in all it affirms, we have an admission of a flawed transmission. But, we are hastily assured, we are sure the text is “amazingly well-preserved” and we’re also pretty sure that no material errors slipped through.

    Thanks. I feel better already.

    And anyway, all those errors weren’t about the crucial central points anyway. The salad got ruined, but at least the main dish made it through OK. At least, we’re pretty sure it did. Anyway… I’m sure you’ll find it tasty just the same.

    So…. let me sum up.

    The original autographs – which we do not have – are inerrant and infallible in everything they assert. God made a perfect transmission to these legendary autographs.

    Once we perfectly understand the text of the original autographs, the cultural context they were written in, the personality of the author, the differences in language, then we will perfectly understand the voice of God as contained in these autographs.

    But since we don’t have the originals, we are forced to admit some errors in the translation and transmission process.

    But we seem to have pretty good consistency from document to document. So on the principle of “good enough” we are going to OK the texts we have today for Christians everywhere.

    But only when you perfectly understand the originals we no longer have will you really “get it.”

    So… keep studying!

    I don’t know Darrell…

    After all the qualifications this statement builds into itself, what is left other than a pious-sounding noise?

  183. August 31, 2009 2:55 pm

    Stephanie,

    Here is the problem. John Garstang excavated Jericho in the 1920’s under the sponsorship of an evangelical foundation. He did indeed bring to light a significant destruction layer of mud brick walls at Jericho which he dated to the15th century B.C.E (he was dating the Exodus, of course, to c. 1446, a date which virtually no biblical scholar or archeologist would accept now). However, during the mid to late 1950’s another more sophisticated archeological analysis of the site was undertaken by Kathleen Kenyon. Kenyon, using more advanced archeological methods and equipment, did indeed date the same destruction layer to c. 1500–however, the destruction was from well known Egyptian campaigns into the area during the expulsion of the Hyksos at the beginning of the 18th dynasty. More significantly though, Kenyon demonstrated that the city of Jericho was completely abandoned during the mid-late 13th century B.C.E, the time when the vast majority of scholars and archeologists would expect the Israelite conquest to have taken place (if indeed any such event really occurred) based on the major break in the material-cultural record, etc at the end of the Bronze Age and entrance into the Iron I period. There is no Late Bronze II material culture on the site. And there is no other possible candidate for the city of Jericho in the vicinity. See Dever (2003), Who Were The Early Israelites, and Where Did They Come From?

  184. August 31, 2009 6:28 pm

    Hello TYD,

    From your comment I am assuming you did not watch the video Stephanie linked to. This video was just recently released and provides up-to-date research. Kathleen Kenyon is no longer living, but the archeologist who worked with her on the dig of Jericho admits that the pottery evidence, as documented by Bryant G. Wood, does pose a problem with her dating method. You can see an interview with him on the video Stephanie linked to. He admits that Kenyon might have got the date wrong. All of the other evidence corroborates the Jericho story from the Biblical account:

    • The city was strongly fortified (Joshua 2:5,7,15, 6:5,20).
    • The attack occurred just after harvest time in the spring (Joshua 2:6, 3:15, 5:10).
    • The inhabitants had no opportunity to flee with their foodstuffs (Joshua 6:1).
    • The siege was short (Joshua 6:15).
    • The walls were leveled, possibly by an earthquake (Joshua 6:20).
    • The city was not plundered (Joshua 6:17-18).
    • The city was burned (Joshua 6:20).

    ref

    The only remaining dispute involves the date of the city. As demonstrated in the video, there are good reasons why Kenyon’s date appears to be in error and the date acquired from the written Biblical records appears to be corroborated by the archeological evidence.

  185. August 31, 2009 7:25 pm

    Jessica,

    Might have got it wrong? Hmm…

    But more to the point of my original comment: the archeological record does not support a large scale invasion of the land of Canaan c. 1400, regardless of whether one accepts a date of c. 1400 as the time of the destruction of city IV. This is not merely about the lone city of Jericho (merely one point in a complex of related issues in the quote I provided above)–many places and entire areas that were supposedly inhabited and conquered were not even settled at the time of the supposed conquest. I am writing a post on these problems right now, and I will provide more detail and references when it is published.

  186. August 31, 2009 7:33 pm

    I watched a documentary on PBS that suggested the evidence of Jericho’s destruction may have been caused by city-wide rioting rather than a foreign invasion. Interesting idea, though I don’t usually take this stuff too seriously – I’m fine either way basically.

  187. Stephanie permalink
    August 31, 2009 10:52 pm

    Interesting idea, though I don’t usually take this stuff too seriously – I’m fine either way basically.

    Seth,

    This statement seems to sum up much of your religious experience (IMO). It doesn’t matter one way or another. Either way is just fine. Whichever thing you want to believe is cool. Nothing amounts to anything to sway you from your devout apathy.

    If something is not true, why believe it? Why would you read the Bible if it isn’t true? To me that is the pinnacle of religiosity. That is faith in name only. What differentiates the Boy Scouts or the Eagles or the Optimist Club from Christianity? To be honest, I have more respect for the ardent Muslim or the orthodox Jew–at least they honestly have faith in what they believe, even if they are deceived!

    Seth, if you sincerely believe in the tenets of Mormonism you must realize that those beliefs claim to be based upon Scripture. If the historicity of Scripture is not established in your mind than why believe anything at all! To be honest, your lack of trust in the Biblical text appears to me to be nothing more than a ruse. If it is clearly established that Biblical credibility is unessential to true faith than it would naturally follow that Book of Mormon credibility also means nothing.

    Seth, I really do think that you have become so numb to these arguments from your blogging that you have blinded yourself to the level of importance that they hold for your faith.

  188. August 31, 2009 10:54 pm

    Stephanie, obviously I’m passionate about something.

    The fact that I’m even still talking to Darrell ought to be proof enough of that. 🙂

  189. September 1, 2009 1:32 am

    In my conversations with Seth over the past year I have garnered four things he appears passionate about:

    1) Anyone who believes in inerrancy is narrow minded, insecure, and lacking in real faith.

    2) Free will is the most important aspect of God’s relation to mankind and anybody who believes in the complete sovereignty of God is worshipping a God who is playing cruel games with mankind.

    3) Creation ex-materia is the only valid belief about creation and anyone who believes in creation ex-nihilo is following false beliefs created by invalid philosophical notions.

    4) Other than the above you are free to believe whatever you want and be fine. Whatever you want to believe about the nature of God is fine – three in one, three separate, God as an overarching concept encompassing multiple, multiple people, God was once a man, man can become a God, etc… any belief is okay as long as you don’t become too passionate abou tit. Passion is not good in this area because we don’t… correction, we CAN’T really know the truth because scripture is not inerrant or clear on the matter. In the end, it doesn’t really matter anyway because we’ll all get to some form of heaven as long as we aren’t REALLY bad.

    Personally, I believe these beliefs are the result of coming to the realization that the LDS Church is not all it claims to be. I find many, many Mormons who are raised to believe the Church is true, the prophets are virtually perfect, JS was a saint, etc. etc. etc – basically the church whitewashed version of its history, doctrine, etc. Once they come to a realization that the line the church fed them for years is hogwash, they typically do one of three things…

    1) Leave the LDS Church and become atheist. They are scarred and won’t trust anyone.

    2) Realize that although the LDS Church is a lie, Christ is still true… unfortunately, not many do this from what I have seen.

    3) Develop their own “pet version” of Mormonism. That is what Seth and a lot of internet Mormons appear to have done. The Church can still be true but in the end, since we can’t REALLY trust the leaders (or the scriptures for that matter since we know from LDS teachings they are errant, especially the Bible) then it must not really matter what you believe as long as you are still a member of the true church and are trying to be good.

    Just my two cents.

    Darrell

  190. psychochemiker permalink
    September 1, 2009 2:45 am

    From my viewpoint, Stephanie and Darrell,

    Only the narrow-minded inerrantists I view as insecure and lacking in real faith. Not all inerrantists are narrow-minded, but it is certainly easier to inerrant if one is narrow-minded. (Thus, in theory it is possible to not be narrow-minded, but it practice, they seldom are). However, I give everyone the chance to prove theyr aren’t narrow-minded.

    For me, while only creatio ex-materia makes sense, and I feel it is the most supported viewpoint from Biblical data, I can at least look at the the creatio-ex-nihilo and try and see their viewpoint. I can still believe ex-nihilo is false while still recognizing others may have valid reasons for believing them (even if incorrect).

    any belief is okay as long as you don’t become too passionate about it.

    I can’t speak for Seth, but at least for me, I just hate others condemning others. You can say it’s incorrect, but make sure you recognize that it is only YOUR PERSONAL OPINION. You do not speak for God.

    And that’s really the problem Darrell. You deny modern day prophets and yet you sound as though you authoritatively interpret the Bible.

  191. September 1, 2009 2:55 am

    That’s one of the failings of modern Evangelicalism.

    Anyone can set themselves up as an infallible prophet, using the Bible as a prop.

    Certainly not all Evangelicals fall into this trap. But it is an existing tendency.

    “Me, my Jesus, and my Bible” thus becomes a mere chant of priestcraft.

  192. psychochemiker permalink
    September 1, 2009 3:16 am

    Amen, Seth.

    The insideous part is that they set themselves up as a light to the world, but think, and say they’re pointing to God. When in reality, it is only their own created image of God, their philosphy, their viewpoint, their observation, rather than the full truth.

    Observe a confusing post on observation.

  193. September 1, 2009 3:21 am

    Again, not all of them.

    I wouldn’t even venture a guess as to whether it’s most of them. But when you make a book the supposed final badge of authority, the real final authority rests with the person who feels they have correctly interpreted that book.

    Which basically means that these days, any yahoo with a Bible can be a prophet and make theologically binding statements.

    The only cure for this is humility and a willingness to consider that you might be wrong. Openness to ideas is a part of that.

  194. Stephanie permalink
    September 1, 2009 3:28 am

    From my viewpoint, Stephanie and Darrell,

    Only the narrow-minded inerrantists I view as insecure and lacking in real faith. Not all inerrantists are narrow-minded, but it is certainly easier to inerrant if one is narrow-minded. (Thus, in theory it is possible to not be narrow-minded, but it practice, they seldom are). However, I give everyone the chance to prove theyr aren’t narrow-minded.

    Dear PC,

    I don’t mind the accusation if you can back it up!! So far though, I have written you a lengthy email which you have completely disregarded and declined to respond to. So, its hard for me to believe that I am the one that is insecure in my faith! 🙂

    Stephanie

  195. Stephanie permalink
    September 1, 2009 3:40 am

    I wouldn’t even venture a guess as to whether it’s most of them. But when you make a book the supposed final badge of authority, the real final authority rests with the person who feels they have correctly interpreted that book.

    Seth I agree with you 100%. I think perhaps if you could try to see this from an Evangelical perspective you can see why we are scratching our heads at the “LDS testimony”. To me it seems that the “final authority” of divine truth is the personal witness of the Holy Spirit to an individual.

    You said regarding evangelicals that “The real final authority rests with the person who feels they have correctly interpreted that book.

    This is the way I perceive your worldview, The real final authority rests with the person who feels they have correctly interpreted the witness of the Holy Ghost.

    So, it seems to me like the pot calling the kettle black to assert that Evangelicals have set themselves up as the final authority. Yes we interpret the Bible differently, there are no two ways about that. But, I have yet to meet any Christian who claims they are the only person who knows how to interpret the Bible. Neither have I ever met one who claims that they have it all figured out. I don’t think that the real issue is Biblical interpretation. I think the real issue is Biblical authority.

    Stephanie

  196. September 1, 2009 4:08 am

    Stephanie, I encounter plenty of Evangelicals who pay lip-service to the idea that they “don’t know everything” about the Bible. But their style of argument – especially over utterly disputed and controversial reads of scripture – says otherwise.

    And, it really isn’t just my own feelings at play in my own sources of religious authority.

    I have a great many checks on my own “testimony.”

    There is the authority of LDS prophets and apostles.

    True, you’ve all heard me say that I do not necessarily feel decisively bound by all their interpretations of the Gospel. But don’t think for a moment that I don’t take EVERYTHING they say quite seriously. And I always leave open the possibility that where I disagree with them, they are much more in the right than I am. Their words require a constant re-evaluation and measuring of my own beliefs against what they say.

    I also have the scripture. You also know that I do not consider this to always be absolute in EVERY sense (again, I would assert that many Evangelicals expect the Bible to be authoritative on matters it was never meant to be authoritative – astrophysics for example). But that doesn’t mean that I don’t constantly read them and constantly re-evaluate my own world view in light of their message.

    I also have my church community. I learned long ago to never underestimate the people in my congregation. No matter how dull and “uninteresting” I, in my arrogance, sometimes found them, they had a way of proving themselves my spiritual superiors in so many ways. I don’t agree with them all the time, or the overall Mormon culture they are a part of (whatever that is). But that doesn’t mean I ignore them either.

    Then there is the vast amount of secular learning that can be used to enrich and deepen the meaning of the scriptures, and my view of God. I don’t discount this stuff. I feel any gift God presents to me is worth savoring and being treated with respect. I love the surprises that God has given me, and I look forward to many more opportunities to see his hand in different ways. Science has never been at odds with my faith. It is merely a complimentary ingredient to the overall mix of faith I maintain.

    Then I have my own personal relationship with God to give heed to.

    You may see me as a complete rouge believer who reinvents the religion at will. But in reality, I labor under MANY restraints – all of which must be treated with reverence and respect.

    I see it this way. Darrell seems to be a guy tossing one ball up in the air and catching it repeatedly. That ball is the scripture he possesses. It is the only thing he feels he has to pay attention to and he takes great care in throwing it and catching it.

    I have to throw and catch FIVE balls. I have to juggle all these balls and keep them in order for things to work out.

    To Darrell, this spectacle looks frightening and irresponsible. Why bother with all those other balls when you could be much safer with just one?

    Well, so be it. But, regardless of my juggling skills (or lack of them), I feel that what I am trying to accomplish is something far, far better than what he is doing. And I feel that this path is, in the end, a better way of knowing God.

  197. September 1, 2009 11:12 am

    I would rather have all of those raving self-made “me and my Bible” prophets along with the freedom to reject them at will than have Boyd K. Packer as a prophet and be forced to sustain him.

  198. September 1, 2009 1:01 pm

    That’s kind of harsh, Jack.

  199. September 1, 2009 1:30 pm

    “But, I have yet to meet any Christian who claims they are the only person who knows how to interpret the Bible. Neither have I ever met one who claims that they have it all figured out. I don’t think that the real issue is Biblical interpretation. I think the real issue is Biblical authority.”

    Stephanie,

    I could not agree with you more. I for one do NOT have it all figured out and I can’t think of one Christian I know who makes such a claim.

    There are many areas where the Bible leaves things out there for personal interpretation and opinion. These are typically things non-essential to salvation and they are areas where we allow Christian liberty. I love Augustine’s quote in relation to this:

    “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.”

    In addition, there are many areas the Bible is very clear and leaves little room for personal interpretation, yet people still voice disagreement and pass this disagreement off as “their interpretation of the Bible”. Personally, I believe this is more a factor of their will and questioning Biblical authority than it is interpretation.

    I shared an example of this on PC’s blog… homosexuality. There are many in the liberal community who say that the Bible does not teach homosexuality – defined as a man having relations with a man or a woman having relations with a woman – is a sin. They say this is simply our interpretation of the Bible. Sorry… but the Bible is clear on this matter and it is a sin. But guess what, those of us who say this are accused of being “narrow minded”… kind of funny that this is the exact argument and claim that is being used here against “inerrantists”.

    The way I see it Seth, PC and other Mormons I have conversed with want to be able to interpret the Bible to say whatever they desire and have everyone just pat them on the back and say “That’s fine… you’re right it could say that.” The problem with this position is it completely takes away any Biblical authority whatsoever. If the Bible can be interpreted anyway you want, well then, what good is it anyway? Would God really give us something this watered down and unreliable? Has it really come to the point where we can use one of Clinton’s phrases when interpreting the Bible. We can look at it and say, “Well, when you say The Bible says there is only one God it jsut depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is.” Come on… really?

    Darrell

  200. September 1, 2009 1:37 pm

    “To Darrell, this spectacle looks frightening and irresponsible. Why bother with all those other balls when you could be much safer with just one?”

    You have unknowingly mischaracterized me Seth. I believe God communicates with us in many ways… spirit, prayer, other people (even no-christians), etc. I wholeheartedly believe in what Ev’s call “General Revelation”. You and I are in agreement on this fact – all that is except those you see as modern day prophets in the LDS Church.

    HOWEVER, the big difference between us is that I view everything through the lens of specific revelation. If I hear the voice of “a spirit” telling “X” and “X” contradicts God’s specific revelation as contained in The Bible then I am obligated to interpret that spirit as being wrong… because God does not contradict Himself. He won’t tell me “x” yesterday and then “y” today.

    Darrell

  201. September 1, 2009 4:28 pm

    You think that I don’t interpret spiritual experience in light of other factors – including scripture, Darrell?

  202. September 1, 2009 7:51 pm

    Clean Cut ~ Yeah, it was. Not any harsher than some of the things that were said about evangelicals on this thread, but that’s always a lame justification.

    I’m not particularly good at that “in all things, charity” part Darrell was talking about, but I’m working on it.

    I’ll try harder next time.

  203. September 1, 2009 9:23 pm

    Seth,

    Speaking based upon my conversations with you I would have to say No, I do not see you interpreting spiritual experiences, beliefs and claims in light of the Bible. In my experience, when confronted with issues, contradictions, or paradoxes between your extra biblical sources (LDS Church, BOM, JS, etc) and the Bible you often resort to calling foul on the scriptures… it is not inerrant, who knows what the correct interpretation is, it is not a history book, etc. I have even seen you go so far as to say you really don’t care about the contradiction or issue because it is not important to you.

    An example of this mindset came out earlier in this very post when you talked about judging God. I would like to note here that the Bible specifically tells us “who are we to judge God”. I asked you to please give me the scripture which tells us to judge God and you provided nothing. However, you did tell me what standard you would use to judge Him… you said, “My own, of course”. So, I would have to say that No, I do not see you viewing your spiritual experiences, beliefs and worldviews through the lens of scripture. Instead it appears you have your own standard… yourself.

    Given your belief that the Bible is errant, I can understand you doing this. Since nothing is really trustworthy, you have developed your own “Seth” yardstick for judging truth rather than using the objective yardstick of God’s Word.

    Darrell

  204. September 1, 2009 10:50 pm

    Actually Darrell, I rarely call foul on the Bible on any SPECIFIC passage. Do you recall any that I have done so on?

  205. September 1, 2009 11:14 pm

    Whether its a specific passage or the Bible in general, who cares. The message is the same… we can’t REALLY trust it.

    Darrell

  206. September 2, 2009 1:18 am

    So, does that mean you don’t remember me ever attacking a specific passage as suspect?

  207. September 2, 2009 1:22 am

    And I do actually trust the Bible Darrell – for the purposes we are meant to trust it.

  208. September 2, 2009 1:34 am

    Seth,

    You attack the Bible as suspect all the time and you know it. Are you honestly trying to insinuate that your general comments about the errancy and lack of reliability of the Bible don’t count as attacks? Seriously? Quite honestly your general attacks on it are worse than you attacking a specific passage anyway. At least if you called a specific passage into question you wouldn’t be categorically disparaging the entire written Word.

    “And I do actually trust the Bible Darrell – for the purposes we are meant to trust it.”

    So now you are the prophet deciding under what purposes and circumstances the Bible is meant to be trusted. Did you find this council in the Bible or are you once again using the Seth standard?

    I am curious about something else. I recall from our conversations prior to the election last year that you tend to fall on the liberal side of politics as well. I am curious… do you believe homosexuality is a sin?

    Darrell

  209. September 2, 2009 1:46 am

    I probably shouldn’t answer that, because trying to pull left vs. right politics into this is not going to go anywhere useful.

    But yes, I do think homosexual acts are a sin.

    Not necessarily a greater sin than… say… gossip. But a sin, nonetheless.

  210. September 2, 2009 2:02 am

    “But yes, I do think homosexual acts are a sin.”

    Good to hear… see, we can agree on some things. 🙂

    “Not necessarily a greater sin than… say… gossip. But a sin, nonetheless.”

    Interesting viewpoint… sounds almost Evangelical. How do you reconcile this viewpoint with the LDS Temple recommend process (as well as Kimball’s Miracle of Forgiveness) which clearly deleneates some sins as greater than others? Homosexual acts will not only keep you out of the Temple but might just get you exed while gossip is never even brought up.

    Darrell

  211. September 2, 2009 2:20 am

    Just curious Darrell, were you intending to pull the “Miracle of Forgiveness” card when you brought up the question about homosexuality?

  212. September 2, 2009 2:38 am

    No… I was actually expecting you to say you think homosexuality is not a sin and expecting you to say the errant prophets and scriptures just got this one wrong.

    Seriously, how do you reconcile your belief that homosexuality is no worse than gossip given the LDS Church’s stance on it. Don’t get me wrong… I agree with you. As I said, your belief in this area is much closer to the Ev position than your church’s position.

    Darrell

  213. psychochemiker permalink
    September 2, 2009 3:07 am

    Jack,
    I’m not forced to sustain anyone. Anyone who claims to be is either weak or stupid.

    the same for those who are forced and manipulated into following the “me and my interpretation of the bible preachers,” Weak and Stupid.

    How’s that for harshness to both Mormons and Gellies!

  214. September 2, 2009 3:21 am

    It’s just a common-sense idea that sins may be relative to the context and person in question.

    For instance, what right do I have to crow about not having problems with homosexuality? I’ve never been tempted by the idea in the first place. Don’t have the genetics, don’t have the upbringing, don’t have whatever it is that contributes to it.

    So you might say I had it easy on this score.

    Which means I have precious little to be proud of in the fact that I haven’t had this problem.

    Likewise, the sins of a child abducted into a child military unit in the Congo are going to be different from the sins of an American girl born into a wealthy American suburb. But that doesn’t make one kid better than the other on any basis we can judge.

    This isn’t a particularly Evangelical idea. It’s in the New Testament. Jesus himself complimented the widow’s mite, and also noted the woman who washed his feet with her tears (because she had much to be forgiven of).

    These are all observations I came to WITHIN the LDS Church.

  215. September 2, 2009 4:44 am

    PC ~ Have they stopped asking if you sustain the President of the church as Prophet, Seer and Revelator in the TR interviews? Do they still give you a TR if you say “no”? Is there not a stigma associated with not having a TR?

    Seems like a pretty good system for making people sustain the current president as a prophet regardless of how much they disagree with him, and I bring up Packer because he’s next in line to be prophet in spite of the fact that a lot of people would like to not see him as prophet. I’d bet money that if Packer becomes prophet, even the most vehement anti-Packer Mormons won’t be giving up their TRs. They’ll grit their teeth and tow the line.

    Point being, yeah, evangelicalism is a system wherein anyone can hang up a shingle and claim to be speaking for God—which is problematic, but at least we’re free to reject those self-styled prophets at will. Mormonism kind of errs in the opposite direction.

  216. September 2, 2009 5:15 am

    Maybe God set up both of us to call the other to repentance.

  217. September 2, 2009 5:20 am

    Seth ~ I’m okay with that view. I just wish I knew how we could fix ourselves.

  218. September 2, 2009 5:24 am

    Well, maybe God’s OK with us both being screw-ups.

    As long as we’re willing to not be buttheads about it.

    Maybe…

  219. September 2, 2009 5:36 am

    As long as we’re willing to not be buttheads about it.

    Screw that. No deal.

  220. September 2, 2009 5:40 am

    Well, I guess you could always say you’re channeling Elijah when he made fun of the priests of Baal.

    But then again, Old Testament is more Mormon turf than Evangelical turf.

    So I guess you’re stuck with Paul Jack.

    Sorry.

  221. September 2, 2009 6:04 am

    You know, I tried to tell my husband the other day that I thought it was funny being an evangelical married to a Mormon named Paul. He didn’t get it. Sigh.

    Some evangelicals are saying God tornado’ed the ELCA for approving the ordination of homosexuals two weeks ago. I think we deserve some OT points for that.

  222. psychochemiker permalink
    September 2, 2009 11:52 pm

    Ah, Jack. Now I see the error of your argument.

    Needing to be able to sustain a Prophet in order to hold a recommend is different in my book than “being forced to sustain him.” No one’s holding a gun to any members head during Sustaining. If they want to succumb to peer pressure, that’s their choice.

    Although, when I’ve ever heard that question, I’ve always interpreted it more along the lines of “him and no other mortal on the earth today.” But then again, I can answer #2 affirmatively no reservation. But I don’t’ view it as manipulative, any more than Jesus requiring the rich man to give away everything he had. I mean, I certainly think Jesus has earned the right to set the terms and conditions to our covenant, and I believing professing belief in authoritative priesthood leadership is a fine stipulation. Regardless of any stigma, only the weak care about stigma’s. I echo my previous comment to Katie L, going to the temple isn’t a right, it’s a privilege. But I respect anyone a lot more who stands for their beliefs, even if I think those beliefs are wrong, rather bowing to stigma or social pressure.

    That’s a straw-man Jack. You don’t have to agree with everything someones says, or does to sustain them. I think it’s also a little one-sided. I wonder what you (personally) would think of early Christians in 60 AD who rejected Paul’s authority, and were denied fellowship. Couldn’t you just say that that’s “a pretty good system for making people sustain Paul regardless of how much they disagree with him?”

    I’d bet money that if Packer becomes prophet, even the most vehement anti-Packer Mormons won’t be giving up their TRs.

    Probably not. But I’ll bet most of them will say they sustain him, even in private to you Jack,

    I tell ya, I don’t have to agree with President Monson deciding to wiggle his ears during Priesthood meeting, but I still sustain him as prophet. FWIW.

  223. September 3, 2009 5:07 am

    PC ~ You don’t have to agree with everything someones says, or does to sustain them.

    Speaking of strawmen, this isn’t what I said. We’re not talking about people lacking the freedom to disagree with LDS leaders here and there, we’re talking about people lacking the freedom to say, “I think this person has gone too far and is now a fallen prophet if he ever was one at all.” Last I checked, a revoked/denied TR is a form of church discipline, not peer pressure.

    So you have one man whom everyone has to sustain as prophet or face church discipline, which is the opposite of what evangelical Christianity has—lots of people who can set themselves up as oracles of God, but no consequences for rejecting them. Pick your poison.

  224. September 30, 2012 4:16 pm

    Want to see the truth about the ‘UNHOLY BOOK OF MORMON” go to MOSAIAH 16 VERSE 15 and compare that with EVERYTHING that “THE HOLY BIBLE” is and you will know!

  225. Seth R. permalink
    September 30, 2012 6:37 pm

    Mosiah 16:15 –

    “Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father. Amen.”

    Sounds like a good traditional Christian Trinitarian verse to me.

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