16
Mar
10

Toyota and the LDS Church

     I’m sure you all have heard about the problems Toyota is having – not only with its cars but also with its image.   There are a lot of questions about when the company was first aware of the problems with its cars.  Some are wondering if the company put people into danger by not immediately recalling cars once they knew they were defective.  I have heard, more than once, the word criminal used to describe the company’s slow response.

    That got me thinking about the stance the LDS Church takes on the Bible.  It is increasingly promoting the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible in its TV ads and other promotions.  At first, that seems only natural because it is the version officially accepted as Scripture by the LDS Church.  But when you think about it, not only does that not make sense, it is disturbing.  It is disturbing because the LDS Church says that the KJV is defective.  I cited one example of that in my last post with the word “paradise” in the story of the thief on the cross.  The LDS Church says that it was mistranslated.

     What is even more disturbing is that the LDS Church claims to have a better translation – in fact, an inspired translation.  I’m talking about the Joseph Smith Translation or, as it is also known as, the Inspired Version.  It is something that is referenced in many church manuals.  The LDS edition of the Bible contains excerpts of it in the footnotes and an appendix.  But it’s not the version that they promote.

     That doesn’t seem loving to me.  Why promote a product that you believe is defective?  Why not promote the product that you think is superior – even inspired?  Why put, what you think is the correct translation, in the footnotes and not the main body of text. Isn’t that the normal procedure?  Especially when it deals, not just with people’s physical lives, but with their eternal lives!  That doesn’t just seem unloving, that seems criminal. 

      Why then does it continue to promote the KJV?  Could it all be about image?  Just think how much more difficult it would be for the LDS Church to claim to be Christian if it promoted the Joseph Smith Translation as its official Bible.

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103 Responses to “Toyota and the LDS Church”


  1. 2 Echo
    March 17, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Good point Mark and true.
    I am also surprised that the LDS continues to promote the KJV in our modern day at all. It’s archaic english only keeps people in the spiritual dark. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great bible in it’s day. But continuing to promote a bible with outdated english, that’s like a car manufacturer selling us vehicles with modern computerized warning messages that speak in Chinese so that when something goes wrong with our car, we havn’t a clue what’s wrong with it until the car breaks down or worse, causes us to die in an accident.

  2. March 18, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Mark,

    I have often thought & wondered the same thing. If joseph Smith was truly inpsired in his translation process , why does the LDS church not use the JST Inspired version of the Bible? I have asked many LDS , and yet to receive an acceptable answer. As you said, “why” promote the Bible when the LDS officially teach that it is mis-translated and has errors? Why not give the Public the JST translation?

    Also, did you know that the LDS church has recently re-translated the Spanish KJV ( reina valera translation). This is a whole new translation for Spanish speaking LDS members. I wonder why they just didn’t take the Inspired JST translation and publish that in Spanish??

    Good post.

    gloria

  3. March 18, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Echo,

    While the LDS church “officially” uses and promotes ( sells in their Book stores) the KJV version, I do know a number of LDS friends who do read other translations. I hear more and more of Mormons picking up other translations for their study. This is encouraging indeed!

    Kind regards,

  4. March 19, 2010 at 6:31 am

    I promote products I know are defective all the time.

    Because they are good enough.

    There are flaws in every product on the American market. If you went around worrying about every last one of them, you’d never buy anything.

  5. March 19, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    The Church does not use the JST because the JST has problems. If the Church makes the JST its official version, it becomes accountable for those problems. In its current unofficial form, it can be used by those who care to use it, but when someone points out the problems with the text, the Church can just wash its hands of it.

    Besides, the Church cares very much about appearances, and most of its converts come from other Christian backgrounds. If the JST were the official version, they wouldn’t have the common ground of the King James Bible to build on in their missionary efforts, and they’d be (rightly) accused of pushing their own pet version of the Bible like the New World Translation, except the NWT is at least something of a translation of the Greek & Hebrew MSS. The JST is not; it was just Joseph Smith re-writing the KJV text to his liking.

  6. March 19, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    I guess we could ask why the Church doesn’t get its current prophet to correct the alleged mistakes in the Bible and finish the work Joseph Smith started, but I’m sure that would evoke a cacophony of “sign-seeking” charges from the less-capable apologists.

  7. 8 markcares
    March 19, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Seth:
    Using your reasoning, then I would assume you would not no problem with Toyota continuing to sell and promote cars with defective gas pedals.
    Yes, there are defective products all over the place. But the difference is:
    1) We are talking about matters of life and death.
    2) In the case of the JST, the LDS Church claims to have an available “fix”.
    If Toyota already had the fix but continued to sell defective cars, I doubt if many people would excuse them by saying, “that’s good enough.”

  8. 9 RLO
    March 19, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Seth R.
    March 19, 2010 at 6:31 am
    I promote products I know are defective all the time.

    Because they are good enough.

    There are flaws in every product on the American market. If you went around worrying about every last one of them, you’d never buy anything.

    True enough, when it comes to electric can openers, or who knows, maybe even automobiles. But we’re talking about theology here. Is this really the line of reasoning anyone, whether they are mormon, or Christian, or otherwise, should want to use with regards to matters of their faith life – – defective, but good enough?

  9. March 19, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    How does one compare God’s Word to other products? Is that not comparing apples to oranges? I guess I just wouldn’t put the Bible in the same box as “other American” products. We’re talking about God’s word, not a car.

    Kind regards,

  10. March 19, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Jack,

    Do you know if the LDS church has “officially” come out and said the JST has problems? To openly admit that Joseph’s ‘inspired’ version is flawed, well…. what does that say?

    Also, does the RLDS or Community of Christ church officially use the JST translation?

  11. March 19, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Good idea, Jack. Why not complete the work Smith began? I guess they could say they are pleased enough with the KJV translation? But it’s confusing, because at the same time they say it’s not translated correctly? So why use a book that is missing parts or has “plain and precious” truths taken out? As you said, it’s probably to build bridges in their missionary efforts.

  12. March 19, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Gloria ~ Do you know if the LDS church has “officially” come out and said the JST has problems?

    Not to my knowledge. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t aware of the problems. Having to defend the JST as an inspired and official restoration of the Bible would be an apologetic nightmare on par with defending the Book of Abraham.

    Also, does the RLDS or Community of Christ church officially use the JST translation?

    I don’t know.

    As far as having a later prophet finish the JST . . . y’know, as of late there has been a raging debate on my private blog over the issue of patriarchal blessings. Kullervo compared them to tarot card readings and said that they were total [Kullervo’s favorite word]. This prompted one of the LDS commentators to respond that patriarchal blessings weren’t ever meant to be oracular; their main function is to assign the recipient to a lineage in the tribe of Israel.

    It feels like I’ve been seeing a lot of Latter-day Saints distancing themselves from the church’s supernatural claims to power in the face of criticism.

    As the supernaturalism is one of the things that attracted me to Mormonism in the first place, it’s kind of depressing.

  13. 14 Echo
    March 19, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    If the LDS church claims that their prophets can recieve direct revelation from God, then the LDS Church has no excuse for not having a perfectly infallible bible.

  14. March 20, 2010 at 12:03 am

    Oh boy, Echo. You opened Pandora’s box for sure now. ;)

  15. 16 JesusLover
    March 21, 2010 at 12:27 am

    Echo and Gloria – I agree with you both!
    Too – it would be very risky like others have mentioned to come out with the JS translation – far too easy to find the errors in it and so discredit Smith and the LDS church. Easier to use the KJV and continue to seduce people into a false belief system.
    I notice this is not post that has alot of mormon comments on it…I wonder why?

  16. 17 faithoffathers
    March 22, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Why don’t we have the translation of the sealed portion of the plates of Mormon? Why don’t we know when Christ will return? Why don’t we have a complete volume of all prophecy and revelation ever uttered to man?

    To me, it seems a little childish to conclude Thomas Monson and others are not prophets because they do not take care of these issues and questions for us.

    For a group of people who generally accept the Bible as the infallable, complete word of God without asking further questions, I find your objections to the way we use the JST much of a double-standard.

    Why all the different translations of the Bible? Why was it not preserved in perfect form? Why all the hassle for so many centuries to piece together all the pieces?

    I can hear the folks who lived before the Bible was compiled in its current form- why doesn’t God provide His word for us in a nice, compact form? They could just as well concluded that there was no God, or that the religion of Jesus was false.

    I personally believe the JST is inspired in the fullest sense of that word. Why doesn’t the church adopt a new version of the Bible that incorporates the changes made by Joseph? I don’t know. Must I conclude that they are scared, or saving face, or playing politically correct? Is there ever a role for faith? Or is that only limited to the mental conviction that Jesus is the Messiah? Does faith play a role outside of that question? It sure has throughout the history of God’s interraction with mankind. I have no reason to believe it no longer has a role in matters like these.

    Did Joseph finish the “translation?” Some think so. Others don’t.

    Many critics mischaracterize our view of the Bible. They say we believe it is “corrupted.” Yes- there were some issues with the translation which anybody familiar with the history of the book will acknowledge.

    We both believe the Bible is the record of holy, ancient prophets. But I think the biggest difference between us in regards to the Bible is that we do not believe the Bible is everything God ever revealed to mankind. We do not believe it is the only ancient record produced by inspired prophets.

    I have asked this before- what of Adam, Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek, Methuselah? These were guys that lived 800-900 years and “walked and talked with God.” My KJV Bible covers their cummulative experience in 78 pages. Do you find that curious? Do you think they didn’t have revelations and knowledge beyond 78 pages?

    The records included in the Bible were actually only written over a period of about 1400 years. It is honestly astonishing to me that people believe the Bible is the complete record of God’s dealings with His prophets.

    The NT states that if the acts of Jesus alone were all recorded, it would fill rooms and rooms.

    Simply put, we believe there is a boat-load more in the way of holy writ and revelations and sacred history than what is found in the Bible. God knows all things and will give us what we need when we need it.

    What isn’t included in the Bible? Who knows. If there were something “missing” or not included, how would God remedy that?

    Could it be that He would reveal such things the same way He has all along- through prophets and revelations instead of archeology and science? But that would require people have faith, humility, and not insist everything be done their way and in their time.

    On the other hand, I think you guys believe the Bible is the complete record of God’s interraction with mankind- it was preserved by His hand in perfection, and it includes everything that is to be known of the Kingdom of God. I have no problem with that- it is your perogotive to maintain that position. But I see it as a little bit crazy to also have such big problems with the JST or other issues with our position.

    In the end, considering our different views of the Bible, I think the issue over selected passages which Joseph changed is small beans compared to the larger picture.

    fof

  17. 18 RLO
    March 22, 2010 at 4:08 am

    FoF says: “I have asked this before- what of Adam, Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek, Methuselah? These were guys that lived 800-900 years and “walked and talked with God.” My KJV Bible covers their cumulative experience in 78 pages. Do you find that curious? Do you think they didn’t have revelations and knowledge beyond 78 pages?”

    Do I find that curious? I suppose I would find that curious, if the Bible professed to be a complete record of every event through biblical history, and the unabridged biography of every person mentioned in the Bible. But the Bible professes to be no such thing. So no. I don’t find that curious.

    FoF says: “The records included in the Bible were actually only written over a period of about 1400 years. It is honestly astonishing to me that people believe the Bible is the complete record of God’s dealings with His prophets.”

    Again, the Bible doesn’t tell us everything that ever happened to every person from Genesis to the Revelation. Nor does it tell us every thing we would like to know. It never claims to do such. But it does tell us everything we need to know.

    FoF says: “The NT states that if the acts of Jesus alone were all recorded, it would fill rooms and rooms.”

    But the New Testament also says, “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31

    Notice the purpose for “…these are written…” Not to provide us with every historical event. Neither to provide us with complete biographies of all his people. But instead, “…written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Which (don’t you see?) is also a pretty strong argument for “the sufficiency of Scripture” as we have them, rather than the need for, “continuing revelation.”

    FoF asks: “Could it be that He would reveal such things the same way He has all along- through prophets and revelations…?”

    The writer to the Hebrews tells us, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things and through whom he made the universe.” Hebrews 1:1-2

    So what do you think, FoF? Does this passage (as wells as John 20:30-31) suggest that we have all we need, or do you think they tell us we should be looking for continuing revelation?

    FoF says: “I think you guys believe the Bible is the complete record of God’s interactions with mankind … and it includes everything that is to be known of the Kingdom of God.”

    Well, you think wrong. But that’s okay. However, I would simply suggest you ask what “you guys” believe, rather than telling “you guys” what they believe. I sure all of “us guys” would be more than willing to share with you what we believe.

  18. 19 faithoffathers
    March 22, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    RLO,

    You demonstrate my main point very well- your curiosity and demands for logic, consistency, and clarity from the LDS canon are a double-standard to that of your own canon.

    My other point was to demonstrate that our differences on the Bible are actually bigger than the whole debate over specific translation of specific verses. The fact that you disagree with our view of what is canon is not surprising.

    You suggest I “ask what “you guys” believe, rather than telling “you guys” what they believe.” Seems a simple thing to ask, doesn’t it? It is not bad advice.

    fof

  19. 20 RLO
    March 22, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    FoF;

    My post quoted you on five specific points from your own previous post. I then gave you a brief response to those five specific points, along with Bible passages where I felt they were relevant to the issue. You on the other hand, instead of addressing anything I have said specifically, make some generalized statement of how I demonstrate your point. So general is you rebuttal, that it could probably follow any opposing point of view expressed throughout this entire blog. If you would like to quote me, and specifically address something I have said, please feel free to do so. In turn, will attempt to address any specific questions or concerns you may have. I think this is something that could lead to a meaningful dialog. But if not, I will leave it for the readership of this blog to decide who is making an effort to address the opposing points of view, and who is simply dismissing the opposing points of view.

    RLO

  20. 21 markcares
    March 22, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    FOF:
    You did not give one good reason why the LDS Church doesn’t promote the JST. The difference between the LDS Church and Christianity is that Christianity never has designated a translation as inspired. That is why still to this day, Chritian pastors spend time studying the Greek and Hebrew texts – the transmission of which is another subject. I repeat, if the LDS Church believes that the JST is the best translation than it is just wrong for it not to give it the widest possible exposure. How can it be loving for it to willingly and knowingly promote what, in their minds, is an inferious translation?

  21. 22 faithoffathers
    March 23, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Mark,

    My response to the article was “I don’t know why.” But my not knowing the answer to your question doesn’t make you right- it doesn’t prove that the church leadership is hiding something or scared or not real prophets.

    I can think of a thousand similar questions about the Bible or Christianity or God in general. But those questions that are not really answered anywhere do not prove that God doesn’t exist, or that the Bible is not true, etc.

    Did God intend for the JST to be published as a new version of the Bible altogether? Don’t know. Or did he intend for the alterations to be given to the saints to be incorporated into their study as it is now? Don’t know. But that doesn’t make your implications true.

    fof

  22. 23 Echo
    March 23, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Your skirting the issue. Why advertise what you believe is errant(The Bible) when you have what you believe is inerrant(JST).

  23. 24 faithoffathers
    March 24, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Echo,

    Again- my answer ultimately is I don’t know. But- do we know if the JST was “complete?” No, we don’t. Could it be that the JST along with the KJV is adequate and enough for what we need now?

    When have prophets of the past ever answered every possible question and settled every possible issue? There is no evidence that that was ever the case.

    Who ever said the JST was “innerant?”

    fof

  24. 25 Echo
    March 25, 2010 at 12:47 am

    The Bible contains everything we need to know for life and Salvation.

  25. 26 Echo
    March 25, 2010 at 5:18 am

    If the Bible and the JST are errant. Getting into the celestial, tellestial and terresti

  26. 27 Echo
    March 25, 2010 at 5:22 am

    Oops. Somehow my post went through before I was finished. heh heh.

    If the Bible and the JST are errant. Getting into the celestial, telestial and terrestrial kingdoms could be dependant on us obeying the commandments perfectly. There may not be forgiveness. Everyone who fails to obey the commandments perfectly goes to outer darkness. How are we going to know the truth?

  27. April 1, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    gloria,

    Mark was the one who brought up the comparison, not me. I suggest you ask him.

  28. April 1, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I suggest you pray to God to know the truth Echo.

  29. April 1, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    The LDS Church does not claim inerrancy in the JST.

    For the simple reason that our church has no doctrine of inerrancy – period. About anything.

  30. 31 Echo
    April 2, 2010 at 12:23 am

    Seth, God has already revealled truth to us in his word:

    Truth has already been revealled in the written word. God tells us to look in his word for the truth. Acts 17:11 The Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” The Bereans searched for truth in the scriptures, they didn’t pray about it.

    Read the passage below, Israel’s prophets and apostles are the signs and symbols from God. We are not to consult whispers and mutters we are to consult the word of God. Consulting whispers and mutters is a form of spiritism; it is like consulting the dead. Where do these verses point us to inquire? To God and to his law and to his testimony. This is the Bible. The Bible is God’s law and testimony. And if people don’t speak according to the Bible, they have no light of dawn. Where do they end up? In utter darkness.

    Isaiah 8: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished; they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.”

    2 Timothy 3:15-17 From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    Psalm 119:104,105,130 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. 130The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple

    2 Peter 1:19 We have the word of the prophets made more certain (referring to the OT prophets because the NT makes it more certain), and you will do well to pay attention TO IT, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

    The fact that you have to pray for truth when it’s already been revealled shows that you don’t trust God’s word because your insinuating that his word in the bible is a lie therefore God is a liar.

    The fact that in the LDS temple ceremony Adam prays to God and Satan answers his prayer is a good indicator of who answers Mormons prayers.

  31. April 2, 2010 at 1:35 am

    How do you know the Bible is true?

  32. 33 RLO
    April 2, 2010 at 1:49 am

    I’ll take Jesus’ word on it (John 17:17)

  33. April 2, 2010 at 2:52 am

    So… why don’t you take the Koran’s word on it?

    Why do you take Jesus’ word on it?

    Pretend I’m a Muslim.

    Why should I believe in your Bible?

  34. 35 RLO
    April 2, 2010 at 4:10 am

    Seth;

    Have you read the Koran? For the moment, I will assume you have. As you know, the Koran tells it’s believers to search out Christians where ever they can be found, and to convert them, or kill them. It tells it’s believers to cheat Christians in the market place at every opportunity. It prescribes lying, cheating, killing. I was never able to finish reading the entire Koran. I was only able to get through about 20 percent of it. I simply had to stop.

    “Why don’t I take the Koran’s word?” Because after reading the first 20 percent of it, there is nothing the last 80 percent of the Koran could ever say that would convince me to take it seriously. In a word, it is evil. And I will say it again. Anything that prescribes what the Koran prescribes is evil.

    So why do I take Jesus’ word on it? I believe Jesus is who he said he was. That he came into the world to do precisely what he said he had come into the world to do. That as evidence, he performed miracles and fulfilled the many Old Testament prophecies that spoke of him. That no other had ever done the likes of what he did before. That no other has ever done the likes of what he did since. That he wants us to know him. And because he wants us to know him, he has provided his word, The Bible, in order that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing we may have life in his name. Foolishness to you, I imagine.

    RLO

  35. April 2, 2010 at 7:25 am

    That’s kind of ironic RLO. Because someone did a side-by-side comparison between the Bible and the Koran and found the Bible advocated violence and had stories of violence actually MORE than the Koran.

    Let me ask you – have you stoned an adulterer to death lately?

    You know, you really give me the impression sometimes that you haven’t even read the Old Testament when you pull out incredibly self-unaware statements like this.

    So, basically, the reason you believe the Bible is true and the Koran is not, is because you like the Bible and you don’t like the Koran? Did I get that correct?

    Just because you like it?

    And you call Mormon testimony subjective?

  36. April 2, 2010 at 7:26 am

    If it comes to that, the Book of Mormon actually contains LESS calls to violence against the infidels. So I guess that makes it a “truer” book than the Old Testament. Right?

    Just be sure you’re applying your own tests fairly and not using a double standard.

  37. April 2, 2010 at 7:29 am

    Final point – I do take the Bible very seriously. It is not “foolishness” to me.

    In fact, I take it seriously enough to actually pay attention to what it is saying – something I’m not sure you have taken the trouble to do.

  38. 39 Echo
    April 2, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Seth, take the bible even more seriously than you have.

    Believe it is inerrant.

    Believe it’s the sole word of God.

    Believe that God speaks to you through his word in the Bible and in no other way.

  39. April 2, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Why should I though?

    You sound like a Mormon teenager bearing testimony at a youth campout.

    But what is your conviction based on besides general “warm fuzzies” you have about the Bible?

    Note: I do actually believe in the Bible – I just want you guys to actually think through what your own convictions are actually based on. You criticize me for appealing to prayer, but when asked to give your own reasons, what you provide is no better, if not worse.

  40. 41 RLO
    April 2, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    “…Because someone did a side-by-side comparison…”

    Oh, well then by all means, let us follow… “someone.”

    By the way, Seth, the Bible does “describe” a lot of cases of lying, cheating, and even the murdering of innocent people. Show me, Seth, where the bible “prescribes” such conduct against innocent people.

    “Let me ask you – have you stoned an adulterer to death lately?”

    You’re comparing the sin of being an adulterer to, what? The sin of being a Christian?? The Koran advocates the killing of CHRISTIANS!! Simply because they are CHRISTIANS!! What are you thinking?

    “You know, you really give me the impression sometimes that you haven’t even read the Old Testament…”

    And you really give me the impression that you haven’t even read my last post.

    “So, basically, the reason you believe the Bible is true and the Koran is not, is because you like the Bible and you don’t like the Koran? Did I get that correct? Just because you like it?”

    Again, go back and read my post. The answer is there. Yes, I do like the Bible. But I don’t believe it because I like it. I believe the Bible because it is true. It authenticates itself. It provides prophecy. And it provides fulfillment of prophecy.

    And yes, I don’t like the Koran. It advocates violence against the innocent. That is evil.

  41. 42 Echo
    April 2, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Seth said: “Why should I though?”

    Because the Bible itself informs us that God is able to preserve his word inerrantly and that no man, not even Satan, can thwart his purposes.
    Because the Bible itself informs us that God speaks to us ONLY through his word and in no other way.
    The Word of God is more powerful than miracles, signs and wonders. The Holy Spirit works through the word and convinces us that God’s word is truth.

    However, if you pray to see if something is true and expect God to reveal some truth to you apart from his already revealed word, you are, in God’s own words: refusing to believe the truth and therefore delighting in wickedness. And when you do that, God sends a powerful delusion so that you will believe the lie. That is the consequence of refusing to believe the truth and in doing so, delighting in wickedness.
    So any prayer asking God to reveal a truth to you and expecting an answer apart from his already revealed word is only going to lead you to believe in lie’s and will lead to condemnation into outer darkness.

    2 Thess 2:10-12 “and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”

  42. April 2, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Who told the Israelites to murder the Ammonites down to the last man, woman, child, and even the livestock? You remember that incident RLO? There are more like it in there.

    Seriously, it’s like you haven’t even read the Old Testament. As you’ve admitted, you certainly didn’t read the Koran.

    Incidentally, give how accurate your treatment of the LDS faith has been in the past, I trust you to give me an accurate portrayal of Islam about as far as I could kick you.

  43. April 2, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Echo, that is an entirely circular and worthless argument for anyone who doesn’t already believe in the Bible to begin with.

    Why believe the Bible?

    Because it says it’s true in the Bible!

    Do you have any idea how ridiculous that is going to sound to someone who is encountering the Bible for the first time in his life?

    Tell you what…

    How about a write a book in the next couple months and then insert a passage declaring: this book is true.

    By your own logic here, you would have to admit my book is true. Because it says it’s true.

    Seriously, you sound brainwashed. Why on earth do you believe in the Bible? Because the Bible told you to believe in it?

  44. 45 Echo
    April 2, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Seth, Do you believe the bible is true? If so, why?

  45. 46 RLO
    April 2, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Were the Ammonites innocent. No they were not. And God used the nation of Israel to carry out his judgment upon them. That is not murder, Seth.

    Yes, I didn’t finish reading the Koran. What I did read of it was enough to know it’s evil. There is no need to read it down to the last bitter word to come to that conclusion.

    My treatment of the LDS faith, Seth? Explain.

    Please, don’t trust me on Islam. Read it for yourself.

  46. 47 Echo
    April 2, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Romans 13:3-4 “For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, AN AGENT OF WRATH TO BRING PUNISHMENT ON THE WRONGDOER.”

  47. April 2, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Were the Christians the Koran spoke of innocent RLO?

    No they were not. So I guess its OK for Allah to call for them to be killed, right?

  48. April 2, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    I don’t even need to read it to get the feeling you missed the point RLO. I just ran a Google search on “does the koran condone killing”

    Here’s an excerpt from About.com on the subject:

    [start cut and paste]

    Question: Aren’t there some verses of the Qur’an that condone “killing the infidel”?

    Answer: The Qur’an commands Muslims to stick up for themselves in a defensive battle — i.e. if an enemy army attacks, then Muslims are to fight against that army until they stop their aggression. All of the verses that speak about fighting/war in the Qur’an are in this context.

    There are some specific verses that are very often “snipped” out of context, either by critics of Islam discussing “jihadism,” or by misguided Muslims themselves who wish to justify their aggressive tactics.

    “Slay Them” – If They Attack You First

    For example, one verse (in its snipped version) reads: “slay them wherever you catch them” (Qur’an 2:191). But who is this referring to? Who are “they” that this verse discusses? The preceding and following verses give the correct context:

    “Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loves not transgressors. And slay them wherever you catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter… But if they cease, God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful… If they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression” (2:190-193).

    It is clear from the context that these verses are discussing a defensive war, when a Muslim community is attacked without reason, oppressed and prevented from practicing their faith. In these circumstances, permission is given to fight back — but even then Muslims are instructed not to transgress limits, and to cease fighting as soon as the attacker gives up. Even in these circumstances, Muslim are only to fight directly against those who are attacking them, not innocent bystanders or non-combatants.

    “Fight the Pagans” – If They Break Treaties

    A similar verse can be found in chapter 9, verse 5 — which in its snipped, out of context version could read: “fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war).” Again, the preceding and following verses give the context.

    This verse was revealed during a historical period when the small Muslim community had entered into treaties with neighboring tribes (Jewish, Christian, and pagan). Several of the pagan tribes had violated the terms of their treaty, secretly aiding an enemy attack against the Muslim community. The verse directly before this one instructs the Muslims to continue to honor treaties with anyone who has not since betrayed them, because fulfilling agreements is considered a righteous action. Then the verse continues, that those who have violated the terms of the treaty have declared war, so fight them… (as quoted above).

    Directly after this permission to fight, the same verse continues, “but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them… for God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” The subsequent verses instruct the Muslims to grant asylum to any member of the pagan tribe/army who asks for it, and again reminds that “as long as these stand true to you, stand ye true to them: for God loves the righteous.”

    Conclusion

    Any verse that is quoted out of context misses the whole point of the message of the Qur’an. Nowhere in the Qur’an can be found support for indiscriminate slaughter, the killing of non-combatants, or murder of innocent persons in ‘payback’ for another people’s alleged crimes.

    The Islamic teachings on this subject can be summed up in the following verses (Qur’an 60:7-8):

    “It may be that God will grant love (and friendship) between you and those whom ye (now) hold as enemies. For God has power (over all things), and God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

    God does not forbid you, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for God loves those who are just.”

    [end cut and paste]

    Ripping verses out of context to create a more negative picture of a book of scripture than is really true? You don’t say…

    Gee… I wonder if THAT has ever happened before. Let me think….

  49. 50 RLO
    April 2, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    “Echo, that is an entirely circular and worthless argument for anyone who doesn’t already believe in the Bible to begin with.

    Why believe the Bible?

    Because it says it’s true in the Bible!

    Do you have any idea how ridiculous that is going to sound to someone who is encountering the Bible for the first time in his life?”

    You know, in a sense, I agree with you, Seth. And the Bible even tells us as much.

    “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)

    And,

    “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

    But we also know that God works faith through his means of grace, one of which is his Word.

    “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17)

    “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

    But what you see as “entirely circular and worthless,” I see as a self-authenticating. Taking your line of reason to it’s final conclusion, no one could ever really trust anything other than their own human reason and intellect. Is that where you are? Is that what you trust in? Your own intellect? Your own human reason? Do you hold the Bible subservient to your thoughts of what is “reasonable” and “unreasonable?”

    Human reason is a valuable instrument to understanding what the Bible says. But faith is the instrument for believing it.

    And where does faith come from?

    “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)

    Circular? I suppose to a scoffer, yes, it is. But I prefer to characterize it as self-authenticating.

    Worthless? I suppose to a scoffer, yes, it is. But through God’s gift of faith, I think not.

    “How about I write a book in the next couple months and then insert a passage declaring: this book is true. By your own logic here, you would have to admit my book is true. Because it says it’s true.”

    So a book written by a man in two months should command the same respect as a book received from God by some 40 different writers over a period of 1500 years, that prophesizes the Messiah, a Messiah who then comes and fulfills all the prophesies of him, a Messiah who performs miracles to authenticate himself and the book itself.

    It is not a matter of a book “saying” what it says is the truth.

    It is a matter of a book “proving” what it says is the truth.

    For believers, no further amount of proof is necessary.

    For unbelievers, no further amount of proof would ever be sufficient.

    “Seriously, you sound brainwashed. Why on earth do you believe in the Bible?”

    Seriously, Seth, YOU sound brainwashed. Why on earth do you NOT believe in the Bible?

    “…Because the Bible told you to believe in it?”

    In a word, Yes.

    But only after being a good Berean.

  50. April 2, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    You are being a lousy missionary RLO.

    You are preaching to the choir here, and directing your remarks only to people who already agree with you. You have made absolutely zero effort to describe your faith in terms that will be convincing to someone encountering the Bible and Christianity for the first time.

    Why should a Muslim convert to Christianity? Why should a Muslim believe in the Bible as you do?

    You have utterly failed to give any good reasons here other than mindless appeal to authority.

    And here I thought we Mormons were supposed to be the brainwashed cultists.

  51. 52 Echo
    April 2, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Seth, you have skipped my question:

    “Do you believe the bible is true? If so, why?”

  52. April 2, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    I did, because – unlike the other comments made here – it deserves more than a quick snappy answer.

    I believe in the Bible because it provides a useful and potent way of viewing the world and my place within it before God.

    I find the ethical teachings of the Bible – properly understood and applied to our own societal context – to be useful and true. I have found this by testing them and trying to live them. They have stood up to the test and proven themselves to be something I can rely on.

    I also find the overarching narratives of people in the Bible and their struggles with God and attempts to find him to be deeply reflected in my own life. I too am searching for God. I also find the Bible to be profoundly aware of the impossible situation that people find themselves in just by being human. So I find the stories of the Fall and the Atonement to be of crucial importance to the human condition.

    I derive a great deal of spiritual strength and connection with God by tying my own life to the scriptures. By seeing my own life as a re-telling of the narratives in the Bible, I gain a valuable perspective on my own life. It reassures me that I do not walk alone in my own troubles or concerns. I walk a path walked by others before me and I do so with God.

    How do I feel confident in the Bible?

    Simply by doing. I tried it out. It works, and it is compelling. The view of the universe it offers is more compelling to me than the alternatives. It has served me well so many times, that it is quite trustworthy to me by now. And I like how living my life side-by-side with those sacred narratives makes me feel.

    Why do I believe in the Bible?

    Personal experience.

    It all boils down to that.

  53. 54 RLO
    April 2, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Seth;

    I will agree with you that the answer you have found in about.com has given some examples of some quotes taken out of context. Of course, don’t expect it to give examples that don’t support it’s premise. And I’m not going to get into a “cut-and-paste” war with you on the details of Islam. It’s not what I’m concerned with. You brought Islam into this discussion, not me. You said that you believe in the Bible, and that you take it seriously. Is that to say you believe what Jesus said, (“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”)? If so, I’m not sure why you would propose putting the Koran on an equal footing with the Bible. Yes, the followers of Islam, the followers of mormonism, the followers of Christianity, all have had their share in mis-characterizing each of the others. But I think it’s a telling observation that Islam can still flourish where Christianity predominates, but Christianity rarely flourishes where Islam predominates.

  54. April 2, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    What I’m trying to get at RLO, is WHY you believe the Bible to be the word of God.

    Thus far, you have given no reason except – “the Bible told me it was the word of God.” I brought up the Islam example to demonstrate how utterly inadequate this is as an answer.

    As I recall, James White fell on his face over this question too, so maybe this is just one of those questions conservative Protestants have a hard time with.

  55. 56 RLO
    April 2, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Okay then, lets drop Islam.

    The answer to why I believe the Bible is the truth is that it gives prophecies of the Messiah, the Messiah then came and fulfilled those prophecies, and the Messiah performed miracles to validate himself as the Messiah, and to validate the scriptures that spoke of him.

    Sorry, I don’t know who James White is. But I suspect he followed someone’s red herring, just like I followed yours.

  56. 57 RLO
    April 2, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    “You are being a lousy missionary RLO.

    You are preaching to the choir here, and directing your remarks only to people who already agree with you. You have made absolutely zero effort to describe your faith in terms that will be convincing to someone encountering the Bible and Christianity for the first time.”

    Well Seth, if you feel I’m not presenting Biblical truths as effectively as I might, okay, fine. I’m even open to listening to you, your name-calling aside, telling me how you feel I could do that better. However keep in mind, I am only called upon to present the truth, not to “convince” anyone to believe it. In fact no one can do that. It is the sole responsibility of the Holy Spirit to bring someone to faith.

    Now, do you have something constructive to say, or only criticisms and put-downs?

  57. 58 Echo
    April 3, 2010 at 12:15 am

    Seth, your reason for believing the bible is true all focuses on YOU
    RLO and my own reason for believing the bible is true, all focuses on JESUS

    If you don’t like that answer, well then just as RLO stated: “I am only called upon to present the truth, not to “convince” anyone to believe it.”

    The Bible isn’t about us, it’s all about Jesus.

    John 5:39 “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. THESE ARE THE SCRIPTURES THAT TESTIFY ABOUT ME,”

  58. 59 RLO
    April 3, 2010 at 12:39 am

    Seth;

    Did you notice that your defense of the Bible points to you, whereas my defense of the Bible points to the Messiah, the prophecy of his coming, his coming, his fulfilling the prophecy, his performing miracles to validate himself as the Messiah, and to validate the scriptures themselves? There is nothing wrong with sharing how you feel about the scriptures, but lets not forget who the Bible’s central figure is.

    Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right haand of the throne of God.(Hebrews 12:2)

  59. April 3, 2010 at 4:11 am

    If a religion has no interface with the individual believer, it is not a religion worth talking about.

  60. 61 Echo
    April 3, 2010 at 5:00 am

    Seth said: “If a religion has no interface with the individual believer, it is not a religion worth talking about.”

    Faith comes to man from hearing the message Seth, it doesn’t come from our interface with our religion.

    Romans 10:17 “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

  61. April 3, 2010 at 6:07 am

    A religion that can achieve no personal interface with human beings is a powerless religion, and is therefore not worthy of respect.

    Are you guys really saying your religion has no human appeal?

  62. 63 Echo
    April 3, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    No. We are not saying our religion has no human appeal. We are saying that human appeal never creates saving faith.

  63. 65 RLO
    April 3, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    I think what Echo and I have each tried to express to you is this: The human interface in Christianity is JESUS – not how or if reading the Bible makes YOU feel good. Your focus seems to be more on how YOU FEEL, rather than on what JESUS DID. I noticed, sadly, that there was not a word of Jesus in your answer to Echo’s question.

    Besides the fact that you really didn’t answer the question, which was,

    ““Do you believe the bible is true? If so, why?”

  64. April 3, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    I did answer the question.

    I believe the Bible to be true. Because it resonates with me powerfully, and because it’s teachings, principles and narratives have been tested in my life and have served well.

    That’s why.

    Unlike for you, the Bible is more than a theoretical problem for me. It is life itself for me.

  65. 67 RLO
    April 3, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    It sounds as if you are saying you believe the Bible to be true, not because it has proven itself to be true, but because of how it make you feel, that your conclusion depends on something that originates within you, rather than what originates within the Bible itself.

  66. April 3, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    Re-read my post above.

    The Bible has been “proven” true in my life.

    This kind of proof is far, far more potent than the stuff you are proposing.

  67. 69 RLO
    April 3, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    How is “proven true in Seth’s life” more compelling than “proven true by Jesus’ life?”

  68. April 3, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    It doesn’t matter what Jesus did if it doesn’t impact the life of real people.

  69. 71 RLO
    April 3, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    You look at the subjective evidence in your own life, and conclude that the Bible is true.

    I look at the objective evidence in the Bible itself, and conclude that the Bible is true.

    Would you say this is an accurate assessment?

  70. 72 RLO
    April 4, 2010 at 12:07 am

    I think you’re confusing truthfulness with efficacy.

  71. April 4, 2010 at 4:17 am

    No.

    I don’t think your evidence for the veracity of the Bible is “objective.”

  72. 74 RLO
    April 4, 2010 at 5:32 am

    Seth, it’s not MY evidence. It’s THE evidence.

    The Old Testament provides numerous prophecies of the coming Messiah. Jesus then arrives on the scene. He performs miracles and validates himself as the Messiah. His life, his miracles, his suffering, his death, his ressurection, not only do all these validate Jesus as the Messiah, they also validate all the prophecies that spoke of him.

    “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me…”

    You point to the subjective feelings of Seth as evidence that the Bible is the truth.
    I point to the objective facts presented in the Bible itself as evidence that the Bible is the truth.

    “…yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” John 5:39-40

  73. April 4, 2010 at 5:35 am

    And what exactly makes you so certain that these evidences really are true?

    Who says Luke and company didn’t make the whole thing up about the miracles. Or that they didn’t expand like tall tales with each retelling?

    What makes you so certain that they are true.

    Because, just talking objectively, I’m far from convinced on the evidence.

    But subjectively, I am very much convinced. I just think that you are really being just as subjective as I am – you just don’t want to admit it.

  74. 76 RLO
    April 4, 2010 at 6:42 am

    “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”

    … oh, but if only I would shift my eyes away from Jesus, towards my own subjective feelings …

    Yes. That’s what Satan would like, wouldn’t he?

  75. April 4, 2010 at 7:09 am

    I’ve noticed that Evangelicals tend to appeal to Satan when their arguments suck.

  76. 78 Echo
    April 4, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Arguing that Jesus is the author of our faith rather than our subjective feelings being the author of our faith is biblical and vitally important to understand. Even Satan and his demons had the kind of faith in God that you are talking about, a faith based on subjective experience. Those very demons “shuddered” and neither did their faith save them.

    If you think that argument “sucks” then your really aiming your comment at God’s own word.

  77. April 4, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    No, not at God’s own word. Just at how you guys are butchering it, and yelling “Satan” to cover up the incompetence.

    And if it comes to that, demons don’t have faith.

    Demons have intellectual assent. They know that God exists as an intellectual concept. But the information motivates no change and no action.

    This brand of belief that the devils have in the Bible can be found in plenty of other places.

    It’s actually the same kind of belief that you and RLO are advocating.

    Any demon knows that Jerusalem is a real city, and that Jesus performed miracles and fulfilled prophecies.

    Fat lot of good it did them.

    And this is the same sort of belief you are telling me I should go and get. But truth is that merely intellectually assenting to Jesus being a real person and performing miracles DOES NOT mean you have saving faith. Even Satan has that much.

    So, I beg your pardon, but I’m not incredibly impressed that you have this kind of belief Echo. It counts for surprisingly little.

  78. April 4, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Echo,

    I must have you thoroughly confused at this point if you are claiming that devils have “faith” and it didn’t save them.

    I’m surprised Mark, or somebody hasn’t stepped in and corrected you yet. Because I don’t even think you’re getting your OWN theology right.

  79. 81 RLO
    April 4, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    I’d agree.

    Saving faith requires:

    1. Knowledge
    2. Assent
    3. Confidence

    Satan and demons have the knowledge, and I suppose it could be argued either way whether they have assent. But they certainly don’t have the confidence that it is available to them.

    So using the term “faith” regarding Satan and demons is probably a poor choice of words.

    Regrettably, since this discussion has now sunk to the use of off-color language, accusations, and mischaracterizations, I’m going to stop here. You’ve made your case for why you look to yourself. I’ve made my case for why I look to scripture itself. Now let’s let it rest at that, before the discussion deteriorates further.

  80. April 4, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Agreed.

    Calling each others’ testimonies “Satanic” is probably not the best use of an Easter afternoon.

  81. 83 Echo
    April 4, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Seth, The Bible says that the demons “BELIEVE” there is one God.

    James 2:19 “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”

    Seth, you preach subjective experience, we preach Christ Crucified.

    When you say you think my argument “sucks” your in fact says my argument is foolishness. And IT IS foolishness to those who are perishing:

    1 Corinthians 1:22 “Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,”

    There is nothing that creates saving faith and belief in the truth written in the Bible other than Christ Crucified. For God produces faith within us through the message of Christ Crucified. Faith, saving faith, never comes from subjective experience.

    Seth said: “Demons have intellectual assent. They know that God exists as an intellectual concept. But the information motivates no change and no action. This brand of belief that the devils have in the Bible can be found in plenty of other places. It’s actually the same kind of belief that you and RLO are advocating”

    Seth, after countlessly explaining to you many times that our faith does indeed lead to change and action, you are now willfully and knowingly sinning by lying and giving false testimony against your neighbor in an attempt to discredit our view. Clearly your willingly and knowingly seeking to do Satan’s will.

  82. 84 Echo
    April 4, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Just want to add one thing:

    Echo said “Seth, after countlessly explaining to you many times that our faith does indeed lead to change and action, you are now willfully and knowingly sinning by lying and giving false testimony against your neighbor in an attempt to discredit our view. Clearly your willingly and knowingly seeking to do Satan’s will.”

    You claim that faith leads to change and action, when are you going to change? When is there going to be action on your part? Your faith hasn’t led to change and action.

  83. 85 Echo
    April 4, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Don’t you know that when you speak the truth, God’s truth, that his word will defend you and your cause? When you have only sin to resort to to defend yourself and your cause you ought to open your eyes and see that Satan is the one defending your cause (through you) which means that the cause he is helping you to defend is his cause and not God’s!

    I can’t emphasize that enough!

    For when your cause is truly from God, God will defend you with his very word. But when your cause is from Satan himself, he too will defend you promoting his cause but he can only defend you by leading you to sin, lie and decieve others for that is the only power he has, (if you can call that power.) For that is how he always promotes his causes and defends those who whether blindly or not, preach his teachings and believe in his causes.

  84. April 4, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Echo, if calling me a child of Satan helps distract you from the frankly horrible job you’ve done of explaining your religious position, more power to you. But I’m done talking on this subject.

    And by the way…

    Don’t ask me to bear my testimony again. That’s only to be shared with people who are interested in listening. If you want to be a jerk, go find some public statement online to be a jerk about. Don’t ask me to provide you with additional material for you to distort.

  85. April 5, 2010 at 4:59 am

    Maybe I’m unique among the evangelicals on this thread because it sounds like my own reasons for believing in the Bible have more in common with Seth’s than with Echo and RLO. When I say “my reasons for believing in the Bible,” you have to understand that I’m talking about reasons why I choose to continue to believe in it rather than why I initially believed in it. I became a Christian when I was 10, and I won’t lie: I believed in Jesus more because of my trust in the person who converted me (my aunt) rather than due to powerful spiritual experiences or evidence for the faith. I knew nothing of any of that when I asked Jesus Christ to be my Savior. I was just having faith in my aunt’s faith. Had my aunt been a Mormon, I see it as pretty likely I would have developed a testimony of Joseph Smith at that age instead of or in addition to my beliefs in Christianity.

    So, for me, it has been more of a question of why I have kept my belief in the Bible, in spite of having read plenty of attacks on the plausibility of biblical events, the historicity of certain biblical events, higher criticism, lists of Bible contradictions, and mean things the Bible says about women. My exposure to all of the above has been high, so why do I still believe the Bible is the Word of God? Why did I retain my faith as I went through the process of growing up and learning to think critically?

    I think I would divide my reasons for believing in the Bible into three parts.

    The first would be spiritual. I believe in it because the Spirit has born witness of its truthfulness to me as I have read it. I believe in it because when I read it, I feel God’s power. This has enough in common with what Mormons claim when they say they have a testimony of the Book of Mormon.

    The second would be experience. I’ve tried the teachings of the Bible and they work in my life. They’re transformative and powerful and my life is better because I’ve applied them. This has the most in common with Seth’s own testimony of the Bible.

    The third would be evidence. The intellectual reasons: the reliability of the textual tradition for the Bible, the historicity of some biblical events, places and persons, the fact that the Bible has been vindicated in several places even after early evidence had declared it wrong. This one would have the least in common with why Mormons believe in the BoM, though while historicity may not be part of a Mormon’s testimony of the Book of Mormon, I wouldn’t discount their appeals to other intellectual evidence (improbability of JS authorship, chiasmus, etc.) altogether. Not that I agree with the validity of the evidence there, but I’m not falling into that “Mormons don’t ever base their testimonies on evidence” trap.

    All three of these have been important to why I continue to trust the Bible. “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12) I think I’ve listed my reasons in order of importance though; it’s possible to have faith in the Bible with only the first or second reasons in place. The third is trickier to use, and absolutely not on the radar of a lot of good believers, but very important to me as a doubting Thomas Christian.

    That’s my own testimony of why I believe in the Bible.

  86. 88 RLO
    April 5, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Ms. Jack Meyers;

    It’s a refreshing change to read a post from someone who can disagree without being disagreeable.

    I wanted to address a few points from your post that stood out to me. Not to argue the points, but simply to share with you some counterpoints you may or may not have considered.

    “I believed in Jesus more because of my trust in the person who converted me (my aunt) rather than due to powerful spiritual experiences or evidence for the faith.”

    I believe your aunt played an intrumental role in providing you the foundations of the knowledge you now have. She was following sound biblical principles in doing so. Nevertheless, while God may use one person as his instrument to teach saving truths to another person, it is the Holy Spirit, working through the word itself, who does the converting. The third chapter of 2 Timothy comes to mind. Timothy knew those from whom he learned about the holy scriptures. But it was the Holy Spirit, working through the holy scriptures which were able to make him wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

    ” … rather than due to powerful spiritual experiences or evidence for the faith. I knew nothing of any of that when I asked Jesus Christ to be my Savior. I was just having faith in my aunt’s faith.”

    I believe we often place too much emphasis on the strength of our faith, over the presence of our faith. A child-like faith, whether it is held by a child of five years old in Sunday School, or an adult of fifty years old first coming to faith, that child-like faith is a saving faith. I’ve always been a bit bewildered by the “…when I asked Jesus Christ to be my Savior” testimony. And I think it’s because, if someone desires Jesus Christ to be their Savior, for me, that’s strong evidence that Jesus Christ already is their Savior. I guess it comes down to which side of the synergism-monergism fence someone is standing on.

    “…in spite of having read plenty of attacks on the plausibility of biblical events, the historicity of certain biblical events, higher criticism, lists of Bible contradictions, and mean things the Bible says about women.”

    As you went on to mention later in your post, many of the attacks on the plausibility and historicity of biblical events, as well as many of the supposed Bible contradictions, have been discredited in the light of subsequent discoveries. So I think we’re on the same page there. I’d like to clarify “…and mean things the Bible says about women.” Do you mean to say that the Bible “prescribes” mean things regarding women, or that it “describes” mean things regarding women? I believe that the Bible “describes” many types of behaviors that it does not necessarily “prescribe.”

    Regarding the remainder of your post:

    For me, I would say I certainly don’t dismiss the subjective, where it relates to the effects that the scriptures have in my life. I just don’t believe that the subjective is the best measure of the truthfulness of the scriptures. The scriptures aren’t true BECAUSE THEY MAKE ME FEEL GOOD; no, I feel good BECAUSE THE SCRIPTURES ARE TRUE. And it is the scriptures themselves that provide ample evidence to their truthfulness.

    RLO

  87. 89 Echo
    April 5, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Ms Jack Meyers

    What we were trying to convey is that there are two kinds of faith. Faith in the existence of God on the one hand which doesn’t save and saving faith that only comes through hearing the gospel message.

    The subjective experience of the effects that scriptures have in our lives exists both in Christianity and Mormonism but that experience never causes or creates “saving” faith. Saving faith only comes through the objective message of the gospel. It is through the objective message of the gospel that we are saved and all apart from the subjective results it might create.

    However, someone with saving faith can be strengthened in faith through the effects that scriptures have in our lives.

    “The first would be spiritual. I believe in it because the Spirit has born witness of its truthfulness to me as I have read it. I believe in it because when I read it, I feel God’s power. This has enough in common with what Mormons claim when they say they have a testimony of the Book of Mormon.”

    This is fine and well to strengthen true saving faith but as you can see from Mormons having the same kind of testimony with the BOM, it doesn’t create saving faith. Not in the Mormon and not in the Christian either. Saving faith comes through the message of the one true gospel, Mormons have a different gospel. So this might be understandably confusing for them to read.

    “The second would be experience. I’ve tried the teachings of the Bible and they work in my life. They’re transformative and powerful and my life is better because I’ve applied them. This has the most in common with Seth’s own testimony of the Bible.”

    I experience this as well. Again, this process strengthens saving faith but does not create saving faith. Faith comes from hearing the gospel.

    “The third would be evidence. The intellectual reasons: the reliability of the textual tradition for the Bible, the historicity of some biblical events, places and persons, the fact that the Bible has been vindicated in several places even after early evidence had declared it wrong. This one would have the least in common with why Mormons believe in the BoM, though while historicity may not be part of a Mormon’s testimony of the Book of Mormon, I wouldn’t discount their appeals to other intellectual evidence (improbability of JS authorship, chiasmus, etc.) altogether. Not that I agree with the validity of the evidence there, but I’m not falling into that “Mormons don’t ever base their testimonies on evidence” trap.”

    Again, these things can strengthen the faith of someone who has saving faith but in and of themselves do not create saving faith.

    A person can have all of the above experiences and believe the bible is true and still not be saved. Mormons are a prime example of this fact and that is the point we were trying to make in the thread and that is the obstacle we attempted to help Seth overcome.

  88. 90 Echo
    April 5, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I wasn’t trying to be a jerk, Out of concern for you I was trying to help you overcome an obstacle that you can’t see.

  89. April 5, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Echo, this makes no sense. You’ve contradicted half the things you said earlier.

    And now, from the sound of it, you’re basically in agreement with a lot of what I was trying to explain as a basis for faith in the first place.

    I can’t help but get the feeling that the only real objection you have to the faith I outlined is that I’m a Mormon. And since you’ve already made up your mind that Mormons can’t have saving faith, you were trying to invent reasons why mine must be deficient (and fell on your face in the process).

    If an Evangelical had come in here and given you the exact verbatim testimony I originally gave, you probably would have praised him for his faithfulness and encouraged him to keep testing the Bible in his own life.

    But, since I’m already a “child of Satan” in your mind, I guess what I say doesn’t count, right?

  90. 92 Echo
    April 5, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Seth said: “Echo, this makes no sense. You’ve contradicted half the things you said earlier.”

    I havn’t contradicted anything I have said. Your just misunderstanding or perhaps overlooking something I said.

    Seth said: “And now, from the sound of it, you’re basically in agreement with a lot of what I was trying to explain as a basis for faith in the first place.”

    What I am saying is that none of these things cause “saving” faith. My concern for the lost is to lead them to saving faith, not all faith saves.

    Seth said: “I can’t help but get the feeling that the only real objection you have to the faith I outlined is that I’m a Mormon. And since you’ve already made up your mind that Mormons can’t have saving faith, you were trying to invent reasons why mine must be deficient (and fell on your face in the process).”

    Your “faith” isn’t a “saving faith” Seth. I don’t object to Mormons, I love Mormons. I object to Mormonism because it decieves and destroys Mormons and leads them to Hell.

    You said: “But, since I’m already a “child of Satan” in your mind, I guess what I say doesn’t count, right?”

    I’ll be honest with you. I believe you have certainly been decieved by Satan into believing his teachings and doing his will. But I want to be your freind anyways and help you overcome.

    The difference between you and me is that your always looking for ways to bring harm to me.
    I am always looking for ways to bring good to you even though I know you only want to harm me.

  91. April 5, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    RLO ~ Do you mean to say that the Bible “prescribes” mean things regarding women, or that it “describes” mean things regarding women? I believe that the Bible “describes” many types of behaviors that it does not necessarily “prescribe.”

    I think such distinctions are highly debatable. For example, I see Genesis 3:16b as descriptive; many a complementarian (and the Mormon church, for that matter) sees it as prescriptive. The text itself does not make its meaning clear, so either position can be argued.

    I don’t want to derail the thread into a discussion of women and the Bible though. I think Glenn Miller’s Women in the Heart of God series is a great online resource for that. I was just being honest with listing things in the Bible that have troubled me over the years.

    For a lot of the other difficulties in the Bible, I’m satisfied with apologetic explanations for them. Some of them I’m not, but based on the Bible’s track record, I’m willing to shelve those difficulties for now and trust that the text will be vindicated at a later point.

    I would say I certainly don’t dismiss the subjective, where it relates to the effects that the scriptures have in my life. I just don’t believe that the subjective is the best measure of the truthfulness of the scriptures.

    Why not? You said it yourself earlier, “it is the Holy Spirit, working through the word itself, who does the converting.” Encounters with the Spirit of God are some of the most subjective things I’ve ever experienced; they’re also by far the most powerful things that have convinced me of the truthfulness of my faith.

    And personally, I wouldn’t relegate my experiences with the Spirit to “good feelings.” It’s a lot more than that, and sometimes the feelings are far from “good.”

    Echo ~ This is fine and well to strengthen true saving faith but as you can see from Mormons having the same kind of testimony with the BOM, it doesn’t create saving faith.

    You have got to be kidding me, Echo. Did you honestly just say that the witness of the Holy Spirit cannot lead to saving faith? (!) If the power of the Holy Spirit cannot lead a person to saving faith, I don’t know what can.

    You really are arguing yourself into a hole here in trying to find fault with Seth’s reasons for belief, and I haven’t seen you offer anything on this thread remotely resembling an “objective” reason for accepting the truthfulness of the Bible. “Because Jesus said it was true in the Bible” isn’t an objective reason, it’s a circular one.

  92. 94 RLO
    April 5, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Ms. Jack Meyers;

    “…I see Genesis 3:16b as descriptive…”

    As do I – in context, a descriptive of the consequences of the fall. I suppose some might consider it prescriptive from 1 Corinthians 11:3, (“Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man…”) though I don’t personally see these two referring to the same thing. I recognize that “man as the head of woman” isn’t a really popular thought in today’s world, so thoroughly tainted by sin. Yet, how happy both genders would be if each perfectly fulfilled their Godly assigned gender roles. Husbands would never lord it over their wives, and wives would gladly serve their husbands as helpers with contentment. Unfortunately, neither gender today fulfills their roles in God pleasing manners (which may very well be the descriptive in the account of Genesis 3:16b).

    I would say I certainly don’t dismiss the subjective, where it relates to the effects that the scriptures have in my life. I just don’t believe that the subjective is the best measure of the truthfulness of the scriptures.

    “Why not? … ”

    I think what I am trying to express is that the scriptures are either true, or not true, and this is entirely independent of whether I or anyone else “feels” they are true, or not true. The scriptures are objectively true, or not true. The scriptures have, or do not have, an effect on it’s readers, which can be subjectively described. But once we rely on subjectivity as the measure of the truthfulness of scripture, then truth itself becomes subjective. What do we then make of two opposing subjective conclusions? What then is truth? “What’s true for me, is not necessarily true for you.” We’ve gutted truth of it’s essence.

    “Why not? … ”

    Because whose subjective experience should rule, in determining the truthfulness of scripture, when two subjective experiences are at odds?

    “And personally, I wouldn’t relegate my experiences with the Spirit to “good feelings.” It’s a lot more than that, and sometimes the feelings are far from “good.” ”

    I would agree. Sometimes we must experience the terrors of the law, before we can be comforted by the gospel.

    Again, I would say, it is not anyone’s “feelings” good, bad or indifferent, that determine the truthfulness of the scriptures.

    RLO

  93. April 5, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    RLO ~ I subscribe to an egalitarian interpretation of scripture. I don’t believe in God-ordained immutable gender roles any more than I believe in God-ordained slavery. And I don’t serve my husband; we serve each other. For more information, feel free to visit Christians for Biblical Equality.

    The scriptures are objectively true, or not true.

    And how does one determine that the Scriptures are true in an “objective” manner? That is the question you and Echo have consistently failed to answer even while finding fault with the methods utilized by myself and Seth for being too “subjective.” But if you’d like to try again, I’m all ears.

  94. 96 Echo
    April 5, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    MS Jack Myers

    “Echo ~ This is fine and well to strengthen true saving faith but as you can see from Mormons having the same kind of testimony with the BOM, it doesn’t create saving faith.

    You have got to be kidding me, Echo. Did you honestly just say that the witness of the Holy Spirit cannot lead to saving faith? (!) If the power of the Holy Spirit cannot lead a person to saving faith, I don’t know what can.”

    Do you believe the BOM is true?

  95. April 5, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Do you believe the BOM is true?

    Nope.

    I do believe the theology and sermons in the Book of Mormon are largely consistent with 19th century Protestant doctrine (with some exceptions) and that the Holy Spirit could witness to that truthfulness where it is found.

    But I do not believe races of Hebrew people known as Nephites and Lamanites ever existed in the Americas.

  96. 98 RLO
    April 6, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Ms. Jack Meyers;

    I don’t believe the concepts of biblical equality and immutable gender roles are mutually exclusive, though mankind’s sin-stained perspective often views them as such.

    Nor do I believe slavery was a God-ordained institution. But that’s a whole ‘nuther topic. I don’t think the existence of biblical laws governing slavery any more condone slavery, than biblical laws governing divorce condone divorce, or any other biblical law addressing any other sin, condone any of those other sins.

    ” … And I don’t serve my husband; we serve each other… ”

    If that’s the case, well than good for you, and your husband! You both may be closer to the biblical principle of service than you realize. I believe that if both partners were to perfectly fulfilled the responsibilities of their God-given roles, they would each find themselves tripping over the other in efforts to please their spouse.

    “And how does one determine that the Scriptures are true in an “objective” manner? That is the question you and Echo have consistently failed to answer even while finding fault with the methods utilized by myself and Seth for being too “subjective.” But if you’d like to try again, I’m all ears.”

    What I have meant by “objective” is simply allowing the factual evidence provided in the scriptures themselves to speak to the truthfulness of the Bible, rather than judging the truthfulness of the Bible from my own subjective feelings about it. The factual evidence I refer to are the numerous Messianic prophecies revealed, and the fulfillment of those Messianic prophecies in the person of Jesus. Perhaps some won’t consider that an “objective” approach. They may call that circular reasoning (the Bible is true because the Bible says it’s true). Or they may disparagingly call it “self-validating.” But the Bible is unique among writings in that it was revealed over a period of some 1,600 years for this purpose – that it could reveal prophecies to us, and then validate itself by subsequently fulfilling those prophecies. For me, this is forceful evidence of its truthfulness

    Do the scriptures make me “feel?” Absolutely. And I don’t dismiss that. We know the Holy Spirit works through his word. But do my feelings validate the truthfulness of the Bible? If this were so, then what’s to stop someone else’s feeling from invalidating that same truthfulness? My feelings are valuable when speaking to the effectiveness of the Bible in my life. But the scriptures themselves speak to the truthfulness of the scriptures in a way my subjective experiences do not. The Bible is not true because I say it is. The Bible is true because it says it is. And the proof it provides for this is compelling.

    ” … even while finding fault with the methods utilized by myself and Seth … ”

    I hope you will characterize what I have said here, not as fault-finding, but simply as the expression of a viewpoint that may differ from yours.

    And I hope this helps to clear up any confusion I may have caused.

    RLO

  97. April 6, 2010 at 4:00 am

    RLO ~ If that’s the case, well than good for you, and your husband! You both may be closer to the biblical principle of service than you realize.

    Well, it’s sort of like this: a few weeks ago, my husband said something (jokingly) about how I needed to submit to him, in reference to Ephesians 5. I replied, “You can have an Ephesians 5 wife just as soon as I get an Ephesians 6 slave.” He said, “Sweetheart, I am the Ephesians 6 slave.”

    I think it works.

    The factual evidence I refer to are the numerous Messianic prophecies revealed, and the fulfillment of those Messianic prophecies in the person of Jesus.

    I’ve always found prophecy to be an extremely fickle creature to try and use for the convincing of outsiders. The skeptical response is typically:

    * The fulfilled prophecies were written after the fact—and since we don’t have any manuscripts dating to before the fulfillment, we have know way of objectively knowing this isn’t wrong.
    * The prophecies were self-fulfilled. For example, Jesus probably rode into Jerusalem on a colt because he knew it was predicted in the Scriptures, knowing that he was fulfilling that prophecy.
    * The prophecies did not come true. This is arguably a problem in several cases: Jonah, Ezekiel 12, and predictions all over the New Testament regarding the second coming of Christ.
    * The prophecies were a coincidence.
    * The prophecies were vague and could be applied to any number of people and events in an effort to show they were fulfilled.

    I think the prophecy in Daniel about the date of the coming of the Messiah is one of the few that can be used to build a case for the faith. But it’s really one of the few.

    The Bible is not true because I say it is. The Bible is true because it says it is.

    Like I said earlier, I just find this reasoning to be circular.

    I’ll never expect an outsider to be swayed by my subjective experiences, especially not when taken alone. But if someone asks me why I believe in the Bible, I’m going to talk about them. And I hope that my subjective experiences along with the evidence that I consider to be more compelling and objective work together to bring the gospel to the person not just in words, but in power (1 Thessalonians 1:5).

    Anyways, it’s been pleasant talking with you, RLO.

  98. 101 Echo
    April 6, 2010 at 4:44 am

    Ms. Jack Meyers

    I agree with you that The Holy Spirit leads a person to saving faith through the word. But that’s not what I was talking about. I am talking about this burning in the bosom that Mormons have to believe the BOM is true.

  99. April 6, 2010 at 6:28 am

    Echo, C. S. Lewis said “Nothing can deceive unless it bears a plausible resemblance to reality.” That Mormons have something that sounds remarkably like the witness of the Holy Spirit is a poor reason for distancing ourselves from the real thing.

    And as I said earlier, I’m not even adverse to the idea that Mormons are getting some portion of the real thing in their testimonies of the Book of Mormon. I just think they’re misinterpreting what they get.

  100. 103 Wyoming
    April 9, 2010 at 6:48 am

    I received remarkable feelings and insight directing me to the Book of John in direct answer to my preparation for an LDS mission. By that same Spirit I have learned that I was to serve a mission, that God answers the prayers of all his Children and that the spiritual experiences of Catholics, Protestants and Mormons are real.

    I have seen many people pray specifically regarding the Book of Mormon’s truthfulness (not its inspiration) and receive personal revelation (intelligence, clarity, feelings of the Spirit). Does Heavenly Father give us a stone in response to our request for fish? Perhaps he is just playing with us because we do live in a Calvinist reality and all Mormon’s are condemned to hell anyway?


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