Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Does the Thought of Added Revelation Make You Angry---or Grateful? Video Insight on a Key Mormon Doctrine

LDS Apostle, Elder Jeffrey Holland, makes a salient point about God's works and words--neither of have ceased.

33 comments:

Jeremy said...

Elder Holland's talks at General Conference are progressively becoming my favorite talks, and the ones that I look forward to the most. In the last two years, each of his GC talks have been outstanding.

Dan and Wendy said...

In a world where several different churches use the same source material (the Bible) to say they're right and others are wrong, I'm grateful that a loving Heavenly Father decided to give us more of His word to try and straighten things out.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, it makes me angry. The coming of our savior was the fulfillment of the Revelation, and any sort of vision or prophecy that seeks to improve upon or change the covenant our Lord Jesus Christ made with mankind is mild heresy. No one is claiming that personal revelation to better help us understand and practice as Christians cannot come, but why would the Father send his son to die, if he was just going to change it later? Why? What is the point? Someone please explain that to me, because it's the one point of LDS that I honestly do not comprehend.

LuckyMatt said...

Anonymous,

The Bible has been interpreted so differently by so many different churches, different peoples, etc., that the glorious truths in it have been rewritten into over 38,000 different Christian sects (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations).

When the Savior was on earth, he started one church, and only one church (see Ephesians 4:5). This church, of course, had geographically divided congregations, but was united by common authority held by Him, and after His ascension to heaven, His apostles. The drift of His divine church into schisms and factions and eventually the fractured state of Christianity today is ample evidence that more revelation/clarification is needed to properly understand the Bible. 38,000 different opinions cannot all be right.

Modern-day revelation through living prophets does not "change" anything that Jesus taught. The change has already happened. It started with the martyrdom of the apostles and continues to this day, outside of the divine channels of revelation. Modern-day revelation simply restores the Gospel back to what Jesus and His disciples originally taught, undoing the "changes" that men have wrought. To those who would prefer the Lord's direct, unchanged revelation above the interpolations of man, modern-day revelation is a wonderful gift.

Mormanity said...

Dear "Honestly Angry,"

Is there any scriptural reason why you think revelation had to stop with the coming of Christ? That's when revelation appeared to really pick up. After Christ came and ascended to heaven, revelation kept on pouring out to teach and guide the Church and the world. It wasn't to change the covenant, but to guide people in it. Changes did happen, though, such as the change in scope for preaching that opened up missionary work to the Gentile (Acts 10 and beyond), plus guidance on many issues of policy and practice. The whole book of Revelation in the Bible was given long after Christ came, and while it deals with many aspects of our covenant relationship to Christ and has some things that Martin Luther and others didn't like (perhaps all that works-related talk of keeping the commandments and so forth), I think we should revere it as scripture and not reject it because it came after the coming of Christ. Would you agree?

If by chance you are willing to accept that God has the right to speak to prophets and apostles before, during, and even after the coming of Christ, could I then ask why, in principle, you would be angry at the thought that He might choose to speak today also?

By what authority do humans - in spite of their advanced religious degrees and large congregations that they pastor - dare say that God cannot speak any more? I hope you'll consider that question and realize that the Bible actually speaks of prophecy and revelation continuing even in the end times. Thus, those who have taught you to anger at the concept of modern revelation have done a great disservice and have done abuse to the Word of God.

Anonymous said...

Mormanity-

I believe the Catechism states it best...

"In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son." Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father's one, perfect and unsurpassable Word. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one. St. John of the Cross, among others, commented strikingly on Hebrews 1:1-2:

In giving us his Son, his only Word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word - and he has no more to say. . . because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His Son. Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behavior but also of offending him, by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty.

Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations".

That isn't to say I don't believe in further communication...in fact..

'The Father's self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. And the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness."'

I'm not angry at the idea of continual and eternal communication of man with our God, merely at the vision the LDS church was founded upon- because I believe it to fall under the "further novelty" category, and it saddens me to see so many people that would rather believe in the visions of a man than just accept the final Word of God. I don't need more revelation than my Savior dying for me.

-Honestly Angry

Anonymous said...

Paul wrote about this to the people of Corinth:

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

The Savior undoubtedly intended that there would be prophets in his church. The ancient apostles were prophets and received revelation.

The church tried to replace those apostles as they died. The first replacement was after the death of Judas. Ultimately, because they were so far flung, the enemies of the church were able to extinguish the holy apostleship leaving only bishops. The bishops had authority over the local congregations, but that authority was derived from the apostles.

With no apostles or prophets left, revelation ceased and doctrine was no longer received by revelation but was determined by committees, conferences, and councils. This was foretold by prophecy when He told an ancient prophet:

"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first . . ."

With no one authorized to receive revelation, political councils replaced revelation. Prophets are essential.

Even before the advent of Christ, God told one of his prophets.

"Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."

It doesn't say that these things will be revealed to counsels. Counsels don't reveal the truth, they decide "opinion" by consensus.

With respect, what you quote is exactly what you are railing about. There is no revelation that was received in scripture that says that revelation would cease. That was an opinion of a committee that decided that it was true.

TL

Mormanity said...

Honestly Angry, it's OK to not accept Joseph Smith as a real prophet. Yes, if all our revelations are made up, then that's not good. But I'm asking about the principle of modern revelation, not whether or not you're ready to accept Joseph Smith as a real prophet. What basis is there for anger at the very idea of God speaking to modern prophets and apostles as in the original Church of Jesus Christ?

Regarding Joseph, though, I will say that our message is one of RESTORING the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not changing what Christ revealed. Christ taught baptism by immersion by those who believed--today much of the world has changed that to infant baptism by sprinkling. That was restored by God through a prophet, not "changed" or "improved upon" by man.

Christ gave us a Church with apostles and prophets to lead it with authority directly from him. That was lost long ago, resulting in Churches without apostolic leadership, without prophetic guidance, and without a reasonable claim to priesthood authority from Jesus Christ. The Priesthood and the offices were restored by God through the prophet Joseph Smith. Not reworked by man, but restored by God.

Christ taught reverence for the Temple, an institution so important that it is where He will return to for the glorious revelation of the 2nd Coming (Malachi 3:1-2), and a place where saints will work day and night in the Millennium serving God (Rev. 7:15). The temple concept was lost to Christianity for centuries, but has now been restored. Not by man, but by God, acting through a prophet as in the past.

We can say the same for the Gift of the Holy Ghost, baptism for the dead, missionary work, and other topics: there has been a glorious Restoration of what has been lost. Part of that restoration includes restoring ongoing revelation, as in the past.

Mormanity said...

Dear Honestly Angry, Part 2:

Christ spoke of future prophets that he would send and that would be persecuted (Matt. 24:34). Rev. 11 speaks of two prophets in the last days who will be, uh, prophesying (Rev. 11:6). So I'm rather uncomfortable with the claim of those who reject the notion of modern prophecy. I can understand why leaders of churches who have long been without such gifts would find excuses for this problem, but the problem is not that God cannot speak nor that He does not wish to speak. The problem historically has been that people do not wish to listen. This is what got the apostles killed off in the first place.

That problem of people becoming angry at living prophets and apostles still abounds. Indeed, some will be angry at the very notion of prophets, apostles, and a restoration of heavenly gifts such as prophecy. But however honestly angry they are, however well-crafted the rhetoric against modern prophecy is, they are terribly wrong.

This is part of why it's so exciting to be a Latter-day Saint. We're part of the really good news: God speaks, God acts today as He did in the past, and there has been a divine Restoration of the fullness of the Church of Jesus Christ. Now if that were true, wouldn't it be wonderful? Wouldn't it be something you wouldn't want to be angry over, even if it painfully challenged some cherished traditions? It is true, and it's really worth investigating.

Mormanity said...

"I don't need more revelation than my Savior dying for me." Can you explain that a little more clearly? Does that mean you don't need the revelations God gave to Peter after Christ died? Or the things that Christ taught after His resurrection? Of that any scripture written after His death should be rejected? I'm just wondering if you can clarify just what that sweeping statement really means?

Do the teachings on marriage, the Sabbath day, tithing, baptism, morality, missionary work, and so forth no longer really matter?

I thought Christ said that man should live by "every word of God," not just a few of the big ones that we like. How do we live by every word of God if we tell Him we don't need any more words, thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, we're just mincing words here. I did not mean to imply that I do not believe in further communication of our Lord with his Church on Earth, merely the idea of added revelation onto the actual Revelation (big Catholic word there) of which Jesus' death was the summation.

The way I view it is that the Word of God is final in the act of the Son sacrificing himself for us. There need be no restoration of the covenant- for it and he never left us. This is the final "Revelation" of God's covenant with man- that does not mean it is clear, however. Private revelation with the Lord is apparent in the saints, and it is up to the divine power of the Catholic church to determine whether or not these messages belong to the deposit of faith.

Now, the Apostles. Jesus, being the summation of the entire Revelation of God, passed on his authority to the apostles to pass on the Gospel. HOWEVER, the Apostles passed on the authority through the Holy Spirit. It is with the blessing of the Holy Spirit who is the source of man's grace, that the apostolic tradition was continued. The writings of the Apostles and creation of the New Testament was inspired by the Holy Spirit and is therefore "inspired scripture" and goes into the despositeum fidei of along with "inspired tradition". You claim that the LDS church seeks to restore "traditions" of the Christian church, but you confuse Apostolic tradition with ecclesial. The trappings of a modern church do not change the Christian Traditions alive in the Catholic church. We have good works, we have communication with the Lord, we have missionaries. These traditions were entrusted by Jesus himself to his Apostles, and from his apostles to the bishops- down to the Pope today. The church is a living teaching entity blessed and helped by the Holy Spirit who protects its magisterium, its authority as the Bride of Christ.

Now isn't that exciting? To be part of the greatest and oldest Christian tradition? To be a member of a church that is actively protected by the Holy Spirit and continues to promote Christian values in our modern day through communication (which is different from Revelation) with the Lord?

I'm not insulted or angry at the idea of further revelation, direction, or interaction with the Lord. I'm angry at the idea of further Revelation- as in- any revelation that changes or usurps the summation of God's Revelation to Man, which I believe the Book of Mormon claims to do. And that is honestly what I thought we were talking about specifically- the Revelation left by Joseph Smith that does in fact change what is left in the Bible (or adds on to it, depending on where you stand). For example, I definitely believe in the Pope's ability to speak infallibly only ex cathedra (From the Chair of Peter). However, I do not believe in a Revelation that changes the Tradition, Scripture (KJV? No.) or magisterium of the Catholic church.

It has always been one of my favorite things about the LDS church that they do believe and take guidance from their church leaders on modern issues and believe it to be divinely inspired. I do the same thing. But yes, the idea of adding onto the big Revelation...still makes me angry.

jackg said...

Anonymous,

You will find that the Bible is not authoritative for Mormons. Without agreeing that it is, these discussions are rather pointless.

Blessings...

Mormanity said...

JackG - Of course it's authoritative for us - it's one of our standard works. God, however, is whom we worship and look to as the final authority on all matters, not only a text that has been translated and printed by humans.

Honestly Angry - I'm still struggling through all the generalities here. Can you give me an example of something in the Book of Mormon that changes the message of Christ or the big revelation of the Atonement? Let's get into specifics instead of the general charges. What teachings or verses, for example, in the Book of Mormon justify your anger?

jackg said...

Jeff,

I see you're still trying to bend the issue by implying the Bible is worshiped by Christians. When you attempt to denigrade the Bible by making references that it was written by men, you do two things: 1. you reveal that you do not believe that the Bible is an inspired work of God through a fallen humanity (His choice to do so); 2. you forget that your additional books were written by men. So, I really don't see how you think you have an argument against the Bible because God used humanity to bring forth His Word.

You see, Jeff, if the Bible were indeed authoritative for you, you would measure the teaching of the LDS Church against it. When that happens, you can only conclude that Mormonism teaches a different gospel, worships a different god, and is filled with heretical teachings. That's what it means for the Bible to be authoritative. Your attempt to make it something Christians worship in lieu of God is absolutely ridiculous. We could say that you worship JS. Putting a false label on him as a prophet doesn't change that. So, to say that the Bible is authoritative is not akin to worshiping it. If it were, why do you start off your attempt at apologetics by stating it's authoritative for Mormons? You are blinded by your own arrogance, Jeff, and you are leading a lot of people down the same road JS has led you all--the path of heresies and idol worship.

I wasn't planning on engaging in a dialogue with you, Jeff. I only wanted to let anonymous know that because the Bible isn't authoritative for Mormons (despite your claims to the contrary; in fact, you spent an entire response to be on another thread defending your position on why the Bible isn't authoritative for you).

So, argue all you want on how authoritative the Bible is for you. Following the teachings of a false prophet reveals that when you make such a statement that you are not exactly being forthright.

Peace...

jackg said...

In rereading my post, I realize I left an incomplete sentence after the parenthetical phrase. I wanted to finish my thought by saying: "such dialogues are generally pointless."

Thanks for providing the proof, Jeff.

Peace...

jackg said...

I find it interesting that Mr. Holland can stand there and say that modern revelation doesn't discredit older revelation. Well, it seems that even within the brief period of Mormonism that is exactly what modern revelation has done; otherwise, you would all be FLDS and practicing polygamy today. Mormon revelation can be described as line subtract a line and add a line, then subtract a line, again. Otherwise, you would all still be professing Adam/God doctrine.

I have an experience with personal revelation, which seems to be what you all agree upon. I remember confessing to God that I didn't know if the church was true, or if JS was a prophet, or if the BOM was true. I was on my knees, weeping, because I wanted to know the truth. I was inspired to get up from my knees and open God's Word, and my eyes fell upon Isaiah 43:10: "Before me was no god formed, neither shall there be any after me." Right there in that moment, God gave me personal revelation that changed my life. From then on, I no longer believed the Lorenzo Snow couplet, "As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become." It doesn't matter how you try to spin the Isaiah passage in an attempt to make it fit Mormon theology, God spoke to me that day when I was honest with Him and admitted that I didn't know anything. So, yes, I believe in personal revelation, but I also believe one must measure any spiritual experience against the biblical text. My experience stands up to the biblical text. The truth I believe is found in the biblical text. Mormons can't say that; in fact, Mormons need to come up with some sort of conspiracy theory in order to relegate the Bible to a mere historical document that they love. They defer to leaders who are not called of God; otherwise, they would preach Good News and not a message of works and burdens. But, alas, Mormons don't use the Bible authoritatively, despite your assertions, Jeff, that they do. Mr. Holland doesn't understand the purpose of God's Word, the Bible, and that it is inerrant with regard to salvation history. He operates from faulty presuppositions, such as God is not able or willing to preserve His Word. A supposed "Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ" doesn't understand the basic premise of the Bible: man is sinful and in need of a Redeemer, and God Himself emptied Himself and took on the form of man, and died--obedient to death--so that we might live if we but believe in Him. That message is biblically clear. There is no need for any other purported "testament" of Jesus Christ. His work was finished on the cross. It is to Him we need to look, and not to leaders who have lived lives of being misled themselves. Mr. Holland speaks without authority, and he is misleading a lot of good people.

Jeff, you ask if added revelation makes us angry or grateful. I would say that God has revealed a lot to humanity through the early church fathers, a lot of insight. But, with regard to your specific focus--I have to say that what your church espouses is not even in the discussion since it is not revelation. Polygamy to get into heaven? God was once a man? Man will become gods? Works merit us something? Temple worship after the need for temples was abolished with the death of Jesus--the ultimate sacrifice? I know you have a lot of responses to my questions. But, I don't really want to start another ride on the merry-go-round. I just pray those who are not LDS and reading this site will see that what you call revelation is not revelation, and that everything a person needs to discover the way to salvation is found in the Bible--and that Way is Jesus Christ Himself.

Blessings...

Anonymous said...

Mormanity- The very idea of the Book of Mormon changes the message of revelation left by Jesus. The idea that the Savior was sacrificed only for his church to flounder and the authority to leave Earth is the premise that many other Christians find distressing about LDS. I reiterate my question- Why in all of his omnipotence- would God sacrifice his son only for the church he left as his legacy to be rendered illegitimate by the leaving of authority?

By claiming apostolic authority and the grace of the Holy Spirit departed from the church on Earth- so much so that there needs to be a "restoration"- you change the Revelation God made with Jesus' death. It was through that death he established his Christian church on Earth, NOT through the arrival of the BoM.

I'm not going to give specific quotes from the BoM, because it is the very IDEA of the BoM that changes the Revelation made by God.

Here is my view of things:

God spoke through the prophets and left his final Word in the Death of Jesus Christ. Through him, he established his one true Church one Earth- which lives on today in the Catholic church and to lesser degrees other Christian churches.

You claim that Jesus died, but his true church was lost because the authority was withdrawn from Earth.

And you're not seeing how that view changes the Revelation? Why why would God allow the authority to be lost? Especially as it is a blessing of the Holy Spirit- and NOT susceptible to the actions of man.

LuckyMatt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LuckyMatt said...

Jackg, your intentional misrepresentation of what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches, and what its members believe, is rather appalling. Just yesterday in my LDS ward we had a Sunday School lesson about the Ten Commandments (in the Bible, you know). I was reminded of what it means to "bear false witness." Your words are a textbook example of this.

There are many others who have commented on this forum and added meaningful thought and insight into their belief systems (including Angry Anonymous here, despite my disagreement with him/her), which have been useful in helping me to think deeper and understand other Christian denominations better. You seem to have a tendency to misrepresent and tear others down. I'm not sure how you think you are following the Savior by telling the world that I don't believe in the Bible--when in fact, I love and cherish the Bible and read it nearly every day. I know the Bible is true! Feel free to tell us all how you feel about the Bible, but please don't put words in my mouth.

You can accuse me of anything you want--you can keep bearing false witness against me, you can mock my beliefs with straw-man arguments, you can lie and deceive others into thinking I believe differently than I really do. But all this doesn't change my abiding testimony that Jesus Christ is my living Savior and Redeemer, the author and finisher of my faith, and my only hope for salvation. None of your railing accusations will change the truth of God's word and the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the only church on the earth sanctioned by the living Christ with divine authority and a living prophet of God.

Carey said...

All I know is that when Jesus comes back and starts speaking again, I'm not going to listen. After all, I have a Bible, which contains everything we possibly need to know. So I'm not even interested in anything He'll have to say because I have all that I need right here in my Bible. And if he starts to correct anything said in the bible, I'm just going to tell him He's wrong, and he doesn't know what he's talking about, and He should just go back and read His bible.

Anonymous said...

JackG- I will admit that I have found several LDS apologists to take scripture out of context in order to justify their version of events. However, I will also admit that all religions do the exact same thing. Personally, my scriptures (using a non-KJV Bible here) read differently than theirs, I don't hesitate to use what I consider the proper translation to defend my stance in an argument.

I will also say that as a non-LDS, it does appear that many "revelations" given to the founders of the LDS church were self-serving (ie polygamy, etc). However, one must concede that revelation is used by the Holy Spirit to help the Church live a Christian life during its particular time period, which is why I don't like to focus on the past questionable doctrine from LDS founders to make my case against the validity of their scripture. After all, it is true that polygamy was practiced in the Bible.

Conceding those points to you, I must say that I utterly believe in good works. It is through God's grace (which he freely and lovingly gives) that make good works possible and imperative! Salvation comes from the grace given to man which in turn enables and charges man to act with Christ's love upon the world. Go ahead, use scripture against that argument, but ultimately all biblical quotes (and I've read them all) fail to say "faith alone".

1 Corinthians 13:13
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Love is the greatest, not faith. Through God's grace we are asked to go forth and act with God's love upon our fellow man- be it sharing the word (I'm looking at you, LDS missionaries), or helping our fellow man (Catholic charities).


James 2:14-26
14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

I'm not accusing you of inaction, it is obvious you are a strong Christian, and act as such. I'm just addressing the fallacy that man is saved merely because he believes in Jesus Christ. As my LDS best friend now-missionary used to say, "The Devil knows Jesus is the savior, hasn't saved him one bit." Ultimately, if you truly believe in Christ as your savior, you will act like it and hold the commandments and (for me) participate in the Sacraments.

And, for the record, every LDS I've ever met has a very high regard for the Bible as sacred text. The only thing I question about their belief in it is a sneaky "But it was written after the Great Apostasy, yes?"

-Honest

ps, Carey-....are you just missing the point? I'm really not sure whom that comment was aimed at, but it's mocking tone isn't really helping your argument. This is why I like Mormanity, very intelligent and enlightening conversation, even if we disagree.

Mormanity said...

Honestly A., you raise an interesting point. If God is omnipotent, how could there be an apostasy in which His Son and His Church was rejected? God, in His infinite grace and wisdom, has given us the most terrible gift of agency, allowing US to choose whether we follow Christ or prefer to mock and crucify Him. He allowed us to choose to listen to the apostles and prophets He set in His Church, or to reject and kill them. If authorized leaders are rejected and apostolic offices lost by the choice of many humans, does that make God weak - or is it that humans abuse their freedom and choose evil?

Much of Christianity endured in spite of worldly powers, intrigues, some incontrovertible loss of scripture, and the loss of apostles, prophets, and some ordinances and basic doctrines. The choice of humanity to drive out so much of the original Church in favor of Hellenistic wisdom and the lures of the world is no flaw on God's part but on ours, and led to a prophesied state of human rebellion that would lead to a famine in terms of hearing the true world of God (Amos 8:11-12) and the need for a Restoration, which Paul described as the time of refreshing of all things (Acts 3:19).

You'll disagree, of course, but let's get back to your objection to the Book of Mormon. It was written over centuries, ending in 400 A.D., long before Joseph Smith offended the world by reporting that a God has called him to help bring about the Restoration. I can understand your offense toward Joseph, but as for the Book of Mormon, it is a second witness of Jesus Christ, affirming all that the Bible teaches of Christ and providing powerful independent testimony of His role as Savior and Redeemer.

Apart from your offense at the message of Restoration, does the existence per se of new scripture, serving a role of reinforcing and confirming the message of the Bible, inherently inspire divine wrath? Is the very idea of additional scripture truly so vile, or is it that it is simply so strongly tied to a particular man and Church that makes it, like everything else about that Church, so objectionable?

Consider this hypothetical scenario: John the Revelator was whisked away, say, to the New World instead of Patmos, and his book of Revelation was written on the shores of the New World on gold plates, unknown to the modern world until, say, last week when scholars dug it up and translated his Aramaic or Greek into English. So until last week we would have had a New Testament that was without the book of Revelation. Now his perfectly preserved undoubtedly authentic document is found and accurately translated, preserved as scripture for our time. Would you be angry at those who proposed adding this to the canon? Or at least cherishing it as a sacred writing from a true prophet and apostle? I'm guessing you'd be OK with that, and if so, then I'm glad - and, forgive me now for saying so, maybe someday you won't be as angry as you say you are, for I suspect that if you give the Book of Mormon a chance, your life will be made even more abundant and joyous in the faith of Jesus Christ.

Sadly, I asked such a question to a devout Christian friend of mine, who surprised me by saying that of course he would be obligated to reject it, for if there could be any new scripture, then the Bible would not be "authoritative." I think he used "authoritative" in the same sense of JackG (am I right, Jack?), meaning that it is whole, perfect, complete, and inerrant, thus by [nonbiblical] definition requiring that no further sacred text could ever be added. By the way, Jack, which translation of the Bible do you use? I'm still struggling to determine if the different meanings of the NEB are more inerrant than those of the NIV or KJV. ;)

As for my Christian friend's reaction to my scenario, how sad that the words of Christ and his prophets might be rejected because of a human construct about what the Bible must be when the Bible never says anything of the sort.

Anonymous said...

Mormanity-

First of all, this discussion has led me to better understand why LDS members believe in the Great Apostasy- and I thank you for that. On my end here, I'm going to keep on believing that God's church on Earth was kept alive because of God's blessing and the interaction of the faithful with the Holy Spirit. I feel there was a quality over quantity type deal with the early Church, you feel me? :). Plus, I got Daniel 7:13-14 to back me up.

As to my objection to the BoM- no, it is not just to Joseph's finding of it. There are actual key dogmatic differences that I object to within the BoM, but I respect it as I do the Koran- a holy text used by another religion that is not without merit. There are many good things in the BoM, just not whole truths to my understanding.

That aside, no, I am not against new scripture.

Addressing your scenario- if new scripture were to be found, and verified, I would seek to accept it. This of course, would be a very tricky thing if it actually happened. Even in the bringing together of the Bible itself, there were many different versions/writings of the same events. Also, if this scripture were to drastically contradict traditional scripture, it would have to be taken with a grain of salt. But another TRUE irrefutable testimony of Jesus Christ? No, I would not seek to deny it. In fact, the very opposite. I think the more you engage in conversation with Catholics, the more you'll find our exact willingness to embrace scripture. It's why we still have a more complete Bible. Also, we have the largest library of text that has been very much divinely inspired- much of it penned by our own saints. For example, the Rosary was not formalized until the 16th century, but you'll find its a cornerstone of many Catholic's prayer life.

I find it dismaying that some would dismiss new evidence of our Savior based solely on the premise that there can be no new scripture, rather than on the merit of the new scripture itself. That is not the attitude to take when seeking to be in further communion with our Lord. One of the many reasons I love the Catholic church is that it is in constant and eternal communication with God, who continues to guide it and interact with us to this day. It is our belief that the church and the Bible are two sides of the same coin, so to speak. The Church has authority, and as the Bible does not prohibit adding into it, there is no conflict with new scripture if the Church receives the divine knowledge that this new scripture is true. I know you feel the same way about your church leaders and their communion with God, and we can empathize in the fact that it would be a lonely faith journey to believe nothing new could ever be inspired from God.

And another tidbit on LDS and Bibles, my best friend (who is currently away on a mission) asked me if I wanted to read the Bible again along with her starting in 20ll when she returns. Her exact sentiments were that she wanted to focus on the BoM during her mission, but felt called to read the Bible in full to better grow as a Christian. So, JackG, more evidence for the LDS liking, nay, really really liking Bibles. ;).

-Honest

jackg said...

Anonymous,

I believe in works, but not as a way to salvation; rather, as the product of salvation.

LuckyMatt,

I'm getting used to the false accusations of misrepresenting LDS doctrine. As for learning more about the Christian faith: that's not the purpose of the dialogue we're having here. We're talking eternal consequences, and I'm merely trying to expose the lies of JS et al. Test his teachings against the biblical text, and you will easily find that he was nothing more than a false prophet.

Carey,

It seems that your attempt at being funny merely shows that you don't understand that the Bible was given to us from God. To mock it in that way only shows that it's not authoritative for you. Oh, you'll probably say something like God is more authoritative, and you'll be somewhat correct. But, the main point is that God is the One Who revealed His Word to us in what we call the Bible. So, unless you're willing to say that God doesn't have the power or authority to preserve His revealed Word--or that His revealed Word is somehow not His Word, to mock His Word is foolish.

Jeff,

When I say "authoritative," I am talking about using the Bible as the measuring stick for all purported "new revelation." It must line up with God's revealed and established Word. Any argument to the contrary merely reveals how unauthoritative it is for Mormons. BTW, I have about six different translations that I read and use for exegetical study. ;)

Interesting, I see nobody commented on my personal experience that led me out of Mormonism. You can experience the same thing and be led out of the bondage that is called Mormonism. You see, I don't have anything against you as people. It's the false teachings of a false prophet and false church that I am exposing, and I'm doing it because of my love for the Mormons. I know you'll question my motive, but it's the same reason you send missionaries out across the globe to teach them that the Bible can't be trusted as God's Word, and that there is a "new" book that is the most perfect book on the face of the earth--and it's not the Bible. So, go ahead and spread what I believe to be heresies, and I will do my best to expose the lies in hopes that Mormons will be redeemed as I have been redeemed, and come to know the blessed assurance of salvation--that one is truly justified by faith and not by works.

Blessings...

Dan and Wendy said...

The LDS church's view of the Bible.

Creek said...

jackg-

It's interesting that YOUR personal revelation from God took you into "born again" Protestantism while MY personal revelation from God took me away from "born again" Protestantism.

God must have a great sense of humor.

Creek said...

jackg- <>

Carey wasn't mocking the Bible. He was mocking the Protestant notion that the Bible is all we need. Certainly God has the power to do anything he wants. He also has the grace to give us free agency.

<>

Does the Bible itself give any hints that it is the "measuring stick" or the sole authority? Any hints at all to support sola scriptura??

Anonymous said...

Creek-

Your reasoning is flawed. As Christians, we all accept that Jesus Christ is our Savior. The Bible is the authoritative and agreed upon chronicle of his journey on Earth. Therefore, new scripture WOULD have to match up to its teachings to be accepted into Christian canon.

LDS believe that the Bible and the BoM do match up, which makes the religion theoretically plausible. To say that the Bible could/should not be used as a "measuring stick" against which new scripture could be held is just making JackG's point about LDS disrespect for the Bible.

That being said, no, of course the Bible doesn't claim to be "sola scriptura", it's a non self-referencing entity, which would be a nice fact for people to remember.

JackG- I'm interested in hearing more about your view on works. It is true (IMHCatholicO) that man cannot perform works through his own power, but through the salvation of Christ, however, in order to retain his "justification" he needs to perform works. I find this true in my personal life, I feel most saved when I give of myself unto others. Your take?

Also, to your personal revelation. I found the story interesting, but never having received a 'revelation' of sorts, I didn't feel like it was my place to comment. I've felt God's hand in my life, of course, but I've always been, always will be RC. So, no revelation faith changes for me.


-Honest

jackg said...

anonymous,

Works will be a natural outflow of our relationship with Jesus Christ, and good works is what we are called to do.

Blessings...

Creek said...

Anonymous-

OK, the Bible is the agreed upon authority and chronicle of Christ's life. So which version would any new scripture have to live up to- Catholic or Protestant? One of them isn't the correct version of the Bible!!

As a Catholic, I consider tradition just as important as scripture (which is scriptural!!). So should tradition be a "measuring stick", too?

Anonymous said...

Actually, as a Catholic, you'd use the church's magisterium to determine the validity of new scripture.

Oh snap!

But seriously, the NT is mostly different in interpretation between Protestants and Catholics. The so-called "apothecary" is all OT. So for Protestants, it would have to agree with their Bible. For LDS, the BoM does agree with their interpretation. See? That's how that works. If the Protestants accepted a new Scripture tomorrow, would it make it true for you? No. I was just pointing out that SOMETHING has to stand as a measuring stick for new scripture, or the scripture is invalid.

As a Catholic, Tradition and Scripture would be used to determine the validity of new scripture. It's kind of how we TO THIS DAY determine the validity of adding new writings and teachings to the depositum fidei.

So...what were we arguing about again?

Creek said...

Anonymous-

Good point about the magisterium. I've felt that is one of the strengths of the Catholic Church since I went through RCIA. The benefits of the magisterium are definitely lacking in the Protestant churches.

Mormanity said...

Jack, you said: When I say "authoritative," I am talking about using the Bible as the measuring stick for all purported "new revelation." It must line up with God's revealed and established Word.

How is this possible when we do not have original texts and when extant manuscripts and translations may give different meanings?

How is this possible when new revelation historically has been the means to change previously established practices or to clarify previous knowledge? How could early believers, armed with what had already been revealed to Enoch and other early prophets, evaluate the new revelations of Noah about the flood? It was new and couldn't be supported by what was old. How could a faithful believer, armed with only the authoritative books of Moses, follow your principle to judge the new revelation of Isaiah? How could one armed with only the authoritative Old Testament judge the revelations of the New, including the doing away of sacrifices and other changes of the law of Moses that was said to be "for all generations" forever?

Can you propose a scenario in which your filter would be anything but block major new revelations, like the one Peter received regarding the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles and the inclusion of Gentiles in the Church?

Such a filter, in fact, was used by the enemies of Christ to reject Him on point after point.

Is there anything that Christ said, did, or taught that could not be construed by some adequately educated hostile scriptorian as contrary to the authoritative standard of the scriptures?

Very little is black and white--so much requires interpretation, understanding, and perspective. Indeed, modern revelation is needed to understand the correct application of the scriptures in our lives--that's how it has always been, in fact. When did that change? And by whose authority?

When the Book of Revelation was written, the new information in it couldn't possibly be judged as true or false based on the prior authorities alone. But those who knew and accepted John as a true Apostle of Jesus Christ recognized that revelation given through this authorized servant should be taken seriously. Not because Rev. 19:6 slightly jives with Hosea 2:5 and so on, but because they recognized and accepted a true revelator.