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Rob Bowman

Standard evangelical argument for the inerrancy of Scripture

56 posts in this topic

Darth J,

You wrote:

The whole proposition is disingenuous, because Rob isn't really trying to prove that "Scripture" is "inerrant," he is trying to prove that the Bible is inerrant as taught by evangelical Christians.

Not true. Evangelical doctrine is errant. My doctrine is errant. Scripture is not.

Please retract your false statement.

You wrote:

Besides the obvious and already pointed out circular reasoning, Rob also commits the fallacy of affirming the consequent. http://www.fallacyfi...g/afthecon.html

And what an appropriate example is found on that site:

And Rob also commits the fallacy of the undistributed middle.

This is hilarious. Darth, it is not possible for the same syllogism to beg the question, affirm the consequent, and commit the fallacy of the undistributed middle! I'm going to be charitable and say (for now) that you don't know what you're talking about. The examples of affirming the consequent and the fallacy of the undistributed middle are structurally different forms of argument than each other and than the argument I presented.

Tell me: Is there anything illogical about the following argument?

a. Whatever the Holy Spirit has revealed to Darth J is true.

b. The Holy Spirit has revealed to Darth J that Mormonism is true.

c. Therefore, Mormonism is true.

The answer is No -- there is nothing illogical about the above argument. If the two premises are true, the conclusion must be true. I accept the first premise but not the second. This is the ONLY way to refute an argument of this form: you must dispute one or both of the premises.

Here's another one:

d. Whatever is in Salt Lake City is in Utah.

e. Temple Square is in Salt Lake City.

f. Therefore, Temple Square is in Utah.

Both of the above arguments follow the exact same logical form as my argument:

All Xs are B.

A is X.

Therefore, A is B.

You wrote:

I'm sure that Rob's reasoning--such as it is--is dazzling not only to himself, but to third-graders of all ages.

This, from someone who obviously would have flunked first-semester logic.

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I present here a simple argument for the inerrancy of Scripture. In describing the argument as

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... in a discussion between Catholics and Protestants, there will be no need to defend the premise that Jesus rose from the grave, since both sides accept this claim as fact. In a discussion between Protestants and Buddhists, on the other hand, this claim cannot be assumed as fact but must be defended with evidence. In this context, my argument is aimed at persuading any and all professing Christians that Scripture in inerrant. That includes but is not limited to Mormons.

Congratulations, Rob, for accepting the fact that Mormons are Christians.

This, I believe, puts you solidly on the Fun Side of the island.

Wood

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Woody,

Your fanciful and inaccurate analysis notwithstanding, I take it you agree with premise 1 and also agree that if premise 2 is true, then the conclusion of my argument follows. So that's a start.

Now, feel free to try to refute premise 2.

You've got another fallacy here, the "Fallacy of the Gaudy Cloak". Premise 1 and the Conclusion are the Cloak. They are wrapped around the Little Minister, which is Premise 2. They are unnecessary. All you have to do is prove Premise 2 and you will have convinced your audience of all that's worthwhile in the argument.

The Gaudy Cloak Fallacy has this structure:

1. Premise no. 2 is true.

2. <premise 2>

3. Therefore, Premise 2 is true. Ta da!

Basically, it's a method of elaborating a simple teaching, which either will or won't convince the villagers, with superfluous verbiage, which will be impressive to the villagers. Wrapping the Little Minister in a Gaudy Cloak of logic demonstrates only that one does not understand logic. Does not identify superfluous outer layers and lop them off. In fact created those outer layers thinking that this is a value-adding activity.

It's like the monkeys going into the village while the people are away, putting on their clothes and hats, and pretending they are doing what villagers do, without having the slightest clue what villagers do or why.

It is a proof that the Spirit of God has deserted the opponents of Mormonism, leaving them unable to adroitly process information.

Wood

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Darth J,

Not true. Evangelical doctrine is errant. My doctrine is errant. Scripture is not.

Please retract your false statement.

1. So does evangelical doctrine come from somewhere other than scripture? Will you post that on your website?

2. "Evangelical Christians teach the Bible is inerrant" is a false statement"? Will you post that on your website, too?

This is hilarious. Darth, it is not possible for the same syllogism to beg the question, affirm the consequent, and commit the fallacy of the undistributed middle!

You have demonstrated otherwise.

1. Whatever Jesus Christ taught is true.

Questions begged by this premise: that anyone knows what Jesus Christ actually taught, that he ever taught anything, that he actually existed, that what is written in any version of any ancient texts accurately reflects what he taught, that the translation (which requires interpretation) of any version of the New Testament as it exists today ("extant") accurately reflects what Jesus taught, that whoever may have originally written the New Testament was accurate about what Jesus taught, that whoever may have originally written the New Testament accurately remembered what Jesus taught, that going from Aramaic to Greek resulted in an accurate interpretation of what Jesus taught, and that nothing was added into the New Testament that was attributed to Jesus but that he never really said.

You don't have a way of answering any of these questions. And a concession that you and Mormons believe in Jesus and believe in the New Testament does not resolve the ontological question--which you are incapable of resolving--of who does anyone know the answer to any of these questions. Both ancient Spartans and ancient Athenians believed in Zeus. The fact that this belief was shared does not prove that Zeus existed.

2. Jesus Christ taught that Scripture is inerrant

You are begging the question with scripture, and you have not responded to my post on this. It is irrelevant how you define scripture, the question is how Jesus defined scripture. AND YOU CAN"T ANSWER THAT, BECAUSE YOU DON'T KNOW.

The undistributed middle is "scripture." Number 2 does not follow from Number 3 because you are equivocating about what "scripture" means. You have to, because you know what you mean by "scripture." YOU DON"T KNOW WHAT JESUS WOULD HAVE MEANT BY SCRIPTURE. You are trying to draw a conclusion by going from your assumption of what Jesus meant by "scripture" to what you mean by "scripture."

You are further begging the question and creating an undistributed middle with "inerrant," for the same reasons.

1. Whatever Jesus taught is true.

2. Jesus taught that the scriptures are errant.

3. Therefore, the scriptures are errant.

Which leads to a paradox. Since the only source of "what Jesus taught" is "scripture," so Jesus may have been errant in teaching that scripture is errant. But if Jesus was not errant, then the scripture are errant, which means that the source of his teaching about being errant is errant.

3. Therefore, Scripture is inerrant.

You are affirming the consequent because "Jesus taught that Scripture is inerrant" affirms "Whatever Jesus taught is true." "Scripture" is your only source for "whatever Jesus taught." "Therefore, Scripture is inerrant" is the antecedent of "Whatever Jesus taught is true." If whatever Jesus taught is true, and whatever he taught is in the scriptures, then it is a foregone conclusion that the scriptures are inerrant.

I'm going to be charitable and say (for now) that you don't know what you're talking about. The examples of affirming the consequent and the fallacy of the undistributed middle are structurally different forms of argument than each other and than the argument I presented.

Oh, so an undistributed middle can't cause you to affirm the consequent. Yes, I must be the one who doesn't know what he's talking about.

The fallacy of the undistributed middle is a logical fallacy that is committed when the middle term in a categorical syllogism isn't distributed. It is thus a syllogistic fallacy.

For example:

All students carry backpacks. My grandfather carries a backpack. Therefore, my grandfather is a student. The middle term is the one that appears in both premises - in this case, it is the class of backpack carriers. It is undistributed because neither of its uses applies to all backpack carriers. Therefore it can't be used to connect students and my grandfather - both of them could be separate and unconnected divisions of the class of backpack carriers. Specifically, the structure of this example results in affirming the consequent.

http://psychology.wi...tributed_middle

Tell me: Is there anything illogical about the following argument?

a. Whatever the Holy Spirit has revealed to Darth J is true.

b. The Holy Spirit has revealed to Darth J that Mormonism is true.

c. Therefore, Mormonism is true.

But I thought that could only happen if I had been one of Jesus' original 12 apostles. http://www.mormonapo...g-in-john-1416/

The answer is No -- there is nothing illogical about the above argument. If the two premises are true, the conclusion must be true. I accept the first premise but not the second. This is the ONLY way to refute an argument of this form: you must dispute one or both of the premises.

As long as the definition of "Mormonism" remains constant. "Scripture" does not have the same meaning throughout your syllogism because you equivocate from Jesus' definition of "scripture" (which is never stated) to your definition of scripture.

To be comparable, your example would have to be:

1. Whatever the Holy Spirit reveals to Darth J is true.

2. The Holy Spirit has revealed to Darth J that "Mormonism" is true.

3. Therefore, Warren Jeffs' understanding of "Mormonism" is true. http://fldstruth.org/

Here's another one:

d. Whatever is in Salt Lake City is in Utah.

e. Temple Square is in Salt Lake City.

f. Therefore, Temple Square is in Utah.

Temple Square has the same meaning in this example. "Scripture" does not have the same meaning in #2 and #3 in the syllogism you used to start this thread.

Both of the above arguments follow the exact same logical form as my argument:

All Xs are B.

A is X.

Therefore, A is B.

You have certainly convinced yourself of this. That is because you have not addressed your equivocation about what "scripture" may have meant to Jesus, and what it means to you.

This, from someone who obviously would have flunked first-semester logic.

Someone who believes in an inerrant, literal Bible isn't exactly in the best position to have a superior attitude about another person's intelligence. Or maybe every ethnic group and every species of animal that lives today really did descend from a small sample that went on Noah's ark and didn't drown only a few thousand years ago. Maybe space aliens or the devil planted all those cave men remains and animal fossils here to trick us.

Rob, your consistent refusal to answer my questions about what authority you have, or why your beliefs are superior to any other random religion, very strongly suggests that you do not have an answer for those questions. If it is all simply a matter of understanding what exact word was used in the remnants of a copy of a copy of a copy (and so on) of something that may or may not have been written by early apostles of Jesus, then I wonder why everyone who speaks Greek and believes in the Bible doesn't belong to the same church. I wonder why everyone who speaks Hebrew doesn't belong to the same church, let alone why there are differences of belief among Jews (the religion, not the race).

And when you consistently demand that the fundamental question of why anyone, anywhere should listen to what you have to say is off topic, you are only making it more obvious that you don't have these answers. Or, you'll have to say that God has inspired you in some way, and you know that's a trap when you're talking to Mormons.

Every single evangelical Christian I have ever met in my life has nothing more to offer than an increasing chain of assumptions based on the premise that we share some of the same assumptions. As I stated before, the fact that we may share some of the same assumptions does not prove that those shared assumptions are ontologically true.

You have offered no reason to believe that my statements in my earlier posts in response to you, here or on other threads, have been wrong. The only reason you want to engage in these incremental debates is to try to lead someone to believe that your religion is true. That's the only way you can, because you have nothing else to offer them.

Put up or shut up, Rob. Stop calling out Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses and others, trying to tear down their faith as if that validates yours. Stop attempting to use a Bible that doesn't belong to you to prove others wrong and yourself right. In debate, a failure to answer is the same as a concession. Either show me the unicorn, or stop trying to get us to chase them with you.

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Dan,

I've got a lot going on tonight, but I have time to reply to a few points in your posts. You wrote:

I don't think you understand the first premise at all. The first premise does not mean "Whatever the Gospels report Jesus saying is true." Rather, the first premise means, "Whatever the historical Jesus actually taught is true." The first premise neither asserts nor implies nor presupposes anything whatsoever about the reliability of any source for our knowledge of what Jesus taught. It simply asserts that if Jesus taught T, then T is true.

With this correction of your misunderstanding in mind, would you not agree with my first premise?

I would agree with that premise, but it would have no connection to the rest of the argument, since you still can't get over the hurdle of what exactly his teachings were without presupposing the NT represents them exactly.

You wrote:

Yet Matthew 5:17-18 and Luke 16:17 use language very close to what you are saying you can find "nothing to indicate" Jesus said. I'll have more to say about this later when I have more time.

But this is just hyperbolic rhetoric of authority. Not one jot or tittle of the Constitution is supposed to "pass away" either, without certain processes, and someone dogmatically promoting the authority of the Constitution can very easily say the exact same thing. Like I said, this doesn't promote inerrancy, just authority, and at this point in time it's still just hyperbole. It's not meant at all to be understood as an appeal to letter for letter inerrancy.

You wrote:

I specifically addressed this point in my opening post. Inerrancy does not require Scriptural figures or writers to use exact verbatim quotations, including verbatim quotations of earlier Scriptural texts.

I missed that portion. My apologies. Here's what seems to be the meat of that point:

By inerrant I mean that the text, properly read and understood, expresses no false teachings or doctrines, no conceptual falsehoods. Another way to state this is that inerrancy means that the text is fully truthful in what it affirms. If a text of Scripture affirms or teaches T, and if Scripture is inerrant, then T must be true and cannot be erroneous.

Please note that the concept of inerrancy admits of various legitimate qualifications. Inerrancy does not mean that the text must be absolutely precise in its reporting of numbers or of a person

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If the scriptures were innerrant...then Christianity would have found a way to bring Zion down and not have empty hands after 1700 years. It will be up to the LDS to bring Zion down and it will take the time or some time less than it took for Enoch to prepare the people for translation.

Peace be unto you

bert10

I present here a simple argument for the inerrancy of Scripture. In describing the argument as

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R. Ishmael said to R. Me
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Your fanciful and inaccurate analysis notwithstanding,

Fanciful yes. Inaccurate, like an arrow that splits the previous arrow, is how inaccurate it was.

Disagree? then feel free to refute away!

I take it you agree with premise 1 and also agree that if premise 2 is true, then the conclusion of my argument follows. So that's a start.

Now, feel free to try to refute premise 2.

Gottum big problem here, white man!

I didn't hint that Premise 2 is false.

It cannot in fact be refuted, because it is verily true.

Wood

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Darth J,

I had written: "Evangelical doctrine is errant. My doctrine is errant. Scripture is not." You commented:

1. So does evangelical doctrine come from somewhere other than scripture? Will you post that on your website?

2. "Evangelical Christians teach the Bible is inerrant" is a false statement"? Will you post that on your website, too?

I'm stunned at just how far out in left field these questions are. They have nothing to do with what I said. Asserting that evangelical doctrine is errant does not mean that every evangelical statement is errant. The answer to all four of your questions is No.

You wrote:

1. Whatever Jesus Christ taught is true.

Questions begged by this premise: that anyone knows what Jesus Christ actually taught, that he ever taught anything, that he actually existed, that what is written in any version of any ancient texts accurately reflects what he taught, that the translation (which requires interpretation) of any version of the New Testament as it exists today ("extant") accurately reflects what Jesus taught, that whoever may have originally written the New Testament was accurate about what Jesus taught, that whoever may have originally written the New Testament accurately remembered what Jesus taught, that going from Aramaic to Greek resulted in an accurate interpretation of what Jesus taught, and that nothing was added into the New Testament that was attributed to Jesus but that he never really said.

You don't have a way of answering any of these questions. And a concession that you and Mormons believe in Jesus and believe in the New Testament does not resolve the ontological question--which you are incapable of resolving--of who does anyone know the answer to any of these questions. Both ancient Spartans and ancient Athenians believed in Zeus. The fact that this belief was shared does not prove that Zeus existed.

I already explained in my opening post why this strategy of yours is logically irrelevant to the argument. It doesn't matter how I know this premise to be true. All that matters is whether we agree that it is true. If you agree that it is true, then you are agreeing with the first premise of my argument. If you don't agree with the first premise, say so. Trying to derail me into defending my belief that Jesus existed is ridiculously irrelevant.

The rest of your post goes even further downhill. I really don't have the time right now.

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Woody,

You wrote:

I didn't hint that Premise 2 is false.

It cannot in fact be refuted, because it is verily true.

Ummm...okay. Then, you must concede the conclusion, which is that scripture in inerrant.

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Darth J,

I had written: "Evangelical doctrine is errant. My doctrine is errant. Scripture is not." You commented:

I'm stunned at just how far out in left field these questions are. They have nothing to do with what I said. Asserting that evangelical doctrine is errant does not mean that every evangelical statement is errant. The answer to all four of your questions is No.

I already explained in my opening post why this strategy of yours is logically irrelevant to the argument. It doesn't matter how I know this premise to be true. All that matters is whether we agree that it is true. If you agree that it is true, then you are agreeing with the first premise of my argument. If you don't agree with the first premise, say so. Trying to derail me into defending my belief that Jesus existed is ridiculously irrelevant.

The rest of your post goes even further downhill. I really don't have the time right now.

Right, right. This is just a forum about syllogisms and stuff like that, not religion. That's why it's called the Syllogism Apologetic and Discussion Board. That's why your organization is called the Institute for Syllogism Research.

"It doesn't matter how I know this premise to be true." Then it doesn't matter how Mormons know their premises to be true, either. I look forward to your removing your arguments against Mormonism from your website.

Maybe you would have the time to engage the questions that you just laugh off, calling me childish and too stupid to pass first semester logic, if you would stop straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. That's a saying from the Bible that the Institute for Religious Research did not write and did not compile.

Here's another story from one of the many dozens of versions of the inerrant Bible that is completely free of errors, inconsistencies, or contradictions:

Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. (One day) the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

Acts 19:13-16, New International Version (I don't know why we need a new version of the Bible's unchanging word that is not subject to interpretation because it has no errors at all as it has passed through an unknown number of editors, translators, and interpreters through the centuries).

Ron, just answer this question "yes" or "no:" will you start a new thread and answer the question, "Jesus we know, and we know about Paul, but who is the Institute for Religious Research?" In the same context that this question was being asked in this particular translation of a translation of a translation (etc.) of a copy of a copy of a copy (etc.) of the Bible.

Will you start this thread and address this question? And in responding, if you do respond, remember:

"But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil."

Matthew 5:37

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Darth J,

When I used to edit correspondence at another organization years ago, I would mark certain letters that we received "NAR" (No Answer Required). Perhaps I shall start using that here.

With regard to your most recent post: NAR.

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I didn't hint that Premise 2 is false.

It cannot in fact be refuted, because it is verily true.

Typo?

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Jesus said, (Luke 11:52) "Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered".

What is the "key of knowledge" that Jesus is talking about here? Why would it not be the truth found in the scriptures?

Rob,

I realize that you are busy with your up coming (anti-Mormon?) conference in Uganda, but I don't want this point to go unaddressed.

Here is hoping you can get to in some time.

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Vance,

You wrote:

Jesus said, (Luke 11:52) "Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered".

What is the "key of knowledge" that Jesus is talking about here? Why would it not be the truth found in the scriptures?

I'm not sure I understand you. Do you mean that you think Luke 11:52 means that the "lawyers" had actually removed portions of the scriptures?

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Vance,

You wrote:

I'm not sure I understand you. Do you mean that you think Luke 11:52 means that the "lawyers" had actually removed portions of the scriptures?

Yup!

They certainly didn't have the power to remove the Holy Spirit, so the question remains, if it isn't the removal of portions of the scripture, what is it?

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Woody, on 10 March 2010 - 09:17 PM, said:I didn't hint that Premise 2 is false.

It cannot in fact be refuted, because it is verily true.

Typo?

Jesus didn't say "scripture is inerrant" - exactly those words - but he did say:

Doctrine and Covenants 1:38 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

Wood

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Yup!

They certainly didn't have the power to remove the Holy Spirit, so the question remains, if it isn't the removal of portions of the scripture, what is it?

Here's an exposition of Luke 11:52 that I find especially helpful. John Gill, an old Reformed commentator, explains that the lawyers had "taken away the key of knowledge of the Scriptures, of the law, and the prophets, and the true interpretation of them, and especially of such places as refer to the Messiah, and the Gospel dispensation, called the kingdom of heaven, (Matthew 23:13) they had not only arrogated the knowledge of these to themselves, setting up for the only interpreters of the sacred writings; but they had took away from the people the true knowledge and sense of them, by their false glosses upon them, so that they were destroyed for lack of knowledge: and hence came that famine of hearing the word, which they say should be before the coming of the King Messiah, and now was. The Syriac and Arabic versions read, "the keys of knowledge"; and the Ethiopic version, "the key of righteousness". The Jews sometimes speak of "the keys of the law", and represent the oral law as the root and key of the written law: but, alas! it was by the oral law, or traditions of the elders, that they took away the key, or obscured the true sense of the written law."

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Your syllogisms look rather circular to me because Jesus's teachings are contained in the very scriptures whose inerrancy you base on Jesus's teachings which are contained in the scriptures whose inerrancy you base on Jesus's teachings which are... well, you get the picture.
Looks to me like you've one of those self-eating watermelons here. The only way to know what Jesus taught is thru scripture, right? (Whatever's written down of his teachings is scripture...) If those writings are correct then you know what he taught. If they are not correct you don't. If you don't know what he taught then you don't know he taught "Scripture is inerrant".

Rob has been apprised repeatedly of the deep tautological problems inherent in the entire Protestant/historical Christian approach to scriptural inerrency, as well as any number of EV truth claims that rely upon the closed canon and sola scriptura as the ground of Christian conviction, and he has yet to do anything but play hopscotch around the issue.

I recently dedicated a fairly long argument to this very problem (on another thread Rob started several weeks back), but Rob avoided the subject.

The perennial problem always reasserts itself. Sectarian Christianity denies modern revelation and the Spirit of Prophecy. In so denying, they are set adrift with ancient texts that are the product of spiritual authority, but which cannot transfer that authority, or the truth of the teachings within, to others without the Spirit and principle of revelation. The argument then becomes one of claiming that Jesus said such and such in the Bible, and that we know this is true because it is in the Bible, and we know the Bible to be true because its the text in which Jesus says such and such.

The LDS testimony or witness of the Spirit - the only means through which this circular impasse can be transcended, is then dismissed out of hand.

Protestants have been arguing and debating theology, not as long as Catholics have, but for a long time indeed, and all we have to show for it is more and more denominations.

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Here's an exposition of Luke 11:52 that I find especially helpful. John Gill, an old Reformed commentator, . . .

And who is he that I should listen to him? And why are you going outside of scripture for support?

But I do find some interesting points.

. . . explains that the lawyers had "taken away the key of knowledge of the Scriptures, of the law, and the prophets, and the true interpretation of them, and especially of such places as refer to the Messiah, and the Gospel dispensation, called the kingdom of heaven, (Matthew 23:13) they had not only arrogated the knowledge of these to themselves, setting up for the only interpreters of the sacred writings; but they had took away from the people the true knowledge and sense of them, by their false glosses upon them, so that they were destroyed for lack of knowledge: and hence came that famine of hearing the word, which they say should be before the coming of the King Messiah, and now was.

WOW!!! Sounds just like YOU!!!!

Who says that you can't have an apostasy while having possession of the "inerrant" scriptures? Or that you can have a "reformation" when the true understanding and interpretation were lost through apostasy.

So again you have a problem here. If you claim that they didn't change/remove portions of the scriptures, then you have to explain how they could apostatized while in possession of "inerrant" scripture and how that same type of apostasy was avoided by the "Christian" church (as you understand it).

And if you are willing to accept that they did remove portions of the scriptures then the scriptures are no longer inerrant.

You have now painted yourself between a rock and a hard place.

Start contorting and twisting your way out of this one.

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Rob has been apprised repeatedly of the deep tautological problems inherent in the entire Protestant/historical Christian approach to scriptural inerrency, as well as any number of EV truth claims that rely upon the closed canon and sola scriptura as the ground of Christian conviction, and he has yet to do anything but play hopscotch around the issue.

I recently dedicated a fairly long argument to this very problem (on another thread Rob started several weeks back), but Rob avoided the subject.

The perennial problem always reasserts itself. Sectarian Christianity denies modern revelation and the Spirit of Prophecy. In so denying, they are set adrift with ancient texts that are the product of spiritual authority, but which cannot transfer that authority, or the truth of the teachings within, to others without the Spirit and principle of revelation. The argument then becomes one of claiming that Jesus said such and such in the Bible, and that we know this is true because it is in the Bible, and we know the Bible to be true because its the text in which Jesus says such and such.

The LDS testimony or witness of the Spirit - the only means through which this circular impasse can be transcended, is then dismissed out of hand.

Protestants have been arguing and debating theology, not as long as Catholics have, but for a long time indeed, and all we have to show for it is more and more denominations.

:P;)

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Here's an exposition of Luke 11:52 that I find especially helpful. John Gill, an old Reformed commentator, explains that the lawyers had "taken away the key of knowledge of the Scriptures, of the law, and the prophets, and the true interpretation of them, and especially of such places as refer to the Messiah, and the Gospel dispensation, called the kingdom of heaven, (Matthew 23:13) they had not only arrogated the knowledge of these to themselves, setting up for the only interpreters of the sacred writings; but they had took away from the people the true knowledge and sense of them, by their false glosses upon them, so that they were destroyed for lack of knowledge: and hence came that famine of hearing the word, which they say should be before the coming of the King Messiah, and now was. The Syriac and Arabic versions read, "the keys of knowledge"; and the Ethiopic version, "the key of righteousness". The Jews sometimes speak of "the keys of the law", and represent the oral law as the root and key of the written law: but, alas! it was by the oral law, or traditions of the elders, that they took away the key, or obscured the true sense of the written law."

Wait a minute... Is not this exactly what the Early Christian Apologist accused the Jewish council of Seventy Elders who translated the Bible of doing? Removing scriptures that spoke of the Messiah?

CHAPTER LXXI -- THE JEWS REJECT THE INTERPRETATION OF THE LXX., FROM WHICH, MOREOVER, THEY HAVE TAKEN AWAY SOME PASSAGES.
"But I am far from putting reliance in your teachers, who refuse to admit that the interpretation made by the seventy elders who were with Ptolemy[king] of the Egyptians is a correct one; and they attempt to frame another. And I wish you to observe, that they have altogether taken away many Scriptures from the translations effected by those seventy elders who were with Ptolemy, and by which this very man who was crucified is proved to have been set forth expressly as God, and man, and as being crucified, and as dying; but since I am aware that this is denied by all of your nation, I do not address myself to these points, but I proceed to carry on my discussions by means of those passages which are still admitted by you. For you assent to those which I have brought before your attention, except that you contradict the statement, 'Behold, the virgin shall conceive,' and say it ought to be read, 'Behold, the young woman shall conceive.' And I promised to prove that the prophecy referred, not, as you were taught, to Hezekiah, but to this Christ of mine: and now I shall go to the proof."

Here Trypho remarked, "We ask you first of all to tell us some of the Scriptures which you allege have been completely cancelled."

CHAPTER LXXII -- PASSAGES HAVE BEEN REMOVED BY THE JEWS FROM ESDRAS AND JEREMIAH.

And I said, "I shall do as you please. From the statements, then, which Esdras made in reference to the law of the passover, they have taken away the following: 'And Esdras said to the people, This passover is our Saviour and our refuge. And if you have understood, and your heart has taken it in, that we shall humble Him on a standard, and thereafter hope in Him, then this place shall not be forsaken for ever, says the God of hosts. But if you will not believe Him, and will not listen to His declaration, you shall be a laughing-stock to the nations.' And from the sayings of Jeremiah they have cut out the following: 'I[was] like a lamb that is brought to the slaughter: they devised a device against me, saying, Come, let us lay on wood on His bread, and let us blot Him out from the land of the living; and His name shall no more be remembered.' And since this passage from the sayings of Jeremiah is still written in some copies [of the Scriptures] in the synagogues of the Jews(for it is only a short time since they were cut out), and since from these words it is demonstrated that the Jews deliberated about the Christ Himself, to crucify and put Him to death, He Himself is both declared to be led as a sheep to the slaughter, as was predicted by Isaiah, and is here represented as a harmless lamb; but being in a difficulty about them, they give themselves over to blasphemy. And again, from the sayings of the same Jeremiah these have been cut out: 'The Lord God remembered His dead people of Israel who lay in the graves; and He descended to preach to them His own salvation.'

CHAPTER LXXIII -- [THE WORDS] "FROM THE WOOD" HAVE BEEN CUT OUT OF PS. XCVI

"And from the ninety-fifth(ninety-sixth) Psalm they have taken away this short saying of the words of David: 'From the wood.' For when the passage said, 'Tell ye among the nations, the Lord hath reigned from the wood,' they have left, 'Tell ye among the nations, the Lord hath reigned.' Now no one of your people has ever been said to have reigned as God and Lord among the nations, with the exception of Him only who was crucified, of whom also the Holy Spirit affirms in the same Psalm that He was raised again, and freed from[the grave], declaring that there is none like Him among the gods of the nations: for they are idols of demons. But I shall repeat the whole Psalm to you, that you may perceive what has been said. It is thus: 'Sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, and bless His name; show forth His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all people. For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: He is to be feared above all the gods. For all the gods of the nations are demons but the Lord made the heavens. Confession and beauty are in His presence; holiness and magnificence are in His sanctuary. Bring to the Lord, O ye countries of the nations, bring to the Lord glory and honour, bring to the Lord glory in His name. Take sacrifices, and go into His courts; worship the Lord in His holy temple. Let the whole earth be moved before Him tell ye among the nations, the Lord hath reigned. For He hath established the world, which shall not be moved; He shall judge the nations with equity. Let the heavens rejoice, and the earth be glad; let the sea and its fulness shake. Let the fields and all therein be joyful. Let all the trees of the wood be glad before the Lord: for He comes, for He comes to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth.'"

Here Trypho remarked, "Whether[or not] the rulers of the people have erased any portion of the Scriptures, as you affirm, God knows; but it seems incredible." "Assuredly," said I, "it does seem incredible. For it is more horrible than the calf which they made, when satisfied with manna on the earth; or than the sacrifice of children to demons; or than the slaying of the prophets. But," said I, "you appear to me not to have heard the Scriptures which I said they had stolen away. For such as have been quoted are more than enough to prove the points in dispute, besides those which are retained by us, and shall yet be brought forward."

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/justinmartyr-dialoguetrypho.html

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Rob,

I have read your argument with interest, and followed the thread since then. As others have already said most of what I was thinking, especially around the circular nature of your argument, I'd just like to make a couple of points.

Firstly, you assert that Jesus taught the inerrancy of Scripture. I submit that this is unavailable to you. I suggest that the most you can really say is that what Jesus actually taught is compatible with a view of scriptural inerrancy that is in some way comparable to that espoused by modern Protestants. Even that, I would dispute; but it is available on some of the evidence you have presented.

Your argument in favour of your second premise essentially takes the form:

  1. Jesus taught A.
  2. The literature shows that His contemporaries generally thought of A in terms of B.
  3. Therefore, when Jesus taught A, He was also teaching B.

However, I suggest that point 2 is oversimplified at best, while your conclusion at point 3 is a leap.

In support of point 2, you quoted a passage that included the following:

R. Ishmael said to R. Me
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oops! wrong buttion

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