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Discussing 2 Tim 3:16 With Evangelicals


Sargon

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I recently typed this up and put it on my blog. I won't be very available for participation in any discussion that this may spawn, but I will check in from time to time in order to learn from your input! Thanks.

http://lehislibrary.wordpress.com/2008/09/...h-evangelicals/

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This article will explore certain ideas commonly put forth by Evangelicals in regard to one of their favorite passages of scripture, 2 Tim 3:15-17. I have had countless discussions about this passage with Evangelicals and I am posting this here as a reference for future discussions. Hopefully you will learn something interesting from it, or will find it useful in your future discussions of the same topic.

2 Tim 3:15-17

15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Claim #1

Verse 16 says that â??all scriptureâ? has been given, so the Book of Mormon and other LDS books of scripture canâ??t be from God.

Answer #1

The half-sentence being quoted is being taken completely out of its context. It is inappropriate to only quote â??All scripture is givenâ? without quoting â??by inspiration of God.â? This sentence is making a comment on the quality of scripture, not on the amount of scripture.

This type of interpretation is similar to arguing that no more people will ever be born, and then backing that belief up with a statement given by a scientific authority who says â??All people have been born with genes inherited by their mother and father.â? Clearly this statement does not intend to say that no more people will ever be born.

Answer #2

The response given directly above should be sufficient, but in the case that it is not there is more that can be said. If the critic is not willing to grant the obvious fact explained above, it could be pointed out that even if the statement was about the amount of scripture (as opposed to the quality of scripture) the statement would only include those scriptures that existed at the time of the statement.

When Paul made this statement the only books of scripture in existence were those of the Old Testament. This is further explained by the fact that in verse 15 Paul refers to the â??holy scripturesâ? which Timothy had known. The only scriptures that Timothy could have known were the Old Testament scriptures.

Surely the Evangelical critic would not maintain that the Old Testament is â??all scriptureâ? and that nothing more can possibly be given beyond that, for that would make void the importance of the New Testament!

Claim #2

We donâ??t need living prophets anymore; verse 15 says that God has given us the scriptures and that they are sufficient for salvation. Nothing more need be added.

Answer

It has already been pointed out that the only scripture already in existence when Paul wrote this was the Old Testament. Since this is the case, we know that Paul was suggesting that the Old Testament is â??able to make thee wise unto salvation.â? Would an Evangelical agree that the Old Testament is sufficient for leading us to â??salvationâ?? If so, does this mean no more prophets or scripture should ever be given?

Using the criticâ??s logic we would be forced to conclude that Paul meant that no prophets could be called and no more scripture written after the Old Testament.

Fortunately, it is obvious that Paul was not suggesting that no prophets of God should be called after Malachi. Indeed, Jesus himself refers to John the Baptist as a prophet (Matt 11:9). Furthermore, there is ample room for understanding all of the New Testament writers, and Jesus himself (Matt 13:57), as prophets of God. They performed the exact same function as the prophetic authors of the Old Testament books. Books of scripture continued to be written despite Paulâ??s belief that the Old Testament was sufficient for â??salvation.â?

If Paul, and by extension God, believe that it is appropriate to add scripture (the New Testament) even though sufficient scripture has already been given (the Old Testament), then Mormons are in good company. We also believe that God is able and desirous to give his children scripture in every dispensation.

Claim #3

This passage proves that the bible is inerrant since it says that the scriptures were given by â??inspiration of God.â? The Greek here translated â??inspirationâ? actually mean â??god-breathed.â?

Answer #1

As mentioned above, Paul could only have been referring to the Old Testament. There are various reasons for believing that the Old Testament is not inerrant, but that is beyond the scope of this paper.

Answer #2

Yes, the Greek can be accurately translated as â??god-breathed.â? That is fine. But we immediately run into certain problem with that. LDS researcher Benjamin McGuire says the following concerning this question:

If we take the English language as a basis, it seems quite possible, for example, for God to create a text that could perfectly convey the meaning which God intended for it to convey. But, it would be to a specific audience. More than that, it would be to an audience of one (and even that, it would be to an audience of one at a particular time and place). No one else would be capable of achieving the same meaning from that text. Is this a weakness on the part of God? No. It is a weakness on the part of our ability to communicate.1

In other words, scripture revealed to John the Revelator would be absolutely inerrant for John only. Our ability to perfectly understand what John writes depends on â??how closely we can resemble [John in 90 AD], how closely our language resembles his, how closely our culture environment resembles his, [and] how similar our intertextual exposure resembles his.â?2 Because of the impossibility we face of understanding the words exactly how John did, or any biblical author for that matter, we are left with a bible that is not inerrant for us.

Dr. William Hamblin expands on this concept by explaining that â??Even if one were to claim that the Bible were inerrant, it could at best be a theoretical inerrancy, since in practical terms there are numerous conflicting interpretations.â?3 Indeed, one need look no further than the TV guide on a Sunday morning to discover the variety of interpretations the bible lends itself to. Even if the bible were inerrant, that point is made obsolete when considering the multitudes of interpretations.

Answer #3

Claiming that the bible is inerrant because the bible says it is inerrant is a perfect exercise in the logical fallacy called circular reasoning. It is similar to suggesting that the Roman Catholic Church is the true church of God simply because the Pope says it is, or proclaiming the truthfulness of Islam and backing it up by quoting the Koran. Would a critic feel comfortable if a Mormon insisted that the Book of Mormon is the word of God by appealing to Moroni for authority?

Furthermore, an argument for biblical inerrancy by an appeal to this verse is made more difficult by the fact that the entire inerrancy of the Bible would rest on the assumption that this one verse was in fact written inerrantly. In other words, we would have to know that Paul was writing inerrantly when he wrote these words. Such a thing could never actually be known!

Answer #4

Why does â??god-breathedâ? have to mean â??inerrant?â? Is it just an assumption that God even desired to make it inerrant in the first place? One might say that if God intended to write an inerrant book for all of mankind to read from and understand, He didnâ??t do too great of a job. The Bible is riddled with ambiguity that has caused strife for thousands of years among Christians. Why not just accept the fact that God was gracious enough to allow his servants to do their best, even if it wasnâ??t â??inerrant,â? in helping to carry out his work?

Now, anyone is certainly free to exercise faith in the words of the Bible. I would never discourage that. In fact, I encourage it. It is unfortunate however when someone claims to â??proveâ? that the bible is inerrant by appeal to this verse. Such a thing simply canâ??t be proven from this passage.

Further Commentary

Verse 17 reads, â??That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.â? This passage suggests that the scriptures were given to us so that we may be â??thoroughly furnished unto all good works.â? This seems to fly in the face of the common Evangelical belief that our works are as â??filthy ragsâ? and are not valued by God. Clearly Paul championed good works, and he believed that the scriptures do too.

Further Further Commentary

It is my contention that the main reason that Evangelicals desire so badly for the Bible to be inerrant is because they reject the possibility of modern prophets. Without a prophet to guide them they are left with only the words of ancient prophets, in which case those words become exceedingly important. If doubt is cast upon those words in any way at all, they have no guide.

Come! Come follow the living prophet!

Notes

1. As quoted in Michael R. Ash, Shaken Faith Syndrome. FAIR, 2008. pg. 41. Original can be read at: http://www.mormonapologetics.org/index.php...st&p=193778

2. ibid. Words in brackets were changed from the original text which was about Joseph Smith.

3. As quoted in Michael R. Ash, Shaken Faith Syndrome. FAIR, 2008. pg. 41.

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It is my contention that the main reason that Evangelicals desire so badly for the Bible to be inerrant is because they reject the possibility of modern prophets. Without a prophet to guide them they are left with only the words of ancient prophets, in which case those words become exceedingly important. If doubt is cast upon those words in any way at all, they have no guide.

Would another reasonable contention be that the main reason Mormons desire so badly for the Bible to be errant is because they must in order to not reject the possibility of their modern prophets? With a modern prophet to guide them they are not bound by the words of the ancient prophets, and those words become exceedingly unimportant? They are then free to cast doubt upon those words in any way at all, as they have a guide?

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Would another reasonable contention be that the main reason Mormons desire so badly for the Bible to be errant is because they must in order to not reject the possibility of their modern prophets? With a modern prophet to guide them they are not bound by the words of the ancient prophets, and those words become exceedingly unimportant? They are then free to cast doubt upon those words in any way at all, as they have a guide?

Would a reasonable contention be that the main reason Evangelicals desire so badly for the Bible to be inerrant is because they must in order to reject the possibly that modern prophets are needed? Without a modern prophet to guide them, they are not bound to the idea that there is more than something written 2,000 years ago in various groups, times, and languages then strung together to form something that is claimed to be inerrant?

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Would another reasonable contention be that the main reason Mormons desire so badly for the Bible to be errant is because they must in order to not reject the possibility of their modern prophets? With a modern prophet to guide them they are not bound by the words of the ancient prophets, and those words become exceedingly unimportant? They are then free to cast doubt upon those words in any way at all, as they have a guide?

I don't think it's a good argument. We don't need the bible to be errant in order to believe in living prophets. That isn't at all necessary.

Paul apparently believed the Old Testament was "god-breathed" but did not consider that fact to reduce in any way the need for living prophets.

Edit to add: I think it is incorrect to suggest that Mormons "desire so badly" that the Bible be errant. It's just that it isn't, and so we are interested in defending the truth.

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Would a reasonable contention be that the main reason Evangelicals desire so badly for the Bible to be inerrant is because they must in order to reject the possibly that modern prophets are needed?

No. Because modern prophets, such as Joseph Smith is/was contended to be, were not needed.

Without a modern prophet to misguide them, they are not bound to the idea that there is more than something written 2,000 years ago in various groups, times, and languages then strung together to form something that is claimed to be inerrant?

Do you think that the Bible was constructed with a divine hand at all?

This could go on and on couldn't it? :P

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I don't think it's a good argument. We don't need the bible to be errant in order to believe in living prophets.

You do if Joseph Smith is your prophet.

That isn't at all necessary.

Paul apparently believed the Old Testament was "god-breathed" but did not consider that fact to reduce in any way the need for living prophets.

Not relevant.

Edit to add: I think it is incorrect to suggest that Mormons "desire so badly" that the Bible be errant. It's just that it isn't, and so we are interested in defending the truth.

Perhaps. Mormons don't have to "desire" that the Bible be errant. Mormons "require" that the Bible be errant.

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j,

If you respond in the quote area of your post, when someone wants to quote you, it becomes quite difficult. Please separate out the quote from your answer (easy to do by adding quote tags where needed to separate things.

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I don't see that jonzlaw has produced one single well-formed argument yet in this thread. Instead, all I see are assertions being made without a shred of supporting evidence presented. And because jozlaw has so far only commented on the very last bit of my post (which really diverged from main point of the post) I am left wondering if jonzlaw agrees that 2 Tim 3:16 does NOT teach biblical inerrancy.

Paul apparently believed the Old Testament was "god-breathed" but did not consider that fact to reduce in any way the need for living prophets.

Not relevant.

Yes, it is VERY relevant. You suggested that Mormons "need" for the bible to be errant. I pointed out that no such thing is at all needed. We would be happy with an "inerrant" text. According to Evangelicals, Paul taught that the Old Testament was "god-breathed" and to an Evangelical that means "inerrant." Now, despite the fact that Evangelicals believe that Paul considered the OT to be "inerrant," it is clear that Paul also welcomed the existence of further prophets of God (NT prophets). Paul did not "need" the OT to be errant in order to believe in living prophets.

As I said, we would be happy with an "inerrant" bible. The problem though is that once you make that leap and start believing the bible to be "inerrant" you still immediately run into the fact that this "inerrancy" can only be theoretical, for reasons I have discussed in the OP.

Sargon

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All medicine is given by science and is profitable for healing the sick and the curing of symptoms.Does that mean there will never be any new medicine discovered or produced? Of course not.
Agreed. And I do not here contend that new scripture can not or will not be discovered or produced. I contend simply that for the EV it is not necessary that new scripture be discovered or produced. For the Mormon it is.
AS I uderstand the Ev position, "If the Bible was good enough for Paul, it's good enough for me."
Not sure about this one, but, would that be wrong?
j, If you respond in the quote area of your post, when someone wants to quote you, it becomes quite difficult. Please separate out the quote from your answer (easy to do by adding quote tags where needed to separate things.
Ok. :P
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I don't see that jonzlaw has produced one single well-formed argument yet in this thread. Instead, all I see are assertions being made without a shred of supporting evidence presented. And because jozlaw has so far only commented on the very last bit of my post (which really diverged from main point of the post) I am left wondering if jonzlaw agrees that 2 Tim 3:16 does NOT teach biblical inerrancy.

Yes, it is VERY relevant. You suggested that Mormons "need" for the bible to be errant. I pointed out that no such thing is at all needed. We would be happy with an "inerrant" text. According to Evangelicals, Paul taught that the Old Testament was "god-breathed" and to an Evangelical that means "inerrant." Now, despite the fact that Evangelicals believe that Paul considered the OT to be "inerrant," it is clear that Paul also welcomed the existence of further prophets of God (NT prophets). Paul did not "need" the OT to be errant in order to believe in living prophets.

As I said, we would be happy with an "inerrant" bible. The problem though is that once you make that leap and start believing the bible to be "inerrant" you still immediately run into the fact that this "inerrancy" can only be theoretical, for reasons I have discussed in the OP.

Sargon

I wasn't attempting to provide "evidence." My problem with the Mormon insistence that the Bible is errant is twofold:

1) In order to follow Joseph Smith, one must indeed agree that the Bible is errant. I personally don't think that is such an easy thing to do, mostly because. . .

2) In order to believe that the Bible is errant, one must somehow reconcile that belief with the belief that it was in fact "God Breathed." I'm not sure how to do that. And, if you happen to believe that God is purposeful, it is difficult to reconcile that belief with the idea that some men totally screwed up The Word (God) in the manner in which the Mormon must believe men did if they are to follow Smith, and absent the influence of God.

As I asked above, whenever Mormons insist that the Bible was perverted by men over the years I am always left to wonder if Mormons believe God had anything at all to do with It's compilation?

Sorry, I actually have one more issue with all of this:

3) If we are to believe Smith when he tells us that the Bible is errant and cannot be trusted all by Itself, and that we need him - and other Mormon prophets - to help us out, we are totally forced to put our faith in (Mormon) men. We can't trust God, or God's Word, at all. Thats another big hurdle for me.

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All medicine ...is profitable for healing the sick and the curing of symptoms.

...

How much did the Pharmaceuticals pay you to say this? :P (a little humor)

But your analogy is correct.

John 16 promises that more revelation will be given:

12 I have yet MANY THINGS to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you INTO ALL TRUTH: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

The Spirit of truth is the Holy Ghost. And it is the Holy Ghost that inspires the scriptures.

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

--2 Peter 1:21

So the MANY THINGS which Christ promises will eventually be taught to his disciples will come the IDENTICAL way that the OT scriptures came: the Holy Ghost. Why should it be a surprise that this means the ancient pattern of written oracles generation after generation will be part of the restitution of all things?

Richard

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I wasn't attempting to provide "evidence." My problem with the Mormon insistence that the Bible is errant is twofold:

1) In order to follow Joseph Smith, one must indeed agree that the Bible is errant. I personally don't think that is such an easy thing to do, mostly because. . .

People followed JS before he started translating the bible. We believe the bible as it came forth from the lips of it's original authors. We believe that the fulness of the gospel can be found in the bible. What JS did was clarify some of it's obscure passages that had been tampered with.

2) In order to believe that the Bible is errant, one must somehow reconcile that belief with the belief that it was in fact "God Breathed." I'm not sure how to do that. And, if you happen to believe that God is purposeful, it is difficult to reconcile that belief with the idea that some men totally screwed up The Word (God) in the manner in which the Mormon must believe men did if they are to follow Smith, and absent the influence of God.

Once again, as it came from the lips of the men who wrote it, it was inspired by God. We don't believe that men "totally screwed up the Word" but that there were some mistakes made in translation through the years. Have you ever played the game telephone? It's not always intentional

As I asked above, whenever Mormons insist that the Bible was perverted by men over the years I am always left to wonder if Mormons believe God had anything at all to do with It's compilation?

Sorry, I actually have one more issue with all of this:

3) If we are to believe Smith when he tells us that the Bible is errant and cannot be trusted all by Itself, and that we need him - and other Mormon prophets - to help us out, we are totally forced to put our faith in (Mormon) men. We can't trust God, or God's Word, at all. Thats another big hurdle for me.

See the difference is that we believe JS to be a Prophet called by God, so we are trusting God and His word. Secondly, you do realize that in the Bible, you are putting your faith in "Bible" men? Or in "Catholic" men who compiled the bible? At one point or another, it was written by a man as he felt inspired. I think it's taken for granted that everything is done by faith, including relying on the words of the apostles and prophets that they were telling the truth and not delluded.

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Agreed. And I do not here contend that new scripture can not or will not be discovered or produced. I contend simply that for the EV it is not necessary that new scripture be discovered or produced. For the Mormon it is.

I would contend that God is no respector of persons and has the same standards for both Mormons and EV's (afterall, it's why the Bible says gospel is preached in the afterlife 1 Peter 4:6). Since the Bible refers to future scriptures and not currently extant, such is necessary. Just as it is necessary for an EV to become LDS in order to be saved in the EV sense.

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Those are all ridiculous allegations. At the time it was written, "all" scripture had not been written, even for mainstream Christians. The gospel of John had not been written, nor the book of Revelation just to name two. Apostles and prophets were still alive, revelation was continuing and there was no indication that it would stop. If these verses are to be taken the way evangelicals and others take them to mean, well, part of the New Testament has to be taken out.

Nowhere in the scripture are stakes set to mark the boundaries of scripture or revelation. They're deceiving themselves.

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People followed JS before he started translating the bible. We believe the bible as it came forth from the lips of it's original authors. We believe that the fulness of the gospel can be found in the bible. What JS did was clarify some of it's obscure passages that had been tampered with.

What passages, who tampered with them, and how do you know this to be so?

Once again, as it came from the lips of the men who wrote it, it was inspired by God. We don't believe that men "totally screwed up the Word" but that there were some mistakes made in translation through the years.

Can you please give an example here of a mistake in translation that was fixed by Joseph Smith? Include if possible proof of the mistake other than Smith's assertions.

See the difference is that we believe JS to be a Prophet called by God, so we are trusting God and His word. Secondly, you do realize that in the Bible, you are putting your faith in "Bible" men? Or in "Catholic" men who compiled the bible? At one point or another, it was written by a man as he felt inspired. I think it's taken for granted that everything is done by faith, including relying on the words of the apostles and prophets that they were telling the truth and not delluded.

This kinda blows me away and doesn't make any sense to me. I seriously don't know how the Mormon trusts anything at all written in the Bible if they believe it's authors were liars and dellusional. And, exactly how is it you can possibly distinguish Smith (and every other Mormon prophet) from this group of delusional lying apostles and prophets? Also, I ask again, did God have a hand at all in putting the Bible together or what?

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Those are all ridiculous allegations. At the time it was written, "all" scripture had not been written, even for mainstream Christians. The gospel of John had not been written, nor the book of Revelation just to name two. Apostles and prophets were still alive, revelation was continuing and there was no indication that it would stop. If these verses are to be taken the way evangelicals and others take them to mean, well, part of the New Testament has to be taken out.

Nowhere in the scripture are stakes set to mark the boundaries of scripture or revelation. They're deceiving themselves.

Maybe. Although I'm not sure the average EV is convinced further revelation and scripture is impossible. They just don't believe it came from Joseph Smith.

BTW - do you have an opinion as to whether or not God had a hand in putting the Bible together?

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I would contend that God is no respector of persons and has the same standards for both Mormons and EV's (afterall, it's why the Bible says gospel is preached in the afterlife 1 Peter 4:6). Since the Bible refers to future scriptures and not currently extant, such is necessary. Just as it is necessary for an EV to become LDS in order to be saved in the EV sense.

Not a bad point. However, it remains true that for the Mormon it is necessary that they believe Joseph Smith provided that scripture.

Can you explain that last part some more please?

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John 16 promises that more revelation will be given:

Do you mean the Trinity?

So the MANY THINGS which Christ promises will eventually be taught to his disciples will come the IDENTICAL way that the OT scriptures came:[
b]

It doesn't read that. It is only making the claim of it's origin, not it's means.

the Holy Ghost. Why should it be a surprise that this means the ancient pattern of written oracles generation after generation will be part of the restitution of all things?

Assuming the restitution you speak is the lds idea.

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Maybe. Although I'm not sure the average EV is convinced further revelation and scripture is impossible. They just don't believe it came from Joseph Smith.

Oh, they would have to believe in further revelation and scripture or they would have to throw out what came after. But a Church of Christ minister once pulled the "all" scripture thing. The argument doesn't make a whole lot of sense, as the term is not limiting at all, neither can it be interpreted as such. All scripture would, by definition, be inspired, including the Book of Mormon if it were indeed scripture.

BTW - do you have an opinion as to whether or not God had a hand in putting the Bible together?

Absolutely. Much of what happens is providential in nature. The Reformation, the "discovery" of the New World. I would have added the Epistle of Barnabas and a few other works, however, to the Bible. We could have used the scripture condemning abortion.

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Jonzlaw:

I hope that you get my point then. You original assertion could be thrown both ways and is rather moot.

1) In order to follow Joseph Smith, one must indeed agree that the Bible is errant. I personally don't think that is such an easy thing to do, mostly because. . .

How so that it is a must? It may be inerrant but more revelation came. Because the New Testament was added does that make the Old Testament errant? Or can I assert that because you accept the New Testament that you must think the Old Testament is errant?

As I asked above, whenever Mormons insist that the Bible was perverted by men over the years I am always left to wonder if Mormons believe God had anything at all to do with It's compilation?

Does God have a hand in evil because men commit evil acts? Just because something happens in the world, to the Bible or otherwise, does not mean that God has a hand in it. Agency.

3) If we are to believe Smith when he tells us that the Bible is errant and cannot be trusted all by Itself, and that we need him - and other Mormon prophets - to help us out, we are totally forced to put our faith in (Mormon) men. We can't trust God, or God's Word, at all. Thats another big hurdle for me.

A bible, a bible, we have a bible. If all we need is a bible, stop going to church. Stop doing anything but reading your bible, do nothing with anyone else as it pertains to religion. You just need your bible. The Pope is equally wrong then, and all those that trust him must be equally wrong. Are you willing to admit that?

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In connection with some of the thoughts expressed in this thread I give the following interesting quote from the Prophet Joseph Smith:

(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith: Section Two 1834-37, p.60)

"From what we can draw from the Scriptures relative to the teaching of heaven, we are induced to think that much instruction has been given to man since the beginning which we do not possess now. This may not agree with the opinions of some of our friends who are bold to say that we have everything written in the Bible which God ever spoke to man since the world began, and that if He had ever said anything more we should certainly receive it. But we ask, does it remain for a people who never had faith enough to call down one scrap of revelation from heaven, and for all they have now are indebted to the faith of another people who lived hundreds and thousands of years before them, does it remain for them to say how much God has spoken and how much He has not spoken? We have what we have, and the Bible contains what it does contain: but to say that God never said anything more to man than is there recorded, would be saying at once that we have at last received a revelation: for it must require one to advance thus far, because it is nowhere said in that volume by the mouth of God, that He would not, after giving what is there contained, speak again; and if any man has found out for a fact that the Bible contains all that God ever revealed to man he has ascertained it by an immediate revelation, other than has been previously written by the prophets and apostles. But through the kind providence of our Father a portion of His word which he delivered to His ancient saints, has fallen into our hands, is presented to us with a promise of a reward if obeyed, and with a penalty if disobeyed. That all are deeply interested in these laws or teachings, must be admitted by all who acknowledge their divine authenticity."

To limit the scope of what God can reveal is to say that one has received a revelation to that effect. I see those who adhere to the idea that the Bible is all there is and that God cannot or will not reveal more places one in the position of the Jews at the time of Christ who claimed to be "Abraham's children" and who were guardians of "Moses and the Prophets" and who rejected the prophet John the Baptist and even the Lord Jesus Himself. They also stoned Stephen and drove Peter and Paul and the other Apostles into hiding and eventually killed them (save John the Beloved) and tried to extinguish the flame of revelation by removing the foundation. Lucifer and his followers were successful for a time, even John was removed from the midst of the seven churches who remained when he gave the book of Revelation. The Church was "driven into the wilderness" until a new dispensation when the angel with the everlasting Gospel should fly forth in the last days to prepare the people for the Lord's second coming.
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I wasn't attempting to provide "evidence." My problem with the Mormon insistence that the Bible is errant is twofold:

1) In order to follow Joseph Smith, one must indeed agree that the Bible is errant. I personally don't think that is such an easy thing to do, mostly because. . .

Yes, I could agree to that. Joseph didn't believe it was inerrant, and if one were to follow Joseph on every little thing they wouldn't either.

But, we are not required to follow Joseph on every little thing. A LDS is welcome to believe the bible is inerrant and still go to the Temple.

2) In order to believe that the Bible is errant, one must somehow reconcile that belief with the belief that it was in fact "God Breathed." I'm not sure how to do that.

You could start by reading my OP where I addressed that.

And, if you happen to believe that God is purposeful, it is difficult to reconcile that belief with the idea that some men totally screwed up The Word (God) in the manner in which the Mormon must believe men did if they are to follow Smith, and absent the influence of God.

I for one don't consider the bible to be "totally screwed up." It just isn't inerrant. It never has been, it never will be, and it certainly does not claim to be. There are things in the bible which are not perfectly taught, which are not unamiguous to all mankind, and which cause confusion. The same could be said of The Book of Mormon or any other LDS book of scripture. So what?

It isn't difficult to imagine that God allows men to mess up his plans. Remember the Garden of Eden? Remember Noah's Ark? It is a simple concept called agency. God would never be so cruel as to take that away. In order to counter the effects of agency, God calls prophets.

As I asked above, whenever Mormons insist that the Bible was perverted by men over the years I am always left to wonder if Mormons believe God had anything at all to do with It's compilation?

Yes he did.

3) If we are to believe Smith when he tells us that the Bible is errant and cannot be trusted all by Itself, and that we need him - and other Mormon prophets - to help us out, we are totally forced to put our faith in (Mormon) men. We can't trust God, or God's Word, at all. Thats another big hurdle for me.

Ok. Take Mormon prophets out of the equation. You are still left with the nothing but Hebrew prophets. You are "totally forced to put [your] faith in (Hebrew) men." How is that different?

Sargon

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I believe that when human beings are involved, mistakes are bound to happen. God may inspire, guide, and help us humans, but He doesn't control us like robots.

This means that all scriptures have the possible for error. Even the Book of Mormon has the possibilities for mistakes. As Mormon put it himself in the Title page...

And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men...

However, this doesn't change the sacred nature of scriptures and revelation. As Mormon continues with that sentence...

wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.

Just because there are mistakes does not mean that it isn't sacred, nor of God. The Bible may have mistakes, but that doesn't mean it isn't sacred, nor scripture.

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