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I was a little wordy above with Gundek. But certainly more complete. The Bible does not testify to it's OWN ability to be the benchmark by the simple fact that it wasn't compiled at the time the words were penned (at least NT). The prophets (Bible) testify that the Word of God is the benchmark.
I respect your belief that the Bible is the only book that God has given as scripture. But if that is true I would expect Him to emphatically state so! i.e. "That is the end of my words, do not expect anything more from my mouth, you have enough, yada yada yada" But it is simply not there!
Preaching of Christ does not answer the primary question first posed. Why should someone accept the NT as scripture? You are "preaching Christ" and so are you suggesting that your words in this blog become additional scripture? If not, then why should one accept a letter from Paul to Timothy as the literal Word of God?
And if I accept Paul's simple letter to his friend as scripture (which I do) how can you and I dismiss D&C 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."
Luke 24:27 relates how Jesus used the scriptures to show that they testify of Him. If the scriptures were complete at that time why the need for the rest of the NT?
2Tim 3:15-17: Letter from Paul to Timothy. Reminding him that the scriptures have made him wise unto salvation. What scriptures? Certainly not Paul's letter because that was not scripture, at the time. He is referring to the OT. So that scripture would justify the OT prophets only.
Gal 1:8,9 Another letter of Paul's. Not scripture at the time he wrote it. It talks of another "gospel" and says nothing about what is scripture and what is not.
2 Thes 2:2 Interesting you are quoting a prophecy that is predicting the pending apostasy. Nevertheless, it says nothing of what is scripture and what is not.
I admire your humility!
However, how do you reconcile the following direct statement the Savior contained in the Doctrine and Covenants regarding the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon?
D&C 17: 6
6 And he has translated the book, even that part which I have commanded him, and as your Lord and your God liveth it is true.
OK. I can hear you. But you don't necessarily believe that that is the Lord speaking. Herein lies the problem. These are serious claims. God's testimony is recorded in scripture. How does He insure that His children are not deceived? You have suggested that a benchmark is needed? I agree.
Why are you suggesting that the Bible be that benchmark? Do the prophets who wrote the book ever suggest that a compiled document would serve such a purpose? If so, how do you convince a Jew that the OT is not sufficient? Why should they accept the NT if their "benchmark" of the OT seems sufficient for them?
"whereas Mormons seem to believe the Bible is for various reasons too indirect to be a sufficient ground for believing its claims"
I would have to disagree with you. We believe the scriptures is God's testimony. However, God himself did not pen to words we have in the Bible. They were recorded by his prophets. Thus, God's own direct testimony is, in fact, the testimony of his servants. ARe you not simply stating "whether by mine own voice or the voice of my servants, it is the same"?
The irony of this statement is that when Joseph Smith records has testimony of seeing the Father and the Son it is somehow not seen as being God's own testimony. On what basis can someone except Stephen's testimony and at the same time reject Smith's?
Read my post for Germit.
Testimony is certainly an "experience" that each of us have. However, just because one has experience doesn't mean he has a testimony. I would have to say that I am classifying personal testimony as revelation since, by definition, that is what it is. He cannot get a testimony without revelation.
Which has more authority? The spoken word of God or the interpretation of the written word of God?
Consider Adam finding himself in the garden of Eden. Genesis 1. He is having quite an experience yet he knows nothing of the creative process, why it was created, what was his role, what was he to do. How does he find out? Search the scriptures? He doesn't have any. Genesis 1 was written by Moses (topic for another day) He gets his knowledge from God himself. Revelation. He is being taught things are they really are. On the contrary, Satan comes and is "teaching" him lies or rather truth mixed with error about his experience.
Consider Peter. Having quite an experience with Jesus. The rest of the Jews also. So why don't the Jews believe Jesus based on the "experience" of the miracles being performed? They are not receiving revelation (or rather rejecting it). Peter sees that Jesus is the Christ because he accepts revelation being given to him.
Experience is something that happens to everyone. Testimony comes by the power of God through revelation. I like to think of it as the built in safeguard to God's knowledge. You cannot get it with going directly through Him.
I would say it is a fundamental error to base doctrine on your experiences. Doctrine is based on revelation from God. Your experiences then confirm whether what has been revealed is indeed true. That is why both of us can testify that Jesus is the Christ. That can only come from revelation, thus it is true doctrine that He is the Christ.
If your argument that JS is not a prophet is your "experience" then that is false doctrine (at least in my mind) Why? Because my experience has confirmed to me this truth that can only come by revelation.
The argument here is about revelation not about experience. right?