Home > Mallinak, Mix 'n Match > Witnessing to Mormons – A Starting Point

Witnessing to Mormons – A Starting Point

July 25, 2008

Eleven years ago, I saw Utah for the first time, from behind the windshield of a Hertz-Penske moving truck, pulling the family car on a trailer, with my wife at my side and the family cat on her lap. We saw the sillouette of the gorgeous Wasatch mountains against the night sky, and we wondered what life in Utah would bring us. Would we, could we have a ministry in Ogden? And of course, one of the big questions at the top of our list — how would we witness to the Mormons.

Life in Utah was different than we expected. We have yet to meet a polygamist (as far as we know). We don’t see wild-eyed, bearded prophets like we were expecting. We don’t get shunned, and jobs are as available to us as they are to anybody. We had heard that non-Mormons could not buy land in Utah. I now am buying my second home since moving here. Our church has owned its own property for over forty-five years. The LDS (Latter-Day Saints) people are friendly and kind and make good neighbors, and I have no complaint about them.

When we got here, we were most surprised by how much the LDS church dominates cultural life. The news media openly discusses church news. Even sports-talk radio stations regularly discuss the LDS church. Every spring and fall before the General Conference, stores have special sales and discounts that are directly connected to church doings. Even as I sit here at my keyboard hunting and pecking away, our entire state is celebrating a Mormon holiday. This morning there was a parade and businesses are closed for the day, as Utah celebrates “Pioneer Days” — a part of our Mormon heritage.

I am very grateful that God sent my family and me to Utah. It is a great privilege to serve the Lord and stand for him in such a place as this. And, God is doing some wonderful things here in this state. By God’s grace, we will see more in the years ahead. One thing is for sure — as is the Temple of Diana, so will be the LDS Temple.

Witnessing to Mormons is a demanding task. All of the “conventional” approaches to witnessing simply do not get any traction here. LDS doctrine has taken all of this into account, and has the advantage of being in flux, so that adjustments can be made and chinks in the armor can be patched up. I am glad to say that I cannot give you a “tried and proven” approach to witnessing to the LDS. I would not want you to follow a formula, nor will you ever hear anything like a “simple plan of salvation for the LDS” from me.

If we are to be effective in witnessing to the LDS, then we must follow a presuppositional approach to apologetics. The two-fold apologetic method as developed by Cornelius Van Til and perfected by Greg Bahnsen must be followed. We must take the Mormon position, for the sake of argument, and show it to be vain and foolish, lest they be wise in their own conceits. Then, we must invite the LDS to take our position, in order to show them that it is the only possible way to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Over the past year, I have been slaving away at understanding the basic Mormons presupposition, the one that they always refer back to and hold to be their ultimate authority for what they believe. It is vital that we understand this if we are to witness effectively to them, if we are to show their presupposition to be a vain deceit.

Before I go into their ultimate presupposition, I should take a moment to explain what I mean by “presupposition.” The easiest definition I have encountered for “presupposition” is a belief that takes precedence over other beliefs. There are, naturally, a variety of degrees of presuppositions. I believe that George Bush is George W. Bush’s father. If you tell me that actually, George W. Bush’s father is a Martian Alien, I won’t believe you. Not even if you show me “documentation” on MoveOn.org. I presuppose that the Bush’s aren’t lying about paternity. But, I will admit, with the right amount of proof and following the right rules of evidence, you might be able to persuade me that another man besides George Bush fathered George W. My presupposition in this case is not nearly as strongly held as another. For instance, I have a presupposition that takes precedence even over that one. I presuppose that George W. Bush HAS a father. No amount of proof or evidence could make me think otherwise. This is because I presuppose that everyone has a father. And I presuppose this because of another presupposition that takes precedence even over that one. I presuppose that God made the world, and that paternity is a design feature… in other words, that God made the world in such a way that everyone has a father. This we call an ultimate presupposition — a belief over which no other belief takes precedence.

If we would witness to Mormons effectively, we must know what is ultimate to them. What is their ultimate presupposition, their ultimate starting point for what they believe? For some time, I have struggled to understand and identify this “ultimate authority” for saying that Mormonism is true. For some time, I thought that the Bible and the Book of Mormon were ultimate to them. However, in witnessing to the LDS, I can say that this is not the case. Whenever they encounter a doctrine or teaching in either the Bible or the Book of Mormon that contradicts what they believe or what their church teaches, they will always revert back to what the church teaches. They will tell you that they believe the Bible to be true inasmuch as it is accurately translated. And, not surprisingly, they believe that only their church can render an accurate translation. Since there are passages in the Book of Mormon that directly copy the Bible, they rely on their church to give them the correct meaning of the passage.

Naturally then, when I realized that Scripture (loosely speaking) was not ultimate, I began to think that the LDS church itself was ultimate to them. This brings us a lot closer to their ultimate authority, but not quite. There are several organizations here in Utah that have done an outstanding job of disproving, beyond a doubt, several key teachings of the LDS church. For example, the LDS church teaches (as does the Book of Mormon) that the American Indians descended from Jews, and came to America from Palestine. This has been shown to be fictitious. Another example is of the Book of Abraham, which the church says was translated from “Reformed Egyptian.” Scholars have proven this to also be a work of fiction, in fact showing that the document that Joseph Smith translated from was actually something like an Egyptian funeral dirge, and says nothing even remotely close to what Smith translated.

Whenever one of these key claims of the LDS church is debunked, one might expect a significant exodus from the church. But we do not see any such thing. In fact, just the opposite. The LDS people simply believe the church, despite all the evidence against it. You might think then (as I did) that this means that the LDS church is their ultimate reason. But, in fact, it shows otherwise. If they will believe the LDS church despite the vast amount of evidence against it, then there must be another reason for believing that is even more ultimate than the church.

From time to time, in conversations with the LDS, when they are confronted with the errors of their church, we will hear them say something along the lines of “that’s why it is good that we have a living prophet.” Based on this, I came to think that perhaps this was the key. Their ultimate reason for believing was because they believed whatever the living prophet said. I do think that this brings us even closer to understanding what the LDS ultimate presupposition is. They really do assume that whatever he says is right. But then we run into some difficulty. For instance, it is very rare to find any Mormon who believes whatever Joseph Smith or Brigham Young taught. Many Christian apologists who teach on Mormonism will quote past prophets. And yet, the modern day member of the LDS church will not be affected by these quotes at all. They believe their prophets, and yet they do not hold their prophets to be their ultimate reason for believing.

There is a reason why the LDS believe the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrine and Covenants. There is a reason why the LDS believe their church. There is a reason why the LDS believe their prophets. There is an underlying reason for their faith in all of these things. We can anticipate what that reason is if we consider what the LDS will say if you challenge their faith.

Over the years, we have noted many times that if you question a member of the LDS church on some point of LDS teaching, you are likely to get ten different answers from ten different people. There really is not a consistent doctrine on most issues. But there is one thing that you will consistently hear from every member of the LDS church. It is…

I bear you my testimony that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church on the earth today.

How do they know this? They will tell you that they have prayed about the Book of Mormon, they have prayed about the church, they have prayed about Joseph Smith, and they have experienced a “burning in the bosom” which tells them that these things are true. They know it, as they will tell you “beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

In other words, their ultimate reason for believing in the truth of the Book of Mormon, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, of Joseph Smith and the Prophets, is a feeling that they have experienced, and that is very real to them. Their ultimate presupposition is that their feelings about these things are true and a reliable way of coming to the truth. Whenever they are challenged, the LDS will universally appeal to their testimony.

Following the apologetic method developed by Van Til and Bahnsen, the believer should point out the folly of finding the truth this way. There are several ways to show the LDS that this is not a way of knowing. First, I have a testimony as well — one that completely contradicts the LDS testimony.

I bear you my testimony that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ is very God of very God, is equally God with the Father, and that no man cometh unto the Father but by Him. Furthermore, I bear you my testimony that I am saved by the grace of God alone, through Faith in Christ alone.

Since my testimony contradicts their testimony, how do we know which one is true? If the answer to that question is based on certain feelings that we have had, or certain experiences that have been ours, then we would have to say that we are both right. But this is logically impossible, because the LDS church teaches that I am wrong, and I say that they are wrong. One thing is certain in this case… WE CANNOT BOTH BE RIGHT.

If feelings and experiences are the way of knowing, then the man who feels that there must be a colony of green men growing beef cows on Mars must be correct in thinking so. We really can’t challenge him… he feels that it is true.

But of course, this is not a way of knowing. Your feelings are true in one sense only… you really do feel that way. But your feelings are not a way of knowing. The Bible says,

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12)

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: (Proverbs 28:26)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

The heart is no judge of the truth. The heart can neither confirm or deny the truth. The truth is the truth whether you believe it to be or not, in fact, whether you ever existed or not.

But the LDS will give James 1:5 as their warrant for finding the truth this way.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Does James 1:5 in fact teach us that we come to knowledge by asking God to reveal to us what we should know? James says “wisdom.” If any of you lack “wisdom,” not “knowledge.” Wisdom is the practical use of knowledge. One must have knowledge before one can have wisdom. One must know the truth before one can use the truth in any sort of practical way. And what is truth? The Bible is only too clear, first as to what the truth is, and secondly, as to how to find it.

I’ll deal with the second first. The Bible gives us a wonderful example of how to find the truth.

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Notice that they did not pray over what Paul says. They did not ponder it. They did not look for a burning in the bosom to confirm what Paul taught them. They searched the Scriptures. This is how we find the truth. This is how we find knowledge, for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. God, Who created all things that can be known, reveals all things to be known. We find the truth then by searching the Scriptures.

And what is truth? The Bible tells us.

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17)

Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth. (Psalm 119:142)

Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth. (Psalm 119:151)

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. (Proverbs 30:5)

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. (Isaiah 40:8)

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matthew 24:35)

It is worth noting that this is true regardless of your feelings about it, regardless of what experiences have been yours, or what burnings you have experienced in your bosom. Just as the earth is round, whatever you might feel about its roundness. It would be round whether you ever existed or not. It certainly is not flat because you think it is.

When we witness to Mormons, we must understand that they base their belief on the feelings that they have had, especially on the fact that they have a testimony. We need to show them that this is not a way of knowing, that this feeling did not come from the Holy Spirit, even though they prayed, because the Holy Spirit will never give a testimony that is in conflict with what He has already inspired in the Word of God. We must then show them that God’s Word is truth, and that it is true whether we ever existed to experience it or not. Having shown them the folly and vain deceit of believing anything on the basis of a feeling, and having given them the truth, we must call on them to repent and believe the Gospel.

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  1. July 25, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Excellent pinpointing of the Mormon stronghold.

    The passage I think of that would be good is 2 Peter 1, which you probably use, but Peter placing the Word above his experience. Then in Luke in the rich man and Lazarus—except they believe Moses and the prophets, they won’t believe, even if someone were to come from hell.

  2. CBJ
    July 25, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    If you are interested, this blog post is being discussed by Mormon apologists at the following:

    http://www.mormonapologetics.org/index.php?showtopic=36954

  3. July 25, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Any Mormons who have wandered over here from your apologetic board or otherwise to read Dave’s post, you say that you have a dependence on the Holy Spirit and your feeling and the Holy Spirit are one and the same. 1 John 4:1 informs us to test the spirits to see if they are of God. The way that we prove things isn’t rationalism, but faith in His Word. The Holy Spirit is the author of Scripture, 2 Peter 1:20-21, and Ephesians 6:17 tells us that the Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit, so the Holy Spirit is not going to contradict Scripture. That’s how we test. If that “feeling” you have contradicts the Bible, then it isn’t the Holy Spirit. That’s where we are at on this.

    Thanks.

  4. July 25, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Kent, how does one determine that the Bible is inspired of God? According to your logic, you must prove the Bible to be true by the Bible itself. Smells of circular reasoning to me…

  5. July 25, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    Great, except that this is exactly how most Protestants also ultimately decide on their faith allegiance.

    Oh, they’ll try to tell you it’s based on the “historical reality of the resurrection.” Which means their faith is “rational” and Mormons are “irrational.”

    Yeah sure.

    The historical reality of the resurrection proves absolutely zip, zero, nadda, about whether Jesus is a God or not. He could have done all that and been a space alien right? Would that make him “worshiping material?” Of course not.

    You guys need to admit that ultimately, your basis for belief is no different than your average Mormon’s. Because the history, the archeology, all of that… It just doesn’t mean it’s “true” at the end of the day. And what you are left with is a direct gut feeling, manifestation, or intuition that this thing you are believing is… right.

    Mormon testimony is more than just a “warm fuzzy” they got at a youth camp, or praying one evening. It’s forged from a lifetime of testing the church’s principles, living its doctrines, and seeing it’s blessings and effect in our lives.

    The “warm fuzzy” theory you’ve pinpointed isn’t the ultimate source either. It goes hand in hand with a lifetime of testing the word of god and witnessing its blessings in our lives.

    So I think you’ve missed on this one too.

    And by the way, stuff like DNA does not “disprove” the Book of Mormon. But I won’t waste our time with that stuff, because, in the end, it isn’t what any of us are ultimately basing our belief in God on.

  6. July 26, 2008 at 1:59 am

    Andrew,

    I’ll answer yours first. We have both internal and external verification of the inspiration of Scripture. Of course, the Bible says that it is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).

    I’ll give you one particular evidence that sets the Bible apart from all literature, among many others. Forty percent of Scripture is prophecy. God told us that He wrote in prophecy to validate its inspiration (Isaiah 41:21-24; 42:9; 45:21; 46:11). There are hundreds of fulfilled prophecies. No other body of literature has fulfilled prophecies. Scripture holds itself up to the standard of 100 percent fulfillment of prophecies. God designed mankind to discern truth in a major way by means of mathematical probability. That is a primary point of prophecy.

    The fantastic number of fulfilled prophecies in the Bible show that it is no book authored by mere man. Experts in probability mathematics have come up with these statistics concerning the following prophecies:

    7 prophecies against Tyre in Ezekiel 26:3-4, 7-8, 12, 14, 21 coming true: 1 in 7.5 x 10 to the power of seven.

    5 prophecies against Samaria in Hosea 13:16 & Micah 1:6 come true: 1 in 4 x 10 to the power of four.

    5 prophecies against Gaza & Ashkelon in Amos 1:8, Jer 47:5, Zeph 2:4-7: 1 in 1.2 x 10 to the power of four.

    3 prophecies against Moab & Ammon in Ezek 25:3-4, Jer 48:47; 49:6: 1 in 10 to the power of three.

    9 prophecies against Edom in Isa 34:6-15, Jer 49:17-18; Ezek 25:13-14; 35:5-7: 1 in 10 to the power of four.

    8 prophecies against Babylon in Isa 13:19-22; 14:23; Jer 51:26,43: 1 in 5 x 10 to the power of nine.

    9 prophecies about Jerusalem in Jeremiah 31:38-40: 1 in 8 x 10 to the power of ten.

    7 prophecies about Palestine in Lev 26:31-33; Ezek 36:33-35: 1 in 2 x 10 to the power of five.

    9 prophecies about Petra & Edom in Isa 34:6-18; Ezek 25:13-14; 35:5-7:1 in 2 x 10 to the power of five.

    4 prophecies about Thebes & Memphis in Ezek 30:13-15: 1 in 10 to the power of three.

    4 prophecies about Nineveh in Nahum 1:8,10; 2:6; 3:10,13,19: 1 in 10 to the power of 2.

    The probability of these 11 prophecies coming true is 1 in 5.76 x 10 to the power of 59! This is almost impossible to visualize. Suppose this number were silver dollars. There would be enough to fill 10 to the power of 28 suns! Or think of it like this. In the universe there are about 2 trillion galaxies, each containing about 100 million stars. From our 5 x 10 to the power of 59 we could make all of the stars in all of the galaxies 2 x 10 to the power of 5 times! Only one silver dollar in all of these stands for the chance a writer could have guessed all these prophecies correctly! Even more astounding is the fact that these are only 11 prophecies. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of others which have already come true.

  7. July 26, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Kent,

    Thanks for your response and your impressive mathematics. However, they do little to substantiate your case.

    Why?

    Well, from a scientific view point, none of these prophecies can be shown to have been written BEFORE the actual events since no manuscripts are that old. The oldest manuscripts of any of the books in the Old Testament are the Dead Sea Scrolls. They date, of course, to 100BC to 100 AD, long after the prophecies were fulfilled. So, there is no verifiable, scientific, logical way to say that any prophecy in the Bible was fulfilled. They could be nothing but later creations.

    For example, suppose we found a manuscript whose contents were supposedly from 1200 AD that prophesied about the American revolution in great detail, mentioning George W. Bush by name. However, the actual manuscript claims to be a copy of a 1200 AD original that no longer exists, while this actual manuscript dates only to 1850 AD. Suppose that there are even hundreds of manuscript copies by 1850, but nothing earlier. Does this prove the document to be inspired? Nope. Why not? We can’t prove that the prophecy was, in fact, made in 1200. The analogy to the Bible should be perfectly clear. There is not so much as one word in the Bible that can be verified as being original, simply because the original manuscripts do not exist.

    In other words, as impressive as your mathematics are, they mean absolutely nothing to a non-believer. Like you, I do believe the Bible is true. However, I do not believe that based on some mathematics. It is by the power of the Holy Ghost. Do you really base your belief in the Bible on such flawed logic as what you presented above?

    The point: Spiritual things can not be known by the earthly or carnal mind. They come by the Spirit! Just as you cannot prove the Bible true or false by earthly means alone (as it should be!), then neither can you prove or disprove the Book of Mormon false by earthly means alone.

  8. July 26, 2008 at 10:59 am

    I just finished reading the thread at the above linked Mormon Apologetics site. I’m excited to read the discussion and to engage it. I won’t have a lot of time for give and take over the weekend, but I will promise to come back and back to continue the discussion.

    First, from what I read on the forum, you think I didn’t quite get to the Ultimate Presupposition because I ascribed to feelings what you ascribe to the Holy Spirit. I would point out several things. First, I do understand that you call it the witness of the Holy Spirit, which is why I spent some time showing that we do not confirm or deny the truth of a thing by asking the Holy Spirit to give His witness. I used Acts 17:11 to show this. Secondly, if the “Holy Spirit gives His witness” to somebody that they should take plural wives, I think that you will deny that they have found the truth. From what I have seen in the Warren Jeffs issue, the Fundamentalists claim to have the witness of the Holy Spirit, and you say they don’t. So, once again, we are back to the question of whose witness is legitimate. Thirdly, I have never had a member of the LDS church tell me that the Holy Spirit either appeared to them or spoke in an audible voice to them. The only way that the LDS can claim to have the witness of the Holy Spirit is by claiming to have felt his witness. And that would make it an experience that they have had. And fourthly, if what you call the “witness of the Holy Spirit” contradicts what the Holy Spirit inspired in the word of God, then it really is not the Holy Spirit’s witness — it is your feelings.

    Next, I need to answer this question:

    how does one determine that the Bible is inspired of God? According to your logic, you must prove the Bible to be true by the Bible itself. Smells of circular reasoning to me…

    Our faith in the Bible as our ultimate authority certainly appears to be circular reasoning. And, if the truth were to be told, by definition it is circular reasoning. I would point out that your ultimate presupposition, the “witness of the Holy Spirit” as you call it, also amounts to circular reasoning. How do you know that the witness of the Holy Spirit is a reliable way of knowing? According to your logic, you must know this because you have the witness of the Holy Spirit on it.

    Again, this is my point. Ultimate presuppositions are beliefs over which no other belief takes precedence. In layman’s terms, these beliefs are held circularly. We always ultimately revert back to them. You ultimately will revert back to the “witness of the Holy Spirit” that you have. I ultimately will revert back to the Bible. It is my ultimate authority.

    You asked how one determines that the Bible is the Word of God. The answer to that question is not simplistic, nor will I take the time to answer exhaustively. So, I hope you all will forgive me if I answer as concisely as possible right here.

    We do not determine that the Bible is the Word of God. Just as we do not determine that the earth is round, or that the square root of 4 is 2. This is the way that God has made the world, and we accept it. We receive the Bible as the Word of God, and we do this by faith.

    Does this mean that we believe what there is no reason to believe? Absolutely not. We receive the Bible as the Word of God by faith, and we have every reason to receive it this way. We do not believe that these reasons are the ultimate reason to believe the Bible. We believe that the Bible is the ultimate reason to believe the Bible.

    God, Who made all things, and Who exists eternally of His own power, has revealed Himself in the Word of God. He tells us in His Word that the Bible is His revelation of Himself to man. Certainly, fulfilled prophecy, archeology, history, and even science add to the credibility of the claim of Scripture. But ultimately, we believe the Bible because God says that it is His Word to us.

    To quote Greg Bahnsen, “The proof that Christianity is true is that if it were not, we would not be able to prove anything.”

  9. July 26, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Dave,

    Thanks for your thoughtful response. I’m glad you recognize that acceptance of the Bible ultimately comes down to faith. Where does such a gift of faith come from, however, if not from the Holy Ghost? If it comes from the Holy Ghost indeed, then aren’t we both claiming authority for our beliefs in the Holy Ghost? If so, then why criticize the LDS for claiming authority in the Holy Ghost? You can’t “prove” the Bible true other than by the witness of God’s spirit. So, why criticize the CONCEPT that LDS receive a testimony by the Spirit of our beliefs?

    These are sincere questions, I hope you understand. I have yet heard a logical response to the dilemma presented above. It comes basically down to:

    1. The Bible nor its spiritual claims can be proved by scientific means.
    2. Belief in the Bible comes down to the claim of faith borne of the God’s Spirit.
    3. LDS belief cannot be proved by scientific means.
    4. LDS belief comes down to the claim of faith borne by God’s Spirit.

    Therefore….

    Why criticize the LDS emphasis in a spiritual witness?

  10. July 26, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Andrew,

    If we had or have evidence that many of the OT prophecies were written before their fulfillment, would you either accept or believe that they validate the Bible as inspired by God?

    I need to ask this question first before I proceed because this wouldn’t be worth continuing if you would not be willing to accept or believe that.

    You haven’t shown how that mathematical probability is actually flawed logic.

    This is also not simply rational, bereft of the Holy Spirit. Why? 2 Peter 1:20-21, the prophecies came by the Holy Spirit, and Hebrews 4:12, so they’re alive and powerful. John 6:63 says that the words are spirit and life. God also told us in Isaiah that this is a definitive way that we would know that these were His Words. That’s why I go to it first. He said this is a way to prove it. You simply deny it. I have other reasons to believe; many, but I’m working at this one at a time.

    Andrew, to be honest, where do you get the idea of a Holy Spirit? Do you start with a feeling and invent the Holy Spirit? Or did you find out about the Holy Spirit from a book? This idea of the Holy Spirit wasn’t concocted separate from Scripture.

  11. Dave Mallinak
    July 27, 2008 at 6:55 am

    Andrew,

    There are several differences between the Christian claim and the Mormon claim. For one thing (a big, glaring one, I might add), we have come to very different conclusions. If you claim that I am led of the Holy Spirit to my conclusions, and that you are also led to the Holy Spirit to your conclusions, then we have a problem… because either the Holy Spirit is self-contradictory, or else one of us is not led by the Holy Spirit. In comment #8, I asked you how you know that the witness of the Holy Spirit is a way of knowing. In other words, how do you know that you are right and I am wrong? How do you know that my church is apostate (as LDS doctrine teaches) and that your church restored the true church to the earth? What makes your claim authoritative?

    Another difference will be illustrated by your answers to those questions. I always find it interesting in witnessing to the LDS how hard they work to say that we both believe the same thing. Of course, this is nonsense. If you are saying that we have come to very wrong conclusions, have apostasized, then we cannot be both believing the same things.

    But, back to what I was coming to. You believe what you believe on the basis of a testimony that you have received from the Holy Spirit. Because I said,

    We do not determine that the Bible is the Word of God. Just as we do not determine that the earth is round, or that the square root of 4 is 2. This is the way that God has made the world, and we accept it. We receive the Bible as the Word of God, and we do this by faith.

    And, keying on the word “faith,” you say that since faith is the gift of the Holy Ghost, I am therefore saying the same thing as you, for I also received the witness of the Holy Ghost. Those are your words, and your interpretation of what I am saying.

    But that is not our claim at all. We do not believe the Bible because the “witness of the Holy Spirit” confirmed it. We believe the Bible because it is the Word of God. We do not rely on any sort of external proof to confirm the validity of Scripture or of the Christian claim. We receive and accept the Bible as God’s direct revelation of Himself to us, as the very Word of God.

    If we were to reserve judgement on the Bible until the Holy Spirit confirmed its truth in our mind, then we would be resting on our own feelings or an experience that we have had instead of on the very Words of God. Our epistemology would then be subjective, rather than objective. There is a difference, and that is the next thing I wanted to point out to you.

    Andrew, if we cannot know a thing to be true until we get a burning in the bosom about it, then our truth-claims are subjective. We rely on ourselves for the truth of a thing. The truth is only the truth if I believe it to be the truth. This is not the Christian claim at all. The Christian claim is and always has been an objective claim… “Thus saith the Lord.” God, Who knows all things, has revealed all that is to be known in nature and in Scripture. These things are accepted and believed objectively.

    Test your standard against the objective truths revealed in nature. Imagine a young Mormon applying his epistemology in his math class. The teacher stands up and teaches the “2” family… “2+0=2,” “2+1=3,” “2+2=4,” and etc. Now, imagine that this young man applies what he has been taught about how we know the truth, goes home, locks himself in his bedroom, and begins to pray about whether the things taught in math class are true or not. Let’s say further, for the sake of illustration, that he comes out of his bedroom a believer in the “2” family. Would anyone think that this is really a wonderful example of how we find the truth? Or would we say that “this is ridiculous… he just turned objective truth into something that is subjective?”

    The “2” family is objective, and we believe it objectively. We need no witness of the Holy Spirit. And the Christian claim is that we approach the Bible the same way. It is to be believed objectively, not subjectively. It is true (as I said in the original post) whether I ever existed or not. Its truth certainly does not depend on me, or on my receiving a testimony of its truth.

    I’ll leave you with this one thought, in answer to two statements that you made:

    You can’t “prove” the Bible true other than by the witness of God’s spirit.

    and…

    The Bible nor its spiritual claims can be proved by scientific means.

    If a thing is true in an objective sense (i.e. — Not, “I feel cold” (which is subjective), but “2+2=4” (which is objective)), then it certainly can be proven. We can prove the Bible to be true. We simply do not rely on our proofs. But logic, as I understand it, is a science. And logic proves the Bible to be true. This is one of the arguments made in #8 (there were several) that you did not answer. I’ll repeat it for you here:

    “The proof that Christianity is true is that if it were not, we would not be able to prove anything.”

  12. July 27, 2008 at 8:58 am

    While I wait for Andrew to say whether he cares to receive evidence or not of the prophetic evidence of its inspiration by God, I want to add a point. Andrew says that he believes the Bible is inspired because of the Holy Spirit’s testimony to him. He says that as it stands, he cannot trust the prophetic testimony of Scripture because ‘there aren’t copies of Isaiah that predate the fulfillment of the prophecies.’ This is the theologically liberal point of view, but there is a major issue here regarding the testimony of the Holy Spirit.

    Both Jesus and the Holy Spirit testified to the veracity of Isaiah and his prophecies by quoting and referring to the book of Isaiah repeatedly in the New Testament, assuming its truthfulness. In the book of Isaiah itself, God repeatedly, as I referenced in my longer comment earlier (Isaiah 41:21-24; Isaiah 42:9; Isaiah 45:21; Isaiah 46:11), gave the purpose of the prophecy was to validate His Words, the veracity of the prophecies. So prophecy doesn’t mean anything if there is no fulfillment. But this is what Andrew is saying—the Holy Spirit tells Him that the Bible is true so that’s how he knows it is true. Now this also means that the Holy Spirit, I am surmising, can also tell him that something is false in Scripture, because in his system, the Holy Spirit supersedes the Bible. If Isaiah is true, which it is, then all the prophecies are also true. If not, then the Holy Spirit would be telling Andrew that God lied on the prophecies. The nature of prophetic material itself says that all prophecy is true, or else the whole Bible and God Himself are false. And if that is the case, Andrew can’t trust the Holy Spirit either. You can’t separate the Holy Spirit from objectivity and from Scripture. They are forever in union one with another. The Holy Spirit IS NOT going to say something contrary to what Scripture said. He also does not have something from Scripture that is different for Andrew than what the text itself actually says, because there is no private interpretation of Scripture (2 Peter 1:20-21). There is one meaning and it is the meaning that God promised would last from one generation to the next, because the truth of Scripture itself would never be lost.

  13. July 27, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    I can’t find the Ask Jackhammer thread – is it gone with the wind now? I was catching up on all the replies on it, but only got to about 56 out of 82. Interesting thread so far. Hope it is not lost.

  14. July 27, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Jerry,

    I had to tweak the new theme; I just figured it out, so you should be able to keep catching up!

  15. Jason
    July 27, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Luke 24:32

  16. July 28, 2008 at 1:27 am

    Jason,

    Luke 24:32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

    If Jason is a Mormon and is attempting to solidify the LDS claim of a burning in the bosom, then I’d just like to point out a few things.

    1) In Luke 24:32, it was Jesus Christ that had taught them, not the Holy Spirit. If you see these as the same, wouldn’t that contradict LDS doctrine? The Holy Spirit isn’t even mentioned in this passage. If you’re saying that “Jesus, the Holy Spirit, ah…it’s all the same!” Your bishop might have something to say about that.

    2) The two men shared a burning, it was not a private experience.

    3) The burning is not said to have carried any testimony or message of itself. To say more is to invent doctrine based upon your assumptions. It simply isn’t there.

    4) It was the opened Scriptures that are said to have brought the burning, not the Holy Spirit.

    5) Aside from your presuppositions, the burn(ing) that these men experienced isn’t explained outside of this passage.

    6) The only result mentioned in Scripture was that they went back to the disciples and told them that the Lord was risen, which was apparent, not from the burning, but from the fact that they’d just talked with Him for hours!

    7) The burning was said to have taken place as they walked and talked. Yet, it took their eyes being opened at the end to snap them into a state of understanding.

    In other words, the only connection with Luke 24:32 and the Mormon claim is an emotional one derived from your unique presuppositions.

    It has been my experience that all of Mormon’s appeals back to the Bible to support their claims share just this kind of imprecise and spurious connectedness (See Ezekiel 37:16-28 prophecy of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, 1 Corinthians 15:40-41 the three levels of heaven, 1 Corinthians 15:29 temple baptism for the dead, 1 Corinthians 11:11 eternal marriage, and many others).

    What is so interesting is that the historical understanding of Christianity leads to a greater and greater trust in the Bible; whereas the LDS understanding leads to a complete distrust in the Bible given that later dogma supersedes the Bible, and it’s supposed errors. Thus, “the Bible is true so long as it is interpreted correctly”, whereas, the living prophet and the Book of Mormon need no such disclaimer.

    My coworkers who are returned Mormon missionaries always make large of “believing the Bible”, but when I assert the truthfulness of things like Jeremiah 17:9 (desperate wickedness of the heart) or Matthew 1:20 (Holy Spirit, not the Father, overshadowed Mary), they cope by telling me that those are “interpretation errors”.

    The Mormon dilemma is a difficult one because it leaves the church on a tight wire that attempts to teach its members to believe the Bible, but not so much that their members come to trust the Bible when contradictions with LDS “scriptures” are apparent.

  17. Jeremy
    July 28, 2008 at 11:41 am

    To comment #16

    That was a weak interpretation Luke 24:32. You should grab a Greek manuscript to really delve into its meaning.

  18. J Warren
    July 28, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Jeremy,

    Haven’t the translators of the KJV already done that? And they did it in 1611. Who would you trust now?

  19. Jeremy
    July 28, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Instead of reviewing the Greek language and common translation errors, I would like to comment generally on the thread topic.

    How does the Holy Ghost bear witness of truth? How do you know what is the Word of God? The Bible certainly doesn’t define itself. Nowhere in the Bible does it say what books should be included as the word of God. And which Word of God do you use? Which Bible? How do you know what interpretation of the Bible to use? How do you know that the Bible is true?

    How do you know that Jesus is the Son of God, the Christ, the Savior of the world? How do you know that? What do you base your testimony on? Written words? And that begs the previous question: How do you know that the Bible is the word of God? Because it says so?

    I’m seeing circles… The point is this: We should not just go on our own feelings on everything, even though that is exactly what people do. They do what they feel is right, bottom line.

    LDS adherents indeed advocate the full use of the Holy Spirit to guide them to truth. How does the Holy Spirit work? How does He testify of truth and witness unto us? Through feelings.

    Now, what is the alternative to following the witness of the Holy Spirit to guide us to truth? You might say the Bible or evidence, but just look at all the millions of Christians in the world and all the disunity and disagreements and conflicting beliefs. They all use the Bible and various bits of evidence, so why are some different than others? This certainly can’t be a viable alternative standard, due to the thousands of conflicting beliefs, all rooted in the Bible.

    Imagine yourself among the people of Jerusalem 2000 years ago, being taught by Peter and other Apostles, as they were teaching about Jesus Christ and His gospel. What would you have done? Acts 2:37 describes what happened to the people there and what they did.

    Perhaps these people should have questioned this “subjective feeling.” Maybe this heartfelt feeling was a deception? Should they have demanded evidence? Should they have demanded proof? Or, perhaps this was the Holy Ghost bearing witness to them. According to the common standard erected by LDS critics, these people of Jerusalem should have demanded much more than these “subjective feelings” in their bosom.

    Perhaps Peter should have been rejected for his testimony of Jesus being the “Christ, the son of the living God?” He didn’t base this on human reason, wisdom or intellect, but Christ said he was blessed for his testimony without proof or evidence from man (Matthew 16:15-17).

    It is the Holy Spirit that truly teaches us truth. And yes, we find truth in the Bible, but how do we know which interpretation is true? We must rely on the “Spirit of Truth,” the Holy Ghost. Christ was clear on this topic (John 14:26; John 15:26). The Holy Spirit testifies of truth. This is the standard LDS adherents use; it is the standard Christ said to use and it is the standard that the earliest Christians used.

  20. July 28, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Jeremy,

    Don’t you see the irony of accusing Bible-believers of being “all over the map” when you’re trusting a feeling that you feel came from the Holy Spirit.

    I challenged an LDS coworker of mine to do an empirical test to find out if their feelings from the Holy Spirit were true or false. I asked him to take 10 problem passages that I would give him and have 10 Mormon bishops or missionaries go into separate rooms without communications and pray over each passage. Then they would come out and compare notes all at once to see how many of the passages were “translated correctly” and how many weren’t.

    Of course, he wasn’t excited at the opportunity to prove the accuracy of Mormon/Holy Spirit feelings like you’d expect from a true believer. Instead he was angry that I would make such an absurd request. But I had handed him all he needed to make a fool of me. Instead he cowered from the test.

    At the same time, send 10 Bible believers into rooms to do the same test and you know what the results will be. From there, differences in understanding about what the verses mean comes down to who is more careful in their reading and study of the words themselves, comparing Scripture with Scripture. It’s a far more objective to debate the meaning of established Greek/English words than to debate different messages (without words) that different people are receiving in isolation from one another.

  21. J Warren
    July 28, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Jeremy,

    Since you’ve decided that Greek is no longer applicable, I feel what you are saying in comment #19 leads me to believe you believe every man (or person) has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit separate from any type of spiritual experience or a particular believe. Jeremy is my feelings right on this?

  22. Rob
    July 28, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    “If we are to be effective in witnessing to the LDS, … we must take the Mormon position, … and show it to be vain and foolish, lest they be wise in their own conceits.”

    How interesting. Judging by growth rates of the LDS church, it is reasonably effective without attacking another’s beliefs. If effectiveness is your goal, perhaps you could learn something from us? Here’s a summary of our tactics:
    * Share what we believe.
    * Share why we believe it.
    * Invite people to find out for themselves by asking God.

  23. July 28, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Rob,

    As I deal with many poor folks in Utah, I believe you’ve left out at least one tactic: Offer financial or food help to poor people so long as they are willing to attend your church.

    I only bring that out because it’s not covered in your short list, but is very common. Don’t bother debating this point, I could give you at least three names and address right now that would like to attend our church but feel like they can’t because of the financial hardship it would bring them. I have also known at least a hundred such families. These people have stated, strongly in some instances, that they do NOT believe in many of the teachings of the Mormon church, usually bringing out specific doctrines they find objectionable or unbiblical.

    There are at least 2 more tactics I’ve seen over and over, but I’ll save those for a later time. I also have witness that could testify to these repeated tactics.

  24. Jeremy
    July 28, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    To comment #20:

    That sounds like sign seeking to me (Matthew 12:39; John 4:48).

    To comment #21:

    I’m not sure I follow your question.

    While a person cannot receive the “Gift” of the Holy Ghost before someone with proper authority bestows it by the laying on of hands, the Holy Ghost can and does inspire and influence many prior to this act. This is called the light of Christ, or our conscience, and it can be touched by the Holy Ghost(Romans 9:1-2) even if you are a Gentile (Romans 2:14-15).

    Just one example is Cornelius the Roman Centurion who was led by God to Peter so he could be baptized and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 10). This “devout man,” no doubt, felt the influence of the Holy Ghost (“fruits of the spirit” Galatians 5:22-23) on many occasions prior to receiving the Gift itself by Peter’s authority.

    This is the same influence EVERYONE feels when we learn ANY eternal truth; the same influence that has converted millions of people to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. And if but a glimpse of that influence can show millions of your brothers and sisters that the Book of Mormon is true, imagine having that influence in your life continuously. Why would anyone depart from that?

    That may answer the query to the original post.

  25. July 28, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    First, to Rob:

    Debates always turn out to be an attack on another’s belief. If your church says that my church is wrong or apostate (which it does), that is an “attack” of sorts. I have had more than a few Mormons tell me that I will not reach the Celestial Kingdom unless I convert (either now or in a future life) to Mormonism. That belief implies that my doctrine is wrong, which in some circles would be construed as an “attack.” I’m always amazed at how sensitive some of the LDS can be, and how quickly the persecution complex can start. I’d like to help you with that. In what we have said here, we have given reasons for disagreeing with the truth claims of the LDS church. We have given reasons for denying those truth claims. That is what we commonly refer to as “debate” — point and counterpoint. And, by the way, growth rates do not prove correctness. Otherwise, the Muslims have you all beat.

    Next, Jeremy:

    The question that both you and Andrew still fail to answer is this: How do you know that “the witness of the Holy Spirit” (as you call it) is a way of knowing? The only answer you can give me is that you have the witness of the Holy Spirit on it. That is what you call circular reasoning. Your ultimate authority then is this burning in the bosom. I have called it a feeling, an experience. If you will read the earlier comments, you will note that I pointed out that you can only claim to have the witness of the Holy Spirit because you FEEL that you have it. I have not met a Mormon (unless you want to be the first) who claims to have received a personal, physical visit from the Holy Spirit, or who claims to have been spoken to by the Holy Spirit in an audible voice. Of course, if the Holy Spirit spoke without appearing physically, then you would have to take that voice’s word for it that it really was the Holy Spirit, and that would bring us back to the same thing. You can only claim to have the witness of the Spirit because you “feel” that that’s what it is. You must rely on your feelings about it.

    And that makes your witness of the Holy Spirit subjective. Neither you nor Andrew have yet explained to me how your experience is more authoritative than mine.

    The fact that you see circles in our claim should tell you something. Our ultimate authority, and our ultimate reason for believing the Word, is the Word. The authority of God’s Word takes precedence over anything else that we might believe. We do not deny this. But we deny the claim that has been made that this too is subjective. Our faith did not come from a feeling. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith.

    I’m laboring here to make the difference as clear as possible, realizing that you may not see or even be willing to see the difference. But here’s my third attempt.

    The truth is objective, not subjective. This is not just a way of seeing things… this is a transcendental. It is the way that God has made the world.

    Consider: let’s say that somebody, maybe one of you, attempts to refute the above statement. How would you do it? I said that the truth is objective, not subjective. Would you say, “I feel that it isn’t?” That isn’t much of a refutation. Your feelings about the statement say nothing about the truth or falsity of the statement. In order to refute the statement, you would need to assume its truth. You would need to objectively believe that it is subjective. Because if one made the opposite statement, he would be claiming that the truth is objective. The statement, “The truth is subjective, not objective” is an objective statement. And therefore, the one making such a claim assumes the opposite of what he is claiming.

    Maybe another example would help. Here is a truth claim to consider: “There is such a thing as a ‘true’ statement.” If someone were to attempt to deny this, he would need to assume it in order to deny it. If he replied, “There is no such thing as a ‘true’ statement” he would be assuming that his counter-statement is a true statement. That is what I am saying. One can only claim that the truth is subjective by assuming that the truth is objective.

    That being said, we cannot hold a thing to be true because we feel that it is, even if we give our feelings the high status of being “the witness of the Holy Spirit.” I gave an illustration earlier that neither of you have addressed at all. I will try it again. It does us no good to pray about whether or not the earth is round. But for sake of illustration, let’s say that a group of very young Latter Day Saints decide to apply their church’s epistemology in science class, and they ask the Spirit to give his witness as to whether in fact the earth is round or not. I would think that even among the most devout of the LDS, this approach to discovering the truth would be rejected. And on what grounds? The truth of the roundness of the earth is not determined that way.

    The earth is round. If a member of the LDS church gets the witness of the Spirit that the earth is flat, well… he’d still be wrong. The same goes for the Word of God. The Bible is the truth. Objectively so. I certainly do not deny that I also have subjective feelings about its truth. I am, after all, a true believer in its authority. I have experienced many things in my own heart through the Word of God. But those things that have been my experience add nothing to the authority of God’s Word. God’s Word stands on its own authority.

    Perhaps this would be a helpful explanation… God has spoken. God’s Word is recorded in the Old and New Testaments. We are commanded to believe what God has said in His Word — every bit of it. Our responsibility is to believe God’s Word. If we refuse, we will be punished. Even if we have a feeling that we don’t have to believe it, or that we should believe something other than or in addition to it. And, even if we call the feeling the “witness of the Holy Spirit.”

  26. Curtis
    July 28, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    “10 problem passages.” Problem? You just threw pure objectivity out the window. Which, unfortunately for us all, was inevitable. The Bible and pure objectivity have never been linked. Were it so, Protestants would all be Lutheran, which at the time was essentially Catholicism sans indulgences. Who knows where the Mormons would be today… Let’s see what Kent has to say about such a topic:

    “If I was reading the comments there attempting to understand separation, I would have had a difficult time. Most of it reads like seat-of-the-pants theology, a tremendous amount of speculation. Very little looks cut and dry. I guess that the fundamentalists are saying that Dever should separate… There doesn’t seem to be an overriding document that can give clarity. Of course, there is. The Bible. That isn’t being referenced much in the discussion.”
    http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/2008/06/elephant-in-room-of-separation.html

    Yes, yes, very objective rhetoric! The call to use the Bible is clearly necessary, though were it as objective (including both its veracity in addition everyone’s faith therein) as we all claim it to be, such a statement wouldn’t have been necessary. They would have already seen the light and opened The Book to search the solution. Now, assuming the Bible did solve the problems that have arisen in this schism argument, congratulations. However, contemporary Christianity has historically proven such a practice to be the exception rather than the rule. It doesn’t matter what the argument was about. If a call is made to address the Bible, then why wasn’t the solution sought therein from the beginning and then clearly recognized by all in the end? The entire problem is that they didn’t use the Bible in the first place, you say? Biblical objectivity has certainly been the source and not solution of similar discords in the past by the same denominations.

    When a Mormon testifies that they know what they believe is true, they rely on every faculty that God gives them to recognize truth. One of the primary methods is a feeling. They attribute it to the Holy Ghost and have references in the Bible to back that connection up. You don’t agree with that interpretation? Not a problem and not a fault. Do recall that staunch objectivity was one of the reasons the Jews rejected the Gospel. They understood the Law, Scriptures, and Word quite literally down to the ‘math and science’ of it all. Their faith was grounded to the point of knowledge and wisdom. Christ didn’t fit the bill and they didn’t even blink when He died. Clearly both a feeling as well as the humility to ask for such a guide that isn’t grounded in objectivity is just as crucial as the Word by itself.

    Luke 24:32 is an example. In this case the semantics of how it was delivered are not stated. They didn’t recognize the Savior and were it a Pharisee or Sadducee quoting the same Scripture passages, there is no guarantee they would have reported back to their brethren. In fact, it is likely they wouldn’t have. It was a combination of both factors: the feeling and the word. Neither is indicated to be more important than the other. If anything, their prime curiosity at that instant was the burning in the heart. “Did you not FEEL…?” You are absolutely correct in tacking down the presupposition. If the core doctrines as interpreted in the Bible and the Book of Mormon didn’t make sense in the mind as well as feel good in the heart, Mormonism wouldn’t grow. In fact, without the feeling, the additional books of scripture would fall the same direction as Ellen White’s prophecies.

    I have had identical feelings and thoughts when reading both books of Scripture. As explicitly stated above: “You can’t separate the Holy Spirit from objectivity and from Scripture.” Objectively therefore, the Book of Mormon was inspired by God. Matt 24:24? There is nothing objectively stated in the Bible that indicates you aren’t the deceived. In my heart, I feel some of your doctrines are correct, including the testimony of Jesus right from the start. You make mankind better. I applaud and encourage you for that. In my mind….feel free to explain away potential deception with your apparently “seat-of-the-pants theology” on core Biblical doctrines. Your inner-circle bickering about separation and other Biblical ideas indicates to the rest of the world you really haven’t a solid clue what you’re talking about. Beyond your gut feeling, that is…

  27. J Warren
    July 28, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Jeremy,
    On comment #24

    I must confess, I can’t follow your explanation with the scriptures you quote. These passages have nothing to do with ones’ feelings or how one is indwelled with the Holy Spirit. If authority to bestow the Holy Spirit comes by the laying on of hands, then one could imagine Christ having an office in the LDS Temple with a very large waiting room and people waiting their turn to get in. As for the example of Cornelius, God tells us he was a man who, after Peter had come with the Word and preached the gospel, repented (2 Tim 2:25) and all that heard received the Holy Ghost (not feelings.) Would you notice, no mention was made of the laying on of hands. I get the feeling when you want to reference scripture you do a word search on the word(s) or phrase(s) you want and then plug in whatever reference pops up. If you’re willing, reply to my comment again only this time give me references from the Book of Mormon about feelings and the Holy Spirit. Maybe then I will understand what you’re explaining.

  28. Anonymous
    July 28, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    So, is it safe to say that Mormons believe in divine spiritual experiences as a source of truth whereas the non-Mormon bloggers here believe that the Bible (as interpreted by their creeds) is the only source of truth and that there are no truth-giving spiritual experiences?

  29. July 29, 2008 at 12:37 am

    I think it’s worth noting that the normal crowd on this blog doesn’t really subscribe to creeds aside from recognizing their role in Christian history. No creeds are authoritative, and we would *never* interpret Scripture by anyone’s creeds. It’s also worth noting that we do not descend lineally or doctrinally from Protestants, and thus from the Catholic church. As the LDS continually refer to our “interpretation” of Scripture, it’s also worth noting that we do not believe in private interpretations (II Peter 1:20). There are correct interpretations and incorrect interpretations.

    We believe in taking the Word of God literally in any case where the text allows. The Words themselves (often referencing the Greek) are of prime importance in determining what God was conveying. Where it is very plainly symbolic, then we allow that God intended that. It is also necessary to pay close attention to context, author, recipients, and especially parallel passages of Scripture and whether this passage is a prophecy or fulfillment of other passages of Scripture. This is part of rightly dividing the Word of Truth.

    In all my years working closely with sometimes multiple returned, Mormon missionaries at a time, I have never met a Mormon who treated the text of Scripture with the respect that this group does.

    I’ve had a boss who was a Mormon bishop who denigrated the book of Isaiah saying, “It’s a waste of space, it could be summed up in two sentences”. And why not have such a low opinion of Isaiah as a Mormon, especially with references like Isaiah 43:10, 11?

    Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
    I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.

    Both in doctrine and in demonstration, Mormons have repeatedly shown me their very low view of Scripture. They rarely even attempt to answer the passages I show them, not because they can’t see the disparity, they just don’t care; I am no great debater. It’s meaningless to them. A conversation almost never passes without these missionaries leaving off attempts to rationalize what I quote from Scripture stating, “Well, I’m not a scriptorian.” ‘Scriptorian’ is a word I’d never heard before moving to Utah.” But I know this. After 13 years living in Utah, I’ve never met one, only hundreds who aren’t. Why? Because Scripture isn’t as important to them as it is to a New Testament Christian.

    When I hear Mormons say they believe the Bible, I know that they do not mean it the same way a true believer means it. There are several tiers of authority above the words of God recorded in Scripture.

    What do you do with passages like Psalm 12:6,7?

    The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
    Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

    The promise of preservation of the words (plural) is clear. If the words were never lost, then the gospel could never be lost. If the gospel was never lost, then it never needed restored, only believed. If the gates of hell would never prevail against God’s church as Christ prophesied, then there must always have been a remnant of believers throughout history. All of this can be demonstrated, but I’ve never encountered a receptive audience. They keep going back to the apostate Catholics. The Catholics aren’t apostate, they were never Christian! They are the straw man of Mormon exceptionalism.

    I’d encourage any LDS folks who wish to engage here to treat Pastor Mallinak’s and the other Jack Hammer’s comments differently than “the typical Mormon bashing.” There are Scriptural points here that I’ve NEVER seen Mormon apologists address.

  30. July 29, 2008 at 5:58 am

    Hi, in Kentucky here. Going to the creation museum today. I was still waiting for Andrew or anyone else who agrees with him.

  31. Rob
    July 29, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Hi Dave Mallinak,
    “Debates always turn out to be an attack on another’s belief. If your church says that my church is wrong or apostate (which it does), that is an “attack” of sorts.”

    Hey, I didn’t say anything about debates. I’ve been sparring with people on religion and politics ever since I was a know-it-all teenager. Debate is healthy and useful. I’m just talking effectiveness here, talking about how to witness to mormons. Certainly, debating, attacking, bribing with welfare, or whatever, are tactics that get used by folks in various faiths to gain converts. I’ve had numerous Christians “witness” to me by pointing out how cool the pastor is, or the robustness of their children’s programs, or whatnot. I view these efforts in the most charitable way I can – they figure if they can get me surrounded by saved people who are able to impact me with their stories and faith, I might seek to be saved myself.

    I’m simply pointing out that my church has experienced great success in merely talking about our beliefs and inviting people to ask God to find out for themselves. I’ve heard umpteen stories about how people convert to my faith. Yes, some talk about how nice the mormons are, or the robustness of their welfare program, or whatnot. But I’d say the majority of them took matters up with God on their knees in their closets and secret places. I sure know that’s what did it for me. The arguing/debating/attacking/bribing arguments I encountered did nothing for me. God’s personal witness to me, that He wanted me to be LDS, is what made the difference.

    All I’m asking, is that you consider “sharing the gospel” a legitimate, and possibly the best way to bring souls unto Christ.

    Rob

  32. July 29, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    All I’m asking, is that you consider “sharing the gospel” a legitimate, and possibly the best way to bring souls unto Christ.

    What gospel would that be? According to the Bible, the Gospel is the good news of salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation.

  33. Curtis
    July 30, 2008 at 5:37 am

    “This is part of rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” Again, objectivity is thrown out the window. Rightly? Based on what? The math and science of it all? Objectively speaking, there is nothing in the Bible that proves that the interpretations discussed in your groups are not the very ‘private interpretations’ you reference. Kent’s writings and observations on the topic of separation are an example of this lack of objectivity amongst your sister Bible groups. Also note that preservation does not imply correct interpretation. Remnant believers? Intriguing. Do tell.

    I too have pondered the Savior’s statement that the gates of hell would not prevail. Especially considering the Apostle Paul’s seemingly contradictory remarks in 2 Thess 2:2,3. If such a falling away has yet to occur (say…even closer to the 2nd Coming), then even the currently correct Biblical interpretation has yet to cease to be believed in.

    I do not doubt your faith or firmness of belief in the Bible and I agree with you that Mormons don’t believe in the Bible in the same manner as your non-Protestant Bible study group/creed/denomination. We DO believe that a modern prophet can augment what is found in the Bible and consider it viable Scripture. Symbolically or otherwise.

    Dave’s original argument:
    1 Cor 2:11-15. “Spiritually” in this passage does not mean mathematically, archeologically, scientifically, “man’s wisdom”, or your own potentially “private interpretations”. How can that teaching occur? How does the Spirit convey things to us? Many ways. Among them: Gal 5:22. Most of those words represent feelings. Note faith is also there. Therefore, not only can the Spirit quite literally deliver feeling, but faith as well. Testimony is an expression and description of such faith and personal understanding. The Holy Ghost can, does, and will continue to convince people of spiritual truth.

    I was also thinking about Dave’s comment: “…have yet explained to me how your experience is more authoritative than mine.” Is that your real question? Is that what all this is about? If so, I can obviously see why. I have wondered the same thing when speaking to other faiths such as Islam or Hindu. I do not know why your feelings are against Mormonism and mine are for it. I will let God sort that one out. I do know that the doctrines about salvation and exaltation in Mormonism are much more loving and encompassing than most if not all other Christian interpretations (various degrees of glory and reward…not just salvation vs fire and brimstone). You are not technically Protestant so who knows what you all believe. It is true that such doctrines aren’t entirely found in the Bible. But the good feelings in my heart and the thoughts in my mind when pondering these doctrines from their respective sources tell me and my God-given faculties that they are good and loving. Witness away, gentlemen.

  34. July 30, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    I’ll simply let Curtis’ last comment stand as the best proof possible of what I argued in my original post. For the LDS, the ultimate reason for believing LDS doctrine is their feeling. Curtis feels it is true because he likes it, and he likes it because it is nicer. So, you see, “faith” for the Mormon really amounts to fideism. It is believing what you have no reason to believe.

    It is a great challenge to argue with those who hold the truth this way. It all comes back to worldview. As they see the world, we all believe these things subjectively. We can claim to believe that the truth must have an objective standard or it is not the truth, and we can claim that all we want to. But the way they see the world, we too must be subjective. In the land of the blind, nobody even believes in eyesight.

    The reader will note that none of the LDS commenters on this post have even attempted to say why they believe that all non-LDS “Christians” are apostate, or why they believe us to be wrong. They have tried to sound less “judgemental” than their creeds, as written and established by Joseph Smith, say.

    But here is a bit of logic that is inescapable… it is one or the other, but not both. Either the Mormons are correct, and they have restored the church, the gospel, and the true faith, or else Christianity is correct. We cannot both be right, because they say that we are wrong.

    And since they aren’t willing to answer the arguments that I have made in this comment thread, I will answer for them. They believe that we are all apostate and wrong because they have prayed about it and they have a feeling that we are wrong.

    That’s one rock solid epistemology.

  35. Peter Salzmann
    July 30, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Dear Dave,

    Let me share my experience with you. I have only been a member of the “Mormon” Church for almost two years, prior to this I have had little to no contact with the Church. When I say little, apparently I turned away a couple of missionaries from my door when I was about 18, without hearing them. I am now 25. First off, a little background.

    I was raised in a Baptist Church in Adelaide, South Australia. My Mum brought me to Sunday School every week until she gave me a choice as to whether or not I would go. I decided not to. I have kept my faith in Jesus and I was praying to him, sometimes everyday and sometimes for specific things. Some of those specific things were answered IMO. I had tried to read the Bible several times and just could not follow through. Early in 2006 I had a situation make me desire to know the truth. Not knowing where else to turn I picked up The Bible, after all, I have believed in Jesus my whole life. I started at the beginning of the New Testament and just read. As I was reading I could not put it down, I would be up until 3am – 4am after starting at 10pm – 11pm. Obviously by the time I was 22 I had forgotten a lot of what I had been taught and so was looking at The Bible with a mostly clean slate. There was a problem however. The things that I was learning I could not reconcile to any church I knew of. I tried returning to the Church of my childhood. A member that I had known since childhood told me that we can not trust our feelings, that Satan uses them to deceive us. I can’t believe that every feeling is a deception. Nor can I believe what happens next is a deception.

    I again went back to reading The Bible. I started getting into James and 1 Peter when I decided I needed to know if it is true. I was set to do whatever the Lord required of me if The Bible is true. I got down on my knees and prayed my first, personal, spoken and kneeling prayer. I asked if what was written in the Bible is true. I don’t remember the period of time between that and the answer but I think I was in 1 Peter (may have even been the same night). Anyway, I was reading and wondering when all of a sudden…. I knew! This feeling, and accompanied knowledge is God speaking to me. This experience was so profound that I can’t describe it well enough to do it justice. Needless to say I know there is a God and that The Bible is true (of course, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God). So, I now have my answer and know that I needed to be baptised. Where do I go? There isn’t anyone out there teaching what I know and believe. I was almost going to start my own church, I didn’t because I have no proof of the things I knew, or that I had been called to be a prophet. I also got the impression that there has to be one! One Church doing the right things and I knew I needed to be part of it. I figured, if I went looking for it I would make a mistake and join the wrong church, I am quite prone to making mistakes. I then had the brilliant idea of asking God to bring The Church to me. I went back to my day to day life for several months after asking. I guess he was testing me because I had to ask multiple times and wait for months. Finally the day came!

    I was working at the Adelaide Airport selling American Express cards. Times were tough for me. I had given up my last job because I couldn’t perform to the level they required and so had taken up this sales job to see what it was like. One day I was standing there trying to sell the cards and my colegue tells myself and another colegue that “there are missionaries over there, let’s pull them over and have a laugh”. I didn’t want to laugh, I wanted to hear what they have to say, after all, I am wanting to be baptised. I told the missionaries that I wanted to be baptised and was looking find the right church. They of course told me they can baptise me and need to discuss what they believe. I gave them my phone number. Over the next couple of months I listened to these missionaries. Constantly telling me what they know is true. I wanted to know as well. The interesting thing is that what they were teaching me, is what I understood from reading The Bible. They asked me to read the Book of Mormon, I mostly didn’t (or didn’t remember what I had read) and they started reading with me. This book truly speaks of Christ and His atonement. They told me the story of Joseph Smith to which I could relate (for various other reasons besides my prayer). After searching and praying I made my decision, based on a few things.

    1 – The Church is called after Christ, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
    2 – They have new scripture that is more relevant (at least in my mind) for us in this day.
    3 – They follow all the precepts laid out in The Bible, and I mean ALL.
    4 – They try to be like Christ.
    5 – What they teach is what I understood from reading The Bible.

    I am not saying that they or I are perfect. Far from it. We do desire to be perfect and know that through Christ one day we can.

    Dave, I can honestly tell you that God did bring His Church to me. I can honestly tell you that God does love all of us more then we can understand. I can honestly tell you that Jesus Christ is God and that we should all do what he says. I can also honestly tell you that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a Christian church and that “Mormons” are following Christ our Lord. As such, I leave my story with you in His Holy name, Jesus Christ. Amen.

    Dave, I ask God in the name of Christ to bless you in your desire to follow Him.

    An associate in Christ,
    Peter Salzmann

  36. July 30, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    “Logic!” sid the professor half to himself. “Why don’t they teach logic at these schools?”

    Here’s a little puzzle for all our LDS visitors.

    You say that all truth is subjective. We cannot rely on any sort of objective standard for the truth, because it depends on whether or not we believe it. Of course, this is the same thing as saying that the truth is relative. I have my truth, and you have yours, and I can’t say whether your truth is ‘more’ right than mine, or mine more than yours. It really is just a matter of what you believe.

    So, here’s the problem (for you). Aren’t you saying then that this (the above)is an objective standard for the truth?

    Let me re-phrase it for you. Since you believe that the truth is known subjectively, aren’t you claiming an objective standard for the truth?

    I’m sure that none will attempt an answer, so I will draw a conclusion for the reading audience.

    Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” He did not define truth as what you feel it is. John 17:17 tells us, “thy word is truth.” This means that the truth has an objective quality to it. The truth is measured, not by subjective standards of what I feel about it, but by the objective standard of God’s Word. Knowledge claims (epistemology) that ignore the absolute standard of truth are vain deception. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. I don’t fear the Lord because I have somehow verified that he deserves to be feared, and have proven to myself that he is not lying to me when he says, “I am the Lord, beside me there is none other.” He needs no verification. I simply take Him at His Word.

    The LDS epistemology states that we come to Christ on our own authority, rather than in obedience to his call. This is vain, and it will result in damnation. Jesus said, Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. It is time to obey the call of the gospel, receiving Christ, Who is equally God with the Father, as Lord.

  37. July 30, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Well, Peter, your willing apostasy and lack of Biblical discernment is so sad. If you claim to know the Bible, what are you doing joining a religion that believes in the same thing that got Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden for?

    Genesis 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

  38. Peter Salzmann
    July 30, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Hi guys,

    I guess you don’t accept that God answers prayer? If you do then you would have to accept that God answered mine. Let’s look at the scripture – Matthew 7:8-11

    8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
    9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
    10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
    11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

    Am I to understand that God has given me a serpent when I asked for Fish? Does that mean that God loves you more then he loves me? Does that mean that God is the one that led me astray, because He hasn’t and didn’t send His church to me when I asked?

    Dave – Truth is objective, what we accept of truth is subjective. To be honest, I am not entirely sure how to use objective and subjective in this sense. What I am saying is that there is only one truth and each person must seek to find more truth. You believe you have more truth then I (however you received it) and I believe that I asked God and He answered.

    You also talk about God’s word. We see that Christ is the Word of God in John 1:1,14.

    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

    I esteem God and Christ above The Bible and my own understanding. When we turn to them for wisdom, and they grant it, we no longer have a belief but a knowledge and wisdom is knowledge applied. It is not about only reading the scriptures it is about listening to God who continues to speak to us always.

    Jerry – If you had read a little more you would see the Lord God said we had become like Him – Genesis 3:22

    22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.

    The lie, Jerry, was in verse 4. Because we do, and Adam and Eve did, die!

    4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

  39. July 30, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    Wow, a lot has changed in the last couple of days around here. Let me just interject something into the current conversation:

    It is a straw man argument to claim that we LDS base our belief on “feelings” alone without any thought based on some magical prayer given on some solitary occasion. As a matter of fact, according to our own doctrine it can’t happen that way. A section in the Doctrine and Covenants says:

    “Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” (D&C 9:7-8)

    My testimony of the divine calling of Joseph Smith as a prophet and of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as being the restoration of primitive Christianity has come in this way. To suggest that LDS testimony is built on some post-movie like emotions without any thought or study is blatantly false. As for me, my testimony is the product largely of much thought, study, pondering, and prayer. Such truth-confirming revelation doesn’t come in a vacuum, but comes as a natural reward to our efforts to commune with and understand God.

    “If any man wants to do God’s will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak on my own authority.” (John 7:17). That’s what Jesus taught. I can tell you that there has never been a person who has wanted to know and do God’s will more than I, and I can confirm that God has confirmed in me that the fullness of the everlasting gospel is exclusively found in the teachings and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  40. July 30, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    I guess you don’t accept that God answers prayer? If you do then you would have to accept that God answered mine.

    God answers His children’s prayers – promises to prayer are not open to everyone. Also, God answers prayers according to His will and His Word. Sounds like the Devil answered your prayer that time!

    If you had read a little more you would see the Lord God said we had become like Him – Genesis 3:22

    The lie, Jerry, was in verse 4. Because we do, and Adam and Eve did, die!

    The NT states that the image of God is referring to righteousness and holiness – not being made a god. That was Satan’s other deception told to Adam and Eve – and you bought it. So sad that you are willingly deceived – but, I guess, like Oprah, you like your ego being fed and told that you are or will become a god.

    This is what God said about a king in history – picturing the Devil – and what He says about all those who reject His Word and salvation His way, who try to be their own gods:

    Ezekiel 28:2 Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:

    Later He basically tells this person: though you think you are a god, you will die like a man.

  41. Peter Salzmann
    July 30, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    Dear Jerry,

    I can see how you may think the Devil answered my prayer. However I find it hard to believe that the Devil would want me to change my life for the better. From my understanding the Devil does not persuade someone to follow Christ, to live the commandments that he gives and to do good continually.
    I believe that God answers prayers and He did answer mine. If you have a problem with that please take it up with Him.

    I don’t claim to be a God, I do believe that we can become joint-heirs with Christ and that we can be glorified together, which is clearly taught.

    So, we know good and evil which is like God, as seen from Genesis 3:22.
    We can be joint-heirs with Christ, as seen in Romans 8:17.
    We will be like him when he appears, 1 John 3:2

    I don’t really want to get into the whole becoming a God doctrine, that was not in discussion.

    I think the point is that when we read scripture, whose interpretation are we to listen to? Yours? Mine? I personally believe that there is a Prophet on the Earth and it is His job to tell us how the scripture is to be interpreted. This is because that is how God speaks to the whole world at one time, through His Prophet. Well, that’s how I understand it.

  42. July 30, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Andrew,

    You may not have read the thread, but you didn’t answer my question. And I made some comments that should be important for you to answer directed toward the objective proof for the Bible as inspired. You said you believed the Bible is inspired, but not based on prophecy because the fulfillment of the prophecies occurred after the earliest copies we have of the prophetic books. Please go up and read comments #10, 12, 30.

  43. July 30, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    I think the point is that when we read scripture, whose interpretation are we to listen to? Yours? Mine? I personally believe that there is a Prophet on the Earth and it is His job to tell us how the scripture is to be interpreted.

    Since when? Later prophets didn’t come along to give us a better understanding of old prophecies – they came and gave new revelation. However, Revelation 22:18-19 make it pretty clear God is not adding to His Book – and woe to anyone else who does!!

    This is because that is how God speaks to the whole world at one time, through His Prophet. Well, that’s how I understand it.

    That’s how you understand what? What you church teaches – certainly not understanding any statements along that line from the Bible (there aren’t any). Besides, God says this about you and your religion:

    1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

  44. Peter Salzmann
    July 30, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Jerry,

    I am not going to respond to the Revelation 22:18-19 scripture as it has been talked about else where.
    However in Ephesians 4:11 it specifically says that He gave some apostles and prophets etc.

    1 Corinthians 2:14 shouldn’t be brought up because it depends on our points of view. Therefore you can not appeal to 1 Corinthians to attack the Church.
    The problem is, we should ask people to pray to the Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ to lead them to the truth.

  45. J Warren
    July 31, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Peter Salzmann,

    I’ve been following your comments and am wondering how you’ve come to your conclusions about what God requires of a man for salvation, since you say you’ve been studying your Bible. Anyway, I would like to make a point here about “The Prophet”. In God’s word I only see His prophets. In other words, when there is a prophet, God chose him. God chooses his man. Contrast that with what we see today, especially in the LDS religion. Who chose T.S.Monson and his predecessors? They ascend to the presidency by seniority. The quorum chose Monson. Where in the LDS scriptures does it set down how the prophet is chosen? Where’s God in this? In the LDS religion, men choose. Also, where do you stand when the Bible is in conflict with the BOM, D&Cs, and the articles of faith? How can you reconcile what you believe to be your salvation experience (as you’ve described) and LDS doctrine, especially in light of what your fellow LDS comrade stated in comment #39. He blows your testimony out of the water (I would imagine he doesn’t speak for you.) As pointed out earlier in this discussion, this illustrates so well how Mormons differ in the explanations of their doctrines.

  46. Peter Salzmann
    July 31, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Hello J Warren,

    Where do you see a problem between my post and Andrew’s?
    I was sincerely studying and searching, how could I possibly know The Bible is true, that Jesus Christ lives and that there is a God without asking? Even if I was to look at archeology or science that doesn’t prove the story… I believed it was true before this, but I needed to know for sure. If it is true I knew I needed to change my life and follow Him better. I was ready to begin following.

    As for Prophet’s being chosen, it is not always seniority. God prepares a man for the position, it is our job to recognise who God has prepared, this is through prayer and fasting, searching it out. It’s not man’s job to pick the Prophet, it’s man’s job to recognise. We trust our leaders that they are walking close to Christ and following as best they can His commandments. We are urged to gain our own testimony of His Prophet by the same means.

    I have not yet found any conflict in the scriptures. I found what God requires for salvation by reading The Bible, what does he command His followers to do? There are several commandments besides the 10. The 10 are a good guide for the two that Jesus also taught, Love thy God with all they strength and Love thy neighbor as thyself. He also commanded other things, like being perfect Matthew 5:48 (you think the 10 are hard?), you can’t enter the Kingdom without being baptised so that must be a commandment. I also know that preaching the Gospel is a commandment but can not find the reference at this point, I do know that especially the 12 are to go to the world, Mark 16:14-15. While we are in Mark you should note that the gifts that are spoken of after 15 are in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Also, my post didn’t discuss doctrine…

    Perhaps you should try seeking for an experience such as mine? I have talked to several people who sound like they have had a similar experience and many people who bare their testimony would also have had similar experiences as well. I believe that everyone is able to have prayers answered and spiritual experiences such as the ones discussed. If you haven’t had one then it will be easier to misunderstand what we are talking about.

    Kind regards,
    Peter Salzmann

  47. J Warren
    July 31, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Peter Salzmann

    I’m not questioning your sincerity. That is a different subject. I will say that God doesn’t ask or tell us to be sincere for any kind of evidence that we are secure in Christ. Being sincere is how we should behave. For salvation, God tells us to have faith, Eph 2:8 and Hbr 11:6. Where I see the difference is in what you and Andrew wrote. In your original comment, #35, you wrote…”I got down on my knees and prayed my first, personal, spoken and kneeling prayer. I asked if what was written in the Bible is true. I don’t remember the period of time between that and the answer but I think I was in 1 Peter (may have even been the same night). Anyway, I was reading and wondering when all of a sudden…. I knew! This feeling, and accompanied knowledge is God speaking to me” Then Andrew’s comment #39… “It is a straw man argument to claim that we LDS base our belief on “feelings” alone without any thought based on some magical prayer given on some solitary occasion. As a matter of fact, according to our own doctrine it can’t happen that way” Peter, what you described happened to you is what Andrew says can’t happen for the LDS person. So let me ask you, which one of you is right?

    You didn’t answer my question, where in the LDS scriptures does it set down how the prophet is chosen? In the LDS religion it is basically men choosing men.

    Are you saying the LDS person’s salvation is based on how well he keeps the Ten Commandments along with the other commandments? If so, do you have them all covered daily? If not, what happens then? Is salvation a day by day thing for you? Are you progressing towards eternity?

    On your statement about not discussing doctrine, this is key. Doctrine makes the difference. Rom 6:17, 2 Tim 4:2, Tit 1:7 and Tit 2:1. What the Bible teaches, doctrine, is why I’m asking you these questions.

    As for my experience, I’m trusting in Christ alone and I have done nothing to obligate God to allow me into His presence.

  48. Peter Salzmann
    August 1, 2008 at 3:01 am

    Dear J Warren,

    If you read further into Andrews post you will see that he quoted a verse Doctrine and Covenants 9:7-8 you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” (D&C 9:7-8)

    This fits perfectly with my situation. Though the situation is a little different.

    The problem as I see it is that you haven’t had this kind of experience. There is a talk that I feel is very relevant for many of you. What does salt taste like? by Elder Boyd K. Packer.

    Once you read this perhaps you will understand better what we are trying to tell you.

    You don’t seem to believe that God speaks to us in a very real way, neither do you believe that He can reveal His will to us mortals except by a book. I hope that you will pray and listen to hear the words of the Living God.

    In regards to how a Prophet is chosen, God always chooses His Prophet. We need to recognise the one whom God has chosen. We don’t choose who the Prophet is, we acknowledge who God has chosen.

    J Warren, do you keep the commandments? Or, at least try to keep them? Who is repentance for?

    1 John 2:3-4
    John 15:14
    1 Corinthians 7:19

    Salvation to me means living with The Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. I think that yes, Salvation is a day to day thing, this is because I do not subscribe to the “once saved, always saved” theory. I believe that every choice I make in a day brings me closer to, or takes me further from our Loving God. This is why we are always thinking of our Lord, every minute of the day (or trying to). Mark 12:30

    Have to dash, talk again soon.

    Kind regards,
    Peter Salzmann

  49. J Warren
    August 1, 2008 at 8:05 am

    Peter Salzmann

    Since your salvation is a day to day thing for you, when you lay your head on your pillow at night do you take inventory of how you walked with God that day and if you don’t measure up what then do you do to correct your discrepancies? Do you put those things at the top of your list for the next day to get caught up? Do you stay up all night doing and thinking your nice thoughts that will reconcile your account with God? I’ve wonder what is the mormon criteria for getting it settled. I suppose it your reality. Lovie, feely, sincerity is your standard. It’s very contrary to God’s word for salvation Peter. Again, Eph 2:8&9. We keep God’s commandments out of the debt we owe, not to keep ourselves saved. Truly, Christ died once for us. Read Romans chapter 4:1>8. Take notice of verse 5. If you will let it this will help you. JW

  50. August 1, 2008 at 8:37 am

    Salvation is a day to day thing, this is because I do not subscribe to the “once saved, always saved” theory. I believe that every choice I make in a day brings me closer to, or takes me further from our Loving God.

    Of course you don’t subscribe to eternal security – that’s impossible to believe when you are trying to work your way to Heaven.

    Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

    Add false teachings to the mix, pick and choose what you want out of the Bible, add other writings to God’s perfect Word – and you will never have assurance or security…

  51. August 1, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Unfortunately for you, “once saved always saved” is an un-Biblical doctrine and is demonstratively false.

    Ezekiel 3:20; Ezekiel 18:24-26; Matt. 7:21-23; Luke 8:13; Luke 9:62; Luke 12:41-48; John 15:1-7; 1 Corinthians 8:11; Galatians 5:1-4, Galatians 13; Colossians 1:21-23; 1 Timothy 1:18-20; 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Timothy 5:8; Hebrews 3:12; Hebrews 4:1-2,11; Hebrews 6:4-8; Hebrews 10:26-31; Hebrews 10:38-39; James 5:19-20; 1 Pet. 5:8-10; 2 Peter 2:1,15,20-22; 2 Peter 3:17; Revelation 2:4-5; Revelation 3:5,16-17

  52. J Warren
    August 1, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    By Andrew Miller’s account Lot, Moses, King David, Solomon, Paul are damed. Oh, they worked their way out of damnation? John 10 28&29.

  53. Peter Salzmann
    August 1, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Dear JW,

    So am I to understand, JW, that you keep the commandments out of compulsion? I keep the commandments because I love God and wish to do what he asks.

    You asked if I try to get “caught up”, I am pretty sure that you can’t get caught up on keeping the commandments, for it would only be the present that you are actually keeping them. We do, however, try to do better and it is the trying that eventually will enable us to be like Christ, that is, perfect.

    You see, we don’t believe in a change of personality or behavior after death. We believe that a persons spirit (consciousness) is exactly the same as it is here on Earth, minus the mortal body. If we choose not to change ourselves now, to be more in line with God, when will we choose to change? God has changed me, through the love of His Son Jesus Christ, I desire to be like Him as much as possible.

    Ephesians is a perfect example! It is not used to say that works are not needed! Works don’t save, I am glad we all agree. Works are needed though, to show your faith and to secure a reward.

    Some examples of work :-
    Matthew 6:4
    Matthew 6:6
    Matthew 6:18
    Luke 6:35
    1 Corinthians 3:8
    1 Corinthians 9:17
    Revelation 2:5
    Revelation 2:26
    Hebrews 11:6
    Matthew 16:27
    Psalms 119:60
    James 2:24
    Romans 4:16
    John 10:25 – your kidding, Jesus did works?!?
    John 10:32 – Jesus did many works!
    John 10:38 – if you don’t believe Jesus, believe His works?

    There are a few rewarding work in there.

    Faith and works has been debated before, again elsewhere, here are a couple of scriptures that make Faith and works inseparable.

    When I read Romans 11:6 it seems to suggest that both are needed also.

    Philippians 2:12
    James 2:18,20,26
    1 Thessalonians 1:3

    Dear Jerry,

    Add false teachings to the mix, pick and choose what you want out of the Bible, add other writings to God’s perfect Word – and you will never have assurance or security…

    Jerry, those that teach you, show you scriptures that support their teachings, do you then turn to the Father in the holy name of Christ and ask if it is a correct teaching?
    Jerry, we can show you scriptures that support our position as well, not only that but we encourage and exhort you to go to God in the name of the Son and ask Him if what we teach is correct. We want you to experience God talking to you, so that you can identify His Living Word in your life.

    Our Father is greater then all and so many people choose not to turn to Him for answers. The Lord Jesus Christ turned to our Father many times. He also said that our Father is His Father and that the Father is His God and our God. How great and marvelous it is to be able to come to the Father in Christ’s name. That we can go directly to the source with our questions!

    Kind regards,
    Peter Salzmann

  54. August 1, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Peter, your theology is damned – as you are, unless you repent and believe the Scriptures, not your twisted additions to it. I have no desire to learn from you or any from your religion. I have compared mormonism with the Bible and it is false, damned, and apostate – I don’t need any more than that to reject it.

  55. Peter Salzmann
    August 1, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Dear Jerry,

    I do believe the scriptures, I just don’t exalt them above our Living God or Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost. I don’t believe you have the decision of who is “damned” or who is saved, thankfully. I am sad to hear that you do not seek God for truth, but hearken to your own understanding and interpretation. It sounds to me that you have reduced the Living God to a book.
    I leave my testimony of the Living God for you, if you desire Him and go to Him prayerfully in the name of Christ and seek His will and His understanding He will manifest truth unto you.

    Peace be with you Brother,
    Peter Salzmann

  56. August 1, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    I have the authoritative source of ultimate truth – God’s Word – I don’t need some subjective feeling. No, I am not the one who decides who goes to Heaven or Hell – but God has already stated how He will determine that in His Word, and your religion falls short.

    I really cannot understand why you are so determined to come onto a Christian site and try to pretend what you believe is not so far different, that you believe in the same God, and that you also believe in the Bible – when you are too busy correcting it, adding to it, trusting in a different god than the Bible teaches (a man that became god), believing in a different Jesus (one who is the brother of Lucifer), and a different Holy Spirit (one that leads into “truth” that contradicts the Word that the real Holy Spirit has inspired).

    You believe in doctrines of devils, and I am not going to pretend it is the same thing – no matter how pleasant you try to make yourself and your religion out to be. It is cursed of God:

    Galatians 1:6-9 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

  57. Peter Salzmann
    August 2, 2008 at 4:49 am

    Dear Jerry,

    I am sorry you feel that way. I really don’t know what has caused your extreme opinion of “Mormonism”, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has always and will always preach the God of the Bible and the Jesus of the Bible, with all associated teachings found therein.

    I glory in Christ and the teachings of the Bible and love God and Christ, His Spirit renews me each day, I hope to help others do the same.

    Jerry, would you mind telling me where, when and how you came to believe in God and Christ, His Son?

    Thank you,
    Peter Salzmann

  58. August 2, 2008 at 5:27 am

    I really don’t know what has caused your extreme opinion of “Mormonism”,

    It is love for the truth that has caused me to hate deception, lies, falsehood, error:

    Psalms 119:104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.

    Psalms 119:128 Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has always and will always preach the God of the Bible and the Jesus of the Bible, with all associated teachings found therein.

    You wish – up until this generation, Mormons would not even associate themselves with Christianity – and now, people like you – the Devil’s disciples – want to confuse Mormonism with Christianity.

  59. Peter Salzmann
    August 2, 2008 at 5:38 am

    Dear Jerry,

    I really don’t appreciate you calling me names, could you please stop. I was here trying to clear up some incorrect aspersions and I get attacked. If this is your idea of being Christian, your right, we don’t want to confuse the two.

    What I wished to know was how you know the Bible to be true, that there is a God and that Jesus is the Christ. How can you possibly know that, without God telling you?

    What I see as the differences between us is that I asked God and He answered, you read the Bible and interpreted it. Please correct me if I am wrong. I do not wish to make incorrect assumptions about you.

    Kind regards,
    Peter

  60. Anonymous
    August 2, 2008 at 9:04 am

    I’m not impressed with the behavior of the Christians here at all. I think the mormens have been much more respectful in their discussion. I what to think of mormanism, but I now have formed my opinion about Christianity as advanced by Mr. Pouey.

  61. August 2, 2008 at 10:31 am

    I’ve been away at a Family Camp since Wednesday, and have not had the opportunity to be involved in this discussion. But this is as good a place as any to jump back into the conversation.

    First, I want to go back to Peter’s testimony and point out a few things. Peter, you have told us that you had an experience. But you have failed to give any evidence that this kind of experience is the right way to find the truth. At this late point in the discussion, the only reasons that you and your friends have given for this epistemology is that this is the way you came to the truth, and you assume that the rest of us did as well.

    I have repeatedly pointed out two things, and I will point them out again. First, I have pointed out that in order to believe that your model is the right epistemology, you must assume that it is the right epistemology. In other words, you must assume that we get the knowledge of the truth by asking God for it. I will then add a question: before you prayed and asked God to show you the truth, did you pray and ask God if this was the right way to find the truth?

    Secondly, I have repeatedly pointed out that your epistemology is logically incoherent, and inconsistent. One evidence that I would offer is the above argument… when you insist that we know the truth by seeking a burning in the bosom, you assume what you should be proving. Another evidence of the falsehood and incoherence of this epistemology that I have offered is that you and I both have a burning in our respective bosoms, but that our individual burnings testify to two very different conclusions. To quote Andrew’s earlier comment,

    I can confirm that God has confirmed in me that the fullness of the everlasting gospel is exclusively found in the teachings and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints(emphasis mine).

    Andrew, I assume, is not saying something that is not universally held among the LDS. He says essentially that the whole truth is found in the LDS church, and by implication that no other church has the whole truth. Meanwhile, I can similarly confirm that God has confirmed in me that the Word of God, as given in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments alone, is the exclusive standard for the truth, that orthodox Christian doctrine as found in the Old and New Testaments alone is God’s exclusive revelation of himself to man, and that therefore the LDS church teaches a false gospel.

    Now, Peter, that leaves you in a dilemma. We cannot both be right, as I have pointed out several times now. Either you must deny that a burning in the bosom is the way to find the truth, or you must deny my own experience in these things. For I too have studied and pondered and prayed about these things. In a nutshell, I say that you are wrong, and you say that I am wrong, AND WE CANNOT BOTH BE RIGHT.

    Another evidence that your epistemology is logically incoherent (as I have pointed out several times now) is that this is not the way that we come to the truth in any other area. Knowledge claims and their justification (epistemology), in order to be rational, must be applied consistently and universally. I do not know of any in the LDS church (maybe you could point me to some) who would say that the LDS epistemology must be applied universally in the realm of truth. In other words, I have not heard any argue that we cannot believe that 2+2=4 until we have received confirmation from God. In fact, just the opposite. Here in Utah, I regularly hear faithful members of the LDS church arguing that religion and science should be kept separate, that the truth of the one has nothing to do with the truth of the other. In other words, the argument that is made is that in the realm of science, the truth is discovered one way; but in the realm of religion, the truth is discovered another. The epistemology of a scientist is different, according to the LDS church, then the epistemology of a theologian.

    Consistent Christians have always denied this statement, and shown it to be logically incoherent. Peter, I will show you the error of your truth claim. Several times in the comments above, you have mocked the idea that God reveals himself or the truth to us “in a book.” You have said that the only way to know that the Bible is true is to ask God to show you. When God confirms it in the heart, then and only then can we believe it. I realize that I am paraphrasing your arguments, but I think that this is an accurate representation of what you believe.

    Here is the error. According to your truth claim, you will not accept the very Words of God as being the truth until God speaks to you directly, and directly tells you that it is true. You will not simply accept the Words of God as the truth. You must have it confirmed in your own mind, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Thus, you do not believe the Word of God on its own merits. You hold your own feelings about the Word in higher esteem than the Word of God itself. The authority for you is not the very Word of God. The authority for you is your own mind. You have set yourself up as the judge of God’s Word. Since you have experienced something that confirmed its truth to you, therefore you accept it as true.

    Of course, the reader should note that once Peter’s experience showed him that the Bible is true, then he should have seen immediately that his own experience is not reliable or authoritative. He should have immediately repented of the pride and arrogance of his own heart that told him that he himself was a reliable judge of God and God’s Word. Since he claims to have the witness of the Holy Spirit that the Bible is true, he should have seen in Scripture that the Bible is true because it is the very Word of God, and not because he has the witness of the Holy Ghost. He should have immedietely repented of his pride and arrogance, and should have submitted himself to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

    The readers of this comment thread should note this very carefully. Peter’s epistemology is completely contrary to what we find in Scripture. The Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. In other words, we fear the Lord, we hold Him in reverence and awe. God has revealed himself and His truth in the Word of God, as the Bible says (John 17:17), and because God has revealed himself there, we take the Bible to be the very Word and Words of God. And we are given a very good example of this kind of epistemology. For in Acts 17:11, we find the Bereans who, when Paul preached the gospel, DID NOT PRAY ABOUT IT AT ALL. They did not seek for a confirmation that the Bible was true. They did not ask the Holy Ghost to tell them whether or not they should trust the Bible. They assumed that the Scriptures were true. They did not set themselves up as the ultimate judge of the truth of Scripture. They held the Scriptures to be the ultimate judge of Paul’s preaching.

    What the LDS are doing in arguing that we know the truth, not by the objective standard of God’s Word, but by a subjective standard of one’s feelings (what they call the witness of the Holy Ghost), is to make themselves God. They themselves personally are the judge of what is right and what is wrong. They will decide for themselves. Oh yes, of course the LDS have decided to believe the Bible. But they have decided this on their own standard, instead of on the standard that God gave.

    Their salad bar theology should not surprise us then. If their feelings about the truth are truly authoritative, then it should not surprise us that they would pick and choose as far as interpretations. If they subject the whole of Scripture to the standard of their feelings and experiences, then it should not surprise us that they would subject the truth of individual verses to the same standard. But we must also recognize that this is not submission to God. This is rebellion against God.

    If the LDS church is true, then certainly their private interpretations of various verses of Scripture hold more authority than the natural interpretation of the text. If the LDS church is true, than what Peter said about the Living Prophet (comment #41 ) is true (I personally believe that there is a Prophet on the Earth and it is His job to tell us how the scripture is to be interpreted). By the way, the reader should note that this is a personal belief of Peter’s. He gives no objective standard for believing this. He gives no verse of the Old or New Testament that sets this standard for interpretation. He personally believes this. This personal belief for him is authoritative. He has decided that it is true, and therefore it must be. Similarly, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young personally believed that there was a man living on the moon. And therefore it must be.

    But if the Bible is the ultimate authority for what is to be believed (and it is, being the very Words of God), then all truth must be held to that standard. And by that standard, the LDS church must be rejected, for they teach that Jesus is one god among many, on his way to exaltation following the path to exaltation of Heavenly Father before him. They teach that the Holy Ghost has yet to receive a body, and is therefore not yet exalted to the position of the Father or the Son. They deny the solas of orthodox Christian doctrine. We could go on and on, but their theology denies the truth as revealed in the Old and New Testaments. And therefore, their doctrine must be rejected.

    The readers of this blog should be aware that when the LDS say that they “believe” the Bible, they are using a different definition of “believe” than you are. The same can be said of the word “inspired.” When the LDS say that they believe the Bible to be “inspired” they mean something different than you do. They believe that the U.S. Constitution is inspired. I recently attended a debate where Martin Tanner represented the LDS church position. In that debate, Mr. Tanner stated that he believed that there were many, many inspired documents. And his standard for determining that one document was inspired and another was not was… you guessed it. Relativistic. You’ll have to pray about it and ask God to show you.

    Now, if this definition of inspired is true, then the Bible is not really a special revelation at all. God inspires poets, historians, naturalists, and theologians alike. They believe that the Bible is a good book — one among many such. And as such, they believe in the Bible the way one might believe in the Declaration of Independence… a good book with good ideas and good moral teachings.

    But the Bible makes a different demand of us:

    For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. (I Thessalonians 2:13)

    I’ve gone long with this comment. In my next comment, I will add some arguments for the self-attesting authority of God’s Word. Until then, good day.

  62. August 2, 2008 at 11:02 am

    …the philosophic perspective of the unbeliever destroys meaning, intelligence, and the very possibility of knowledge, while the Christian faith provides the only framework and conditions for intelligible experience and rational certainty. The apologist must contend that the true starting point of thought cannot be other than God and His revealed word, for no reasoning is possible apart from that unquestionable starting point.

    It should be clear that this is the perspective of Scripture. It is God’s word which must be our ultimate and indisputable presupposition in thought and argumentation, rather than independently supported “brute facts.” Christ demonstrated that God’s word (and thus His own teaching)had highest authority in the world of thought; it was the firm starting point, self-validating foundation, and final standard of the truth. As such, nothing was more ultimate than it or could call it into question. Thus Christ would never consent to put the Lord God to a test (Matt 4:7). So also, Christ designated Himself as “the truth” (John 14:6). Christ and His word stand firm as the most ultimately established, trustworthy, point of truth; He alone can designate Himself “the Amen” (Rev 3:17; cf. Isa 65:16) and preface His pronouncements with “Amen, amen I say unto you…” (John 3:3, 5, 11, etc.). Christ and His word are self-attestingly true.

    As the very standard of truth against which all other claims must be measured, Christ did not rely upon the backing or evidence of others for His teaching: He taught with self-sufficient authority (Matt. 7:29). Should anyone refuse to receive His words, those very words would stand in judgment over him (John 12:48-50); they had ultimate authority as coming from the Lord, thus not being subject to challenge (cf. Matt. 20:1-15). Christ declared that it would be more tolerable for Sodom than for that city which would not receive the apostolic proclamation for (as He explained to the apostles ) “he that heareth you, heareth me” (Luke 10:10-16). The divine word is authoritative in itself, carrying its own evidence inherently. Consequently, no man has the prerogative to call it into question (Romans 9:20); instead, those who contend with God are required to answer (cf. Job 38:1-3; Job 40:1-5). God’s veracity is to be automatically presupposed (Romans 3:1), for He speaks with unmistakable clarity (Romans 1:19-20; Psalm 119:130).

    Christ disdained those who sought signs beyond the authority of His words (Matt. 12:39; Matt 16:4); mindful of that, Luke prefaced such an incident with the words “Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it” (Luke 11:28).

    Quoted from Greg Bahnsen’s Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith in chapter 17 “The Ultimate Starting Point: God’s Word,” pp. 72-73.

  63. Anonymous
    August 2, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    How do you know the Bible is the Word of God spoken of in scripture? Is not the word of God the sword of the Spirit? If so, then is not the Spirit and revelation from Deity the word of God, and not the Bible alone(strictly speaking)?

    Your whole argument is based on the assumption that the Bible is “the word of God” spoken of in scripture. I haven’t yet seen any evidence for that.

  64. August 2, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    Anonymous,

    First, this question is a diversion from the issue. I have repeatedly, over and over again, challenged the basis for your assumptions. You and all of the LDS commenters have yet to give a rational answer to the challenge.

    Secondly, if you will kindly re-read the comments, I already answered this question. In my answer, I agreed that one must make this assumption. This is a part of saying that the Bible is our ultimate authority. Arguments cannot travel infinitely backwards. Somewhere along the line, our arguments must rest on something. We rest on the Word of God as inspired by the Spirit of God in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Your attempts to make it something else will fail, I can assure you. And I would also point out the irony of LDS claims, which on the one hand insist that they believe the Bible, and on the other hand work overtime to cast as much doubt, and to make the Bible as unreliable as possible.

    So, anonymous, the only way that you can make the case for what you are claiming is to start with the assumption that knowledge is justified by some sort of extra-terrestrial verification (commonly called the ‘witness of the Spirit’). In other words, the only way that you can claim what you are claiming is by assuming beforehand the truth of LDS doctrine. Otherwise, you cannot make that claim, because the Bible is very clear what constitutes the Words of God.

  65. August 2, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    A few questions were raised earlier in the comment thread, which I want to address right now. But before I do, I just want to remind Andrew Miller, Curtis, Jeremy, Peter, and the other LDS visitors that since you came on here to debate, I’ve been anxiously awaiting your answers to my questions and challenges. I’m listening carefully, but all I’m hearing is the chirp, chirp, chirp. Feel free to jump back in with something other than a diversion, fellas…

    One favorite whipping boy of the LDS community is the great variety of opinions and interpretations amongst professed Bible-believers. I want to show first that this is a tactic for distraction that does not at all detract from our argument that the Scriptures as contained in the Old and New Testaments are our ultimate authority. And then I want to show that these arguments are inconsistent and arbitrary on the part of the Mormons who make them.

    Are there a variety of ways that Bible-believing Christians interpret the Word of God? Most certainly. If we refer to “Protestantism” in general, you will find a whole host of beliefs. Although we do not consider ourselves to be of the lineage of the Protestants, nevertheless I can understand why you would confuse us with Protestants. There is enough in common, at least from your view-point, that I don’t feel compelled to correct you. Later on, when you come to the light, we can discuss all that.

    But for now, we will simply point out that the fact that we have differences does not at all mean that we are not holding to the Bible as our ultimate presupposition. In fact, it proves just the opposite. We have differences because we believe that the Bible is authoritative in matters of doctrine and practice. We hold that men are to believe what the Bible says. Each of the faithful churches and creeds are striving for doctrinal unity that faithfully interprets the Words of God. The differences of opinion stem from that goal.

    It is easy to sit back and hear debates about end times and separation and baptism and think that this only indicates that the Bible can’t really be interpreted, or that all interpretation is arbitrary, and to smugly assume that this is what makes the LDS church superior. However, I would like to point out that the LDS church has every bit of the problem in this area as “Protestantism” (generically speaking).

    I just spent the last half of the week at a Family Camp, which rents the facilities of the “Community of Christ.” Up until a few years ago, the Community of Christ was called the Reorganized LDS church. As I understand it, the RLDS (Community of Christ) split off the mainstream LDS church back in the early days of the church. They are not the only one. There are as many differences between the various split-offs and branches of the LDS church as there are amongst Bible-believing Christians. In addition to the Community of Christ, there are the Fundamentalists, who (in my opinion) are much more faithful to the teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young than the modern-day LDS church is. As I understand it, the LDS church has more split-offs than I have named.

    It is purely arbitrary on your part to use the differences of opinion between Bible-believers as an argument against Bible-believers. Especially when there is the same sort of thing amongst the followers of Joseph Smith.

  66. August 2, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    Imagine that 11 guys take a hike into a deep cave. When they get to the back, they all see something startling that sends them running back for the mouth of the cave! They come back to camp and start to argue about what they saw. One says a flock of bats. Another says a big monster. Another says it was a dragon! Everyone stands there a second. Another says it was a cave in. After everyone has their say, one guy steps forward and says, “Hey guys, I snapped a picture. Wanna have a look?”

    Finish the story…

    How does the group respond? There is authority in the printed Word, the hard copies.

    But LDS caver #1 points out that technically the print is merely a copy of the original film and may have been corrupted in the copying process.

    LDS caver #2 says that he saw it and remembers how it struck him. He is an “impression” rememberer and his impression is that it was a bear. He starts, “I bear you my testimony…”

    LDS caver #3 agrees with caver #2!! Strongly!! He also saw it and can testify to the reliability of the experiential over the printed visual. It was definitely a cow.

    LDS caver #4 spends hours showing how the printed picture actually speaks to the authority of the experiential. The rocks in the picture are so bear-like as to remove any suspicion that they are rocks.

    LDS caver #5 points out that the hues of brown and black are often found in both bears and cows.

    Etc, etc… ad nauseum.

    Finally, caver #11, the one with the print of the stalactites, is expelled from the group of spelunkers for refusing to accept the testimony of the 10. The print is hijacked, canonized and added to the book of testimonies compiled by the spelunking committee as one of the “perfectly harmonious” proofs that photographs are no way to record images, just the way writing down words are no way to record words!!!!

  67. Peter Salzmann
    August 2, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    Dear Dave,

    I hope your camping trip was fun and that you are all well. I would like to take a minute to thank you for a pleasant discussion and hope that we may continue in like manner.

    I would also like to appeal to the readers, that they should find out about “Mormonism” by hearing us, not by what other people say about us. Please look at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints main page. Also for basic beliefs please look to Mormon.org.

    Consistent Christians have always denied this statement, and shown it to be logically incoherent. Peter, I will show you the error of your truth claim. Several times in the comments above, you have mocked the idea that God reveals himself or the truth to us “in a book.” You have said that the only way to know that the Bible is true is to ask God to show you. When God confirms it in the heart, then and only then can we believe it. I realize that I am paraphrasing your arguments, but I think that this is an accurate representation of what you believe.

    I believe I would sum up some of my statements as thus and I surely have not mocked such a sacred book. I have hoped to demonstrate that just because a book says it is accurate and true, is not reason alone to believe that the book is either accurate or true. We trust that being a record, of God’s words, that it is indeed accurate and true. However I affirm that current physical evidence can not prove that Jesus is the Christ and that God is God. For that we need a reliable and true witness that it is such. I attest that only one way exists (at this time) to find out if the Bible is accurate and true. Asking God.

    I understand that this proves to be a point of contention for you and hope that I may shed some light on this for you. Many people do not know that God exists, many believe that He exists and follow in faith, which is very commendable. That faith is not something to be lost at all and is very admirable. However, not knowing if God exists can be troublesome because you do not know whether to follow or not. If He doesn’t exist then there is no point following these rules, apart from the great moral and social implications. If He does exist, then we better be afraid and do what He says! I confirm that we can know for certain that God does exist. That knowledge unlocks so much more then just fear. Admiration and love, desire to please and joy. Outright joy that the Heavenly Father exits and that He sent His Son to allow us to return to Him. The most blessed happening in the universe. I must assert that this knowledge is to be sought after!

    Now, Peter, that leaves you in a dilemma. We cannot both be right, as I have pointed out several times now. Either you must deny that a burning in the bosom is the way to find the truth, or you must deny my own experience in these things. For I too have studied and pondered and prayed about these things. In a nutshell, I say that you are wrong, and you say that I am wrong, AND WE CANNOT BOTH BE RIGHT.

    I fully agree Dave, we can not both be 100% right. However I believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is 100% right and that you have a lesser percentage. We actually do agree on some points :). Now, you may esteem this to be arrogance and/or pride. You are entitled to that position. If we did not know this, we would have to deny that there was need for a restoration and that you are indeed preaching 100% right.

    On this point you may ask yourself then how we could both have this burning in our bosom. The Holy Ghost will testify of truth wherever it is found. If you prayed about Jesus being the Christ of course you will have this experience, because Jesus is the Christ. If you prayed and asked if God is a metaphysical being that somehow manifests itself into three people, then you wouldn’t have this experience. You could point to scriptures that support this but we could also point to scriptures that demonstrate that God, His Son and the Holy Ghost are separate distinct beings. What we teach, would have an accompanying burning of the bosom (or however else God wishes to let you know).

    Here is the error. According to your truth claim, you will not accept the very Words of God as being the truth until God speaks to you directly, and directly tells you that it is true. You will not simply accept the Words of God as the truth. You must have it confirmed in your own mind, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Thus, you do not believe the Word of God on its own merits. You hold your own feelings about the Word in higher esteem than the Word of God itself. The authority for you is not the very Word of God. The authority for you is your own mind. You have set yourself up as the judge of God’s Word. Since you have experienced something that confirmed its truth to you, therefore you accept it as true.

    Unfortunately the error you claim has been formed in your mind. We do not claim authority from our own mind, you are essentially claiming that we have made up God. We claim authority from the real and living God preached of in the Bible, not the Bible itself. God is the highest authority one can get and He does support His words, unfortunately portions of the interpretation you rely on is not what God supports.

    Of course, the reader should note that once Peter’s experience showed him that the Bible is true, then he should have seen immediately that his own experience is not reliable or authoritative. He should have immediately repented of the pride and arrogance of his own heart that told him that he himself was a reliable judge of God and God’s Word. Since he claims to have the witness of the Holy Spirit that the Bible is true, he should have seen in Scripture that the Bible is true because it is the very Word of God, and not because he has the witness of the Holy Ghost. He should have immedietely repented of his pride and arrogance, and should have submitted himself to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

    By this logic Paul should have discounted His experience as being unreliable and gone back to His previous way of thinking. It seems to me that anyone who has had an experience with God knows that it is reliable and authentic. Matthew 16:13-17. Peter did not gain this testimony only by knowing scriptures.
    You have faith on the Bible and I have faith on God, the author of the Bible. It is beginning to sound like you are trying to dictate to God what He is and is not allowed to do. You need to remember that God is a real and living God, the Bible is but a minuscule portion of His words to mortals. Think of how much one person speaks in a day, about 10,000 words. In a life time that will be millions. Think of several life times that He has talked to His children, the world could not contain all the words He has spoken. John 21:25. This brings up the issue of not having more of God’s words doesn’t it? I am overjoyed that God has seen fit to reveal more of His words. They can be found in the Book of Mormon and other books, these can be found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    The readers of this comment thread should note this very carefully. Peter’s epistemology is completely contrary to what we find in Scripture. The Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. In other words, we fear the Lord, we hold Him in reverence and awe. God has revealed himself and His truth in the Word of God, as the Bible says (John 17:17), and because God has revealed himself there, we take the Bible to be the very Word and Words of God. And we are given a very good example of this kind of epistemology. For in Acts 17:11, we find the Bereans who, when Paul preached the gospel, DID NOT PRAY ABOUT IT AT ALL. They did not seek for a confirmation that the Bible was true. They did not ask the Holy Ghost to tell them whether or not they should trust the Bible. They assumed that the Scriptures were true. They did not set themselves up as the ultimate judge of the truth of Scripture. They held the Scriptures to be the ultimate judge of Paul’s preaching.

    Dave, are you teaching your members not to pray but to trust what you tell them? As long as you can find evidence in the Bible it’s true? I’ve found lots of evidence that the teachings of “Mormonism” are true, as you can see there are lots of teachings that you believe are true. The question lies that when one has two options which can be supported by scripture (both yours and my views can), who are they to believe? I would think that if anyone lacked wisdom they can ask of God in faith, nothing wavering. James 1:5-6. I also agree that God has revealed His truth in the scriptures, we need to know what that truth is, especially in this situation where both sides are supported. What would happen if people prayed? I hope that readers take up the challenge to pray. For what reason should they? To find out the truth of what we speak, if what we speak is false then you have nothing to worry about.
    Acts 5:38-39.

    If the LDS church is true, then certainly their private interpretations of various verses of Scripture hold more authority than the natural interpretation of the text. If the LDS church is true, than what Peter said about the Living Prophet (comment #41 ) is true (I personally believe that there is a Prophet on the Earth and it is His job to tell us how the scripture is to be interpreted). By the way, the reader should note that this is a personal belief of Peter’s. He gives no objective standard for believing this. He gives no verse of the Old or New Testament that sets this standard for interpretation. He personally believes this. This personal belief for him is authoritative. He has decided that it is true, and therefore it must be. Similarly, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young personally believed that there was a man living on the moon. And therefore it must be.

    Now Dave you have tried to disparage my word because I haven’t provided a reference. Here’s one now, 2 Peter 1:20. There are many private interpretations. Having a Prophet to unify the teaching truly is a blessing. Ephesians 4:11-13.
    Readers please note that a Prophet is not perfect, neither does he claim to be. Dave is trying to blur your view of these men and through them the church. This view is not church doctrine neither did they claim it as revelation from God.

    But if the Bible is the ultimate authority for what is to be believed (and it is, being the very Words of God), then all truth must be held to that standard. And by that standard, the LDS church must be rejected, for they teach that Jesus is one god among many, on his way to exaltation following the path to exaltation of Heavenly Father before him. They teach that the Holy Ghost has yet to receive a body, and is therefore not yet exalted to the position of the Father or the Son. They deny the solas of orthodox Christian doctrine. We could go on and on, but their theology denies the truth as revealed in the Old and New Testaments. And therefore, their doctrine must be rejected.

    Dave, God has never said that he stopped talking to us. The Bible is the words of God but as stated previously He is a living God and continues talking to us today, He is not talking to us from the past. The message of the restoration is a glorious one, it is that God the Father does love us and is talking to us. This is not a bad thing.

    The readers of this blog should be aware that when the LDS say that they “believe” the Bible, they are using a different definition of “believe” than you are. The same can be said of the word “inspired.” When the LDS say that they believe the Bible to be “inspired” they mean something different than you do. They believe that the U.S. Constitution is inspired. I recently attended a debate where Martin Tanner represented the LDS church position. In that debate, Mr. Tanner stated that he believed that there were many, many inspired documents. And his standard for determining that one document was inspired and another was not was… you guessed it. Relativistic. You’ll have to pray about it and ask God to show you.

    Again Dave it looks like you are trying to discourage people from praying to the Heavenly Father in the name of Christ. I believe, Dave, that we are speaking the same English, we have been forthright in what we do and don’t believe. We do believe in what the Bible teaches, we don’t believe that it is God, we believe that it is one of God’s books of His dealings with His children. We do believe that our teachings are biblical and they can be found in the Bible, we also believe that our Father in Heaven can and does talk to us personally.

    Dave, I just wanted to go back to the paragraph before this one, where you throw out some accusations about what we teach. This is a shock tactic, it has been used, dear reader, to make you think that “Mormonism” is wrong and absurd, yet without proper understanding and listening to us about what we teach and believe initially you may be swayed by this tactic.
    I will briefly touch on this subject so please excuse if things are still hazy.

    1 John 5:7 – Jesus Christ (the Word, not the Bible), Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost, 3 in heaven.
    John 10:34- Ye are Gods.

    I am hoping I do not need to get scriptures to support Jesus Christ being born on Earth, being mortal yet following perfectly, who was then raised in immortality and who was glorified by the Father. LDS definition of Exaltation is being glorified with Christ.

    John 5:19 – Father in heaven progressing to Exaltation.

    People who are reading, who may not be very well informed about “Mormonism”, there is some great material out there which may be of use. FairLDS, Jeff Lindsy has written well about “Mormonism” LDSFAQ

    I hope this helps,
    kind regards,
    Peter Salzmann

  68. Peter Salzmann
    August 3, 2008 at 12:03 am

    Another site to look at would be Jesus.Christ.org

  69. Peter Salzmann
    August 3, 2008 at 1:27 am

    For clarification on Exaltation

    Eternal life, or exaltation, is to live in God’s presence and to continue as families (see D&C 131:1–4). Like immortality, this gift is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. However, to inherit eternal life requires our “obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:3

    Taken from here

  70. August 3, 2008 at 5:34 am

    Bro. Kent, Dave, and Jeff, I apologize for my bad conduct on here. I have been dealing with some serious health issues lately that have messed with my emotions – and I should never have posted when I was irritated.

    As far as the “nice” and pleasant Mormons go, “nice” error is still damning the lost to Hell. I came out of deception (from the Catholic church), and have no tolerance for any kind of deception passing itself off as truth.

  71. August 3, 2008 at 6:40 am

    Peter went to great trouble to answer my post in comment #63 (and I appreciate that). However, I want our readers to note that with all of the cutting and pasting he did, he somehow managed to skip over the paragraphs that challenge his epistemology. The LDS commenters on here have been doing this consistently throughout this discussion. I have imported two paragraphs from #63, and I will ask once again that the challenge be answered.

    First, I want to go back to Peter’s testimony and point out a few things. Peter, you have told us that you had an experience. But you have failed to give any evidence that this kind of experience is the right way to find the truth. At this late point in the discussion, the only reasons that you and your friends have given for this epistemology is that this is the way you came to the truth, and you assume that the rest of us did as well.

    I have repeatedly pointed out two things, and I will point them out again. First, I have pointed out that in order to believe that your model is the right epistemology, you must assume that it is the right epistemology. In other words, you must assume that we get the knowledge of the truth by asking God for it. I will then add a question: before you prayed and asked God to show you the truth, did you pray and ask God if this was the right way to find the truth?

  72. Peter Salzmann
    August 3, 2008 at 6:54 am

    Dear Jerry,

    I hope that your health issues are not too serious. It is always saddening to hear that people are sick and suffering. Alas, I am but a computer technician and am unable to help the Lord “fix” His children. I pray that the Father will look kindly upon you and bless you in your situation.

    I applaud you for searching and discovering that Catholicism is not 100% right. May I ask what changed your mind there? May I also ask why you attribute this same, or similar, deception to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? I understand this may be touching a nerve but please bare with me.

    as a brother in Christ,
    Peter Salzmann

  73. Peter Salzmann
    August 3, 2008 at 8:27 am

    Dear Dave,

    I believe that we have attempted to show why it is that we come to the Father when we lack knowledge. I understand that this may be hard to see and will attempt to better explain this to you. Please be patient with me as I try to better explain myself.

    First, I want to go back to Peter’s testimony and point out a few things. Peter, you have told us that you had an experience. But you have failed to give any evidence that this kind of experience is the right way to find the truth. At this late point in the discussion, the only reasons that you and your friends have given for this epistemology is that this is the way you came to the truth, and you assume that the rest of us did as well.

    As we have previously tried to explain, Dave, is that there is no possible way for you to know the the Bible is what it purports to be. I am sure that you would and do dismiss any other book being a record of God’s dealings with His children. What makes you sure that the Bible is God’s record? What also makes you sure that the Bible is the only record of God’s dealings with His children? Yes, the Bible is a record from God, however you can only assume and believe the Bible to be a true account because of what it says. Even that ends up being flawed logic because you must assume that the Bible is the Word of God talked about in the scripture and then you take it’s own account of itself as being true. Have I made this case clear? I think you would be aware of the verses about two or three witnesses. 1 Corinthians 13:1, Matthew 18:16,20. Because in their law one witness is not enough. One witness is not counted reliable. Therefore the Bible can not witness of itself. We must appeal to an outside source as to the veracity of the Bible.
    The Book of Mormon also says that it is a record of God’s dealings with man, yet because of your prior assumptions, you have dismissed it’s claims. Please see 1 Nephi 13:38-42. Trust me when I say it takes some getting used to the names in the Book of Mormon, it’s a little strange at first. We see in this scripture that Nephi, a prophet of God, has seen the Bible come forth from the mouth of a Jew, that it has come from the gentiles “unto the remnant of the seed of my brethren”. It then talks about other books coming forth from the gentiles, by the power of the Lamb, which shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Clearly this scripture is talking about the Book of Mormon as in verse 41 – And they must come according to the words which shall be established by the mouth of the Lamb; and the words of the Lamb shall be made known in the records of thy seed, as well as in the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; wherefore they both shall be established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth.

    The Bible gives a witness of itself and the Book of Mormon witnesses of the Bible. Now clearly if we were to take every book because it purports to be the records of God what great faith we have. Problem, we can only assume and believe the truth of the Bible and the Book of Mormon, we need an outside source to witness of both! There are many people who have provided witness to the Book of Mormon and many who gave witness of the Bible. The case get’s stronger. However this gives the possibility that we can be deceived, does it not? Then we must appeal to someone who was there and that we can rely upon 100%, my Father and yours, our Heavenly Father, our God. As James 1:5 said “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him. Wondrous words surely! Moroni 10:3-5 (from the Book of Mormon) says –
    3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
    4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
    5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

    John 11:22, Acts 15:8, 2 Corinthians 4:6, Ephesians 1:17, 2 Timothy 2:25, Jeremiah 24:7
    Great promises are these.

    ————————————————————

    I have repeatedly pointed out two things, and I will point them out again. First, I have pointed out that in order to believe that your model is the right epistemology, you must assume that it is the right epistemology. In other words, you must assume that we get the knowledge of the truth by asking God for it. I will then add a question: before you prayed and asked God to show you the truth, did you pray and ask God if this was the right way to find the truth?

    I believe that you can refer to the upper portion of this message to read. But yes, you must believe that God will answer. Have to have faith, right? 😉 I didn’t ask God to show me the truth, for that would be seeking some sort of physical sign, I asked to know if it was true. I do honestly know that this is true, by the gift of God the Heavenly Father. Jesus is the Christ, the Bible is a record of His dealings with His children, as is the Book of Mormon a record of His dealings with His children. I do leave this in the name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.

    I hope that I have sufficiently made a case to ask God the Father in the name of Christ. I do not hope to convert you to “Mormonism” but wish to awaken your faculties Alma 32:27.
    27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.

    Will God give us an answer to everything? I don’t know, definitely not all at once.

    Your brother in Christ,
    Peter Salzmann

  74. August 3, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    I applaud you for searching and discovering that Catholicism is not 100% right. May I ask what changed your mind there? May I also ask why you attribute this same, or similar, deception to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

    The Bible is my sole authority in life. Anything that doesn’t line up with it is wrong. Cults and false religions have a wrong foundation, and everything they build thereon falls short.

    You claim to believe the Bible – yet your corrections and additions to it prove that you are lying and that you yourself are deceived. When later Bible writers gave new revelation, it fit PERFECTLY with the rest of the Word of God – no corrections, no questioning of previous books, NO CONTRADICTIONS. Yet your religion professes to have new revelation from God – but it doesn’t line up with the 66 books God gave in His Word.

    God put the finishing touches on His Word – the capstone – when He gave the book of Revelation. So even if your new books never contradicted the Bible (which they do over and over), I know that they are not from God and are in fact from false prophets.

  75. August 3, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    I still haven’t received the answer from Andrew or any other Mormon on here for:

      1. If we had or have evidence that many of the OT prophecies were written before their fulfillment, would you either accept or believe that they validate the Bible as inspired by God?
      2. Where do you get the idea of a Holy Spirit? Do you start with a feeling and invent the Holy Spirit? Or did you find out about the Holy Spirit from a book?

    Both Jesus and the Holy Spirit testified to the veracity of Isaiah and his prophecies by quoting and referring to the book of Isaiah repeatedly in the New Testament, assuming its truthfulness. In the book of Isaiah itself, God repeatedly, as I referenced in my longer comment earlier (Isaiah 41:21-24; Isaiah 42:9; Isaiah 45:21; Isaiah 46:11), gave the purpose of the prophecy was to validate His Words, the veracity of the prophecies. So prophecy doesn’t mean anything if there is no fulfillment. If Isaiah is true, which it is, then all the prophecies are also true. If not, then the Holy Spirit would be telling Andrew that God lied on the prophecies. The nature of prophetic material itself says that all prophecy is true, or else the whole Bible and God Himself are false. And if that is the case, someone can’t trust the Holy Spirit either. You can’t separate the Holy Spirit from objectivity and from Scripture. They are forever in union one with another.

  76. Peter Salzmann
    August 3, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Dear Jerry,

    The Bible is my sole authority in life. Anything that doesn’t line up with it is wrong. Cults and false religions have a wrong foundation, and everything they build thereon falls short.

    In my understanding the correct foundation is to be Jesus Christ, see Ephesians 2:20. Should not everyone build their faith upon Jesus Christ? I would hope you say that is correct. Let me then declare that Jesus Christ lives! Acts 4:33, 1 peter 1:3, Acts 1:22, John 20:25. Therefor should you build upon a book which tells of Him, or directly on Him who lives?

    You claim to believe the Bible – yet your corrections and additions to it prove that you are lying and that you yourself are deceived. When later Bible writers gave new revelation, it fit PERFECTLY with the rest of the Word of God – no corrections, no questioning of previous books, NO CONTRADICTIONS. Yet your religion professes to have new revelation from God – but it doesn’t line up with the 66 books God gave in His Word.

    I am pleased that you find no contradictions between the old and new testaments. I also agree that there are no contradictions. The issue that we “Mormons” take is with the council of Nicea, and other such councils. First council. From my understanding this is the yard stick you use to determine who is Christian or not. This is also how the Bible is generally accepted today, the assertion we make is that these are the doctrines of men. If one then takes away this framework the Bible becomes much more malleable. This is why we don’t see eye to eye most of the time, IMHO (in my honest opinion). I don’t subscribe to man what it is that I should believe, to be called a Christian. Not having, or remembering this when I read the Bible helped me in understanding God’s true message.

    God put the finishing touches on His Word – the capstone – when He gave the book of Revelation. So even if your new books never contradicted the Bible (which they do over and over), I know that they are not from God and are in fact from false prophets.

    I guess that I will need to get into Revelation 22:18-19. You are free to accept this as scripture to not add to the Bible but we believe that this scripture refers to two things.
    1) That man must not add to the Bible, it doesn’t say the Living God can not add to the Bible.
    2) We believe that this scripture is the same as in, Deuteronomy 12:32 in that it refers to only that book of the Bible. When Revelation was written the Bible did not exist as we have it now. It did not herald the end of revelation to man, if it were so then God is a changeable God and loves us less then His children past. According to some sources Revelation may not have been the last book ever written.
    possible dates of authorship

    To sum up, we find no contradiction in the Bible, or the rest of our scriptures, when we strip away the preconceived notions, which can be supported by scriptures, that men made the yard stick at a council in antiquity. We believe it is when these ideas are stripped away that we can truly see God’s majestic truth.
    We also don’t believe that the Bible remained unaltered since original penmanship. Even now scholars are trying to get the most correct version from what we have. The Joseph Smith Translation is closer to the original penmanship.

    kind regards,
    Peter Salzmann

  77. Peter Salzmann
    August 3, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Dear Kent,

    I hope that I can answer some of these for you. I will at least attempt to.

    1) If we had or have evidence that many of the OT prophecies were written before their fulfillment, would you either accept or believe that they validate the Bible as inspired by God?

    I believe that Andrew was trying to point out that no matter how much physical evidence you have that these people existed there is only evidence for plausibility. There is no way to know 100% that these are accurate except by hearing God’s living words. I guess you could also wait until we die and ask God or the authors.

    2) Where do you get the idea of a Holy Spirit? Do you start with a feeling and invent the Holy Spirit? Or did you find out about the Holy Spirit from a book?

    I would hope that it is obvious we got the “idea” of the Holy Spirit/Ghost from the Bible. However we know that He, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live! How can we know this? Because they continue to speak to us in these days, Peter was blessed because our Heavenly Father revealed to him that Jesus is the Christ. It was not through scriptures but direct revelation, we too can experience this.

    3)Both Jesus and the Holy Spirit testified to the veracity of Isaiah and his prophecies by quoting and referring to the book of Isaiah repeatedly in the New Testament, assuming its truthfulness. In the book of Isaiah itself, God repeatedly, as I referenced in my longer comment earlier (Isaiah 41:21-24; Isaiah 42:9; Isaiah 45:21; Isaiah 46:11), gave the purpose of the prophecy was to validate His Words, the veracity of the prophecies. So prophecy doesn’t mean anything if there is no fulfillment. If Isaiah is true, which it is, then all the prophecies are also true. If not, then the Holy Spirit would be telling Andrew that God lied on the prophecies. The nature of prophetic material itself says that all prophecy is true, or else the whole Bible and God Himself are false. And if that is the case, someone can’t trust the Holy Spirit either. You can’t separate the Holy Spirit from objectivity and from Scripture. They are forever in union one with another.

    OK, without being the original poster I shall have an attempt to answer.

    As per the first point about physical evidence not proving the scripture true. I think he is trying to explain that the Bible isn’t inerrant. It is man’s records of God’s dealings with His children. Man is fallible and we make a lot of mistakes. You have the idea that the Bible is pristine, directly from God to you. However the Bible took a very, very long time to get to you and in that time there have been many, many people who have handled it. The Holy Spirit has declared the truthfulness of the Bible to us, in that we have not just a belief but a knowledge that the Bible is true. We do not have a witness that the Bible is unaltered by fallible man. What the Spirit has confirmed is that Jesus is the Christ, Heavenly Father is our Heavenly Father and that the Holy Spirit exists and is the medium through which we receive this revelation.

    We assert that revelation did not end with the Bible and that God has restored Christ’s Church on the Earth. We declare that the Holy Spirit will give you a witness of Christ’s divinity. That you can have this miraculous blessing in your life, if only you would pray and ask what His will is. We also declare that there is a Prophet whom God has chosen, that the same formation of authority and body of the church, as in Christ’s day (Ephesians 2:20, Ephesians 4:11), is on the Earth once more. That the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Jesus Christ’s church. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

    If anyone who is reading this desires to know more I would exhort you to contact The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for a Book of Mormon or speak with the missionaries. Check out the official page or Mormon.org for our basic beliefs.

    Kind regards,
    Peter Salzmann

  78. Don Heinz
    August 3, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    Peter:

    The Bible has a simple question for you…

    If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psa 11:3)

    You seemed to have stated that you believe that the living Christ is the exclusive foundation of the Christian faith. However, Christ himself asserts…

    Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: (Mat 7:24)

    Paul also asserts that part of the foundation is the doctrine of the apostles, and the apostles themselves clearly recorded their doctrine in written form under inspiration of God. In that inspired Word God himself promised the divine preservation of that Word. If he was only promising to preserve that Word for himself and the saints in heaven, what good would that do when their is no need for the written Word in heaven?

    The inspiration and preservation of the written Words of God is a foundation of the Christian faith, whereas Christ is the foundation of eternal life. If God cannot keep his Word to keep His Words, how can he keep us?

  79. Peter Salzmann
    August 3, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    Hello Don,

    I have a slight recollection of the scripture you are talking about with Paul, however I can not find it, could you please provide the location for me? I will continue to look for it as far I am able (currently at work).

    In a quick review of your post, do you not have the words that are written? Just because you have the words doesn’t mean the interpretation has stayed correct. I think the other thing you are assuming is perfect preservation. While God could probably preserve His words exact I don’t believe He said He would. Though if you can provide the reference we can dig into it.

    Kind regards,
    Peter Salzmann

  80. Anonymous
    August 4, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Since the Bible is the only source of truth that can be trusted, where does the Bible say it is the only source of truth that can be trusted?

  81. J Warren
    August 4, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Where does the Bible say it isn’t truth that can be trusted?

  82. Anonymous
    August 4, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    J Warren,

    That’s not the point. If the basis of your doctrine and belief is the Bible, and the inerrancy and absolute authority of the Bible is one of your doctrines, it follows that the Bible must proclaim its own inerrancy and absolute authority.

    So, where does it do so?

  83. August 4, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Jesus said this:

    John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

    Daniel called the Scriptures this:

    Daniel 10:21 But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.

    Paul said this about the Bible:

    2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

    He also said this:

    1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

    From this and other passages, it is clear that the Bible is truth. That means anything else that contradicts it is not truth. Mormonism fits the bill of not being truth, as it contradicts the Word of God.

  84. August 4, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Peter is finally getting around to giving an answer to my questions, for which I am grateful indeed. And all those following this comment thread should take note. Peter’s statements and answers in this thread are the same sort of answers that you will hear from the majority of the members of the LDS church. They are helpful to us in that they help us to see very clearly and vividly the assumptions that all Mormons make. Where my original post fell short in exposing the underlying assumptions that Mormons make, Peter has very kindly filled in the gaps for us.

    In this comment, I would like to deal with Peter’s assumptions once again, and show them to be both inferior to the Christian worldview, and logically incoherent. Then, I would like to show that Peter’s worldview is a vain deception, and worse still that it is rebellion against the living God he claims to believe.

    I will start with Peter’s worldview. Peter insists that he believes the Bible, and yet consistently contradicts himself by showing his lack of faith in the Bible as its own self-attesting authority. He refuses to believe the Bible on its own merits, instead demanding that God give him a special revelation, that God himself attest to Peter the individual that the Bible is the standard of truth. Short of God meeting Peter’s demand for verification, Peter will not believe.

    Of course, the reader should easily recognize the rebellion of this demand.

    And once again, we go back to Peter’s epistemology. Peter believes that we cannot know a thing to be true until we get external verification. Peter calls it ‘the witness of the Holy Spirit.’ He, of course, cannot verify that it was actually the Holy Spirit who verified… but that is something to deal with later. Right now, we need to examine this epistemology once again. Peter has essentially admitted that he has no basis for claiming that one knows the truth through external verification (the burning sense that it is true). He says faith (comment #75), and then uses James 1:5. To say that it is by faith is to say, essentially, that he feels that we find the truth this way because he believes that we find the truth this way. He cannot rest on James 1:5 then, because he must first get an external verification through his senses that this verse is authoritative in the matter. In other words, if Peter really believes that James 1:5 is the authority on how to find the truth, then Peter starts with the Bible as his ultimate presupposition, and then goes from there. But Peter says that the Bible is not his ultimate standard, and I can see that he is telling the truth on that. If the Bible were his ultimate standard, then he would not be demanding external verification before he believed. He would simply rest on the Bible and what it says, as if it were the truth come directly from God to man (as II Timothy 3:16 plainly declares).

    So, Peter cannot be saying that James 1:5 is his warrant for finding the truth this way. For one thing, in my original post, I demonstrated that James 1:5 does not tell us to find the truth this way at all. Wisdom certainly is related to knowledge, in that wisdom is the right use of knowledge. But one must have knowledge before one has wisdom. James is telling us that if we need help using knowledge rightly, we ask God for it. In no way does James tell us that if we lack knowledge, we ask God. God has given us the source of knowledge — his written word.

    Peter cannot be saying that James 1:5 is his warrant, because he clearly does not start there in his thinking. He will not believe the Bible to be true until he gets some verification from outside of the Bible or himself. He believes, as he stated in comment #75…

    Therefore the Bible can not witness of itself. We must appeal to an outside source as to the veracity of the Bible.

    So, clearly then, Peter believes that knowledge claims are justified by external verification, and he believes that his own heart is the judge of what is true. To the extent that he believes the Bible to be true (and we’ll deal with that extent later), he believes it because he believes that God has verified it to him personally through special revelation.

    I don’t mean for this to be tedious, but I also want to take my time here to lay out what I am saying. In believing that God has verified the truth of His Word to Peter, Peter assumes that this verification came directly from God. What proof does he have? He assumes it because he prayed and asked God for it. How does Peter know that God answers prayer? Either he assumes that God would answer his prayer, or else he believes the Bible when it says that God answers prayer.

    It is very important that we note the difference here. Because there is a very important difference between the one assumption and the other. If Peter’s assumption is based on his feelings about God and prayer, that is one thing. If his assumption is based on the Word of God, then that is quite another. But it cannot be both.

    I said that I would deal first with Peter’s epistemology, yet my fingers are itching to peck out the other issue here. I hope not to keep you waiting much longer on that one.

    Let’s get back to the epistemology. A worldview consists of three parts… a Trinity of ultimate viewpoints, if you will. One’s worldview consists of his metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical viewpoint. Your worldview consists of your view of reality, of your view of knowledge claims and their justification, and your view of moral claims and their justification. God is the ultimate reality. He is the uncaused cause. He has no beginning, no cause whatsoever, but has always existed of His own power. God is self-existent. This is the Christian metaphysic.

    Since God is the ultimate reality, all that exists, comes from God. God has made all things. Man can only know what God reveals in nature or Scripture. This is the Christian epistemology.

    God has revealed Himself directly to man in His Word the Bible. The Bible tells us that it is the very Word of God. In comment #64 above, I pointed out that Jesus never attempted to prove that God’s Word came directly from God. It is assumed throughout Scripture. The reader will note that Peter and the other LDS on here continually attempt to cast doubt on Scripture’s veracity. I will be glad to answer those charges that the Bible cannot be relied on to testify of itself in good time, but first I want to deal thoroughly with the conflicting worldviews being presented here. Simply put, the Christian worldview simply accepts the self-attesting truth of God’s Word the Bible.

    On the other hand, Peter presents a worldview based in subjectivity. He subjectively believes that one cannot know the truth until he receives external verification, despite the fact that he has not received external verification that this is a true epistemology. And, of course, if he did receive verification of that, he would still need to get external verification that this is how one finds out how to find out. We could go on and on and on with that one.

    Peter subjectively believes that the external verification he received came from God’s Holy Spirit. He does not know that God’s Holy Spirit has spoken to Him. He assumes that it was the Holy Spirit who spoke to Him. For that matter, he assumes that there is a God, and that there is a Holy Spirit. And these things too are assumed subjectively. Not on the basis of what Scripture says, for, as Peter tells us, “there is no possible way for you to know the the Bible is what it purports to be…” The Bible must be verified before it can be believed. So, Peter assumes these things subjectively.

    This epistemology is incoherent. As I have pointed out repeatedly in this comment thread, to claim that a thing is true on the basis of a subjective experience is irrational. Joseph Smith believed that a man lived on the moon. Brigham Young believed that not only was this true, but also that there was a man who lived on the sun. Does that make it so? No doubt, they had experienced a verification for all that they believed and declared. But of course, it is silly to say that we know on the basis of this sort of thing. It would be accurate to give a self-report — “I feel that this is true.” But to claim that we know absolutely on this basis is irrational. It is not faith. It is fideism — believing what you have no reason to believe.

    This epistemology is inferior to that of the Christian worldview, which bases all belief on the infallible Word of God. The Bible is the standard for truth. If Peter would like to debate that point, I will be glad to take him up on it. But I would point out that Peter has no evidence that men tampered with the Bible in the early days of the New Testament. I dare say that he has neither sought nor recieved a burning in the bosom that this in fact happened. Peter is making an assumption that this happened. This is what we call prejudicial conjecture. He has no reason to believe it is so… his prejudices lead him to guess that this happened. His assumptions are entirely subjective, while the Christian presupposition is objective, standing firmly on the Word of God.

    But I also promised to show that Peter’s assumptions are held in rebellion against God. In other words, that Peter very clearly holds the truth in unrighteousness. Let me illustrate. Notice what Peter said…

    I would hope that it is obvious we got the “idea” of the Holy Spirit/Ghost from the Bible.

    I have been hinting all around this for some time now. Now it is time to deal with it directly. Peter does start with the Word of God, assuming that it is true. He has to. One cannot consistently hold to a worldview that is arbitrary and subjective. At some point, one must refer back to the Christian worldview, holding that the Bible is in fact the ultimate standard for truth. Peter does this. As is the case with every unbeliever, he must rely on the Christian worldview in order to make his case against God. Van Til called it sitting on God’s lap in order to slap his face. And that is what Peter does here. He must rely on the objective standard for truth, but then as soon as he borrows from it, he immediately denies it.

    And the case in point would be this statement from Peter:

    I think he is trying to explain that the Bible isn’t inerrant. It is man’s records of God’s dealings with His children. Man is fallible and we make a lot of mistakes. You have the idea that the Bible is pristine, directly from God to you. However the Bible took a very, very long time to get to you and in that time there have been many, many people who have handled it. The Holy Spirit has declared the truthfulness of the Bible to us, in that we have not just a belief but a knowledge that the Bible is true. We do not have a witness that the Bible is unaltered by fallible man.

    Note what he says here… the Bible isn’t God’s Word at all. It is man’s word. Man’s record about God. Man recording his experience with God. Not God recording his dealings with man. So, on the one hand, Peter holds the Word of God to be reliable when it tells us that there is a God, and that there is a being called the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, he has no leg to stand on. He must borrow the Christian viewpoint to start with. But having borrowed it, he denies it altogether, saying that the Bible is no authority in these things at all, and is entirely unreliable.

    And for this reason, I once again call on Peter and any other LDS readers to repent and to believe God’s Word. If the Bible is man’s record about God, then the Bible is lying in I Thessalonians 2:13 and II Timothy 3:16 and Matthew 4:4. If the Bible is man’s word, then the prophets lied when they said, “Thus saith the Lord.” If the Bible is man’s word, then Jesus lied when he said, Verily, verily, I say unto you (John 3:3, 5, 11). Then Christ lied when he declared that the very words he spoke would be used to judge those who rejected his very words (John 12:48-50). Peter, you are trying to have it both ways. Your mind is deluded and you are decieved, and you must repent or you will perish (Romans 1:18-23).

  85. August 4, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Peter,

    It is possible for someone to have another spirit that is not “of God” (2 Corinthians 11:4). 1 John 4:1 reads: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” There can be other spirits, so we test the spirits. How do we do that? Through the only truth source, the Bible (John 17:17). You learned of the Holy Spirit from the Bible. Since He is the Spirit of Truth (John 15:26), He will agree with the Bible. So, Peter, you too need to agree with the Bible. Your inerrancy/errancy argument and your prophecy are moot points. Scripture promises its perfect preservation, so that must be the truth (Psalm 12:6-7; Matthew 5:17-18; Isaiah 59:21; Matthew 24:35). And your prophecy issue also blows apart because in the Dead Sea Scrolls we have a complete copy of Isaiah that predates the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies (100BC is the date of the prophecy) concerning Jesus Christ, which are numerous (Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 35:4-6; Isaiah 40:1-9; Isaiah 50:6; Isaiah 53:-3; Isaiah 53:4-6; Isaiah 53:7; Isaiah 53:9; Isaiah 53:12). Each of those, ten of them, are prophecies that were fulfilled after the earliest copy of Isaiah. Their fulfillment post-dates by over 100 years the earliest copy of Isaiah.

    So now is the time to consider what Scripture (Genesis through Revelation) says about the Jesus of the Bible, Peter, and the salvation of Scripture.

    Ephesians 2:8-9—For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    Romans 4:1-6—What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.

    Galatians 2:16—Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

    Titus 3:5—Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

    Romans 11:6—And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

    Hebrews 10:10, 14—By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. . . . For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

    Romans 3:28—Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

    You can’t be saved by grace plus works. Your works nullify grace. And you aren’t then trusting the Jesus Christ of the Bible for your salvation, but yourself or your religion. Please consider this Peter and all other Mormons watching on.

  86. Anonymous
    August 4, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Jerry,

    So are you saying that the scriptures you quote are talking about the Bible, when the Bible wasn’t compiled until long after they were written?

    Seems odd to me….

  87. Peter Salzmann
    August 4, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Dear all,

    It is at this point I am going to stop. What is the reason behind this stop? I have repeatedly tried to persuade you all to pray to our loving Father in Heaven to seek His will. Dave and Kent seem to wish to throw doubt that God can speak for Himself and that He does in fact speak for Himself always. They seem to be trying to persuade you from finding out for yourself, if this is so I worry. They seem to try to create fear that you will be deceived or in my case have already been.

    As the apostles of old said, I reiterate “Come and see”. In this case, try it and find out for yourself. Please do not come to Him in a case of “Father, show Peter Salzmann that He is misguided.” Please come to Him in a manner seeking His will and guidance. Such as “My dearest Father in Heaven, I thank you for showing so much mercy and kindness in my life and I wish to know thy will. Please help me to know where to turn and lead me to thy truth. In the name of thy Holy Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.” It is this like manner we have been shown to pray, by the Holy Jesus Christ.

    So I have said my piece, Dave and Kent and others may not agree. I do not see any more point in continuing.

    A brother in Christ,
    Peter Salzmann

  88. Don Heinz
    August 4, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Well, it appears that Peter will not be reading this, but for the record.

    “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];” (Eph 2:20)

    Not only is Christ a foundation for faith, but so is the doctrine of the apostles and prophets. This refers to the Old and New Testaments.

    Now consider the classic statement of the importance and infallibility of a copy of the original scriptures…

    “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. All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2Ti 3:15-17)

    Finally, consider how Peter considers both what he and Paul write as scripture.

    “And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2Pe 3:15-16)

    These scriptures together make it very clear that what the apostles added to the writings of the prophets was perfectly the words of God in the original and could be found in copies and even translations in equal perfection and trustworthiness. God promised in many scriptures to preserve his Word (Psalm 12:6,7; 33:11; Mat. 5:18; 1Pe 1:23-25), and the writers of the New Testament were very confident that He had. We also can be confident of the same.

  89. Don Heinz
    August 4, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Anonomous,

    We know the Bible is what the scriptures refer to as the scriptures due to the fact that God states that he used prophets to record the Old Testament and apostles to record the New Testament. These officers were evaluated under God’s rules and their writings were “vetted.” In the Old Testament, God’s nation of Israel had the charge of evaluating the prophets. In the New Testament the church had the obligation to evaluate the apostles and their writings (2Co 12:12; Rev. 2:2; 1Ti. 3:15). When the apostles passed off the scene, it did not take long for the church to settle on which letters were inspired. When this was accomplished (maybe as early as 125 a.d., the book now known as the Bible was accepted as THE SCRIPTURES.

  90. Anonymous
    August 4, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Peter,

    I enjoyed your comments. Thanks for your time and efforts.

    Don,

    “The Bible” refers to a compilation of sacred books done centuries after they were written. Therefore, there cannot logically be a scripture in the Bible that refers to the Bible as it did not yet exist.

    So, your argument is still more of the same.

  91. J Warren
    August 4, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Anonymous,

    You write in comment #84

    “J Warren

    That’s not the point. If the basis of your doctrine and belief is the Bible, and the inerrancy and absolute authority of the Bible is one of your doctrines, it follows that the Bible must proclaim its own inerrancy and absolute authority.

    So, where does it do so?”

    My reply is in the same vain by which you write. Tell me, to whom do you need to prove you exist? Prove to me you’re Anonymous.

    JW

  92. Don Heinz
    August 5, 2008 at 5:02 am

    Anonymous:

    I just gave you scriptures from the Bible that most certainly DID exist by 100 a.d. Your problem is that you do not want an answer because you think you have it. You do not. The Bible has the answer, but you obviously are not interested in that answer.

  93. Matt
    August 5, 2008 at 6:52 am

    Kent I was reading your post (#87) and i just wanted to try to understand your position on grace and faith. It seems to me that your understanding is that you think that someone only need to have faith to be saved, and that works are not required of us at all. Is this your position? I just dont want to misinterperate you.If so, what’s your take on James 2:14-26. It says there that faith without works is dead.  Dont get me wrong, we cant be saved without The Lords help it’s true, but surely we have to do our part also. Otherwise there wouldn’t be much of a need to keep the commandents. We could just sit there and say that we believe that Christ is the Savior ( which He is ), and expect the Lord to treat us the same as someone who’s worked all their life to try to become like Him, and to be obedient to as many of His commandments as possible. It just dosen’t seem fair to me.In Pauls epistle to the ephesians, and in the general epistle of James, there both responding to the different groups of saints with different promblems and needs for instruction. The answer to this question can be found in 2 Nephi 25:23. Here it says ” for we know that it is by grace we are saved, even after all we can do.” It teaches that we do have to do our part and be as obedient as we can, but dosen’t detract from the Saviors grace at all, because even after all that any of us can do we still fall short of the perfect example he set for us. That is when we are blessed by his saving grace.

  94. August 5, 2008 at 8:46 am

    If we are saved by grace after all we can do, then we must first do all we can do before God will save us. If we must do all we can do first, before God will save us, then salvation is not grace. Grace is unmerited favor. If, after we have done all we can do, God saves us, then it is debt. God owes us salvation, because we did all we can do.

    Works always accompany true faith, the way wetness accompanies water. But you made a switch in terms when you moved from grace to faith. Faith without works is dead. But grace plus works is dead, as Romans 11:6 plainly declares.

    Matt, there are several problems for us in accepting your arguments. First, your verse in 2 Nephi clearly contradicts the doctrines of grace as revealed in Scripture. And secondly, Peter has plainly shown us that the LDS do not accept or believe that Scripture is authoritative in these things. You do not believe these things because the Bible says them. You believe these things because you have received external verification. You all go on declaring that your church is 100% right, with no basis for saying so other than that you have received a testimony that this is true. This is no warrant for saying anything, let alone for rejecting the plain teaching of God’s Word. And yet you believe it as if you yourself saw the golden plates.

    This is idolatry of the mind. If we do not believe the Scriptures on their own authority, then we are deluded and caught up in vain deceit. I trust that God will grant you repentance (2 Tim 2:25)

  95. August 5, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Mormon Readers and others,

    As Romans 11:6 shows, grace and works are mutually exclusive. Hebrews 4:10 also makes this clear: “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” We can’t rely on ourselves for salvation but on Jesus alone even as He did everything that needed to be done for us to be saved in His one offering on the cross (Hebrews 10:10, 14). We aren’t trusting in Christ when we add even one work to what He has done.

    Consider the one work or ceremonial act of circumcision, which the Judaizers were adding to grace. Paul writes in Galatians 5:2-3, “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.” If you add even one work to grace, Christ shall profit you nothing and you become a debtor to do the whole law. If we rely on our works, we must live perfectly without sin. Jesus taught that in Matthew 5:48: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” But only one sin will separate us from God—James 2:10, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” As Romans 4:4 shows, works only bring us more debt as a reward, because we keep on sinning. Isaiah tells us the problem in Isaiah 59:1-2: “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”

    We can’t rely on ourselves at all, which is why Jesus said more than anything, “Deny yourself.” And He said second most, “Do not keep your life, lose it for my sake.” To enter the kingdom of heaven, we must be “poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3), that is, see our own spiritual poverty, spiritual bankruptcy. The word “poor” is the poorest of the poor, the beggar with nothing. We have nothing to offer God. We must be like the publican in Luke 18:13: “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”

    Someone referenced Philippians 2:12 as a verse requiring works for salvation, but he didn’t mention the next verse, v. 13. Philippians 2:12-13: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” We can only work out what God has worked in. As this relates to James 2, Abraham was justified by God, that is, declared righteous by God, by faith, but he was justified before men, that is, vindicated before men, by works. All genuine faith will result in works. This is clear in 1 John all over. 1 John 2:4: “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” In other words, first of all we must know him, and if we truly do, we will keep His commandments. 1 John 3:6 explains it: “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” Before you live righteously, you must abide in him and know him. Paul talked about this saving knowledge that comes by faith in Philippians 3, especially vv. 8-10: “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” Paul wasn’t trusting in his own righteousness and earlier in vv. 3, 4, he said that he put no confidence in the flesh.

    Peter, we are trusting the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Romans 8:14: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” See how that fits with Galatians 5:18 though, “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” If you are trusting in your works, your law-keeping for your justification, your salvation, then you are not led by the Spirit. Do you see how that we test this by means of the Word of God? Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing the Word of God and the just will live by faith, Peter. When you add the Mormon rules and regulations to grace, the work of Christ is made of no effect unto you and you are still in your sins. You are not led by the Spirit of God, a spirit, but not the Holy Spirit. This “Jesus” of Mormonism that is a spirit brother to Satan is not the Jesus of the Bible. The Jesus of the Bible, Hebrews 7:25 says, “He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Jesus “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14). Trust in the Jesus of the Bible. The Holy Spirit, the one and only Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus Christ (John 15:26). “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9). You can have the wrong Jesus and if you do, you don’t have the One Who can save you. The Holy Spirit will not lead you to a different Jesus than the One we see in the New Testament. You need to reject the ‘other Jesus’ (2 Corinthians 11:4) and the ‘other gospel’ (Galatians 1:6-9) for the only One Who can bring you salvation (Acts 4:12).

  96. August 5, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Peter said,

    Dave and Kent seem to wish to throw doubt that God can speak for Himself and that He does in fact speak for Himself always.

    First, I would point out to Peter that we believe that God can speak for himself, and that He has, in His Word the Bible. Everyone who has read this comment thread has also noted that Peter does not believe that the Bible is God speaking for himself. That is the issue. The issue here is not whether God speaks for himself, but rather, where does God speak for himself? Peter says that God speaks for himself in the ears of the individual alone. We say that God speaks for himself in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

    Secondly, I would point out that Peter thinks that God is not able to preserve His Word to us. Without any evidence at all, Peter and our LDS friends claim that man has corrupted God’s Word, so that it is no longer reliable. They offer no evidence whatsoever that any man or group of men corrupted the Word. It is purely prejudicial conjecture. And it is also a false conjecture. God is quite capable of preserving His Word, despite any malicious attempt of man.

    So, it is Peter throwing doubt on God speaking to man, not us. It is Peter who invites you to ignore Scripture and ask yourself which is the truth.

    In the Garden of Eden, God gave a very clear command regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17). In chapter 3, Satan gave Eve a “different viewpoint” (Genesis 3:4-5). Then, the Serpent invited Eve to step back and judge for herself. Foolishly, Eve set herself up as the judge of the truth, and in doing so, set herself in the place of God. This parallels the Mormon claim. It is rebellion against God, and all who subscribe to it are called to repentance.

    We are not the judges of God and His Truth. God is the judge, and we will be judged.

  97. August 5, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Matt,

    I would contend that you’re not even following your own scripture. You said,

    The answer to this question can be found in 2 Nephi 25:23. Here it says ” for we know that it is by grace we are saved, even after all we can do.” It teaches that we do have to do our part and be as obedient as we can, but dosen’t detract from the Saviors grace at all, because even after all that any of us can do we still fall short of the perfect example he set for us. That is when we are blessed by his saving grace.

    By your description of the method of salvation, the verse should say, “for we know that it is by grace we are saved, even after all we do.” The word ‘can’ is damning to your hopes of salvation, even by your own scripture.

    Can you see the difference between “All I can do” and “all I do”? Answer this question: from where you stand today, looking back at the past several years; could you have done better than you have? If so, then have you done all you “can” do? And if not, then will the grace of your god kick in for you? After all, you have NOT done all you COULD do.

    LDS folks tend to quote these verses at me hoping to DISPROVE something I’m saying, but they often don’t think so hard about what they are purporting to PROVE.

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