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Comments about ‘Is the Bible still relevant? Americans' relationship with the holy text’

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Published: Monday, Sept. 9 2013 5:15 p.m. MDT

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Tyler D
Meridian, ID

There certainly is good stuff in the Bible, but you really have to plug your nose to get to it… especially early on.

If people were looking to model a society on the Bible, and stopped reading after the first five books of the OT, the society created from this template would make Taliban led Afghanistan look like Denmark.

A significant number of early Christians (e.g., Marcionites) wanted to jettison the OT altogether. The world would doubtless be better off had they done so (imagine the world we might live in had the Sermon on the Mount been the only part of the Bible to survive). As one example, without the OT slavery would have been on shaky ground theologically and would have had a tough time justifying its existence in the face of Jesus’ teachings to love your neighbor.

Instead Southern preachers used to make mincemeat of their Northern counterparts (prior to 1860 when debates on slavery were a regular occurrence) because they could cite chapter & verse circles around the abolitionists.

Save the best 50 pages of so and we would have a real gem…

EternalPerspective
Eldersburg, MD

Contentions with interpreted points of doctrine from the Bible mark the patterns of AD times with the rise of many churches. While the Bible remains a sacred text about the dealings of God with His covenant people in the eastern continents, it is not an exclusive account of God's word and works with all the inhabitants of the earth.

The existence of so many religions, churches, denominations, and doctrines based on ancient text alone was never the pattern of God's works in the Bible, so why is it today, save they are man-made? Instead, the pattern of the Bible is revelation from a living prophet called of God and received by disciples as sacred covenants made through His Priesthood.

The "falling away" of God's Church and truths through sin happened many times in the Bible including the great Apostasy foreshadowed in the New Testament. But, the promise of restoration was also a prophecy that led a young Joseph Smith to become God's appointed prophet once again to restore these core patterns of the Bible. God does not change these patterns, but only witholds them until people on the earth become prepared to receive again.

bandersen
Saint George, UT

Tyler: I find most of your views about God faithless, but that, of course, is understandable if you are an athiest. However, every once in awhile I get a good laugh reading your perspective because I can absolutely see your point, especially regarding different aspects of the Old Testament. Although I find some parts that strain my understanding of God and His children, I can also understand that no matter the time period, God has had to work with what is available, which doesn't leave Him much in most cases. Nevertheless, He still tries to open a our eyes, even if it takes generations or longer! One only has to live a few years on this earth to be able to look back and see the ignorance with which the previous decades or longer ruled your life on any of a number of topics to realize, humans are humans no matter when or where they live. No excuses, just reality. God has to be extremely frustrated most of time in dealing with us. The Sermon on the Mount was followed by the dark ages! Humans don't change!

Mint Julip
KAYSVILLE, UT

@Bandersen,

I can't understand an all powerful creator with perfect knowledge creating something that he is then frustrated by. Isn't it a little like a computer programmer that would expect his program to run differently than how he designed it?

You say that God "has to work with what's available" but that neglects that (according to yourself) God created what is available. To say that God's words, plan and even Himself are frustrated because he has to work with the our limited capacity as humans falls flat if he is omnipotent, omnipresent, all powerful and the creator of all things.

bandersen
Saint George, UT

Mint Julip: I would answer that the very reason why He designed it in His Omniscient way shows His capacity to truly give us the opportunity to learn. How can an omniscient God be frustrated with something he already knew? Is that your question? My own children have been told at times, or I have known that a decision they were making was the wrong one, that I knew what the outcome would be, but still allowed them to move forward with them because I knew they would learn in no other way. Frustrated? Perhaps, particularly if they continue to kick against the pricks. However, in a lot of ways the consequences of their decisions are out of my control. In the end, if it administers to their growth and development, then being frustrated seems pointless. God is much more patient and has a universal perspective that dwarfs my limited understanding. However, from my perspective, He must get very frustrated. From His, it might be a mixture of humor and soberness. In either case, He is a teacher.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Years ago, I took a college course titled the Bible as Literature. I can’t say I was surprised that many of the students who took the course brought their own agenda to the course, Classroom discussions kept getting diverted by those who seized the opportunity to witness how God came into their hearts one day and changed their lives. That was OK to listen to once. Other students used the discussions to rant and rail against all the psychological damage done to Western man by the Judeo-Christian religious traditions. That too was OK to listen to – once.

I felt sorry for our professor. He really knew his material and had great enthusiasm for the subject. What a shame that so many in the class missed out on what he had to offer.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@bandersen – “every once in awhile I get a good laugh reading your perspective because I can absolutely see your point”

Thanks for the kind acknowledgement.

Atheist is a fair description at least as far as the God of Abraham goes (as well as all the other anthropomorphic gods throughout history), but overall the term agnostic is a better fit since I don’t claim to know how the universe came into being and what creative force is being space & time.

And yes, God “bringing us along” is the typical justification for the OT, however, (as one more example) it just strikes me as odd that when the creator of the universe was chiseling the Big Ten into stone, he couldn’t have mentioned that treating other human beings like farm equipment is wrong (at least as bad as coveting your neighbor’s ox or manservant).

@Craig Clark – “What a shame that so many in the class missed out on what he had to offer.”

If everyone saw the Bible as just literature, you would never see another such comment from me.

Newton’s 3rd law my friend…

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Tyler D,

I hope my closing remark didn’t sound like it was aimed at anyone in particular. I enjoy the give and take of a good discussion. Your comments are always civil and thoughtful.

The Bible will always mean different things to different people. Its numerous authors had their own reasons for putting ink to scroll. What they wrote often took sides in the issues of their times. Heated disagreement over its value today helps keep it alive.

sharrona
layton, UT

The Bible(biblos),No ancient literature has survived in its original form; everything we have is derived from copies of the originals. The NT is no exception. However, in comparison with any other ancient literature, the NT is without a peer—both in terms of the chronological proximity and the surviving number.
Several ancient authorities are preserved in only a handful of manuscripts. Not so with the NT. There are approximately 5,500 Greek witnesses, ranging in date from the second century AD into the middle ages. Besides the Greek evidence, there are nearly 30,000 versional copies (e.g., Latin, Coptic, and Syriac), and over 1,000,000 quotations from the NT in the church Fathers. NT textual criticism has always had an embarrassment of riches unparalleled in any other field. . There are four kinds of Greek witnesses: papyri, uncials (or majuscules), minuscules (or cursives), and lectionaries.

RE: EternalPerspective,The original articles of faith. #8 We believe in the Word of God recorded in the Bible; we also believe the Word of God recorded in the Book of Mormon, and in all other good books. See current #8.

EternalPerspective
Eldersburg, MD

sharrona

I'm not sure what is meant by "original articles of faith #8", but this is how it stands today: "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.".

While the Bible is subject to translation errors and missing doctrine as handed down through many generations, the Book of Mormon is the word of God as translated by one man who was given the power and gift of God to bring forth a pure and undefiled work.

The Bible is a witness of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon is another testimony. It contains the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It goes where the Bible cannot with a more complete doctrine of Christ including errors and missing precepts that were taken from the Bible by men who had much to gain of the world in their craft.

Words of the Bible and Book of Mormon cannot be proven true, save the Holy Ghost bears record of their divinity. Hence, the pattern of revelation is how God reveals His works, not the interpretation of men.

sharrona
layton, UT

RE: EternalPerspective, The Bible cannot with a more complete doctrine of Christ including errors and missing precepts that were taken from the Bible. Wrong,

Over 26,000 N.T. quotes from the(2nd c) disciples of the apostles and early church fathers can reconstruct the N.T. less 11 verses. “.

As non-Catholic historians admit, it can be demonstrated easily that early Church writers, such as Ignatius of Antioch, Eusebius, Clement of Rome, and Polycarp, had no conception of Mormon doctrine, and they knew nothing of a "great apostasy." Nowhere in their writings can one find references to Christians embracing any of the peculiarly Mormon doctrines, such as polytheism, *polygamy, celestial marriage, and temple ceremonies. If the Church of the apostolic age was the prototype of today’s Mormon church, it must have had all these beliefs and practices. But why is there no evidence of them in the early centuries, before the alleged apostasy began?

I,e.. Irenaeus (c.180) condemns the Gnostics for, among other things,* polygamy: "Others, again, following upon Basilides and Carpocrates, have introduced promiscuous intercourse and a plurality of wives..." [ANF, vol. 1, p.353]

EternalPerspective
Eldersburg, MD

sharrona

And yet, what church upon the earth since early AD times has contained all the doctrine and ordinances mentioned in the New Testament (until Joseph Smith)? Why if there was not a great apostasy or unto man-made doctrine, did everything change so much? Why the Nicene creed? Why the Reformation leaders? Why does Christianity continue to evolve today?

Some can cite early (1st or 2nd century) AD so called church leaders, but how much do we know about them? How much of God's authority and true doctrine as stated in the New Testament remained?

The last dispensation ushered in by Joseph Smith as the first prophet during this period was to contain the fullness of the Gospel, the restoration or restitution of all things, and exist in a period known as the fullness of the Gentiles.

That means everything that has ever been on the earth contained in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and God's Plan from the beginning of the world (Adam) down to the present day would be included such as Priesthoods, Priesthood keys, covenants, organization, etc. It also means all doctrine, practices, and ordinances of the New Testament was not preserved.

sharrona
layton, UT

RE: EternalPerspective, The idea of a total apostasy would be blaming Jesus with a total lie.

“I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”(Mt 16:18)

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name(Jesus) under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved(Acts 4:12)

The mere idea of a total apostasy not only contradicts the message in the Bible, but it also contradicts the BoM. 3Nephi 28:1-8 tells us that Jesus Christ supposedly told three Nephite disciples that they would never taste of death but remain alive until the Lord’s coming in the clouds. Think of it. Three of Christ’s own disciples were actually to remain alive on earth until the second coming. Did they aposticize also? If not then there couldn’t possibly a total apostasy. For where two or three gather in my name,there am I with them Matthew 18:20.

If there was no total apostasy, then there was no need for the Mormon Church.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Is the Bible still relevant? Whether it is or isn’t, it sure seems to comes in handy to prove the other guy wrong.

1.96 Standard Deviations
OREM, UT

Sharrona-

Yes, three disciples were allowed to remain alive but they were taken away due to "the inquity" of the people. Consider the verses in Mormon 1:13,16 referring to these disciples (approximately 320 AD in the Americas):

"13 But wickedness did prevail upon the face of the whole land, insomuch that the Lord did take away his beloved disciples, and the work of miracles and of healing did cease because of the iniquity of the people."

"16 And I did endeavor to preach unto this people, but my mouth was shut, and I was forbidden that I should preach unto them; for behold they had wilfully rebelled against their God; and the beloved disciples were taken away out of the land, because of their iniquity"

In short, there is not a contradiction between a general apostasy in the world and what is recorded in the Bible and Book of Mormon. You are taking the phrase total apostasy too far. In short, an organization (church) with properly authorized individuals (priesthood holders) were no more and many truths of the Gospel were distorted over time -- a restoration was necessary. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 too. General apostasy was prophesied.

sharrona
layton, UT

RE: 1.96 Standard Deviations, (church) with properly authorized. Wrong,

John 1:12, “…those who believe in his name—he(Jesus) has given the right(authorized)to become God’s children”

3Nephi 28:7 Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.

8 And ye shall Never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to “immortality;” and then shall ye be blessed in the kingdom of my Father.

D&C 7:1–3, John the Beloved will live until the Lord comes;. Can the apostle John trust Jesus’s word?

And God hath set some in the church, “First apostles”, Secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers,…(1 Cor 12:28). Apostles are the first line of N.T. authority not the office of prophet

EternalPerspective
Eldersburg, MD

sharrona

John 1:12 was written when Priesthood authority was on the earth before it was removed because of wickedness and unbelief.

Look at all the evil things done in the name of religion and God. These are not the works of God, but the abominations of those who perverted religion to do evil.

Many people still had faith in Christ. But, the Priesthood authority to organize and administer Christ's Church was taken from the earth and man was left unto his own doctrine.

The scriptures mentioned are about the three Nephite disciples and John the Beloved, who were all given power over death that they will remain on earth until the Savior returns in His glory. They were to record events, minister, and help restore Christ's Church.

Grace without works where mere belief in Christ is all that is needed to enter the kingdom of Heaven makes no sense for the living and those who died without a chance to accept Christ. It is all mercy for only a select few in history and unfair justice for everyone else, which makes God's word void. It contradicts the Bible in every way despite any quotes given to support.

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