Posted by: Justin | October 13, 2007

BIBLE VS. BOOK OF MORMON

Another video from Living Hope Ministries.

The Book of Mormon claims to be “a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible.” Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon declare  themselves to be ancient, historical, and reliable rules of faith–the very word of God.

These claims have historically been taken on faith. But is there any evidence to support them one way or the other? Is it even possible to “test” a rule of faith? More to the point, is there any basis for placing one’s faith in the Bible or the Book of Mormon?

It’s an important question. It’s an eternal question. This presentation puts the Bible and the Book of Mormon to the same tests. History, archaeology, textual criticism, and other disciplines combine to shed light on what is true…and what is false.

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Responses

  1. Sadly these films are made and they are very far from truth. They splice and they dice to “prove” their point. I find it VERY interesting that they would use a Jewish Rabbi as an authority! He says the Book of Mormon shows no authority or integrity what so ever. He’s Jewish, this man believes that the new testament also has no integrity and no authority! Why didn’t they put that in their film????? You can’t pick and choose what fits, and then call it truth!

    There ARE many archaeologists who say they can “prove” book of mormon is fantasy. And there are many who make this claim about the BIBLE!!!!!!

    There are also those who feel they can prove both to be true.

    Please check this link out,

    http://en.fairmormon.org/index.php/Search_for_the_Truth_DVD:Archaeology

    Thanks 🙂

  2. Steffielynn,
    Thanks for commenting on my blog! I read the material on the website you gave me.

    First of all, they used a Jewish Rabbi because the Book of Mormon mentions events that happened in the New World (Americas) during the Old Testament era. So it is only fair to compare between the events in the Old Testament and see how archeology corroborates the Old Testament claims and also put the Book of Mormon to the same standard.

    Does archeology prove that the Bible is the Word of God? No. It does make it a valid and true historical source. People of different religions and backgrounds have been scrutinizing the Bible for more than 2000 years. Everything is open for the critics to see, nothing is hidden. On the other hand, why do the Mormons not allow independent researchers to do the same? Is there something that the leaders are scared about?

    In the video, you could see that even though most of the archaeologists in Israel were Jewish, they admitted that a man named Jesus did exist as the New Testament claims. Would they admit that He is God? No, but they have their personal reasons not to acknowledge that. I hope they come to find the truth.

    Steffielynn, I’ve noticed that Mormons usually bring up straw-man arguments against the Bible to prove the accuracy of the Book of Mormon. I think that is self-contradictory. If you discredit the Bible, then how can the Book of Mormon have any kind of credibility.

    I hope you would look in deeper into the claims in the Book of Mormon and not depend on “The burning in the bosom” as a source of proof.

    God bless you,
    Justin.

  3. I’m not trying to disprove the Bible, I’m just trying to say that it is a little hypocrytical to use a rabbi, who does not believe the New Testament, and this “Living Hope Ministries” uses him as an authority to disprove the BOM. He does not even live on the American continent, how could he possibly be an authority on it?

    You mention the bible being scrutinized for 2000 years. The BOM was found less then 200 years ago, so it has only been really looked at for a short time. There is nothing the church is “hiding”, and it has no problem with independent researchers. There are infact things in the culture of indians that do go along with the claims of the BOM. There is legend of a white God that will come again, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quetzalcoatl Not only that there have been things found that go along with the BOM like the bat creek stone http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bat_Creek_inscription

    Now does this PROVE the book of mormon, No, but it does state the possibility.

    I believe in the bible and I also believe in the book of Mormon.

    I am not here to direspect your beliefs, I just wish people would look to the LDS to learn about what we believe, rather than make a movie that is full of one sided opinion, and state them as facts. I’m sure you have seen “documentaries” about Christ where people try to prove he did not exist. They use “experts” and Historical fact to back up their claims. But you know in your heart that He did infact exist. Just because people make a movie does not mean that movie is true!

    Steff 🙂

  4. Steff, (sorry for calling you steffielynn 🙂 )

    Thanks for writing back. I agree with you that the Jewish Rabbis have no credibility in the area of disputing BOM (Book of Mormon) claims. However, they are experts in the field of the Old Testament and the history of Israel.

    About independent research, it doesn’t seem like the church sanctions any sort of secular research.
    Every pro-Mormon research I’ve seen is done by Mormon organizations themselves. I don’t see how those organizations can be objective. I’m glad that you are open to have anyone critique the Mormon claims but I would say that your church officials are not.

    Finally, you said that “But you know in your heart that He did infact exist.” The truth of Christianity lies in the fact that Christ resurrected from the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:17 says: “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins”.

    Christianity is a very evidence-based religion, and unfortunately there are an increasing number of people who don’t care about learning the evidence and just following emotion. Saying “well I feel Jesus, or I feel like what I believe is true” doesn’t cut it because anybody from any religious system can make that claim. If an atheist says “I know in my heart that no God exists” doesn’t justify his claims.

    I would like to know what your testimony is. Did you grow up as a Mormon, or did you convert to Mormonism. I really appreciate you commenting on my blog in a civil way and I also respect your views but I obviously do not agree with them.

    Here’s some links that you could take a look at in your free time 🙂

    Read this first
    http://www.carm.org/lds/lds_ifur.htm

    Problems with the BOM
    http://www.carm.org/lds/bom_problems.htm

    The Book of Abraham Papyri and Joseph Smith
    http://www.carm.org/lds/ldspapyri.htm

  5. Justin, I also appreciate your kindness, it is not very often that someone who disagrees with the LDS beliefs are nice about it! It is extremly refreshing!

    I did not grow up in the LDS church, I actually grew up in the Lutheran church. I joined the LDS church 2 1/2 years ago. I posted my testimony on my blog, I don’t want to take up all of your space so here’s the link http://mormonsrock.wordpress.com/2007/10/16/how-i-became-a-mormon/

    Sadly there are quite a few people who comment on my blog that dislike the church, and are pretty blunt and sometimes rude about it. It’s weird to have such a nice conversation. I’m so not used to it! I always remain respectful, but others do not. It gets really tiring. We go round and round in circles, nothing really ever gets resolved 😦

    So I want to tell you a weird story about the links you provided. I’ve actually read through them before. Here’s the story, it’s kinda sad.

    So I used to watch this little girl and she was the sweetiest thing ever. I loved her so much. Well her parents didn’t know I was LDS, and when they found out they took her out of my home. I was so heart broken 😦 But anyways they printed off a bunch of stuff from the carm website to prove I was wrong and that I was “going to hell”. But anyways, because your nice I’ll look through them again. This was a year ago so it’s been awhile, but I remember a lot of the things are way off base.

    Is there anything you want to know specifically about what we believe? I don’t have all the answers but I will answer to the best of my ability.

    Sorry that I kinda went off on a rant. It’s late 🙂

    Also what about your conversion. I read that you were once Catholic. Do Catholics not consider themselves to be christians? And what denomination are you?

    Steff 😀

  6. Steff,

    I read your testimony on your blog. I can empathize with you a lot because I’m going through the same experience after leaving my parents religion.

    In my case, I left Catholicism and come to know the real Christ. Reading the Gospel of John and Paul’s epistle to the Romans really propelled me to take that bold step.

    My parents are still catholic and they think I was naive to do what I did. I feel vindicated everyday when I see God blessing me beyond measure, and I know my parents are noticing that as well. For example recently, I graduated from college and was able to get a great job right after. Many I know are still struggling to find a job. That’s just one small example.

    Spiritually, I noticed that I came to learn MORE about Christ in the first year after I was saved compared to the entire 20 years when I was a ‘nominal’ Christian. In these 3 years of being a Christian, I’ve been able to grow in Him more and more by His grace.

    As far as what church I go to, I go to a Pentecostal Church. I don’t like to affiliate myself with any particular denomination so I usually tell people that I am non-denominational.
    I go to a Baptist church on Wednesdays and I tend to get the best out of different churches and ministries.

    I was reading through the comments under your testimony and I have to say that I agreed with what Tom Jones said. I know that you became a Mormon with good intentions, but let me reiterate that asking God to give you assurance of the evidence of Mormonism in your heart is not a valid source. Can’t you see a Hindu or a person in a small cult asking the same thing to their God?

    I hope you haven’t given up on your journey to find the real truth. I would really recommend you to read the Book of Romans. If you have any questions, you can always contact me.

    Thanks for writing me back, by the way! Keep writing 😉

    Justin

  7. Justin

    I’m happy for you that you are happy! But I believe differently regarding trusting feelings. I do trust my heart to guide me. Not just my heart though, but my instinct, that still small voice (the Holy Ghost) When I pray I trust in God to lead me in the direction He wants me to go. I know that where I am right now is where He wants me to be!

    I have some more questions about your change. So you believe that catholics believe in a different Jesus? What are the differences? I have always thought of catholics as christian. Different of course, but still christian. I really don’t know exactly what those differences are though, (and that’s why i’m asking you).

    I’m not asking for any other reason then to learn more about what you believe. I’m not asking so that I can debate you later on. I find other peoples beliefs very interesting, and I would like to know all I can. So I hope you don’t mind 🙂 I’ll probably have more questions for you later on…..

    thanks!
    Steff

  8. I didn’t mean to put a “but” right after I said I’m happy for you.

    What I mean to say is that I AM happy for you, and I do believe that you are most certainly being blessed!

    I don’t believe that God will only bless mormons. I believe there are a lot of wonderful christians out there who are living for Him.

    There are a lot of religions that think if you don’t belong to there religion then you will go to Hell. LDS don’t believe that. Anyways, that’s a long discussion, I just wanted to clarify what I was trying to say, but I probably just made it more confusing 🙂

  9. Steff,
    I guess I should clarify certain things. Do catholics believe in the same Jesus as protestants and other Christians? Yes. I believe that Catholicism that is taught today is vastly different that what Christ and His Apostles through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit taught the early church. That’s why I make the claim that they are not ‘Christian’.

    I’m preparing a blog post to clearly explain the differences I have with the Catholic Church. However, since you asked I will try to explain as briefly as I can.

    When I said I found the ‘real’ Jesus, I just mean that in a personal sense. My view on God was that He is very distant and He didn’t really understand mankind. So I resorted to pray to Mary

    and other saints because I felt like since they were human and they were close to Jesus, I would have a better shot at getting my prayers answered. Later I realized that praying to the dead is not biblical and also Hebrews 4:15 explained to me a lot about how much Christ understands us.

    “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” – Hebrews 4:15

    After being confronted by a friend in college about my faith, God started to give me the desire to read His Word and find the truth. I started to learn that Salvation is not works based contrary to what the catholic church taught. There is nothing good in us that can qualify us to meet God’s standards. The Bible clearly states that and if you don’t agree with what I said, I can get you the bible references.

    For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
    —Ephesians 2:8-9

    ..Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
    – Romans 3:20

    All the ‘saints’ in both the Old and New testament were saved by grace through faith. God credited to their account with His Righteousness because of their trust in Him. Those who are saved are called saints because God imputed to them His Righteousness, not because of the tainted goodness within the saints themselves. I hope you understand that point. I encourage you to read the Book of Romans to truly understand what I’m saying 🙂

    Now I have to do some straight talk. I understand that its immensely hurtful for one to say to another “You’re going to Hell”. Let me try to explain to you the motivation behind me talking to you. If I didn’t worry as a brother about your eternal security then there is really no reason for me to have this long conversation about the differences of our faiths. If both of us were innately going to heaven anyways why waste time discussing the ‘different paths’ we are on? Why should either of our churches stress on evangelizing?

    Some Christians might say, “well Mormons don’t believe in our Jesus so they are going to hell”. Honestly, I don’t like the wording of that statement, and I can understand your frustration when you say can God be that cruel, just because you don’t believe in Him he sends you to hell??

    Your concern that I just stated above would pertains more to the Muslims who believe that if one doesn’t believe in Allah and his prophet Mohammad they are headed to hell. So in their view both of us are headed there just because we don’t believe in their God and prophet.

    What makes the biblical Christian view different? The fact that He became the solution to what separates us from Him : PROBLEM OF SIN. All of us are guilty, and none of us can earn our way into heaven. Salvation is a matter of justice not merely a certain belief. The Bible says after death will be judgment. It will definitely be a very trivial moment as you can imagine and the

    God who search our hearts will take into account all of our actions. At that moment saying sorry won’t help, imagine saying that to a judge here on earth. Do you think the judge would merely let you go after saying sorry? The only remedy is to pay the fine or punishment the Judge assigns. For the guilty, God will pronounce a sentence of eternal death in Hell.

    Christ paid the penalty for our sin by dying on the cross. I know you know most of these things. Regardless, let me also give you some bible references.

    And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
    —Colossians 2:13-14

    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
    —John 3:16-17

    His vicarious death on the cross was for those who believe in Him, not just in His name, but as He has revealed Himself to be: God in flesh. There is a fundamental difference in how the LDS church views salvation and Jesus. According to Mormonism, baptism is one of the many factors needed to reach the highest level of Heaven. That is works-based salvation. If I understand it right, I believe the LDS church says that “One is saved by grace after all one can do”. That is another example of works-based salvation.

    I will end my long post here. I have written quite a bit and in the future I will complete my thought as we continue talking. I hope you really would read through what I have written and I really admire your curiosity about learning about other faiths, not many have the patience and humility to do it.

    God bless you! 🙂

    In Christ’s love,
    Justin

  10. I have some things to write about, regarding your comment, but i’ll do it tommorrow, I want to read through Romans like you asked, then I’ll comment.

    Until then….

    Steff 🙂

  11. No problem, take your time. 🙂

  12. Hi, I’m just letting you know i’m still reading, but i will be getting back to you in the next day or so!

  13. Steff,
    I thought I would give you this outline of Romans to help you out! I should’ve given it to you earlier.

    I. Greetings and Introduction (1:1-15)
    II. Theme (1:16,17)
    III. Condemnation: The need of God’s Righteousness (1:18- 3:20)
    A. Unrighteous Gentiles (1:18-32)
    B. Unrighteous Jews (2:1- 3:8)
    C. Unrighteous Mankind (3:9 -20)
    IV. Justification: The provision of God’s Righteousness (3:21 – 5:21)
    A. The source of Righteousness (3:21-31)
    B. The example of Righteousness (4:1-25)
    C. The blessings of Righteousness (5:1-11)
    D. The imputation of Righteousness (5:12-21)
    V. Sanctification: The demonstration of God’s Righteousness (6:1-8:39)
    VI. Restoration: Israel’s reception of God’s Righteousness (9:1-11:36)
    VII. Application: The behavior of God’s Righteousness (12:1 – 15:13)
    VIII. Conclusion, greeting and benediction (15:14 – 16:27)

    I think this will help you immensely to systematically read and also learn what Paul has written. It is one of the most eloquently written and deep theology-packed books in the entire Bible.

    Like I said before, even if it takes a week to read it, it’s understandable. All of us have busy lives and so I won’t feel bad even if you take a few weeks to read the entire book.

    God Bless,
    Justin

  14. If you have a question on what Justification and Sanctification means in the ‘Christian’ context, just go to the “What I Believe” page and scroll down and find those topics.

    Imputation means to attribute (righteousness, guilt, etc.) to a person or persons vicariously (taking the place of another person or thing; acting or serving as a substitute.)

  15. Hi Justin,

    So I am still reading i’m only half way through ( I’m slow, and I also have 2 kids, so I don’t have alot of free time)

    I started to comment on your blog but because of it’s length, I made it a post on mine, so if you want to read it and then discuss anything about it here (or on mine) that would be great.

    http://mormonsrock.wordpress.com/2007/10/23/this-mormon-chics-view-on-salvation-and-what-i-have-learned/

    Sorry it has taken me so long!

    Also, I do really want you and other christians to know that we LDS do not believe we can earn salvation. Salvation is a gift given by Jesus Christ when He suffered and died for us.

    BUT we believe that Christ also lived for us, to show us the way. Christ was baptized to “fulfill all righteousness” He taught us how to live our lives by being a perfect example.

    Thanks
    Steff

  16. Looks like a great discussion you guys got going on here. It truly is a beautiful thing to see such charitable attitudes towards one another. Keep it up.

    God Keep You,
    SC

  17. Thanks Steve for your compliments. I rather defer all the positive comments to Steff since she was the nicer one.

    Steff, I’ve have been a little busy lately. I will try to get back in conversation with you soon.

    Sorry 🙂

  18. I totally understand! I’ll check back every once and awhile!

    And thanks for the nice comments! You guys are nice too 🙂


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