Friday, January 13, 2012

God's Word is the Bible, not the Book of Mormon

2 Peter 1:20-21 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Yesterday we looked at the differences between revelation, inspiration and illumination.  We discovered through our study that there is no new revelation nor inspired documents being produced today.  We also found out that God is still speaking today as it pertains to His "lluminating work" through the scriptures.  But now what about other "so-called" holy books?  There is no shortage of religions claiming to have divinely inspired writings.  How can we evaluate whether or not a given work bears the marks of Divine inspiration?  

Testing for Divine inspiration
When we are evaluating whether or not a document is of divine origin, we look for tell-tale marks or features.  Historically throughout the scripture itself, as well as throughout the history of the church, certain "tests" were applied to determine the authenticity of a book claiming Divine inspiration. 

1. Was the book written by an apostle or prophet or close associate under their direct supervision? (Exodus 24:4; 1 John 1:1-5; 2 Peter 3:16)

2. Does the book contain any examples of accurately, predictive prophecies? (Deuteronomy 13; Isaiah 41:23-25)

3. Does the book accurately describe history? (Isaiah 41:23-25)

4. Does the book possess the ability to convert the human heart? (Psalm 19:7)

5. Was the book immediately received as written revelation by God's people? (2 Peter 3:16)

6. Does the books teaching conflict with other books clearly recognized as inspired? (2 Peter 3:16)

By these six tests we can measure other claims for Divine inspiration to determine whether or not a given work is of Divine origin. 

Practically applying these tests - evaluating the Book of Mormon
A quick testing of other books claiming divine revelation will determine the validity of such claims.  We take for instance the Book of Mormon.  Joseph Smith wrote the book in the 1840's, claiming to had been a prophet to restore the lost message of Christianity.  However from records of his life we discover that Joseph Smith had been convicted of fraud and occultic practices.  If Joseph Smith were to be evaluated in light of 2 Peter 1:21, we would discover that he wrote the book of Mormon based upon his own "private interpretation" and "reasoning" concerning the churches of his day.  Thus his prophetic credentials are without a doubt questionable.  Other than Joseph's Smith's immediate followers, the Book of Mormon has never been accepted as inspired scripture by the Christian church here in America or abroad. 

In terms of the accuracy of predictive prophecy or descriptions of history, the Book of Mormon fails on both counts.  As far as we know, there has been no genetic link proven to exist between various Native American tribes and the Jewish people, nor is there any archaelogical evidence of the existence of the two groups of people spoken of in the book of Mormon - the Lamanites and the Nephites.  Both of these details are central to the plot of the Book of Mormon, and yet on matters of history, the Book of Mormon is found wanting.  Likewise, there is no example of predictive prophecy in the book.

With regard to the Book of Mormon being able to convert the human soul to saving faith in Christ, here too we see failure.  For one thing, the Jesus defined in Mormonism is different from the Jesus of scripture.  Mormon doctrine teaches that Jesus is a created being who is, among other things, the brother of Lucifer!  This is opposite of the Biblical teaching on Christ's Deity and Lucifer being a created being who is the arch enemy of the Lord Jesus Christ.  If the wrong Jesus is taught, true saving faith will never be persuaded to trust in that Jesus, since those who follow the Master know His voice, and won't heed the voice of a stranger. (John 10:5) 

Then finally, the Book of Mormon's theology is so different from the teachings of the Bible.  Doctrines central to the Christian faith such as The Trinity, Christ's deity and salvation by grace alone through faith alone are ultimately denied by the Book of Mormon.     As we can see from this quick survey, it is apparent that the Book of Mormon cannot be termed "The Word of God", but rather "a book of men". 

The Bible alone is God's word
When we look at the Bible, it passes all six tests. It alone contains hundreds of predictive prophecies, gives an accurate account of history and creation and has the power to convert the human soul.  In almost every case, the books of the Bible were immediately recognized as inspired.  Even in cases where the people of God may had hesitated, large segments of the Christian community accepted books like Revelation and Hebrews, with universal recognition occuring within a century after the works were completed.  Without a doubt, the Bible alone can be constituted the word of God. 

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