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Joel Kramer Interview Part 5

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
December 10, 2020 8:23 pm

Joel Kramer Interview Part 5

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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December 10, 2020 8:23 pm

Joel Kramer, who has produced a number of videos on Mormonism as well as on biblical archaeology, is our guest this week in a rerun series. You need to check out his new book, Where God Came Down, available on


.1 examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint when warming is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism welcome to this additional viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry with me today is Johnson. My colleague at MRM, but we also have with us her good friend Joel Kramer, Joe Kramer used a pastor in Brigham city, Utah, and it was really because of your interest in Mormonism and responding to some of the claims that Mormons have made regarding the Bible. It caused you to want to look deeper into the truth claims for the Bible you ended up moving to Israel studying archaeology you studied under Shimon Gibson. Prominent archaeologist over there. So what we talk about archaeology in general because if there's one thing that usually comes up whenever I am having a conversation with a Latter Day Saints is the lack of archaeology for the book of Mormon and you would think that if this book is really talking about real places, real events and real people that there should be some evidence for it, that's one thing that I think God used in my journey towards Christianity was first I had to be convinced. If the Bible has any type of a spiritual message. The historical message the archaeological message and such has to be true as well and I've often told Mormons. In fact, I just told the couple more missionaries the other night. One of the problems that I have with the book of Mormon is I can't get past that first hurdle of the historical claims for the book of Mormon.

That should have some archaeological claims that back it out right.

Let's begin with what in your opinion, is biblical archaeology in Mormonism and Mormon scholarship dealing with this problem of book Mormon archaeology. Whether you expanded out. You don't expanded the traditional understanding that were talking about this massive Empire. You should have archaeological evidence from that we have it for the Roman Empire. For example, which would be comparable and it also doesn't save the book of Mormon to shrink it down because even the ones that you know this limited geography and they they say. Actually, well, you know, it was only the size of Israel. So when you say limited geography or Tagamet, the limited geography theory that puts the book of Mormon lands in one little area and sent saying they identify that the ones that follow that say that that size of that limited geography is about the size of Israel. What we have tons of evidence for Israel and I you want to make it smaller. Go ahead make him small like the Philistines.

We know all about the Philistines and the Moabites in the Edomites and in the list goes on. So it doesn't save the problems with that arts to archaeology with the book Mormon to shrink it down to this limited geography.

Okay, now public archaeology, biblical archaeology is made up of two words, biblical and archaeology and so the archaeology is studying ancient people from what they've left behind and you usually excavate to do that. But why is it called biblical archaeology while because it's referring to the field when you're digging the time periods and the places that the Bible is specifically talking about then is called biblical archaeology. Why, because you need to do the digging. That's your archaeology and find the things, but then you need to understand what these things that you just found are and how they fit into the context and and what their significance is. That's the biblical part of the Bible is used to interpret what is found in these places and these time periods that the Bible is talking about. And so the greatest tool in biblical archaeology is the Bible so that we can understand what's being found. If you don't have an ancient text that's describing the place and and the events that happen in the place that you're digging. How will you know anything about what you're finding and so archaeology is very dependent on ancient texts and other biblical texts are the most important in this part of the world and these time periods. Unfortunately that's the way that the field of biblical archaeology started with scholars using the Bible as a tool and then over the years because as secularism has increased, then they have rejected the Bible more and more and discarded it and criticized it, and so on and so forth. And in my opinion it caused biblical archaeology to just enter what it is in today. Which is just pure confusion because of the home measuring device that they used to use to understand archaeology. Now they criticize and now they neglect that when you say that a lot of people would probably be puzzled because we are led to believe that people who are involved in the sciences are naturally honest people who allow the evidence to help them draw a conclusion. What you're saying here sounds more like people who have presuppositions are approaching the topic with those presuppositions and want to make sure that the conclusion supports the presupposition that they already have right now. This is not to say that in the early years of the of the 19th century, when a lot of archaeologists were in Israel to find information to verify the Bible that they were not driven by their own prejudices because they certainly were, but is you bring out, though, it's evidence that draws you to that conclusion, not your presuppositions and your saying that that's basically lost. Now among many archaeologist because a lot of archaeologists are not Christians there. They don't even really believe in the spiritual message of the Bible at all. Right which of course can easily lead a person to want to take you away from that spiritual message because not only would you be held accountable for it that they would be held accountable for it may don't want to be held accountable for the spiritual message of the Bible is right and biblical archaeology as a field really isn't science. It's not what happened 2000 years ago 3000 years ago 4000 years ago is not observable, that's true, how do we know what happened. What we didn't see it happen. But somebody saw it happen and they wrote it down and that's where history comes from, and that's why archaeology is reliant on these historical text. Really, when you're talking about evidence you're talking about how what's found in archaeology matches with ancient text that is a powerful match that says something that verify something that's why they don't have that much to say and what they call prehistory. Before text and before what you say.

Well, it looks like some people were here and had a campfire.

We don't know who they were. Know why they were here. We don't know any other names we don't know anything about them. How do we know about these people. If an ancient text tell us their names and what happened and why they were there. Then we know and if they didn't record that then we don't. You have joined Eric and myself in educating groups that we brought Israel so we go into a lot of areas that tourists normally do not go and to support the point you're making. When we go into Nablus, which is that the modern name for ancient Shechem. The well where Jesus met the Samaritan woman you tell the group that there is really little controversy about this. Well, that this is the well, what's the significance of that yet again if I if you just dug in. There was an you can have the New Testament and he found a well while it would just join the whole list of all the other wells that have been found in no matter ancient wells. What makes that well so significant to you. When I took you there and showed it to him because you can read about it in the pages of the New Testament. You can read about a story that happened at that particular well and at that particular place. This is where Jesus sat and had this profound conversation with the Samaritan woman. That is what makes the well significant is not the archaeology that makes it significant. The archaeology is important, they found the well through archaeology, but the Bible is what brings out the significance of it. One of the things when you go to Israel is you find most of the sites, including this well Jacob's well is something that is buried in a church in the basement of attorney arts featured in a church just what's the significance of these things mean in churches because what you learn in archaeology.

You ask the simple question, how do you know an authentic site. How do you know an authentic biblical site. In a nutshell. My answer to that is one thing built on top of another. What you're looking for for authentic sites when you're digging as an archaeologist is one thing built on top of another.

Something happens in the ancient past that makes a place like a well or a cave significant because of an event that happened there and then people who believe in that commemorated by building something there and then somebody might come along and they are against that belief. So they destroy it and then somebody wants to desecrate it. So they build their own worship place over that place and then somebody comes back to the original belief and destroys then put something there and so these churches that you see there in the stack there more towards the top of the stack of one thing built on top of another.

If you remove that church you have something underneath that is something underneath that is something underneath that in so through time.

These places are marked literally with architecture and with evidence that shows that people have been either holding to this place or desecrating this place over and over and over again and so you see this long tradition of these places in the archaeology of one thing built on top of another.

You said in our trip in 2015 that if you could dig in one place. You would love to go to Temple Mount. Yes, I would you like to go there is a perfect example of what I just talked about. We we know that Abraham and Isaac were there.

We know that David built an altar there that Solomon built the temple there and that that was destroyed. And then we know that it was rebuilt by Zerubbabel and then we know that's where Jesus taught from that platform and and then it was destroyed after the time of Jesus in 70 A.D. and then in the Byzantine. When the Muslims captured Byzantine Jerusalem. They were taken up onto the temple mount shown where the Jewish Temple once stood.

And so that was everything behind why the dome of the rock was built there on that particular spot and so again you have the dome of the rock that shows where the place was that formerly was the Jewish Temple and then the first Jewish Temple and all the way back to David and Abraham's altar you have this whole history you have this whole tradition you can't dig it. That's the what's unique about that because it's in my opinion the most sensitive place on earth. If you try to dig it you start a war so you can't take that. But there's other places that you can dig and that have been dug that show the same phenomenon of one thing on top of another and you can see enough of it on the temple.

Now you can see the dome of the rock that sitting on top of the rock that is the peak that protrudes out of this gigantic over 2000 year old stone platform that's built around this mountain, Mount Moriah.

To commemorate this place and then you have Solomon's walls that when Herod built that big platform around destroyed everything, but you see the walls of Solomon built leading up to that point yet.

It's one thing on top of another. That's how we know these are the authentic places and then it was important to Christians to mark these places and to build churches there churches that commemorated those sites and so when there commemorating an Old Testament site that's not the end of the archaeology that's just part of the stack of one thing built on top of another and so on. It becomes very obvious that's what I found in my time in Israel studying these things is that the reality of these things. The truth of these things is obvious.

It's most often obvious and the complications come in. In the confusion comes in when when agendas and biases get involved that try to change that long-standing and ancient traditions of these places because they're trying to themselves demonstrate their own belief that the Bible, it does not true and that these places are real so they try to confuse them or they try to come up with a new place to sell a book or whatever there. The reason is, but the real authentic places are obvious. We been talking with her good friend Joel Kramer who has a Masters in archaeology is lived over in Israel for 10 years and has some incredible stories to till about some of the digs that he is been involved in over there and so do we think if we are with us today. Q thank you for listening. If you would like more information regarding this research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint is

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