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February 7, 2021 8:10 pm
Answering questions by Bill McKeever Gary Johnson deals with 36 commonly asked questions by your LDS friends and neighbors. It's a great resource for Christians want to share their faith with friends and loved ones.
Be sure to pick up your copy today at your favorite Christian bookstore viewpoint on Mormonism program and examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint when Mormonism 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 edition viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm euros Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry in with me today is Eric Johnson.
My colleague at MRM this week. We would like to focus on an article that Eric has written and can be found on our website MRM.org.
It's titled 10 common mistakes Latter Day Saints make when reading the Bible. Now before we get started, Eric, what's the address on our website where a person can go directly to this article MRM.org/10 10-common-mistakes 10 common mistakes with hyphens between them. Another reason why we felt it important to go through this and were not going to be going into detail as to everything Eric puts in this article will probably talk about some other things as well but just because we know Latter Day Saints tend to make mistakes when they read the Bible that doesn't excuse a lot of Bible believing Christians from making mistakes when they read the Bible as well and so I think what were going to go through is not only a good primer for the Latter Day Saints that listen to the show and there are many out there, but I think it would also be good for us as Christians to pay attention and hopefully not make some of those similar mistakes that are our Mormon friends might make. We often tell people that they are to read the Bible and that's important. Of course we want to read the Bible, but if you're reading it and misinterpreting what it says, then it really doesn't do any good.
So there are certain rules in what is called hermeneutics interpretation to be able to understand what the text says and how to apply it to our lives today and as you said Bill, this is not just for Latter Day Saints is for us as Christians because we can also make the same common mistakes that others would make and I can think of just recently of going through an email that a Latter Day Saints sent to a Christian friend of his who forwarded on to me. Some things were going to talk about this week I saw them in this email so this is something that's very real were not making this up at the first point is interpreting of verse out of its immediate context.
I would say that that is probably one of the wood. What would you say Eric may be the most often problem we see when it comes to trying to discuss biblical issues with Latter Day Saints and as and I think the idea that people would take a verse and pull it out of its context. We call that a proof text that you would take a verse and base.
Maybe even an entire doctrine around that and that's a mistake.
Whenever you see a verse somebody shows it to you and says hey this is what it means. I would say take the first seven verses before and the seven verses after that and see what the context is saying and I think about 80% of the time you're going to see that that is not the right interpretation based on that context. And if that doesn't work then read the chapter before the chapter after that oftentimes get to be helpful to us. We need to know why the author is writing who the author is and what the situation is those are all important things to be able to not make the mistake of just taken a verse and making something out of it that the author never intended.
What immediately comes to mind in a verse that you and I have heard on the streets and in our correspondence with Latter Day Saints. What first comes to mind immediately is Matthew 548 Jesus says, be therefore perfect, how many times that we heard Latter Day Saints use that as a is as you said a proof text to show that works are necessary for salvation but yet you really think Jesus was telling us to be seamlessly perfect, who is doing that Latter Day Saints admit they are not doing that. So if that's what you think Jesus is saying.
I think he's asking something of his creation. That's just impossible to deliver. So, I might add, though, that many modern Latter Day Saints are getting away from that old Spencer W. Kimball interpretation that we have heard so many use and their realizing hey that's not what Jesus was saying at all. Yeah, for many Latter Day Saints who have been around for a long time in their church.
They know that that verse is been used over and over again, but were not here, and it may be quite as much anymore. I remember a few years ago we did a show on Pres. Samuelson over at BYU and he purposely went out of his way to say.
Matthew does not say that you have to be perfect. He was saying that to the students because I mean we're talking about teenagers and young people. The idea of having to be perfect can be very suicidal. So he was trying to help them out and so understanding the context of what Jesus was saying. First off, it's in the sermon on the Mount. There's a lot of things said on the sermon on the mount that we would not take literally Jesus says if your hand causes you to send a cut it off. He wasn't saying to do that and there are other things that were said that need to be taken in the context of what he was trying to communicate to his disciples and that sermon and I think in the case of Matthew 548, when we see that WordPerfect.
It helps us to understand the Greek word that is used in that particular passage and it's not talking about sinless perfection, but a verse that you have listed in the article itself is James 15 if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and abrade.
If not, were using King James, mainly because that's what Mormons use. That's the one that they respect and it says and it shall be given him.
What about James 15. While a lot of Latter Day Saints will use that in conjunction with Moron I 10 for the last chapter in the book of Mormon and what they're trying to do is show potential converts how they're supposed to pray about the truthfulness of the book of Mormon and ultimately if Mormonism is true if the president of the church is true with and Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God as well and so that is a verse that Joseph Smith supposedly used to determine what that there were no to churches when he receives the first vision, however, that verse is not saying anything about knowledge, which is when you're asking of the book of Mormon is true you're asking about. Is it true knowledge wise, but it's talking about lacking wisdom, and in the context of James 15 is talking about trials and temptations. Whenever you face trials of many kinds, is what James writes in and it goes on and talks about how to deal with these things, you will be tried yet and it's your flash battling what is supposed to be right.
God doesn't tempt anybody. James says later on in that passage, and so so to take that verse and make it into praying about either the book of Mormon, or Mormonism, if you're going to take that as a test that we should take then are we going to do the same thing with Islam are we going to pray about Mohammed being a true messenger of God, the Quran being God's word for today. I we can do that with Jehovah's Witnesses or any other religion appointed.
I've often brought up with Latter Day Saints when they use James 15 is I will ask them, okay, you're getting that from the Bible which you believe is correct. If only translated correctly.
First of all, how do you know James 15 is translated correctly, in whatever test you've used to come to the conclusion that James 15 should be trusted.
The way your churches telling you should be the same test that can be used with every other verse. Second of all, is it really using wisdom to go to the Bible for verse such as James 15 and then believe someone like Joseph Smith who was telling you something that contradicts the very book where you found James 15 in the first place. I would say that would be foolish to do that and not wisdom at all. Point number two is taking a verse or passage, literally, when it was not to be taken in such a way.
In the example you give in the article Eric is Psalm 82, six and seven it says I have said ye are gods, and all of you are children of the most high, but ye shall die like men and fall like one of the princes and Latter Day Saints will use that passage along with John 1034 and that says Jesus answered them, is it not written in your law. I said ye are gods again in the King James, as you mentioned before, which is how the Mormon is going to to read this now we need to understand that if Jesus is telling the people he's talking to the Jewish leaders that they are gods, then maybe there's a point but not even the Latter Day Saints believe that the people that Jesus was talking to are gods and that they can be gods today that let Latter Day Saints believe that someday they hope to achieve godhood, but they believe that maybe there gods in embryo that their potential gods will. Also the people that he is having this discussion with Jesus had some pretty harsh things to say about them. So the question I've often asked Latter Day Saints that use John 1034 also simply ask will would you consider the people that Jesus is speaking to to be God material.
According to the dictates of your church now they usually have to stop and think about that because in order to answer that question. You have to know a little bit more of the context and of course when Jesus has been saying very harsh things about the religious leaders of his days, especially the ones that he is being confronted by I don't think any Latter Day Saints would look at that language. As Jesus commending them for being worthy of what Mormons would say is exultation. So if these people that Jesus is speaking to are not worthy of exultation. Why would any Latter Day Saints want to assume that somehow as you said, are gods right now or let's even set that aside about gods in the future they wouldn't even qualify you in the future. They don't meet the principle of celestial law as most Mormons are familiar, so why would you use this verse to say that these people Jesus was was talking to were worthy of that exultation when clearly Jesus didn't seem to think so. If he believed in that Mormon version of exultation which of course I wouldn't go that far. I don't think you believe that all billing in the article I quote from Norman Geisler and Ron Rhodes to apologists and in their book when cultus asked page 178 and I think it's a good overview of explaining what this means. Jesus was showing that if the Old Testament Scriptures could give some divine status to divinely appointed judges. Why should they find it incredible that he should call himself the son of God, these judges were God's quote on quote in the sense that they stood in God's place judging even life-and-death matters.
They were not called quote unquote gods because they were divine beings.
Indeed, the text, Jesus cites Psalm 82 goes on to say that they were mere men and would die. Verse seven.
It also affirms that they were quote the sons of the most high."
But not because they were of the essence of God himself. It is possible, as many scholars believe that when the psalmist Asaph said to the unjust judge's quote on quote year gods. He was speaking in irony. He was saying quote I have called you gods but in fact you will die like the men that you really are." If this is so, then when Jesus alluded to the Psalm in John 10 he was saying that when the Israelite judges were called in irony and in judgment. He is in reality Jesus was giving a defense for his own deity, not for the deification of man.
I think that's a great explanation of that passage, and when you notice the reaction of those that Jesus is talking to you think they were flattered by that by quoting Psalm 82 because I'm sure most Jews realize Psalm 82 was a Psalm of rebuke puts it meant to be taken with flattery that is often overlooked. Even the word judges sometimes in the Old Testament comes from the word Elohim. So what you do without Latter Day Saints. That's why I think what Geisler Rose has said about this verse is perfectly accurate not to mean that men can become God's or are gods right now, but it has an entirely different meaning one that I think Latter Day Saints need to look into thank you for listening you would like more information and research ministry.
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