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March 1, 2021 8:03 pm
101 for teams is a valuable resource for anyone wanting a simplified view of the Mormon religion from a Christian perspective woman is 101 for teams is available at the Utah lighthouse bookstore in Salt Lake City or MRM.org .1 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.
So glad you could be with us for this addition of viewpoint on Mormonism on your host Bill McKeever Felder director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson.
My colleague at MRM yesterday we began our show. By citing a statement made by Joseph Smith the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints where he says according to teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 327 I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers, ignorant translators, careless transcribers or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors. I asked the question, does that mean that Joseph Smith believed in what's known as the inerrancy of the Bible and we were talking about this yesterday trying to define what inerrancy really means as opposed to what some might assume it means that I think that's very important. We cannot use words unless we can define them properly so we're going to continue our discussion looking at this subject of inerrancy by what scholars have said rather than what let's say a layperson sitting in the church might believe in, and I don't mean to disparage a layperson in the church. But let's be honest, a lot of professing Christians have not studied this subject well enough to properly define what inerrancy means and I would gather that most Latter Day Saints have never studied this subject enough to properly understand what inerrancy is talking about. We have an article on our website MRM.org/Bible inerrancy Bible with a-and then the word inerrancy in the title of this article is why inerrancy of the Bible is so important to evangelical Christians, though I describe inerrancy. This way, inerrancy is the belief that the Bible as it was originally written in the 66 books of the old and new Testaments contains full truth in the original copies which we call autographs and so we need to understand when we use the term autograph like when you get a baseball player's autograph. It's his original signature. Well, there were original autographs of all 66 books of the Bible. The old and new Testaments, but we don't have any of them, and that bothers a lot of people because they say well how do we know what we have today is what was originally written. We can talk about that later this week, but we want to continue on with this idea of inerrancy and I want to give you an additional quote that's found on the website that I just cited from Christian Pastor John MacArthur. This is what he says. The Bible is the inerrant and infallible word of God. It is the result of divine inspiration, which produce divinely authoritative and factual accounts that are truthful in what they record. This doctrine applies directly to the original autographs and indirectly to the texts and translations of the day and that's an interesting statement that he makes Bill because he says inerrancy applies directly to the original writings, the autographs, but also indirectly to the tax and translations of today. Well, there has been debate over what exactly we mean when we say the word inerrancy so no wonder laypeople are struggling to try to understand what this means, because it has been debated and there are different ideas out there, but I think we need to understand the importance of this and why we said yesterday that we can agree with the first part of that citation you gave at the beginning of the show from Joseph Smith that we believe what was originally written is something that was meant to be written, and it was as second Timothy 316 says inspired by God. I think a lot of Latter Day Saints and maybe even some professing Christians miss understanding what inerrancy means would conclude that God was somehow guaranteeing the handwritten copies after that original was written down. We have nothing in Scripture that supports such an idea. God, in other words, is not saying that just because he moves on someone to write down what he wants us to know that down the road when that is hand copied that that is also to be assumed to be in error and now correct me if I'm wrong or if someone was to copy that original autograph which we have stated has they don't exist, but it's copied accurately 100% accurate. We could still say that is inerrant, but we know that down the road because of human error. Human fallibility. Joseph Smith tries to imply that some of this was done on purpose. He's trying to read motives into some of these variances in the variant we should explain is a difference in the manuscript that one manuscript says something that's not precisely the same as another manuscript says so.
That would be a very and some of them at sleep. Most of them are insignificant. A misspelling of a word or maybe there's a word twice on the line that shouldn't be there. Or, as we been talking about.
Sometimes the phrase Jesus Christ is reversed to say Christ Jesus, that would be a very it is that significant. I don't think any Bible scholar would say it is significant, so that should not bother us when we say autograph and we don't have these autographs because they have been lost, destroyed, whatever. I mean, they would've worn out, I'm sure with the Christians copping it all the time and so you don't have those anymore. Some people would say that's a huge problem. Well, I don't think it is in fact, I would much rather have what we have of the old and New Testament. Like for instance we have the Dead Sea Scrolls that help us to get back 2000 years to understand what was originally written in the Old Testament for the New Testament. We have 5700 Greek manuscripts. Half of those going before the for the first millennium you have 24,000 manuscripts from other languages that is very valuable. I think it's more valuable to have all of those then if we had only just the autograph because if we had just the autograph bill who would own that autograph.
I meant to suggest you, possibly the Roman Catholic Church. So if the Catholic Church owns the originals.
How do we know that they didn't go in and change any of the words without having all of these multiple manuscripts which we can compare and we can look at the different locations we can look at the families.
I think there's great value in that and I think the Latter Day Saints has a very weak argument when he says what we don't have the original autographs of the of the Bible and so therefore I can't trust it will do you have the original autograph of the book of Mormon, the plates were taken back supposedly by Moron I and in fact you don't have really any other copies except for the printers manuscript and the church is made hundreds and hundreds of different corrections.
I put that in quotations corrections that we don't know if that was based on the original manuscripts are not because we don't have any copies that will help us to be able to trace that back so I think the problem that the Christian has is much less than what the latter-day St. has when it comes to probably the considered to be the most important scripture. Of all the book of Mormon and I would agree with your conclusion because I've use that argument when talking with Latter Day Saints who raise an objection when it comes to the trustworthiness of our modern Bibles when they do use that argument. What we don't have any of those originals. We don't have any of the autographs. You're absolutely correct. If a Mormon was to use that as an argument. Okay, but I think that is a two-edged sword. They don't want to follow along because, as you mentioned, the latter-day St. does not have the gold plates that Joseph Smith allegedly translated from. In fact, think about it folks. Every translation of the book of Mormon. You have an English translation from the English translation. That's where we get the Russian translation that's were we get a Greek translation. That's where we get whatever African translation of French translational comes from that second generation English not first-generation reformed Egyptian because they don't have the reformed Egyptian so the book of Mormon is true as far as it is translated correctly and especially when you get these other versions that are in languages that are not English because that's all we have is what Joseph Smith supposedly took from the reformed Egyptian and put it in English and what you just said is something I wish the LDS church would start saying that they believe the book of Mormon as far as it is translated correctly because we know that since the first edition of the book of Mormon came out there been alterations to the text. There's been a number of alterations to the text, and we know that a lot of the translations from the English have also been altered over the years to try and I would say from the point of the Latter Day Saints scholarly would say what were trying to be as precise as possible.
I commend them for that. Put don't use this kind of an argument, thinking that it's not going to have some kind of negative affect on your position because it most certainly will.
We need to move on and look more closely at the real question.
Even though we have copies of manuscripts that we know were not autograph manuscripts that are not original written by the hand of the prophet or the apostle they are trustworthy and that's what needs to be taken into consideration.
We don't just throw it all out just because we don't have the originals. I would agree.
In fact I'm looking at Wayne Graham's book systematic theology or talked about it yesterday and it's systematic theology book of over thousand pages and this is what he says it may first be stated that for over 99% of the words of the Bible we know what the original manuscript said 99% is a pretty high percentage what you think. Oh yeah and so so there are some variance. He says even for many of the verses where there are textual variants that is different words in different ancient copies of the same verse the correct decision is often quite clear, and there are really very few places where the textual variant is both difficult to evaluate and significant in determining the meaning in the small percentage of cases where there is significant uncertainty about what the original text said the general sense of the sentence is usually quite clear from the context. One does not have to be a Hebrew or Greek scholar to know where these variants are because all modern English translations indicate them in marginal notes with words such as quote on quote some ancient manuscripts read or quote unquote other ancient authorities at I'm an essay bill that for us in the 21st century with a variety of different English translations available to us. We have such great value than they had 500 years ago when they only had so many different versions and they were dependent on the manuscripts that they had at that time in the last 500 years. We gathered many other manuscripts to help us better understand clearly what the original said and when he says 99% of the words of the Bible and we know what exactly the Bible had set in 99% of the case. I think that's a pretty strong point for the evangelical Christian. I might also add Eric that when Gruden talks about the fact that many times these variants are explained in our biblical text.
They're not hiding anything. Joseph Smith is trying to give the impression that there were some nefarious scheme going on to corrupt the Bible. The fact is that biblical scholars have been trying to be as transparent as possible so that we, as you say in the 21st century can be confident that our Bibles have what God wants us to know.
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