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What is Inerrancy? Part 4

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
March 3, 2021 8:07 pm

What is Inerrancy? Part 4

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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March 3, 2021 8:07 pm

Inerrancy of the Bible is an important concept to Bible-believing Christians. Just what is this concept? And how does this topic relate to Mormonism? Please see an article related to this topic by visiting

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Viewpoint on Mormonism, the program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from a Biblical perspective. Viewpoint on 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 of Viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry. And with me today is Eric Johnson, my colleague at MRM. Inerrancy, what is it?

What is it not? That's what we've been discussing this week. And we've been kind of springboarding off of a statement that was made by the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith. This can be found in the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 327, where he said, Now, Eric, in yesterday's show, we ended with a couple of citations from Mormon scholars. And we were making the case that you don't usually find a lot of the scholars within the Mormon Church citing many of the same arguments that perhaps a layperson in the LDS Church might be making. In reference to the Bible, you quoted Lloyd Anderson and Donald Perry, both of whom seem to, I would say, give high accolades to what we have in our Bibles today. And yet most Latter-day Saints, when they find out that Joseph Smith was not a true prophet of God and the LDS Church is not a true church, tend to want to throw the Bible out, thinking that it's not trustworthy. This statement doesn't seem to give that impression. In other words, the scholars don't seem to agree with a lot of the misunderstanding that many lay people in the LDS Church have. And I think that's important. Many of them, I think, would go along with what a lot of Bible scholars, New Testament Bible scholars would say.

So what do we do with that? We were talking about how we believe in errancy deals specifically with the original manuscripts, the autographs. The problem, of course, is we don't have any autographs any longer. Mormons don't either, folks. Not when it comes to the Book of Mormon. They don't have any autographs.

If they did, they would have the gold plates and they don't have the gold plates. But we do have one autograph that the church has, and that would be the Book of Abraham. Well, that's caused a lot of problems because before 1966, everybody thought that that document had been burned in a Chicago fire from many years before, and yet it was rediscovered in New York in a museum in New York, and it was given to the church. And when you take a look at what this manuscript says in Egyptian, you find very clearly it's nothing close to what Joseph Smith said it was when he translated the Book of Abraham, and so the churches even had to come out with a Gospel Topics essay to say it wasn't a translation in the normal sense, it was a spiritual translation. Well, that's a problem because a translation means you're taking something and you're making it go into a different language, but if you have nothing to work off of, then how can you say that that is a translation of this manuscript when it has no words alike? Let's go back to this whole idea of, okay, Bill, you're admitting that some errors could have crept into the manuscripts. Why are you so sure that what we have today is a good rendition of what the original had?

Let me give you an example. Let's say, for instance, we have a man in the first century. He's writing in a cave with a candle in the country of Syria, and he decides, as Joseph Smith implies, that he is actually a corrupt priest, and so he is going to purposely commit many errors. He's going to recopy the text and insert his erroneous views. How do we know where his erroneous views can be found? Well, what we would do is we would take whatever copies he made with those erroneous views and we'd compare them with other copies, let's say copies from Turkey or ancient Anatolia. We see that a number of manuscripts coming from Turkey all say one thing, but they don't say what that Syrian scribe had in his text. We look at other manuscripts that were hand-copied, let's say from Northern Africa, and we notice they too do not include the alterations that were made by this corrupt priest in Syria in some cave somewhere. You could do that with a number of manuscripts taken from various parts of the Old World, and you're noticing something. All of them say pretty much the same thing, but what they don't include are the alterations that our fictitious scribe made in that cave in Syria, and that's how the fraud is exposed. We would know to reject what those manuscripts happen to say because it does not conform to the great majority of other texts that are out there for us to examine. Is my analogy correct?

I think it is. I think we have to ask the question, what's the motive of this scribe in Syria that you mentioned of him trying to change things? Because yes, there were sometimes scribes who would write notes in or maybe try to correct something, but they were always trying to make it more understandable, not less understandable.

And for that corrupt scribe in Syria to get his ideas across to the whole world, he's going to have to go find the other manuscripts and make the exact same notations in each one of those. But today we have the benefit of 5,700 plus Greek manuscripts, 24,000 total in other languages, plus the Church Fathers were continually quoting scripture. In the New Testament, I've heard it said that all but maybe a dozen verses were cited one time or another in the hundreds of years of the Church Fathers, and so I think that's a really strong point. But yesterday I gave you a citation from Lloyd Anderson that was from the manuscript discoveries of the New Testament in perspective from the papers of the 14th Annual Symposium on the Archaeology of the Scriptures that he presented, April 13th, 1963.

I didn't read the whole quote, but let me give you the rest of it that goes along with what you're saying. He said, The second great fact that such a survey demonstrates is the progress that has placed the world in possession of manuscripts very near to the time of their writing. One would have to be a student of ancient history to appreciate how much superior the New Testament is to any other book in its manuscript tradition. As far as ancient manuscripts go, we have great wealth with all of these manuscripts that we do have, all these copies, and we have more evidence of what the New Testament especially is saying than anything that Plato wrote, anything that Homer wrote, or these other ancient people. And yet a lot of scholars don't have any problem to say, well, this is what Homer's Odyssey is, or the Iliad, and we have copies that go many years after, and yet we have copies of the Bible that go within the lifetime of disciples of the apostles. We have one piece of John from John chapter 17, it's called P52, and they date that to at least 125 AD. So we have pieces going way back to very close within the lifetime of the apostles, and I'm going to suggest if you're somebody who doesn't have a whole lot of respect for the Bible and the wealth of information I'm talking about, a good book, an easy book to read, is by a former atheist reporter, Lee Strobel, called The Case for Christ.

The first third of his book deals with these kinds of issues we're talking about, and he talks about how we have reliable evidence to help us understand what the original autograph said. Very clearly, this is the strength of the Christian story of why we believe in the Bible and why we trust it to be able to understand what God has for us today. Let me just throw something out there, Eric, because both of us have talked to a lot of former Latter-day Saints, and many of these former Latter-day Saints would at best claim that they're agnostic. And usually it's not the evidence that we're presenting that causes them to not want to believe the Bible, it's just they don't want to believe what it says, they just don't like what God wanted us to know. And that's what I'm saying, it's more volitional rather than evidential. And I can understand that, if that's the way they want to go, but I guess I get a little bit weary when I talk to people who don't want to believe the Bible and they think they have good evidence to just dismiss it all.

But yet I find also in talking to them, what we've been saying this past week, they wouldn't even know about this stuff because they never took the time to look into it, which I feel is so tragic. And what is sad is when they attend a church like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which pays lip service to the Bible. Well, the Bible is part of our standard works. We've heard Mormon leaders call it our precious Holy Bible, while at the same time putting out writings or giving speeches that cast doubt on our Bible's accuracy is so sad because many of them don't bother to look at this. And maybe they just, like I said, they don't want to believe what it has to say, but I think there's probably a lot of very sincere former Mormons out there who don't realize there's good evidence out there to believe the Bible. You don't have to become an agnostic.

You don't have to go into atheism. You can trust this Bible and it can transform your life as it has transformed millions of others. We have a mutual friend, Micah Wilder, who became a Christian I think around 2005. He was a Mormon missionary, and a Christian pastor basically told him to read the Bible as a little child. And so Micah took that seriously, and he read the New Testament dozens and dozens of times. And by the end of his mission, he actually had become a Christian. He actually had a belief in the biblical Jesus. It got him kicked off the mission the last week before he was supposed to return with honor.

He actually got sent home a week early, and it caused a major problem. But Micah Wilder believed the Bible for what it was. And we're going to recommend that a Latter-day Saint or a former Latter-day Saint just read the Bible as a little child.

See what it has to say. I would recommend reading the book of John. Read the book of Romans. I mean, read it all the way through without any presuppositions, like a little child, as that pastor told Micah. And I think that you'll find that what the Bible is teaching is nowhere close to what the Mormon Church leaders are saying you ought to believe.

I remember having a conversation with a former Mormon missionary who did just that. He read the New Testament, he read the Gospels, and he realized that's not the Jesus he was told to believe in. What he was seeing in the Gospels did not reflect a version of Jesus that his church was propagating. As a result of that, he came out of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You can go onto the internet if you don't have a modern version of the Bible. Go to, and a good version we could recommend is English Standard Version. Read it in a version you've never read before, in a version you might be able to understand, and I think you're going to be surprised at what the Bible says. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint on Mormonism. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint on Mormonism.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-18 23:57:44 / 2023-12-19 00:02:53 / 5

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