Hi Sue, Here is an exchange I had with an angry Mormon. Unofortuantely his first letter is not on my computer but I made a hard copy of it. I will put it in your box. In order to understand this response, you may have to read his letter. I tried to scan it on to my computer but I could not figure out our scanner. These letters are quite long. You may want just some of the highlights. Pat Zuke Mormon Response to Brad Who defies biblical Christianity? There are thousands of ways to interpret the Bible, so who are you to say your way is right? You can't believe the Bible because it has changed so much over the years since it was written, being reinvented and reinterpreted by so many people.
The question you asked is who defines biblical Christianity? Simple, the Bible does. You stated there are thousands of ways to interpret the Bible. Incorrect. The Bible is to be interpreted by the rules of hermeneutics, as are all other works of literature. For example, when we read a newspaper we read the headlines differently from the way we read the editorials. Context and grammar make it easy to determine how to interpret the writings. The message of the Bible is so clear and easy to understand using the grammatical, historical, contextual and literary rules of interpretation.
Cults will use their own misinterpretation to get to their conclusions. That is what Joseph Smith and the Mormon Church has done. That is why the doctrines of Mormonism contradict the Bible clearly in every way. One must choose whether to believe the Bible or Mormon misinterpretations of it.
Fortunately the Bible has its own form of checks and balances. If we interpret one passage wrong, other passages will contradict our interpretation. When we interpret a verse, it must coincide with the entire Bible. If there are contradictions, we have interpreted incorrectly.
You stated the Bible has been misinterpreted over the centuries. Today's Bible is very different form that of lets say the 9th century. If you do a careful study in the science of textual criticism, you will find that it has been preserved very accurately. There is more proof for the accuracy of the Bible in its original content than any other book of history. I have debated this topic at universities all over and the proof is overwhelming. The New Testament alone has 24000 manuscripts from the 1st century until the 14th century from which we can compare and determine accuracy. How about the find of the century, the Dead Sea scrolls. They clearly show that in the 1,000-year span of time, the OT has been preserved extremely accurately. Any one who studied the Dead Sea scrolls should know this. That is why it is the find of the century. Any student of text criticism knows the tremendous amount of evidence for the accuracy of the Bible. If you want to study further read books by Josh McDowell, F.F. Bruce and Norman Geisler. If you send me your address, I will mail a copy from the world's leading scholars on the accuracy of New and Old Testament documents.
By the way it is interesting that Christians try to find the oldest manuscripts to test the accuracy of the Bible while in testing the accuracy of the Book of Mormon, we go the other way. The most accurate copy is the one with the latest revisions.
I am glad the LDS uses the King James Bible. So do the Moonies, and David Koresh. The key is the cults have misinterpreted the Bible clearly.
You stated true faith in Christ has little to do with doctrine and everything to do with the spirit. You contradict what Jesus and the apostles taught in the Bible. Paul states in Galatians 1:8 "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned." Jesus stated in Matthew 24:24 "For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great sings and miracles to deceive even the elect." John, the Apostle of love writes, "Dear friends do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." The wrong gospel, the wrong Jesus, the wrong God cannot save you. Jesus and the apostles make this very clear. They speak strongly against those who teach a different gospel than that of the Bible. Jesus gives us a clear warning in Matthew 7:15-23. The entire book of Jude, and 2 Peter, much of 1 John and Galatians are written in defense of the gospel and warning against false teachers. Why do you think they bother to give such strong warnings if all we need to be is sincere? Who is to know the truth? You said God would reveal himself. He has in a book called the Bible. "But these things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John 20:31.
You said spiritual turmoil arouses when a bunch of guys denounce their brethren. It is not a bunch of guys who denounce Mormonism; it is the Bible itself. Read it through alone using the common rules of hermeneutics. Turmoil arouses when men interpret the Bible any way they like and come to strange conclusions that contradict the clear teachings of the Bible as the cults have done. Order comes when truth is upheld as the Jude states, "Contend for the faith once and for all given to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you."
Now let us look at some of your responses. Doctrine of God: > Mormonism: > Teaches there are a plurality of gods that exist in the > universe. (Doctrine and Covenants 132:17-20, Mormon > Doctrine p. 321.) > >Bible: >There has always been one God and no other gods will exist. >(Isaiah 44:6, 43:10)
BRAD SEZ: Here we go with the hair splitting. I don't think the Bible says that no other God's exist, but that humanity shall have no other Gods before Him; meaning idolatry or worship of material things. I don't think the bible ever rules out the chance that there may be other beings such as God, minding other worlds or even other universes. Anyone can look through a telescope and see the vastness of space and time. Is it not possible that that grandeur was a collaborative effort? You're closing the door on speculation that is best left open.
Response: God says clearly "Before me there was no god formed nor will there be one after me?" God makes it pretty clear there are no other gods. He is not talking about worship of material things. If you read the context of Isaiah God is talking He is the only God that exists. 44:8 God asks, is there any God besides me? . . . I know not one." Is God ignorant? No he emphatically states, no god exists.
>Bible: > There is only one God revealed in three distinct > persons. (Deuteronomy 6:4, Isaiah 48:12and Matthew > 3:16-17)
BRAD SEZ: Question for you: if Jesus is the Son of God, as the bible would indicate, then how can Jesus and God be the same being? You're using biblical evidence, and I say the bible is replete with instances where God is clearly the father and Jesus are clearly a separate entity. Even the story of the fall of Lucifer indicates that God is the Father, while Lucifer Morningstar and Jesus are two of His sons. Once again, it all boils down to interpretation. You say one thing. I say another. We're using the same book as 'evidence'. But only God will judge us and our worth.
You have misunderstood the Trinity. Read the passages carefully Jesus is God the Son. The Father is God the Father, the Holy Spirit is God the Holy Spirit. Three distinct persons who are one in essence. One God revealed in three distinct persons, not three gods in a triunity.
>Mormonism: > God the Father has eternal wives through whom spirit > children have been and continue to be born. > >Bible: >God has no wife and stands alone. (Isaiah 46:9)
BRAD SEZ: In my opinion, it is kind of silly to assume that God has no partner. I think that evidence of God's female partner, and even a possible wife of Jesus, have been edited from Biblical texts by previous church leaders who had their own phobias concerning women. Again, this is just my opinion. I have no 'biblical' evidence to back it up. Not that 'biblical evidence' means much.
Z's Response: This is a weak defense. Please give some proof that the text of the Bible has been altered. If you study the text critical evidence, you discover the contrary, this verse is in the original text. You then make a fallacious statement, "Not that biblical evidence means much". Then why do you study it? That is the standard of truth. You are running away from the truth it teaches. Since it does not uphold Mormon truths, you are now running from it. Error will always run from truth, but truth does not run from error. Why are you now afraid to look at the Bible? I would challenge you to read the Bible from cover to cover and not run from it since it contradicts Mormon teaching. If you allege, church editing, please provide the textual evidence. Don't use this as an excuse to escape the obvious contradictions. Mormons often say this when they discover the Bible contradicts their belief.
Time does not allow me to answer all your responses. Let me close with this one. Has there been any discovery documenting the great > cities recorded in the book of Mormon? Any coinage, > shields, spears, wall remnants, etc. . . According to the > Smithsonian Institute an official letter states, "The > Smithsonian Institution has never used the Book of > Mormon in any way as a scientific guide. Smithsonian > archaeologist see no direct connection between the > archaeology of the New World and the subject matter > of the book."
BRAD SEZ: I find it ironic that you try to use a modern-day secular authority to back up a Biblical claim. Faith ought to stand alone, regardless of physical or authoritative statements. However, for the sake of advocacy: Just because the Smithsonian sees no connection between The Book of Mormon and its own archeological evidence does not mean much. Archeology, like all science, is an ever-changing discipline. What archeology 'knew' about the ancient world, based on archeology of, say, 1898, is VERY different from what archeology of 1998 knows. I am sure this will change again. Evidence may yet be found to support Book of Mormon claims. In fact, I saw on the news recently a case where one or several skeletons were uncovered here in the Northwest that are believed to be caucasian or middle eastern in origin. They're only a few thousand years old. How did they get here? Where did they come from? Who were these seemingly un-native Americans? Perhaps Native Americans and their European/Middle Eastern cousins have more in common than we have assumed? Who knows? Again, you're closing the door on areas of speculation best left open.
Z's response: Yes faith is important but we can have faith in the wrong things. In the Bible people trusted in the god's of Baal and Molech and sacrificed their children to them. They were sincere they had faith. Why did God condemn them? Faith in the wrong thing. Our faith should be based on the evidence. The Mormon beliefs contradict the Bible, and it is strange that in 100 years we have not found a shred of evidence to support the claims of great civilizations in New York. These skeletons could be that of Vikings Asiatic peoples, Eskimos, or a number of other people groups. They prove nothing to support the Book of Mormon. There should at least be a coin, a piece of the wall or something of a great civilization. Why don't you call the Mormon archaeology department? Christian and non-Christian archaeologist have discovered biblical cities all over the east. The question to wrestle with is where is the evidence that should substantiate my faith? You should not run by saying I will trust in blind faith. Faith has substance. Let us see if the Book of Mormon has some as well. Thank you for writing Time may not allow me to continue to correspond but I will try when I have time. Usually I write one or two responses and then I must move on to others. I would challenge you to read your Bible cover to cover. Don't run form it because it contradicts Mormonism, wrestle and seek the truth.