The Necessity of Relationship

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What is more important – working to keep God’s commandments, or developing a personal relationship with God?

Chris

Elders, I’d like to read a passage from the New Testament and get your opinion on its meaning.  Please read, Matthew 7:21-23

 

Elder Smith

Sure.  “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

 

Elder Young

We believe it is telling us that in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven, we must be doing the will of Heavenly Father.  In other words, we have to keep his commandments in order to be accepted into His kingdom.

 

Chris

But that’s not what this passage is saying.  It’s not emphasizing the doing.  It’s emphasizing the knowing.  Jesus “professed unto them, I never knew you.”  A person can do many works – wonderful works, but that is not what matters. 

To put it another way, please read what the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 8:3.

 

Elder Young

“But if any man love God, the same is known of him.” 

 

Chris

In, essence what Jesus is saying in Matthew 7 is, “You never loved me.” 

There is another passage where the key phrase is “I know you not.”  Please read Luke 13:24-25

 

                                                                                Elder Smith

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.  When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:”

 

Chris

Again, Jesus is teaching is that it’s not what they did or didn’t do.  The key is a relationship.  He said to them “I know you not.”

 

Elder Smith

So, going back to 1 Corinthians 8:3, If we love God, then we are known by him. 

 

Chris

Exactly!  When we love someone, we are known by that person because we want to serve that person.  So, it is in our relationship with the Lord. 

Read 1 John 2:3-5

 

                                                                                Elder Young

“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected:   

 

                                                                               Chris

Jesus said to his disciples in John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”


                                                                                    Elder Smith

Also 1 John 4:8 it says, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

 

                                                                               Chris

To know God is to love God.  And, that comes from developing a personal relationship with God.  Then, when we love God, we will want to serve God and keep His commandments.  That is how we are identified as true followers of, Christ.  We have a personal relationship with Him.  We know and love Him, as He knows and loves us. 

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“Lost Books” of the Bible

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In the Book
of Mormon, 1 Nephi 13:18 states “…that there are many
plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the
Lamb of God.”  Can you tell me –
what are those “plain and precious things” missing from the Bible?

There are about 18 books mentioned within the Bible itself that aren’t found anywhere in our current Old or New Testament canon of Scripture.  Latter-Day Saints refer to these as “lost books” or “missing Scriptures”.

List of “Lost Books”

  • book of the Wars of the Lord
  • book of Jasher
  • book of the acts of Solomon
  • book of Samuel the seer
  • book of Gad the seer
  • book of Nathan the prophet
  • prophecy of Ahijah
  • visions of Iddo the seer
  • book of Shemaiah
  • book of Jehu
  • sayings of the seers
  • earlier epistle of Paul to the Corinthians
  • earlier epistle to the Ephesians
  • epistle to the Church at Laodicea
  • some prophecies of Enoch
  • book of the covenant
  • the manner of the kingdom, written by Samuel
  • the rest of the acts of Uzziah written by Isaiah

 Are they really “lost”, or were they simply
omitted or rejected when the Bible was being compiled?

Why would
they be omitted or rejected if they are mentioned in the Bible?  Shouldn’t they be included?  This is why the LDS member believes that the
Bible is incomplete.

In, order for those so-called “lost books” to support the L.D.S position, there must first be some evidence those books were once considered part of the canon of Scripture to begin with.  The fact is, there’s no evidence to support that claim.

Mormon
leaders have taught that these “lost” books are a result of a Great Apostasy, when
many “plain and precious things” that were once part of the Bible are no longer
there. 

Yet, the L.D.S Church has made no effort to “restore” any of these so-called missing books to the Bible.  Instead, it’s prophet Joseph Smith “restored” other lost documents such as the Book of Mormon, Book of Moses, and the Book of Abraham.  All which are not mentioned in the Bible.

The LDS
Church doesn’t seem to be concerned about the Bible being incomplete.  They are more concerned about defending books
as Scripture that were never part of the Bible at all.

How then how
do you explain the mention of those other books in the Bible text?

Those
alleged “lost books” were known by the Jews in Old Testament times as well as
by Christians of the New Testament era, but they were not considered inspired
Scripture.  2
Peter 1:20-21 says, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of
any private interpretation.  For the
prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as
they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”  Every
book in the New Testament was either written by an apostle or someone who was
close to an apostle – like Mark and Luke. 

Most of those
“lost books” lacked apostolic or prophetic authorship and they did not claim to
be the Word of God.  They are just a
sidelight in the text.  There are
literally hundreds of historical and religious books written during the same
time, period as the books of the Bible. 
However, they were not inspired of God. 

To say the
Bible is missing “plain and precious truths” is an argument from silence.  Just because some writing is mentioned in the
Bible does not prove it is supposed to be included in the Bible.

LDS members believe
the Bible to be the inspired Word of God? – For the most part and as long as it
is translated correctly.

When I think
of the Holy Bible as the inspired Word of God, I cannot believe that it would
incomplete.  I know the Spirit of God
worked through inspired men to write the books of the Bible. 

Any books
that were rejected – even though they were mentioned in the text of the Bible –
were never part of the Bible to begin with. 
They were never lost!

Calling them
“lost books” is not the correct definition. 
The Early Christian Church had within its authority to reject as
non-canonical certain writings and books. 
They are not lost – they were merely discarded.

The Bible
has One Creator – God.  He would not allow
vital and pertinent teachings to be lost in any way.  He promised He would preserve His Word
forever! 

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Is the Bible a Standard of Truth?

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The famous evangelist, D. L. Moody, once said:

“The best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it, but to lay a straight stick along, side it.”

For Christians, the Bible is a “straight stick”.  In the Mormon 8th Article of Faith it says, “the Bible is the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.”

By that, the Latter-day Saint means the Bible has been tampered with by man and many “plain and precious things” have been altered or removed from it.  So, they don’t believe the Bible is a reliable measure of truth. (1 Nephi 13:26-28)

Then why do the LDS still use the Kings James Version of the Bible while believing that it has been compromised?  After all, the Latter-day Saints do have another choice.

The Joseph Smith “New Translation” also known as the “Inspired Version of the Bible.”

In the “Preface To The First Edition of the JST” it says:

“As concerning the manner of translation and correction, it is evident, from the manuscripts and the testimony of those who were conversant with the facts, that it was done by direct revelation from God.  It was begun in June,1830, and was finished July 3, 1833.”

So, if it was “finished” through “direct revelation” – why would the Latter-day Saints use a supposedly polluted and defiled version of the Bible over it?

I believe that God is more than capable of keeping His written word intact and has foreseen that there would be such criticism of His Word from others.

Let’s read from the Kings James Version

Psalm 12:6 and 7?

“The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.  Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever.”

Now, let’s look at 1 Peter 1:24-25.

“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.  The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:  But the word of the Lord endureth forever.  And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

Those are promises from God that He has kept.

The fact that our current Bibles are reliable and accurate come from many other sources, such as archaeology, fulfilled prophecies, the Dead Sea scrolls, and other historical evidence.  Some however, would rather believe in a “crooked stick” rather than research it for themselves.

One last point!  Did you know that even the Book of Mormon itself contradicts the Mormon belief in an untrustworthy Bible?

In the “Introduction” to the 1981 printing of the Book of Mormon states:

“The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible.  It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fullness of the everlasting gospel.”

In the 2013 printing it leaves out “as does the Bible” and says that only the Book of Mormon has the fulness of the everlasting gospel.

Why did they make that change in the Book of Mormon?

The Bible is a weapon that Satan has no defense for.  Obviously, it is Satan who would like to cast a suspicious and unfavorable light upon it in order to keep people from the truth – the truth that could set them free.

The writer of Hebrews put it this way, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (don’t say chapter 4:12)

So, Like a two-edge sword, the Word of God IS a “straight stick”.

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Apparent Bible Contradictions

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What about all the contradictions in the Bible?  How do you explain those?

The first one that Latter-day Saints often use are the accounts of Paul’s road-side conversion.  In Acts 9:7, it says that the men who were with Saul heard a “voice but seeing no man.”  In the second account found in Acts 22:9, it says “they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.”

A contradiction occurs when one statement makes another statement impossible.

It’s important to check the original language of those two passages which were both written in Greek.  The Greek word “akuno” is translated “hear” AND “understand” in both verses.

In, other words the men with Saul “heard” the sound, but they did not “understand” what they were hearing.  Therefore, there is no contradiction in those two passages.

Another apparent contradiction – whether Judas in Matthew 27:5 died by hanging or by falling head-first in Acts 1:18?

Those two graphic accounts are not contradictory, but mutually complementary.  Judas hung himself exactly as Matthew affirms he did.  The account in Acts simply adds that Judas fell headlong, and his intestines gushed out.

Here’s one more.  In Matthew 28:5, why does it say there was only one angel at the garden tomb when in John 20:12, it says there were two angels there?

Think about it – John says there were two angels – right?   He referred to how many angels they SAW.

Matthew doesn’t say there was ONLY one angel.  Matthew just focuses on the one angel who spoke to the woman.

Here’s another – In Exodus 33:20, God declared to Moses, “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.”  Yet in Deuteronomy 5:4, it says that the Lord spoke with Moses “face to face.”  How could he speak to God face to face without seeing His face?

That sounds like a contradiction, Right?

Let me ask you, is it possible for a blind person to speak face to face with someone without actually seeing their face?  The phrase “face to face” in this text means personally, directly, or intimately.  Moses had that kind of relationship with God.  But he, like all other mortals, never saw the “face” (or essence) of God directly.

If you take the time to examine the passages and not read too much into them, you find that different accounts of the same event are actually supportive of each other.

And as you read the Bible you will come across, many more seemingly apparent Bible contradictions.

For many people, the belief that the Bible contains contradictions and  inaccuracies is an excuse for not believing.  Many such people have not actually read the Bible for themselves.  It has been my experience that, after a little research, all the alleged contradictions and inaccuracies are totally explainable.

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