Friday, June 1, 2012

The Reliability of the New Testament

One of the leading claims of Mormonism, and indeed, a pillar of it's very existence, is that the Bible is not completetely reliable.

The Bible is viewed as:
  • Mistranslated
  • Full of error
  • Corrupted
  • Incomplete

If the Bible was complete, correctly translated, inerrant, and complete, the church founder Joseph Smith would have been "out of a job". So by necessarily, the Bible could not be any of these things for Joseph Smith to start Mormonism.

What is the official position of the church? In part, we read from

"The Bible is not God’s final revelation to humanity, however, and neither is this collection of sacred writings complete. The Bible itself speaks of other authoritative books of scripture including books of Nathan the prophet and of Jehu and Enoch, the prophecy of Ahijah, the visions of Iddo the seer, and even missing epistles of Paul (see 2 Chronicles 9:29; 13:22; 20:34; 1 Corinthians 5:9; Jude 1:14). Other books of Latter-day Saint scripture—the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price—clarify the gospel as taught in the Bible and corroborate the truthfulness of the Biblical witness of Jesus Christ."

The encyclopedia of Mormonism says the following, from the mouth of the founder of Joseph Smith:

"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" (TPJS, p. 327)."

Bruce McConkie, a former member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles had this to say regarding part of the Bible:

"Proverbs,Ecclesiastes, and Lamentations are interesting books; Job is for people who like the book of Job; and the Song of Solomon is biblical trash — it is not inspired writing." You may view this for yourself here.

Recently, the world was introduced to a wonderful graph which actually looks at the textual evidence for historical writings. I believe that Tim McGrew had quite a bit to do with this graph. 

One thing I would call to your attention, is the lack of Mormonism even being mentioned. If we are honest, the Mormon church criticized the Christians by charging them with having an error filled, mistranslated, incomplete book. With such a charge, one might ask what the textual evidence is for Mormonism, since Christianity enjoys far more than 20,000 copies ... the Book of Mormon? Zero. Thats right. Not one single solitary golden plate has been provided, or anything close to the like. Surprising that a church that is unable to verify a single text from its origin, would criticize the Bible, which is by far has the best manuscript evidence of any book from the ancient world. 

So with all confidence, call into question the claims of Mormons who bash the reliability of the word of the only living God!