“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
As we continue to explore different Christian themes, it must be understood that Gods word will be our bedrock. Many Christians trust in their ecclesiastical leader’s words, more than they do in God’s word. They think their leaders are more important than the Bible. This is not what Jesus Christ, The Prophet declared. Over and over, throughout his ministry, he worked to get the people back into scripture, and to forsake the traditions of men so craftily interwoven with sound bites of scripture (Matt. 22:29). No preacher, pastor, bishop or prophet, supersedes Gods word. Even The Prophet (Deut. 18:15) Jesus Christ, could not supersede God’s word, but was the manifestation of God’s word (John 1:1,14), living and declaring it perfectly. So, God’s word is our foundation of truth, beginning with the Bible.
Many Christians are hesitant to read either the Book of Mormon, or any other works of scripture produced by the Mormons, or other religions, as they suppose you must be a Mormon or of that other faith, to do so. This kind of thinking originates from within Mormonism itself, and is known as the Mormon dichotomy.
The idea is, that if the Book of Mormon is true, then it must mean Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that makes whoever happens to be the current leader of Mormonism, a prophet, and the Mormon church the only true church, which you must now join.
This argument is an obvious fallacy, as the Book of Mormon being true has only to do with what is contained in its pages. Its truthfulness also serves as evidence that Joseph Smith was called of God to translate it, but that doesn’t serve to mean that everything else Joseph Smith did or said affects the truthfulness of that work. And it certainly has nothing to do with any church or its leaders that had nothing to do with bringing forth the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is true. It does not contradict the Bible, and no Christian should feel so hesitant to read that volume of scripture, but ought to rejoice in having more of God’s word (2 Nephi 29).
This is not so only for the Book of Mormon, but also for other works of scripture from Mormonism, such as the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
This expansive view of scripture is not limited only to Mormon produced scripture, but also relates to apocryphal sources, such as the Book of Jasher, the Books of Enoch, and many others; all of which are profitable for instruction. In our prior post, we quoted from the apocryphal source of Ecclesiasticus, also known as the Wisdom of Joshua ben Sirach, or just Sirach. This is not limited only to Christian texts, but we may also take light as it is found in the Quran, or any other valuable source. These things being said, the Bible is still our foundation of written truth; but we will receive truth and light from anywhere it may be found.
I admonish you, compare what you are taught in your church, to what is recorded in scripture. Do not just take what your preacher says to you, at face value. Be as the noble Bereans. When Paul preached Christ Jesus to those of Berea, Acts 17, verses 11 through 12, record, “These were more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed;”
“No man’s opinion is worth a straw: advance no principle but what you can prove, for one scriptural proof is worth ten thousand opinions” (Times and Seasons, 1839).
There is an inspired man of God I know, who one day was teaching, and the Spirit of God rested upon him mightily, and he said, “Thus says Yehovah God, Do not tamper with my word”. I believe God did give him that word, and it is confirmed in scripture. “What thing soever I command you, that observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it” (Deut. 12:32).
Gods revelations are not subject to acceptance in order to be true. They are true, or they are not. We have no right to alter a translation to fit what is appropriate in our culture. We have no right to delete entire passages that don’t fit our paradigm. God has revealed His word. It is our duty to understand it as best we can, and live according to it. My hope is that these posts may help you appreciate and understand His word better, so that you may live it more richly in your life.
The peace of our God and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, be upon and abide in you forever.