Deeper Waters Podcast 3/10/2018: Corey Miller

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Imagine driving around your town checking out area churches one day. You go through and you see all kinds. There’s Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Messianic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Nazarene, etc. You go through your town noticing all these many churches.

You also notice another church. It refers to itself as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This is the Mormon church. Well that’s just another denomination isn’t it? Right? It’s just like all the others. It’s still a church and the differences between it and the other churches would be minor. Right?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

On my next episode, I am going to be discussing Mormonism and doing so covering a book that talks about why four different people who are now scholars left Mormonism. Was it just changing denominations? Is it anything like a Methodist becoming a Baptist or a Protestant becoming a Catholic? Could it actually be something more?

One of the main editors of this book will be joining me. It is possible his co-editor Lynn Wilder, who has been on before, could be joining us as well. My guest is one who left Mormonism and went on to study Christianity seriously. He studied it so seriously he is now president and CEO of a Christian apologetics organization. That organization is Ratio Christi which many of you who do college work know about and that person is Corey Miller and the book is Leaving Mormonism.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Corey Miller, PhD, is president and CEO of Ratio Christi: Campus Apologetics Alliance (www.ratiochristi.org). He currently teaches philosophy and comparative religions at Indiana University-Kokomo, and has taught at Purdue U, Multnomah University, and Ecola Bible College. He possesses graduate degrees in biblical studies (Multnomah Biblical Seminary), philosophy of religion and ethics (Biola/Talbot School of Theology), and philosophy (Purdue U), as well as a doctorate in philosophical theology from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He is co-editor of Is Faith in God Reasonable? Debates in Philosophy, Science, and Rhetoric (Routledge, 2014) and co-author of Leaving Mormonism: Why Four Scholars Changed their Minds (Ratio Christi/Kregel, 2017)

So why would Corey and other scholars leave Mormonism? What’s wrong with it? Would it be seen as the same as leaving another denomination? What do Mormons really believe and should a Christian be concerned about going to a Mormon church? What is it that a Christian should say when they encounter someone who is a Mormon or has them come and knock on their door?

Also, on another note, I want you all to know that we have been praying for help with the sound. My former sound guy did a great job, but he had to move on. It is not a problem of bad blood between us. We are still friends and he was very generous to us. Fortunately, I had someone message me out of the blue yesterday volunteering if I ever needed audio help so that position has been filled. Of course, I still encourage you to be listening and please leave a positive review on iTunes.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Can Your Christianity Be Disproven?

Are you open to the possibility of being wrong? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Let me state it right at the start. I am not doubting Christianity. I am not writing from a position of doubt. I am convinced that God exists and that Jesus rose from the dead. Despite that, I should always be open to being wrong. This hit home again for me reading Zondervan’s Five Views On Biblical Inerrancy.

Al Mohler has the first chapter and in it, he pretty much equates inerrancy with the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, or CSBI. For Mohler, it seems difficult to imagine inerrancy that does not conform to this statement and if Jesus and Paul or anyone else is an inerrantist, then they would have signed on entirely with the CSBI. That is too much of an assumption I think to make, but a major problem came when I read his response to problem passages that Zondervan asked each person to write on.

In the Kindle version at location 772, I read the following:

Archaeologists will disagree among themselves. I am not an archaeologist, and I am not qualified to render any adequate archaeological argument. The point is that I do not allow any line of evidence from outside the Bible to nullify to the slightest degree the truthfulness of any text in all that the text asserts and claims. That statement may appear radical to some readers, but it is the only position that is fully true and trustworthy. Any theological or hermeneutical method that allows extrabiblical sources of knowledge to nullify the truthfulness of any biblical text assumes, a priori, that the Bible is something less than the oracular Word of God.

Well, yes. This position is very radical. Naturally, if the Bible is inerrant and is true in all it claims and teaches, then if it says X, then X is true. Yet at the same time, if God is the God of reality and has written two books as it were with nature and Scripture, then we should expect that nothing outside of Scripture will contradict Scripture.

The problem is that this is the very claim under question. How do we know the Bible is inerrant? Do we start with that as a presupposition or do we reach it as a conclusion? If we say the former, why do this with the Bible and not the Koran or the Book of Mormon?

Let’s picture Al Mohler in a discussion with a Mormon. This Mormon holds to the position on the Book of Mormon that Mohler holds to on the Bible. Mohler goes and points out many archaeological difficulties with the Book of Mormon. The Mormon does not change his position. Why? Because he says he won’t allow any line of evidence from outside the Book of Mormon to conflict with the Book of Mormon.

Now Mohler goes to a Muslim. The Muslim is convinced that the Koran says that Jesus did not get crucified or die on a cross. Mohler goes to several lines of evidence to show that Jesus was crucified, but the Muslim is unconvinced. After all, no line of evidence outside of the Koran is allowed to contradict the Koran.

Are the Muslim and Mormon being unreasonable here? Yep. The sad thing is, so is Mohler. What is being said is a way of saying the double-theory of truth is true. By this, something could be true in the world outside of the Bible and something else contradictory true in the Bible. May it never be!

This is also one reason why I don’t say something like “Show me the bones of Jesus and I’ll abandon Christianity.” If we were to hypothetically say that Jesus never rose from the dead, it seems strange to think that not only would His bones be here, but that we could tell they were His bones. I instead ask people to give me a better explanation for the rise of the early church than the one that the church itself gave that explains the data agreed to by critical scholars.

If we want to evangelize people, it is disingenuous for us to tell them that they must be ready to abandon their worldview and accept ours upon conflicting evidence, but we are not doing the same. Some might think that that is a risk. It is only a risk if you think that Christianity could be false. If you are convinced you are right, it is not a risk. Even if you turned out to be wrong, you should be thankful. After all, who wants to believe something that is false?

I cannot go with the position of Mohler. I am convinced it is a blind faith and it makes inerrancy the central doctrine when the resurrection is. I believe in the Bible because I believe in the resurrection. I do not believe in the resurrection because I believe in the Bible.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 11/15/2014: Lynn Wilder

What’s coming up on this Saturday’s episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s dive into the Deeper Waters and find out!

Many of us have encountered Mormons. They’re those nice people with the white shirts, black ties, and name badges that identify themselves as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We often might see them as odd but not as non-Christians. This is such that even Glenn Beck’s material is carried in Christian book stores. But is this group really teaching the Jesus of the Bible?

My guest this week says no, and she’s in a position to know. She lived several years in the Mormon culture even having a position at BYU and her life changed forever when her son sent him a message while out on his mission one day. Who is she? She’s Lynn Wilder and she’s the author of Unveiling Grace which has a film out now as well and a web site. I have also reviewed Unveiling Grace here.

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Lynn’s story has already attracted national attention. She has been interviewed on the 700 Club. She has had stories shared in the Christian Post as well as Christianity Today. She’s done interviews for Janet Parshall, Michael Brown, a couple on Dove TV, plus interviews on the John Ankerberg show. She’s got several written testimonies about her and is the author of another book on seven reasons why she and her family left Mormonism.

My introduction to the work of Lynn came when I heard her on Unbelievable? I wasn’t sure what to expect and was for some reason I do not recall, somewhat skeptical. I was until I heard Lynn speak and realized this lady knew Mormonism backwards and forwards and she knew what to say to show that it does not line up with the message of Jesus. I was immediately in touch trying to get her on my show. (We had planned for earlier this year, but her father passed away and she had to cancel.)

I’ve also found Lynn to be a good friend as well with her being willing to talk on the phone with us when we’ve had a situation that we thought she could help with, and she did indeed help. Lynn is a scholar with her heart in the right place, something that is lacking in many, and in fact, to be personal, something I seek to improve on myself constantly.

Her book is the best book I have read on Mormonism as it gives you an inside-out view and as you read about her family in the book, you come to really know them as people and really learn to empathize with them, which is something rare for me to have happen being an aspie who just isn’t that good at empathy.

I’m excited to have Lynn Wilder be my guest this Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast and to let you all know about something else coming, next week, a band with some of her sons in it, Adam’s Road will be our guests so you’re going to get part one of a story this week and the rest next week. I hope you’ll be listening!

In Christ,
Nick Peters