Ancient Scripture, Ancient Views

How should we interpret an ancient document? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A friend of Deeper Waters and a personal friend as well sent me this video. I was surprised when I got to the end because I thought it had a lot of good stuff to see that it was also Mormon apologetics. Does that mean everything said is wrong? No. If a Mormon says 2 + 2 = 4, I’m going to agree with them. I just do want that disclaimer up there. Just because a group overall has wrong beliefs, it doesn’t mean that everything they say is wrong. (Thank you, Weird Al.)

What do we do when the Bible speaks about ancient science but says ideas that disagree with modern science. We realize that the Bible is not trying to teach us that science at that point. It is using language acceptable by people at the time. Some we still use today. A weatherman talks about sunrise and sunset even though we know that’s not what literally happens. Many a love song today can talk about loving someone with all their heart, even though we know the heart doesn’t do that.

Keep in mind I am not at all saying that the Bible has limited inerrancy where it errors in science but everything else is okay. What has to be asked is what is the Bible trying to each? When the Bible says to love the Lord your God with all your heart, God is not trying to give instructions of where love comes from, but to instead love the Lord with all you have.

The speaker in this video uses this I think accurately to critique the Flat Earth view. Fortunately for me, I haven’t really encountered people arguing this view yet. I know they’re out there, but I guess I have just been fortunate to not bother dealing with them.

Let’s make a brief statement about the whole statement about Latter-Day prophets that are cited in the end. Is everything the prophet of the Mormon Church says wrong? No, but we need to look at what they say in their own context as well and even then, there are still problems.

My biggest problem with the LDS movement is really the material they have that goes against the Bible and is also a problem with just good philosophy. Eternal progression, the idea that God was a man who eventually became God and good Mormons are to have the same experience is extremely problematic. There are a lot of problems in the Book of Mormon, but if you really want to see the esoteric doctrines, it’s in places like the Doctrines and Covenants.

Mormonism falls on other grounds. Many people have used the Book of Abraham as the ultimate Achilles’ Heel of Mormonism. However, I do think we also need to treat it the same way in that we look at the culture of the time and also with the Book of Mormon, we need to consider it in light of the claim that it is supposed to be an ancient document. Does it match ancient documents of the time and does it have claims that match them? (Materials used, for example.)

So in the end, I do ultimately agree with what was said. However, I do think this provides more problems for Mormonism as it doesn’t really mirror the ancient world that well. Mormonism falls on other grounds, but that’s for other blogs.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Jesus’s Resurrection and Joseph’s Visions

What do I think of Rob Bowman’s book published by Deward Publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If there’s any area in the study of the resurrection we needed a great source on, it was comparing the resurrection to the visions of Joseph Smith. After all, aren’t what happened to Paul and Joseph comparable? Aren’t the witnesses to the golden plates and the witnesses to the resurrection comparable? If we accept one, are we not obligated to accept the other?

Thankfully, that niche has been filled. Rob Bowman has written an excellent book looking at the visions of Joseph Smith and comparing them to the resurrection. The bulk of the book is dedicated to Smith which isn’t a surprise since most Christians are familiar with the resurrection who read these kinds of books. Also, Smith came from a much more literary time so there are more writings to go through around his time.

However, even if you have read material defending the resurrection of Jesus, and I hope you have, you still need to go through what Bowman says about it. It’s really an excellent defense of the doctrine and very easy to understand. If you want a short defense of the resurrection of Jesus, this is an excellent one to go through.

When we get to Smith, Bowman truly shows his mastery of the information. There is hardly a stone left unturned here and Bowman interacts with the very best of Mormon apologetics. His familiarity with the material is simply astounding.

As he goes through Smith’s visions, he goes through piece by piece and points out in detail that could be painstaking if it wasn’t such an enjoyable read all that is questionable and why, always making sure to say it’s not because it’s miraculous. It gets down to the real historical claims such as when was the revival that Joseph Smith talked about and was he truly persecuted for claims of a vision.

He’ll also ask about the appearance of Moroni because even if you grant miraculous events and angelic encounters, there are reasons in the account itself to really question that the event happened. This is not the usual approach of using DNA testing or lacking archaeological evidence to go after Mormonism. This is striking at the heart. After all, Mormonism often is said to stand or fall on the first vision of Joseph Smith.

If you are someone who wants to interact with Mormons, you owe it to yourself to read this book. If you don’t interact with them, but you debate the resurrection of Jesus with skeptics, you need to read this book. This is a thorough and excellent reply to one common objection.

If I could recommend one book on dealing with Mormonism now, it would be this one. This is really one that any Mormon who is wanting to stay a strong Mormon needs to interact with. It will be a great reference for counter-cult apologetics for many years to come.

In Christ,
Nick Peters