Thursday, January 6, 2011

Continuing Revelation and the Latter-Day Saint Response

January 6, 2011
by Tim Barker

The Need for Continuing Revelation

One Latter-day Saint scripture that mainstream Christianity takes particular issue with is the 8th Article of Faith, in The Pearl of Great Price.  It states: "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God" (AoF 1:8).  Traditional Christianity holds the belief that the Bible is inerrant and sufficient, that is, there is no deficiency in the text. This position requires unqualified acceptance of the entire text as the word of God.1  In contrast to this position, the Prophet Joseph stated that from "sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled."2  Obviously, the Latter-day Saint position dismisses the notion that the Bible is inerrant and that it, alone, is sufficient. This perspective began to emerge while Joseph Smith was contemplating which Christian church he should join. After being unable to reconcile why "these religious systems...were all so different; but nevertheless all drawn from the scripture of truth [the Bible],"3 he determined that God was not the author of such confusion. When considering that "all could not be right, and that God could not be the author of so much confusion[,] I determined to investigate the subject more fully, believing that if God had a church it would not be split up into factions, and that if he taught one society to worship one way, and administer in one set of ordinances, he would not teach another principles which were diametrically opposed."4