A few days ago we noted the words of BYU professors Millet and McConkie in a chapter titled “The Bible Fraud” in a book titled Sustaining and Defending the Faith. The chapter began with some incredible statements, including:
After the death of the Apostles the Bible was taught by the authority of the whip and the sword. To the Reformers it became the source of priesthood authority and the final will and testament of their mute God.
One truly wonders how anyone can say the Bible was being “taught” by the authority of the whip and the sword. In what context? To what do the authors refer? How can one actually teach the Bible, instead of a perversion thereof, in such a fashion? Is it the Bible’s fault if someone misuses it? And to what do the authors refer when they speak of “priesthood authority”? Knowing how Mormons interpret the concept of “priesthood” one is still left wondering how the Reformers did anything more than point out the biblical doctrine of the priesthood (which is so very far removed from the LDS perspective). And if the Bible is, as Jesus taught, God speaking (Matthew 22:31), how could God ever be mute at all? Here we see “orthodox Mormonism” in full bloom, for to the old-style Mormon, “modern revelation” is required for God to be able to “speak.” Millet and McConkie continue,
A knowledge of what the Bible does and does not claim for itself is important in protecting against its misrepresentations and misuse. Let us consider five common frauds perpetuated in the guise of loyalty to the Bible.
Indeed, a knowledge of the Bible will actually put us in good stead to respond to these five alleged “frauds.” The first one should wake you up fairly quickly, for the title is:
The Bible Is Not Infallible
The fundamental error of Bible cultists is the doctrine of Bible infallibility. This tenet holds that the Bible must be completely authoritative and trustworthy in all that it asserts as factual, whether in matters of theology, history, or science. The Bible, it is held, does not contain error of any kind.
Yes, this is a direct quote. “Bible cultists” is the term used to describe all of us who believe in the doctrine of biblical infallibility (or, more properly, inerrancy). Once again we see pure Utah Mormonism in this kind of language–language banished from current apologetic efforts at least in some contexts, to be sure.
The first “fraud” these two BYU professors address is the high view of Scripture held by Christians down through the centuries. Ironically, this was the approach taken by Peterson and Hamblin in our KTKK radio dialogue in 1993. Little had changed, so one must wonder if this view has truly disappeared in only a decade, or, is it being downplayed for other reasons? What could give impetus to a higher and higher view of Scripture itself within Mormonism that would, at the same time, give a lower view to the LDS Scriptures? Millet and McConkie were rather confident of the Bible’s fallibility two decades ago:
It has to be significant that the Bible makes no such claim for itself! There is not a single passage of scripture that can properly be used to sustain such a view. Nor is there any agreement among those maintaining such a position as to what version of the Bible should be used or what the Bible is saying on a host of matters.
The Bible never claims perfection! Looks like the 119th Psalm fell out of use for a while in Utah. But note the utter disconnection between the first statement (one surely arguable on its own) and the second: it is painfully clear that the authors have no meaningful knowledge, despite being full professors, of the doctrine of inerrancy, the issue of the transmission of the text of Scripture, and the translation of Scripture itself. While it has always been very common to see confusion in the thinking of LDS missionaries on the issue, we can see that they came by their confusion honestly: even their highest academics showed great confusion about the issue. Canon, inerrancy, inspiration, transmission, textual criticism, and hermeneutics, all thrown into a two sentence statement denying the infallibility of the Word! It only gets worse from here.