We live in a post-modern age where a zealous passion for truth is considered, at best, odd, especially in “academic” circles. So much of modern scholarship is based upon the idea that there really is no certainty available to us in any field, and surely not in theology, hence, why bother debating? Let’s just discuss things, see if we can “build consensus,” and encourage peace and harmony. Of course, that consensus may change radically in the near future, but “its the best we have.”
Why would I bother to challenge William Hamblin to a public debate in Salt Lake City? Basically because I believe God is glorified when His truth is proclaimed. Notice I did not say when His truth is embraced, but when it is proclaimed. God is glorified even in the rejection by sinful men of His truth. If you don’t believe that, ask yourself why God sent Isaiah to proclaim his message even when He said He would harden the hearts and minds of those to whom Isaiah made his proclamation. Sometimes proclamation is part of judgment. But in any case, it is always glorifying to God.
Mormonism is a false religious system. It presents a false god, a false Christ, a false gospel, a false church, false scriptures, and a false priesthood. William Hamblin is one of the promoters of this religion. He promotes it in his writings, speeches, and his teachings. He was one of three LDS apologists I engaged in a radio discussion years ago on KTKK radio (the others were Daniel C. Peterson and Martin Tanner). As a professor at Brigham Young University, he has a platform for the promulgation of his beliefs. He seeks to defend Mormonism, which, logically, means he must likewise believe that God did in fact tell Joseph Smith that all Christian churches were corrupt and their creeds an abomination. He has tried to defend blatant errors in the Book of Mormon as well (see my CRI article). He has felt it appropriate to engage in apologetic activities, including responding to claims we have made, in the past.
In his replies to our little tract on temples he made numerous claims, some of which involved the concept of the LDS priesthood. The priesthood issue is central to LDS claims of authority, and, it is likewise an issue upon which a tremendous amount of biblical data exists. The Mormon concept is far removed from Scripture, and any public encounter would demonstrate this. Who would be benefited thereby? Only those who have been changed by the Holy Spirit of God so that they seek, in the Word, their final authority. But those are the very ones I seek to edify through the printed word, the spoken word, and through the vehicle of debate.
The subject lends itself very naturally to a God-honoring, Christ-glorifying presentation of the supremacy of Christ as our one high priest; the finished nature of His work; and the abiding existence of Christ’s church (over against Mormon claims of total apostasy). Hence the value of such a challenge.