Mormonism 201: Chapter 7 – The Bible

Response to Kevin Graham
Rejoinder by Eric Johnson

In
order to make this review easier to read, all original quotes from the
Mormonism 201 rebuttal are boldfaced and italicized to separate these from the
rest of the rejoinder.

In a rambling style that really does not stay
focused because it moves around to different areas of Mormonism 101
(beyond the scope of our chapter seven on the Bible), Kevin Graham, the founder
and publisher of www.anti-mormonism-revealed.com,
gives several arguments against our work.

Before I begin a
short rejoinder to Graham's chapter, I want to refer the reader to my rejoinder
to Benjamin McGuire on this same chapter. It is there where I cover much of
what Kevin Graham critiques. In fact, Graham acknowledges that "Benjamin
McGuire has already provided a thorough treatment of Chapter 7."

As
far as his argument on our use of:

  • Orson Pratt's quote at
    the beginning of chapter 7 in Mormonism 101, please see our
    response to Benjamin McGuire.
  • quotes of LDS leaders
    and his insistence that "LDS doctrine can only be determined when
    the First Presidency, including the twelve apostles, concur on a
    particular issue that is submitted for vote,"
    we suggest a
    two-part series that we wrote, originally published in the Christian
    Research Journal. (http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/pinning-down-mormon-doctrine.html)
  • other sources and
    possible plagiarism charges against Bill and me ("The Cutting Edge"),
    please see our response to Lance Starr's rebuttal on chapter 14, the Word
    of Wisdom.
  • Ezra Taft Benson and a
    quote we give that Graham claims is out of context, we do not see Graham's
    point. Based on his words from 1949, Benson clearly believed that there
    was an apostasy and that "the Church that Jesus had established and
    sanctioned was no longer on this earth."
    Graham gives a quote from
    Benson that insists that there were others, including John Wesley and
    Roger Williams, who also believed that a church with proper authority was
    necessary. First, Graham provides no references so I can't check on
    whether these quotes were taken out of their context. And second,
    Christianity is not based upon the personal opinions of Christians, no
    matter what their rank, but rather on the Word of God. Graham is unable to
    prove his point with the evidence he provides. (We certainly hope that
    he's not using the out-of-context quotes that were posted years ago in the
    Temple Square North Visitor's Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.)
  • the Bible as a
    sufficient guide, Graham writes: "Generally, if someone were to ask
    me if I felt like the Bible was trustworthy, I would most emphatically say
    yes! But if someone were to ask me if the Bible were sufficient to answer
    the question of the age of baptism, I would have to say no. Does this,
    however, demand a conclusion that I do not trust the Bible at all? Do our
    authors really trust the Bible 100% for every matter that could come to
    our imagination? Is the Bible trustworthy and a sufficient guide when it
    comes to learning Trigonometry?"

This logical
fallacy is known as a red herring. Basically, a red herring was used to throw
off the scent of tracking dogs on a hunt to see how good their sense of smell
was. A smelly fish was dragged along the ground to see the quality of a dog's
sense of smell. In the same way, Graham would like to get off the issue of his
church's view of scripture by providing these questions intended to lead onto
tangents.

There are many
good books that can be read on the interpretation of scripture, with the best
one for the layperson (in my opinion)  titled How to Read the Bible for All
Its Worth
by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart (Zondervan, 1993). As far as
books on the Bible, including the authority of scripture and textual criticism,
consider my book recommendations in the rejoinder on Benjamin McGuire's
chapter.

All in all, there
is not much that Graham provides that we haven't dealt with in other chapters.
Therefore, we suggest that the reader look in these other places for answers to
Graham's objections of our chapter on the Bible.