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.