Monday, October 10, 2011

Newer, Fresher Revelation

Much ado is being made at present over Pastor Robert Jeffress's remarks at the Values Voters Summit, where he minced no words in expressing to reporters his view that Mormons--members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--belong to a cult.

When news commentator Anderson Cooper interviewed Pastor Jeffress, the latter maintained his previously stated position, though he did do us a favor by clarifying that he considers Mormons to belong to a theological as opposed to a sociological cult. I have my doubts that the American public, and specifically Jeffress's 10,000 congregants, could describe the difference between the two (I can't). Thus cult remains the operative word, ostensibly a bad thing to be a part of, especially if you are running for President.

Though I disagree with most of what Pastor Jeffress said to Mr. Cooper regarding my faith, I did enjoy his characterization of the Book of Mormon as "newer, fresher revelation."

In contrast to the venerable Bible, the Book of Mormon was published relatively recently, early 1830, to be exact. But like the Bible, the Book of Mormon was authored anciently as a record of God's dealings with His children. In this sense the Book of Mormon is not new at all, but a genuine documentation of old-time religion.

The Book of Mormon also provides a fresh look at old problems that have perplexed Christian theologians for many centuries, shedding light on topics such as the proper mode of baptism, the propriety of infant baptism, authority in the Church, the relationship of God the Father and Jesus Christ, spiritual gifts, and so forth. Since there is little historical, let alone current, consensus among Christians on these topics, it's worth the effort to see what the Book of Mormon can contribute to the discussion.

The Book of Mormon was not given to replace the Bible, but to buttress it. In this age of faltering faith and surging secularism, when the fundamental claims of Christianity are increasingly under attack, we need another witness that there is a God and that salvation is obtained through Christ Jesus. And the Book of Mormon forcefully testifies of Christ, something that "competent" Christians should value, if not treasure.

Consider the following typical references to Jesus Christ as found in the Book of Mormon:

I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.

Wherefore we labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to come unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God, that they might enter into his rest.

I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever.

Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him.

Mormon scholar Susan Easton Black once pointed out that some 100 different names and titles are used in the Book of Mormon to refer to Jesus Christ. In total, mention is made of Him 3,925 times in the space of 6,607 verses, or once in every 1.7 verses, making the Book of Mormon one of the most Christ-centric books of all time. Surely such a work is deserves the attention of every "competent" Christian, irrespective of denomination.

As I said before, "above all things, the Book of Mormon is manifestly a Christian document . . . any Christian who prayerfully studies the Book of Mormon in addition to the Bible will find his or her faith in Jesus strengthened in ways he or she never thought possible." I stand by that promise and invite you to test it.

1 comment:

Whitney Hardie said...

Very well said, Nate. Very instructive.