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Is the Bible Sufficient?
by W. John Walsh
The Book of Mormon adds to the word of God! The Bible is the only inspired word of God. I am completely convinced of it! It contains all that we need to know in order to know how to spend eternity with God and how to live on this earth in the meantime. It is sufficient!
Jesus Christ taught a gospel based upon "one Lord, one faith, one baptism," (Ephesians 4:5). Yet today, we find thousands of Christian Churches all believing radically different doctrines concerning salvation. If the Bible were alone sufficient, then we would all enjoy a unity of faith. There would indeed be "one Lord, one faith, one baptism." The Lord's house is a house of order and not of confusion. What went wrong?
(1) When Jesus re-established the true Church in Jerusalem, the Savior gave them more doctrine, scripture, covenants, and ordinances than are presently contained in the New Testament. The Book of Mormon declares:
"And after [the true doctrine shall] go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away." (1 Nephi 13:26)
The purpose of much of the scripture and revelations received by the Church has been to restore that which was previously revealed from heaven, but lost to the world through apostasy. (See Apostates) For example, Latter-day Saints know that marriage and family relationships can be eternal and continue after the resurrection (See Eternal Marriage). These restored truths resolve much of the confusion in the Protestant and Catholic worlds. Alexander Campbell , who founded the Church of Christ, noted:
"..[The Book of Mormon] decides all the great controversies: Infant Baptism, repentance, justification, the fall of man, the atonement, transubstantiation, fasting, penance, Church government, the call to ministry, the general resurrection, eternal punishment, who may baptize, even the questions of free masonry, republican government and the rights of man."
The Book of Mormon is crystal clear on these and other saving doctrines. President Ezra Taft Benson taught:
"Just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ. No one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands and accepts the doctrine of the fall, and its effect upon all mankind. And no other book in the world explains this vital doctrine nearly as well as the Book of Mormon" (A Witness and A Warning, pp. 32 33).
For an example of how the Book of Mormon clarifies saving doctrines, please see The Fall as Taught in the Book of Mormon by Dr. Robert L. Millet.
In addition to clarifying saving doctrine, the Book of Mormon also serves other important purposes. There are many Christians in the world who do not believe the Bible is literally true. They believe that a man named Moses existed, but not that he actually parted the Red Sea. There are many Christians who reject the creation story and believe in organic evolution. In bookstores today, it is common to find books about the "Historical" Jesus, a good man but not the Son of God that his followers proclaimed him to be. The Book of Mormon clearly testifies of these and similar issues. One cannot believe in the Book of Mormon and not also believe in the literalism of the Bible and the divinity of the Savior. The Book of Mormon loudly and unashamedly pronounces:
"Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations." (Title Page of the Book of Mormon)
(2) The word of the Lord to someone else can be useful in teaching general gospel principles. The Book of Mormon teaches:
"And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning." (1 Nephi 19:23)
However, one of the most important principles of the true gospel is that of continuing revelation. The Bible teaches that prophets and apostles are always needed in the Church, to lead the people into a unity of faith in Christ:
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-3)
The Bible is a collection of sacred writings of God's dealings with man in the past. The word of God to someone else is insufficient to instruct men in the ways of Christ today. We need direct instruction from God as to how we should apply gospel principles in our day.
For example, the word of God once given to Abraham was insufficient instruction for Moses to lead the people of Israel to safety. Likewise, the word of God given to Moses was insufficient for the other prophets in the Old Testament to teach the people in their day. Each received their own independent revelations from God. Likewise, in the New Testament, the revelations given to Isaiah and Samuel were insufficient for Peter and Paul. Each received new revelation from God to lead the people in their day. Likewise, the Prophet Joseph Smith received revelation from God in his day. And in our day, the Lord has chosen new spokesmen to lead the people. (See Following the Prophets home page) President Spencer W. Kimball taught:
"The restored Church of Jesus Christ is founded upon the rock of revelation. Continuous revelation is indeed the very lifeblood of the gospel of the living Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ...." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.443)
It should be noted that the Book of Mormon also serves as proof that Joseph Smith really was called of God. If the Book of Mormon is true scripture, then Joseph Smith must be a Prophet of God. If so, then God must still exist and be the same yesterday, and today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) Furthermore, it means that the Lord Jesus Christ himself restored his kingdom to the earth as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
(See Prayer, Fasting, and Revelation home page; LDS Belief in the Bible; The Canonical or Biblical Exclusion; The Book of Mormon home page; Response to Criticism home page; Accusatory Questions home page)
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