Two Quick Comments

One: A “biblically-based cratering theory”? Aaaaauuuugh!!

Two: The phrase “biblically based”. Whenever I meet a person who’s part of a new Christian church (now that I think about it, it’s kind of funny that this happens often enough for me to talk about it), they say that their church is unique because it’s “based on the teachings of the bible” — you know, as opposed to all of those other Christian churches out there, which are apparently using some other set of scriptures.

Snark aside, I’m not aware of any mainstream Christian churches that don’t claim to be biblically based, so I’m not sure that calling your church “biblically based” really distinguishes you in any way.

That’s all.

12 comments for “Two Quick Comments

  1. I’m not sure if you were including us, but Mormonism isn’t Bible-based, at least the way Protestantism is, nor Book-of-Mormon-based, or even book-based.

  2. I wasn’t even thinking that deeply on this post. Sometimes a quick idea will cross my mind, and I’ll think, “Yup, let’s put that up on the blog.” But here’s the deal — There’s a T&S perma named Wilfried Decoo. I don’t know much about him, since he’s been occupied with his professional work since I started writing here. So I googled his name this morning, and the first result was this post: . That’s a real post. So any time you get tired of my inane ramblings, just go read that post instead. I think it maybe contains the entire contents of the gospel, wrapped in the life of a young missionary and an elderly sister. That’s the post that I’ll spend the rest of my morning thinking about.

  3. It’s not “bible-based” churches that worry me, but “bible-based” government, schools and almost anything else (as you point out in #1) that does.

  4. Without permission, I’ve taken the liberty of making a personal archive of all of Wilfried Decoo’s posts in case they should ever disappear from the T&S servers. They are all amazing.

  5. Oh, I’m not critiquing the shortness. My own posts of late have been even shorter, mostly a cut-and-paste from my research archives.

    But lots of LDS have absorbed a kind of Protestant approach to scripture.

  6. If I weren’t Mormon, I’d be looking for a non-Biblically based Christian religion to follow. There would be less to read, fewer commandments to remember, and no one thumping their Bible at me all the time….

  7. Ben, I think you’re right about our approach to scripture. I’m reminded of a lament (by Joseph Smith? I can’t quite recall now…) that the saints were unwilling to receive anything unless it could first be proved in the Bible. We certainly prefer the comfort of a clear set of rules and instructions that we can have complete faith in.

    DCL, you share my initials, so that makes you automatically cool :)

  8. When I grew up in the 1950s, only a nut would carry a Bible or BoM into a Mormon meeting. We knew these books, but no one carried one with them.(Unless they were a Missionary).

  9. Yep, that was Joseph Smith at the beginning of the King Follet discourse, about to launch into a radically different understanding of Christianity, knowing full well that members of his audience would cry heretic, so he performs brilliant theological gymnastics to abstract his doctrine from the Bible.

    I actually think that “biblically based” does distinguish a certain set of Christian interpretation. Not wanting to be critical and snarky, I’ll just say that I find absolutely no appeal in the religions and their adherents who feel the need to wave this tag phrase in my direction.

  10. First–“Do you believe the Bible?”

    If we do, we are the only people under heaven that does, for there are none of the religious sects of the day that do.

    Second–“Wherein do you differ from other sects?”

    In that we believe the Bible, and all other sects profess to believe their interpretations of the Bible, and their creeds.

  11. Here’s the best exposition. Though it comes from an Evangelical scholar, it’s actually drawn from a multitude of LDS statements.

    “It is important to underscore here the way in which the Mormon restoration of these ancient offices and practices resulted in a very significant departure from the classical Protestant understanding of religious authority. The subtlety of the issues at stake here is often missed by us Evangelicals, with the result that we typically get sidetracked in our efforts to understand our basic disagreements with Mormon thought. We often proceed as if the central authority issue to debate with Mormons has to do with the question of which authoritative texts ought to guide us in understanding the basic issues of life. We Evangelicals accept the Bible alone as our infallible guide while, we point out, the Latter-day Saints add another set of writings, those that comprise the Bookof Mormon, along with the records of additional Church teachings to the canon- we classic Protestants are people of the Book while Mormons are people of the Books.
    This way of getting at the nature of our differences really does not take us very far into exploring some of our basic disagreements. What we also need to see is that in restoring some features of Old Testament Israel, Mormonism has also restored the kinds of authority patterns that guided the life of Israel. The old Testament people of God were not a people of the Book as such- mainly because for most of their history, there was no completed Book. Ancient Israel was guided by an open canon [of scripture] and the leadership of the prophets. And it is precisely this pattern of communal authority that Mormonism restored. Evangelicals may insist that Mormonism has too many books. But the proper Mormon response is that even these Books are not enough to give authoritative guidance to the present-day community of the faithful.The books themselves are products of a prophetic office, an office that has been reinstituted in these latter days. People fail to discern the full will of God if they do not live their lives in the anticipation that they will receive new revealed teachings under the authority of the living prophets. – Richard Mouw, “What does God think about America?” BYU Studies, 43:4 (2004): 10-11.

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