Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New visitors last night

I haven’t written much here lately, I have had lots of other stuff on my mind regarding the church. Lately though you can’t go to a webpage without seeing an ad for the mormon church, so I clicked on one and requested a book of mormon. The missionaries came over last night and we spent about two hours talking.

I was trying to hold off any heavy questions, just letting them talk. That is hard for me to do, but I wanted to let them speak and give us their spiel. I had a hard time holding back on the “two personages” appearing to Joseph Smith, time for that later.

I threw a few questions out like “Why would a Jew write in ‘Reformed Egyptian’ instead of Hebrew when they were several centyries removed from living in Egypt when Lehi left Palestine and then almost a millennia removed from that?” It seems unlikely that Mormon or Moroni would even be familiar with Egyptian as a language, much less ‘Reformed Egyptian’ and even less likely that they would have written a record in a language that no one on the continent had ever spoken. I also brought up Hebrews 1. We spent some time on the Bible and why it was trustworthy. When they started giving the lines about it being translated over and over and things being missing, I asked them to give a quick summary of their understanding of the translation methodology and formation of the canon. That seemed to stump them, so I threw out 2 Timothy 3:16, gave some reasons both academic and theological as to why the Bible was trustworthy.

At one point they asked if they could refer to us as “brother” and “sister”. I gently demurred and asked them to call us by our first names. In all seriousness, they are not our brothers in the sense of being brothers in Christ. I also prayed both to open and close the meeting, I have a hard time letting people pray to a false god in my home.

They are coming back next week, I plan on spending a lot of time on the idea of the priesthood and the prophet, the temple and the differences between the Old and New Testament and the New Covenant. In the interim I am going to spend some time in study in the book of Hebrews which totally confounds the notion of a human priesthood. I expect to ask more pointed questions instead of letting them run through their standard presentation without spooking them. Time permitting I am thinking about going with them next weekend for the “priesthood” session of General Conference. Please pray for these two young men that God will work in their hearts. The stories have been pounded hard into these two young men but I know from personal experience that God can change even the hearts of people utterly convinced of a lie and if it is His will, He can and He will change the hearts of these young men.

6 comments:

Scally said...

And how exactly do you establish the reliability of Hebrews? No one knows who wrote it, but it almost certainly wasn't Paul. Early church fathers speculated about its authorship with some assuming it was written by Paul and others claiming it was written by Clement, Barnabas or someone else. Modern scholarship and textual criticism is pretty conclusive that it wasn't Paul. Nevermind the fact that Hebrews had a long history of being questioned or rejected even in the ante-nicene period.

Then you use 2 Timothy to back up your assertions about the reliability of the New Testament canon. Unfortunately, you have the same problem of unknown authorship with 2 Timothy. Few scholars still maintain that the pastoral epistles, including 2 Timothy, were written by Paul, so if you don't know who wrote them, how do you know if they reliably convey God's word? Can you prove that 2 Timothy is not what most scholars say it is, a post-Pauline forgery? Or are are you simply making a declaration of faith?

I'm sure the Mormon missionaries don't know much about the development of the New Testament canon, but is sounds like you don't either.

Steve said...

I'll pray that the Lord uses your words to open their hearts and minds.

Nice work, Arthur!

gloria said...

Dear Arthur,

God bless you for inviting these young men into your home. I pray for you to have the chance to share the good news with them, and plant seeds of truth.

I am curious, if I may be bold enough to ask, "why" would you wish to go to Priestood session with them?


I would think you could do more, by sharing the Good News with them.

Just curious,

Gloria

Arthur Sido said...

"Scally"

Since you hide behind an anonymous screen name and do little more than make blanket assertions like:

Modern scholarship

few scholars

most scholars


with nary a citation or even a single name for who you qualify as "most scholars", you will have to pardon me for being skeptical of your claims. I think you will find that among Christian scholars there is little serious doubt that 2 Timothy was written by anyone other than Paul.

Arthur Sido said...

Gloria,

Fair question. It gives me the opportunity to use the "priesthood" session as a springboard for additional questions. It is a delicate balancing act to show the ways mormonism is false while at the same time demonstarting why Christianity is true.

Charlene said...

How exciting! I will be praying that God opens their hearts to hear what you are sharing with them and that they will turn to a real relationship with him!
(signed, someone who has many mormon friends and has been blessed by your testimony so I know better how to pray for, and talk to, them!)