I suppose I'll take this nodeshell on. The question that really needs to be asked is: Does the Bible not allow for additional scripture? Most verses of the Bible in reference to this say that you shouldn't change, remove or add to the Bible; something that has already been done. The Catholic Church has a large selection of canonized works that actually introduce new theological concepts like the Trinity. Mormon Scriptures like the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants are not additions to the Bible. They are completely seperate works. I'm pretty sure you can make the argument that there should be no scripture beyound the Old Testament based on verses found in it that are very similar to ones in the New Testament. A good question to ask yourself is: Why would God leave us with only the Bible, especially in it's current badly translated and incomplete state. I'll need to do some research to come up with a better explanation...
Baron: Actually Mormon Scripture does not "supercede" any other scripture.

anotherone: It's not quite so definite. As, I think, aozilla points out, that verse pertains to the Book of Revelations. Heh, we won't know what really happened to Brother Joseph until we die. I don't think being martyred is a sign that God didn't like you.

aozilla: The LDS Church actually goes around asking people to do just what you are saying. Read the Book of Mormon, then think about it and pray about it. I'm not sure why being written after "the time of the apostles" is a problem actually. The Church refers to the period after they died to the Restoration of the Church as the Apostasy. The LDS Church has Apostles and Prophets and believe that authority was given to Joseph Smith to reestablish this. ::shrug::

More on the book: Well, the real answer to "What book is being talked about?" is that it's very much a matter of interpretation. It does appear right at the end of the Bible, and makes a nice ending to the whole thing. Or the "book" in question could be the "book of life" that is mentioned earlier in the Book of Revelations. Remember, the one with the seven seals or whatever. I'm not sure what the consensus is on the issue, but it's definitely not a definite disallowal of modern scripture.

Hmm, look at the next verse (22:19): "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of THIS prophecy..." That seems to indicate the Book of Revelations which includes said prophecy. I'm sure this is debatable, but the "added scriptures" attack isn't even really used by anti-mormons anymore so it can't be that strong of an argument.

The Old Testament certainly doesn't disallow additional scripture - there were literally thousands of texts added to the Jewish cannon over the two millennia or so since the original corpus of the OT was compiled. Not only that, but at the time of its compilation there were texts which were considered for inclusion and eventually rejected for various reasons, and they remain part of the Jewish scriptural tradition under the name "External Books".

By this reasoning, any book which is accepted by the religious authorities and/or luminaries of the time can enter the culture as a valid and binding religious scripture, even though the actual structure of the OT is accepted as cannon and I don't think anyone will consider re-editing it these days.

Hebrews 1:1-2 says: "Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son...." 1 Timothy 6:14 says, "{I charge you} to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ." On these two passages in particular, the Catholic Church argues that there is to be no further revelation. In the first, the point is that the voice of the Son speaks with the authority of the Father and may not therefore be gainsaid. In the second, the point is that inspired scripture tells believers to keep THIS faith until Jesus comes.

I do not know much about Mormonism, but this seems to argue against the possibility of further divine revelation. Rabidcow is correct to point out that the literary history of the Bible is confused, but from a theological point of view, I have to stand with the New Testament statements on this issue, rather than argue for an all-inclusive scriptural structure.

One final note: while I am a Catholic myself, the Church does not represent the entire spectrum of Christian views, so the idea that the Church has some sort of ultimate authority over these questions (as suggested by both above writeups) will generate a good deal of flak from non-Catholics.


To my good friend Taltos: It is an interesting Johannine passage, but we can assume this means that Jesus did a lot more stuff--healings, exorcisms, etc.--than is practical to record. This does not imply that there are additional teachings which were edited out for lack of space. Of course, it could very well imply this, but it seems odd to think that the author of Gos. John would have omitted anything really important. But from a Catholic point of view, even Jesus's mere acts contain teaching points, encouraging us to go out and do good works. So that's a whole lot of meaningless nonsense I just wrote.

Does the Bible allow for additional (specifically Mormon) scripture? There are many arguments and counterarguments relating to this question, which has been a significant one in the mainstream Christian community for some time. (Note: for the purposes of this writeup I will exclude the LDS Church from the "mainstream Christian" community. While members of the Mormon church certainly consider themselves Christian the rest of the world happens to disagree vehemently.) There are two main points to consider when pondering this question:

  1. Is there a Biblical-theological basis for scripture other than the Bible?
  2. If there is, does the Bible specifically disallow any possible "additions"?

We will consider both of these questions in turn.

First, we must ask if there is any rationale (in the Bible itself especially) for other scripture? A simple analysis of the methods of God lends itself nicely to answering this question. Throughout the Bible, God reveals himself and His word to many different prophets in varying ways. (As noted in Hebrews 1: 1-2.) Each of these mortal messengers, or prophets, wrote about their experiences, and many of these works are included in the canonical Bible. (E.g. Moses, Daniel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Malachi.) However, the aforementioned Hebrews passage notes that God, "hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son." Interpreted, this passage seems to state that Christ was the final word on the gospel. However, this interpretation is clearly false by the examination of the rest of the New Testament. While Jesus did not preach to the Gentiles during his mortal ministry, the Apostle Peter later received revelation (in a dream) that they were to preach to the Gentiles at that time. It seems clear that the keys of the Apostleship are the defining trait necessary for revelation and additional scripture after the time of Christ.

This then begs the question: Can there be additional scripture now that the original Apostles are gone? How can someone who did not see Christ's ministry be an Apostle? (Apostles are defined as special witnesses of Jesus Christ.) To answer this question we need only look at the case of the Apostle Paul. Paul was not a witness to the mortal ministry of Christ. In fact, he fought against the Christian Church vigorously. But on the road to Damascus he was visited by the Savior and this experience gave him the witness he needed to be a true Apostle. It thus is evident that Christ (through similar means) can call any man to be a true Apostle. It therefore follows that scripture beyond the Bible is certainly possible through the works of any Apostles.

Now we must consider the second question. Does the Bible specifically disallow any additional scripture? A few scriptures are quoted which purport to answer this question in the affirmative, but one is the most significant: Revelation 22: 18-19.

18. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

It is important to note here that in the original Greek, the Greek word for scripture has been translated in the KJV as "book". Thus we see that John the Revelator has clearly indicated that no man is to add to nor remove from this scripture (i.e. the Bible.) But wait! When John wrote the Apocalypse, he was not ending the compilation of writings that would later become The Holy Bible. He was finishing his revelation and prophecy about the end of the world. For this scripture to refer to the entire Bible, John would have had to have looked into the future (not unlikely, as he was the Revelator), seen the Bible in its finished form (compiled over the course of a few centuries by men) and approved of its contents. This is not an unreasonable assertion, except that the original Catholic Bible contains more books than the current Protestant Bible! Thus all of the Protestant world, by this scripture, would fall under condemnation for taking away the words of his prophecy. In fact, for this scripture to have any validity as applied to the whole Bible, John would have had to specify one specific edition of the Bible published at a specific time, as they are all at least slightly different. Given that he did not do that, it seems much more likely that these verses refer specifically to the Revelation of John.

It is therefore clear that the Bible certainly allows for additional scripture, if that scripture is laid forth by Apostles (special witnesses of Jesus Christ). The Bible in no way disallows "additions" to its admittedly man-contrived canon. Therefore, the authenticity of Mormon (or any) additional scripture hinges on the Apostolic authority of its authors.

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