…from them shall be taken away even that which they have

I find it rather dispiriting when I see an LDS biblical scholar approvingly cite Marcus Borg to the effect that the Bible “is a human product, not a divine product”, that it is not “‘God’s revealed truth'” and that with such an approach “at least the problem of thinking of them as expressing the will of God disappears” – and then claims this is “how to save the Bible”. Such an approach saves nothing, of course: it renders the Bible as solely a old text of interest only to scholars. It is completely incompatible with any idea that the Bible “is the word of God“, as well as pretty much everything the Book of Mormon has to say about the Bible too, and so certainly doesn’t “save” either as scripture.

Yet perhaps this is to be expected – many such scholars are the product of liberal Protestant schools and have in many cases simply adopted liberal Protestant beliefs about scripture. And it is sad to say that in many of those schools and in large swathes of Christianity, the Bible which they once had has been lost. A number of these academics may continue to study it as a book, but without belief that it contains the words of God, it is no longer scripture to them, expressing “the will of the Lord“. And yet I think that this too is predicted by the very scriptures they’d consider merely human:

Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!

For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.
(2 Nephi 28:29-30)

And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.

And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell. (Alma 12:10-11)

We sometimes assume that once we know something we know it, but both scripture and experience suggest otherwise: we must always be willing to receive more from God, to accept more of His will and to hear more of His words, or we too will lose what we already have.

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5 thoughts on “…from them shall be taken away even that which they have

  1. (1) David Bokovoy went to a secular Jewish university (Brandeis).
    (2) David also hasn’t lost anything from his education. He still teaches seminary and has worked in S&I for over a decade. He is a faithful member of the LDS church, but he has a different approach, and appreciation for, understanding academic research in his appropriating it into his life. That doesn’t call for your response here where the scriptures you quote imply that he is somehow deficient in faith, has hardened his heart, etc.
    You study at the University of Exeter. It shouldn’t be too difficult to see where he is coming from and, even if you disagree with him, respect his opinion.

  2. Colby,

    Marcus Borg, however, is most certainly is a liberal Protestant, as are many of the views he taught. The second paragraph, in any case was aimed more at a quick observation of the general phenomena of such views, which is really what this post is about..

    I almost didn’t quote Alma 12 as it was less applicable than 2 Nephi 28; again it was really only because it commented on this phenomenon of losing what one already has. But I also did not name any individuals, and I *do* find such remarks dispiriting. I believe views like Borg’s carry significant spiritual and intellectual implications and consequences, and do not believe the spread of such views draws people closer to the truth or helps them spiritually. Indeed my opinion is that they can be a great hindrance to people. As such, I certainly reserve the same right to speak against such views as others do to propagate them.

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  5. If anyone happened to follow this brief exchange in the comments, I’ll note that just over a year later, David Bokovoy publicly asserted that the Book of Mormon was not historical, and so that none of the events it records actually took place.

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