Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Alexander Campbell on the book of Mormon

Ah, the ease of the Internet. Turns out that Dr Alexander Campbell's book Delusions, a contemporary refutation of the book of Mormon, is available here and here.

His key points of internal evidence, by which Campbell means, as in light with the remainder of the Bible, are:

  • (p.11) God separated the Aaronite and the Levite priesthood so strictly that Hebrews 7 points out that even Jesus could not approach the altar and usurp the position of Levi.
  • (p.12) The departure from Jerusalem and Canaan, far from being experienced as a curse and punishment (see Deuteronomy 29,21), is accepted happily by Levi & Nephi. But positing any other land makes God into a liar, breaking His prophecies. 
  • (p.12) Neither do the Jews show any sadness for Jerusalem and the Temple of the Lord, as they did in Babylon.
  • (p.13) Paul states that some of his knowledge about the Apostles are secrets that are only now being revealed (e.g. Romans 11), but the Book of Mormon gives them out hundreds of years earlier.
  • (p.13) Campbell is suspicious of the fact that so much doctrinal controversies discussed in New York during the 1820s, citing "infant baptism, ordination, the trinity, regeneration, repentance, justification, the fall of man, the atonement, transubstantiation, fasting, penance, church government, religious experience, the call to the ministry, the general resurrection, eternal punishment, who may baptize, and even the question of freemasonry, republican government, and the rights of man" (p.13).
  • (p.13) John the Baptist is said to preach in Bethabara and Jesus claimed to be born in Jerusalem.
His key points of external evidence are:
  • Smith and his collaborators cannot bear witness for themselves, as John 5:31 ("If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.") points out.
  • The test for prophets is whether their prophecies have come true (Deut 18,22; not 18,3 as in the pamphlet).

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