One of the core tenants of mainstream Christianity is that the Bible is sufficient, or in other words, that it contains everything that God would want us to know. Latter-day Saints, on the other hand, not only have other sources of scripture, but believe that God continues to speak through prophets like Moses or Paul.
Is the Bible Really Sufficient?
Is the Bible really sufficient? It’s hard to answer such a question in the affirmative. Even the Bible itself makes no such claim, and we wouldn’t want to add to the word of God, would we?
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Christian sects on the earth today. Were the Bible complete and sufficient, there would be but one faith, and one baptism, for there is only one Lord (Ephesians 4:5). God is not a God of confusion or contention.
What’s more, there are many known “lost books” that are referred to within the Bible itself in such a way that we know they are authoritative, and yet we know not where they are. These include the book of the Wars of the Lord, the book of Jasher, and many others (see Lost Books). In addition to these lost books, Christianity itself cannot agree on which books should be accepted in the canon, and there are several different sets of canonical books.
Latter-day Saints love and revere the Bible and it’s teachings. That should not be forgotten. Yet we also recognize that there is potential for other revelation that could be of great benefit. Think about, for example, what actually makes up most of the New Testament. It is a collection of letters written to the early Christians that lived two thousand years ago. While the principles taught therein are still applicable, and we can learn much on how to live our lives, circumstances have changed drastically in two millenia, and the things that God emphasized back then may be different from what He would emphasize now. That doesn’t even take into consideration how different some of the epistles are. If congregations in the same time needed such different instruction and focus, why would that change in today’s world where Christian churches dot the globe? How much better would it be if we had both the letters written to Christians two thousand years ago, and apostles to write us letters today, letters from God meant for and designed for us!
A God Who Speaks
Hugh B. Brown was in Europe on the eve of World War II, and was having a conversation with a judge about the need for modern revelation in addition to the writings of the ancient prophets. He records this conversation as follows:
I began by asking, “May I proceed, sir, on the assumption that you are a Christian?”
“I assume you believe in the Bible—the Old and New Testaments?”
“Do you believe in prayer?”
“You say that my belief that God spoke to a man in this age is fantastic and absurd?”
“To me it is.”
“Do you believe that God ever did speak to anyone?”
“Certainly, all through the Bible we have evidence of that.”
“Did He speak to Adam?”
“To Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Joseph, and on through the prophets?”
“I believe He spoke to each of them.”
“Do you believe that contact between God and man ceased when Jesus appeared on the earth?”
“No, such communication reached its climax, its apex, at that time.”
“Do you believe that Jesus was the Son of God?”
“Do you believe, sir, that after Jesus was resurrected, a certain lawyer—who was also a tentmaker by the name of Saul of Tarsus—when on his way to Damascus talked with Jesus of Nazareth, who had been crucified, resurrected, and had ascended into heaven?”
“Whose voice did Saul hear?”
“It was the voice of Jesus Christ, for He so introduced Himself.”
“Then, my Lord—that is the way we address judges in the British Commonwealth—I am submitting to you in all seriousness that it was standard procedure in Bible times for God to talk to man.”
“I think I will admit that, but it stopped shortly after the first century of the Christian era.”
“Why do you think it stopped?”
“I can’t say.”
“You think that God hasn’t spoken since then?”
“I am sure He hasn’t.”
“There must be a reason. Can you give me a reason?”
“I do not know.”
“May I suggest some possible reasons? Perhaps God does not speak to man anymore because He cannot. He has lost the power.”
He said, “Of course that would be blasphemous.”
“Well, then, if you don’t accept that, perhaps He doesn’t speak to men because He doesn’t love us anymore and He is no longer interested in the affairs of men.”
“No,” he said, “God loves all men, and He is no respecter of persons.”
“Well, then, if He could speak, and if He loves us, then the only other possible answer, as I see it, is that we don’t need Him. We have made such rapid strides in science and we are so well educated that we don’t need God anymore.”
And then he said—and his voice trembled as he thought of impending war—“Mr. Brown, there never was a time in the history of the world when the voice of God was needed as it is needed now. Perhaps you can tell me why He doesn’t speak.”
My answer was: “He does speak, He has spoken; but men need faith to hear Him” (Profile of a Prophet).
I echo the feeling of that judge so many years ago – that there was never a time in the history of the world where we needed to hear God’s voice more. I love and cherish the Bible, for it helps me know my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But there is more that he continues to say, just for me, and for you, and for all those living in 2012. The Bible, as wonderful as it is, was never meant to be a complete collection of all God’s words.
You can request a copy of The Book of Mormon here. Read and test it for yourself. It truly is God’s word, and evidence that God continues to speak today.