In early September (2008) one of Mormon Coffee’s LDS friends left this comment:
“On my other posts, I am finding a disturbing trend. I find that when I reference Christ’s words from the New Testament more often than not the rebuttal comes from Paul’s writings.
“I have developed a general rule of thumb when reading the scriptures. If there seems to be a contradiction in meaning, I give priority to the Saviors words.
“Because so much of what evangelicals seem to believe comes from Paul’s writings- often it would seem to the neglect of the Savior’s- would it be correct to assume that you worship Paul?”
Evangelicals, it should go without saying, do not worship the apostle Paul. Neither do we resolve what may seem to be contradictions in Scripture by choosing the words of Paul over the words of Christ. Rather, Evangelicals believe all the words recorded in the Bible are equally authoritative and fully reconcilable, presenting a consistent and seamless witness of the Truth of God.
Agreeing with Ephesians 2:19-20, we believe “the household of God [is] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.” What this means has been well-explained:
“To say that the church’s foundation includes the apostles is not in any way to denigrate Jesus as the cornerstone upon which the church rests (v. 20). Actually, to affirm the apostolic nature of the church is to affirm strongly the headship of Christ over His church. The function of the apostle helps us understand how this can be the case. Apostolos is the Greek term for ‘apostle’ and in the first-century Roman world was used of those delegated to speak for a person of authority. The caesar and other ruling officials could send apostles to speak for them in other places, and when the apostles spoke, their words carried the authority of the official who sent them. To reject these apostles was to reject the authority of the one who commissioned them for service; therefore, to deny the apostles of Jesus is to deny the authority of Jesus Himself.
“Paul mentions the prophets as part of the foundation of the covenant community (v. 20), a clear reference to Isaiah, Daniel, Amos and all the other well-known men who spoke for God under the old covenant, and whose words were recorded in the books that bear their names. But this grouping of prophets also includes all the authors of the Old Testament, such as Moses, David, and the other unnamed writers of books like Judges and Chronicles. All of these individuals are also prophets because they give us the Almighty’s very Word (2 Peter 1:16-20).
“If the prophetic foundation of the church is to be equated with their writings, so too is the apostolic foundation of the church found in the apostolic writings. The Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Revelation carry equally the authority of Christ, for they were written by those our Lord called to speak for Him (Luke 10:1-16; John 14:26). It is a great error to elevate the words of Jesus in the Gospels above other parts of Scripture, for the words of Scripture, no matter where they are located, are breathed-out by God Himself (2 Tim. 3:16-17).” (Tabletalk, August 2008, page 33)
I reprint this here in order to explain the Evangelical understanding of the authority of Scripture. I know it will be a great temptation for the ensuing discussion to fall into the idea of the validity/non-validity of Mormon apostles. Please resist that temptation. Suffice it to say that the above information is referring to the biblical apostles; Evangelicals do not recognize any authority in the LDS apostles (see 2 Corinthians 11). Therefore, please limit your discussion to the topic at hand; that is, the authority of the written Word of God as contained in the Bible.