This morning I read the talk, "My Words... Never Cease" by Elder Jeffery R. Holland in the 2008 April General Conference. He is one of my all time favorite speakers. He is so bold in his deliverance and he loves what he says. I invite all of you to watch or read his address. Man oh man is it a good one. (Click Here to watch or read his article).
Some quotes that I love...
One of the arguments often used in any defense of a closed canon is the New Testament passage recorded in Revelation 22:18: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of … this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.” However, there is now overwhelming consensus among virtually all biblical scholars that this verse applies only to the book of Revelation, not the whole Bible. Those scholars of our day acknowledge a number of New Testament “books” that were almost certainly written after John’s revelation on the Isle of Patmos was received. Included in this category are at least the books of Jude, the three Epistles of John, and probably the entire Gospel of John itself. Perhaps there are even more than these.
But there is a simpler answer as to why that passage in the final book of the current New Testament cannot apply to the whole Bible. That is because the whole Bible as we know it—one collection of texts bound in a single volume—did not exist when that verse was written. For centuries after John produced his writing, the individual books of the New Testament were in circulation singly or perhaps in combinations with a few other texts but almost never as a complete collection. Of the entire corpus of 5,366 known Greek New Testament manuscripts, only 35 contain the whole New Testament as we now know it, and 34 of those were compiled after A.D. 1000.
This quote was especially nice. I had someone in one of my teaching appointments ask me this question about the scripture in Revelations. I didn't completely know what to say. So this was nice being able to know what to say for next time.
Continuing revelation does not demean or discredit existing revelation. The Old Testament does not lose its value in our eyes when we are introduced to the New Testament, and the New Testament is only enhanced when we read the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
Please do not misunderstand. We love and revere the Bible. The Bible is the word of God. It is always identified first in our canon, our “standard works.” Indeed, it was a divinely ordained encounter with the fifth verse of the first chapter of the book of James that led Joseph Smith to his vision of the Father and the Son, which gave birth to the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our time. But even then, Joseph knew the Bible alone could not be the answer to all the religious questions he and others like him had. He said in his own words, the ministers of his community were contending—sometimes angrily—over their doctrines. About the only thing these contending religions had in common was, ironically, a belief in the Bible, but, as Joseph wrote, “the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question [regarding which church was true] by an appeal to the Bible.” Clearly the Bible, so frequently described at that time as “common ground,” was nothing of the kind—unfortunately it was a battleground. Thus one of the great purposes of continuing revelation through living prophets is to declare to the world through additional witnesses that the Bible is true.
“The risen Jesus, at the end of Matthew’s Gospel, does not say, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth is given to the books you are all going to write,’ but [rather] ‘All authority in heaven and on earth is given to me.’ ” In other words, “Scripture itself points … away from itself and to the fact that final and true authority belongs to God himself.” So the scriptures are not the ultimate source of knowledge for Latter-day Saints. They are manifestations of the ultimate source. The ultimate source of knowledge and authority for a Latter-day Saint is the living God. The communication of those gifts comes from God as living, vibrant, divine revelation. We believe in a God who is engaged in our lives, who is not silent, not absent, nor, as Elijah said of the god of the priests of Baal, is He “[on] a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be [awakened].” In this Church, even our young Primary children recite, “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”
How grateful I am for continued revelation. For the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. For the knowledge that I have of a living prophet who is called of God to receive revelation to lead and guide the church of Jesus Christ. I know that this is literally Christ's church upon the earth. I know that it was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that the Book of Mormon is another witness of Jesus Christ and that it's words, along with the words of the Bible, contain the fulness of the gospel. How grateful I am to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.