The general tenor of the conversation was very pleasant. I have went out of my way to show Dustin respect so he knows I love him, even though I believe he is involved in a sinful lifestyle that is directly contrary to Scripture. He knows this because once we had a civil debate on the topic that got very detailed very quickly.
For example, we studied and discussed key Greek and Hebrew words in the relevant passages in Scripture. Dustin attempted to write everything off as “out-of-context” or “cultural prejudices”. I did my best to not let him get away with that, however. A lot of it comes down to his inadequate view of inspiration and inerrancy.
During our recent conversation, I will say that I noted an improvement in Dustin’s overall attitude towards Scripture and also towards his view of orthodox Christian theology. He used to view both with a great amount of distrust that bordered on disdain. These days he now says he classifies the Book of Mormon (as well as the other foundational Mormon works) as “faulty attempts”; meaning he categorically rejects them as being the Word of God or even divinely inspired.
To that end, Dustin actually popped open the trunk of his ride as we were leaving and told me he had a gift for me. I was curious, and I was walked over, Dustin handed me a Joseph Smith “Inspired Version” of the Bible, as well as a fairly old copy of the Book of Mormon and a rare version of the Doctrine and Covenants. His reason? He longer uses them! Plus, he knows that I love to study other religions and had been asking him to get me a copy of these works for a while. I was elated.
Moreover, as I was driving away, Dustin called me on my cell and asked what version of the Bible – other than the NIV - he should buy. This is significant because Mormons only accept the KJV. I recommended the ESV or the NASB but he seems to be leaning towards the NRSV (go figure).
Aug 22, 2009
ME, MY FRIEND & BART EHRMAN part 5
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