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The Catalog of Antimormon Accusations
This Book is Contentious...
by Woody Brison

This is one leaf of a review of "Inside Mormonism: What Mormons Really Believe" by Isaiah Bennett
Back to the main page of the review

Bennett's statement: This book is contentious in one sense: It contends for the true faith, once for all delivered unto the New Testament saints and, through them, to us. We are commanded to explain, defend, and, yes, contend for the faith.2
<=== Found on p. 11
65% of the way down the page

This injunction was not given to Bennett or anyone like him.

There were apostates in Paul's day; much of the material in the Epistles is directed against one form of apostasy or another. When Paul and Jude told the "New Testament saints" (the New Testament didn't exist for another 300 years) to contend with apostates (and he set the example by writing those letters), they did not wish for the apostates to contend back! That advice was not directed at everyone in general. It was given to the Christians, who had the authority and priesthood of Jesus.

The early Christian church as a whole fell into general apostacy and lost that authority. People then continued with the ceremonies and appearances, without authority, down to the present day.

Traditional Christians have no charter from God to argue and contend. To vigorously persuade unbelievers to believe in Christ, perhaps; but not to contend against each other, and certainly not against the authority and priesthood of Jesus now that it has been restored to the earth, as Bennett is doing. His claim to be chartered from God is spurious.
Bennett's footnote 2 cites 1Thessalonians 2:2 and Jude 3. Let's look at them, in context:

1Thess. 2:2) But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.

It doesn't mean that the missionaries contended; it means other people fought them and made an uproar. Acts 16 is a record of the events in Philippi, and it nowhere says the missionaries argued vigorously with anyone; they spake to some women at the river side, they went to prayer; for many days they endured the provocations of a girl who had an evil spirit; finally Paul cast out the spirit, and for that they were beaten and put in prison. They were rescued by an earthquake, but they didn't cause that. After they comforted the disciples they left.

Continuing with Paul's letter about how they addressed the Thessalonians, (v.3-11) ...we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children ... we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children...

Note that Jude 3 says Jude wrote an earlier letter. Where is it? Clearly, the New Testament is missing that letter, along with numerous others. We do not have anything like a complete capture of the early Christian literature. Without knowing what Jude wrote in the earlier letter, it's impossible to judge what he advised by way of "contending".
Notes

1. Woody Brison is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but this website is not affiliated with the church. It may be thought of as an additional, somewhat independent witness.

2. I want this page to be as accurate as I can make it. If you have a correction, please email me.

3. All biblical quotations are from the King James unless otherwise noted.

Copyright 2013 Woody Brison. All rights reserved.