Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Truth vs. Wisdom

"If you lack knowledge, go to school.  If you lack wisdom, get on your knees! Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is the proper use of knowledge." ~Vance Havner

If you've ever met with Mormon missionaries or even talked with a Mormon I'm sure that you've been told that you just need to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true.  An argument you will often see is them using James 1:5-7 which states...

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.  For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord."
I have always stated that there is a big difference between truth and wisdom. So in order to better understand what James was getting at let's look at those definitions. Then we can go back and see if it clears things up a bit.

  1. A fact that has been verified.
  2. Conformity to reality or actuality.


  1. Accumulated knowledge or erudition or enlightenment.
  2. The trait of utilizing knowledge and experience with common sense and insight.
An example I like to use is the burner on your stove.  It is either on or off (True or False). Wisdom is being smart enough not to touch it if it's on.  So how can we apply this to the passage in James and especially praying over the Book of Mormon?  James says to pray for wisdom and I completely agree.  However when you hear "You just need to pray to see if the Book of Mormon is true" there is an instant issue.  Can the Book of Mormon be verified?  The answer is a resounding "NO!"  Is it reality or actuality?  Since there is no record of anything prior to Joseph's publishing in 1830 that is also a "NO".

When this point is going nowhere they will often turn to "The Spirit told me the Book of Mormon is true, and that is good enough for me."  Well there is a problem in that for the heart can't be trusted can it?

Jeremiah 17:9  
"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?"
So if the heart can't be trusted, what can we trust to test if something is truth or not? Very simple.

Romans 12:2-3
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your MIND.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will."
So I think we can start to see a pattern here.  Romans is telling us to renew our MIND and wisdom is utilizing knowledge.  Now when we go back and look at the definitions listed above we can clearly see how this is not a standard for truth.  So asking for wisdom is to ask how to best use the knowledge "truth" we have already been given and the only way to know that truth is to compare all things through the lens of the Bible.  This example is made clear in Acts 17:11 when we read...

"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."
Notice they didn't pray about it.  Instead they went to the written Word.  Jesus also used the written word to test truth.  We read this in Mathew chapter 4.

I pray this helps those who read this understand how Mormonisms methods for truth are not of God.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. May God bless you and keep you safe.