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On Nov. 18, 2003, I was a guest on Prime Time America, a
nationwide broadcast originating from
Moody Broadcasting Network, a
ministry of Moody Bible Institute,
where I work. In anticipation of specific details, I am making
the following information available.
Today is particularly hard day for our family as we have suffered the loss of a dear friend and extremely gifted Christian apologist, Bob Passantino. Barbara and I have known the Passantino family for more than 20 years. (Maybe 24 years ... those years seem to pass so quickly now.)
Together, Bob and Gretchen Passantino founded the ministry of Answers in Action, a Christian ministry dedicated to providing sound reasons and clear thinking in support of the Christian faith. They were two of the great "unsung" heroes of Christian apologetics, and were formative in my own understanding of Christianity, specifically of both the need and the advantage of having an integrated Christian worldview, so that the individual doctrines of Christianity (beliefs about God, about the Bible, about human beings, about sin, about the paranormal, about science, about music, logic, entertainment, etc.) can form an interrelated whole.
The Christian message develops an even more persuasive appeal when it can be seen that not only does it fit the way we see the world work, but also that the tenets of Christianity do "hang together" in a unified tapestry.
Bob passed away from a massive heart attack on Nov. 17, 2003. The details can be read (for now) on the first page of the ministry website. There is also a sub-page for those who wish to offer condolences to Gretchen and the other members of the Passantino family.
Bob and Gretchen were long-time contributors to Cornerstone magazine, and a personal recollection of Bob can be found on the Cornerstone mag website, along with one of Bob's essays on The "Golden Rule" Apologetic, which I strive to constantly bear in mind when dealing with others. Hope this blesses you as it has me.
The video DNA versus the Book of Mormon can be obtained from MormonChallenge.com and is available in both English and Spanish. The website contains an order form for the book and interviews with the scientists I referred to in the broadcast.
I believe the Book of Mormon teaches a number of true principles (e.g., there is a God, Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah of the Jews, Jesus died to pay the price for sin, God can do miracles, etc.), but the presence of true principles does not make a work inspired by God or Scripture. For instance, Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan (fiction) teaches true principles and when read properly will increase one's trust in Christ, but this does not qualify it as Scripture. At a miniuum, to qualify as Scripture a work must tell the truth about its authorship and origins, and if it professes to record history, that history must be true. The Book of Mormon fails the test because there is good reason to doubt that the Native American peoples (or "American Indians") have descended from the Israelite people, as the Book of Mormon purports.
There are other criteria for canonicity besides telling the truth when one professes to tell history, but I believe that if a work fails at this stage, then it cannot qualify as canonical scripture. But to continue just a bit, any professed work of scripture must at least be in theological harmony with existing scripture and must be free from logical self-contradiction. The theology of the Book of Mormon contradicts the theology of the Bible in some significant areas (e.g., its doctrine of the afterlife, its doctrine of the "land of promise," and its understanding of prophecy), and it contradicts itself in its prophecies alluding to Joseph Smith, Jr.
For additional information on the Book of Mormon from a Christian vantage point, see here:
I think all of these have very helpful information. If you'd like to interact with me, then I'm more than happy to give you my email address for your direct questions.
If there's any way I can be of service, please ask.