I have had several conversations with Mormon (LDS) missionaries who have claimed that either Constantine or the Council of Nicea chose the books of the Bible and that therefore the Bible can’t be trusted.
Let’s assume that the Mormon account is true: Mormon missionaries claim that the Bible has been corrupted over time. Yet, they also say that the Bible came from God and is one of their holy books. If that’s the case, then I’m having trouble seeing how the Mormon god cannot be either powerless or dishonest. At minimum, he must be powerless because he was unable to stop human beings from tampering with his word. In fact, he was unable to preserve his original words to the point that he had to send another prophet (Joseph Smith) to restore them to the world (Book of Mormon, etc.). But if the Mormon god was powerless to protect and preserve the Bible, what confidence can anyone have that he can protect and preserve the Book of Mormon – or any other book for that matter? Given the number of changes to the Book of Mormon (see also here and here) that have taken place, how can anyone be certain that the book is not already corrupted? And if the Mormon god waited almost two thousand years to correct a corrupted Bible, how do we know that he’s not just waiting another length of time until he sets things straight once more?
Not only that but the God of the Bible promised to preserve his words (cf Matt. 5:17-19; Mark 13:31; Luke 16:17; 21:33; Psa. 12:6-7; cf. also Deut. 29:29; Psa. 19:9; 102:18; 111:7-8; 119:89-91,152,160; Is. 40:8; 59:20-21; Dan. 12:4; Matt. 4:4; Rom. 15:4; 1Cor. 9:10; 10:11; 1Pet. 1:25 — See Has God Indeed Said?: The Preservation of the Text of the New Testament by for a discussion of the Bible text the Mormons use (KJV)). However, according to the Mormon missionaries, he didn’t do so. This means that, if not powerless, then the Mormon god must have been lying when he made those promises in the Bible. Yet, if that’s the case, it’s hard to see how we can trust anything the Mormon god says or promises because he may or may not actually keep his word. No matter which option one takes, ie. that either the Mormon god was lying when he promised to preserve his word or that he was well-meaning but powerless to keep his promises, such a god does not inspire much confidence.
Now let’s look at what really happened: The Council of Nicea had nothing to do with choosing which books were part of the Bible. It was about the nature of Jesus. Here is what James R. White has to say on the matter:
The Council of Nicea is often misrepresented by cults and other religious movements. The actual concern of the council was clearly and unambiguously the relationship between the Father and the Son. Is Christ a creature, or true God? The council said He was true God. Yet, the opponents of the deity of Christ did not simply give up after the council’s decision. In fact, they almost succeeded in overturning the Nicene affirmation of Christ’s deity. But faithful Christians like Athanasius continued to defend the truth, and in the end, truth triumphed over error.
This makes the situation worse. On the one hand, if the Mormon missionaries are correct, then the Mormon god cannot be trusted because he is unable – either due to dishonesty or powerlessness – to bring about what he says he will do. On the other hand, if the Mormons are incorrect – and historically speaking, they are – then their argument against the Bible falls apart and Mormonism is superfluous because there is no need to restore something when nothing is missing in the first place. Such is the dilemma I would not like to be facing if I were a Mormon missionary.