The Arrow's Direction: One moves from Reason. Logic, & Love's Reciprocity into Divine Communique into Scripture — as per the following:
"......But then you learn that it was the final work of the great Ingmar Bergman. The belief that Bergman is the director will commit you to another viewing as you look for meaning and significance where you hadn’t seen it before......." (...from R.R.'s opening post...)That speaks quite well to the fact that Scripture is not the reason the Christian believes Scripture to be one part of the Divine Communique with respect to Totality v. God, but, instead, it is the other way around.
Both reasoning  from Scripture moving outward and also reasoning  from "outside" moving into Scripture are both modes which demand evidence and lucidity and simply cannot change the nature and demands of rational inquiry and of rational metrics.
""That is all this boils down to, if people are honest...One side believes things, more-or-less, because the Bible says so.” Not exactly. It matters, doesn't it, why one side believes the Bible." (by WisdomLover)The post titled, How Natural Theology Helps Strengthen the Authority of the Bible is at https://www.str.org/w/how-natural-theology-helps-strengthen-the-authority-of-the-bible and the following are a few excerpts from its com-box or comment section:
Well stated. As usual. Both reasoning  from Scripture moving outward and also reasoning  from "outside" moving into Scripture are both modes which demand evidence and lucidity and simply cannot change the nature and demands of rational inquiry and of rational metrics…..
….With or without Scripture’s express vectors it is the case that logic compels reason herself into the triune (…btw the timeless reciprocity of love’s irreducible metaphysic also does….), but, that’s all quite another topic (sort of) than the intent of the OP (opening piece).
That said, it is worth a brief comment in order to shed light on the fact that the creation of God which is the testimony of God given to Man also includes our own consciousness and as reason and logic bear down upon that entire arena she begins to spy the unavoidable contours of something irreducibly triune. Non-Theistic thinkers do most of the Christian’s work for him – if the Christian is patient – as they race towards reality’s epicenter (…the Divine Mind…) and once they leave materialism behind they arrive in some close or distant cousin of Solipsism and – lest God – pull up short. It’s uncanny as we follow the nature of [A] our own “contingent” consciousness and work our way towards and into the nature of [B] “necessary” consciousness vis-à-vis all the philosophical work of necessity, contingency, divine simplicity, Pure Act, potential, “Being Itself”, and what lands in the infinite consciousness of the Divine Mind….. […as per https://metachristianity.com/thoroughly-trinitarian-metaphysic/ which was in an earlier form in that comment box etc…].
I don't know all the writings you mention Sam (In particular I don't know anything about Conversations with God.)
However, it does seem that at least two of the books you list, the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Abraham, are ruled out if you hold the view that God could not become more powerful than he is.
Natural Theology can and does teach that God is Omnipotent (and hence cannot become more powerful than He already is). So Natural Theology proves that those are not God-inspired.
Perhaps a similar argument could be used to rule out other writings.
A common Non-Theistic complaint: “….you have nothing but circular reasoning fooling you once you believe anything about something through another route or path….".
That is an interesting bit of psychology which seems to claim immunity for SOME “directions” of inquiry, as the proverbial a priori tries to hide or even claim non-existence. First of all, that premise speaks "as-if" Non-Theists never become Theists and as-if Theists never become Non-Theists. Second of all, in a way that is a projection of what seems to be the questioner’s own unfortunate intellectual habits onto others. For example if one mistakenly believes that Christians are “only” employing "-Cause-da-Bible!" as their full-stop for reasoning about reality then the complaint is merely a projection of one’s own false belief about Christians – a belief btw which is nothing more than stereotyping and group-think – onto the “other group”, in this case Christians. Evidence based faith there at the end of John and in Paul's appeal to what is today the equivalent of the physical sciences seems to evade the premises within the complaint.
That said, many start outside of God/Scripture and find convergence along the way as reason, logic, and love compel them towards and into a thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic.
Should such occur there could then be no such circular path as that fallacious complaint tries to assert for we have that person's From-Outside-In directional argument. Both reasoning  from Scripture moving outward and also reasoning  from "outside" moving into Scripture are both modes which demand evidence and lucidity and simply cannot change the nature and demands of rational inquiry and of rational metrics.
Most Non-Theists just ignore that possibility and project their own false beliefs and stereotypes onto groups. Projection is also a kind of circularity of course, it's just less accessible to one's own awareness.
Context from as per the following:
5 Quotes On Biblical Inerrancy:
“…..I think there's a good argument that everything in the autographs is what God wanted there, at least unless you can come up with a morally sufficient reason for God to deceive in His revelation to man. He is the only one with sufficient knowledge, power and opportunity to correct any error in the verbalization of His inspiration in the autographs. Even the one who was inspired to write wouldn't know how to correct what he was inspired to write. Once the inspiration is over, only God will know whether He got His message across in the writing, or whether He needs to inspire some more to fix it. If He doesn't do that, that's on Him.End quote (by WisdomLover).
Contrast this with transmission.
If I am copying a sentence, I know how to correct any errors I might make there...go back and check the original. If I don't copy the sentence correctly, that's on me. Likewise books that were inspired could get lost or destroyed. There are things we might have done to prevent that. If it happens anyway, it's at least partly on us. One might argue that God also had the opportunity to prevent these errors that come in because of human use/abuse of freedom. And indeed He might have. This is answered as the problem of evil is generally answered: There is a morally sufficient reason for God to allow this use/abuse of freedom. I am not going into the details of that morally sufficient reason for now, as it takes us pretty far away from the original topic…..”
And along those same lines that last item just for completeness:
Oh, look! JPT thinks the Bible was written by humans. Who would have guessed it?End quote. (by WL)
How do you think it should work JPT? Suppose you were, right now, to copy down a passage of Scripture in this blog, but did it wrong (for whatever reason).
What do you expect God to do? Leave you free to do that? Leave the regularities in place that we call natural law that governs how computer keyboards work, how networks work and so on? Or should He overturn Natural Law, or Human Freedom or perform some special miracle of creation to prevent the mistransmission of the text?
Or do you think it might be enough that God made human beings with enough reason, curiosity and awareness to be able to correct errors of transmission?
For some added context, see the standard definition of inerrancy as articulated by the Chicago statement. The form of inerrancy which rejects the Non-Theist's common 180-degree nonsense and instead remains even-handed is echoed in a few senses by the following:
Article X We affirm that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy. We further affirm that copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the original. We deny that any essential element of the Christian faith is affected by the absence of the autographs. We further deny that this absence renders the assertion of Biblical inerrancy invalid or irrelevant.End quote.
Article XIII We affirm the propriety of using inerrancy as a theological term with reference to the complete truthfulness of Scripture. We deny that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose. We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, observational descriptions of nature, the reporting of falsehoods, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the topical arrangement of material, variant selections of material in parallel accounts, or the use of free citations.
Article XIV We affirm the unity and internal consistency of Scripture. We deny that alleged errors and discrepancies that have not yet been resolved vitiate the truth claims of the Bible.
And, for more context:
“Inerrancy (probably unjustly) has too much literalistic baggage associated with it that brings out ignorant objections like "the Bible says that the number PI is 3, and it is not exactly 3, therefore the Bible is not inerrant." This baggage comes along with the claim "I believe the Bible". Honestly Austin, if you are looking for the phrase that will satisfy irrational unbelievers so that they don't associate idiotic views (that virtually no one holds) with Christianity, that phrase is "I give up, you are sooooo much smarter and more ‘scientificy’ than me!" I go ahead and embrace the phrase "inerrancy".End quote. (by WisdomLover)
Should someone try to say that number of digits of precision given for the size of Solomon's cast sea is germane, I point to the doctrine of inerrancy as defined by the Chicago Statement which is easily available online. If they persist, they are attacking some view, but it's not the doctrine of inerrancy. I also take the time to answer the objection. First, no number given will correctly equal the ratio of circumference to diameter. Would 3.1 satisfy the Bible-denier? Probably not.
What about 3.14? 3.142? 3.1416? 3.14159? 3.141593? Or this (a link to the first 100K digits after the decimal in PI) ? And if any of those do satisfy the Bible denier, why shouldn't the approximation with one fewer significant digit serve as well? And if that, then why not 3, also a correct approximation of the ratio, serve? Or is it the contention of the Bible denier that in a description of a room, the God should have inspired the author to launch into a discussion of real numbers in order to avoid some dimwit construing an error at some later stage. Now, some, Bible-deniers may persist in saying that it should at least have said 3.14.
Why? Because atheism.
Well, even for these 'thinkers', it turns out that sea is described as having a flared rim. What would be the simplest way to measure the circumference of such a vessel? You would stretch a rope around the un-flared body and measure the rope. And what would be the simplest way to measure the diameter? Maximize the chord with the rope across the top of the sea (which would include the flared rim). Now measuring thus in the simplest way, the measurements come out to 10 cubits in diameter, or about 180 inches. And 30 cubits around, or about 540 inches. That's assuming the typical 18 inches to the cubit. The flare of the rim is described as being one hand wide. That's about 4 inches. When you maximize the chord, you'll be measuring the width of the rim flare twice, so the inner diameter, given a measurement of 180 inches, is 172 inches. The ratio of 540 to 172 is about 3.14.”
With respect to the Chicago Statement:
The Peril of Inerrancy
The intent of the speaker is always important.
If I tell you how to get to Paris, and, following them, you end up in Paris, Texas rather than Paris, France, it hardly follows that I've made an error or that I was trying to deceive you.
Literary form also matters. I'm an inerrantist. But I do not subscribe to a dumb literalism. I do not think that the Scripture affirms that trees have hands to clap, even though Isaiah tells them to clap their hands.
Bottom line, I think the doctrine of inerrancy is separate from the question of how one is to go about interpreting Scripture. Having said that, how one answers the interpretation question may well influence how well one can defend the doctrine of inerrancy. If you insist that trees do have hands because the Bible tells you so, you will have a tougher time defending the inerrancy of the Bible.
I'm an inerrantist, but it's important to recognize that Inerrancy is a perilous doctrine.
What I gave in an earlier post, and what, I think, most inerrantists hang their hats on is a deductive argument from Scriptural principles. But the mere fact that one has a deductive argument for a given conclusion does not mean that the conclusion cannot be false. All that it means is that if the conclusion is false, then either the inference is invalid or one of the premises is false.
And this is the peril of the doctrine.
It is why I do not much hold to the blithe indifference that is sometimes paid to the doctrine, even by its adherents.
Some apologists think it is enough to say that you can get reliable guidance from an errant document. Then they refer to a map or a phone book that certainly contains errors, but which still can be relied upon. But that is nowhere near enough.
If you're going to take the 'easy route' and say that the doctrine is not true, but the Bible is still reliable, that is not the end of the story. If you are willing to 'fall back' to the claim that the Bible is errant, that is not the end of the story. If you are going to compartmentalize the Bible into things it is inerrant about, matters of faith and practice, and things it is not inerrant about, matters of fact, that is not the end of the story. It is far from the end of the story.
And the hardest job you face is not coming up with a way to distinguish faith and practice from fact (though that's hard). The hardest job is not to prevent a fall back from becoming a rout (though that's hard). The hardest job is not to distinguish what can be relied upon from what cannot (though that's hard).
The hardest job you face is acquitting God of the charge of deception without denying that He is God by limiting His Omnipotence, Omniscience etc.
What you have to handle, if you deny inerrancy, is nothing less than the problem of evil. The one objection to Christian Theism that has ever had legs.
I'd far rather argue about whether Jesus rode two donkeys, about the so-called conflicts in the sequence of events that surrounded his death and resurrection, about the circumference of Solomon's Cast Sea and so on than take on that version of the problem of evil.
In fact most of these 'bible contradictions' are fairly easy to handle. It often frustrates the heck out of skeptics that to their 100 lame arguments there are 100 pat answers. They attribute sophistry and casuistry (or some other bigworditry) to the theist rather than admit the obvious truth that they've got nothing.
Even the marginally more difficult problems, like the dreaded tensions between science and Scripture seem far, far less difficult than the version of the problem of evil that arises from denying the doctrine of inerrancy.
The doctrine of inerrancy has actually been pretty well expressed in the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. If you haven't done so already, you should check it out. [ http://www.bible-researcher.com/chicago1.html. ]
BTW, the Chicago Statement basically agrees with Greg in identifying the doctrine as true, normative, useful and so on, but not as needed for salvation.
End quote. (by WisdomLover) (…the specific comment should be at https://str.typepad.com/weblog/2013/11/is-inerrancy-necessary-video.html?cid=6a00d83451d2ba69e2019b01af4d35970d#comment-6a00d83451d2ba69e2019b01af4d35970d …)
What Precedes What?
Christianity preceded the Bible. Christianity does not exist because of the Bible. The Bible exists because of Christianity. The irreducible and true, the ontic-referent in a thoroughly trinitarian metaphysic, stands on its own. Not on the Bible. The Bible stands on the irreducible and true, on said referent in said metaphysic, not on its own. This is why discovery is not only possible but necessary. This is why transposition reaches all possible reference frames, all possible levels of knowledge, all possible cultures. This is why that very same transposition is not only possible but necessary. This is true not only of Scripture but of all of creation, writ large, and it cannot be any other way for the irreducible and true, that ontic-referent in a thoroughly trinitarian metaphysic, forever stands Beneath and Above, forever the Always and Already.
The following is relevant:
""That is all this boils down to, if people are honest...One side believes things, more-or-less, because the Bible says so.” Not exactly. It matters, doesn't it, why one side believes the Bible." (by WisdomLover)End quote. (...from http://disq.us/p/1imi9gi and also in http://disq.us/p/1imnt16 ...)
Literalism vis-à-vis Physics? Literalism vis-à-vis Scripture?
Divine Communique vs. Divine Scripture vs. Allegory vs. Metaphor:
Part 1 – http://disq.us/p/1te6iow
Part 2 – http://disq.us/p/20bquai
Another Segue of Sorts:
Another basic example here is that saying The Good is based on the Bible which is like saying Physics "comes from" (...the Ontic and so on...) the physics book over there on the shelf. But "Good" is NOT based on the Bible. Not according to Scripture at least. Scripture is forever pointing us beyond itself and in fact that is expected because Definitions cannot “begin/end” within any World-Contingent any-thing for the simple reason that Ontology cannot begin/end within any world-contingent reference frame.
The Non-Theist’s claim that within Christendom The True in fact "comes from" something created and world-contingent survives on sound-bites and one-verse straw-men. Again we are carried beyond Eden, beyond Sinai, beyond Scripture given that "it" (The True) just is *GOD* (in Christendom). The same goes for, say, all things Good and for, say, all things Sinai too given that Moral Excellence (...The Good...) is defined (in Scripture) as that which precedes, outdistances, out-performs, and leaves behind, all things Sinai.
While it is understandable that discomfort compels the Non-Theist to avoid reality as it actually is and thereby invent and then argue against various Non-Christian, Non-Old-Testament, Non-New-Testament and Non-Paradigmatic Start/Stop points or premises, it would be better for our Non-Theist friends to interact with the real world as it actually is.
(1) The Trajectory of All Ontological Arrows Part 1 https://metachristianity.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-trajectory-of-all-ontological-arrows-1.html
(2) The Trajectory of All Ontological Arrows Part 2 https://metachristianity.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-trajectory-of-all-ontological-arrows-2.html