ANSWERS: 4
  • Which is rather ironic considering the Gnostic Christians.
  • the only apostle of the early church was and is Jesus. the early church was made up of messianic jews. not gentiles. gentiles came later. the new testament was written to messianic jews. jesus was a messianic jew. he wasnt a christian. the apostle paul was a messianic jew. he realized that jesus preached to everyone not just the jews.
  • Well since this is a duplicate of http://www.answerbag.com/a_view/5660152 (I thought that the addition of "Protestant Christians" to fit this AB section was a clever twist BTW) I'll just duplicate my answer from that question here too. AND, yes folks, the Catholic information in my answer IS Relevant since the period in which the LDS Church claims that the Total Apostacy occurred was during the "Catholic" period of Church History: SHORT ANSWER: There is SOME evidence of an Apostacy of the Church - that was the whole point of the Protestant Reformation. However, the LDS Church's claim of a TOTAL (or "complete") Apostacy is not only extreme but unsupportable both Biblically (Mt 16:18) and Historically as this PowerPoint presentation from a Catholic Scholar articulates: http://www.opwest.org/Archive/2006/LDS_presentation_small.ppt Morever, since even LDS Doctrine discredits the LDS claim of a TOTAL Apostacy, no extreme, UnBiblical, LDS-style restoration has EVER been necessary. And there is no reason for the LDS Church to exist. LONGER ANSWER: There is NO evidence of a "complete" Apostacy as articulated by the LDS Church - which claims that true Christianity is said to have ceased after the death of Christ's apostles thus making it necessary for God to restore the true church through Joseph Smith in 1830. Without this belief, there is no reason for the Mormon Church to exist - as LDS statements like this clearly indicate: The History of the Church declares, "Nothing less than a complete apostasy from the Christian religion would warrant the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (1:XL) “The significance and importance of the ‘great apostasy’, as a condition precedent to the re-establishment of the Church in modern times, is obvious. If the alleged apostasy of the primitive Church was not a reality, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not the divine institution its name proclaims.” (James E. Talmage, The Great Apostasy, Preface) However, it has been pointed out that the LDS Docrine of "The Four Apostles" discredits the Concept of a "Complete Apostasy". As Mormon Researcher Bill McKeever has noted: "It is difficult to give credence to a total apostasy when you have four apostles roaming the earth. Though no specific promise of success is given to John, such a promise was allegedly given to the three Nephites. 3 Nephi 28:29 states most clearly that they "shall bring out of them unto Jesus many souls." If this is the case, why was Joseph Smith supposedly told in his first vision that all the churches were wrong? Wouldn't those who converted under the tutelage of these men be considered a part of the true church? Since we have no evidence that John, or these three Nephites, ever worked in harmony with Joseph Smith to build his new church, are we to assume that their converts are a part of "the church of devil" as described in 1 Nephi 14:10 of the Book of Mormon? If Mormons choose to go with the total apostasy theory, they must conclude that the efforts of John and the three Nephites were frustrated and yielded no fruit. To hold this view casts doubt on the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and even Christ Himself. " http://www.mrm.org/topics/miscellaneous/four-apostles-discredit-concept-complete-apostasy REALLY LONG ANSWER: To answer this question with any degree of functional objectivity we must first consider WHAT the substance of what LDS Theologians as evidence of a "Great Apostacy": * the difficulty of the Apostles to keep early Christians from distorting Jesus' teachings and to prevent the followers from dividing into different ideological groups; * the persecution and martyrdom of the church's Apostles; * the loss of leaders with Priesthood authority to administer the church and its ordinances; * the lack of continuous revelation to instruct the leaders and guide the church; and * the corruption of Christian doctrine particularly with the infusion of Greek or other allegedly pagan philosophies such as Neo-Platonism, Platonic realism, Aristotleanism and Asceticism. AND THIS PERSPECTIVE WAS SHARED BY THE EARLY PROTESTANT REFORMERS ON THIS POINT . . . * the corruption of Christian doctrine particularly with the infusion of Greek or other allegedly pagan philosophies such as Neo-Platonism, Platonic realism, Aristotleanism and Asceticism. . . . BUT NOT ON THE OTHERS Most significant non-Anglican, non-Catholic and non-Orthodox Christian denominations have formally taught that at some point in history, the original teachings and practices of the primitive or original Christian church were greatly altered. All of these denominations have considered their own teachings to be major corrections of the errors of the state of Christianity preceding them, and for this reason believe that their separated continuation, especially outside of the Catholic-Orthodox-Anglican traditions, is not only justifiable, but a necessary measure. These views are not necessarily taught in the modern descendant denominations; but historically this type of doctrinal stance accounts for the continuing separation of the denominations from the Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox communions. All of these groups differ in their perception of the types and the extent of errors evident in Catholic-Anglican-Orthodox traditions, and therefore their proposed corrections also differ, but all agree that the Catholic-Anglican-Orthodox tradition is to some important degree corrupted and apostate in the sense that it will not or cannot be reformed; to the extent other separated denominations contain these rejected traditions, they also are sometimes considered corrupt. This alleged corruption and resistance to reform by the traditional, especially Catholic, churches may sometimes be called The Great Apostasy by non-Catholics. SO HERE'S WHERE THERE THE 'RUB' COMES IN Some groups see themselves as uniquely restoring original Christianity. In their case, the term Great Apostasy is used more technically than above, directed in a sweeping way over all of Christianity beyond their group, indicating that true Christianity has not been preserved, but rather restored. These various groups differ as to exactly when the Great Apostasy took place and what the exact errors or changes were, but all of them make a similar claim that true Christianity was generally lost until it was disclosed again in themselves. The term Great Apostasy appears to have been coined in this narrower, technical sense, by "Restorationists". The term may sometimes be used in this sense by other groups claiming their unique authority as representing Christianity. The LDS Church is one of these groups as are the Jehovah's Witnesses. To a lesser degree The Seventh Day Adventist Church is also one of these groups. RESPONSES OF ROMAN CATHOLICISM AND EASTERN ORTHODOXY: Both the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church contend that they are still in harmony with the teachings and practices Jesus gave the Apostles, and that Jesus' promise has been fulfilled: "On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." And elsewhere, "I will be with you until the end of the age." Also, "The Father . . . will give you another Advocate to be with you always." And the passages of St. Paul describing the church as Christ's body and as the "pillar and bulwark of the truth." (1 Tim 3:15) They point to their apostolic succession (among other things) as evidence that they are maintaining authentic orthodox Christian teachings. They see claims of a complete and general apostasy as a denial of the promise that Jesus made (as recorded in scripture) to be with his Church "until the end of time". They also claim that their ecclesiastical structure and liturgical practices have their essential roots in the teachings and practices of the Apostles and early Christian community, and are not the result of radical changes introduced by either the imperial government or new converts in the fourth century. Many elements of modern orthodox teachings are traced back to the writings of those known as the Ante-Nicene Fathers. In these writings there is found information about the sacraments, organizational structure, and general Christian lifestyle. Protestants claim, however, that the Roman Catholic Church has added to the Deposit of Faith handed down by the Apostles, especially since the time of Reformation, such as the Immaculate Conception of Mary and Papal Infallibility. In the view of Protestants, these are new doctrines and they take Roman Catholicism further from the Protestant understanding of Biblical Christianity. Roman Catholics point out that the Dogmas of the Assumption and Immaculate Conception are well-supported in the writings of early Church Fathers. Orthodox Churches also note that the Roman Catholic Church has added doctrines since the time of the East-West Schism, which justifies disunity between Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. At the same time, both Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy see much of Protestantism as having jettisoned much Christian teaching and practice wholesale, and having added much non-Christian dogma as well. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Apostasy#The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints One Evangelical Scholar summed up this LDS/Catholic debate well: "Mormon’s don’t really have really strong arguments for a general Apostasy outside reference to revelations of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Catholics can simply say that the church, at times, was corrupted by money and power but ultimately was lead out of that corruption, just as Mormons explain away doctrinal discrepancies between early and present day church leaders. I think they are rational explanations coming from both Catholics and Mormons within the context of the belief that theirs is the only true and living Church." http://ldstalk.wordpress.com/2008/02/15/catholic-counter-arguments/ And a Catholic Scholar directly counters LDS Total Apostacy arguments in this PowerPoint presentation: http://www.opwest.org/Archive/2006/LDS_presentation_small.ppt A PROTESTANT DECONSTRUCTION OF LDS 'TOTAL APOSTACY' CLAIMS: The LDS Doctrine of the Four Apostles Discredits the Concept of a "Complete Apostasy" By Bill McKeever Mormon Research Ministry (MRM) Since the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded in 1830, it has maintained that Christ's church fell into what has been described as a complete apostasy. Though LDS leaders cannot agree as to when this actually happened, they do agree that it must have happened. Many LDS leaders have made reference to this so-called apostasy -- Mormon Apostle James Talmage even wrote a whole book on the subject! B.H. Roberts, an LDS Seventy and LDS Church historian, in his introduction to the History of the Church, stated that the LDS Church is founded upon this very premise. He wrote, "Nothing less than a complete apostasy from the Christian religion would warrant the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (vol. 1:XL). If however, the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants were true, it would be difficult to arrive at such a conclusion. In chapter 21 of the Gospel of John, the resurrected Christ spoke with His disciples. In verse 18 He told Peter how he would die at the hand of others. When Peter asked the Lord what would become of the Apostle John, Jesus said, "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me." What appears to be a mild rebuke seems to have been misconstrued by Mormonism's founder as a promise that John would never die. Though not a subject talked about much in public, it is taught very clearly in section seven of the Doctrine and Covenants that the Apostle John is still alive somewhere on the earth. The introduction to section seven states, "The revelation is the translated version of the record made on parchment by John and hidden up by himself." Joseph Smith claims that when John was asked by the Lord what he desired, John responded by saying, "Lord, give me power over death, that I may live and bring souls unto thee" (vs.2). To this the Lord supposedly said, "Because thou desirest this thou shalt tarry until I come in my glory, and shalt prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people." Scholars outside of the LDS Church tend to agree that John, though not having died the death of a martyr, lived out his days, perhaps in Ephesus. The LDS Church, however, maintains that John made a personal appearance to Joseph Smith sometime around 1830. Joseph Smith claimed the Apostle John (as well as Peter and James) appeared to him and Oliver Cowdery and bestowed upon them the Melchizedek priesthood. Just when this took place is not exactly known although LDS historians insist that it had to have taken place after Smith claimed to have seen John the Baptist on May 15, 1829. Mormon historian B.H. Roberts estimates that it took place sometime between May 15, 1829 and April of 1830. Not only is the time in which John made his appearance a matter of debate, but the manner in which John appeared also seems to be one of confusion among LDS leaders. Tenth LDS Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith states that Peter and James appeared as resurrected beings, but John is not so described. He wrote, "There is a statement in the Gospel of John, written of his gospel account, which intimates that the Lord gave him power to remain until the second coming. There is a revelation in the Doctrines and Covenants, Section 7, which confirms this thought" (Answers to Gospel Questions 3:93). Despite the fact that D&C 7 states that John was to have "power over death," he is described in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism as a "resurrected" being (Dispensation of the Fulness of Times). Mormon presidents George Albert Smith and Spencer W. Kimball both describe John as a resurrected being who appeared to their founding prophet. During a General Conference message in 1950, Smith, the eighth LDS prophet, said Peter, James and John were men who "lived upon the earth as we have lived, who have gone on and performed their part and have been resurrected and sent back to earth" (Conference Report, April 1950, pg. 188). Kimball, meanwhile, described John as a resurrected being at the top of page 456 of his book, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball. LDS Apostle John Widtsoe added that it was "the resurrected apostles, Peter, James and John" that conferred the Melchizedek priesthood upon Smith and Cowdery (Evidences and Reconciliations, pp. 249-250). Mormon Apostle A. Theodore Tuttle also claimed John was a resurrected being when he appeared with Peter and James (Conference Report, October 1964, pp. 8-9). Meanwhile, Henry D. Moyle, the counselor to David O. McKay, retold the story of John's visitation: "Jesus Christ conferred his priesthood upon the apostles of old. Then Peter, James and John as resurrected beings conferred the same priesthood which they had received from the Lord upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery" (Conference Report, April 1962, pg. 101). A natural question to the above testimonies would be, "How could John be a resurrected being if he was promised that he would never die?" Though the word "resurrected" is not the most common adjective used to describe John, the phrase "heavenly messenger" or "heavenly personage" is certainly used on numerous occasions by LDS leaders. General authorities such as James Talmage, Bruce McConkie, Orson Pratt, George Q. Cannon, Orson Whitney, Charles Callis, Joseph Wirthlin, Joseph F. Merrill, William Critchlow, and Milton R. Hunter all used the word "heavenly" when speaking of John's visitation to Smith and Cowdery. Even Joseph Fielding Smith, while making a distinction in his book Answers to Gospel Questions, used this expression when he said, "That they [Smith and Cowdery] did obtain them [Priesthood and Keys], we know, and that the keys of the kingdom were conferred by these heavenly messengers, we have evidence to show" (Doctrines of Salvation 3:98). And in the book entitled Meet the Mormons (1965) published by the LDS Church, Peter, James, and John are called "heavenly messengers" (pg.47). If D&C 7 is to be believed, John could not die until Jesus returned. Thus, either Jesus' promise to John failed or the Second Coming has taken place. Since neither are plausible, how could John have become a "heavenly" messenger? This title seems odd for someone who was not going to get to heaven until after Jesus returned. Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie denied that John was resurrected. Rather, he claimed that John appeared as a translated being. McConkie wrote, "At that appearance, Peter and James were resurrected beings; John was translated." (Mormon Doctrine, pg. 572). How McConkie arrives at this conclusion is not clear, but it certainly is not supported by D&C section seven. The word "translated" gives the impression of going from one place to another; this would contradict the specifics of Jesus' alleged promise which tells us John was to remain on earth. Section seven gives every indication that John would remain on earth as an earthly messenger, not as a translated or heavenly one. John Not Alone? The Book of Mormon, touted by Joseph Smith to be the most correct book of earth, claims that the resurrected Jesus Christ came to the American continent and promised three Nephite disciples that they also would live until the Lord's coming (Although the Book of Mormon does not specifically call them apostles, Bruce McConkie does in his book The Mortal Messiah, Vol.4, p.392). Third Nephi 28:7-9 makes it very clear that these three would remain alive to bring souls unto the Lord "while the world shall stand." The prophecy states: "Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven. And ye shall never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality; and then shall ye be blessed in the kingdom of my Father. And again, ye shall not have pain while ye dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world; and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand." How these mere men could maintain this longevity is explained in verses 37 and 38. Here, the writer inquires of the Lord how these three are able to live so long. Verses 38-40 state: "Therefore, that they might not taste of death there was a change wrought upon their bodies, that they might not suffer pain nor sorrow save it were the sins of the world. Now this change was not equal to that which shall take place in the last day; but there was a change wrought upon them...And in this state they were to remain until the judgment day of Christ." Verse 31 claims these three would perform "great and marvelous works," yet neither the Jews or the Gentiles would know them (verse 27,28). Conclusion It is difficult to give credence to a total apostasy when you have four apostles roaming the earth. Though no specific promise of success is given to John, such a promise was allegedly given to the three Nephites. 3 Nephi 28:29 states most clearly that they "shall bring out of them unto Jesus many souls." If this is the case, why was Joseph Smith supposedly told in his first vision that all the churches were wrong? Wouldn't those who converted under the tutelage of these men be considered a part of the true church? Since we have no evidence that John, or these three Nephites, ever worked in harmony with Joseph Smith to build his new church, are we to assume that their converts are a part of "the church of devil" as described in 1 Nephi 14:10 of the Book of Mormon? If Mormons choose to go with the total apostasy theory, they must conclude that the efforts of John and the three Nephites were frustrated and yielded no fruit. To hold this view casts doubt on the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and even Christ Himself. http://www.mrm.org/topics/miscellaneous/four-apostles-discredit-concept-complete-apostasy
  • Mormons do not believe in a total apostasy. What does it mean to say total. adjective 1. constituting or comprising the whole; entire; whole: the total expenditure. 2. of or relating to the whole of something: the total effect of a play. 3. complete in extent or degree; absolute; unqualified; utter: a total failure. 4. involving all aspects, elements, participants, resources, etc.; unqualified; all-out: total war. noun 5. the total amount; sum; aggregate: a total of $200. 6. the whole; an entirety: the impressive total of Mozart's achievement. verb (used with object), totaled, totaling or (especially British) totalled, totalling. 7. to bring to a total; add up. 8. to reach a total of; amount to. 9. Slang. to wreck or demolish completely: ....................................... Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

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