5 Reasons to Reject the Mormon view of Universal Church Apostasy

One of the central doctrines of Mormonism is that the Christian Church has gone through a universal apostasy. In other words Mormons believe that the church is so far removed from what the apostles and Christ taught that it really is no longer the church at all. It is because of this that Joseph Smith is believed to have brought the church back to where it should be.

If you’re ever talking with a Mormon about these issues there are a few things you can bring up to show that the church has clearly not gone under a full universal apostasy.

1. Accuracy of the Bible
Many Mormons will argue that one proof that the church went through a complete apostasy is that the scriptures have been changed over thousands of years, and so we can’t trust the scriptures that we have today. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If you simply ask them to give evidence of this fact, they won’t have any. The Dead Sea Scrolls was evidence the accuracy of the Bible that we have now because it predated about any other Old Testament Manuscript we had up to that time by about 1,00 years. When we compare what it to our modern Hebrew Bibles it is 99% identical to what we have now, the only errors being slips of the pen and spelling differences. With that well of copied text there is no reason to think the church had lost track of Christ’s original teaching. They had the Word itself to guide them.

2. Peter the Rock
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says “I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” Jesus is saying here that hell will not defeat or destroy his church. If complete apostasy has happened this isn’t true. Mormons will argue two points here. First, that the rock Jesus is talking about is not Peter, but the statement Peter makes in the verse before, that Jesus is the Messiah. Second, that this is saying that Hell cannot prevent the church from ‘invading’ hell since it is mentioning gates.
The first objection doesn’t take into mind Peter’s name or why Jesus would mention Peter at the start of the verse. The context lets us know already he is talking to Peter so Jesus has no reason to say Peter’s name again.
So, why say “I tell you that you are Peter”? It’s quite simple. Peter’s name is rock or in the greek ‘Petros’ and the greek word ‘rock’ in the passage is the greek word ‘petra’. Jesus is making a clear connection. “You are the Rock (Peter) and on that rock I will build my church’
As for the second objection it just doesn’t think things through. If Hell has conquered the church altogether and there is no church left then clearly the gates of Hell have prevailed to keep the church out.

3. John the never-dying
In the Mormon Doctrine of the Covenants section 7 John asks God if he can have power over death so he may minister and evangelize till Jesus’ return. God grants this request and so Mormons believe John is still alive. If John is still alive then there has not been a complete apostasy because there would be a remnant of the church still around of at least John and anyone else who may be with him.

4. Church Fathers
Mormons also reference many church fathers or other church writings in which doctrines are being corrected or even whole congregations are being outcast from the church. To them, this must mean that the church has completely lost track of the original Gospel of Christ. There is one massive problem with this argument. It fails to realize that the people doing the correcting clearly have a correct view of the gospel, and so there is still a church that has not gone apostate.

5. Biblical Text 
Finally, Mormons will point out, similar to the church fathers, that even in the New Testament epistles we see the apostles themselves correcting and condemning people. If the apostles were having so much trouble even then, it must mean that the whole church would eventually go apostate. The problem here is that it completely ignores and contradicts what what we discussed from Matthew 16:18. Furthermore, there is no scripture which ever prophesies that the entire church will go apostate. There is a huge difference between saying the church needs some correction here and there and that the whole church is completely lost.

Overall you should see a clear grasp of the reasons why unlike Mormons might wish you to believe the church we have now is the same church that was established by Jesus upon the rock of Peter.

Why I like talking with Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons

I think there are many Christians who feel intimidated to talk to Jehovah Witnesses’ and Mormons. Most of the time we realize that the missionaries from those religions have done a lot of studying and preparing to share about their faith and we find that intimidating because we feel like we haven’t done much of that ourselves. But I wanted to challenge you to think of this differently.

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Why we must find truth with not only our hearts, but also our minds according to Paul

Many religions in the world claim to be the true one. Of course we know that not all them can be true, because they contradict. Islam says Jesus isn’t God, Christianity does. Hinduism says hell doesn’t exist, western religions do. Buddhism says this world is an illusion, Judaism says that God created the very real world that we see. So how do we determine which one is true?

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Does the Jehovah Witness’ Watchtower speak for God like a prophet?

If you have talked with Jehovah Witness’ for any period of time you know that many of their doctrines come directly from a society called The Watchtower. The society publishes all of the substantial content of Jehovah Witness’, there is no independent Jehovah Witness publications. As the authority for Jehovah Witness’ it claims to speak for God much like the prophets that we see in the Bible. So should we trust it? Well, it seems the best way to know would be testing them by the Biblical standard.

In Deuteronomy 18 we are told that if someone is a true prophet of God they will not prophecy anything that doesn’t come to pass or speak in the name of any other God. As for the second part of that test, Watchtower is on track, it claims to speak only for the God we see in the Bible. In the second part we run into a slew of problems as many of the predictions of the Watchtower have never come to pass.

Here are some predictions that the Watchtower has made in the past:

  • Christ would come back in 1874
  • The world would end in 1914
  • Old Testament Saints would come to earth in 1925
  • The world will end and Christ would come back in 1975

The Watchtower itself admits this predictions were wrong.

So, does the Watchtower stand to the test in Deuteronomy 18? Obviously not, even according to the Watchtower itself.

In fact the Watchtower even tried ‘correcting’ some of these predictions moving dates further out when they were wrong initially only to be wrong even a second time. Perhaps getting something wrong once could be a mistake of some sort, though the Biblical test says otherwise, but once it was wrong a second time we should be completely abandoning such a source as a reliable mouthpiece of God. If they made a ‘mistake’ about something as important as when Christ comes back why should we believe that they are not leading us astray in other doctrines that they teach?

pyramid_russel_gravesiteEarly Watchtower beliefs under one of the Jehovah Witness’ church fathers Charles Taze Russel actually believed the Ancient Pyramid of Egypt to be a sort of ‘Stone Bible’. It was believed measurements in the Pyramid were prophetic to the beginning of ‘the years of trouble’. The doctrine was taught to Jehovah Witness’ for fifty years from 1879-1928, after Russel was buried under a pyramid marked grave.

Russel’s successor flipped from calling the pyramid a ‘stone Bible’ to a work of the Egyptians under the influence of the Devil. Quite a flip for a group that should be speaking for God.

The Watchtower Society is very unorthodox in many beliefs. The Watchtower doesn’t believe Jesus is God, they reject the Trinity, regard blood transfusions sinful, celebrating birthdays as sinful and have changed vital words or added words to the Bible in their New World Translation. But given the obvious unreliability of Society I think we can steer clear from accepting any of these doctrines.

Should we call God Jehovah as Jehovah Witnesses’ claim?

I’ve recently been in conversations with Jehovah Witnesses on a number of subjects. If you don’t know much about JW’s you probably still aren’t surprised to know that using the name ‘Jehovah’ for God is something that they find of great importance.  So, I thought I would give a little background about the name to explore JW’s claim that we should only call God Jehovah.

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Why Thomas’s Exclamation Proves Jesus was God

I’ve recently been researching  Jehovah Witnesses. I’ve attended the local Kingdom Hall, read a number of the Watch Tower Publications, and debated a Jehovah Witness online. It’s been fun. If you know me at all, you know that I really enjoy these sort of tensions and conversations.

The most important thing I have come to realize about Jehovah’s Witness is that they don’t believe that Jesus is God. In fact they don’t believe in the trinity at all. This is of course a huge break away from Orthodox Christianity. So I thought I would take some time to show one reason why such a view is unbiblical.

Most of you are well aware that Jehovah’s Witneses are not the only people that believe Jesus is not God. In fact, it’s a pretty common belief that Jesus is not God these days. Whether an atheist, a Jehovah Witness, aMormons, or even a Muslim, many people believe Jesus is not God. So what does scripture teach? One passage in particular seems to make it abundantly clear.

In John 20 we see Jesus appear to Thomas after the resurrection. Thomas had declared that he would not believe unless he felt Jesus wounds and saw Jesus himself. When Jesus appears and tells Thomas to feel his wounds Thomas says to Jesus, “my Lord and my God”.

Thomas is very clearly calling Jesus God! It’s possible that Thomas is somehow wrong in his exclamation here, but Jesus’ reply makes it clear that he has no problem with what Thomas has said. Instead of condemning or correcting Thomas for calling him God,  Jesus says ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’

Rather then correcting, Jesus confirms Thomas’ statement by saying those who believe what Thomas has proclaimed without seeing, as Thomas has seen, will be blessed.

Some would like to argue that Jesus makes no actual claim to deity here. To some extent this is true, Jesus does say ‘I am God’. But an understanding of the strict monotheism of Judaism would show that Jesus should have condemned such a statement and He didn’t. In fact he encourages Thomas for calling him God. Clearly Jesus did not disagree with what was being said.

Others claim that Thomas was not speaking to Jesus but actually to God, but the context makes it clear, ‘Thomas said to him (Jesus), my Lord and my God’. John is being explicitly clear that Thomas is addressing Jesus.

There is only way to interpret the passage within the context, Thomas is calling Jesus God and Jesus is confirming that Thomas is speaking the truth. So is Jesus God? This scripture certainly is saying so.