In light of the horrors that happened in Virginia, both with the white supremacists and the attack by one of the members, I think it is important for people to know the churches stance on those issues. Let’s take a quick look at history. Continue reading
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.
A student asks Frank Turek how he can know he has the right books in his Bible. See what Frank’s answer is
Not long ago, Daniel Wallace (no relationship to me, except that all us Wallace’s claim to descend from William) posted some great news about an early fragment of the Book of Romans that was recently discovered. This fragment dates to the early third century which puts it in rare company. It contains Romans 9:18–21 and small portions of Romans 10. Wallace made news a few years back when he mentioned an early fragment of the Gospel of Mark that has yet to be published. The fragment of Mark is said to be as early as the first century.
I had the great pleasure of visiting with Dan Wallace at an event where we got the chance to examine a number of very ancient manuscript fragments. Some of these were Biblical fragments; some of these were non-Biblical ancient documents. We were the first people to examine the documents in nearly two thousand years. By the end of the day it was clear to me that there are literally thousands of fragments of ancient texts still out there to be discovered and examined. We have only touched the tip of the iceberg and as our ability to find and examine these fragments continues to improve, we’ll surely discover much more evidence that the New Testament was written very early and transmitted faithfully.
In fact, this is the focus of my book, Cold Case Christianity. I’ve been studying this issue from the perspective of a detective for some time now and I’ve written about the evidence for early dating and about the reliable transmission of the documents at ColdCaseChristianity.com. If the New Testament eyewitness accounts were written as early as the evidence infers, many of the objections of skeptics are impotent. Early manuscripts mean that the original witnesses to the life of Jesus were (1) available to write the documents we now have, and (2) early observers of Jesus’ life would have been available to deny the testimony of the gospel authors. The continuing discovery of early fragments of New Testament documents corroborates this early dating.
When visiting with Dan Wallace, Greg Koukl and I asked him about the skepticism on the part of people like Bart Ehrman related to early dating. We asked Wallace if there was some specific manuscript evidence that inclined people to deny the early dating of the Gospel accounts. Wallace said there was no such evidence. We then asked why people continued to deny the early dating if, in fact, we were continuing to find early fragments and there was no contrary manuscript evidence. It turns out that the late dating of the gospels is due primarily to a denial of supernaturalism.
One of the primary reasons why skeptics date the gospels later than 70AD is the fact that Jesus predicted the destruction of the Temple in the gospel accounts (i.e. Matthew 23). Secular history records that the Temple was destroyed in 70AD, fulfilling this alleged prediction by Jesus. In order to avoid the accurate prophesy from Jesus, skeptics argue that the gospel must have been written after the temple was destroyed. After all, how could Jesus possess the supernatural power of prophecy if nothing supernatural exists? The philosophical naturalism of the secular historian prevents him from accepting the possibility of accurate prophecy.
The gospels also contain many descriptions of miracles. The philosophical naturalist must also deny the truthfulness of these supernatural accounts. Skeptics, therefore, date the gospel accounts very late, arguing that eyewitnesses to these events were already dead and unavailable to deny the claims. It turns out that the presupposition of philosophical naturalism is at work in the minds of those who would deny the early dating of the gospels. When this presuppositional bias is removed, the remaining evidence confirms that the gospels were written in the lifetimes of the eyewitnesses.
This article was written by J. Warner Wallace, and taken from his website, Cold Case Christianity.
J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity, Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, and God’s Crime Scene.