Galatians 1:8-9 & Mormonism

We just begin today a men’s study in Galatians.  We meet at the Bella Vita on the West side of Snake River in Idaho Falls.  Study time starts at 7:00 am and continues for an hour.  You all are welcome to join us.

Last summer, I appreciated how Jessica sought to stir some study in Galatians among LDS and evangelicals.

So one of the brothers in our group brought a brand new ESV Study Bible.  In our introduction today, he pointed out the study note below Galatians 1:8-9,

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

The study note reads,

The gospel is unchanging.  Thus Paul pronounces a curse of final judgment on those who proclaim or receive a different gospel.  Even in he himself, or an angel from heaven, were to preach such a gospel, the Galatians should reject it.  Mormonism is an example of a religion that is based on revelation supposedly given by an angel and that teaches a gospel different from justification by faith alone in the substitutionary death of Christ.

Would you like to discuss this?  I think the book of Galatians is the Christian Declaration of Independence for Southeastern Idaho.

34 comments

  1. “Mormonism is an example of a religion that is based on revelation supposedly given by an angel and that teaches a gospel different from justification by faith alone in the substitutionary death of Christ.”

    I have to agree with this statement, but I would like to simply make a few comments.

    First: as I read it, the Bible doesn’t teach “justification by faith alone in the substitutionary death of Christ” and so I would say that it is the rest of Christianity that Paul is reviling against.

    Second: Doesn’t it say something about a person, an organization, and a religion that the study notes they give in their “study bible” are focused on the errors of others and not their own merits?

  2. Actually, this verse indicts both Mormonism and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Fundamentalism as well.

    I have posted the link to “River of Fire” several times before. Here’s a different link, this one to a book written by an EO priest who is ethnically Jewish and who initially came to Christ by way of the Assemblies of God:

    http://www.surprisedbychrist.com/

  3. Personally, I don’t think the Bible is sufficient to prove any Christian sect is indicated by this verse. The Bible is simply the wrong standard to test by.

  4. Well Shem, I said “indicted” not “indicated”. My claim is very simple: both Fundamentalism and Mormonism present a gospel – alleged “good news” – which is very different than that preached by St. Paul, the rest of the Apostles, and their successors, the Orthodox bishops, from then right down to this very moment.

  5. TODD WOOD

    I would use the Spirit of God. Not an angel or a man, but the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Godhood who testifies of all truth, for he is the Spirit of Truth. It is this personage that “shall teach [us] all things, and bring all things to your remembrance…” (John 14: 26).

    GREG

    I know what you said, and I know what I said. The simple fact is that if one is not indicated they cannot be indicted. I do not think the Bible is sufficient proof to even logically argue an indication, and thus there can be no indicting either.
    As I read the Bible I would say that, in my opinion, everyone except the LDS church is indicted by this passage, but I will never claim that I can show this through the Bible, as I would be only giving my understanding.
    Only the Holy Spirit can truly indict anyone on such grounds, and I will leave it to him in the final judgement.

  6. Shem, do you really think that the early Church, the Church up until the alleged “great apostacy” really looked like the LDS Church of today?

  7. Another brother in our Bible study, Monday morning, passed around photocopied pages of this quote to everyone:

    “My point in this book is that all the saving events and all the saving blessings of the gospel are means of getting obstacles out of the way so that we might know and enjoy God most fully. Propitiation, redemption, forgiveness, imputation, sanctification, liberation, healing, heaven–none of these is good news except for one reason: they bring us to God for our everlasting enjoyment of him. If we believe all these things have happened to us, but do not embrace them for the sake of getting to God, they have not happened to us. Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.”

    The Gospel – “Behold Your God!”, John Piper

    God is the good news. The Persons and Work of the Trinity is the good news.

  8. Wow, Todd. Piper is sounding almost Orthodox!

    One caveat: the process he describes is about OUR changing, our dying and rising with Christ. It is NOT about God changing. At least since Anselm, this whole idea of penal substitionary atonement has been about first changing God and only secondarily changing us. There is a way of understanding propitiation in terms of expiation, but Anselm, Calvin, etc., do not do that.

    We are fallen. We need to be healed (“saved”). We need to be restored to communion with God. God, OTOH, does not change, nor does God need anything (the death of Christ) in order to save us. The need for change, for healing, for transformation, is all ours.

  9. GREG

    That depends on what you mean by looking like it.

    Speaking of Doctrine, yes.
    Speaking of basic organization, yes.
    Speaking of other aspects, probably not, as it was a different time period, and thus would have needed different aids.

    I think it would look a lot more similar to the LDS church than any other denomination in the modern day.

  10. Leaving aside the question of doctrine for the moment, consider organization: by AD 110, according to St. Ignatius of Antioch, the martyred bishop of Antioch, each local Church was organized around a single bishop and a college of presbyters (priests) who are assisted by deacons.

    “Different aids?” What does that mean? Are you saying that the current LDS structure of temples and meeting houses did not exist?

    But here’s the deal: the mysteries that the Orthodox Churches have, baptism, chrismation, Holy Communion, etc. have been the same since the beginning. When it comes to the Church, this is not “a different time period”. It is the era of the Church, the time between the first and second comings of Christ.

  11. GREG

    “each local Church was organized around a single bishop and a college of presbyters (priests) who are assisted by deacons.”

    This is the basic organization of the LDS church. Each local church (or ward) has a Bishop at its head, with the High Priests and Elders quorums (colleges) and they are assisted by the Aaronic Priesthood (deacons).
    Thus, the basic organization is the same. Of course I think they also had the Twelve Apostles (like the LDS); a first Presidency (like the LDS) consisting of Peter, James, and John; the quorum of seventy (like the LDS); and an organized missionary work (like the LDS).

    Now, “Different Aids” refers to the auxillery organizations, like the Relief Society, Boy Scouts, the Young Women’s Organization, the Perpetual Education Fund, the Wellfare Program, and other such organizations. It does not refer to those things that are essential to the gospel, like temples.
    However, I don’t really think that at the time of the Apostles the building of temples was all that practical, considering the persecution they faced.

    As to the “mysteries” you name, while the form may be the same, the understanding of it does not seem to mesh with what I read in the Bible.
    (By the way: I have only heard of Baptism and Communion. What is Chrismation?)

  12. Another question . . .

    Charis, Choris, and a Chorus of Patristic Interpreters of Hebrews 2:9

    Program Unit: Biblical Interpretation in Early Christianity

    Paul A. Hartog, Faith Baptist Theological Seminary

    The manuscript tradition of Hebrews 2:9 overwhelmingly supports the reading, “by the grace of God [‘chariti theou’], he tasted death for everyone.” Commentators note, however, that multiple church fathers supported a variant: “apart from God [‘choris theou’], he tasted death for everyone.” Theodore of Mopsuestia had used the variant to argue that Jesus died “distinct from his deity.” Although Theophylact maintained that “Nestorians” had introduced this alteration for their purposes, several evidences refute his position. First, “choris theou” appears long before the fifth-century Christological controversies. Second, various Patristic authors had accepted the “choris theou” variant, but as a limitation of “cosmic salvation”: Jesus tasted death for everyone [or everything], “except God.” Origen, an early proponent of this “cosmic interpretation,” maintained that Jesus died for all rational beings (humans, angels, and even the stars), “apart from God.” Within a Patristic milieu that emphasized the “cosmic” ramifications of Jesus’ work, such a reading possessed great power. Nevertheless, the word order of Hebrews 2:9 and the overall argument of the passage counter such a death for all beings “except God.” In fact, verse 16 insists that Jesus died for humans and not for angels. One should not assume, however, that Patristic interpreters provide no hermeneutical assistance. Their “cosmic” insights into Hebrews 2 demonstrate that Jesus died as the representative Human in order that humanity might share in his subjugation of “all things” (2:8). In this manner, a “cosmic” outcome retains a secondary yet important role within the passage. This “cosmic” framework solves another interpretive quandary within 2:9. Although many commentators interpret the “huper” construction as denoting “substitution,” the wider context (with its emphasis upon humanity’s rule over the cosmos through Christ) supports a broader sense of “huper.” Jesus died “for the benefit of” humans, so that they might participate in his exalted authority.

    quote taken from here – http://www.sbl-site.org/meetings/Congresses_Abstracts.aspx?MeetingId=14

    Paul also spoke at the 62nd Annual Meeting of ETS on this topic – Hebrews 2:9 and the “Orthodox Corruption of Scripture”

    Tell me what you know about this topic, Greg.

    I think it would be great for me to go hear Paul Hartog sometime. I think he would be as committed to studying the Patristic fathers as any Orthodox man. And Paul is within my faith tradition, Greg.

  13. What do I know about this, Todd? Basically what I’ve read above. Beyond that: well, Theodore is a progenitor of Nestorius and Origen, of course, is an outlier. In any event, the notion of “cosmic salvation” is certainly Orthodox, with or without this particular reading. I mean, what does one need beyond “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the COSMOS” for that?

    Now, does Ehrman consider this an example of textual corruption done by “proto-orthodox” scribes? It seems that several major scholars, conservative and not-so-conservative, are having a pretty good go at him, including Ben Witherington and Ehrman’s own teacher, Bruce Metzger. In any event, the whole question of this particular variant seems pretty trivial to me. I noticed that one of the papers described on the SBL page you cite is also taking on Ehrman.

    Personally, I think reverence for the text, whether in Jewish or Christian circles, often accounts for obscure readings. The focus is on copying the text as they see it, not on what it is supposed to mean.

  14. P.S., Todd: Yes, by all means go hear Dr. Hartog, and I am glad that he is interested in Patristics. Perhaps he, and you, will eventually follow the late Dr. J. Pelikan into the fulness of the Orthodox Christian Church and faith.

  15. The New Testament does not contain a Gospel of justification by faith alone. Martin Luther had to downgrade James and cast aspersions on the Sermon on the Mount in order to get this out of the New Testament.

  16. Greg, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has Apostles, Seventies, Bishops, Elders and Priests.

    I agree with you that it is annoying that many Mormons uncritically assume that when we say that we have the same organization as in the primitive church, it means that the primitive church had wards and stakes and relief societies and young mens and young womens organizations and teenaged boys blessing and passing the sacrament. Of course that is not the case. But the Church is led by Apostles supported by the Seventy at the general level. On the level of individual congregations, it is exactly as you described: a bishop supported by a “college of presbyters”.

  17. John F: not quite. In the early Church, the one bishop is bishop for life, unless removed for cause (by the bishops of the surrounding area). The episcopate is not simply a functional office to which a priest or high priest is appointed. The bishop is THE high priest of the community/Church/congregation in question. Generally, he is selected from among the presbyter/priests by the community, whose choice is ratified by the other local bishops, at least three of whom then consecrate the newly-elected bishop at a celebration of the Eucharist (Mass, Divine Liturgy, Qurbana) at which either newly consecrated bishop, or the main consecrator, presides.

    Bread and WINE are used for the Eucharist which is celebrated at least weakly. The consecrated bread and wine are regarded as the body and blood of Christ, without equivocation.

    The bishops are the linear successors to the apostles and the members of the group known as the seventy (or seventy-two) generally eventually become bishops.

    Further, there is no two-tier system of worship. The meeting houses are also called temples and the entire community worships together at each and every service, at least potentially. Persons, adults, children, and infants, are admitted to the Church by baptism, chrismation/confirmation and, then, at the same liturgy by receiving the body and blood of Christ for the first time.

    So, yes, I understand that J.S., Jr. was attempting to recreate the structure and practice of the early Church. However, he did not get it exactly right.

  18. Quite Honestly, I would like to see the written evidence of how the church opperated in the first century, while the original Apostles were still alive and running things.

    From what I understand the only written records containing such information date only to the second century or later, which is well after the original Apostles had been martyred. As such, can anyone really say how they intended things to be run (without current revelation).

    The basic organization is still the same between the LDS and what you describe GREG. As to some other things you mention, they are more ceremony or protocal rather than organization. Example: The celebrating of the apointing of a bishop is a ceremonial aspect, not an organizational aspect. Also, the use of wine is protocal, not organization.

    And just a note, concerning elections, the LDS has something very similar, called the Law of Common Consent. A man may be chosen by the church leaders to be a Bishop, but if the local congregation rejects him he is not appointed (and all members must accept him before he is ordained). So, in a sense the higher leaders nominate him, and the local congregation elects him.

  19. Actually, Shem, between the New Testament (especially the Gospels, Acts, and the pastoral epistles which include I and II Timothy and Titus), the Didache, Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch (the latest of this group, dating to about AD 110) as well as, later, Ireneus of Lyons (c. AD 175) and then, later still, the so-called “Apostolic Constitutions” (Third or Fourth Century) and Eusebius (Fourth Century) who is clearly working with earlier material, much of which is no longer extant, we have a pretty clear picture of how things were structured from the time of the Apostles onwards.

    Also, you seem to be missing a basic difference between Orthodox/Catholic bishops and Mormon bishops. For the former, the office of bishop, as well as those of presbyters and deacons, are not simply functions. Ordination to each respective office confers a status such that, once a deacon, always a deacon, and so on.

    Finally, we draw little or no distinction between something “ceremonial” and “organizational.” Christ instituted the Eucharist with wine and we are not free to change this. He instituted baptism with water, and we simply cannot change that either. Similarly, clergy are ordained with prayer and the laying one of hands by a bishop. This also is received from Christ by way of the Apostles. All of this would fall under the maxim, “the rule of prayer is the rule of faith” meaning that the norms for liturgy and worship do not contradict, and in fact reinforce, the teaching of the Church concerning the faith especially as expressed in the Nicene Creed.

    The passage cited by Todd is pertinent here in that any current revelation, if such is received, cannot contradict what has come before, again directly from Christ via the Apostles and their successors, the bishops.

    Regarding the law of common consent, when was the last time a congregation exercised this prerogative? From what I can tell, the LDS Church makes the Roman Catholic Church look downright congregational.

  20. GREG

    Ordination to each respective office confers a status such “that, once a deacon, always a deacon, and so on.”

    This is the same in the LDS church. I was ordained a Deacon at the age of 12. I am now a priest, but I am still a deacon. President Monson in the President of the Church, but he is also a deacon. Anyone who is ordained to any office will always be of that office.
    The real difference is that at times people in the LDS church, though of the office, are not acting in the office. Such that a Bishop remains a bishop after being released, but he no longer is authorized to perform the functions of a Bishop.

    As to Ceremony and Organization, I think there needs to be a destinction made. Many of the things you mention I would agree are necessary, but they are still not organizatial things. Organization refers only to the structured heirarchy of the system, not the motheds and practices within it. Thus, the laying on of hands, though essential to the gospel, are not part of the organization.
    This is why Joseph Smith very clearing separated ceremony from organization when he summarized LDS doctrine in our 13 Articles of Faiths, with the 5th being the organization adn the 6th the ceremony.

    Just a note, the New Testiment, from what I read, is actually more in line with the LDS organization than any other sect that now exists. I am not familiar with the otehr writers you list, but most of them are still after the time of the Apostles. I am not saying that what they say is inaccurate, but incomplete. This was my main point in bring this up. I do not believe that we cannot know anything, but that we cannot truly know enough.

  21. Shem: My understanding is that if someone leaves the LDS Church (or is excommunicated) every status and/or office, including that of a baptized Christian is revoked. IOW, if you left or were thrown out, and then “repented” and wanted to re-enter the Church, you would have to be re-baptized, confirmed, etc., etc, etc. Is this not the case?

    As far as organization goes, what I see in the LDS Church is something of an attempt to combine the structure of the Church during the time of the Apostles with that which was in place during the Second Century and beyond. Of course, in the Second Century, if I were a bishop of, say, Lower New Jersey, I could not then be “translated” to South Chicago. I would be bishop of Lower New Jersey for life (unless removed from that office for cause by the neighboring bishops).

    Also, regardless of how it is framed, replacing wine with water in the sacrament is a complete non-starter. There was even a sect in maybe the Third Century that did this. It was completely rejected by the authentic Church.

    Finally, there is absolutely no evidence for anything resembling the LDS Temple and the activity that goes on there in the early Church.

  22. GREG

    To your first point: What you say is not accurate. If a person simply leaves the church for any reason they are not rebaptized, as they can come back at any point. Nothing is revoked, except the authority to act.
    If a person is excommunicated they do not get rebaptized or redo any of the ordinances. There is a special ordinance that is performed only by a member of the First Presidency (I cannot recall what it is called) that brings the person back into the church with all former authority and callings taking their full effect as if the person had never been excommunicated.

    As to organization, going just from the New Testiment, any church that does not have the counsel of the twelve apostles as well as the quorum of the seventy is lacking parts of the organization set up by Christ and the Apostles. This is what I see, anyway. Now, I am not all that knowledgable concerning the time after the Apostles, but from what I read in the New Testiment what they ahd set up was already beginning to weaken and fall before they died.

    As to the wine verses water, I really don’t care either way. I see nothing in actualy scripture to mandate any particular element being used, and scripture is really all I am concerned with.

    Now, the Temple I am not suprised in not readily found. The ceremonies and ordinances are sacred, and have never been part of public record, and I would not have expected them to be written down. Now, a few passing references would be expected, but since we do not have all the writings of the time I am not too worried about what you say.

  23. Shem, obviously there are differences in perception between us, but I am genuinely surprised by your first paragraph above since I have read in reliable (and neutral) sources just the opposite. Can you document this further for me? And is this perhaps a relatively recent change? Thanks.

    Regarding the rest, in general: according to the New Testament, Christ gave the Apostles plenary authority over the Church in terms of “binding and loosing” and “He who hears you, hears me,” and so on.

    According to Clement of Rome, writing around AD 96, it was the Apostles themselves, the Church as a whole presumably concuring (there is no evidence to suggest otherwise), that set up the structure whereby they were replaced by bishops, since, by definition, an Apostle must be one who saw and interacted with Christ after His resurrection. As to the seventy (or seventy-two), they are replaced by the order of presbyters, the order of deacons having been created by the Church under the leadership of the Apostles, as documented in Acts.

  24. GREG

    I am sorry. I was a little in error in my first paragraph. I will now correct myself.
    A member who has not yet been through the temple is brought back into the church through rebaptism. However, the new baptism date is not what is recorded. The person is treated as if the original baptism is still binding, and thus that date is recorded.
    A member who has not been through the temple but still held the priesthood is also reordained, with the dates working in the same manner as rebaptism.
    It is the Temple ordinances that must be restored through the Restoration Ordinance, not by redoing the ordinances.
    However, even with this, considering that the recorded dates of baptism and ordination remain the same as the original dates, it is still accurate to say that a person does not actually lose these things, but that they are simply made inactive in their lives until reactivated by proper authority.
    (M. Russell Ballard, “A Chance to Start Over: Church Disciplinary Councils and the Restoration of Blessings”, Ensign, Sept. 1990, 12)
    Also, this is not new, but has been the way of things since Joseph Smith Jr.

    Now, as to the rest, I think a lot of it comes down to how we understand the scriptures, which I think we will agree is very different from each other. I really don’t want to get into any serious debates at this time on this subject.
    However, I have one question: Where does it state that an Apostle must have seen and interacted with the Resurrected Lord. I have heard this before, but I do not recall the reference.

  25. Shem,
    I believe that the reference you are looking for is Acts 1:21-22. It is part of the record of the recognition of Matthias as an apostle, assuming the “bishoprick” (KJV) of Judas Iscariot, after his suicide.

  26. Shem, thank you for clarifying that.

    Indeed, Pastor Dan. Thank you for jumping in here. I would have remembered that eventually, but it was not immediately coming to mind 🙂 And yes, the Greek word here is best translated “bishoprick” or “episcopate”. It is “episkopayne” (phonetic transliteration). As it turns out, all apostles are bishops, but not all bishops are apostles.

    Paul qualifies because of his conversion experience on the Damascus Road, and, in I Corinthians 15: 5-8, St. Paul states that the risen Lord had appeared to over five hundred “brethren” at once, besides “Cephas” (Peter) and “the twelve”. Then, according to St. Paul, the risen Lord appeared to James (“the brother of the Lord”) and then “to all the apostles”.

    “But,” I can hear you, Shem, asking, “Didn’t the risen Lord also appear to Joseph Smith?”

    Well, we would have to say, “No, He did not” in that, if the Great Apostacy indeed occurred, as I have said again and again here and elsewhere, then Jesus, risen or otherwise, was not true to his promise to be with the Church “until the end of the age” nor to the Apostles and by extension, to their successors, the original bishops, to whom Jesus said, “He who hears you, hear me, and he who rejects you, rejects me.”

    Thus, IF the Great Apostacy indeed occurred, and Jesus DID in fact appear to Joseph Smith, then Jesus made some major mistakes the first time around and, at best, has got some major ‘splain’ to do.

    The Church, the “ekklesia,” the assembly the community, that Jesus builds MUST be visible, historical, and continuous in time and space from the orginal Apostles until now, and beyond now until Jesus returns in glory “to judge the living and dead” after which “His Kingdom will have no end.” To Him, the Eternal Son and Word of the Eternal and Unoriginate Father +, together with the all-Holy, Good, and Lifegiving Spirit, One God, be all glory, honor, and worship, both now and ever, in both worlds and unto the Aeon of aeons. Amen.

  27. Didn’t the Baptist denomination have one continuous succession all the way back to John the Baptist?

    🙂

  28. Todd,
    There was a booklet, written in 1931, by Dr. James Carroll, called “The Trail of Blood,” purporting to trace the history of the Baptist denomination directly back to John the baptizer. Oh the things people are willing to do, and the lengths they are willing to go, to lend more “authority” to their arguments. “All SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteosness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works,” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). “God said it. That settles it. I believe it.” (I realize that’s not the way the bumper sticker usually has it. But this way is more Biblical.)

  29. Yeah, Todd and Pastor Dan, Baptist succession back to John the Baptizer, one of the great stories of religious fiction, right up there with the LDS story of the First Vision and the Book of Mormon itself. 😉

    With all due respect, Pastor Dan, what do those very Scriptures say about authority of the Church and the Apostles (and therefore, by extension, the authority of their successors in a structure that the Apostles themselves put in place)?

    Also, when the passage you wrote was first put to paper, there was no New Testament per se. The author was writing about the Old Testament, specifically the Greek version known as the Septuaguint. Therefore, if the Church and the successors to the Apostles have no authority, if the passages in the New Testament regarding this are not to be understood plainy and grammatically, then how were the contents of the New Testament determined, and how can we be sure of the accuracy of this canon?

    Then, there is what the New Testament says about baptism itself, in terms of regeneration and dying and rising with Christ, not to mention the fact the New Testament identifies the bread and wine of the Eucharist with the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ such that, in John 6 we read, “unless you eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Adam, you shall not have life within you.”

  30. Greg:

    If someone simply stops coming to church there is of course no rebaptism if the person decides to become an active participant again.

    If someone is excommunicated, they are rebaptized but if they held the priesthood before, they are simply reinstated to the same priesthood they had before excommunication. They are not re-ordained.

    As you know, for Mormons it comes down to the need for the priesthood itself to be restored to the earth in the latter days by the laying on of hands by those who held it anciently because of our belief that it was lost very early on.

    As to the Bishops inheriting the authority and role of the Apostles, as you note, Mormons simply disagree that this is the case. We believe instead that the office of Apostle was a permanently constituted office such that once an Apostle died, another was appointed in his stead. Only apostasy or crushing persecution could eliminate the office, a combination of which we believe occured, which necessitated the restoration of the priesthood and the office once Christ deemed the world ready to receive it. We believe that was in 1829. That it could be in modern times makes the claim seem silly. But the need for actual priesthood authority conferred by the laying on of hands is real — I sense that Mormons are in agreement with you on that basic principle, which I think I’m correct in saying Todd and creedal Christians of his strain do not have in common with you and me.

    As to the need for and fact of the Restoration of the Priesthood in the latter days through the prophet Joseph Smith, if you don’t believe it, don’t become a Mormon. More than anything else the Restoration of the Priesthood is what it is all about, as we need the sacred ordinances for salvation and God only recognizes them when performed by his authorized agents. When this is the case, the ordinances are sealed in heaven by that priesthood power, just as they are sealed on earth.

  31. (You might be interested in Hugh Nibley’s published 1954 lectures on Apostles and Bishops in Early Christianity and Mormonism — very dated but it gives you a good view of what a lot of Mormons believe about the function and role of Apostles and Bishops in Early Christianity and beyond.)

  32. To clarify, Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior (and specifically his Atonement) is what the Gospel is all about. The main focus of the Restoration in the Latter-days was to bring back the priesthood authority to perform the ordinances required of those who identify themselves as disciples of Jesus Christ.

  33. GREG

    I had no intention of mentioning Joseph Smith. There is no real reason to do so in this conversation. At this point I am not really trying to convince you of anything, only compare doctrine and beliefs.

    Now, I do see where you get the idea about Apostles being required to see the resurrected Lord. I do not agree with the interpretation, but I understand it.

    Now I don’t recall any reference to the “end of the age,” but using that terminology I would say he made mistake, because the apostasy happened after the “Apostolic Age” had ended.
    However, I think you refer to the quote of “Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” If you are then I point out a very interesting interpretation that says that hell in this verse refers to the grave not the dwelling place of Satan.
    With this understanding it is also not a stretch to see the apostasy as happening. Death does not separate the believer form Christ it could have no power over his church. As such his kingdom has existed and will continue to exist, just not necessarily on this Earth.

    Now, these are just thoughts. I am not trying to persuade you that our doctrine is correct, only help you understand it better.

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