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Restformationist

1st/2nd century church

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Only the LDS Church is close to the doctrines of the first Christians, just as you would expect if the LDS Church is the only true Christian Church (which it is based soley on scriptural and historical evidence).

That's a completely unsupported claim.

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>As I said in my initial post, the pick 'n choose game can be played by all

Certainly can. Barry Bickmore stated such in his book. That is why you have to take it all in with the idea that these were mostly apologetic answers to prevailing questions. Notice all the mistakes we make? They did the same.

Personally, I don't have a problem with what Justin believed. People believe a bunch of things. I just don't see the logic or the need in the subject at hand. Then again, since when is religion logical?

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Thanks Tom.  As you no doubt know, there are good counterarguments to your emphasis on creation ex nihilo as the beginning of the end:

exnihilo

It's interesting that you would cite Justin Martyr to support your position. What would LDS make of this:

Justin Martyr:

"We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [i.e., has received baptism] and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus" (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]).

As I said in my initial post, the pick 'n choose game can be played by all :P

Maybe this question seems overly simple, but I'll pose it again:  If God failed to protect the Church from error the first time around, what is the source of confidence you have that apostasy won't/hasn't happen(ed) again?

I have read Holdings page before. He does not do as well as Paul Copan and William Lane Craig and they fall far short. If you are really interested I recommend Gerard May

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I'm on record to that effect. The Catholic Church never has denied the existence of "apostasy" in the history of the Christian Church; the LDS Church instead interprets this as "complete and total apostasy."

I'm not certain it's relevant what the Catholic interpretation of apostasy is. My interest is that Latter-day Saints on the one hand are quick these days to say that the (complete and total) apostasy (should be capital 'A' Apostasy, I suppose, as in Great Apostasy) took place right after the deaths of the original apostles. Yet on the other hand, it's become fashionable in LDS circles to quote from the Early Christian Fathers to support LDS doctrines and practices.

As noted above, my primary difficulty with this is that a number of such assert that the writings of the ECF support doctrines and practices that are currently exclusive to the LDS Church, when this is not the case. I've explored this topic previously, and given examples.

I think rhinomelon is spot on in his analysis of the same.

I think you misunderstood what I meant.

The Catholic Church speaks of heresy as wrong believe and apostasy as departure from Christianity. LDS believe the early church introduced wrong belief, but did not depart from Christianity.

You responded by saying that the Catholic Church recognizes apostasies but no great apostasy. This is also true the Catholic Church recognizes some folks and groups departed from Christianity, but there was not a total departure from Christianity. LDS agree with this too.

LDS speak of the Apostasy of Authority. The highest authority was gone after the Apostles ceased to operate in this fashion.

I suggest that good meaning men with local authority tried to preserve/build a world wide church, but they only had the call and the authority to preserve the belief of Christ and the writings of the apostles. They also were to spread the belief of Christ around the world, but they erred when they thought that they had some ability to authoritatively define doctrines through some

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LDS have a much greater ability to “pick and choose” than do Catholics.

Individual Latter-day Saints? Or the Church itself?

And if you espouse this view, Tom, why do you think it doesn't naturally extend to other churches as Latter-day Saints view them? That is, why do you think the LDS Church is entitled to "pick and choose," but would think it valid to criticize other faith traditions for doing the same?

Thanks.

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I'm on record to that effect.  The Catholic Church never has denied the existence of "apostasy" in the history of the Christian Church; the LDS Church instead interprets this as "complete and total apostasy."

I'm not certain it's relevant what the Catholic interpretation of apostasy is.  My interest is that Latter-day Saints on the one hand are quick these days to say that the (complete and total) apostasy (should be capital 'A' Apostasy, I suppose, as in Great Apostasy) took place right after the deaths of the original apostles.  Yet on the other hand, it's become fashionable in LDS circles to quote from the Early Christian Fathers to support LDS doctrines and practices.

As noted above, my primary difficulty with this is that a number of such assert that the writings of the ECF support doctrines and practices that are currently exclusive to the LDS Church, when this is not the case.  I've explored this topic previously, and given examples.

I think rhinomelon is spot on in his analysis of the same.

I think you misunderstood what I meant.

The Catholic Church speaks of heresy as wrong believe and apostasy as departure from Christianity. LDS believe the early church introduced wrong belief, but did not depart from Christianity.

You responded by saying that the Catholic Church recognizes apostasies but no great apostasy. This is also true the Catholic Church recognizes some folks and groups departed from Christianity, but there was not a total departure from Christianity. LDS agree with this too.

LDS speak of the Apostasy of Authority. The highest authority was gone after the Apostles ceased to operate in this fashion.

I suggest that good meaning men with local authority tried to preserve/build a world wide church, but they only had the call and the authority to preserve the belief of Christ and the writings of the apostles. They also were to spread the belief of Christ around the world, but they erred when they thought that they had some ability to authoritatively define doctrines through some “natural revelation” charism. The councils were not infallible and the ECF as they developed ideas were not inspired. Error entered the church and we can track its introduction in many instances.

This does not mean that when the Apostles died men choose to pervert the gospel by embracing non-Christianity. Good men did the best they could. They introduced creation ex nihilo in an attempt to emphasize the greatness of God, which was noble. But this error lead to many centuries of bickering and problems as we see in the early church history.

I do recognize how we can be accused of “picking and choosing,” but it is not reasonable to suggest that the LDS view apostasy means that finding LDS doctrines in the early church is unlikely. Bickmore is quite clear and I am trying to be quite clear. The evidence we have from history shows that many LDS beliefs existed BEFORE they were DEVELOPED away from. Such that LDS beliefs are evidenced earlier and “orthodoxy” emerged later. No example is more important nor far reaching than the ERROR of Creation ex Nihilo.

Do you at least understand why LDS apostasy does not preclude the use of the ECF in this way?

Charity, TOm

TOm--

See my third paragraph above.

And could you explain how the current LDS Church is protected from the same "apostasy" you view to have occurred in the early Church?

Personally, I've been LDS long enough to know that looking at the early Church wasn't always fashionable. It certainly isn't a part of anyone's catechesis in the LDS Church. Apologists (amateur and professional), scholars and leaders have taken up that banner in the past couple of decades, but it wasn't always so.

One of the biggest red flags to me as a Latter-day Saint was that we were purported to have been a "restoration" of the early Church, yet we never studied it. Never observed the practices of the early Church, never revered or studied the leaders of the early Church. Nothing. Aquinas and Augustine were people we encountered on college required reading lists, and generally not before (unless we had really enlightened teachers in high school).

Many LDS practices find no basis whatsoever in the early Church. The "meetings" are a complete reversal of early Christian worship. And, you are correct, the Eucharist is a problem for the contemporary LDS Church--another red flag, in my view.

I prefer personally to take the Savior's word for it, and stick with His Church. Even as you describe it, what you perceive to be a "restoration" is really a cafeteria.

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QUOTE (BCSpace @ Oct 12 2005, 12:22 PM)

Only the LDS Church is close to the doctrines of the first Christians, just as you would expect if the LDS Church is the only true Christian Church (which it is based soley on scriptural and historical evidence). 

That's a completely unsupported claim.

:P Welcome to BCSpace-land!

No hint of trinity, sola fide, eternal security, or traducianism (original sin).

I would be quite interested to hear what you would consider a hint. From reading the ECF, of all the doctrines hinted at in the earliest ECF, one of the most "hinted at" is the Trinity. Indeed, even the earliest church fathers espoused a view of Christ that is distinctly non-LDS. Many directly refer to Jesus Christ as God, worthy of worship and unique as God's Son. I doubt you'd want me to post examples here, because I doubt anybody would seriously read through all of it. But I can pick up your gauntlet, if you want <_<

Also, I would be interested to see if you could come up with more than 6 instances in the ECF in which baptism for the dead and preaching the gospel to the dead is clearly mentioned as the duty (or even an option!) of the follower of Christ. I can think of perhaps two.

Plurality of gods and multiple heavens will find more support, but not much. I would be interested in where you find plurality of gods (in the LDS sense) in the ECF however, so if you ever felt like emailing me that or posting it here even, that would be appreciated.

Take care, everyone :unsure:

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I think the Church's position on the Apostasy is that priesthood authority and the keys needed to use the priesthood were withdrawn

Can somebody tell me what is the central reason, in the LDS view, for the withdrawl of the priestly authority?

They broke the everlasting covenant, changed the ordinances and their significance. The keys where taken from the earth.

Thus an Angel has to come back with it.

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One of the biggest red flags to me as a Latter-day Saint was that we were purported to have been a "restoration" of the early Church, yet we never studied it. Never observed the practices of the early Church, never revered or studied the leaders of the early Church. Nothing. Aquinas and Augustine were people we encountered on college required reading lists, and generally not before (unless we had really enlightened teachers in high school).

That is a good point. I've always considered the notion of the Restoration as more poetic than practical, historically speaking. The LDS church as exists today could not have existed in the early centuries of Christianity. I say this not in a doctrinal sense (although I believe that to be the case as well), but even in a practical sense. The organization and bureaucracy of the LDS church would not have been possible, simply given limits in communication, travel, and numbers of people within the church.

When I think of how the LDS church uses the term "Restoration", it (rather comically) makes me think of a well-meaning artist restoring the Mona Lisa by clearing the dust off (good), then making her a blonde, or putting a mustache on (bad). Restoration can only go as far as the original goes; anything beyond that is not restoration, but change and addition. Which is what the LDS church does, and admittedly so.

Okay, I'm done now. Take care, everyone :P

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My own observation is that various Latter-day Saints are quick to grab certain writings and practices from the early Church and claim them as their own, and claim that they're the only ones currently doing them, when this is actually not the case.

Look at your wording. Grab them? From who? Those who own them? Like you? Sorry but the party is over and it isn't the "Mormons" who are breaking into new territory here. It is all liberal scholars. Mormons don't have to grab anything....early Christian history is our history as much as it is yours. Any religion can go back and catch a ride in some period of history. Your problem is that you can't hook up until later centuries. Mormonism has a Jewish-Christian flavor and we hook up in the 1st and 2nd centuries.

I have asked you repeatedly to support your theology from early records. You refuse. I suggest you be prepared to do so if you are going to claim that everything belongs to you.

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We should examine what is claimed by both churches not what others might wish either of our churches believed.

Charity, TOm

Exactly. Which is one of the reasons I'm so personally mystified you would give up Catholicism for Mormonism.

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My own observation is that various Latter-day Saints are quick to grab certain writings and practices from the early Church and claim them as their own, and claim that they're the only ones currently doing them, when this is actually not the case.

Look at your wording. Grab them? From who? Those who own them? Like you? Sorry but the party is over and it isn't the "Mormons" who are breaking into new territory here. It is all liberal scholars. Mormons don't have to grab anything....early Christian history is our history as much as it is yours. Any religion can go back and catch a ride in some period of history. Your problem is that you can't hook up until later centuries. Mormonism has a Jewish-Christian flavor and we hook up in the 1st and 2nd centuries.

I have asked you repeatedly to support your theology from early records. You refuse. I suggest you be prepared to do so if you are going to claim that everything belongs to you.

:P<_<:unsure::ph34r::angry::blink::wub:

Next, you're going to claim that Latter-day Saints are "quite well versed in it," right?

juliann, I can either laugh at you, ignore you, or argue with you.

At least you're good for the occasional laugh. You know as well as I do that at no time in your early catechesis in the LDS Church were you taught about the doctrines, practices and writings of the early Christian church. Piggyback onto anything you want.

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Also, I would be interested to see if you could come up with more than 6 instances in the ECF in which baptism for the dead and preaching the gospel to the dead is clearly mentioned as the duty (or even an option!) of the follower of Christ. I can think of perhaps two.

The only thing that is difficult to support is a pre-existence. Baptism for the dead would be next but there is enough there to support that something was going on.

Plurality of gods and multiple heavens will find more support, but not much. I would be interested in where you find plurality of gods (in the LDS sense) in the ECF however, so if you ever felt like emailing me that or posting it here even, that would be appreciated.

Plurality of gods is not even debated in scholarship. I recently attended a lecture by Tov, the LXX and DSS expert. The transition from the LXX to the MT should be extremely worrisome to anyone depending on "the Bible" because one the prime examples Tov mentioned for tampering was plural gods and deification. In other words, the best evidence for gods is in Bible related texts themselves.

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We should examine what is claimed by both churches not what others might wish either of our churches believed. 

Charity, TOm

Exactly. Which is one of the reasons I'm so personally mystified you would give up Catholicism for Mormonism.

Why wonder. People accept the Lord's Church (The restored Gospel of Jesus Christ all the time).

BTW every single person I baptized on my mission was Catholic. Strange but true.

Well maybe not so strange considering I taught Spanish speaking people in the US.

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At least you're good for the occasional laugh. You know as well as I do that at no time in your early catechesis in the LDS Church were you taught about the doctrines, practices and writings of the early Christian church. Piggyback onto anything you want.

You are either going to participate in this thread or get out. I'm asking a mod to intervene so you do not turn it into another derailed drive-by neener neener thread. If you can't discuss the documents instead of me keep driving. My knowledge of early Christianity comes from Claremont Graduate University and it is my area of study and I'm going to do some serious posting here. So take your totally irrelevant "catechesis" and giggle somewhere else.

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My knowledge of early Christianity comes from Claremont Graduate University and it is my area of study and I'm going to do some serious posting here.

Well, that would be a refreshing change. Have at it. :P

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Plurality of gods is not even debated in scholarship. I recently attended a lecture by Tov, the LXX and DSS expert. The transition from the LXX to the MT should be extremely worrisome to anyone depending on "the Bible" because one the prime examples Tov mentioned for tampering was plural gods and deification. In other words, the best evidence for gods is in Bible related texts themselves.

I realize that polytheism (or henotheism, depending on who you talk to) is a somewhat common position on early texts of the Bible, especially the OT. But what about the ECF? Seriously, I'm interested in your take on the matter :P

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At least you're good for the occasional laugh.  You know as well as I do that at no time in your early catechesis in the LDS Church were you taught about the doctrines, practices and writings of the early Christian church.  Piggyback onto anything you want.

You are either going to participate in this thread or get out. I'm asking a mod to intervene so you do not turn it into another derailed drive-by neener neener thread. If you can't discuss the documents instead of me keep driving. My knowledge of early Christianity comes from Claremont Graduate University and it is my area of study and I'm going to do some serious posting here. So take your totally irrelevant "catechesis" and giggle somewhere else.

Juliann, I for one look forward to reading your posts on early Christianity due to your continuing education at a dang fine institution.

I'm curious, have you read Bart Ehrman's Lost Christianities, the battle for scripture and faiths we never knew?

If so what did you think.

thanks,

Rick

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Plurality of gods is not even debated in scholarship. I recently attended a lecture by Tov, the LXX and DSS expert. The transition from the LXX to the MT should be extremely worrisome to anyone depending on "the Bible" because one the prime examples Tov mentioned for tampering was plural gods and deification. In other words, the best evidence for gods is in Bible related texts themselves.

I realize that polytheism (or henotheism, depending on who you talk to) is a somewhat common position on early texts of the Bible, especially the OT. But what about the ECF? Seriously, I'm interested in your take on the matter :P

This is totally off topic Rhinomelon but seriously I just can't take serious anything you post because I look off to the left and see that silly icon!

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I realize that polytheism (or henotheism, depending on who you talk to) is a somewhat common position on early texts of the Bible, especially the OT. But what about the ECF? Seriously, I'm interested in your take on the matter :P

The deification texts use "gods". I have to go see some students right now and will look up documentation tonight. I will probably accept more subtle references than you would.

Docrick, I have the book. More later.

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In the end, the deeper question is whether you believe God was able or willing to preserve His Church on earth. If, as the LDS claim, the answer is 'no', then you should be prepared to explain your confidence that God has preserved LDS from apostasy. Frankly, the back and forth on issues of race and polygamy and the other changes across the last century in the LDS signify a faith that God is guiding His church, His restored church, and protecting it from error. Funny that He would do that now but not 2,000 years ago.

I find it interesting that no Christian Chruch on the earth was against murder in the name of their religion until the Toleration Act of 1649. That act did allow murder of non-Trinitarian believers. If the true church was on the earth what hapened to heresy as a crime worthy of death? If the true sprit of Christianity is that devout believers of heresy should not suffer death why did the Christians persist is such doctrines for well over 1,000 years? This opinion comes from historical records.

I do not doubt that there were good people but why should a church bring physical harm to those that behave as a Good Samaratan but do not believe in the church. Why should someone be told to retract a book on tides (saying the sun is the center of a solar system - not the earth) or die. To me the answer is that there was something wrong with the institution of Christianity - G-d would never claim such a thing as his. I would also suspect that such induring institutions would oppose any chruch G-d would establish.

The Traveler

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Traveler, There are countless examples of wonderful Catholic saints who preserved the faith and died for the faith and who lived exemplary lives. I'm not sure what your point is. People have always done bad things in the name of religion, sometimes with good intentions. If you believe that the lives of Catholic saints, and many other Catholic believers, were not worthy of the gospel of Christ you might want to look more closely at Church history.

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See my third paragraph above.

I think I explained why it is important for LDS to look at the ECF and find our beliefs.

And could you explain how the current LDS Church is protected from the same "apostasy" you view to have occurred in the early Church?

No, I cannot.

It seems to me that we are quite clear from Joseph Smith and on that this is the LAST dispensation. I do not know how we could be mistaken in this understanding.

However Matthew 16:18 came to be viewed as not only support for the papacy, but support for the continuation of the church. I have not seen this in the earliest writings of the church. And the Visions of the Pastor of Hermas (as early as late first century, but probably mid second AND used as scripture more that books like Jude before the canonization process), I believe teaches the exact opposite (that there would be a complete apostasy and a lesser organization to take over). So I can argue that the Pastor of Hermas, Ignatius and Polycarp knew the apostasy was coming, but I must acknowledge that at some point in time the church began to believe that the apostasy was impossible. Acknowledging this and recognizing that they were wrong I refuse to demand that LDS could not be wrong.

I follow God through the church that my intellect and His communication to me tell me is right. I do not disengage my mind or heart from God and give them to His church. It is a package deal and I trust God to guide me.

Personally, I've been LDS long enough to know that looking at the early Church wasn't always fashionable.  It certainly isn't a part of anyone's catechesis in the LDS Church.  Apologists (amateur and professional), scholars and leaders have taken up that banner in the past couple of decades, but it wasn't always so.

One of the biggest red flags to me as a Latter-day Saint was that we were purported to have been a "restoration" of the early Church, yet we never studied it.  Never observed the practices of the early Church, never revered or studied the leaders of the early Church.  Nothing.  Aquinas and Augustine were people we encountered on college required reading lists, and generally not before (unless we had really enlightened teachers in high school).

This is quite interesting to me.

The fact that Joseph Smith and the church did not engage the ECF makes it all the more amazing that we find LDS evidence in the understanding of their writings.

LDS did not ignore the early church because to do so would be to undermine our truth claims, but rather because our church teaches that the highest form of truth is gained through interacting with God. After this has been done, the most important lessons are those associated with BECOMING not proving or

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I find it interesting that no Christian Chruch on the earth was against murder in the name of their religion until the Toleration Act of 1649. That act did allow murder of non-Trinitarian believers. If the true church was on the earth what hapened to heresy as a crime worthy of death? If the true sprit of Christianity is that devout believers of heresy should not suffer death why did the Christians persist is such doctrines for well over 1,000 years? This opinion comes from historical records.

Read more history. Look at the Anabaptists, for one example just off the top of my head. And there are hundreds, if not thousands, of accounts of good Christians standing up against such abuses, as the good count has already pointed out.

To me the answer is that there was something wrong with the institution of Christianity - G-d would never claim such a thing as his.

Yes to the first statement, no to the second. There is something wrong with the institution--it's full of sinful people. However, God does claim such people as His. He accepted me, didn't He? I would not say I'm perfect, by any stretch of the imagination.

I would also suspect that such induring institutions would oppose any chruch G-d would establish.

Well, if opposition and persecution is a mark of God's true church, then the LDS church is way on down the line, I'm afraid.

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