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David Waltz

The Great Apostasy - How, Why, and When?

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Sincerely, do you believe that Jesus' plan was to establish a Church that would "fail" almost immediately and not be restored for nearly 1800 years?

I don't know all the reasons God does what he does, but the establishment of His church and its teachings cannot be seen as a failure, no matter the inability or unwillingness of people to follow Him.

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I understand where you are trying to go with that analogy...but it doesn't quite work.  Jesus did not establish his Church so that it would "die" one generation later. 

We (LDS) don't believe that Christ's church failed. But it did not remain on the earth. (See Revelation 12:5-6)

Sincerely, do you believe that Jesus' plan was to establish a Church that would "fail" almost immediately and not be restored for nearly 1800 years?

Well, once again, I don't believe it failed, it was just taken away for a while. I can think of reasons why this would be, and yes, I believe it was part of the plan. Scripture bears it out, most particularly the Books of Revelation and Daniel.

Let me ask you a question. Why did God wait some four thousand years to send Christ to earth? Why didn't he come in the days of Adam?

T-Shirt

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>>I saw that in Ignatius when he pleads for the prayers of the people he left because now they will only have Christ as their bishop. I found that an extremely odd concern if replacement was possible...he would have been exhorting them to pick so and so to take his place or to appoint someone forthwith.>>

Me: Could you cite the letter and chapter for the above, it is not coming to mind for me. In the meantime, the following from the pen of Ignatius is noteworthy (IMO):

Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans

Chapter 9—Pray for the Church in Syria

Remember in your prayers the Church which is in Syria, which, instead of me, has now for its shepherd the Lord, who says, "I am the good Shepherd." And He alone will oversee it, as well as your love towards Him. But as for me, I am ashamed to be counted one of them; for I am not worthy, as being the very last of them, and one born out of due time. But I have obtained mercy to be somebody, if I shall attain to God. My spirit salutes you, and the love of the Churches which have received me in the name of Jesus Christ, and not as a mere passerby. For even those Churches which were not near to me in the way, have brought me forward, city by city.

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When the leaders are gone everyone is easy prey for the pretenders.

Did Jesus appoint and ordain his Apostles knowing that they would fail? Was that His plan to have his Church crumble and not be restored for 1800 years?

Hi BD, I always found this bothersome until I realized that this has always been the pattern. The OT is a record of the crumbling then rebuilding then crumbling...of the Israelites. Each time they fell into apostasy another prophet was sent and new covenants made. This is certain a longer period but the process is the same.

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First some thoughts from a Catholic perspective: a mere generation later, Irenaeus and Tertullian are providing bishopric succession lists from the major apostolic sees (churches founded by apostles and whose first bishops were ordained by an apostle) to demonstrate continuity in the face of the claims of the Gnostics. Though I would not claim infallibility for such lists, neither would I claim that they are in any sense contrived; rather, that they were reliable.

Good thread, David. (And thanks to T-shirt for the Ignatius cite). I'm not sure that I can come up with references on this one off the top of my head...but class lectures were that the gnostics were the first to come up with lineage lists...and the others had to counter with their own... just as they did when Marcion started compiling texts. Since these lists were compiled long after the fact I take them with a grain of salt (that certainly does not mean that a succession was not there, however).

And now some thoughts from an LDS perspective: was not the apostle John still alive? Could he not have ordained more apostles and/or bishops? And take note of the words of former President Joseph F. Smith:

Alive and available are two different things. With the apostles gone and the philosopher/clerics coming in and creating schisms, politics took over. I don't find that conducive to pulling one guy aside and ordering him to create another start up company. What I always come back to is why...why didn't they just put in more apostles? That would have contained the situation...even if the power brokers put themselves in. But they didn't. I find that beyond comprehension.

Clement also writes about a deteriorating structure...faithful men are being thrown out of office. He too warns against "disorder". In The Letter of the Romans to the Corinthians he says ". . .they gave the offices a permanent character; that is, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry." (44, 2). Lightfoot explains this as "If these initial appointees should die, they are to be succeeded in office by others appointed by the apostles and, later on, by the "other reputable men" with apostolic status, such as Titus or Timothy."

Again...how simple it would have been to preserve authority by simply doing this. But they let that permanent office disappear. Why? And then we have Ignatius saying something even more strange:

Remember in your prayers the Church which is in Syria, which, instead of me, has now for its shepherd the Lord, who says, "I am the good Shepherd." And He alone will oversee it, as well as your love towards Him.  Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans, 9, 1.

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When the leaders are gone everyone is easy prey for the pretenders.

Did Jesus appoint and ordain his Apostles knowing that they would fail? Was that His plan to have his Church crumble and not be restored for 1800 years?

Hi BD, I always found this bothersome until I realized that this has always been the pattern. The OT is a record of the crumbling then rebuilding then crumbling...of the Israelites. Each time they fell into apostasy another prophet was sent and new covenants made. This is certain a longer period but the process is the same.

From my perspective, this point of view distorts and weakens the foundation and significance of the New Covenant.

The death of Christ is the "unique and definitive sacrifice". He is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. He spoke through the prophets under the Old Covenant in pieces, then under the New Covenant He spoke all at once by giving us the Word made flesh. There are to be no more prophets; revelation is complete. Christ came to earth when he did because He had calculated the cost of building His Church here, and He knew He had the resources to create something that would stand.

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When the leaders are gone everyone is easy prey for the pretenders.

Did Jesus appoint and ordain his Apostles knowing that they would fail? Was that His plan to have his Church crumble and not be restored for 1800 years?

Hi BD, I always found this bothersome until I realized that this has always been the pattern. The OT is a record of the crumbling then rebuilding then crumbling...of the Israelites. Each time they fell into apostasy another prophet was sent and new covenants made. This is certain a longer period but the process is the same.

I would have made a similar comment . . one can ask why the fall from the Garden of Eden, why the flood, why Israel was held captive, why the slaughter of the people after their escape into the wilderness and receiving of their covenants, why the Mosaic law, why the millenium, why is satan allowed a season, why will some not have Satan to influence them, why the human condition and different conditions for us all?

The important point is Christ gave us commandments, now it is up to us to circumcise our hearts and seek that which is good. One can argue their own logic as much as they want, but ultimately we're all judged on whether we seek that which is right or make excuses not to accept and do it.

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There are to be no more prophets; revelation is complete. Christ came to earth when he did because He had calculated the cost of building His Church here, and He knew He had the resources to create something that would stand.

Ah, but what do you mean as Revelations 11 says their will be prophets in the last days? . . if we accept the Word, we accept His word.

With everything in, on, above, and under the earth belonging to God, what cost and resources do you refer to?

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Did Jesus appoint and ordain his Apostles knowing that they would fail?  Was that His plan to have his Church crumble and not be restored for 1800 years? 

Hi BD, I always found this bothersome until I realized that this has always been the pattern. The OT is a record of the crumbling then rebuilding then crumbling...of the Israelites. Each time they fell into apostasy another prophet was sent and new covenants made. This is certain a longer period but the process is the same.

Hi juliann,

The "Great Apostasy", as taught by the LDS Church, I have always found rather bothersome as well. When Christ freely gave Himself up for us on the cross, He triumphed over evil. Ephesians tells us that Christ's accomplishment of triumphing over evil will be manifest through the church which he instituted. But if the church failed...Christ's triumph is no longer manifest through His church (or at least for 1800 years).

Tragically, the gates of hell can and do prevail over individual Christians who succumb to mortal sin and cut themselves off from life-giving union with Christ(Rom 11:22; Gal 5:4; 2 Peter 2:20-22; 1 John 5:16-17), they can't prevail against the Church Jesus built on the rock of Peter. If they could--if they did--Jesus is made to look foolish for having taught, "Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, 'This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish'" (Luke 15:28-30)

Christ did calculate the cost of building His Church here on Earth. That is why He came when He did. That is why He chose the Virgin Mary. That is why He selected the Twelve Apostles...including Judas. He knew (calculated) that Judas would betray Him so that He would be given up as our sacraficial lamb.

If Christ calculated everything else just right...how could He have been off in judging when/where to build His Church? Did He calculate so poorly that a mere 70 years later it crumbled?

juliann, yes there are records in the OT of crumbling then rebuilding. But does Christ's Church fit that mold? Our Saviour establishes a Church that would dissolve so incredibly fast and take nearly 1800 years to restore? It just doesn't fit.

I am sincere in asking these questions. The LDS belief in the "Great Apostasy" just doesn't sit well with me and my faith in Jesus Christ. I don't mean for this post to come across in a malicious manner in any way. Please don't take it as such. I just have many many unresolved questions regarding this particular belief.

Peace be with you.

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Sincerely, do you believe that Jesus' plan was to establish a Church that would "fail" almost immediately and not be restored for nearly 1800 years?

TOm:

Yes, yes I do.

I do not believe this solely based upon the Bible.

I do not believe this solely based upon Barry Bickmore

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Big Dogger,

This may not respond to your concern adequately, but Catholics and LDS means something differently when they say

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A few thoughts about Mt 16:28 and the Apostasy theories of the LDS for my fellow Catholics:

We frequently appeal to our understanding of Mt 16:18 as a promise of the perpetuity of the Church. LDS agree that it is a promise of "final perseverance", but with the understanding that first it allows for a falling away. It is my opinion that they have made an adequate response to the promise of Mt 16:18, when they observe that Jesus also died and came back to life. They can further note that based on the usual pessimism which understands this verse as an entrenched Church against which is under attack by Satan.

Now I say that I think the LDS response is adequate, especially if one perceives the Mt 16:18 Church as defensive, under siege. I don't perceive it that way myself:

And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

It is not for nothing that the Church on earth is called the Church Militant. The "gates of hell" would not allude to an attack of the devil on the City of God, but of the children of the Church pulling down the strongholds of Satan. Understood this way, I think weakens the LDS interpretation, but as we should know, sola scriptura argumentation seldom resolves doctrinal controversy.

I think we would do well to acknowledge that if they are satisfied that they can reconcile Mt 16 with a total apostasy, then they have. In like manner, I think they should admit that we can reconcile the passages of Scripture they cite as proof of a total apostasy, with our position. When both sides admit that from a sola scriptura perspective, our positions are both plausible, we can then address issues like the one David Waltz raises here which is historical and brings in the authority of Catholic Tradition to support our position which is only plausible biblically, but much more certain (infallible from our point of view) in conjunction with history. The reason the Church needs Tradition is because we aren't intended to prove our claims from the Bible alone anyway. I think we can admit that while Catholic positions must always be plausible sola scriptura, so others might be.

Moving on, I found it interesting in the talk by Mr. Reynolds that most of it was an admission that three LDS popular theories of the reason for the total apostasy fail.

Myth #1: The Apostasy happened because of outside persecution.

Myth #2: The Apostasy was caused by the hellenization of Christianity.

Myth #3: The Catholic Church is the great and abominable Church in Nephi's vision.

They have been riding this "Hellenization horse" for a long time and are moving now to the point of saying that it didn't cause the apostasy, but is merely symptomatic. I think we should applaud them. We agree with almost all of Mr Reynolds talk. It doesn't say that they have more ammo now, but less. I understand him to be saying that they need to stop relying on Protestant propaganda in assuming that the Catholic Church was apostate and, begin to develop some uniquely LDS theories:

Given the dependence of early LDS writers on Protestant historians, who were themselves often anti-Catholic, it is not surprising that Latter-day Saints tended to interpret Nephi's vision this way (the Catholic Church as whatever Nephi's vision is condemning)...

In my opinion, the LDS are a product of the divisive nature of non-Catholic Christianity. But they are a step in the right direction. We can agree with Joseph Smith's position (or vision if you will) that all the churches in his milieu were corrupt. The LDS have seen like few Protestants ever do, the necessity of apostolic authority and continuity. This we should respect and remember along with the fact that they are plausible biblically apart from Catholic Tradition.

The weakness of the LDS position is not exposed by Protestants who think they are wrong because their view of the Trinity isn't Nicene. Of course it isn't. They don't care. It would be pretty odd if an apostate church got it right at Nicea wouldn't it? (On the other hand, it is a little odd that an apostate church didn't make one mistake in the 27 New Testament books it canonized!). Nor can sacred underwear or "bizarre" ritual be proof of their "cultishness" when we wear scapulars and have a Mass where apart from the gift of faith, we make some pretty wild claims ourself.

The strengths of the LDS position should be set alongside of the fact that they were born out of a Protestant culture, thrive in a Protestant culture, and are starting to realize that Protestantism offers little help for why a Christian may disregard the truth claims of the Catholic Church. I think Mr Reynolds sees this and so do some others. Seeing this flexibility as a sign of good will, I think we should be fair with them about the Bible, and perhaps they will be fair with us about history.

I therefore vote to admit the plausibility, apart from Catholic Tradition, that Mormons adequately deal with Mt 16:28. I second the opinion of David Waltz that the early presence of pedobaptism needs explanation from an LDS point of view. If the Apostles didn't teach this, what would motivate corrupters of the faith to propose it, and gain a huge following so quickly? We know why the Judaistic corrupters among St Paul's Galatians argue for circumcision and why the Marcionites reject the Old Testament. These are corruptions but they are corruptions that make sense. Why make up infant baptism? Is it a product of worldly hellenism? They can charge that it follows from the belief in original sin. Well yes, of course. But we both agree on where the Marcionite and Judaizer had a fundamental error. Properly understood original sin is not the evil that most Mormons imagine it to be anyway. They really confound the meaning of original sin (and its result) when they do not consider the distinction we make regarding actual sin (and its result). It can also be fruitful to explore the meaning of the "curse of Adam" which is an expression from the Book of Mormon. There is not so much difference as they imagine between us. But I am digressing.

If early pedobaptism is an interesting problem for them, I would suggest that we could also ask why and how they think the corrupters of Christianity (St Ignatius is a very early witness) first introduced the literal interpretation of John 6, where Jesus' allows the faithless disciples to leave Him, when they could not abide His saying that "His flesh was food indeed, and His blood was drink indeed."? How could a false teaching like that be introduced by mere mortals? When Jesus Himself was understood literally, He lost many followers. What would be the motive behind a false shepherd trying to make up a thing like that?

In my opinion, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints corporately, with their members individually have generally based the Apostasy on their confidence in a Restoration. This is backwards and I think some of them sense it. The best of them seem to be trying to abandon Reformation rhetoric and find a way to convince knowledgable Catholics of an Apostasy. The beauty of all this for us Catholics is that we don't even have to emphasize anything negative about them. In fact, the more we agree the better for us, because it makes Apostasy less and less reasonable. They still have to point out where the Catholic Church has abandoned the faith of the Apostles. No delightful task for them. We can hope that the exercise will make them consider how happy and easy we are about discussing the Catholic faith in light of the charges brought.

3DOP

By the way Tom Nossor...I have no idea on what page you would find it, but I did make a partial response to your "insanely long post a few weeks ago". You could probably find it by clicking my name. I haven't posted much here since.

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juliann, yes there are records in the OT of crumbling then rebuilding.  But does Christ's Church fit that mold?  Our Saviour establishes a Church that would dissolve so incredibly fast and take nearly 1800 years to restore?  It just doesn't fit.

I think there is far too much evidence that this is exactly what did happen. It is even in the Bible. One of the most convincing scriptures to me is the gates of hell verse. Since the Christians freely used the term hades there is no justification for us to change it. And hades was the place of the dead...who went through gates and were locked inside them. To say the gates of hades cannot prevail has absolutely no meaning unless someone/thing is locked inside them. Would you care if someone told you that the gates of Alcatraz would not prevail against you when you live on the East coast and have never been near the place? It would sound absurd. So if the church is being threatened by gates the church has to be behind them..the apostasy. And they do not prevail. I see this cycle of birth, death and regeneration throughout scripture...from Lazarus to the atonement.

I see nothing in scripture or in the earliest texts that indicates prophets and apostles..the pillars of the church...were dispensible....quite the opposite. At any rate...the best outcome for this can only be a declaration of faith not facts.

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They have been riding this "Hellenization horse" for a long time and are moving now to the point of saying that it didn't cause the apostasy, but is merely symptomatic. I think we should applaud them. We agree with almost all of Mr Reynolds talk. It doesn't say that they have more ammo now, but less. 

Heh...not when scholarship is finally giving noncanonical texts their due. Even the ANF used to be given precedence over the apostolic fathers....no more. And the earlier writings are where LDS are quite comfortable. The problem with "Christian history" is that any religion can go in and hook an era. Pick a century...you will find your theology.

I understand him to be saying that they need to stop relying on Protestant propaganda in assuming that the Catholic Church was apostate and, begin to develop some uniquely LDS theories

That is very easy to do....there is so much that has not been given attention that all LDS have to do is go in and pull it out. It is already being done...you just wouldn't know it because it won't have "Mormon" attached to it. Scholarship is welcoming to any new and plausible theory.

I second the opinion of David Waltz that the early presence of pedobaptism needs explanation from an LDS point of view. If the Apostles didn't teach this, what would motivate corrupters of the faith to propose it, and gain a huge following so quickly?

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I think there is far too much evidence that this is exactly what did happen.  It is even in the Bible. 

On the contrary juliann, the evidence of a complete and total apostasy is severely lacking. Yes, in the Bible it does speak of apostasy...but never in the terms that it is understood by LDS. It is impossible for LDS to show proof positive in the Bible and/or in history when and/or how the Great Apostasy happened.

The apostasy described in the Bible speaks of individual Christians turning away from the Apostolic Church. That has been occuring for 2000 years and continues today. That begs the question; do you turn your back on Peter because of Judas?

One of the most convincing scriptures to me is the gates of hell verse.  Since the Christians freely used the term hades there is no justification for us to change it.  And hades was the place of the dead...who went through gates and were locked inside them.  To say the gates of hades cannot prevail has absolutely no meaning unless someone/thing is locked inside them.  Would you care if someone told you that the gates of Alcatraz would not prevail against you when you live on the East coast and have never been near the place?  It would sound absurd.  So if the church is being threatened by gates the church has to be behind them..the apostasy.  And they do not prevail.  I see this cycle of birth, death and regeneration throughout scripture...from Lazarus to the atonement.

My Bible reads this way: And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.

Are you interpreting "the gates of hades" as the "Great Apostasy"? In other words...And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the Great Apostasy shall not prevail against it.

I see nothing in scripture or in the earliest texts that indicates prophets and apostles..the pillars of the church...were dispensible....quite the opposite.  At any rate...the best outcome for this can only be a declaration of faith not facts.

The Apostles are the second foundation of the Catholic Church. Christ obviously being the first. I would not say that the Apostles are dispensible at all. Our Church is built upon the faith and teachings of the Apostles.

If you are referring to the offices of the Twelve Apostles...I would argue otherwise. In order to fill such an office, it was necessary to have been instructed by Jesus, to have seen the risen Lord. And these are, clearly, the conditions required by the Apostles in the candidate for the place of Judas Iscariot. "Of the men, therefore, who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John unto the day He was received up from us, of these must one become a witness with us of His Resurrection" (Acts, 1:21, 22).

Peace be with you.

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3DOP:

In like manner, I think they should admit that we can reconcile the passages of Scripture they cite as proof of a total apostasy, with our position.

TOm:

I so admit. I think we can say certain things point one direction or another, but as I said in my first post,

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Hello again Juliann,

Thanks for responding my post. You wrote:

>>Good thread, David. (And thanks to T-shirt for the Ignatius cite). I'm not sure that I can come up with references on this one off the top of my head...but class lectures were that the gnostics were the first to come up with lineage lists...and the others had to counter with their own... just as they did when Marcion started compiling texts. Since these lists were compiled long after the fact I take them with a grain of salt (that certainly does not mean that a succession was not there, however).>>

Me: First, I would like to thank T-shirt also. I am pleased that the quote provided was from the letter to the Romans, for it was written before the letter to the Smyrnaeans. Ignatius composed the letters to Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, and Rome during a brief stay at Smyrna; the letters to Philadelphia, Smyrna, and Polycarp were written later from the city of Troas. It was also at Troas that Ignatius learned that

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On the contrary juliann, the evidence of a complete and total apostasy is severely lacking. Yes, in the Bible it does speak of apostasy...but never in the terms that it is understood by LDS. It is impossible for LDS to show proof positive in the Bible and/or in history when and/or how the Great Apostasy happened.

Any "evidence" the Bible provides for anything is debatable because it is not an instruction manual. It is a record...and not always a consistent or thorough one. You do say the Bible speaks of apostasy. So we do agree it is in the Bible. At that point it becomes interpretation. That is why I said earlier that this has to ultimately rest on faith rather than facts.

The apostasy described in the Bible speaks of individual Christians turning away from the Apostolic Church.  That has been occuring for 2000 years and continues today.  That begs the question; do you turn your back on Peter because of Judas?

Several equally plausible and valid conclusions can be drawn. This one happens to be yours. :P

Are you interpreting "the gates of hades" as the "Great Apostasy"?  In other words...And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the Great Apostasy shall not prevail against it.

I don't use the term "Great Apostasy". I find it so imprecise that it is meaningless. No, I am saying that the gates of hades are only an issue if you are behind them...locked in. Only then can a piece of wood "prevail" in any way. Gates do not chase you around and make you fight them. That scripture tells me that the church was behind the gates...in the realm of the shades waiting to be released. As I said, this motif of birth, death and resurrection is throughout the Bible.

The Apostles are the second foundation of the Catholic Church.  Christ obviously being the first.  I would not say that the Apostles are dispensible at all.  Our Church is built upon the faith and teachings of the Apostles.

Again, this is merely interpretation and this is yours. When I see Justin Martyr claiming the prophetic gifts now belong to the Christians and rules for prophets in the Didache I see no justification for anyone else thinking that they had enough prophecy. I certainly see nothing in scripture that comes close to announcing that.

If you are referring to the offices of the Twelve Apostles...I would argue otherwise.  In order to fill such an office, it was necessary to have been instructed by Jesus, to have seen the risen Lord. And these are, clearly, the conditions required by the Apostles in the candidate for the place of Judas Iscariot. "Of the men, therefore, who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John unto the day He was received up from us, of these must one become a witness with us of His Resurrection" (Acts, 1:21, 22).

This is why it is easy to omit Paul as an apostle. The problem with this is several apostles are mentioned filling vacancies...not every author uses the same names, however. Also, since we are already in the realm of the supernatural there is no reason to think that there is not some sort of witness. What did Paul see in his vision?

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Moving on to the “lists” composed by some of the Gnostics, from my readings, they were lists of teachers, not bishops: A taught B who taught C who taught…and importantly, the teachers taught but an elite few.

:::sigh:::: Ok, David you brute...you are going to make me work. I do have to give the excuse that some of my books are inaccessible due to construction on my home. I'll get back to this.

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. . I second the opinion of David Waltz that the early presence of pedobaptism needs explanation from an LDS point of view. If the Apostles didn't teach this, what would motivate corrupters of the faith to propose it, and gain a huge following so quickly?

If early pedobaptism is an interesting problem for them, I would suggest that we could also ask why and how they think the corrupters of Christianity (St Ignatius is a very early witness) first introduced the literal interpretation of John 6, where Jesus' allows the faithless disciples to leave Him, when they could not abide His saying that "His flesh was food indeed, and His blood was drink indeed."? How could a false teaching like that be introduced by mere mortals? When Jesus Himself was understood literally, He lost many followers. What would be the motive behind a false shepherd trying to make up a thing like that?

. . .

Before responding to the above, I'd like to say how overall yours was really one of the more pleasant posts to read here . .

As to infant baptism . . one theory might suggest that in the early Church (East and West) that the original custom was a person was baptized when they were capable of accepting Christ's teachings . . but with good-meaning people where a little is good more is better . . so if it is good to baptize a youth, perhaps it is also a younger child, and still younger till we reach infancy . . or so the logic might have gone. I would ask where are the writings which dilineate the requirement (either way) and suggest that their lack may tell us something. IMO, the real question isn't whether it was done, but rather whether it is needed in infancy vs. youth--or not . . perhaps more importantly even whether it benefits or disadvantages the young child to have it done so early. And even whether it benefits or disadvantages the parents and the priest in their understanding of God.

If one argues that innocence is lost earlier (or doesn't exist at all as other Catholics seem to have argued in this forum), then baptism earlier would be necessary but more sins will accrue with true repentence being less likely to result. . so even though the intent of early baptism would seem to be in the child's interest, it doesn't seem to truly benefit the child. An allowance for innocence to a later age and consequently later baptism eliminates the need to for forgiveness or justice related to sin . . and IMO seems a bit more Christlike, which admittedly is a restoration view.

One may also suggest that the motive for arguing for a particular/unique/mystical interpretive teaching (later used to label someone a heretic and then turn them over to civil authorities for further punishment) is a motive that is fairly easy to speculate . . whether it be true doctrine or not is a separate question . . what's not clear is why your argument is counter to such old speculation . .

In all of this I simply wish to point out that there are a range of possibilities we can consider with both of our faiths . . let us each search for truth wherever we may find it.

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On the contrary juliann, the evidence of a complete and total apostasy is severely lacking. Yes, in the Bible it does speak of apostasy...but never in the terms that it is understood by LDS. It is impossible for LDS to show proof positive in the Bible and/or in history when and/or how the Great Apostasy happened.

There is no need to provide proof positive . . if there is truth in the principles taught in the Book of Mormon the spirit will provide the proof one seeks . .

I find such is the case with these words by Mormon to Moroni. to me. If you disagree I won't label you a heretic, but simply suggest we each can worship as we feel is right.

IMO, the content and the process are light to the world where once there was little or none.

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"The Great Apostacy"? I suggest rather, "The Great Tragedy"! In that from the beginning Jesus was misunderstood. That being the case: could there be an apostacy from truth that was bearly established?

Scanning the above 9 pages, i find considerable discussion based upon "covenants". A very popular word used by LDS in establishing, and describing, their relationship with God; as do other Covenant People who make and break them.

It is interesting to Mee, that in the NT Gospels, Judas Iscariot (Mat26:14&15) is the prime user of this word: "...making a C for 30 pcs..." And, Luke1:72 refers to the ancient covenant of their fathers. Paul uses the term as one familiar with it simply because of its frequency in OT writings.

My point being that Christ, in the NT never even refers to "Covenants". Granting the term is used considerably in the BM and DC. The reasons for such useage are certainly open to dsiscussion. I respectfully suggest that Christ assumed an understanding with humanity based on a noble, moral integrity that was above contract form. He seemingly misplaced his confidence.

Back to the original question. To Mee, using the argument of "Infant Baptism" as a sign of Apostacy substantiates my point of how little Christ's message was understood in the beginning. AND is it really understood today, when baptism arguments get more time than, "how're we goin' clean up the slums, educate the poor, feed the hungry and bring justice into reality?" That's the tragedy. And our apostate state leaves non blameless--whatever their proclamations. IMHO

As others have expressed, there seems a lot to be thought through with the whole evolution of what we struggle to rationalize. The alternative being our ability to justify irrational behaviour. Is there a real choice?

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