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Temple Ordinances In The New Testament And Early Christianity


Drewm777

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About a month ago I started a thread on the reference of Paul to marriage as being "a great mystery" in Ephesians 5. In the Latin it refers to it as a "sacramentum." http://www.mormonapologetics.org/index.php?showtopic=28335

A couple of weeks ago this topic was approached again independently.

http://www.mormonapologetics.org/index.php?showtopic=28453

I am of the opinion that Paul often uses the term "mystery" to refer to sacraments or ordinances. Please read my post above. Having said that, I provide here some more evidence for that. Please give me your input.

In many older texts and often considered the more authentic reading, 1 Cor. 2:1 says that "I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the mystery of God." Later texts changed it to "Testimony." Mystery fits better in the context. Let me show you why.

For example, verse 6: "Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect (teleoi, that is, mature, or the initiated), yet not the wisdom of this world, not of the princes of the world, that come to naught. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory..." Then in chapter 3 he repeats this theme, saying "I, brethren, [when I was among you] could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat (adult food): for hitherto ye were not able to bear it (that is, until now you couldn't bear it), neither yet now are ye able (and you still can't!)"

So, It appears that Paul had in his mind two classes of Saints. The teleoi (or mature, "perfect") who had given to them hidden wisdom in a mystery (sacrament, ordinance, secret ritual) who could receive the adult food. The second class was those who hadn't received the hidden wisdom in a mystery (sacrament) because they were not yet ready. The people in Corinthians who had been members of the Church already for years fell into the second class, according to Paul's epistle to them. That's pretty fascinating.

I think this topic is also hinted at by the author of Hebrews (whom I believe to be Paul).

For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food. For every one that partaketh of milk is without experience of the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But solid food is for fullgrown men [teleoi], even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil (Revised Version. Hebrews 5:12-14).

Anyway, this continues after the New Testament. Here's the info I've gathered so far on the topic. Please read the quotes carefully before you start saying they refer to baptism or the Eucharist (some may, indeed, but not all for reasons that will be apparent to the careful reader). I think there is some real clear indicators that the "mysteries" were often other ordinances now long lost (except to the Latter-day Saints).

Ante-Nicene Fathers:

For a mystery ought to be most faithfully concealed and covered, especially by us, who bear the name of faith. (Lactantius Ante-Nicene Fathers 7:221)

And Peter said: “We remember that our Lord and Teacher, commanding us, said, ‘Keep the mysteries for me and the sons of my house.’ Wherefore also He explained to His disciples privately the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. But to you who do battle with us, and examine into nothing else but out statements, whether they be true or false, it would be impious to state the hidden truths.” (Peter, Clementine Homilies, Ante-Nicene Fathers 8:336)

For the most sublime truths are best honoured by means of silence. (Peter, Clementine Recognitions, Ante-Nicene Fathers. 8:83)

But if [simon Magus] remains wrapped up and polluted in those sins which are manifestly such, it does not become me to speak to him at all of the more secret and sacred things of divine knowledge (gnosis), but rather to protest and confront him, that he cease from sin, and cleanse his actions from vice. But if he insinuate himself, and lead us on to speak what he, while he acts improperly, ought not to hear, it will be our part to parry him cautiously. For not to answer him at all does not seem proper, for the sake of the hearers, lest haply they may think that we decline the contest through want of ability to answer him, and so their faith may be injured through their misunderstanding of our purpose. (Peter, Clementine Recognitions, Ante-Nicene Fathers. 8:98)

But the same writer [Clement of Alexandria] in the seventh book of the same work, relates also the following things concerning him: “The Lord after his resurrection imparted knowledge (gnosis) to James the Just and to John and Peter, and they imparted it to the rest of the apostles, and the rest of the apostles to the seventy, of whom Barnabas was one...” (Eusebius. The Church History of Eusebius 2.1.4. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two. 1:104)

The science of nature, then, or rather observation, as contained in the gnostic tradition according to the rule of truth, depends on the discussion concerning cosmogony, ascending thence to the department of theology. (Clement of Alexandria. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 2. 8:42)

Wherefore also all men are His; some through knowledge (gnosis), and others not yet so; and some as friends, some as faithful servants, some as servants merely. This is the Teacher, who trains the Gnostic by mysteries, and the believer by good hopes, and the hard of heart by corrective discipline through sensible operation. (Clement of Alexandria, Ante-Nicene Fathers. 2:524)

[T]he mysteries are not exhibited incontinently to all and sundry, but only after certain purifications and previous instructions. (Clement of Alexandria, Ante-Nicene Fathers. 2:449)
Now, in answer to such statements, we say that it is not the same thing to invite those who are sick in soul to be cured, and those who are in health to the knowledge and study of divine things. We, however, keeping both these things in view, at first invite all men to be healed, and exhort those who are sinners to come to the consideration of the doctrines which teach men not to sin…And when those who have been turned towards virtue have made progress, and have shown that they have been purified by the word, and have led as far as they can a better life, then and not before do we invite them to participation in our mysteries. “For we speak wisdom among them that are perfect.”…[W]hoever is pure not only from all defilement, but from what are regarded as lesser transgressions, let him be boldly initiated in the mysteries of Jesus, which properly are made known only to the holy and the pure…He who acts as initiator, according to the precepts of Jesus, will say to those who have been purified in heart, “He whose soul has, for a long time, been conscious of no evil, and especially since he yielded himself to the healing of the word, let such an one hear the doctrines which were spoken in private by Jesus to His genuine disciples.”… [Celsus] does not know the difference between inviting the wicked to be healed, and initiating those already purified into the sacred mysteries! Not to participation in mysteries, then, and to fellowship in the wisdom hidden in a mystery, which God ordained before the world to the glory of His saints, do we invite the wicked man, and the thief, and the housebreaker, and the poisoner, and the committer of sacrilege, and the plunderer of the dead, and all those others whom Celsus may enumerate in his exaggerated style, but such as these we invite to be healed…God the Word was sent, indeed, as a physician to sinners, but as a teacher of divine mysteries to those who are already pure and who sin no more. (Origen, Ante-Nicene Fathers. 4:487-489) (I found this last night, and that's what brought the topic to the forefront of my mind. It's a fascinating quote, isn't it?)
In these circumstances, to speak of the Christian doctrine as a secret system, is altogether absurd. But that there should be certain doctrines, not made known to the multitude, which are (revealed) after the exoteric ones have been taught, is not a peculiarity of Christianity alone, but also of philosophic systems, in which certain truths are exoteric and others esoteric. (Origen. Ante-Nicene Fathers 4:399)

Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers

Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or publicly enjoined which are preserved in the Church we possess derived from written teaching; others we have received delivered to us “in a mystery” by the tradition of the Apostles... (Basil of Caesarea, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 2. 8:40-41)

In the same manner the Apostles and Fathers who laid down laws for the Church from the beginning thus guarded the awful dignity of the mysteries in secrecy and silence, for what is bruited abroad random among the common folk is no mystery at all. This is the reason for our tradition of unwritten precepts and practices, that the knowledge of our dogmas may not become neglected and contemned by the multitude through familiarity. “Dogma” and “Kerugma” are two distinct things; the former is observed in silence; the latter is proclaimed to all the world. (Basil of Caesarea, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 2. 8:42)

We ought not then to parade the holy mysteries before the uninitiated, lest the heathen in their ignorance deride them, and the Catechumens being over-curious be offended. (Athanasius, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 2. 4:106)

But first I wish to remind you who are initiated of the response, which on that evening they who introduce you to the mysteries bid you make; and then I will also explain the saying of Paul: so this likewise will be clearer to you; we after all the other things adding this which Paul now saith [in 1 Corinthians 15:29]. And I desire indeed expressly to utter it, but I dare not on account of the uninitiated; for these add a difficulty to our exposition, compelling us either not to speak clearly or to declare unto them the ineffable mysteries. Nevertheless, as I may be able, I will speak as through a veil. (John Chrysostom. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series One. 12:244)

What does all of this mean for mainstream Christians today who say all you need to know to be saved is that Jesus is your Savior? Where is the gnosis today? The wisdom? The mysteries (secret rite)?

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Very interesting, and quite compelling, I think, as to your main point.

It is also interesting that Origen, in the last line of the long quote, speaks of those who sin no more. What do you think that means?

I assume you've read Margaret Barker. If not, read her essay, "The Secret Tradition", which may be available online but definitely is available in the book "The Great High Priest." The first line of that essay is something like . . . "there was far more to the teaching of Jesus than is recorded in the new testament . . ."

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Very interesting, and quite compelling, I think, as to your main point.

It is also interesting that Origen, in the last line of the long quote, speaks of those who sin no more. What do you think that means?

I assume you've read Margaret Barker. If not, read her essay, "The Secret Tradition", which may be available online but definitely is available in the book "The Great High Priest." The first line of that essay is something like . . . "there was far more to the teaching of Jesus than is recorded in the new testament . . ."

Here is an online version.

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The Great Ephesian mystery (Eph ch 5) and other Christian mysteries are related to a mystery about the oneness between believers, marriage partners, Christ, the Church, and God.

IMO this is related to what became a creed we know today as The Trinity. In the third century a revolution in how religions communicated sacred information went from non-verbal to verbal. This means un-spoken, initiate, and ritualistic traditions of communication and transmission were migrated into doctrinal/creedal/ and written formats. The Trinity is simply a creedal/verbal/written representation of the once non-spoken (sacred/secret) mystery. This is the mystery that the ECF point towards.

Writers such as Alvin B. Kuhn explore this change in communicative/ transmission modalitiesâ??

See Alvin B. Kuhn â??Shadow of the Third Centuryâ? now an online book.

http://www.polachek.net/books/Kuhn/Kuhn,%2...hristianity.pdf

Also a list of readings can be found.

http://www.paganizingfaithofyeshua.netfirms.com/biblio.htm

Kuhn however does not report what I have asserted about the Oneness of the Ephesian mystery . Rather I refer to his works because they hold key evidence to the change in communicative changes that occured around the third century AD. Kuhn would likely agree with an idea consistent to the LDS Great Apostasy. However as I recall (studied it 30 years ago) Kuhn would view original Christianity a kind of Gnostic mystery religion that got watered down to what it is today-( but I do not agree).

Hick thinks---

Mormonism in some sense is a return to a kind of religious information transmission system that uses methods/modes similar to an ancient mystery religion. That is has returned to an ancient mode of communication of sacred information without creeds- using rites and a priesthood instead of heavily relying on creedal/verbal expressions. I would assert that Mormonism is different than post third century Christianity not only in what it teaches---but HOW it teaches it and How manages its sacred information.

However, I do not think that Mormonism is correct on what is is teaching using the ancient mode.

Through out the history of anti-Mormonism critics have dwelt on What is being taught by Mormonism-----but also should be considering HOW Mormonism teaches/ trains/ and transmits its sacred/religious knowledge/information.

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To get the gnosis or knowledge of the divine-- in a religion there were several WAYS

Obedience is a WAY

The Study of Doctrine is a WAY

Rites of Passage is a WAY

Reading sacred Text is a WAY

Meditation is a WAY

In Christianity Jesus said I am the Way- (Jn 14:6)

John the Baptist made straight the Way

Christianity in Acts was originally called 'the Way'.

There are true ways and false ways

There are true doctrines and false doctrines

There is a true gnosis and a false gnosis

Those who we commonly call 'The Gnostics" had a Way that used ritual and a rite of passage system to instill 'gnosis' ( saving knowledge) into initiates. By obedience to this system of ordeals and rites of passage initiates gained knowledge and wisdom, by obedience to their masters. The knowledge gained gave the initiate 'Gnostic' power to navigate into the highest heaven after departing from this world(gaining salvation). Inother words it empowered the initiate to find 'The Way' to heaven.

In Christianity the idea expressed by Paul amounts to this senario--- the gnosis is not earned by an ordeal, ( a phase in a gnostic rite of passage system) but rather given to all who accept Christ's ordeal in their stead. It is Christ who undergoes the ordeal on the cross for the initiate. The believer benefits from Christ's ordeal, just as he/she underwent the ordeal themselves. Instead of the initiate gaining the knowledge(gnosis) by the experience of the ordeal( like a 'Gnostic' would)-- Christ gives the Christian the Holy Ghost as a substitute-- the Holy Ghost instills the knowledge and power instead of having to experience the ordeal for themselves to gain the knowledge( as a Gnostic would be required). The Christian thus gains passage (rite of passage) into the world to come (heaven). This means that the Christian gains the ability to navigate to heaven (salvation) by not having to personally experience a terrible ordeal- yet gains the power and knowledge anyway through the knowledge given by the Holy Ghost.

It is sort of like a Gnostic got to heaven by what they learned in this life-- the learning came by suffering ordeals. And gaining knowledge by the experiences of the ordeal.

The Christian got the heaven by being given the knowledge and power by the Gift of the Holy Ghost-- it got downloaded into their souls as a Gift-- not earned by personal sufferings.

In a gnostic religion initiates were educated and progressively graduated by a series of structured ordeals followed rites of passage. Each rite of passage is simular to getting the next level of a college degree or advancing grade to grade in elementary school. The experience of each ordeal educated the initiate-- it gave them knowledge and thus power. The Gnostic took this power and knowledge with them after death-- as they were to use these powers to help them on the journey to heaven. They on the way up the Gnostic would encounter gatekeepers between the various spheres of existence( levels of the heavens)-- they would demonstrate their Gnosis powers to the gatekeepers to gain passage into the next sphere or level of heaven on the journey by the demonstration of these gained knowledge and associated powers.

In Christianity it was the Holy Ghost that gave the knowledge and power-- NOT knowledge gained by the personal experience of the ordeal. This was 'The Way' of the Christian religion. That is why Jesus said "I am the Way..." The Christian has a straight Way to heaven-- not one with various levels and gatekeepers-- they only needed Jesus Christ for passage. For a Christian it is a non-stop flight to heaven.

For a Gnostic the route to heaven had many stops and lay-overs.

One kind of these Gnostic routes to heaven can be seen on the walls of Egyptian tombs-- road maps to the heavens showing the various gatekeepers and the tokens and signs required to gain permission for passage into the progression of the higher spheres or worlds.

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What does all of this mean for mainstream Christians today who say all you need to know to be saved is that Jesus is your Savior? Where is the gnosis today? The wisdom? The mysteries (secret rite)?

It means they have overlooked or misinterpreted Hebrews 10:20 which shows the need for and the validity of continuing temple worship after the Crucifixtion (Matthew 27:51) and that the ordinances have changed.

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Hick: re-read the OP, it discusses Christ being the Way, and also includes what Christ included in that Way- including things not recorded explicitly in the New Testament.

Yes, by traditions in the ancient world complex teachings were more often than not hidden from public view. Scientific information, Trade Secrets was not public information. Anciently most knowledge was not free but was progressively disclosed step by step-- each stage of advancement being earned by merit. In various regions of the ancient world Christianity was practiced in this manner by certain Christians due to their cultural underpinnings. This was universal to all kinds of information in some cultures of the ancient world and not just restricted to religious knowledge.

Yet, Christianity is esoteric even in its most fundamental ideas. Being saved by grace is esoteric to the max.

In the beginning was the word...
that is highly esoteric in itself.

Paul's NT letters contain the esoteric-- and not very accessible anciently. They elaborate the mystery and the nature of the mystery can be constructed from reading them. But anything written and not widely published naturally protected by virtue of lack of general accessibility in ancient times.

The whole idea that written materials would be read by common people-- or the general public is a pretty new thing.

Being The Way in itself is not unique to the religions of the world-- but when The Way is Straight is special to Christiantiy.

Even the Egyptian cult of Isis has it own "WAY". The way of a mystery religion was very complex with many twists and turns. In Christianity Christ's coming was anounced in terms of a straight Way.

He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

A mystery religion with many gatekeepers had many tokens and signs--for each gatekeeper and many secret names to learn for passage through the heavens. But Christianity only had One name

NEITHER IS THERE SALVATION IN ANY OTHER: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby WE MUST BE SAVED (Acts 4:10-12).
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It means they have overlooked or misinterpreted Hebrews 10:20 which shows the need for and the validity of continuing temple worship after the Crucifixtion (Matthew 27:51) and that the ordinances have changed.

Here is the teaching which you refer in part in Hebrews-

Heb 10: 19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,

It is by the Blood of Jesus that the Christian enters God's presence-- represented in the Hebrew OT Temple as the Holy of Holies. This means that entering God's presence is what it is to enter through the curtain.

This teaching is also represented many places in the New Testament-

Heb 4: 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Eph:2: 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Eph 3:12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

This is all about the things which are associated with and facilitated with and intended to occur with what is commonly referred to in Traditional Christianity--esp in ' High Church' as "Communion".

The elements of Christian Communion are similitudes of the inside symbols of the Hebrew Temple--

Just as the fixtures inside the Hebrew Temple lead to The Way to God's Presence through the veil-- so does

Communion with the Bread and Cup. The things of the Hebrew Temple which pointed to Christ's coming and Mission are present in 'communion'. Thus when Jesus introduced the Bread and Cup in His rememberance --- He at the same time was showing his disciples the fulfilled Temple. The Old Testament Temple and New Testament Communion are reflections the paramont saving truths.

In the Old Testament the Hebrew Temple the rite of Communion existed concealed

In the New Testament Communion reveals the meaning of the Old Testament Temple.

When Christians partake of Communion it is a rite representing the New Testament version of what the Hebrew Temple represented and what the fulfilled Temple represents.

So deep within Christian Communion the great New Testament mystery is symbolized. It is indeed Christian Temple worship. The two will one day co-exist when the Jews soon restore the Hebrew Temple.

ADDED BTW-- this knowledge is explained in HEBREWS and is the part of the Christian mystery-- and is called by Paul the 'meat of the gospel'.

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A mystery religion with many gatekeepers had many tokens and signs--for each gatekeeper and many secret names to learn for passage through the heavens. But Christianity only had One name.

The LDS Church agrees.

However LDS use the mystery religion/ 'Gnostic' format. We see this in the Gospel of Thomas saying # 22

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And, all of this discussion is of great interest, particularly when we see Paul use the same terms used in the mystery religions to describe the wisdom taught in a mystery so that outsiders would not learn of it. He speaks of the wisdom as being taught to the teleioi (a mystery religion term meaning "the initiated"), and speaks of what is communicated as being communicated en mustēriō, which means secretly or in a manner so as to prevent those unauthorized from learning of it.

Here is a cite from the standard Greek-English Lexicon on the subject, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, which can be found: here.

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Drew,

If you are looking for LDS "Temple Ordinance" parallels in the New Testament I'd say the closest you're going to get is Secret Mark. I think that LDS eyes reading the Gospel will imagine something like their own temple Initiatory.

Some question the authenticity of Secret Mark I however agree with Jesus scholars like Koester and Crossan that it is authentic. For the record I haven't seen any evidence that LDS temple practice reflects anything restored from antiquity. Here is the text of Secret Mark quoted by Clement in his letter.

And they came into Bethany and a certain woman whose brother had died was there. And, coming, she knelt down before Jesus and said to him, "Son of David, have mercy on me". But the disciples rebuked her. And Jesus got angry with them and went off with her into the garden where the tomb was. Right away there was a loud cry from inside the tomb. Then Jesus rolled away the stone from in front of the tomb. He went in where the youth was and stretched forth his hand and raised him up. The youth, looking upon him, loved him and began to beg him to be with him. They they left the tomb and went to the young man's house, for he was rich. Six days later, Jesus gave him instructions of what to do and in the evening the youth came to him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth over his naked body. He remained with him that night, for Jesus thaught him the mystery of the Kingdom of God. And when Jesus woke up, he returned to the other side of the Jordan.

Phaedrus

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And, all of this discussion is of great interest, particularly when we see Paul use the same terms used in the mystery religions to describe the wisdom taught in a mystery so that outsiders would not learn of it. He speaks of the wisdom as being taught to the teleioi (a mystery religion term meaning "the initiated"), and speaks of what is communicated as being communicated en mustēriō, which means secretly or in a manner so as to prevent those unauthorized from learning of it.

Here is a cite from the standard Greek-English Lexicon on the subject, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, which can be found: here.

Yes-- The Title "Peter" is an office title of previously existing and popular mystery cults found in Rome.

"Peter" in a mystery religion was the high master's right hand man.

Titles of Bishop, Deacon and soforth were also previously used traditional mystery cult offices and the Christian version had coresponding office functions to the pagan versions.

Paul calls himself a "Masterbuilder"- a mystery cult title. 1 Cor. 3:10

Early Christianity used the language of ancient pagan religions of Rome. It seems it did so inorder to create a baseline inorder to make comparisons between common religions functionality of time of its founding-- VS-- its unique critical attributes of Christianity. Origen mentions this in terms of Christianity being nothing new or strange-- but rather always existed among the pagans (paraphrased by Hick's memory of previous readings). Origen ofcourse not refering to saving beliefs-- but rather administrative organizational offices and structures.

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[For the record I haven't seen any evidence that LDS temple practice reflects anything restored from antiquity.

I would disagree-- It does not appear to be any specific restored an ancient rite-- but rather The LDS pattern of using esoteric rites is after the pattern of how SOME ancients conducted SOME religious rites of passage. The LDS are also managing religious information in a simular manner as an ancient mystery religion. But then so are Freemasons too.

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I would disagree-- It does not appear to be any specific restored an ancient rite-- but rather The LDS pattern of using esoteric rites is after the pattern of how SOME ancients conducted SOME religious rites of passage. The LDS are also managing religious information in a simular manner as an ancient mystery religion. But then so are Freemasons too.

And for that matter, so did Origen, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, Peter, and many other early Christians.

Early (Orthodox) Christians, were in fact, gnostics in a certain sense, and it is impossible to prove that the gnosis didn't originate with Jesus himself.

Thus again it is unwise to open up unnecessary gaps between the gnosis of Clement and anything that could conceivably have come from Jesus. When Clement declared he had a secret tradition from Jesus, he could have been telling the truth. (Margaret Barker, http://www.marquette.edu/maqom/tradition1)
On whose authority did Christianity suddenly adopt all these apparently strange views?...This material based on temple symbolism was, for Irenaeus, the first essential of the apostolic preaching, but where is it found in the New Testament? (Margaret Barker, same as above, emphasis in original)

This is also significant:

If the secret tradition did concern the practice and meaning of the sacraments, and if this tradition was rooted in the symbolism of the temple and the teachings of the ancient priesthood, its recovery is of more than simply academic interest. It has been all too easy for sola scriptura scholars to dismiss such a claim, and then find themselves constructing theological positions which are not even biblical, because they have ignored the environing traditions which could have illuminated the meaning of the biblical texts.

So much for sola scriptura

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Missing from Mark?

Six days later, Jesus gave him instructions of what to do and in the evening the youth came to him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth over his naked body. He remained with him that night, for Jesus thaught him the mystery of the Kingdom of God. And when Jesus woke up, he returned to the other side of the Jordan.

If a Bible thumping youth minister from Campus Crusade for Christ suddenly appeared in the ancient Roman world preaching Bill Bright's four spritural laws it could come across just like the description above--- an esoteric mystery. In the ancient world of religious cults and their rights of passage--getting saved by grace alone would consitute an esoteric mystery.

A man-god dying on a cross in your behalf-- and powers of a Holy Spirit that are not earned by personal merit--- that would indeed appear to be a mystery to the mind of an ancient initiate of a mystery religion of ancient times.

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And for that matter, so did Origen, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, Peter, and many other early Christians.

This is because many ancient cultures used progressive disclosure of information universally-- for all sorts of information held as valuble. Some Christians sing, some dance, some shout 'AMEN'- some use elaborate rites-- and on and on. Some wear business suits to Church-- others Jeans. There is also a wide variety of petagogy and teaching methodology. Some use secret rites to impart sacred information-- others creeds.

Some use books of formal prayers-- others not--... These are all different modes of information exchange-- not the content or subject matter. Some information can be transmitted approprately by different modes-- other kinds of information cannot. Some information the mode is critical--that is it has to be communicated in a specific way. On the other hand, some information can come in all kinds of wrapers and it is still valid and OK.

Early (Orthodox) Christians, were in fact, gnostics in a certain sense, and it is impossible to prove that the gnosis didn't originate with Jesus himself.

Even Evangelical Christians and Catholics are in a sence gnostic-- but not 'Gnostics'. Christianity in its various forms all claim that adherants are given 'gnosis'-- that is knowledge and power by the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost). The critical issue when comparing ancient Christianity, Moderm Mainstream Christianity and Mormonism is how this 'gnosis' is given---the mechanisms.

Certain kinds of religious elements predate the Time of Christ- and were used widely by pagan mystery cults yet were used by early Christians.

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Certain kinds of religious elements predate the Time of Christ- and were used widely by pagan mystery cults yet were used by early Christians.

Yes, that's precisely the point. Many early Christians said that the secret or esoteric teachings they practiced were handed down from Christ, after the resurrection, through the apostles. They also claimed two groups of Christians, the teleoi and those who were still babes or carnal.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a restoration of the true Church with all of it's practices. This is clearly one of them. There is nothing in the New Testament or otherwise to indicate you can teach gnosis in any way that your culture deems appropriate.

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For the record I haven't seen any evidence that LDS temple practice reflects anything restored from antiquity
.

Then you must not spend much time in the library.

All anyone needs to do is STUDY the early orthodox Christian initiation ceremonies for laymen and clergy (concentrate on the eastern orhodox churches) and also STUDY the Bible passages on temples and temple worship. Then throw in some rabbinic commentaries for good measure.

The parallels are abundant.

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