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Evidence Against Or For Infant Baptism And Transubstantiation


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So as I am striving to follow Christ, one thing that I find is more and more of an question to me is if there really was an apostasy. Two subjects that I want to have a discussion about is the validity of infant baptism and transubstantiation. In reading Catholic/Orthodox apologists, it sounds like there are writings from the early church fathers that come out strongly in favor of these practices. I was curious what we as Latter Day Saints could offer against this? I know in reading The Inevitable Apostasy by Tad R. Callister that he states that there is evidence for and against it, and I am working on understanding those more....however I wanted to hear from you guys (particularly current Catholic/Orthodox board members, and former Catholics, now LDS).

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Transubstantiation is based on Greek philosophy- based on the idea that there is a metaphysical stuff called "substance".  This is also essentially what makes the Trinity the Trinity- they are related concepts.

 

Clearly this idea came from Greek philosophy.

 

Jesus was not a Greek philosopher, therefore it did not come from him, therefore there must have been a deviation from what he taught on these subjects.

 

Pretty straightforward to me.  Yes I am a former Catholic who is now a Mormon and I left the RC church primarily over theological issues like these.

 

But I love Catholics and don't wish to bash.  If I could throw out their theology I probably could have remained Catholic if I had never found Mormonism.  But I could not throw out the theology, and I did find Mormonism, so here I am.

 

Infant baptism is based on the idea of Original sin, and that if one dies with OS on one's soul, one goes to hell or purgatory or whatever the latest take on these issues is.  One has to baptize babies because if they die before being baptized, they go to hell (or at least their eternal destinies are seriously compromised in one way or another.)

 

This seems to me to be just a really unbelievable notion- that a loving God would allow a child's progression to be halted because he didn't get baptized in time.   It just doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever.

 

So on both those counts, I cannot accept those doctrines.  Actually that makes 3- Trinity, Transubstantiation and infant baptism.

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So as I am striving to follow Christ, one thing that I find is more and more of an question to me is if there really was an apostasy. Two subjects that I want to have a discussion about is the validity of infant baptism and transubstantiation. In reading Catholic/Orthodox apologists, it sounds like there are writings from the early church fathers that come out strongly in favor of these practices.

 

Baptism was one of the first doctrines changed.  I realize you are focused on these two particular doctrines, but the church that came after the 1st century, morphing very quickly in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, looks almost nothing doctrinally like the original Church.  Among the big doctrine lost were:

 

The Godhead (followed by the trinity heresy)

Plurality of Gods (Jesus as a second God)

Anthropomorphic God

Apostasy

Salvation for the dead.

Degrees of Salvation

 

And this can be seen in early christian history.  The Pastor of Hermas is very early and considered scripture by many early Christians.  In it, the Church is compared to a tower being built individuals Christians are the bricks.  One is called to join this tower now as the tower to come after would be inferior.  Besides the Biblical predictions of the Universal Apostasy, here is an excellent indication the early Christians knew it too.

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Don't LDS claim that the catholics changing the baptism ceremony was evidence of apostacy.

 

but didn't they change the temple ceremonies for simplicity sake?

Temple ordinances haven't been changed in any way that fundamentally alters them.  Changing the form of baptism, however, does fundamentally alter the ordinance.  I am not a linguist, but, as I understand it, the word baptism comes from the Greek baptos (I believe; going from memory) which means "to immerse."  Immersion is representative of the death (descending into the water), burial (being completely immersed in the water), and resurrection (coming up out of the water) of Christ, as well as the symbolic death of the baptismal candidate and his rebirth as a new creature in Christ.

Edited by Kenngo1969
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Temple ordinances haven't been changed in any way that fundamentally alters them.  Changing the form of baptism, however, does fundamentally alter the ordinance.  I am not a linguist, but, as I understand it, the word baptism comes from the Greek baptos (I believe; going from memory) which means "to immerse."  Immersion is representative of the death (descending into the water), burial (being completely immersed in the water), and resurrection (coming up out of the water) of Christ, as well as the symbolic death of the baptismal candidate and his rebirth as a new creature in Christ.

 

man that seems to me like the saying "When your church changes, its apostacy, when my church changes it's Continuing Revelation."

 

I can think of many ways the temple ceremony has been fundementally altered in more substantial ways than baptism is changed by going from an immersion to a sprinkle.

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man that seems to me like the saying "When your church changes, its apostacy, when my church changes it's Continuing Revelation."

 

I can think of many ways the temple ceremony has been fundementally altered in more substantial ways than baptism is changed by going from an immersion to a sprinkle.

 

We believe in living oracles, not a static church. The issue is not change, the issue is by what authority can change be instituted.

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We believe in living oracles, not a static church. The issue is not change, the issue is by what authority can change be instituted.

 

I tend to agree with this.  I don't believe that Catholics believe that the Church is a static church either, instead believing in a Church that is guided by the Spirit in growing and understanding the Deposit of Faith.  I think the issue is authority, and whether someone had the authority to make a change.  Catholics and Orthodox allow for the practice of baptism by both immersion and pouring (it wasn't a change of no longer doing immersion), and we see this very early on, in the Didache.  Catholic and Orthodox would claim that the Church had the authority to allow for this, for whatever reasons.  Interestingly, the Orthodox (and Eastern Catholics) perform the vast majority of their baptisms, including infant baptisms, by immersion (triple immersion).  Similarly, yes, there have been changes to various temple rites, such as the changes in the form of the initiatory washing and anointing.  However, the LDS Church would say that the prophets and apostles, as living oracles receiving revelation from the Lord, have the authority to make whatever needed adaptations and changes to doctrines and ordinances, as long as those changes are authorized by God.

 

FWIW.

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On Transubstantiation, I think there needs to be a distinction made between "Transubstantiation" and "Real Presence".  "Real Presence" is the belief that after the bread and wine are consecrated, the Body and Blood of Christ are really, actually present.  "Transubstantiation" is a metaphysical, philosophical explanation, promulgated and accepted by Catholics, of how the Real Presence occurs, claiming that the substance of the bread and wine are no longer present, being replaced by the substance of the Body and Blood of Christ, while only the "accidents" of the bread and wine remain. 

 

I make this distinction because there are a number of Christian faiths that believe in the Real Presence, but do not subscribe to the metaphysical defining of Transubstantiation to explain it.  I believe the most clear examples of this are with the Orthodox and the Lutherans.  For example, the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches have always, from the very beginning, believed in the Real Presence.  They believe that their sacrificial priesthood can consecrate the bread and wine to become the Body and Blood of the Lord.  However, they do not subscribe to the later Catholic teaching of "transubstantiation" as to how that consecration actually happens.  You can find many examples of Orthodox writers explaining this distinction:

 

340. How are we to understand the word transubstantiation?

In the exposition of the faith by the Eastern Patriarchs, it is said that the word transubstantiation is not to be taken to define the manner in which the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord; for this none can understand but God; but only thus much is signified, that the bread truly, really, and substantially becomes the very true Body of the Lord, and the wine the very Blood of the Lord. In like manner John Damascene, treating of the Holy and Immaculate Mysteries of the Lord, writes thus: “It is truly that Body, united with Godhead, which had its origin from the Holy Virgin; not as though that Body which ascended came down from heaven, but because the bread and wine themselves are changed into the Body and Blood of God. But if thou seekest after the manner how this is, let it suffice thee to be told that it is by the Holy Ghost; in like manner as, by the same Holy Ghost, the Lord formed flesh to himself, and in himself, from the Mother of God; nor know I aught more than this, that the Word of God is true, powerful, and almighty, but its manner of operation unsearchable.” (J. Damasc. Theol. lib. iv. cap. 13, § 7.)

Longer Catechism of the Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church by St. Philaret (Drozdov) of Moscow (1830)

  http://orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org/2013/08/14/the-doctrine-of-transubstantiation-in-the-orthodox-church/

 

Then again, Orthodox Eucharistic theology does not explain the change of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ as a result of “transubstantiation,” the teaching that the “accidents” (visible properties) of the elements remain unaltered, while their “substance” or inner essence becomes the actual Body and Blood. Orthodox tradition speaks of “change” or “transformation,” (metamorphôsis; in the Eucharistic Divine Liturgy metabalôn, “making the change”) but always with a concern to preserve the mystery from the probings of human reason. It also speaks of the Body and Blood of the glorified Christ, making the point that our communion is in the personal being of the Resurrected and Exalted Lord, and not in the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus, torn and shed on the Cross. The incarnate Jesus and the risen Christ are certainly one and the same Person (“Jesus Christ is Lord,” the apostle Paul declares in Philippians 2:11). But our communion is in the radically transformed reality of the risen Christ, who ascended into heaven and makes Himself accessible to us through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit within the Church.

 

http://oca.org/reflections/fr.-john-breck/why-not-open-communion

 

With the help of scholastic concepts, Catholic doctrine also attempts to explain the eucharistic miracle itself too rationalistically. According to this explanation, only the appearance of bread and wine remains unchanged, but their essence (substantia) is changed into the Body and Blood of Christ.

The Orthodox ecclesiastical consciousness reverently refrains from such a rationalistic penetration into the mystery. In it, the conviction prevails that the bread and wine, remaining themselves in appearance, at the same time become the Body and Blood of the Lord, just as red-hot iron becomes fire, and just as the Lord Jesus Christ is simultaneously God and man.

 

http://www.stjohndc.org/Russian/english.htm (click "Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy", then "Differences in the Sacraments")

 

So, one can have the belief in the change of the bread and wine to the body and blood of Christ, without the philosophical definitions of Transubstantiation, as we see with the Orthodox.  As for where it comes from, well, Catholics and Orthodox would interpret the words of Christ in the Bible literally, when He said "this is my body", as well as eating His flesh and drinking His blood.  Further, they would look at comparisons to things such as the Passover, the Bread of the Presence in the Temple, sacrificial priesthood, etc.  One book that I find very interesting in understanding the Catholic perspective on this is "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper" by Dr. Brant Pitre.  Dr. Scott Hahn also has two interesting books-"Consuming the Word: The New Testament and the Eucharist in the Early Church" and "The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth". 

 

As for evidences against it, well, I think those would have to focus on whether the words of Christ are to be understood literally, or whether He was speaking metaphorically, as He has done before.  Further, it would have to be shown that there was a change from a more LDS understanding of the Sacrament to the Real Presence doctrine. 

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Baptism was one of the first doctrines changed.  I realize you are focused on these two particular doctrines, but the church that came after the 1st century, morphing very quickly in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, looks almost nothing doctrinally like the original Church.  Among the big doctrine lost were:

 

The Godhead (followed by the trinity heresy)

Plurality of Gods (Jesus as a second God)

Anthropomorphic God

Apostasy

Salvation for the dead.

Degrees of Salvation

 

And this can be seen in early christian history.  The Pastor of Hermas is very early and considered scripture by many early Christians.  In it, the Church is compared to a tower being built individuals Christians are the bricks.  One is called to join this tower now as the tower to come after would be inferior.  Besides the Biblical predictions of the Universal Apostasy, here is an excellent indication the early Christians knew it too.

 

What do you believe are the best resources providing evidences for this?

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We believe in living oracles, not a static church. The issue is not change, the issue is by what authority can change be instituted.

 

It seems to me the change itself has been attacked, but I could be wrong on that.

 

But don't the Catholics have authority through the unbroken line of peter down through the popes?

 

Who is to say they don't have the authority to regulate their own particular sphere of christianity?

Edited by AndyDnom
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On the issue of Transubstantiation, Catholic apologists (e.g., Robert A. Sungenis, Not by Bread Alone: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for the Eucharistic Sacrifice [san Goleta, Queenship: 2000]) would point to the following biblical evidences (among others):

 

The demonstrative in "this is my body" is a neuter singular which cannot refer to "bread" (artos in Greek, a masculine noun), but "soma" (body), so the phrase can mean, "this [new entity] is the body of me" in Greek.

 

In Matthew 26:28, the participle "being shed" is coupled with the verb "to be." This would indicate a shedding of blood at the very celebration of the Last Supper, showing (1) transubstantiation of the wine and (2) the Eucharist being a sacrifice.

 

In John 6, when switching from figurative to literal language, the Greek switches from using εσθιω, which can be used symbolically, and changes to τρωγω, which is never used symbolically in the LXX or NT elsewhere; the argument goes that when Jesus speaks of having to eat his flesh (John  6:54, 56 57), this is (1) about the Eucharist and (2) such "flesh" is the literal flesh of Christ.

 

Some would point out the Greek terms such as "remembrance" (αναμνησις) and "to shed" (εκχεω) in the LXX are sacrificial terms, as are the underlying Hebrew terms, showing the Eucharist to be a propitiatory sacrifice (transubstantiation is needed for the Eucharist to be a propitiatory sacrifice in Roman Catholic teaching).

 

In terms of patristic evidence, the early association of Malachi 1:11 to the Eucharist is pointed to as early evidence of the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist, as would be works such as Ambrose (who associated Melchizedek with Jesus), Augustine's comments on various texts (e.g., based on the Amrbosiaster mistranslation of Psalms that has David carrying his own body, Augustine saw that as a prefigurement of sorts of Christ holding his own body in the Last Supper [cf. Augustine's comments on Psalm 33:1, 10])

 

As for infant baptism, one line of argument is that the recognition of baptismal regeneration and the development of the doctrine of original sin would necessitate infant baptism to remove the stain of original sin, as it is infused in a person's soul, not merely imputed against the person.

 

Just some quick comments.

 

Robert B (former Catholic; graduate of a Catholic seminary; now a Mormon apologist)

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man that seems to me like the saying "When your church changes, its apostacy, when my church changes it's Continuing Revelation."

 

I can think of many ways the temple ceremony has been fundementally altered in more substantial ways than baptism is changed by going from an immersion to a sprinkle.

From where I sit, changing baptism from immersion to sprinkling (or pouring) fundamentally altered the ordinance because it removed the symbolism I discussed earlier.  Unfortunately, a similar discussion with respect to Temple ordinances is not possible, but I do wonder how you reached the conclusion that changes in Temple ordinances fundamentally altered them by robbing them of their symbolism.

Edited by Kenngo1969
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It seems to me the change itself has been attacked, but I could be wrong on that.

 

But don't the Catholics have authority through the unbroken line of peter down through the popes?

 

Who is to say they don't have the authority to regulate their own particular sphere of christianity?

 

The change is seen as invalid due to the lack of authority in instituting the change.

 

We believe that the line of authority was broken.

 

We do believe that catholics (and all other religions) have the authority to regulate their own practices as issued by law.  We do not expect other religions to conform to our beliefs and practices.  

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So as I am striving to follow Christ, one thing that I find is more and more of an question to me is if there really was an apostasy. Two subjects that I want to have a discussion about is the validity of infant baptism and transubstantiation. In reading Catholic/Orthodox apologists, it sounds like there are writings from the early church fathers that come out strongly in favor of these practices. I was curious what we as Latter Day Saints could offer against this? I know in reading The Inevitable Apostasy by Tad R. Callister that he states that there is evidence for and against it, and I am working on understanding those more....however I wanted to hear from you guys (particularly current Catholic/Orthodox board members, and former Catholics, now LDS).

 

boblloyd hi.

 

In the past, I would have been spending literally hours working up defenses for this or that doctrine ibn favor of my Catholic faith. But you haven't made any comments so far about what you have heard. Are you satisfied with the answers you have received? I am inclined to let knowledgable and fair Mormons like Christ Knight and calmoriah give a representation of the Catholic position...unless you still want something more??? Why have you been doubting the apostasy teaching of the LDS? There is a ton I could say about both of the specific doctrines you raised. Do you want preponderance of evidence, absolute certainty, or plausibility. I think I can only offer evidence that rises to plausibility. I can argue why that should be enough. But if you want the Catholic/Orthodox, for instance, to make you certain that infants should be baptized, I don't really want to try. So if you want us to get more comprehensive, tell us a little more about your journey, and the questions you have.

 

Thanks, regards, and God bless you on your journey,

 

Rory (aka 3DOP)

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man that seems to me like the saying "When your church changes, its apostacy, when my church changes it's Continuing Revelation."

 

I can think of many ways the temple ceremony has been fundementally altered in more substantial ways than baptism is changed by going from an immersion to a sprinkle.

Do not confuse the temple ceremony with the temple ordinance. The ordinance has never changed, the ceremony has. We baptize by immersion by one holding the authority. Whether we have a talk before, perform the confirmation on the same day, or perform the ordinance on a Sunday only is the ceremony of baptism, and this can change with out having any affect on the ordinance itself.

If you belong to a church that does not believe in modern revelation, change of any kind is problematic. The Catholic Church, however, allows for change. The protestants do not.

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Degrees of Salvation

I really like that phrase. It takes care of all the ambiguity in what "salvation" means to us vs what it means to Protestants and Catholics. Usually it takes a big long explanation that what we mean by "salvation" is really NOT what they mean by "salvation", and that shortcuts that whole discussion. They have one degree of salvation- we have many.

I will remember that the next time someone asks me if we believe that non-Mormons are "saved".

Edited by mfbukowski
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On the issue of Transubstantiation, Catholic apologists (e.g., Robert A. Sungenis, Not by Bread Alone: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for the Eucharistic Sacrifice [san Goleta, Queenship: 2000]) would point to the following biblical evidences (among others):

 

The demonstrative in "this is my body" is a neuter singular which cannot refer to "bread" (artos in Greek, a masculine noun), but "soma" (body), so the phrase can mean, "this [new entity] is the body of me" in Greek.

 

In Matthew 26:28, the participle "being shed" is coupled with the verb "to be." This would indicate a shedding of blood at the very celebration of the Last Supper, showing (1) transubstantiation of the wine and (2) the Eucharist being a sacrifice.

 

In John 6, when switching from figurative to literal language, the Greek switches from using εσθιω, which can be used symbolically, and changes to τρωγω, which is never used symbolically in the LXX or NT elsewhere; the argument goes that when Jesus speaks of having to eat his flesh (John  6:54, 56 57), this is (1) about the Eucharist and (2) such "flesh" is the literal flesh of Christ.

 

Some would point out the Greek terms such as "remembrance" (αναμνησις) and "to shed" (εκχεω) in the LXX are sacrificial terms, as are the underlying Hebrew terms, showing the Eucharist to be a propitiatory sacrifice (transubstantiation is needed for the Eucharist to be a propitiatory sacrifice in Roman Catholic teaching).

 

In terms of patristic evidence, the early association of Malachi 1:11 to the Eucharist is pointed to as early evidence of the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist, as would be works such as Ambrose (who associated Melchizedek with Jesus), Augustine's comments on various texts (e.g., based on the Amrbosiaster mistranslation of Psalms that has David carrying his own body, Augustine saw that as a prefigurement of sorts of Christ holding his own body in the Last Supper [cf. Augustine's comments on Psalm 33:1, 10])

 

As for infant baptism, one line of argument is that the recognition of baptismal regeneration and the development of the doctrine of original sin would necessitate infant baptism to remove the stain of original sin, as it is infused in a person's soul, not merely imputed against the person.

 

Just some quick comments.

 

Robert B (former Catholic; graduate of a Catholic seminary; now a Mormon apologist)

Wow! Good stuff!
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Who is to say they don't have the authority to regulate their own particular sphere of christianity?

No one.

But that is not their claim, as I understand it. Your question implies that there are many "valid" forms of Christianity of which Catholicism is one, which they have their own authority over.

Surely the Presbyterians and Baptists for example might think that way about the authority of their churches, but that is not the Catholic position.

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From where I sit, changing baptism from immersion to sprinkling (or pouring) fundamentally altered the ordinance because it removed the symbolism I discussed earlier.  Unfortunately, a similar discussion with respect to Temple ordinances is not possible, but I do wonder how you reached the conclusion that changes in Temple ordinances fundamentally altered them by robbing them of their symbolism.

I would say that in fact the changes took away extraneous material and left the most potent symbolism intact. Perhaps a Catholic might understand these changes as simplifications, the way the Mass has been simplified in recent years without changing its essence.
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From where I sit, changing baptism from immersion to sprinkling (or pouring) fundamentally altered the ordinance because it removed the symbolism I discussed earlier.  Unfortunately, a similar discussion with respect to Temple ordinances is not possible, but I do wonder how you reached the conclusion that changes in Temple ordinances fundamentally altered them by robbing them of their symbolism.

 

 

I would say that in fact the changes took away extraneous material and left the most potent symbolism intact. Perhaps a Catholic might understand these changes as simplifications, the way the Mass has been simplified in recent years without changing its essence.

 

Perhaps.  As you have been on both sides of that fence while I have not, I'm happy to defer to you. :)

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The Eastern Orthodox do not do not believe that the Holy Trinity is a 'substance', do not accept the Western notion of Original Sin and that infants bear its 'stain', but do baptize infants, and do not believe in the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation.  Greek metaphysical categories can be useful to bring someone to begin to have faith in God, but the Orthodox deny that the doctrine of the Trinity is based on those categories and that God can be grasped or approached by using them.  The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is based on revelation; it's nothing we could have arrived at through the powers of reason alone.  Orthodoxy is anti Hellenist, anti neoplatonist, in this respect.  God in his essence cannot be conceptualized.  Teachings of church fathers who attempted to fit church teachings into Greek philosophical categories, such as medieval scholasticism and Origen's neoplatonist teachings on the pre-existence of souls and the eternal pre-existence of matter, have been condemned.

Edited by Spammer
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