LDS claims: a) a total apostasy was predicted. b) this apostasy took place. c) a restoration of the gospel was predicted. d) this restoration took place. Latter-day Saints claim this apostasy was underway even while the apostles were alive,and that it was completed very shortly afterwards.
In order to counter these claims, it will be necessary to refute only part a). If this is shown to be false, parts b, c and d will necessarily be proved false also.
In this essay, I intend to show that
a) a total apostasy was NOT predicted;
b) no total apostasy took place;
c) no restoration of the gospel was predicted; in contrast, a restoration of creation is predicted.
I will leave it to others to demonstrate the indefectibile nature of the Catholic Church.
Mormons reject the notion in Acts 1:20-22 that a true apostle had to be with Jesus during his time on earth and that by this yardstick the Apostle Paul would fail the first test.
That's because he was apostle with a small "a". His apostolic ministry was a GIFT. See Revelation 21:14; Eph. 2:20. also note, 23 people are referred to as apostles in the NT, 18 of these living at the same time! (for example see Acts 14:14 (Barnabas); Romans 16:7(Andronicus and Junias).
Judas' place was filled in order to fulfil the prophecy of Acts 1:20 "May another take his place of leadership." ( Psalm 109:8). It was NOT specified that each apostle had to be replaced. See this in the context of Rev. 21:14. These apostles are the FOUNDATION of the Church. You can't replace them any more than you can replace the cornerstone, Jesus. so there were other aposltes alive at the time, but only 12 made up the foundation of the Church, and could not be replaced.
Response 2: See Acts 20:29-30 especially verse 28. The ELDERS are told to keep watch. But if they are not valid successors there is no point in Paul telling them to be on their guard!
Mormons sometimes say that the Restrainer mentioned in 2 Thess 2 :7 is the Apostles themselves.
Response : There is no basis for such a claim.
Mormons claim 2 Thess 2:8: "setting himself up in God's temple" is a reference to the total apostasy that is to happen.
Response 1 : In actual fact this is a reference to Artaxerxes of Syria who set up a statue of Zeus in the Temple after it was destroyed and desecrated by Antiochus IV. It is also a reference to the end of the world, when Antichrist will, for a short time, end the sacrifice of the Mass. This verse in no way refers to a loss of the gospel or the priesthood. I would ask Mormons to provide historical evidence that "the son of perdition set himself up in God's Temple" after Apostolic times. This is rather difficult to do, considering the Temple was destroyed in 70AD and never rebuilt.
Response 2: Against the idea of a TOTAL apostasy, see also 1 Corinthians 1:2,8. Paul addresses the CHURCH in Corinth and says "Jesus Christ...will keep you strong until the end, so you will be blameless on the day of the Lord Jesus."
Also, Revelation 14:6 is very likely a reference to the imminent destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. (In other words, Babylon is Jerusalem.) It was destroyed because the Jews followed the old covenant and did not accept the New. Scott Hahn's commentary on Revelation discusses all this.
Mormons say the Rev. 14:6 angel is Moroni.
Response :So who are all the other angels? This claim cannot be substantiated.
Mormons try to use an argument from precedent, claiming the gospel had been lost totally before, and could be lost again.
Response 1: The Gospel is revealed in it's fullness with the revelation of Jesus Christ. All else is a preparation. The above can't be proven. Anna in Luke 1 shows that THAT apostasy was not total, so the AARONIC priesthood was not lost. The New Testament clearly demonstrates that Israel had not undergone a total apostasy. For example, the case of Zacharias shows that the Aaronic priesthood was still operative (see Luke 1), as does Jesus' statement to the Samaritan woman that "salvation is of the Jews". (John 4:22) Indeed, Luke referred to Anna as a "prophetess" (Luke 2:36). So where else WAS there a total apostasy??
Response 2: Paul said the Gospel had been preached to the Israelites and they rejected it. But this refers to the time of writing! (not centuries earlier). See Acts 2:5-11.
Mormons cite Amos 8:11-12 :
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it."
This, they claim, is proof of a total apostasy.
Response 1: Amos 8:11-12 refers to a famine in the land of ancient Israel, but it doesn't say anything about the whole world.
Response 2: Read Amos 9:8-10. Note especially the words
"I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob". This is evidence that the apostasy of this time would not be total. In fact, while during Israel's history there were several apostasies, there never was a total one.
Mormons cite Acts 20:29-30; 2 Timothy 4:3-5; 2 Timothy 1:15; 2 Peter 2:1-2, and claim that the Priesthood authority was taken from the earth in response to rebellion, and that this removal made the apostasy "total".
Response 1: NONE of these verses point to a TOTAL apostasy. At most, they point to an apostasy FROM the Church, but not OF the Church.
Response 2: Mormon doctrine teaches that 4 apostles didn't die. This
makes one wonder how apostolic authority could have been taken from the earth.
" In 1829 Peter, James, and John appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to ordain them to the lost Priesthood and restore the lost keys of the apostleship." These are the Apostle John (Doctrine and Covenants [D&C], Section 7) and the three Nephites (3 Nephi 28:7-12 and 4 Nephi 1:14).
Mormons claim that Acts 3:20-21 is a reference to the fact that the Gospel would have to be restored in preparation for the reign of Christ.
Response: This pasage refers to the end of time, when CREATION will be restored(Rev 21: 1ff).
Mormons quote Malachi 4:5 and Matthew 17:3-13 and, by claiming Jesus not only said that "Elias has come already," but also that "Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things", so restoration would still be needed in the future, just as the Latter-day Saints have proclaimed.
Response: This refers NOT to a restoration of the gospel, rather of creation! See Rev 21.
Mormons claim Acts:2:5 is proof that the apostolic commission of Matt28:18-20
Response: Acts 2:5 is NOT proof that the Great Commission of Matt 28:18-20 has been fulfilled. The Gospel was NOT preached to all nations on pentecost, rather it was just the Jews from every nation who heard. The Jews were offered the gospel first, then the Gentiles (see Rom 11). But nowhere does the Bible say that Gentiles from every nation heard the gospel.
Mormons claim that in Revelation 14:6 the angel was to renew the Apostolic commission in Matthew 28:18-20.
Response: This cannot be substantiated for the simple reason that Rev. 14: 6 could quite easily have taken place BEFORE Matt 28:18-20.
If there was an apostasy OF the Church in the early centuries, why is there no recorded protest??
Mormons claim that the disappearance of the prophetic gifts is a sign the apostasy took place.
Response: See the verse from Joel which Peter cites in Acts 2. In "the last days" - that is, the last days of the Old Covenant. AFTER the Old Covenant has been superceded, the prophetic gifts might be expected to die out.
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