The following is a rebuttal to an article called 7 Proofs of Apostasy found at the following website:
Mormonprophets.org/prophecies/the great apostasy
Where does it say that revelation of truth must always continue? There were no living prophets on the earth from about 400 BC until the time of John the Baptist and Christ. The truth is that even in theLDS church there have been long long period of time when no new revelations were given by theirprophets. I would ask for a list of the new revelations in the last 50 years. I know of only one...the one relating to giving the priesthood to blacks...and that came after missionary efforts to people of dark skin made the change a logical choice. The problem with the new scriptures is a bit like someone adding to the multiplication table a new statement that 2 plus 2 = 5. If the revelations agree with the existing truth, fine...but if they do not, we have a problem with them. This is why evangelical Christians speak out against the Mormon revelations...it is because they do not agree with the Bible. While a whole dialogue could be done on just this topic, I will present just one item as an example. The 3 degrees of glory theory is contradictory to rev 20 15 compared to rev 21:24-2-7 which indicate just two options for all mankind...name not in the book, and destination ultimately the lake of fire, or name in book and destination the new heaven and earth including access to the very throne of God. I have asked many over the years to explain this to me. There ARE no other options... the D & C 76 revelation is false because it contradicts the Word of God.
Let's be accurate... all Christians who know what the Bible says acknowledge that partial apostasies have been the pattern. But the Bible never speaks of a total or universal apostasy. Most Christians believe Christ's words about the gates of hell not prevailing over the church. And study of that phrase reveals that city government in the OT era and beyond was carried out at the city GATES (Deut. 25:7)...thus the phrase gates of hell can be indicative of the government (or leadership)of hell not prevailing against the church. Obviously, neither men nor devil(s) are stronger than God. This promise is not JUST found in that verse... it is also seen in the Matt. 13 parables. We do not read of God having to replant his field because of it all dying out. It is also seen in Eph. 3:21 where it says the church would bring glory to God in all ages... it is also seen in the parallel name of the church... the KINGDOM. In Luke 1:33 we read that there would be no END of Christ's kingdom. This is suggested also in Daniel 2:44 which speaks of his kingdom as one that will never be destroyed. It is an insult to Christ to suggest He could not keep his church going. Eph. 4 presents Him as the loving bridegroom who nourishes and cherishes His bride.
I expected a list here...but none was given that makes any direct reference. to a total apostasy... A partial apostasy does not necessitate a restoration any more than a funeral being needed for a person who gets a finger cut off. Therefore the apostasy had to be universal for the LDS church to have a valid reason to call itself the restored church. Amos 3:7 says there SHOULD have been such a warning,(The Lord God will do nothing but he revealeth His secret unto his servants the prophets) but when we looked at all the LDS proof texts listed in the book, "The Great Apostasy, here is what we found:
Amos 8:11 Apos. of Israel fulfilled between 400BC and 30 AD - No prophet's voice heard.
Isa 24: 5 refers to a future time when "earth is burned and few men left" (vs. 6-7)
Matt 24: refers to future time of tribulation
Acts 3:21 Restitution of ALL things is future; spoken by all prophets... (where are OT ref ?)
Acts 20:28 Vs 31-32 show no TOTAL apostasy
I Tim. 4:1 partial apostasy
II Tim 1`:15 Partial...the churches of Asia existed later - Rev. 2-3.
II Tim. 4:1-3 partial apostasy
II Peter 2:3 partial apostasy
II Thess 2:3 tied to man of sin being destroyed by Christ's coming; future
Rev. 14:6 No reference to apostasy. A gospel labeled everlasting in 90 AD should not have perished
This is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. What you require of us is missing from the Book of Mormon which is supposedly the fullness of the gospel. Churches existed and Christ visited, but no Apostles were appointed....not even the three ever-living disciples of III Nephi 28 were identified as apostles. Why? The view of Christians is that just as Christ was the foundation of the church but is now in heaven, so it was with the Apostles. The names of the 12 are on the foundation of the New Jerusalem...why not put all the names of all apostles of all time on the foundation if it is to be an ongoing office? If the original 12 had true authority from God, why is it that none of them seemed to get the message from God that they needed to appoint a successor? Either Christ didn't tell them because he didn't know they were going to be martyred... or... it wasn't to BE an on-going office. I refuse to put the blame on Christ. Do not say the Apostles didn't have opportunity. We are told in Acts 14:23 and Titus 1:5 that elders were appointed in all the churches.
There is a basic misunderstanding here of what it takes to be 'saved'... does it come through the efforts or rituals of an authorized MAN or does it come through an authorized MESSAGE? Romans 1:16 makes it very clear that it is the MESSAGE of the gospel that saves, and one can be saved thru a written message, a radio or TV message, without coming into contact with an authorized man. This is what is stated in some 125 passages of the Bible...that when we have faith or believe the message, we are saved. (See Mormonsinshock.com articles on Baptism and 125 Faith-Saves Passages).
Further, I would refer Mormons to their own scripture in Mosiah 27:24-28 which shows Alma being born again(redeemed, born of the spirit) without any baptism by an authorized person. After that, without any bestowed authority or priesthood, Alma goes teaching and preaching. You can't have it both ways... authority required, authority not required.
While all church history is littered with doctrinal problems, that is not to say that God abandoned the church because of it. Division does not = death. We can agree that doctrinal issues have made the church seem fractured. But the unity of the church (explained below) is not in whether they agree on ALL issues. If doctrinal unity is the factor that makes for a "true" church, then the LDS church is not there either, as survey of people in the church ("How many gods are there?) reveal disunity ...and there are about 100 splinter groups that still give allegiance to the Book of Mormon.
Manmade councils or God-ordained councils? The first example of such a council was in Acts 15. Later councils were based on what the ultimate authority...the Word of God was saying and clarifying it.
White the NT is full of doctrinal corrections for gnosticism and legalism and antinomianism, this in itself is not just the statement of problems, but the REMEDY for them. Principles were set down to guide the church.
The issue of changes in doctrine and practice over the years is a case of tunnel vision. It is built on the presumption that the Catholic church was the only place where true followers of Christ existed. This is not the case. Whether or not we have a continuous history of the spiritual predecessors of the Anabaptists and Waldensians is not the issue...the very fact that they existed tells us they came from earlier followers of Christ in the same way that Jews now living bear testimony to ancestors who were Jews...way back to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Catholics strayed, but the inquisitions of the 12th to 16th centuries included the martyrdom of as many as 50 million followers of Christ who would not buy into the RC doctrinal errors. Halleys Bible handbook gives that estimate...other estimates are higher and lower. Where did all those Christians come from who were not RC? You see, the true church is not limited to a single denominational label. Let's define it Biblically. I Cor 12:12 says that all who are BY the holy spirit baptized or initiated into the Body of Christ become one in Christ...THAT is what the church is. Not people wearing the same superficial label, but people indwelt by the Holy Spirit...and THAT is a process of spiritual birth and multiplication that NOTHING in the universe can prevent from happening.
I would like to conclude this rebuttal by referring to what SHOULD have been on this list. The apostasy would have been real if God HAD in fact, removed his Divine AUTHORITY from the Church. There is no prophecy of this, but instead we read in Matt. 28 that Christ had and has ALL authority, and that He is going to be with his followers until the end of the World or age...(either way, that means all thru past history). If you have living IN you the one who has ALL the authority... there can be no lost authority. LDS pride themselves on restored priesthood authority, but if who lays hands on who to pass it on is the issue in this authority line... LDS lost it long ago for 3 reasons. First, when it was allegedly restored, it was said that the angel (John the Baptist) gave the Aaronic priesthood authority to two UNBAPTIZED MEN! (Smith, Cowdery) That won't work if we are talking about true authority. Secondly, the LDS church had baptized about 2000 people into membership before these priesthoods were ever put in place in the church*, meaning that all those people would have passed on their LACK OF TRUE authority to anyone they baptized later. (*An Address to all Believers in Christ, by David Whitmer, page 164)
The third reason for such authority being flawed is this:
D & C 121:35-40 indicates that if a priest sins in ANY DEGREE, the Spirit and the priesthood are withdrawn from him! Now... would someone always KNOW if the Spirit had withdrawn? What if they choose to baptize or pass on authority without realizing (or disclosisng) that they do not have it? For these three reasons, I would suggest that not ONE person in the Church can be sure their baptism is valid... NOT ONE!
The other issue that should have been on this list was lost truth as spelled out in I Nephi 13. But that passage is a lie. How do we know? We as Christians live under one covenant, called the new covenant, which is spelled out in Heb. chapters 8 and 10. We have our covenant. When the I Nephi passage refers to lost covenants, it is a smokescreen because the one and only covenant for salvation that we need today is in place in the book of Hebrews, and any other so-called lost scriptures would not matter if they belonged to some other covenant period. As for what we DO have to guide us -- primarily the new testament, we have up around 60,000 pieces of manuscript evidence from the early centuries of the church to view. Some are written in varying languages...but by studying all this evidence and comparing manuscript to manuscript we can be absolutely sure of exactly what the original new testament books said...the rate of reliability has been put by Biblical scholars at 99.5%...and the .5% of the question mark passages do not deal with any doctrine of the church. So lost/corrupted truth is a myth, and lost authority has NOT been restored by the LDS church. The III Nephi 28 story suggests there have always been "authorized" men on earth directly appointed by Christ to grow the church. They would have been around when Smith said all the churches were wrong... You can't have it both ways. It is obvious from their own revelations that this whole LDS apostasy theory is a myth. There is no reason for the Mormon church to exist.
The other issue that should have been on this list was lost truth as spelled out in I Nephi 13. But that passage is a lie. How do we know? We as Christians live under one covenant, called the new covenant, which is spelled out in Heb. chapters 8 and 10. We have our covenant. When the I Nephi passage refers to lost covenants, it is a smokescreen because the one and only covenant for salvation that we need today is in place in the book of Hebrews, and any other so-called lost scriptures would not matter if they belonged to some other covenant period. As for what we DO have to guide us -- primarily the new testament, we have up around 60,000 pieces of manuscript evidence from the early centuries of the church to view. Some are written in varying languages...but by studying all this evidence and comparing manuscript to manuscript we can be absolutely sure of exactly what the original new testament books said...the rate of reliability has been put by Biblical scholars at 99.5%...and the .5% of the question mark passages do not deal with any doctrine of the church. So lost/corrupted truth is a myth, and lost authority has NOT been restored by the LDS church.
The III Nephi 28 story suggests there have always been "authorized" men on earth directly appointed by Christ to grow the church. They would have been around when Smith said all the churches were wrong... You can't have it both ways. It is obvious from their own revelations that this whole LDS apostasy theory is a myth. There is no reason for the Mormon church to exist.