Mormonism’s Gigantic Insult to the Great Shepherd

Marvin Cowan in Mormon Claims Answered, chapter 7:

The Apostle Paul wrote: “Unto Him (God) be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end Amen” (Eph. 3:21). Could that be true if there was a universal apostasy of the church for several centuries? Jesus also said, “Upon this Rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). Notice that it is Christ Himself (not mortal men) who builds His church or adds to it (Acts 2:47), and Christ has all power in heaven and in earth (Matt. 28:18; Rev. 19:6). LDS often claim that the true church must be built upon the foundation of apostles and prophets, as Eph 2:20 says. This is commented upon later in this chapter under the sub-title, “Apostles.” But Paul wrote, “…other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 3:11). Since Jesus Christ is the Foundation of the church, He is also part of the church! Could that church “collapse” or become extinct when the omnipotent Christ is the Foundation of it? Is it possible for Christ to lose “the church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25)? Christ is called the “Good Shepherd” in John 10:11. But, any shepherd who loses all his sheep is not a very good shepherd!

Jesus must bear some responsibility for the existence of the church since God “gave Him to be head over all things to the church” (Eph. 1:22). The Lord Himself also nourishes (feeds) and cherishes (lovingly cares for) the church (Eph. 5:29). Jesus never told anyone else to go build His church. Instead, He declared, “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). And after He ascended into heaven, Acts 2:47 declares, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” He needed no successor to build His church because He lives forever (Heb. 7:24-25). That is why Col. 1:18 declares, “He is the head of the body, the church.” Notice the present tense verb is used which shows that Jesus was still Head of His church even though He had ascended to heaven many years before that was written! And Jesus is still the Head of His Church and He is adding members to it today! Thus, when LDS claim that Christ’s church was prevailed against and ceased to exist, they insult the living Head of the Church!

As if Mormon doctrine itself wasn’t enough of an insult to the Great Shepherd, Joseph Smith boasted of having done more to “keep a whole church together” than Jesus Christ:

“Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” (Address of the Prophet—His Testimony Against the Dissenters at Nauvoo; Sunday, May 26, 1844)

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45 Responses to Mormonism’s Gigantic Insult to the Great Shepherd

  1. john f. says:

    How is this post not objectionable where my comment about gloating on the previous post was deemed objectionable and redacted? “Insult” and “boasting” are at least as pointed as “gloating”.

  2. John C. says:

    The PTB here do have a viewpoint to get out.

    We believe that God gave people the right to screw up. This includes the right to reject him. While I personally don’t believe that God abandoned the earth entirely during the Apostacy, I do believe that the priesthood (the authority to perform necessary rituals in God’s name) was removed from earth. That is what was restored with the restoration of the Gospel (IMHO).

    That said, if there never was an apostacy or a falling away at all, why aren’t you all Catholic?

  3. john f. says:

    That is what was restored with the restoration of the Gospel

    John C., that is what most Latter-day Saints would agree was restored, in my opinion, if they really thought specifically about it. It was all about priesthood authority. Additionally, truths that had either gone missing or that had not yet been revealed at all are part and parcel of the Restored Gospel.

    Interestingly, the exact same question re Catholics struck my mind as I read this post. Clearly, based on the selections that Aaron quoted, he (and presumably his fellows on this blog) do not believe there was either a falling away or an apostacy. Thus, they are very lucky that the Catholic Church has been taking an ecumenical stance of late toward those who accept its trinitarian creeds.

  4. Renee says:

    You are both missing the point here. The Catholic Church, like all earthly churches, is a man made institution. What the Bible is talking about is the church Jesus Christ(God)established. And since Jesus Christ is the everlasting priest(Hebrews 7), there is no need for an earthly priesthood.

  5. john f. says:

    The selections Aaron quotes very clearly ridicule the notion of the Church that Jesus Christ founded ever falling away — after all, how could it? Jesus Christ founded it. As Aaron quotes, And Jesus is still the Head of His Church and He is adding members to it today! Thus, when LDS claim that Christ’s church was prevailed against and ceased to exist, they insult the living Head of the Church!

    Thus, by not being Catholic, Aaron and his companions here insult Christ, the Head of the Catholic Church (by that logic). With Jesus at the head of the Church, it could not have been prevailed against by abusive and political bishops, corrupt Popes, and a Millenium or more of philosophical change and ecclesiastical abuse.

  6. Daniel says:

    Additionally, it sounds like Joseph Smith is really being rather prideful, not at all like what Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 10:17-18, “But, ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.’ For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”

    It sure looks like Mr. Smith is commending himself…

  7. John C. says:

    Don’t let one quote taken out of context sway you. Joseph Smith knew and understood that Christ was the Head of our church.

    Eric was arguing a couple of days ago that all Christianity was a royal priesthood, based on a verse from one of the epistles Peter (I don’t remember which off the top of my head). So clearly the author of that epistle (assuming that he knew about Hebrews) believes that, while Christ is the great high priest, there is a role for other priests out there. FWIW.

  8. John F., I think you miss a big point: the church is ultimately an organism of believers, not a hierarchical organization of believers and non-believers. Christ has always been the head of his church and has protected every last one of his sheep.

    John C., the fact that Joseph made such a boast shows that he didn’t even understand the nature of Christ’s headship over the church. Add to that his misunderstanding of the role of the priesthood, and you have a completely different notion of “church” altogether from the New Testament.

  9. Qahal says:

    If I may jump in here for a second. I think the point here is that whether you accept apostolic succession or not, the Church has never “fallen away”. I personally accept apostolic succession. I see no historical evidence that a total apostacy ever occurred. And as long as you accept apostolic authority and an ordained priesthood, you cannot historically support the argument that at some point it just stopped being passed on. And if it was some supernatural act of God, then not only would the great apostacy contradict the words of Christ, but it would also be easier to nail down to a specific time or event. Rather, Mormons have described the apostacy to me as a process, not as one singular event.

  10. john f. says:

    Aaron, it is difficult to conceive how you do not see that Cowan’s screed applies equally to Protestants who view the Catholic Church as fallen away and corrupt as to Latter-day Saints who view both the Catholic Church and the Protestant churches as fallen away.

  11. Elder Joseph says:

    Its obvious to anyone with some religious knowledge that Joseph Smith just took advantage of religious splits of his day . I don’t believe that Joseph Smith believed in God himself .When I read the Book Of Mormon I can see the day to day characters arguing there is no God like Korihor or Zeezrom and the show us a sign argument on many occasions .

    It just plagued Joseph Smiths mind and he wrote his own experiences of looking for certainty from the bible and religion in the guise of these characters .He also supposedly addressed the difficulties of some of the apparent contradictory teachings in the bible in a very ‘corny’and ‘simplistic’ manner through more of his fictional characters .

    Its a man made book,( conspired with Oliver Cowdery ) very clever , but despicable .

  12. Aaron, it is difficult to conceive how you do not see that Cowan’s screed applies equally to Protestants who view the Catholic Church as fallen away and corrupt as to Latter-day Saints who view both the Catholic Church and the Protestant churches as fallen away.

    If I may say this kindly, I still don’t think you “get it”. Even if the Protestant and Catholic church were to both fall away together into apostasy, Christ’s church would still be alive as it always has been. Christ adds to his church and he preserves every last sheep. If a Protestant definitively and forever “falls away” into apostasy, then that person was never a sheep to begin with. Again, the flock of Christ exists irrespective of human organizations or publicly identifiable world movements. Christ has never lost a sheep. He guards them from the evil one. Let it and John 10 sink in.

  13. Geoff J says:

    Interesting last comment Aaron. So it sounds like this definition of “Christ’s church” you are using has to do with a personal relationship with Christ rather than any denominational affiliation. So every Christian denomination might have members of the meta-church you describe and some who never were Christ’s sheep to begin with (due to a lack of a personal relationship with Christ I presume). Is that what you mean?

  14. Geoff, bingo and amen. We sometimes call it the “universal church” as distinct from the “visible church”. Goats among sheep, sheep among goats.

  15. Geoff J says:

    Ok. I can understand that position Aaron.

    So do you feel certain that no Mormon actually has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

  16. I think the relationship, in order for it to be genuine, must be based on a foundation of truth about who God is and of the free and immediate forgiveness of all sins. I also think a relationship implies communication.

    I don’t think Mormonism gets any of that basically right, so while there may be “Mormons” who have a relationship with Christ, it is in spite of their Mormonism.

  17. john f. says:

    Even if the Protestant and Catholic church were to both fall away together into apostasy, Christ’s church would still be alive as it always has been.

    This is exactly what Latter-day Saints believe, just phrased in Evangelical terminology. Latter-day Saints believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the same Church that Christ established.

  18. John C. says:

    Aaron, I must admit that you are deeply and profoundly confusing me today. I am not sure that the words that you are using have the same meaning to me that they have to you.

    First of all, are you implying that God has already chosen his chosen? Does this mean you are a Presbyterian? I’ve often wondered about the motivations of an Evangelical Presbyterian…

    Second, while that description of Christ is admirable and moving, I wonder what it does to Free Will? I also am curious about what the notion that God created millions of souls which he then arbitrarily decided to condemn to an eternal hell does to our concept of God as loving and merciful.

  19. john f., maybe this will help:

    Even if all publicly identifiable religious movements ceased to exist, and even if the LDS church, the Protestant church, and the Roman Catholic church ceased to exist, Christ’s flock/church would still exist. The church is ultimately the organism of believers who have a relationship with Christ, something anyone can fully have apart form a hierarchy or ordained priesthood.

  20. john f. says:

    Geoff, in this position Aaron exposes his reliance on dark notions of predestination and rejection of free will.

    If a Protestant definitively and forever “falls away” into apostasy, then that person was never a sheep to begin with.

    This is inconsistent with the idea that once a person accepts Jesus Christ in his or her heart, he or she is forever saved, no matter what he or she does thereafter. Also, read closely, this is actually a works-based method of determining who is a Christian, so I guess Aaron is not so far from his Catholics after all.

  21. Qahal says:

    I don’t see how you can practically draw the distinction between individual Christians and the Christian Church. How could one fall into apostacy but the other not? It’s a both/and relationship because the institutional Church is composed of the individual members. As you say, the relationship is based on a “foundation of truth”. If the entire Christian church were in a total apostacy, where would individual Christians receive that truth necessary to build their personal relationship with Christ?

  22. John C., we’re not going to get into the Calvinism/Arminianism issue here, but I can say this: whether it is connected with the doctrine of conditional election based on foreknowledge, or foreknowledge based on unconditional election, this conception of church I am speaking of is common to both my Arminian and Calvinsitic brothers in Christ.

    I think the biggest hurdle here is one’s notion of what the “church” ultimately is.

  23. I don’t see how you can practically draw the distinction between individual Christians and the Christian Church. How could one fall into apostacy but the other not?

    I don’t think a real, individual Christian can definitively and forever fall away into apostasy. That’s why I put quotes around the term “fall away”.

    “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” – 1 John 2:19

  24. Qahal says:

    Are you speaking merely in terms of salvation? As in, the individual soul will not fall away? Or are you speaking of doctrine or Truth as well?

  25. john f. says:

    I don’t think a real, individual Christian can definitively and forever fall away into apostasy.

    Dark views of predestination are unbiblical and represent little more than the self-congratulation of self-professed Christians. This statement also equates to an outright rejection of free will. If ever there was a dark and menacing variant of Christianity, this is it.

  26. John F.,

    Most Arminians nowadays believe in eternal security, so this isn’t an issue of Arminianism/Calvinism. Be careful not to hijack this thread with a rabbit trail.


    Neither the individual Christian nor the presence of the gospel-truth on the earth will fall away.

  27. Lou W. says:

    I believe the protestant churches that arose felt that they were “reforming” the Catholic church, not replacing it. Example-Martin Luther.
    The Lord will always preserve for Himself a remnant of true believers-from the time of Adam forward.
    JS may not be the anti-christ, but he is certainly a foreshadowing.

  28. Qahal says:

    Could you explain how the gospel-truth is preserved apart from the institutional church? I’m confused because I think that gospel-truth and apostacy are directly, though inversely related. So it seems a contradiction to me to say that all institutional churches COULD fall into apostacy, while at the same time saying that the gospel-truth CANNOT fall away.

    Now I agree that the gospel truth cannot fall away, but by way of consistency, I would also have to acknowledge that the institutional church cannot either. Am I making sense?

  29. Lou W. says:

    The “remnant” concept is the non-fallen away believers. I know that LDS believe in “one true church” (i.e., the worship of the institution that JS founded), but most of the protestant churches i have attended hold to the belief that the “one true church” is the Body of Christ-i.e., the believers of all churches-the “holy catholic (as in universal) church of the Nicene Creed.

  30. Qahal, when a few dozen believers get together in Turkey for a “birthday party” (they have to use all sorts of excuses like that there to congregate) and then worship Jesus together they are acting as the church. The church is the body of Christ. When two or three believers are gathered, Jesus is there with them. Believers know Jesus through his word. It doesn’t necessarily take an institution to preserve the Bible. If hierarchies and institutions as we know them ceased to exist, we would still have the Bible. Heck, even if someone just had the Gospel of John that would be enough (cf. John 20:30-31).

    Christianity doesn’t depend on hierarchies because it’s all about a direct relationship with Jesus Christ by trusting promises in his word. We can pray directly to him as our intercessor and mediator and sufficient high priest. The core doctrines of the gospel have a lot of implications for church government. The more one sees the centrality of faith in God’s word over submission to living human authority and see Christ’s role as high priest as the fulfillment of obsolete Old Testament priesthood functions, the more one’s notion of “church” drifts away from something dependent on human organization.

  31. Lou W. says:

    Indeed, to make the worship of the Lord dependent upon an institution is to put the institution in the place of God, which is, by definition, idolatry. God chided David for wanting to construct a building to “house” the Almighty–He preferred His people to worship the mobile tabernacle as a reminder that God was where they were.

  32. Qahal says:

    You guys are mixing a lot of concepts together. I’m not talking about worshipping and gathering. I’m talking about preserving truth. Aaron, it sounds like you are saying all one would need is the Bible, or even at a minimum only portions of the Bible. But even the Bible came forth from the institutional church (obviously inspired by God). So I don’t see how one can practically separate the preservation of Truth from the institutional church.

  33. But even the Bible came forth from the institutional church (obviously inspired by God).

    I think this is a myth. Most all of the NT was is wide circulation and usage by the early church far before any councils got together to hammer out final issues of canonicity.

  34. Lou W. says:

    The NT started as letters, circulated to the churches. That does not mean that there was no Body of Christ before there was a Bible–in whatever form, either partial or as it is now. I think you are confusing religiosity with the truth of the gospel-that Christ lived as a man, died for our sins, rose again, and grants us free grace.
    Again, i submit that when an institution is more important than the truth of the gospel, it is idolatry. As Paul stated in 1st Corinthians, the simplicity of the gospel, which is Christ and Him crucified, shows the power of the Spirit-our faith should thus rest on the Lord’s power and not on man’s “supposed” wisdom. the BOM did not “restore” anything. It was JS’ attempt, for whatever reasons, to fetter his account of the wisdom of God Almighty with the bonds of a mortal man’s “wisdom” and imagination. This accounts for the fact that the LDS leaders constantly scramble to re-invent portions of their doctrine which do not stand the test of time.

  35. Jeff says:

    I like this thread. It brings up a feeling/thought/opinion that I have held for quite some time. It seems that throughout time, the word church has been used to create actual institutions and buildings.. So when I say “I’m going to church”, a large majority of people, if not everyone automatically thinks, okay, hes leaving his house, and driving/walking to a building to worship. It would be nice if we could all just say “I’m at church”, at all times, because as long as you are a believer in Christ (and in my opinion/belief, the one talked about in the Bible), then you are always “at church.” In essence, I believe “Christ’s church” is with me wherever I go because HE is with me, wherever I go.

    Throughout time, I believe, that the human race has made dirty the Holy Words and meanings in the Bible. You have so many different church’s because there are so many different people, plain as that. Instead of arguing who’s church is right/truthful/correct/holy, believers in Christ should all just agree that Jesus Christ is right/truthful/correct/holy! Not some sort of organization.

    The only problem that arises now is with people arguing who exactly Jesus is and what exactly did he teach. Thats why this website exists because the traditional view/doctrines of Christ has been challenged by the Mormon Church’s view of Christ.

    It’s a process of elimination. If the LDS church and its prophets were found to be false (and I believe personally that is because of all the evidence, or lack of it, etc.), then that is one less set of views/doctrines we would have to argue upon.

    I seek truth, and I KNOW if the LDS church is true, God will show me. I have attended my wifes ward for 3 years now. I’ve read the BOM, I’ve prayed with what I believe was a sincere heart, and received no confirmation (no burning bosom). But I choose to try and learn more just to “make sure”. The only excuse the LDS and my wife seem to have for me is that “I wasn’t sincere enough”.

  36. Qahal says:

    Aaron, I don’t necessarily disagree with your last statement. But you can’t separate the canonicity from the discussion. God was responsible for inspiring the text, but who was responsible for discerning the authenticity of the inspired Word? It wasn’t each individual Christian. It was an institution.


    Of course there was a Body of Christ before the Council of Nicea. I’m not the one who said that the Bible was the sole means of preserving Truth. I’m not confusing anything. I believe that God has charged the institutional Church with the protection of the deposit of faith, which includes the divinely inspired Bible. I don’t see how that creates an idol. The Church is subject for all time to the truth imparted through Christ to the Apostles. It’s sole mission is to defend and distribute that.

    The whole point of this post is that its absurd to believe that a Church instituted by Christ with Him as the head would ever fall into apostacy. I agree, but its not because you are once saved, always saved. It’s because God has charged the institutional church with the responsibility of protecting that truth which He imparted. Why would He turn around and abandon His church?

  37. God was responsible for inspiring the text, but who was responsible for discerning the authenticity of the inspired Word? It wasn’t each individual Christian. It was an institution.

    The word of God was treated as God’s inspired word and collectively discerned by Christians to be the word of God far before any institution or hierarchy decided anything about canonicity. I’m just not seeing/feeling the weight of your claims, Qahal. You’ll have to substantiate them.

  38. Qahal says:

    Fair enough, but in your own comment you make reference to a “collective discernment”. Who was involved in that discernment? How was that determined? What authority did they have to say that one book was inspired and another was not? On what basis did they measure inspiration?

    The process wasn’t magic. It was God working through men. I believe the same can be said of an institution.

  39. Lou W. says:

    God has not abandoned His church. I do not believe that the Body of Christ ever fell into apostacy.
    As to the institution versus the individual-God has spoken to and made clear His meanings to individuals throughout the history recorded in the Bible-Abraham, for one.
    As to discernment, it is an individual gift given FOR THE BENEFIT of the church. I believe there is confirmation where there is true discernment.
    Qahal, i’m not saying that the church as an institution is idolatry. It is the Body and we are called to support it and to worship with other believers. Occasionally, it will get off course and that is when there is either a spiritual outpouring of correction or reformation. Jesus is true to keep His church on course until He returns. But in some cases, worshipers end up pouring all their time, treasure and talents into the sustenance of an institution–right or wrong. If the institution is true, i think it will withstand scrutiny and the light of exploration. I think this is one way that we can see that the Mormon church is not true–no dissention of any kind is allowed within its ranks.

  40. Jeff says:

    I may be way off base here, and I believe you guys have more knowledge of history than I do as far as the canonization of the Bible, but in my personal opinion, it has to come down to faith that God would make sure his Word was/is protected.

    It’s seeming as if your trying to place faith in man in that they even have the choice of destroying/changing the Word of God. I believe that God gave people the free will to believe his word or not and place faith in him. I don’t believe he would allow any human, even with free will, to ever change the Bible in any way that I listed above.

    Like I said, because man has had a part in the history of the Bible, it would be scary indeed to think that they may have changed/destroyed some/all of the Word of God. The LDS church have somewhat of a ground to stand on when they say “In reality,” it would be ridiculous to think that the Bible through all its translation has maintained its original meaning and words. But lets be honest, when the Hand of God intervenes, its usually far from what we perceive as “reality.” Think of Exodus. If that stuff happened today, people would flip.

    I would like to think God wouldn’t make things so complicated as they seem to be on this blog, or people like me probably wouldn’t ever understand. 🙂

    Love all of ya!


  41. Qahal says:

    Right on, Lou.

  42. “I do not believe that the Body of Christ ever fell into apostacy.”

    Nor does any Protestant believe that either. Lou W., much of what you said is fine. I see a lot of importance, for example, in the local church as an institution. But there simply isn’t any Biblically prescribed massive hierarchy that can or should be identified as “the true church”. Ultimately the church is the sum and organism of all true believers. Christ adds to it and preserves it. That’s the whole point.

    I think people are too enslaved to the notion of “the church” as being their own favorite hierarchy. This is especially dangerous because it distracts people from important things like the sovereignty and supremacy of Christ, the nature of God, and justification by faith alone. Satan wants people to get so caught up in their hierarchical notions of “the church” that they forget about the foundational truths that a real Christian stands on.

    If you want to really honor and nourish Christ’s flock, his bride, then preach the word of God. Point to the gospel of justification by faith alone apart from works (Romans 4:4-8), point to the high priest Jesus Christ who made the final and sufficient sacrifice for sins, point to the direct relationship believers can have with our advocate and mediator. How silly and tragic that people would get so caught up in defending the Catholic or Mormon church governments when they distract people from what the word of God says about direct union to Christ by faith. When a believer is united to Christ by faith alone, he is also united to all those united to Christ. In Mormon terms, we are “sealed”. We ultimately need no ordinance for this. It is a matter of trusting in the promises of Christ. As Christ will never, never, never divorce his Bride, this unity is forever. Christ can never lose a sheep, and his Bride will never be definitively snatched away. Not only is he the Great Shepherd, he is also the Great Husband.

  43. Qahal says:

    “Ultimately the church is the sum and organism of all true believers. Christ adds to it and preserves it. That’s the whole point.”

    I totally agree Aaron. But I believe that you are thinking backwards about heirarchy. Heirarchy as an idea or general concept doesn’t distract from Christ. He is Christ the King, the Head of His Body the Church! He is the sovereign! All of creation glorifies God! Do the angels distract from Christ when they serve God? Of course not. They magnify Him. So what is so inherently evil about a human heirarchy that we should presume that it distracts from Christ? Now if you add to that faith in the theological precept that Christ Himself instituted the heirarchy. If the Church carries out that command isn’t it at least possible that it could glorify God rather than distract?

    You are right to suggest that Satan would love for people to distracted in the here and now, but Satan doesn’t define the nature and mission of the heirarchical Church. A heirarchical structure can be dangerous because it presents those servants within the heirarchy with a great responsibility. But at the same time it is an ideal means of preserving truth.

  44. rick b says:

    This verse, refutes the idea of a total apostasy, Jude 3. “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

    Notice that this verse says that the faith was delivered, “once for all.” If it was delivered “once for all,” then there is no need to deliver it again.

    The book of 4th Nephi describes a time when the “true faith” continued to thrive. An official LDS church manual states, “As the original twelve Nephite disciples chosen by the Savior passed away, new disciples were chosen to take their place. This practice evidently continued as long as the Nephites were righteous enough to have a church organization amongst them. The three Nephite disciples who were promised by the Savior that they should live on the earth until his second coming apparently continued to work with the people for several hundred years.” (Book Of Mormon Student Manual, Religion 121-122, 1979 p.450)

    Mormons like to use 1st Timothy 4:1 to claim a total Apostasy happened.

    1Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

    1Timothy 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

    No place in this verse do I read that their WAS a total Apostasy of the Church.

    Rick B

  45. Qahal,

    Christians are united to Christ and are forgiven freely and immediately by faith in his promises, not by personal works or personal merits or ordinances done by intermediate authorities. Christians have direct access to the great high priest, Jesus Christ, apart from any other supposed priest. There are no more atoning, sacrificial offerings to be made.

    Therefore any hierarchy which claims to be a necessary intermediary between a person and Christ is anathema. It ignores the fundamental nature of the gospel, the centrality of God’s word, the finished work of Christ on the cross, the universality of the true church, and the independence of the local church congregation (independence that is, from any other spiritual authority other than the word of God). Christians now are the temple of God, indwelled by the Holy Spirit. We have direct access to God.

    So if anyone wants to set up a hierarchical organization to support individual Christians in all sorts of ways, then by all means, go for it. But as soon as you start telling me the traditions of the hierarchy are of equal value or authority with the scripture you become anathema. As soon as you start telling me the ceremonies performed by your hierarchy are necessary for my salvation, you reveal your Judaizer-like fangs. As soon as you tell me to pray to anyone other than God you are no longer a servant undershepherd but a wolf. As soon as you start identifying your hierarchy as “the true church”, you lie, and you betray the fact that you don’t know Jesus as the Great Shepherd and Husband to his flock and bride, which encompass anyone and everyone who is banking on his promises.

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