24 August, 2009

Ongoing discussion with Laurel W about the Mormon claims against Christ's Church

(Laurel W) I am glad we are having this discussion. I will attempt, in the limited space I have here, to refute some of your claims and to clarify some of the things we as Latter-Day Saints believe.

(Cristoiglesia) I am always pleased to contend for the faith.

Jud 1:3 Dearly beloved, taking all care to write unto you concerning your common salvation, I was under a necessity to write unto you: to beseech you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.

(Laurel W) First, to the LDS people, every person is capable of becoming a saint through the atonement of Christ, not just a select few.

(Cristoiglesia) Christianity teaches the same except some Calvinist sects teach predestination which says that God predestines some for heaven and some to hell. This is not orthodox Christian teaching. Christian teaching is that all are given the chance to exercise their free will to come to faith and receive God’s salvific grace.

(Laurel W) We will be resurrected and become heirs of eternal glory with him.

(Cristoiglesia) What does that mean to a Mormon. To a Christian that means that we are given the gift of eternal life where we live with the blessed Trinity in eternity in worship and devotion to Him.

(Laurel W) Peter, James, and John are the very Peter, James, and John who ministered with Christ. These are resurrected beings, which is what angles are. They laid their hands on the head of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdry, and conferred the higher priesthood to them (the lesser was given by John the Baptist at an earlier time).

(Cristoiglesia) No, angels are not resurrected beings. Here is what the Bible says about angels:

"What is man, that thou art mindful of him? ... For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour." (Psalm 8:4,5)

Men and angels are obviously different creatures according to Scriptures. Angels according to Scriptures can never die but man in His fallen state does die:

Even Jesus becomes a man lower than the angels:

Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour: that, through the grace of God he might taste death for all.

So obviously, St. Peter, St. James and St. John are not nor could they ever have been angels and they have never returned to earth to lay hands on anyone. This is pure fantasy and totally lacking in any evidentiary support. Besides, why would this be necessary since the original priesthood of Jesus was still there as He promised it would be forever and enduring? There is absolutely no Scriptural, Patristic or historical evidence to support your implausible theory. Where was it prophesied in Scripture that the priesthood or the Church would be in need of restoration or that it would fail completely for 1800 years. The fact is that the Scriptures say the exact opposite of your claims.

Luk 1:33 And of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Jesus based His kingdom on the Church He established that will endure forever without end.

Mat 7:24 Every one therefore that heareth these my words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon a rock,

It is based on the firm foundation of Himself as the cornerstone and the 12 disciples as the foundation stones. This foundation we find in the book of acts is built upon by apostolic succession. It is durable and lasting and not subject to failure leaving the Church without leadership for 1800 years as your sect claims. Jesus would have been an incompetent according to this Scripture if indeed what He founded failed and needed to be restored. He would have broken His promise as recorded by St. Mathew and that would make Him a liar. Is that the position that the Mormons want to take as there is no other explanation. If so you are attacking the very veracity of Jesus.

Mat 16:18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Mat 16:19 And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

What Jesus is saying here is that it is necessary for the enduring Church to have enduring leadership in which He placed all authority with St. Peter and the disciples. They, in turn passed that same authority to their successors. The Church will never lack leadership in need of restoration. There would never be a great apostasy that would destroy the Church creating a need for restoration either as the previous Scriptures clearly state. The same authority remains for all time without interruption or restoration.

Joh 14:16 And I will ask the Father: and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever:

Mat 28:19 Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

(Laurel W) Apostasy: 2 Thes. 2: 3
Of course I am not calling Christ incompetent or a liar. However, as with all dispensations, it is the people who fell away. Looking back the the Catholic church itself,

(Cristoiglesia) Yes you are calling Christ a liar unless you ignore the preceding Scriptures that truly state that the Church will endure without apostasy. There is no Scriptural, Patristic or historical evidence that the Church fell away and that apostolic succession failed after the death of the disciples. It is the Scriptures that prove the veracity of the Church and the fallacy of Mormon claims. Either Joseph Smith is right or Jesus. Christians choose Jesus.

(Laurel W) Sidney Rigdon was definitely not the author of the Book of Mormon. He wasn't even a member of the church when it was published. Joseph Smith was not the author, either. It was an ancient record, given to Joseph Smith by another angel (Moroni), translated by revelation through the Urim and Thummin.

(Cristoiglesia) Actually the Book of Mormon was first published in 1830 and by that time Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith had known each other at least ten years. There is very strong evidence that Sidney Rigdon was the author and no evidence of it being given by an angel named Moroni. There is also no evidence of anything called a Urim or Thummin being in existence or used by Joseph Smith or anyone else. Where are the plates golden plates? Where is the Urim and Thummin?

(Laurel W) I do believe the Catholic church is apostate. However, I believe it has many good people in it who have sincere desires for the truth. That is why I respect it.

Matt 7: 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits.

Read and pray sincerely about the fruit and you'll know.

(Cristoiglesia) Thank you for your honesty in admitting that you believe the Church created by Jesus and the disciples to be apostate and in so doing that Jesus is indeed a liar in your view. After all is this not the logical conclusion to such a speculation? Catholic Christians are not only made up of good people but those faithful to Christ’s Church. By good people I am referring to the fact that they are on the narrow path to salvation in Christ’s own Church. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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