Why does the LDS Church teach there was an apostasy?
"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall, not prevail against it."
So if you believe there was an apostasy than one of the following must be true. (1) Jesus' words in the passages just cited were misreported; (2) Jesus did in fact say these things but didn't really mean them--at least not in the way they had been understood by Christians for the first eighteen centuries; (3) Jesus was a liar, or (4) Joseph Smith was wrong and Jesus meant what he said.
Matthew 24:4-12; Mark 13:21-23; Luke 21:7-8; Acts 20:29-30; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 2 Timothy 3:1-7, 4:1-4; 2 Peter 2:1-3; and Jude 17-19. Passages that say that "many" will fall away. This refers to apostasy in an individual sense. Not a complete apostasy of the entire Church.
The Lord established the position of Bishop to ensure that the church continued. There was no Great Apostacy. There is apostacy of individuals, and there is corruption in all man made institutions but the Church continued through the position of the Bishop.
It’s refreshing to see actual scriptures quoted. Let’s tackle this question together.
First, Peter comes from “petros,” which means “a piece of rock.” When you look at the Greek text (the best that is available because we have no original) you will find that when Christ says “upon this rock I will build my church,” that rock in this instance is “petra,” which means “a mass of rock.” –You can find this in a Greek lexicon and/or early greek manuscripts. Readily available prints of these are Strong’s Concordance and any Greek-English New Testament Translation. Now, it is a play on words (as was stated earlier) but it really draws a distinction. It reads "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter (petros-a piece of a rock), and upon this rock (petra-a mass of rock) I will build my church….”
So, Peter is not the rock (petra) upon which Christ was to build his Church. What was the petra (mass of rock) then? Well, what is the antecedent of this last statement? It had just been REVEALED to Peter that Jesus was the Christ (v.16-17). Hence, Peter (who had just experienced personal revelation testifying of the divinity of Christ) was told that revelation (like he just experienced), was to be what the Church was built upon.
No discredit to Peter! He was an amazing man. He was the one willing to fight to protect Christ when he was taken to court (John 18:10). I personally don’t feel that Peter denied Christ “thrice” because he was scared, but because he knew that he was needed to carry on the Lord’s work and was not supposed to die at that time.
Now, as to your other scripture references, I found it interesting that you chose to quote some of them.
Acts 20:29-30 – Paul knew that after his departing (note: did not say “last days”) “grievous wolves” would enter in, and “many disciples” would be drawn away. This happened after Paul’s departure, 1900+ years ago.
As for the rest of them, we actually use those same verses to prove the apostasy and general falling away from the truth.
You also stated that, “The Lord established the position of Bishop to ensure that the church continued.” The Bishop was a shepherd that watched over “A” flock.
Now, which office was appointed to be the foundation for the entire Church? Let’s keep quoting Paul, he’s doing great.
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
‘And are built upon the FOUNDATION of the APOSTLES and PROPHETS, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
‘In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
‘In whom YE ALSO ARE BUILDED together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” –Ephesians 2:19-22
If the foundation of Christ’s Church was to be apostles and prophets, which church has them today?
Some nay-sayers will say “Nay… hold on a moment. The office of apostle was only necessary for the founding of the Church and was not supposed to continue.”
Paul states that Christ gave “some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers…
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” –Eph 4:11,13
When “we ALL come in the unity of the faith,” and every “Christian” quits quibbling about their differences we won’t need apostles anymore. Until then, we’re all trying to come to that unity of faith. Where is that? I believe it is the Church that has apostles and prophets and that is built upon the “petra” of revelation.
Saturday, December 15, 2007