Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Question: How could God take the gospel from the earth?

I received an interesting email recently from someone who had many questions about the Church. In order to best answer her questions, and share the responses with all of you, I broke apart her email and will post her specific questions/comments accompanied with my responses.


I would like to ask why a loving god would remove the gospel from the earth for so many years and then have it restored?

It might seem wrong for a loving God to take away the gospel and leave his children in darkness -I agree. His children, however, are often ungrateful and forgetful, and sometimes downright spiteful.
Without going into much detail, it was man that corrupted the Church and caused the Lord’s spirit and guidance to be withdrawn from the early Church. All that was left was a shell of the divinely inspired organization that the Lord himself set up. Many of the original apostles expressed concerns about what would happen to the Church and it’s teachings after their departure (Acts 20:28-30, Gal 1:6, 3:1, 2 Thes. 2:1-3, etc.). I especially appreciate the writings of Peter (who was the appointed leader of the early Church):

2 Peter 2:1 -
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

Also, you can find interesting writings of Peter in “The Apocalypse of Peter,” found in the Nag Hammadi Library. -This was a volume of early religious writings (similar to the Dead Sea Scrolls, but date in the first two centuries) found in Egypt in the 1940’s. *Note that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does not uphold the Dead Sea Scrolls, Nag Hammadi Library, or other apocryphal writings as part of our offical canon. Interesting things can be discovered in them, however. In the Apocalypse of Peter, Peter speaks about many who would set themselves up as leaders of the early church and oppress those who try to follow the correct path and teach incorrect doctrines. These “pure ones” (those that follow in the correct paths) will look forward to a “restoration,” in the future. Peter spends a fair amount of time identifying how the false priests and teachers would usurp power over the early church. If you are familiar with the Bible, you will recall how Jeremiah laments frequently over how the leaders of Israel caused the people to stray and deny themselves of the blessings of heaven.

The Illustration to the right is a depiction of the crucifixion of Peter, who, according to legend, was crucified upside-down because he felt unworthy to be martyred in the same way that his Lord was. The fledgling Church was left not long after without any of the original apostles to guide it. Leadership was diluted and different factions arose in attempts to seize control and governance of the church. The confusion only increased until the Day the Lord saw fit to restore the truth.

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