1 John 4:6 and the Great Apostasy


#1

For those who are LDS, one of those key questions is whether the early Church apostasized. If it didn’t, does that mean Mormonism is totally wrong? Of course not. Personally, I am willing to accept the theory that Joseph Smith received some true, and some false, revelations from God. The final test is the Catholic Church. What he taught that was true I’m willing to accept, what he taught that was false, I must reject. Such a theory is far from implausible, because we know that all people are a combination of truth and error. And specifically if a person has a prophetic gift (as I believe Smith had to a certain degree), they are going to get some things correct, and get some things wrong, as the flesh and the devil gets in the way.

How do we know what is true and what is in error? Do we simply trust what the person says? No, Sacred Scripture tells us how we know the “spirit of truth” and “the spirit of error.”

1 John 4:6: “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”

St. John is saying here that we (Christians) can always know what is true and what is erroneous by seeing if any teaching “listens to the apostles” i.e. conforms to their teaching. How can we do such a thing if the Church apostasized and the apostolic teaching was lost?

In Christ,

Adam


#2

[quote=ForeverAdam]For those who are LDS, one of those key questions is whether the early Church apostasized. If it didn’t, does that mean Mormonism is totally wrong? Of course not. Personally, I am willing to accept the theory that Joseph Smith received some true, and some false, revelations from God. The final test is the Catholic Church. What he taught that was true I’m willing to accept, what he taught that was false, I must reject. Such a theory is far from implausible, because we know that all people are a combination of truth and error. And specifically if a person has a prophetic gift (as I believe Smith had to a certain degree), they are going to get some things correct, and get some things wrong, as the flesh and the devil gets in the way.

[/quote]

I understand what you’re saying, but I think you haven’t thought your theory through. Joseph Smith’s entire revelation is based on his claim that the Great Apostacy did happen, thus necessitating a restoration of the true church. If the apostacy did not happen, we cannot accept any of Smith’s revelation, nor regard him as a true prophet. You can’t receive some true and some false revelations from God. God doesn’t deliver false revelation to anybody, and true prophets don’t spout false revelation mixed with true revelation. So you see in the case of Joseph Smith, it’s all or nothing. It’s the same with the Book of Mormon. Either it’s authentic revelation or it’s not. There is no middle ground.


#3

Whoops, I didn’t mean to say he received false revelations “from God.” That was a typo. :slight_smile: I’m just saying that some people are born with prophetic abilities and are more open to revelation from God than others. I think Joseph Smith may have been one of those people. Of course, he may not have been. I just choose to see everything in the most positive light. Of course, that doesn’t mean he was a true “prophet” out of the biblical mode. It just says he had a talent, and that his talent could have been used for the Church, but was not. No more, no less. Besides, we both know that no false religion is totally false. Truth is always mixed with error. I think Smith’s ability for true revelations/insights can be found in the Book of Mormon. While I don’t believe it’s true history, I cannot deny that Christ-centered truths are found in it and that those truths are great insights on the Gospel.

In any case, the thread isn’t about my personal views on Joseph Smith and Mormonism, but on 1 John 4:6. :smiley:

In Christ,

Adam


#4

According to “Early Mormonism and the Magic World View”, JS was fairly well addicted to the horoscope. Even if you don’t buy into the whole book, the knowlege that all of his full-term children were born in two months of the year is pretty well undeniable evidence. I can also believe that others used ths belief to manipulate him, and prevent him from developing a strong relationship with God. It wasn’t until his last weeks of life that he began to break loose from the nightmare that he had created. (He wasn’t wearing magic garments when he died)

The simple conman had been conned by his “friends”, people more evil than himself.

1 John 4 (New International Version)

**Test the Spirits **

1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirita] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.


#5

In my mind, JS was an extreme heretic, and somewhat mentally ill. BY was an apostate-- out of the realm of Christianity. As an indication of that, look at the difference between RLDS (Community of Christ, now), and LDS.


#6

[quote=ForeverAdam]For those who are LDS, one of those key questions is whether the early Church apostasized. If it didn’t, does that mean Mormonism is totally wrong? Of course not. Personally, I am willing to accept the theory that Joseph Smith received some true, and some false, revelations from God.

In Christ,

Adam
[/quote]

Forever Adam, if Smith was wrong and the Church was not in apostasy, then yes, Mormonism is totally wrong. Wrong because it was created to stand in opposition entirely to that which Smith determined to be apostate. For example-the marriage covenant is askew which is why polygamy could be practiced, the love/worship relationship between God and man is askew, because the Mormon interpretation of creation and more importantly God’s reasons for creating are radically different.
Obviously, if the Church was not apostate, then it contained within itself the full grace of truth. If Smith then rejected it and created an opposite, then obviously his entire theology and donctrine would be yes, totally false. The reason? Once cannot set up in opposition to truth and still act truthfully. God cannot be at once false and true. Lve cannot be at once false and true. Truth and falsity are diametrically opposed.


#7

Stillsearching,

Of course, generally speaking I believe the LDS to be a false religion, just as they consider us to be the same (generally). However, no false religion contains complete error (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 843). I hardly think Joseph Smith wanted to set his religion in complete opposition to Catholicism. It wasn’t like he planned it out in some dark backroom somewhere. :wink: Smith’s view of the “Great Apostasy” and “Restoration” of the visible Church merely repeats what many at that time were teaching, particularly, Alexander Campbell & Barton Stone of the “Church of Christ” (the original name of the LDS Church) movement (from whom I believe Smith picked up on the idea).

Besides, I don’t think any honest person who has truly read the Book of Mormon can say that there are not Christ-centered teachings found inside it. I’m not giving a blanket endorsement of all its teachings or its origin (obviously), but I can say that it contains many true elements. As Catholics we don’t have anything to fear from the LDS or any other religion. Christ’s established His Church and it has endured through all time (St. Matt. 13, Matt. 16:18, Eph. 3:21, 1 John 4:16, etc.), and we know that She is true. And because of that we can endorse truth wherever it is found, without compromising our own belief in the Gospel. :slight_smile:

In Christ,

Adam


#8

In my last entry I mentioned the verse, Ephesians 3:21, as proof of the endurance of the visible Church. I wonder how LDS interpret this?

“Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Eph. 3:21).

Since both Catholic and LDS believe that the Church is visible, by nature, and this verse says that God will get glory out of the (visible) Church for all ages, how can this include a “Great Apostasy” where the Church would be removed from the earth? How can God get glory out of a Church that isn’t able to proclaim the Gospel and bring people to salvation for over 1200 years?

(Of course “through all ages” means since Jesus built the Church - St. Matthew 16:18, for you cannot get glory out of a Church that isn’t built).

In Christ,

Adam


#9

[quote=ForeverAdam]Stillsearching,

Of course, generally speaking I believe the LDS to be a false religion, just as they consider us to be the same (generally). However, no false religion contains complete error (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 843). I hardly think Joseph Smith wanted to set his religion in complete opposition to Catholicism. It wasn’t like he planned it out in some dark backroom somewhere. :wink: Smith’s view of the “Great Apostasy” and “Restoration” of the visible Church merely repeats what many at that time were teaching, particularly, Alexander Campbell & Barton Stone of the “Church of Christ” (the original name of the LDS Church) movement (from whom I believe Smith picked up on the idea).

Besides, I don’t think any honest person who has truly read the Book of Mormon can say that there are not Christ-centered teachings found inside it. I’m not giving a blanket endorsement of all its teachings or its origin (obviously), but I can say that it contains many true elements. As Catholics we don’t have anything to fear from the LDS or any other religion. Christ’s established His Church and it has endured through all time (St. Matt. 13, Matt. 16:18, Eph. 3:21, 1 John 4:16, etc.), and we know that She is true. And because of that we can endorse truth wherever it is found, without compromising our own belief in the Gospel. :slight_smile:

In Christ,

Adam
[/quote]

The Prophet states that it is best to kill one’s enemies rather than let them sin. I’m sorry- any prophet who makes such a statement (Brigham Young), and the Church upholds it and would do it if it could get away with it, is simply not a Christian Church. I don’t care whose name they put in the title if they advocate murder of the sinner. It is absurd to call that Christianity. Islam, yes, we can call it Islam, sort of, but certainly not Christianity.


#10

Stillsearching,

I never said the LDS were technically a Christian Church. I just said that Christ-centered beliefs are found in the Book of Mormon. :slight_smile: As we both know, Mormonism has greatly expanded past the BOM, while not making the book obsolete. My main problems are with some of the later developments.

In Christ,

Adam


#11

almost every lds catholic debate I have heard, the lds person has said that if the apostacy were proven to be untrue, then the lds church would cease to be, for there would be no need of the church, nor the new revelation because everything would have still been fine and true in the catholic church today.


#12

[quote=ForeverAdam]In my last entry I mentioned the verse, Ephesians 3:21, as proof of the endurance of the visible Church. I wonder how LDS interpret this?
[/quote]

I don’t mean to come across as advertising (and indeed I’m not selling anything), but may I refer you and whomever to my article, the New Testament: Optimist’s Version ? I made it because I thought it would be very useful for an apologist if the subject of Biblical indication of apostasy comes up.


#13

Every Lie must have some truth in it in order to be believable, or (if you want to get more philosophically occultic) to even exist.

Yes, the BoM has some christian tuths in it. However, those truths are merely the cement used to construct something that is not true. Did Smith tell the truth? Yes. Did he lie? Yes. Was he delusional? No one can say with certainty either way, so we’ll just have to wait until the next world to discover the truth of that.

Even the much maligned JWs will have a truth or two in their belief system, otherwise it could not maintain its existence.

But, one does not need to mine the wells of error to extract the truths hidden therein, for Truth is found in the light of day far more readily and fully than in the shadows of night.

Caritas numquam excidit


#14

yes, the top officers looking for counterfeit money do not spend their days and nights studying the counterfeits, they spend theirs time studying the real thing, that way when they can see a counterfeit a mile away.


#15

If the Catholic Church went apostate right after the death of the last apostle, why do the Mormons accept the New Testament, how can they accept the collected works of a apostate church? The Catholic Church put together the Bible as we know it in the 380’s, long after the so called apostasy.


#16

gbacon,

the answer is a protestant one, although the Church lost its authority when the last apostle died, each man was protected by the Holy Spirit to guide those men to find the correct books to be put in the bible.

The Mormon view on the apostsasy is not only false but if true it counterdicts so many things in the bible and the teachings of the Church Fathers or Apostles.

The LDS will only use verses here and there “out of context” to build their “christian like” doctrine, but what they are actually building is a doctrine based on the opinion of JS.

I have posted other scripture that would discredit there one verse and I have never received another comment about that verse it was ignored.

Some here want a friendly debate yet they leave when we prove them wrong ignoring the obvious.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.