A Mormon's Challenge


#1

Am curious how you would respond.

Mormon friend’s argument:

(Ephesians 4:11-13)
“And he gave some, Apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith,”

So, how long are there going to be Apostles, prophets, etc? “till we all come in the unity of the faith”. As long as there is not a “unity of the faith” (and there still isn’t) there need to be Apostles and prophets. But the Catholic Church has neither.


(As an aside, it might be worth pointing out that as Catholics we do not believe that Bishops = Apostles. At least, that seems to be the point made in Jimmy Akin’s This Rock article.)


#2

I would say that’s a pretty superficial charge- the idea that since the Catholic Church doesn’t have an “offical order of prophets” and an “official order of apostles” we have no one within the Church that fulfills those functions.

Remember that while yes, our Bishops are not apostles in the same sense that the 12 were, they have apostolic succession. They have the same job as the 12 had. They have the same gifts throught the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

I would also respond that in the passage from Ephesians you cited, Paul is speaking of the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit, not offices in and of themselves. When taking into account the rise of the early Church and the fact that there is no reliable evidence for the Mormons’ claim of a “Great Apostasy” (and this claim’s absolute silliness on its face- the “Church gets started, then Church has to be temporarily discontinued for 1800 some odd years like a car’s ignition that finally starts but then dies from a faulty spark plug” theory) it is logical to conclude that Paul was speaking of these gifts as those which would be dispersed between the 3 grades of Holy Orders.

Mormons have nothing solid and concrete in history that they can point to for a Great Apostasy- something like the Protestant Reformation or the East-West Schism or the Great Schism. They have nothing they can point to definitively or even tentatively to back up their scriptures and say-“Here’s where it happened.”


#3

As for the “no unity of faith” charge I would just say “Oh really? Why don’t you peruse the history of the Catholic Church.” What is notable is not perceived changes in Catholic dogma on faith and morals but, rather, the steadfast history of faithfulness to official teaching by the Magisterium and Popes, notwithstanding the developments in doctrine that are sometimes perceived as changes. If the Mormon responds by pointing to defections from the Church or schisms as defeating the Church’s unity, if they demand a Church from which no one ever leaves, then I would say they are positing an institution that could only exist in fantasy-one not made up of human beings.


#4

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