Do Christians need Temples?

One of the most obvious and physical differences between traditional Christianity and LDS Christianity is that Mormons build and use temples. Mormons believe that temple worship was not to be discontinued after Christ, and that it was important in Old Testament times, New Testament times, now, and in the last days. Mormons believe that the early Christians saw the importance of the temple, and that that importance was lost in the apostasy, and therefore the restoration of temples is therefore from God. Specifically, Mormons cite these scriptures in support of temples for Christians:

Acts 2:46-"And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, "

Acts 5:42-"And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. "

Matt 21:12-14-“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.”

Luke 24:49-53-“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
50 ¶ And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:
53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.”

So, did early Christians use temples, and should we also have temples? Of course, current LDS temples function for purposes such as the Endowment, Sealings, and Baptism for the Dead, and it would be hard to find evidence of such practices in early Christian times. However this discussion is more about the Catholic view on the use of temples and whether they are needed, in light of the above scriptures.

Christ is risen!

Orthodox Christians (and probably other Eastern Christians) call their churches, whether they be chapels or basilicas and cathedrals, temples and must be adorned in specific ways according to the canons. Hope that helps!:slight_smile:

In Christ,
Andrew

The Catechism has a few entries on temple that can boiled down to these points:

[LIST]
*]**Christ is the true temple
**
*]The Church is the temple
*]We (the baptized) are the living stones
*]We are temples of the Holy Spirit
*]**Every church (building) is a temple.
**
[/LIST]
Besides this, we also believe that the sacrifices that were performed in the OT times were prefiguring of the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The High Priest would make a sacrifice to God so the sins of the people would be forgiven. Jesus is our High Priest. He made it clear He is our Pascal Lamb.

1323 "At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet ‘in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.’"135

1197 Christ is the true temple of God, “the place where his glory dwells”; by the grace of God, Christians also become the temples of the Holy Spirit, living stones out of which the Church is built.

593 Jesus venerated the Temple by going up to it for the Jewish feasts of pilgrimage, and with a jealous love he loved this dwelling of God among men. The Temple prefigures his own mystery. When he announces its destruction, it is as a manifestation of his own execution and of the entry into a new age in the history of salvation, when his Body would be the definitive Temple.

756 "Often, too, the Church is called the *building *of God. The Lord compared himself to the stone which the builders rejected, but which was made into the corner-stone. On this foundation the Church is built by the apostles and from it the Church receives solidity and unity. This edifice has many names to describe it: the house of God in which his *family *dwells; the household of God in the Spirit; the dwelling-place of God among men; and, especially, the holy temple. This temple, symbolized in places of worship built out of stone, is praised by the Fathers and, not without reason, is compared in the liturgy to the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. As living stones we here on earth are built into it. It is this holy city that is seen by John as it comes down out of heaven from God when the world is made anew, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.148

797 "What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church."243 "To this Spirit of Christ, as an invisible principle, is to be ascribed the fact that all the parts of the body are joined one with the other and with their exalted head; for the whole Spirit of Christ is in the head, the whole Spirit is in the body, and the whole Spirit is in each of the members."244 The Holy Spirit makes the Church “the temple of the living God”:245

Indeed, it is to the Church herself that the “Gift of God” has been entrusted. . . . In it is in her that communion with Christ has been deposited, that is to say: the Holy Spirit, the pledge of incorruptibility, the strengthening of our faith and the ladder of our ascent to God. . . . For where the Church is, there also is God’s Spirit; where God’s Spirit is, there is the Church and every grace.246
798 The Holy Spirit is "the principle of every vital and truly saving action in each part of the Body."247 He works in many ways to build up the whole Body in charity:248 by God’s Word “which is able to build you up”;249 by Baptism, through which he forms Christ’s Body;250 by the sacraments, which give growth and healing to Christ’s members; by “the grace of the apostles, which holds first place among his gifts”;251 by the virtues, which make us act according to what is good; finally, by the many special graces (called “charisms”), by which he makes the faithful "fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church."252

809 The Church is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the soul, as it were, of the Mystical Body, the source of its life, of its unity in diversity, and of the riches of its gifts and charisms.

i think the sacrificial nature of the OT temples is important. LDS like to say that only they continue the use of temples, however there is no sacrificial nature in any of the LDS temple ordinances.

JS taught that animal sacrifices would take place in mormon temples. The early mormons practiced this. For how long, or how often, I have never been able to determine.

… it is generally supposed that sacrifice was entirely done away when the Great Sacrifice … was offered up, and that there will be no necessity for the ordinance of sacrifice in [the] future: but those who assert this are certainly not aquainted with the duties, privileges and authority of the priesthood, or with the Prophets…
These sacrifices, as well as every ordinance belonging to the Priesthood, will, when the Temple of the Lord shall be built,… be fully restored and attended to in all their powers, ramifications, and blessings (History of the Church, vol. 4, p.211).

I think it is pretty clear that Smith didn’t understand the teachings of Christ.

I didn’t know the early Mormons practiced animal sacrifices! What was Joseph Smith’s reasoning for this? Why was it discontinued? At least this continued the sacrificial nature of temples and the priesthood found in the Bible.

The Strangite mormons practice animal sacrifice. They explain why on their website:

strangite.org/Offering.htm

It includes the reasoning of Smith.

Brigham Young (who the mormons here follow) also described that animal sacrifices would take place in the Salt Lake temple, once it was built. It never happened. Later, this statement was made:

The members of the Church are reminded that the practice of polygamous or plural marriage is not the only law whose suspension has been authorized by the Lord and adopted by the people. The law of animal sacrifice, in force in ancient Israel, has been suspended, but the Prophet Joseph asserted it would be again restored, and such is the effect of the statement made by John the Baptist when restoring the Aaronic priesthood. The law of the United Order has likewise been suspended, to be reestablished in the due time of the Lord. Other laws might be mentioned. [Messages of the First Presidency, vol 5, p. 327]

Hello Andrew, yes, this is true! Both religio and I come from mormon backgrounds. I don’t know about religio, but when I first learned about the similarities between Jewish temples and catholic churches, I was AMAZED. :slight_smile:

So do the Strangites still practice animal sacrifice? It seems that they say that it has to be done in a temple, and they don’t have a temple. Still a fascinating read. It’s interesting how, in the small number of years the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been around, various doctrines and practices have been discontinued.

Having a sacrificial priesthood has been evident since the beginnings of Biblical times. Catholic and Orthodox priests still continue that role, where they re-present the one-time sacrifice of Jesus Christ, on the holy altars found in every Catholic and Orthodox church, cathedral, basilica, etc. The Strangites say that the Melchizedek priesthood is meant to continue that tradition of sacrificial priests. I wonder how LDS would see that interpretation.

Oh and I went to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception today. Now that was a temple of the Lord. :thumbsup:

I’m not too familiar with the practices of the Strangites. I do find their website a fascinating read, all around.

Having a sacrificial priesthood has been evident since the beginnings of Biblical times. Catholic and Orthodox priests still continue that role, where they re-present the one-time sacrifice of Jesus Christ, on the holy altars found in every Catholic and Orthodox church, cathedral, basilica, etc.

:slight_smile: Not a re-present, the same Sacrifice, eternally given.

The Strangites say that the Melchizedek priesthood is meant to continue that tradition of sacrificial priests. I wonder how LDS would see that interpretation.

It is what JS and BY believed, as far as I can tell. Most LDS have no idea that animal sacrifice was ever practiced in their temples. The read on it today is that the sacrifices of the OT were a covenant and the LDS make the same covenants, minus the sacrifice. A remembrance, the same as their “sacrament”.

A shadow of reality, compared to the realities given to Christ’s Church.

Oh and I went to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception today. Now that was a temple of the Lord. :thumbsup:

:slight_smile: Did you go to Mass?

I did, went to daily Mass in the crypt church. It’s huge, with all of these side shrines everywhere, including a chapel for the Sacrament.

And yes, it does seem that temples to LDS are no longer for making offerings and sacrifices, but are only for making covenants (if we use the Endowment as the ordinance that is typically mentioned by LDS as being a continuation of Old Testament ideals and practices).

lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?locale=0&sourceId=2bd2605ff590c010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

So Joseph Smith stated that sacrifice was still important, and would occur in the temples. Now Elder Ballard, an Apostle, is saying that Jesus fulfilled the role of the once and for all sacrifice, and that the sacrament replaced the ordinance of sacrifice. So if the sacrament replaced the ordinance of sacrifice, then why does it not occur in the temples, if we are to believe temples are restoring ancient practices, and LDS like to make parallels between their temples and ancient ones.

Got me. :shrug: Why do mormon temples have altars?

Nice. :slight_smile:

And yes, it does seem that temples to LDS are no longer for making offerings and sacrifices, but are only for making covenants (if we use the Endowment as the ordinance that is typically mentioned by LDS as being a continuation of Old Testament ideals and practices).

Which, goes back to, this isn’t found in the OT temple practices.

Christ came and removed/fulfilled the requirement for any formal place of worship or priesthood acting on anyone’s behalf. We now have full and complete access to God through Jesus. All ritual requirements and ordinances have been done away with in the life and work of Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus and his apostles were Jews so did engage in Jewish Temple worship. Those first believers did continue to go to the Temple to pray and worship as they were Jews still. As Christianity began to move from it’s Jewish roots to a more Gentile membership, the appeal of “Temple” worship. Those first Christians needed no “house of worship” as they themselves were Living Temples of God indwelt by Him directly and shared in the Priesthood of Christ to approach God directly without any mortal acting on their behalf.

Where does the ritual requirement of baptism, as taught by Jesus, fit into this view?

Jesus and his apostles were Jews so did engage in Jewish Temple worship. Those first believers did continue to go to the Temple to pray and worship as they were Jews still. As Christianity began to move from it’s Jewish roots to a more Gentile membership, the appeal of “Temple” worship. Those first Christians needed no “house of worship” as they themselves were Living Temples of God indwelt by Him directly and shared in the Priesthood of Christ to approach God directly without any mortal acting on their behalf.

What is the meaning of the Last Supper?

Echoing what Harpazo has stated, Orthodox Christian churches are temples.

Once one has had a chance to experience it, the difference can be striking, it is not a ‘meeting hall’ type of atmosphere where everyone just finds a place in a pew and locks in. There is movement…a flow as people make their way along the side shrines, lighting candles and saying prayers.

The Supreme Sacrifice takes place beyond a screen…Holy Doors and a curtain.

http://ocaphoto.oca.org/filetmp/2009/May/1697/Detail/kremlin14.jpg

do any LDS have any comments? Why is it that the sacrament, which represents the sacrifice of Christ, which ultimately replaced the need for burnt offerings (though apparently Joseph Smith said that animal sacrifice was still to happen), is not offered in modern LDS temples? The brazen sea that current temple fonts model after were not used for baptisms (i believe there is a quote from JFS saying that the brazen sea was used for baptisms of the living, i’ll see if i can find it), but for ritual washing, purification of the priests.

Both have their roots in Jewish belief. As a Friend I do not practice outward rituals such as water baptism and the eucharist. They are “inward and spiritual”. I know, it’s not a “popular” belief.

While the apostles and first believers did perform certain rituals, it is Friend’s convictions these rites and ordinances were never intended to “continue”…they were ‘transitory’ in nature.

Thanks. Of course I don’t agree. :slight_smile: Especially since Jesus instructed to baptize people. I don’t know how you get that the practice was intended to end.

On a side note, many early converts to Mormonism were Quakers. The influence on Mormon thought survives.

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