Mt16 & the lost church

When discussing the Church with LDS/JW/7th Day Adventist/etc/etc/ people, of course we know that we can quote from Mt16 - “the gates of Hell will not prevail…”

The response I usually get is that the passage doesn’t say that the church wouldn’t be lost and then refound or reestablished later on.

They usually say that the church was lost after the apostles died and then refound through Joseph Smith/Charles Russell/Ellen White & Co/whoever else.

Now, this seems very daft to me (and to most Christians) but what responses to them would you suggest? Bearing in mind that history and other early church documents have no relevance for them.

The LDS even go so far as to claim that the lost apostolic succession restarted when Peter visited Joseph Smith. Is there a solid argument against that beyond “I don’t believe it to be the case and can demonstrate the continuing succession from the time of the apostles to the present day”, as they won’t accept history.

What’s the best thing to say if they say “Why didn’t the succession fall from Peter to John like it should have done?” (big assumption there but they seem pretty unshakeable in their assumptions)

And so my one question became three.

I guess what I would start with is this - there is clear teaching, proof if you will, that the Catholic Church was created by Jesus with Peter in charge. SInce the Church was called Catholic in early years, and in fact she created the Bible, so it existed. The Church can be traced to today through Apostolic succession. So I would turn the question back and say what evidence do you have that says the Church STOPPED?

Now I will say I am sure they have a reply - you won’t win this debate-style, but you can at least reaffirm your own faith to say the Church did not end and get reborn or anything - there is absolutely no substantiation of that premise.

You could offer the words of Jesus in Matthew 20:28 in which He says He will be with His Church “always”, to the end of the world (“the close of the age”).

You could offer the words of Jesus in Matthew 13:24-33. In these parables, Jesus tells us: 1) that the Church (“the kingdom of God”) will have both good members (“wheat”) and bad members (“weeds”) in it until the end of the world (“the harvest”) (24-30); 2) that the Church will start out small and grow into the largest of shrubs (31-32), until all the flour is leavened (33).

I apologise in advance for the long post but here goes,

[font=Times New Roman]His Church must be always present at all times otherwise the following verses would not be true at the time total apostasy was present

Matthew 18

15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

Amos 8 is generally quoted to prove total apostasy

**Amos 8 **

11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.
13 In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.
14 They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy god, O Dan, liveth; and, The manner of Beersheba liveth; even they shall fall, and never rise up again.

But if you direct them to the following chapter you can see how God never separates himself from us TOTALLY

Amos 9
8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD.

Another passage generally used where they interpret it as stating that the apostasy came when the Papacy was established

**2 Thessalonians 2 **
1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

However in actual fact this is a reference to Artaxerxes of Syria who set up a statue of Zeus in the Temple after it was destroyed and desecrated by Antiochus IV. It is also a reference to the end of the world, when Antichrist will, for a short time, end the sacrifice of the Mass. This verse in no way refers to a loss of the gospel or the priesthood. Also remember that the Temple was destroyed in 70AD and never rebuilt so how can the pope be representative of this.

Daniel 2
44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

Daniel 7
13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Isaiah 9
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

…[/font]

[font=‘Times New Roman’][/font]
[font=‘Times New Roman’]Matthew 28
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.[/font]

ALSO ONE CAN LOOK AT CHRIST’S ROLE IN HIS CHURCH. IT IS EVIDENT FROM SCRIPTURE THAT CHRIST=CURCH, WE=CHRIST’S BODY. THEREFORE ONE CAN ARGUE THAT FOR CHURCH TO FALL ON TOTAL APOSTACY IT WOULD REQUIRE CHRIST TO FALL AS WELL.

Ephesians 1 The Church is Christ’s Body
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Colossians 1 The Head of the Church is Christ
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

1 Timothy 3 The Church is the House of God and ALL TRUTH dwells within it
15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Ephesians 2 Christ is the corner stone of the Church

20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

Ephesians 3 Even Angels shall know of God through his Church
10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

Ephesians 3 God’s glory is in his Church throughout ALL AGES
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

John 14 The Church is given the Holy Spirit as Counsellor FOR EVER

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

John 14 The Holy Spirit will teach the Apostles ALL THINGS i.e. no more revelation
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 16 The Holy Spirit gives the Apostles ALL TRUTH
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

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