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Posted on 05/25/2008 10:25:08 AM PDT by Grig
THE GREAT APOSTASY Considered in the Light of Scriptural and Secular History
by James E. Talmage D.Sc.D., Ph.D., F.R.S.E.
RESULTS OF THE APOSTASY. ITS SEQUEL.
1. The thoroughly apostate and utterly corrupt condition of the Church of Rome as proclaimed by its history down to the end of the fifteenth century,* was necessarily accompanied by absence of all spiritual sanctity and power whatever may have been the arrogant assumptions of the Church as to authority in spiritual affairs. Revolts against the Church, both as rebellion against her tyranny and in protest against her heresies, were not lacking. The most significant of these anti-church agitations arose in connection with the awakening of intellectual activity which began in the latter part of the fourteenth century. The period from the tenth century onward to the time of the awakening has come to be known as the dark ages -- characterized by stagnation in the progress of the useful arts and sciences as well as of fine arts and letters, and by a general condition of illiteracy and ignorance among the masses.
*See Note 1, end of chapter.
2. Ignorance is a fertile soil for evil growths, and the despotic government and doctrinal fallacies of the Church during this period of darkness were nourished by the ignorance of the times. With the change known in history as "the revival of learning" came the struggle for freedom from churchly tyranny.
3. One of the early revolts against the temporal and spiritual despotism of the papal Church was that of the Albigenses in France during the thirteenth century. This uprising had been crushed by the papal autocracy with much cruelty and bloodshed. The next notable revolt was that of John Wickliffe in the fourteenth century. Wickliffe was a professor in Oxford university, England. He boldly assailed the ever-growing and greatly abused power of the monks, and denounced the corruption of the Church and the prevalence of doctrinal errors. He was particularly emphatic in his opposition to the papal restrictions as to the popular study of the scriptures, and gave to the world an English version of the Holy Bible translated from the Vulgate. In spite of persecution and sentence, he died a natural death; but years afterward the Church insisted on revenge, and in consequence, his bones were exhumed and burned, and the ashes scattered to the winds.
4. On the continent of Europe the agitation against the Church was carried on by John Huss and by Jerome of Prague, both of whom reaped martyrdom as the harvest of their righteous zeal. These instances are cited to show that though the Church had long been apostate to the core, there were men ready to sacrifice their lives in what they deemed to be the cause of truth.
5. Conditions existing at the opening of the sixteenth century have been concisely summarized by a modern historian as follows: "Previous to the opening of the sixteenth century there had been comparatively few -- though there had been some, like the Albigenses in the south of France, the Wickliffites, in England, and the Hussites, in Bohemia -- who denied the supreme and infallible authority of the bishop of Rome in all matters touching religion. Speaking in a very general manner it would be correct to say that at the close of the fifteenth century all the nations of Western Europe professed the faith, of the Latin or Roman Catholic Church, and yielded obedience to the Papal See."*
*Myers, "Gen. Hist.," p. 520.
6. The next notable revolt against the papal Church occurred in the sixteenth century, and assumed such proportions as to be designated the Reformation. The movement began in Germany about 1517, when Martin Luther, a monk of the Augustinian order and an instructor in the University of Wittenberg, publicly opposed and strongly denounced Tetzel, the shameless agent of papal indulgences. Luther was conscientious in his conviction that the whole system of church penances and indulgences was contrary to scripture, reason, and right. In line with the academic custom of the day -- to challenge discussion and debate on disputed questions -- Luther wrote his famous ninety-five theses against the practice of granting indulgences, and a copy of these he nailed to the door of Wittenberg church, inviting criticism thereon from all scholars. The news spread, and the theses were discussed in all scholastic centers of Europe. Luther then attacked other practices and doctrines of the Roman church, and the pope, Leo X, issued a "Bull" or papal decree against him, demanding an unconditional recantation on pain of excommunication from the Church. Luther publicly burned the pope's document, and thus declared his open revolt. The sentence of excommunication was pronounced.
7. We cannot follow here in detail the doings of this bold reformer. Suffice it to say, he was not long left to fight single-handed. Among his able supporters was Phillip Melanchthon, a professor in Wittenberg. Luther was summoned before a council or "Diet" at Worms in 1521. There he openly declared for individual freedom of conscience. There is inspiration in his words: "I cannot submit my faith either to the pope or to the council, because it is as clear as the day that they have frequently erred and contradicted each other. Unless, therefore, I am convinced by the testimony of scripture, or by the clearest reasoning -- unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, -- and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the word of God, I cannot and will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other, may God help me! Amen!"
8. The religious controversy spread throughout Europe. At the Second Diet of Spires (1529) an edict was issued against the reformers; to this the representatives of seven German principalities and other delegates entered a formal protest, in consequence of which action the reformers were henceforth known as Protestants. John, Elector of Saxony, supported Luther in his opposition to papal authority, and undertook the establishment of an independent church, the constitution and plan of which were prepared at his instance by Luther and Melanchthon. Luther died in 1546, but the work of revolution, if not in truth reformation, continued to grow. The Protestants, however, soon became divided among themselves, and broke up into many contending sects.
9. In Switzerland, Ulrich Zwingli led in the movement toward reform. He was accused of heresy, and when placed on trial, he defended himself on the authority of the Bible as against papal edict, and was for the time successful. The contest was bitter, and in 1531 the Catholics and Protestants of the region engaged in actual battle, in the which Zwingli was slain, and his body brutally mutilated.
10. John Calvin next appeared as the leader of the Swiss reformers, though he was an opponent of many of Zwingli's doctrines. He exerted great influence as a teacher, and is known as an extremist in doctrine. He advocated and vehemently defended the tenet of absolute predestination, thus denying the free agency of man. In France, Sweden, Denmark, and Holland, leaders arose and the Protestants became strong in their opposition to the Roman Church, though the several divisions were antagonistic to one another on many points of doctrine.
11. One effect of this Protestant uprising was the partial awakening of the Roman Church to the need of internal reform, and an authoritative restatement of Catholic principles was attempted. This movement was largely accomplished through the famous Council of Trent (1545-1563), which body disavowed for the Church the extreme claims made for "indulgences" and denied responsibility for many of the abuses with which the Church had been charged. But in connection with the attempted reform came a demand for more implicit obedience to the requirements of the Church.
12. Near the end of the fifteenth century, in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, the court of the Inquisition, then known as the Holy Office, had been established in Spain. The prime purpose of this secret tribunal was the detection and punishment of heresy. Of this infamous institution as operative in Spain, Myers says: "The Holy Office, as the tribunal was styled, thus became the instrument of the most incredible cruelty. Thousands were burned at the stake, and tens of thousands more condemned to endure penalties scarcely less terrible. Queen Isabella, in giving her consent to the establishment of the tribunal in her dominions, was doubtless actuated by the purest religious zeal, and sincerely believed that in suppressing heresy she was discharging a simple duty, and rendering God good service. `In the love of Christ and His Maid-Mother,' she says, `I have caused great misery. I have depopulated towns and districts, provinces and kingdoms.*
*Myers, "Gen. Hist.," p. 500. 13. Now, in the sixteenth century, in connection with the attempted reform in the doctrines of Catholicism, the terrible Inquisition, "assumed new vigor and activity, and heresy was sternly dealt with." Consider the following as throwing light on the conditions of that time: "At this point in connection with the persecutions of the Inquisition, we should not fail to recall that in the sixteenth century a refusal to conform to the established worship was regarded by all, by Protestants as well as Catholics, as a species of treason against society and was dealt with accordingly. Thus we find Calvin at Geneva consenting to the burning of Servetus (1553) because he published views that the Calvinists thought heretical; and in England we see the Anglican Protestants waging the most cruel, bitter, and persistent persecutions, not only against the Catholics but also against all Protestants that refused to conform to the Established Church."*
*Myers, "Gen. Hist.," p. 527.
14. What shall be said of a Church that seeks to propagate its faith by such methods? Are fire and sword the weapons with which truth fights her battles? Are torture and death the arguments of the gospel? However terrible the persecutions to which the early Church was subjected at the hands of heathen enemies, the persecutions waged by the apostate church are far more terrible. Can such a church by any possibility be the Church of Christ? Heaven forbid!*
15. In the revolts we have noted against the Church of Rome, notably in the Reformation, the zeal of the reformers led to many fallacies in the doctrines they advocated. Luther, himself, proclaimed the doctrine of absolute predestination and of justification by faith alone, thus nullifying belief in the God-given rights of free agency, and impairing the importance of individual effort.* Calvin and others were no less extreme. Nevertheless their ministry contributed to the awakening of individual conscience, and assisted in bringing about a measure of religious freedom of which the world had long been deprived.**
*See the Author's "Articles of Faith," Lecture 5. **See Note 2, end of chapter.
RISE OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND
16. At the time of Martin Luther's revolt against the Church of Rome, Henry VIII reigned in England. In common with all other countries of western Europe, Britain was profoundly stirred by the reformation movement. The king openly defended the Catholic Church and published a book in opposition to Luther's claims. This so pleased the pope, Leo X, that he conferred upon King Henry the distinguishing title, "Defender of the Faith." This took place about 1522, and from that time to the present, British sovereigns have proudly borne the title.
17. Within a few years after his accession to this title of distinction, we find King Henry among the bitterest enemies of the Roman Church, and the change came about in this wise. Henry desired a divorce from his wife, Queen Catherine, to give him freedom to marry Anne Boleyn. The pope hesitated in the matter of granting the divorce, and Henry, becoming impatient, disregarded the pope's authority and secretly married Anne Boleyn. The pope thereupon excommunicated the king from the Church. The English parliament, following the king's directions, passed the celebrated Act of Supremacy in 1534. This statute declared an absolute termination of all allegiance to papal authority, and proclaimed the king as supreme head of the Church in Britain. Thus originated the Church of England, without regard for or claim of divine authority, and without even a semblance of priestly succession.
18. At first there was little innovation in doctrine or ritual in the newly formed church. It originated in revolt. Later a form of creed and a plan of organization were adopted, giving the Church of England some distinctive features. During the reigns of Edward VI, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth, persecutions between Catholics and Protestants were extensive and violent. Several non-conformist sects arose, among them the Puritans and the Separatists. These were so persecuted that many of them fled to Holland as exiles. From among these came the notable colony of the Pilgrim Fathers, who crossed in the Mayflower to the shores of the then recently-discovered continent, and established themselves in America. 19. The thoughtful student cannot fail to see in the progress of the great apostasy and its results the existence of an overruling power, operating toward eventual good, however mysterious its methods. The heart-rending persecutions to which the saints were subjected in the early centuries of our era, the anguish, the torture, the bloodshed, incurred in defense of the testimony of Christ, the rise of an apostate church, blighting the intellect and leading captive the souls of men -- all these dread scenes were foreknown to the Lord. While we cannot say or believe that such exhibitions of human depravity and blasphemy of heart were in accordance with the divine will, certainly God willed to permit full scope to the free agency of man, in the exercise of which agency some won the martyr's crown, and others filled the measure of their iniquity to overflowing.
20. Not less marked is the divine permission in the revolts and rebellions, in the revolutions and reformations, that developed in opposition to the darkening influence of the apostate church. Wycliffe and Huss, Luther and Melanchthon, Zwingli and Calvin, Henry VIII in his arrogant assumption of priestly authority, John Knox in Scotland, Roger Williams in America -- these and a host of others builded better than they knew, in that their efforts laid in part the foundation of the structure of religious freedom and liberty of conscience, -- and this in preparation for the restoration of the gospel as had been divinely predicted.
21. From the sixteenth century down to the present time, sects professedly founded on the tenets of Christianity have multiplied apace. They are now to be numbered by hundreds. On every side the claim has been heard, "Lo, here is Christ," or "Lo, there." There are churches named after their place of origin -- as the Church of England; other sects are designated in honor of their famous promoters -- as Lutherans, Calvinists, Wesleyans; others are known from some peculiarity of creed or doctrine -- as Methodists, Presbyterians, and Baptists; but down to the beginning of the nineteenth century there was no church even claiming name of title as the Church of Christ. The only church existing at that time venturing to assert authority by succession was the Catholic Church, which as shown was wholly without priesthood or divine commission.
22. If the "Mother Church" be without divine authority or spiritual power, how can her children derive from her the right to officiate in the things of God? Who dares affirm the absurdity that man can originate for himself a priesthood which God shall honor and respect? Granted that men may, can and do, create among themselves societies, associations, sects, and churches if they choose so to designate their religious organizations; granted that they may formulate laws, prescribe rules, and construct elaborate plans of organization and government, and that all such laws, rules and schemes of administration are binding upon those who voluntarily assume membership, -- granted all these powers and rights -- whence can such human creations derive the authority of the holy Priesthood, without which there can be no Church of Christ? If the power and authority be, by any possibility, of human origin, there never has been a Church of Christ on earth, and the alleged saving ordinances of the gospel have never been other than empty forms.
23. Our review of the Great Apostasy as presented in this treatise, does not call for any detailed or critical study of the Roman Catholic Church as it exists in modern times, nor of any of the numerous Protestant denominations that have come into existence as dissenting children of the so-called "Mother Church." The apostasy was complete, as far as actual loss of priesthood and cessation of spiritual power in the Church are concerned, long prior to the sixteenth century revolt, known in history as the Reformation. It is instructive to observe, however, that the weakness of the Protestant sects as to any claim to divine appointment and authority, is recognized by those churches themselves. The Church of England, which, as shown, originated in revolt against the Roman Catholic Church and its pope, is without foundation of claim to divine authority in its priestly orders, unless, indeed, it dare assert the absurdity that kings and parliaments can create and take unto themselves heavenly authority by enactment of earthly statutes.
24. The Roman Catholic Church is at least consistent in its claim that a line of succession in the priesthood has been maintained from the apostolic age to the present, though the claim is utterly untenable in the light of a rational interpretation of history. But the fact remains that the Catholic Church is the only organization venturing to assert the present possession of the holy priesthood by unbroken descent from the apostles of our Lord. The Church of England, chief among the Protestant sects, and all other dissenting churches, are by their own admission and by the circumstances of their origin, man-made institutions, without a semblance of claim to the powers and authority of the holy priesthood.
25. As late as 1896 the question of the validity of the priestly orders in the Church of England was officially and openly discussed and considered, both in England and at Rome. Lord Halifax, chairman of the English Church Union conferred with the Vatican authorities to ascertain the possibility of bringing about closer union between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. This involved the question of the recognition of the priestly orders of the Anglican Church by the pope and Church of Rome. The movement was favored in the interests of unity and peace by the English premier, Mr. Gladstone. The pope, Leo XIII, finally issued a decree refusing to recognize in any degree the authority of the Anglican orders, and expressly declaring all claims to priestly authority by the Church of England as absolutely invalid.
26. Assuredly the Church of Rome could take no other action than this and maintain the consistency of its own claim to exclusive possession of the priesthood by descent. Assuredly the Church of England would have sought no official recognition of its priestly status by the Church of Rome had it any independent claim to the power and authority of the priesthood. The Roman Catholic Church declared that all Protestant denominations are either apostate organizations, or institutions of human creation that have never had even a remote connection with the church that claims succession in the priesthood. In short, the apostate "Mother Church" aggressively proclaims the perfidy of her offspring.
THE APOSTASY ADMITTED
27. The fact of the great apostasy is admitted. Many theologians who profess a belief in Christianity have declared the fact. Thus we read: "We must not expect to see the Church of Christ existing in its perfection on the earth. It is not to be found thus perfect, either in the collected fragments of Christendom or still less in any one of those fragments."*
*Smith's "Dictionary of the Bible."
28. John Wesley, who lived from 1703 to 1791 AD, and who ranks as chief among the founders of Methodism, comments as follows on the apostasy of the Christian Church as evidenced by the early decline of spiritual power and the cessation of the gifts and graces of the Spirit of God within the Church: "It does not appear that these extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit* were common in the Church for more than two or three centuries. We seldom hear of them after that fatal period when the Emperor Constantine called himself a Christian, and from a vain imagination of promoting the Christian cause thereby heaped riches and power and honor upon Christians in general, but in particular upon the Christian clergy. From this time they almost totally ceased, very few instances of the kind being found. The cause of this was not, as has been supposed, because there was no more occasion for them, because all the world was become Christians. This is a miserable mistake; not a twentieth part of it was then nominally Christians. The real cause of it was that the love of many, almost all Christians, so-called, was waxed cold. The Christians had no more of the spirit of Christ than the other heathens. The Son of Man, when He came to examine His Church, could hardly find faith upon earth. This was the real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer to be found in the Christian church -- because the Christians were turned heathens again, and only had a dead form left."*
*See 1 Cor., ch. 12. **John Wesley's Works, Vol. 7, 89:26-27. See Note 3, end of chapter.
29. The Church of England makes official declaration of degeneracy and loss of divine authority in these words: "Laity and clergy, learned and unlearned, all ages, sects, and degrees, have been drowned in abominable idolatry most detested by God and damnable to man for eight hundred years and more."* The "Book of Homilies," in which occurs this declaration by the Church of England, dates from about the middle of the sixteenth century. According to this official statement, therefore, the religious world had been utterly apostate for eight centuries prior to the establishment of the Church of England. The fact of a universal apostasy was widely proclaimed, for the homilies from which the foregoing citation is taken were "appointed to be read in churches" in lieu of sermons under specified conditions.
*Church of England "Homily on Perils of Idolatry," p. 3.
30. The great apostasy was divinely predicted; its accomplishment is attested by both sacred and secular writ.
31. To the faithful Latter-day Saint, a concluding proof of the universal apostasy and of the absolute need of a restoration of Priesthood from the heavens will be found in the divine reply to the inquiry of the boy prophet, Joseph Smith, as to which of all the contending sects was right: "I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.'"*
*Pearl of Great Price, p. 85, par. 19.
32. The sequel of the Great Apostasy is the Restoration of the Gospel, marking the inauguration of the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times. This epoch-making event occurred in the early part of the nineteenth century, when the Father and the Son manifested themselves to man, and when the Holy Priesthood with all its powers and authority was again brought to earth.
33. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims to the world this glorious restoration, -- at once the consummation of the work of God throughout the ages past, and the final preparation for the second advent of Jesus, the Christ. The Church affirms that after the long night of spiritual darkness, the light of heaven has again come; and that the Church of Christ is authoritatively established. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stands alone in the declaration that the Holy Priesthood is operative upon earth, not as an inheritance through earthly continuation from the apostolic age, but as the endowment of a new dispensation, brought to earth by heavenly ministration. In this restoration, divinely predicted and divinely achieved, has been witnessed a realization of the Revelator's vision:
"AND I SAW ANOTHER ANGEL FLY IN THE MIDST OF HEAVEN, HAVING THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL TO PREACH UNTO THEM THAT DWELL ON THE EARTH, AND TO EVERY NATION, AND KINDRED, AND TONGUE, AND PEOPLE, SAYING WITH A LOUD VOICE, FEAR GOD AND GIVE GLORY TO HIM; FOR THE HOUR OF HIS JUDGMENT IS COME: AND WORSHIP HIM THAT MADE HEAVEN AND EARTH, AND THE SEA AND THE FOUNTAINS OF WATER."*
*Rev. 14:6, 7. For treatment of the Restoration of the Gospel see the Author's "Articles of Faith," Lecture 11. See Notes 4 and 5, end of chapter.
1. PAPIST TESTIMONY TO THE CORRUPTION OF THE CHURCH. "The judicious student of ecclesiastical history will observe that I constantly endeavor to draw my proofs from the most unexceptionable sources. For example: To prove the corrupt state of the clergy, and the abominable practices of the Roman See, I would produce the evidence of George of Saxony, a most bigoted papist, whom the Roman Catholics always reckon among the most sincere and most active of the holy defenders of their religion. Now, as with them the assertions of Luther and the other reformers go for nothing but exaggerations, misrepresentations, or direct falsehoods, let them listen at least to this duke, their steady friend and advocate, who generally, in religious concerns, opposed his relation, the elector of Saxony, and who also entirely approved of Luther's condemnation at Worms. This George of Saxony exhibited to the Diet twelve heads of the grievances which called loudly for reform. Two of these are briefly as follows: 1. Indulgences, which ought to be obtained by prayers, fastings, benevolence towards our neighbor, and other good works, are sold for money. Their value is extolled beyond all decency. The sole object is to gain a deal of money. Hence the preachers, who are bound to set forth truth, teach men nothing but lies and frauds. They are not only suffered to go on thus, but are well paid for their fraudulent harangues. The reason is, the more conviction they can produce among their hearers, the more money flows into the chest. Rivers of scandalous proceedings arise from this corrupt fountain. The officials of the bishops are equally attentive to scrape money together. They vex the poor with their censures for great crimes, as whoredom, adultery, blasphemy; but they spare the rich. The clergy commit the very same crimes, and nobody censures them. Faults which ought to be expiated by prayers and fastings are atoned for by money, in order that the officials may pay large sums to their respective bishops, and retain a portion of the gain for themselves. Neither when a mulct is inflicted, is it done in a way to stop the commission of the same fault in future, but rather so that the delinquent understands he may soon do that very thing again, provided he be but ready to pay. Hence all the sacraments are sold for money; and where that is not to be had, they are absolutely neglected. 2. Another distinct head of the grievances produced by this zealous duke was expressed thus: The scandalous conduct of the clergy is a very fruitful source of the destruction of poor souls. There must be a universal reformation; and this cannot be better effected than by a general council. It is therefore the most earnest wish of us all that such a measure be adopted." (Milner, "Church History," Cent. 16, ch. 6, footnote.)
2. EXTREMES INCIDENT TO THE REFORMATION. "What were the reproaches constantly applied to the Reformation by its enemies? Which of its results are thrown in its face, as it were, unanswerable. The two principal reproaches are, first, the multiplicity of sects, the excessive license of thought, the destruction of all spiritual authority, and the entire dissolution of religious society; secondly, tyranny and persecution. `You provoke licentiousness,' it has been said to the Reformers: `you produce it; and, after being the cause of it, you wish to restrain and repress it. And how do you repress it? By the most harsh and violent means. You take upon yourselves, too, to punish heresy, and that by virtue of an illegitimate authority.'" -- Guizot.
"The Sectarian Dogma of Justification by Faith alone has exercised an influence for evil since the early days of Christianity. The idea upon which this pernicious doctrine was founded, was at first associated with that of an absolute predestination, by which man was foredoomed to destruction, or to an utterly undeserved salvation. Thus, Luther taught as follows: `The excellent, infallible, and sole preparation for grace, is the eternal election and predestination of God.' `Since the fall of man, free-will is but an idle Word.' `A man who imagines to arrive at grace by doing all that he is able to do, adds sin to sin, and is doubly guilty.' `That man is not justified who performs many works; but he who without works has much faith in Christ.' (For these and other doctrines of the Reformation see D'Aubigne's `History of the Reformation,' Vol. 1, pp. 82, 83, 119, 122.) In Milner's `Church History' (Vol. 4, p. 514) we read: `The point which the reformer Luther had most at heart in all his labors, contests and dangers, was the justification by faith alone.' Melanchthon voices the doctrine of Luther in these words: `Man's justification before God proceeds from faith alone. This faith enters man's heart by the grace of God alone;' and further, `As all things which happen, happen necessarily, according to the divine predestination, there is no such thing as liberty in our wills.' (D'Aubigne, Vol. 3, p. 340.) It is true that Luther strongly denounced, and vehemently disclaimed responsibility for, the excesses to which this teaching gave rise, yet he was not less vigorous in proclaiming the doctrine. Note his words: `I, Doctor Martin Luther, unworthy herald of the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ, confess this article, that faith alone without works justifies before God; and I declare that it shall stand and remain forever in despite of the emperor of the Romans, the emperor of the Turks, the emperor of the Persians, -- in spite of the pope and all the cardinals, with the bishops, priests, monks and nuns, -- in spite of kings, princes and nobles, and in spite of all the world and of the devils themselves; and that if they endeavor to fight against this truth they will draw the fires of hell upon their heads. This is the true and holy gospel, and the declaration of me, Doctor Luther, according to the teachings of the Holy Ghost.'" See the Author's "Articles of Faith," Lecture 5, Note 2.
3. DIVERSE VIEWS CONCERNING CONTINUANCE OR DECLINE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS. "Protestant Writers insist that the age of miracles closed with the fourth or fifth century, and that after that the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost must not be looked for. Catholic writers, on the other hand, insist that the power to perform miracles has always continued in the Church; -- yet those spiritual manifestations which they describe after the fourth and fifth centuries savor of invention on the part of the priests, and childish credulity on the part of the people; or else, what is claimed to be miraculous falls far short of the power and dignity of those spiritual manifestations which the primitive church was wont to witness. The virtues and prodigies, ascribed to the bones and other relics of the martyrs and saints, are puerile in comparison with the healings by the anointing with oil and the laying on of hands, speaking in tongues, interpretations, prophecies, revelations, casting out of devils in the name of Jesus Christ; to say nothing of the gifts of faith, wisdom, knowledge, discernment of spirits, etc. -- common in the Church in the days of the apostles (1 Cor. 12:8-10). Nor is there anything in the scriptures or in reason that would lead one to believe that they were to be discontinued. Still this plea is made by modern Christians-explaining the absence of these spiritual powers among them-that the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were only intended to accompany the proclamation of the gospel during the first few centuries, until the church was able to make its way without them, and they were to be done away. It is sufficient to remark upon this that it is assumption pure and simple, and stands without warrant either of scripture or right reason; and proves that men had so far changed the religion of Jesus Christ that it became a form of godliness without the power thereof." (B. H. Roberts, "Outlines of Ecclesiastical History," Part 2, Sec. 5: 6-8.)
4. COMMENTARY ON THE REVELATOR'S VISION OF THE RESTORATION. It is instructive to inquire into the interpretation given by biblical students to the prophecy voiced by John the Revelator predicting the advent of the angel "having the everlasting gospel." Dr. Clarke offers the following reflections on the passage: "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel: Whether this angel means any more than a particular dispensation of providence and grace, by which the gospel shall be rapidly sent throughout the whole world; or whether it mean any especial messenger, order of preachers, people, or society of Christians, whose professed object it is to send the gospel of the kingdom throughout the earth, we know not. But the vision seems truly descriptive of a late institution, entitled "The British and Foreign Bible Society," whose object it is to print and circulate the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments through all the habitable world, and in all the languages spoken on the face of the earth" (Clarke, "Bible Commentary," Rev. 14:6.)
The learned commentator is to be commended for his frank avowal as to uncertainty regarding the precise interpretation of this scripture, and for the provisional and tentative manner in which he indicates a possible application to the wide distribution of the Holy Bible through the efforts of a most worthy and influential society. It is to be noted that Dr. Clarke wrote his famous commentary on the Bible shortly before the actual restoration of the gospel through angelic agency which resulted in the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Of necessity his search for the fulfillment of the prediction was unsatisfactory, and, indeed, unsuccessful, inasmuch as the fulfillment had not then occurred. The commendable work of the Bible Society was a preparation for the fulfillment of the momentous prophecy, but not the fulfillment itself.
5. RESTORATION OF THE CHURCH. "In the first ten centuries immediately following the ministry of Christ, the authority of the priesthood was lost from among men, and no human power could restore it. But the Lord in His mercy provided for the re-establishment of His Church in the last days, and for the last time; and prophets of olden time foresaw this era of renewed enlightenment, and sang in joyous tones of its coming.' (See Dan. 2:44, 45; 7:27; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 14:6-8.) "This restoration was effected by the Lord through the prophet, Joseph Smith, who, together With Oliver Cowdery, in 1829, received the Aaronic Priesthood under the hands of John the Baptist, and later the Melchizedek Priesthood under the hands of the former-day apostles, Peter, James, and John. By the authority thus bestowed, the Church has been again organized with all its former completeness, and mankind once more rejoices in the priceless privileges of the counsels of God. The Latter-day Saints declare their high claim to the true Church organization, similar in all essentials to the organization effected by Christ among the Jews; these people of the last days profess to have the Priesthood of the Almighty, the power to act in the name of God, which power commands respect both on earth and in heaven." (The Author, "Articles of Faith," Lecture 11:12.)
Dadburnit! Beat me to it! But I use Borax as a flux in blacksmithing, that is if my wife leaves me any after the laundry.
Here we go. Instead of a "carpet bomb" approach to each Christian body, a 14 yo lad named Joseph Smith tries the spiritual nuke approach upon EVERY Catholic, Protestant & Orthodox believer & church.
By reposting this here, Grig stands guilty of extending this empty accusation and can now no longer claim that he is innocent of calling all the rest of us "corrupt" and what we believe as being putrid in his eyes.
For those who extend this outright lie, it betrays any supposed true motive of "outreach" or "dialogue" because the very foundation is to accuse historic Christians as apostates and corrupt, abominable believers in Christ.
>> Near the end of the fifteenth century, in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, the court of the Inquisition, then known as the Holy Office, had been established in Spain. The prime purpose of this secret tribunal was the detection and punishment of heresy. Of this infamous institution as operative in Spain, Myers says: “The Holy Office, as the tribunal was styled, thus became the instrument of the most incredible cruelty. Thousands were burned at the stake, and tens of thousands more condemned to endure penalties scarcely less terrible. Queen Isabella, in giving her consent to the establishment of the tribunal in her dominions, was doubtless actuated by the purest religious zeal, and sincerely believed that in suppressing heresy she was discharging a simple duty, and rendering God good service. `In the love of Christ and His Maid-Mother,’ she says, `I have caused great misery. I have depopulated towns and districts, provinces and kingdoms.’ <<
Is Meyers a liar, or dumb as toast? The Holy Office refers to the Papal Inquisition, which was founded in 1230, and still exists today, known today as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Benedict XVI led for many years.
Isabella’s remorse was not an admission of guilt of killing thousands, as implied, but for having expelled the 80,000 Jews of Spain; if anything her lament supports the argument that she did what she did for fear of not being able to control the vigilante mobs, rather than for hatred of the Jews.
Not that this justifies the Spanish Inquisition, — using the Edicts of Grace to gain informants is a particularly abominable corruption of what should have been confessional, for instance — but neither is it worthwhile to continue to post as truth the wild exaggerations of 19th-century polemics.
>> Gee, I wonder how many Catholics will come on and refute that? They would skewer any Protestant who made that claim, but for some unknown reason, they seem to all want to give the Mormons a pass. I wonder why that is? <<
For one thing, the attack is so broad, and nonsensical, it’s like arguing with toast. If a farmstand grocer accuses you of walking off without paying for a peach, you’re going to insist your innocence. If a raving lunatic on the street corner accuses you of being of being a secret agent of illuminati, sent to poison the entire Earth with space viruses, you’re going to back away slowly and quietly. But if someone wants to believe, without any scriptural support, and pure fantasy for his historical support, that all Protestants AND Catholics AND Orthodox are purely apostate... I’m better off letting such a person be convicted by his own arguments; he’s certainly not going to affect any larger religious debate, or lead anyone astray.
Hence, my only refutations were to assertions made ferquently within popular culture, and for the sake only of other readers, not the original poster.
Frankly, I think Grig is doing a fantastic job of exposing the insanity and hatred apon which the Mormon church was founded. Since most people certainly don’t experience modern Mormons as hateful (and therefore also see their doctrines as more eccentric than insane), what’s frankly shocking to me is that Grig apparently thinks this will help the Mormon cause.
SHHHhhhh! They are having SUCH fun!
“That reveals how much you know about Egyptian culture!”
- Restornu, PhD Egyptologist
“In the end, all false religions will collapse under the weight of their own lies and sins. “
Sort of like the FLDS is doing right now.
WHHOOOOOooops! ! ! A little too close to home brother Grig?
Hey, I just found a great book, The History of the American Indians, written in 1775 THAT CONFIRMS the Indians are Jews! But wait, that was Before JS had his “Revelation”! Hummmm.
He knows more about it than you do about what was UNTRUE about your LAST church you worshiped in.
And you are trying to tar the Christian church with THIS brush?
Hang on for some GENUWINE Mormon 'scripture'!
|The Official Scriptures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
© 2006 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
Man, even us Lutherans were more out to reform the Catholic Church than to destroy it. Pretty harsh words from our Christian Mormon friends; I didn’t realize you were “utterly corrupt”. I seem to recall a minor thing called the Crusades that seems to have saved Christendom during that period, maybe Old Joe Smith missed that..
I knew they were spaced out before I ever joined F.R., I just didn’t know how much.
These threads have certainly been educational. I have only ever known one mormon and he never talked about it. He was “good” too.
Want to see another screwy religion? Check out the J.W.s sometime. Sciientology, Christian Scientist. There’s a raft of them out there. Plenty of good ones too.
“Hey, I just found a great book, The History of the American Indians, written in 1775 THAT CONFIRMS the Indians are Jews! But wait, that was Before JS had his Revelation! Hummmm.”
Here’s the link:
[Luther was summoned before a council or “Diet” at Worms in 1521. There he openly declared for individual freedom of conscience. There is inspiration in his words: “I cannot submit my faith either to the pope or to the council, because it is as clear as the day that they have frequently erred and contradicted each other. Unless, therefore, I am convinced by the testimony of scripture, or by the clearest reasoning — unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, — and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the word of God, I cannot and will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other, may God help me! Amen!”]
Everyone should realize that by the same line of reasoning, that he couldn’t find a lick of Mormon doctrine in the Bible, that he would have called the Mormons Apostates.
Were we graced by a visit from Mrs Indy again ?????????
“I knew they were spaced out before I ever joined F.R., I just didnt know how much.”
Until you are thrown into direct contact with their truebelievers, you really don’t realize how vindictive they can be (blood atonement stuff). Most people just know the guy down the street who stockpiles groceries in his basement.
[For those who extend this outright lie, it betrays any supposed true motive of “outreach” or “dialogue” because the very foundation is to accuse historic Christians as apostates and corrupt, abominable believers in Christ. ]
I’m just hoping Grig doesn’t publish any of the Blood Atonement speeches (wink, wink, nod, nod), because that would really show his church’s true feelings.
Don’t thow me in that briar patch, Mr. Fox. Please don’t!
“Were we graced by a visit from Mrs Indy again ?????????”
Mrs. Indiana Jones & The Crystal Peepstone!