Christ promised us that he would be with us, all of us, until the
end of time, not just for 50 or 100 years. (Matt 28:20 "...I am
with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.").
He also promised to send the Comforter, the
Holy Spirit to lead us and to guide us**. Mormons would make Jesus
a liar. Jesus didn't bear a false witness to us for if he had what
hope would we have in salvation, in life after death? No, Jesus
spoke the truth, he is with us, and has ALWAYS been with us.
"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter,
that he may abide with you for ever;"
"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."
"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the
Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:"
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that
I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto
you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."
I write this on October 4th the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. His life, his
conversion, his conversations with our Lord, the very marks of Jesus
that he received in his body prove to us that a "Great Apostasy" did
NOT occur, as Mormons would like us to believe. St. Francis is proof
that Jesus didn't abandon His Church, His Body, that He didn't allow
the gates of hell to prevail against His Church.
If St. Francis is not enough "evidence" to demonstrate that a "Great Apostsy" never happened then you can find in the lives of the Saints from EVERY AGE AND TIME more
than enough examples to show that the Holy Spirit has been active
and that Jesus has truly been with his sheep as a good and faithful shepherd. Jesus
has never abandoned his flock to the wolves of this world.
Other scriptures showing that a "Great Apostacy" is not possible, some which are not commonly known or used by Mormons since they do not understand the Body of Christ, which is His Church:
For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth
it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body,
of his flesh, and of his bones.
CHRIST NOURISHES AND CHERISHES HIS BODY - WHICH BODY WE OURSELVES
"Now I [Paul] rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up
in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions,
for the sake of his body, which is the church."
Christ's body was not dead before Mormonism began in 1830. The
body of Christ will never die, having triumphed over death. We
now can become members of His body, which scripture tells us IS
HIS CHURCH. Since His body can NEVER die, HIS CHURCH, which is HIS
BODY, can NEVER die! Mormons just don't understand Paul and therefore
really don't understand the importance of the body of Christ and
it's relationship to HIS CHURCH and to us as members of HIS BODY.
1 Corinthians 6:15
"Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I
then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid."
Right here Paul, while preaching about the sins of the flesh, tells
us that as members of the body of Christ, becoming members of a
harlot is something that doesn't make sense and he makes the point
by saying "God forbid" and other translations use the word, "Never!".
It would be as though Jesus himself could
give himself, his body, his church over to the power of sin and
of Satan, something that would nullify our very salvation. Bottom
line here; if the Mormons are right about a TOTAL APOSTACY then
there is no salvation. Of course there is salvation through Jesus
Christ our Lord. He did NOT turn over his body a second time to the
power of death and never did he allow his body to be overcome by
the power of sin. He died a sinless sacrafice for our own guilt.
His body did NOT die twice, but once raised from the dead, lives,
and reigns, even on the right hand of God the Father. We can become
members of the body of Christ, a body that He has cared for and
has cherished from the time of His coming to our own day and time.
Did Peter forsee that Jesus would abandon his Church?
2 Peter 3:7-9
"But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are
kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and
perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this
one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and
a thousand years as one day. The Lord is NOT slack concerning his
promise, as some men count slackness; but IS longsuffering to us-ward,
NOT willing that ANY should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance."
PETER HERE IS SAYING THAT EVEN IF THE END IS NOT FOR ANOTHER 1,000
YEARS JESUS WILL STILL RETURN AND ONLY APPEARS TO DELAY HIS RETURN
BECAUSE HE IS LONGSUFFERING, NOT WILLING THAT ANY OF US SHOULD PERISH!
THERE IS A WORLD FULL OF EVIDENCE THAT JESUS DID NOT ABANDON US
OR HIS CHURCH, WHICH IS HIS BODY. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF A TOTAL
AND COMPLETE WORLDWIDE APOSTACY - TURN THIS ARGUMENT OVER TO YOUR MORMON
FRIENDS - IT IS THEIR BURDEN TO PROVE A TOTAL APOSTACY - AN IMPOSSIBLE
TASK GIVEN THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS THROUGHOUT ALL AGES AND TIMES.
Growing up Mormon I was taught that Acts 20:29-30 was one of the proofs that Paul knew the Great Apostasy would begin not long after he left. As it turns out, however, like so many other verses in the New Testament, Mormons take Acts 20:29-30 out of context to impart a meaning they are looking for.
Paul's last visit to the Church in Ephesus is told in Acts 20:17-38. This is a very tearful farewell. Paul loves
these people very much and they love him as well. He builds them up, instructs them and warns them as any good
parent would. If Mormons would just read this section in context, even reading just one verse before and two verses after the ones they normally use:
"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,
which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.
Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!
Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. Now I commit you to God and to the word
of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified."
Keep watch! Be on your guard! Paul told them that men like Joseph Smith would enter into the flock and so he tells them this and warns them to be on guard! Paul commits them all to Godís keeping which can build them up and give them an inheritance, an inheritance that will not go away if they will remain on their guard and remember Paul's teachings.
Did they stand guard? Letís look at the book of Revelation written long after the death of Paul to see...
"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks
among the seven golden lampstands: I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked
men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have
endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember
the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and
remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also
hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat
from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God."
St. John reveals that the Church in Ephesus has had wolves enter as Paul predicted but the Church there has tested these evil
men and cannot tolerate them. They have persevered and endured many hardships for the name of Jesus. They are in need of
repentance (arenít we all?) and have fallen from that first love that one feels as a new convert. However, even though
their love has cooled they fight against the heresy of the Nicolaitans. Christís Church would battle against Nicolaitans
and many other heretical groups through the ages.
Bottom line is that the out-of-context use of Acts:20:29-30 is NOT proof that there was a GREAT APOSTASY.
The scriptures and history are full of many apostasies but none so great that the Church was not to be found on the earth.
I always point to the lives of the Saints who, since the Church was established by Christ, have lived in every subsequent age and
time to show that the Body of Christ, which is his Church,
has never been taken or lost from the earth. The fact that Jesus spoke to the 12th century St. Francis and told him to rebuild
his church is proof
enough for me that Jesus will not allow the gates of Hell to prevail against his Church but will raise up men and women to build it up.
"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 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."
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