Sunday, September 08, 2013

Peter and Apostolic Succession


Regarding Peter as "Rock". YES! "Rock" does refer to Peter.  Let me clarify something. It is easy in a Protestant vs. Catholic debate to get bogged down in false dichotomies. But LDS are not Protestant.  I  just want you to understand that Latter-day Saints have no problem with Peter being the "Rock" that Christ built His Church upon.  But for us its not a Peter vs. Revelation thing.  LDS believe Peter, keys, revelation and Jesus Christ were the rock; just not the Papacy. Allow me illustrate what I mean with the following chart.

Definition of Rock:
Catholic:  Peter, Priesthood Keys, Papacy
Protestant: Jesus Christ
Latter-day Saint: Peter, Priesthood Keys, Revelation, Jesus Christ 

Peter was authorized to receive the mind and will of Christ via revelation, thus the Church remains built upon Christ through Peter and Peter's authority and not upon the "philosophies of man mingled with scripture".  LDS believe in the authority of Peter as the Chief Apostle of Christ's Church together with James and John the Revelator who were given keys by the laying on of hands by Jesus Christ Himself and other Transfigured beings (Moses and Elijiah) from previous covenants and dispensations.

What LDS would not agree with is the Tradition that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome and that Peter's keys and authority were passed down through the Papacy.  LDS believe Peter acted not as Bishop of Rome but as Chief Apostle and President of the Church of Jesus Christ.   Peter held primacy over the Church, but not as a bishop or a Pope.

After Peter's death the keys and authority rested with John the Revelator.  Like Moses and Elijiah, John the Revelator was made a Translated being such that Rome could not kill him (he will eventually die at some point as all must die before Resurrection).  This is precisely why John was exiled to Patmos while Rome killed off everyone else.

22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. (New Testament, John, John 21)

When Joseph Smith was called to open a New and Final Dispensation as prophecied by Daniel 2, Ezekiel 37, Isaiah 29, Acts 3:21, Rev 7, etc, During the process of Restoration, Peter, James and John appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and bestowed upon them the keys and authority of the Holy Apostleship.  So, also in the LDS Church like the Catholics, we believe in the importance of an unbroken line of authority following a period of Apostasy that follows a pattern of human weakness throughout the Bible (Adam ----> Apostasy, Noah ----> Apostasy, Abraham ----> Apostasy, Moses ----> Apostasy, Peter ----> Apostasy, Joseph -----> Second Coming)

So, what do Catholics think of John the Beloved/Revelator.  Why wouldn't he be the natural successor to Peter; not just as Bishop of Rome but the entire Church?  

Apostasy happened quickly. In fact John the Revelator said that the Dragon would devour the child as soon as it was be born.  The child (Christ) was caught up into heaven and the woman (Church) fed into the wilderness (Apostasy) (Rev 12:4-6).

And finally, I would again remind you of the importance of Revelation. The same "still small voice" of God that came into your heart promising to lead you to the truth also leads the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ.

12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. (Old Testament, 1 Kings, 1 Kings 19)

32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? (New Testament, Luke, Luke 24)

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. (New Testament, John, John 14)

3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. (New Testament, 1 Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 12)



"You have alleged before that the Church Councils were not based upon revelation from God.  Have you ever considered the Council of Jerusalem in Acts chapter 15?"


"It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, ..." [Acts 15:28]

LDS love Acts 15 and embrace the doctrine of Church Councils.  Acts 15 as well as Acts 2 are excellent examples of Church church councils.  However, the ecumenical councils of Nicea, Constantiople, Trent etc. differ in several critical areas.  The councils were not unanimous and the failure to arrive at unanimity led to schism.

You questioned before why it took so long for the LDS Church to grant priesthood to black members. Joseph Smith was way ahead in apposing and prohibiting slavery of any type or form.  In the LDS Church there was no good and bad slavery.  LDS opposition of slavery in Missouri is what led to the Mormon War and the Gov. Boggs Mormon Extermination Order. 

Joseph Smith it is believed  decided on a policy to limit priesthood to blacks temporarily until hearts changed both inside and outside the Church.  God is not racist, but He knows many of us are and were.  Remember also that LDS gain the highest heaven by baptism and we also offer priesthood and all temple blessings by vicarious proxy. So, ultimately no one misses out on any blessing.

But while the LDS Church started out way ahead on racial issues, after the Civil Rights Movement the LDS Church fell behind. The reason why is because the Apostles were not unified on this issue yet.  However, when a special manifestation was received, unanimity was realized and only then did the Church move forward.

Here is what a honest and humbled Elder McConkie who was one of the 12 Apostles said at the time:

"Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or George Q. Cannon or whoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world."

"It doesn't make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June 1978. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them. We now do what meridian Israel did when the Lord said the gospel should go to the Gentiles. We forget all the statements that limited the gospel to the house of Israel, and we start going to the Gentiles."

Again, the Councils of Christ Church only move forward with unity.


You made a comment about men in the Church being week and sinful by nature. While LDS do not teach that our leaders are infallible, we do teach what Paul taught that members of the Church and Church leadership should be held to a minimum standard.  What is that standard? 1 Cor 11:5.

11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 

12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 

13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (New Testament, 1 Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 5)

fornicator: no sexual sin

covetous: pay tithes

idolater: accept Christ as Savior

railer: no spousal or child abuse

drunkard: no taking any substance to get high or loaded 

extortioner: no defrauding your neighbor

These virtues are the basis for membership in the LDS Church, they are the basis for spiritual worthiness to enter an LDS Temple.  Any of these sins are the basis for immediate removal from leadership position and church discipline and excommunication.  Virtue together with Charity makes pure religion. 

27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (New Testament, James, James 1)

The Bible always differentiates "wine" (grape juice) with "strong drink".  When Jesus turned water to wine he made juice (not ex nihlo). The comment on its quality was because Ancient people add water to dilute juice that is too sweet for their pallet.  If you leave wine out in the air, it turns to vinegar and not alcohol.

When Noah became a "winebibber", noah cultivated grapes and produced grape juice.  Ham was the first to ferment Noah's wine. After Noah unkowingly drank and became drunken, Ham mocked his father to his other brothers and brought upon him and his descendants a cursing.


"So, what are your thoughts on Apostolic succession?  "

I love apostolic succession just not Papal succession. After the betrayal and death of Judas, the 12 filled the vacancy in their quorum. Then with the persecution and death of Apostles,  we see the calling of additional Apostles: Paul, Barnabas, James (Brother of Jesus), Silas, Apollos, and Epafroditus.

After Peter, James and John conferred the Holy Apostleship on Joseph Smitt and Oliver Cowdery, the keys and authority continue on in the Church in an unbroken line of succession.  I and all LDS prieshood holders can trace our priesthood back to Jesus Christ and keep a line of authority when ordained.

Only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has living 12 Apostles and Seventies.  The following link talks about the earliest known Christian Church discovered in Rihab, Jordan with a floor mosaic dedicated to the 70 disciples.


"on a guy who dug up golden plates in the ground, wouldn't show anybody, used magical rocks to translate them out of a hat, couldn't reproduce the translations when they were lost, and who had a wide reputation in his community as a conman who spent his days charging people money to search for buried treasure?"

Joseph Smith was told by the Angel Moroni from the beginning that "good or evil would be spoken of him by all people".   Yes, Joseph Smith has and always will be a very polarizing person.  It is hard for anyone to stay on neutral ground with him.  Joseph Smith's neighbors either loved him or hated him.  In reality, what you say about  Joseph Smith reveals more about you than about him.  Yes, scripture came forth from out of the Earth.  Yes, scripture  was translated with the use of the Urim and Thummin and not a cadre of theologians.   Yes, Joseph Smith did not retranslate the Book of Lehi after his enemies stole and altered the transcript in an attempt to discredit him.  No, Joseph did show the golden plates to 11 witnesses.  Yes, I think I will take a fallible Joseph Smith adolescent sin of "glass looking" over the much more serious adult sins of many Catholic Popes and priests documented over the centuries.

It would be nice for God to give us an obvious outward sign that the Book of Mormon is true except that Jesus Christ sent us the Holy Ghost and wants us to receive the Holy Ghost and ask in the name of Christ and receive "a more sure word of prophecy" and witness by the Holy Ghost.

6. Pre-Existence

Any more thoughts on the Pre-existence of the spirit of man?  1. Does not challege God's "first-ness", "uniqueness", and "before-ness".  2. Man is still a created and contigent being.  3. Man can then be both created and eternal. 4. Eternal Life is more than making it back to heaven and living with God from whence we came.  5. The eternal nature of intelligence that becomes spirit solves the atheists problem of Satan's creation. 6. Pre-existence allows for a fully just and legal infomed consent. 7. Genesis 1 discusses the spiritual creation of man on day 6 and then in Genesis 2 the physical creation of Adam's body on day 7.






No comments: