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  1. To me, the strongest historical evidence for a total apostasy is the loss of apostles to lead the Church. Catholics do claim that the bishops are "successors" of the Apostles, but I have never really found that view compelling. Curiously, many Catholic apologists refer to the selection of Matthias in the New Testament as evidence of apostolic succession. Latter-day Saints would agree, however it actually shows the succession of an apostle with...another apostle, and not a bishop. Where did the original Apostles appoint bishops to be their successors, and have their authority? We do see that the Apostles appointed bishops and gave them authority to function in their roles, but the specific issue is where they appointed bishops to be their successors as leaders of the Church, coupled with giving the bishops "apostolic" authority.
  2. It is quite common that when someone quotes someone else, or claims that they said something, they cite the relevant primary source. We have tons of writings from the early Christians, so faith4 is asking you to explicitly cite the relevant place where we can find what Origen and/or Cyprian said what is claimed they said. Is that too much to ask? Your works cited does not demonstrate that. I decided to google the matter of milk and honey and baptism. I must say, your sentence, "Baptism, a simple rite of immersion administered upon repentance became an elaborate ceremony including milk and honey..." is somewhat deceiving, as I am sure many of us were imagining the early Christians bathing themselves in milk and honey as part of the baptism. Instead, what we do find is that after the baptism (and not part of the baptismal sacrament), mixed milk and honey would be given to the newly baptized Christian to drink, symbolizing the nourishment of Christ. It had nothing at all to do with baptism per se, which in Catholicism has always only necessitated immersion in water or pouring of water, along with the invocation of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As well, references seem to be pointing to this being tied to the Eucharist, the sacrificial offering of bread and wine (see "The Rites of Christian Initiation: Their Evolution and Interpretation"). http://www.christian-history.org/water-baptism-quotes.html "In Africa, newly baptized believers were given a drink of milk and honey, symbols of their being children of Christ and citizens in heaven, a land of milk and honey." http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/1993/issue37/3702.html So, I'm still not impressed by your purported evidences of the apostasy and presentation of Catholicism/ancient Christianity. I still await why you seem to ignore the use of incense and flame in ancient Judaism as the origin of Catholic/Orthodox use of such elements in their liturgies, instead favoring a claim of origin in paganism. I also await the specific ceremonies from military traditions and rituals marking the liberation of slaves. Cite the specific source that I can read more.
  3. On what basis do you conclude that the use of ritual, candles, and incense came from pagan temples, and not what was going on in ancient Judaism, as we read in the Bible? Please cite evidence supporting your claim that baptism came to include milk and honey. I've never heard that before, and I'd like to read more about where you heard this from. Also, what specific ceremonies from military traditions and rituals marking the liberation of slaves were included, and please provide the revelant military traditions and liberation rituals so that we can see the connection.
  4. No problem. Definitely read that first article again after your Endowment, it'll make more sense then. When are you being Endowed?
  5. You might find this helpful: Early Christian and Jewish Rituals Related to Temple Practices The Encylcopedia of Mormonism articles on the Endowment, Garments, Prayer Circle, and Washing and Anointing should be helpful to you in preparing for some of what to expect at your Endowment: http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Endowment http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Washings_and_Anointings http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Garments http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Prayer_Circle You are right, the LDS temple is not exactly what was going on in Solomon's temple, since different priesthoods are involved, and we see that animal sacrifice was practiced anciently, but is unnecessary today. However, you will find many elements of the LDS temple tied to ancient Jewish and Christian practices. There are many books and articles available on that subject, and I think they will be helpful to you after you receive your Endowment. I have always loved the Initiatory washing and anointing that you receive at the beginning of your Endowment, as it includes a clear, explicit reference to ancient Jewish practices related to washing and anointing. A great book for you to read after your Endowment is: The Gate of Heaven: Insights on the Doctrines and Symbols of the Temple. It touches on many of these ancient (i.e. restored) aspects of the temple. As you continue your scripture study, concepts I think that you should focus on include things like washing, anointing, sacred clothing, new names, creation, the Fall, Atonement, covenants, returning to God's presence.
  6. Faith4, I think we're talking passed each other (and I'm not sure where I'm "putting God to the test" or "nitpicking to the point of absolute ridiculousness"). My question is simple, and very specific (and as mentioned, hasn't received an answer): I'm not talking about mere authority. I'm not talking about martyrs. My question is: Where can I read evidence of the foundational claim of Catholic/Orthodox Apostolic Succession: that the Apostles appointed Bishops as their Successors, to take their place? That's all. The quotes from Father Sullivan's book elaborate on that question, and demonstrate the problematic nature of it, and why the quotes you provided aren't addressing this question. Where did Peter, James, John, Paul, etc appoint a Bishop(s) as their successor and/or replacement in authority? That's all I'm asking, so I don't see any validity in your assessment of my post (and frankly find it odd). Either way (and yes, I'm very interested in whether or not there is evidence for it, since I approach these things pretty objectively, even if I am firm in my beliefs as a member of the restored Church of Jesus Christ), thank you for sharing your beliefs. For me, I am content with knowing that when I read the Bible, I see cycles of apostasy and restoration, beginning with Adam and Eve. Through that, I see God's continuous mercy and love (no matter how "long" it takes (we could ask why God took "so long" to establish the New Testament Church), since God's ways are not our ways, and time appears completely different to God), as well as justice. I see that, although the ancient Church apostatized, as predicted in the Bible, through Christ's restoration of His Church, God has provided the means by which all may receive eternal life, whether or not they lived on the earth when saving ordinances where not available (this includes prior to Christ, or times when Christianity wasn't even known to people around the world). I'm also grateful for the knowledge that there are Apostles of the Lord that guide the Church today, as well as Bishops that guide their local flocks, just like it was in the New Testament Church. Have a great weekend!
  7. Seems so. One book that provides an interesting perspective on the matter is "From Apostles to Bishops-The Development of the Episcopacy in the Early Church" by Francis A. Sullivan, SJ. I believe Hugh Nibley's "Apostles and Bishops in Early Christianity" cites this book for some of its arguments. In Father Sullivan's book, he essentially concludes that the belief that the Bishops took the place of the Apostles is one that is a faith based conclusion (which he naturally accepts), and that the apostles shared parts of their authority with others. He concludes that the development of the episcopacy was a Spirit-driven process, and that it is not historically supportable that the Bishops directly succeeded the Apostles (since, as I've been trying to find evidence for, we can't see that the Apostles appointed the Bishops as their own successors). Here are some excerpts, then I'll leave it at that. I highly recommend this book for those interested in this topic, or interested in understanding the issue I'm trying to understand (it's available on Kindle): "To speak of 'an unbroken line of episcopal ordination from Christ through the apostles' suggests that Christ ordained the apostles as bishops, and then the apostles in turn ordained a bishop for each of the churches they founded, so that by the time the apostles died, each Christian church was being led by a bishop as successor to an apostle. There are serious problems with such a theory of the link between apostles and bishops." "The first problem has to do with the notion that Christ ordained the apostles as bishops. On the one hand, it is no doubt true that the mandate Christ gave to the apostles included the threefold office of teaching, ruling, and sanctifying, which Vatican II described as conferred by episcopal consecration (LG 21). However the correctness of describing the apostles themselves as 'bishops' is another question. A 'bishop' is a residential pastor who presides in a stable manner over the church in a city and its environs. The apostles were missionaries and founders of churches; there is no evidence, nor is it at all likely, that any one of them ever took up permanent residence in a particular church as its bishop." "One conclusion seems obvious: Neither the New Testament nor early Christian history offers support for a notion of apostolic succession as 'an unbroken line of episcopal ordination from Christ through the apostles down through the centuries to the bishops of today.' Clearly, such a simplistic approach to the problem will not do...one must invoke a theological argument based on Christian faith to arrive at the conclusion that bishops are the successors of the apostles 'by divine institution'". "As was also noted in the first chapter, most Christian scholars from both sides of this divide agree that the threefold structure of ministry, with one bishop along with a number of presbyters and deacons in each local church, does not appear in the New Testament." "I am in substantial agreement with the consensus of modern scholars that the historical episcopate was not already present in the New Testament church, but a development that took place in the course of the second century, from the earlier collegial to the later monepiscopal leadership of the local churches." "No doubt proving that bishops were the successors of the apostles by divine institution would be easier if the New Testament clearly stated that before they died the apostles had appointed a single bishop to lead each of the churches they founded. Likewise, it would have been very helpful had Clement, in writing to the Corinthians, said that the apostles had put one bishop in charge of each church and had arranged for a regular succession in that office. We would also be grateful to Ignatius of Antioch if he had spoken of himself not only as a bishop, but as a successor to the apostles, and had explained how he understood that succession. The answer I find most probable is based on the New Testament evidence that the apostles shared their mandate with both their missionary coworkers and with the leaders in the local churches and that when the apostles died both of these groups carried on their ministry. The Pastoral Letters witness to how the coworkers continued to exercise oversight over various churches, and Luke's account of Paul's farewell address to the presbyters of Ephesus shows that presbyters continued to exercise leadership in local churches after Paul's departure. There were therefore two lines of apostolic succession in the postapostolic church, each perpetuating the mandate given to the apostles by Christ. I think it most likely that a development along both lines of apostolic succession gave rise the monepiscopate during the second century."
  8. Essentially, in full disclosure, as someone that pondered returning to Catholicism, the issue of authority is of course important for both Catholics and LDS. To keep it simple, after looking at both sides (I have a very extensive library with Catholic, Orthodox, LDS, Jewish, academic, etc books), I found, for me, the LDS position to be more compelling. This is one issue that I'd like to understand (i.e. the relationship between Apostles and Bishops). Thanks again, and welcome!
  9. I have to get that one. I have his "The Crucified Rabbi", it was a great read.
  10. Thanks faith4, I appreciate the time and effort. My mind isn't necessarily made up on the matter, though I am familiar with the arguments on both sides. My issue is merely that I just don't see where it is shown that the Apostles appointed Bishops as their successors, to put the matter simply. I do see that they gave Bishops authority in the references you and others have given, however I don't see these references as showing that they gave them all the authority they (the Apostles) had, making them their Successors, or taking their place at the head of the Church. There are numerous references to an apostasy throughout the Bible, though that's for another thread . I used Acts 1 because the Scripture Catholic site you linked to also used it in support of the Catholic position. To me, it supports the LDS position more since it's of an Apostle succeeding another Apostle. That's the only reason why I used it, since it is repeatedly used in Catholic apologetics on apostolic succession (as well as LDS for that matter). Yes, I have attended one Catholic "ordination service", and have watched a few on Youtube. I've attended various liturgies, both Latin and Eastern, over the years. I'm glad that you know that it is true, just as how I know that the Church of Jesus Christ has been restored, based on the various miracles that have occurred, as well as a few I have personally experienced (I assume people of various other faiths and religions have similar reasons for their own faiths). If I didn't have those experiences, I would not remain LDS, for various reasons. I'm not looking for evidences of authority being passed down. I'm looking for evidence that the Apostles passed on their office and their authority as Apostles, to Bishops, so that Bishops took over their place. Anyway, thanks again for your thoughts and time. :)
  11. Perhaps some may find this Catholic/LDS debate interesting: Who Holds the Keys? In it, Barry Bickmore articulates the point I maybe am not making as well: Some have espoused the idea that the apostles were just twelve men whom Christ ordained for a specific mission - and were thus no longer needed after the Church was established in the world. However, it is admitted by some prominent Christian scholars that the apostles "did not live to see the Church fully organized and at work,"30 and the New Testament record is quite clear that when vacancies occurred in the Twelve they were promptly filled. Matthias was chosen to take the place of Judas, who betrayed Jesus (Acts 1:23-26), and Paul also said he had later been "called to be an apostle." (1 Corinthians 1:1) Barnabas was called an apostle along with Paul by the writer of the Acts (probably Luke), (Acts 14:14) and apparently Jesus' brother James had become an apostle, for Paul reported to the Galatians that on a trip to Jerusalem, "other apostles {besides Peter} saw I none, save James the Lord's brother." (Galatians 1:19)31 Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus near the end of the second century, reported the tradition that Philip had become "one of the twelve apostles."32 Indeed, there may have even been others. Paul told the Romans to "Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me." (Romans 16:7) Many noted Christian scholars "... are inclined to think... that Andronicus and Junia... are of the number of the apostles, rather than 'considered in the eyes of the apostles.'"33 On the other hand, the authors of a recent popular defense of the papacy, Jesus, Peter & the Keys, are so bold as to speak of "the office of Apostle, later called bishop."34 They base this assertion primarily on the text of Acts 1:20, where the text of Psalm 109:8 ("and his bishoprick let another take") is quoted with reference to the fallen Apostle Judas. Now, I don't object to calling Apostles "bishops" or "overseers" any more than I object to John calling himself an "elder" (Greek presbyteros, see 2 John 1), or Peter calling Jesus the "Bishop of {our} souls." (1 Peter 2:25) Clearly the office of Apostle comprehends all lesser offices and titles. (In fact, even elders were sometimes loosely called "bishops" or "overseers" - see Acts 20:28.) But if all Apostles are "bishops", does that mean all bishops are Apostles? I think not. Furthermore, the New Testament clearly mentions "bishops" who were local pastors contemporary with the Apostles, who are never connected or placed on the same level with the Apostles. (See 1 Timothy 3:1; Titus 1:7) Finally, Bishop Ignatius of Antioch (ca. 110 A.D.) could not have been more clear about the issue when he said, "I do not, as Peter and Paul, issue commandments unto you. They were apostles; I am but a condemned man: they were free, while I am, even until now, a servant." In one section Steve appeals to the principle of succession, but who were the successors of the Apostles? Other Apostles! Matthias, Paul, Barnabas, James the Lord's brother, Philip, and probably others all received this succession, as I already pointed out. When the Church was in the process of shutting down for business, that succession was ended, but when the Church re-opened the Apostles Peter, James, and John appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to ordain them. The question is not whether there is a succession in Apostolic authority, but who and when. In my opening statement I argued against the Roman Catholic claim that the Apostles passed on their office and authority to the bishops by showing that they ordained bishops during their lifetimes who were merely local Church officers. I also quoted Ignatius of Antioch (ca. 110 AD) saying he was not an Apostle. What evidence does Steve offer for his version of the story? He refers to Clement of Rome (ca. 96 AD) and Ignatius of Antioch, whom he claims wrote about the succession of bishops. What exactly did they say? I am not aware that Ignatius said anything about the bishops being successors of the Apostles. In my opening statement I quoted and referenced several passages where he exhorted various Christian communities to follow their bishops instead of rebelling against them, but as I said before, he never equated the bishops with the apostles. In fact, in one passage he said, "Remember in your prayers the Church in Syria {i.e. his own church at Antioch}, which now has God for its shepherd, instead of me. Jesus Christ alone will oversee it...."7 This fits very nicely with the LDS theory that the Church was in the process of shutting down at the time, and the true "succession" was about to end, especially when one remembers that Ignatius insisted that "Apart from {the bishops, deacons, and presbyters}, there is no Church."8 Clement actually did talk about a succession of bishops: "Our apostles also knew... there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate.... For this reason... they appointed those [ministers]... and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry."9 Once again, Clement was condemning the Corinthians for kicking out their righteous bishop and elders! However, I don't have any problem admitting that there was a succession of bishops who held the true Priesthood authority after the Apostles started dying off. The questions to be answered are whether the bishops inherited the prerogatives of the Apostles (and Clement never said a thing about that) and whether this succession was to continue indefinitely. " Hope that helps to flesh out my point.
  12. No, not necessarily. Lets see if I can articulate what I'm getting at: For LDS, we look at the New Testament Church and see that it was led by Apostles. Catholics claim, correct me if I am wrong, that Bishops are the Successors of the Apostles. My question is, where, specifically, did the Apostles appoint the Bishops as their successors? Presumably this means that Bishops have the same authority as the Apostles (again correct me if I'm wrong)? When did this specifically occur? I'm just looking for evidence for the assertion that Bishops are the Successors of the Apostles. Yes, we do consider Paul to have been an Apostle. You may know that our Church actually has more than twelve Apostles, though we do have a Council, or Quorum, of Twelve Apostles. The First Presidency is also regarded as having three Apostles, so we recognize Apostles outside of "the Twelve". We don't limit authority to twelve men. Yes, Titus as Bishop had authority given to him to do what he was called to do. But he wasn't an Apostle. Yes, Timothy was given authority, however the issue is whether he was given the authority of an Apostle. Perhaps an analogy would be helpful: correct me if I'm wrong, but in Catholicism, a priest is ordained by a bishop, right? Therefore, the priest receives his authority and ordination from the bishop, but the priest does not have the authority of a bishop, and cannot therefore function as a bishop. He isn't a bishop, he is a priest. Similarly, my point is that yes, Timothy received his authority from an Apostle, but that didn't make him an Apostle, nor is it an example of Bishops being Successors of the Apostles. I'm looking for a specific reference for where the Apostles appointed Bishops to take their place. Interestingly, you refute your first sentence by the second. Yes, Acts 1:15-26 does indeed demonstrate that Apostles are replaced by other Apostles, not Bishops. Indeed, the very website you offered (the Scripture Catholic website) cites Acts 1:15-26 as evidence of authority being transferred, and as an example of apostolic succession (it says "the first thing Peter does after Jesus ascends into heaven is implement apostolic succession. Matthias is ordained with full apostolic authority. Only the Catholic Church can demonstrate an unbroken apostolic lineage to the apostles in union with Peter through the sacrament of ordination and thereby claim to teach with Christ's own authority."). For Latter-day Saints, we agree that Acts 1:15-26 is an example of apostolic succession, however, it is clearly an example of an apostle being succeeded by....another apostle. So yes, we would use that verse as evidence as well, but I believe it is clear on what it is teaching. So again, thanks for your comments, but I still have not seen specific evidence given for what I am asking: where did the Apostles appoint Bishops to take their place, as their successors? Giving authority to bishops is not what I'm talking about (our bishops are also given authority, but they are not Apostles).
  13. Thank you, but it would be helpful if, as I asked, you could just point out to me "specifically" (instead of just giving me a long page, most of which seems to not be relevant to my question, and which Latter-day Saints wouldn't disagree with) where the apostles conferred apostolic authority to the bishops, or, in other words, the bishops replaced apostles (this is distinct from the apostles giving bishops authority. The question is, where did they give them their own apostolic authority). A cursory look at that page does not point that out to me, but perhaps I missed it, which is why a specific reference would be helpful. Thank you.
  14. Can you please point out specifically where the Apostles gave their own apostolic authority to bishops? To be clear, I'm not referring to the Apostles giving bishops and others authority to do what they are called to do. I'm referring to the Apostles giving their own authority to bishops. Basically, where specifically did Bishops replace Apostles?
  15. Sad you weren't able to go. Hopefully you'll be able to attend another Sacrament Meeting with your friends if you're interested (not sure if you've ever been to an LDS congregation before). In the meantime, you can always check out Mormon.org | What is the Mormon Church and Religion? for some basic info about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and feel free to ask us any questions you have. There is also a series of short videos called Introduction to the Church that you may find interesting, as they give a brief overview of the Church of Jesus Christ on various topics, like basic beliefs, missionaries, temples, Church organization, families, etc. Good luck with your assignment!