Key Documents to Understanding the Great Apostasy

Apostasy and Restoration
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As for the 'Holy Days', Seventh-day Adventists note that the apostolic church never gave attention to either the date of Christ's birth or the date of His resurrection, other than to note that the latter occurred on a Sunday. Neither of these days was observed by early Christians but as the pagan influence came into the church so did its festivals. The Roman Catholic church changed the Biblical Passover to the festival of Easter causing the Quartodeciman controversy and in the Council of Nicaea AD set a formula for when it was to be observed still followed to this day, which cannot possibly be commemoration of the actual resurrection and not sanctioned in scripture.

So that now Easter always falls on a Sunday, and although the resurrection of Jesus is a historical event of huge importance, there is no biblical precedent for making Easter a special day of celebration. Like many groups, Jehovah's Witnesses strive to reflect Christianity as they believe it was practiced in the 1st century, the Apostolic Age. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and its precursor organization, Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society, considers the Great Apostasy to have properly begun before the death of the last Apostle, along with the warning signs and precursors starting shortly after Jesus' ascension.

Jehovah's Witnesses consider adoption of the Trinity —which they allege is based on a specious application of Greek Platonic and sophistical philosophy and is a violation of the Scriptural precepts set forth beginning in the Law of Moses—as a prime indicator of apostasy. Jehovah's Witnesses consider that the falling away from faithfulness was already complete before the Council of Nicaea , when the Nicene Creed was adopted, which then enshrined the Trinity doctrine as the central tenet of nominal "Christian" orthodoxy.

This group strictly abstains from political involvement and military service, for reasons similar to those cited by earlier Anabaptists, and they point to such entanglements as another aspect of apostasy, or the willful rebellion against God and rejecting his Word of truth.

Jehovah's Witnesses also teach that Jesus' statements regarding his disciples being separate from the world at John , John , and John demonstrates that it is Jesus' intention that his disciples follow the pattern he set for them, as he said at John They cite 2 Thessalonians [see discussion above] as indicating that the apostasy prophesied by Jesus at Matthew , Matthew and Matthew , as well as Matthew and others had already begun in the 1st century of the Common Era, and incorporated in the formation of the Catholic Church, as a religion separate and distinct from the true Christian faith as taught and practiced by Jesus and his 1st-century followers.

Christadelphians tend to hold that the Roman Catholic Church deviated from the original Christian teaching, spreading pagan traditions among Christianity which exist to this day, bringing in the Trinity , Purgatory and belief of the immortality of the soul , and baptism of infants believing these to be corruptions brought in.

They believe Hell Hebrew: Sheol; Greek: Hades, Gehenna to refer exclusively to death and the grave, rather than being a place of everlasting torment see also annihilationism.

The Early Church Fathers

Christadelphians believe that no one goes to Heaven upon death or go to purgatory. Instead, they believe that only Christ Jesus went to Heaven, and when he comes back to the earth only then will there be a resurrection of the saints, and God's kingdom will be established. Christadelphians believe these doctrines were introduced into Christendom after the 1st century in large part through exposure to pagan philosophy , and cannot be substantiated from the Biblical texts.

The Christadelphian sect was founded by John Thomas, M. Drawing on his Campbellite roots, he held that the original teachings of Jesus and the apostles had been corrupted by the Great Apostasy. It was this corrupt version of the gospel that was present in the churches of his day. Like the Campbellites, he held to the Bible as the only rule of faith and practice, and made it his mission to restore primitive Christianity after the pattern of the first century church. Hyperdispensationalism is a niche view in Protestantism which views Pauline Christianity or the beliefs and doctrines espoused by the Apostle Paul through his writings, as the purest form of Christian faith and worship which the church fell away from.

Bullinger framed the position for very early apostasy thus:. We are told, on every hand, today, that we must go back to the first three centuries to find the purity of faith and worship of the primitive church! But it is clear from this comparison of Acts xix. It was Pauline truth and teaching from which all had "turned away". Both the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church contend that they are still in harmony with the teachings and practices Jesus gave the Apostles, and that Jesus' promise has been fulfilled: "On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.

Paul describing the church as Christ's body and as the "pillar and bulwark of the truth. They see claims of a complete apostasy as opposed to a widespread revolt as a denial of the promise that Jesus made as recorded in scripture to be with his Church "until the end of time". They also claim that their ecclesiastical structure e. They hold that elements of modern orthodox teachings can be traced back to the tradition of those known as the Ante-Nicene Fathers whose writings have some information about the sacraments , organizational structure, and general Christian lifestyle.

Catholics may see the "great apostasy" as referring to a future "falling away," using the quote from 2 Thess. For unless the apostasy comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one doomed to perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god and object of worship, so as to seat himself in the temple of God, claiming that he is a god" which points to the Great Apostasy preceding or happening in the time of the Antichrist.

Furthermore, 2 Thessalonians identifies this with the Antichrist, who is held back by a restrainer: "And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. But the one who restrains is to do so only for the present, until he is removed from the scene. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord [Jesus] will kill with the breath of his mouth and render powerless by the manifestation of his coming, the one whose coming springs from the power of Satan in every mighty deed and in signs and wonders that lie, that all who have not believed the truth but have approved wrongdoing may be condemned.

The Early Church Fathers also predicted a coming Great Apostasy in the Church, for example Hippolytus: "And the churches too will wail with a mighty lamentation, because neither oblation nor incense is attended to, nor a service acceptable to God; but the sanctuaries of the churches will become like a garden-watcher's hut, and the Holy Body and Blood of Christ will not be shown in those days. The public service of God shall be extinguished.

Protestants [ which? The Orthodox Churches also believe in the Assumption which is termed the Dormition. In the view of Protestants, these are new doctrines and they take Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy further from the Protestant understanding of Biblical Christianity of the Early Church. At the same time, both Roman Catholicism and Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy see much of Protestantism as having jettisoned much Christian teaching and practice wholesale, and having added much non-Christian dogma as well.

They also accuse Protestants of distorting Scripture itself to support their own claims, whether by faulty translations, misinterpretations, or ignoring passages of Scripture which support Catholicism and Orthodoxy against Protestantism. Both the Catholic Church and the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches put forward claims to apostolic succession, and claim to be the original Christian Church that has remained since its establishment by Christ and his Apostles. Although the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches see corruption of doctrine and authority in the Catholic Church and in each other, just as Protestants do, they view Protestantism as essentially "throwing the baby out with the bathwater", ultimately separating themselves from the Truth to a far larger degree than has the Catholic Church.

Protestants have asserted that peculiar rites and practices such as veneration of relics and icons, veneration of saints, honoring the Virgin Mary known as the Theotokos the one who gave birth to God to the Orthodox and as Mother of God to Catholics , and observing special holy days associated with paganism , were introduced after the time of Constantine or even introduced by Constantine as a way to lead the Church into paganism. The catacomb church was surrounded by bones of the dead which are now claimed as relics of necessity, but accounts of early martyrdoms show that Christians regularly sought the remains of the dead martyrs for proper burial and veneration.

See the Martyrdom of Polycarp. Many of these early accounts associate miracles with the relics: mentioned in Acts are Paul's handkerchiefs which healed the sick Acts Non-Canon such as the Infancy Gospel of James which is attributed to James the Just but was certainly written no later than the 2nd century; it lays out additional details of Mary's life. This "gospel" is viewed by the Orthodox Church as apocryphal, and beneficial as a teaching tool only. The practice of observing special holy days was borrowed from the Jews, who were commanded to observe such days by God.

In the same way, other practices were borrowed from the Jewish liturgy as well, such as the use of incense and oil lamps.

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Regarding "forbidding to marry" and the "commanding to abstain from meats" in 1 Timothy 4, Paul might have spoken in general in regard to any new sects or doctrines which could arise the Catholic Church responds:. The Orthodox Church also defines the concept of oikonomia which is exercised to facilitate salvation or worship, and is exemplified in the New Testament: in Acts St. Paul set aside the usual rule to circumcise Timothy, whose father was a gentile, to placate certain Jewish Christians. In both instances, economy was exercised to facilitate the salvation of some of the parties involved.

There have certainly been times when the Church has seemingly benefited from its affiliation with ruling governments, and vice versa. You also have where the church used other means, such as the Donation of Constantine Latin : Donatio Constantini where it forged Roman imperial decree by which the emperor Constantine the Great supposedly transferred authority over Rome and the western part of the Roman Empire to the Pope. There is also much evidence that the Church sought to subvert or undermine ruling governments to bring them under its influence.

It used its agents or allowed the methods to be adopted for the acquisition of greater power and influence for the Roman Catholic Church. There are also times in its history when the Church has taken a doctrinal stance directly contrary to the interests of the State. The Council of Chalcedon introduced a religious schism that undermined the Byzantine Empire's unity.

The Emperor called the following Ecumenical Council in an attempt to reach a compromise position that all parties could accept, urging those involved to do so. A compromise was not reached, and the schism persisted.

Vatican II - An Apostasy Foretold

Later emperors introduced policies of iconoclasm ; yet many Christians and Church leaders resisted for decades, eventually triumphing when a later Empress Irene came to power who was sympathetic to their cause. In Russia, Basil, a "Fool for Christ" repeatedly stood up to Ivan the Terrible , denouncing his policies and calling him to repentance; for this and other reasons he was buried in the cathedral that now popularly bears his name in Moscow.

The Restoration

The Greek Orthodox Church survived roughly years under the Muslim Ottoman Empire, preserving its faith when it would have been socially advantageous to convert to Islam. More recently, in the 20th century, the Russian Orthodox Church survived over 70 years of persecution under Communism , while Christians in many Muslim countries continue to refuse assimilation, in places including Egypt, Palestine, Turkey, and Iraq.

Therefore, it would be more correct to say that there have been times when the State has seen that it was to its advantage to cooperate with the Church and to adjust accordingly, than to advocate the opposite position. More importantly, there is a consistency in Christian teaching, beginning with the persecuted church of its first few centuries, to the more established state church of the Roman Empire , to the again persecuted church of the various Muslim and communist regimes.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the book by James E. Talmage, see The Great Apostasy book. Contrasting beliefs. The Millennium. Biblical texts. Key terms. This section possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. August Learn how and when to remove this template message. Main article: Constantine the Great and Christianity. Main article: Protestant Reformation.

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We hear the voices of the early Church Fathers even today. Their teachings, their guidance, their insights, and their sacrifice shaped the Catholic Church. They defined the canon of Scripture, developed our creeds and forms of worship. But who were they? What can we learn from their ancient teachings? What can the Fathers teach us in the 21st century? This is a rich resource for anyone interested in learning about the Church Fathers and their legacy. Becoming Catholic? The Early Church Fathers.

For many of us who have made the journey into the Catholic Church, reading the early Church Fathers was a crucial turning point. But why? Why should a Christian care about what the early Church believed? After all, we have the inspired writings of the apostles; what more do we need? Hear Our Stories Here are a collection of testimonies from converts to Catholicism for whom the discovery of the Early Church Fathers played an important role. Jeffrey Steensen. Browse Resources There are so many great resources available for learning about the early Church Fathers.

Here are some of our favorites. The 10th Article of Faith relates to the Mormons' distinct perspective on history and on the second coming of Jesus. Like many conservative Christians, the Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus will return to earth to establish Zion, the paradisiacal Promised Land, but the Mormons believe specifically that Jesus will establish his new kingdom on the American continent. This expectation derives from revelation given through the prophet Joseph Smith, and it is in harmony with the history laid out in the Book of Mormon, a modern scripture that came into being through the agency of the prophet.

This text, which reads something like the Old Testament, tells the story of an ancient Hebrew patriarch and prophet named Lehi, who, in roughly B. The group established themselves somewhere in North America and, according to this history, at least some Native Americans descended from these immigrants.

From this civilization, God continued to call forth prophets, including one named Mormon, the original author of the text that would be engraved on plates of gold that Mormons believe Joseph Smith unearthed in the late s. Along with the plates, Smith said he found the Urim and Thummim, a translating contrivance that allowed him to read the engravings on the plates.

A group of followers coalesced around Smith as he dictated his translation of the plates to scribes.

Hear Our Stories

Soon after the Book of Mormon was published in , the prophet and his followers organized the Church of Christ, an ecclesiastical institution that differed from all other Christian churches at the time because it was led by a prophet and had another sacred text in addition to the Old and New Testaments. Revelation told the members of this new church that theirs was the restoration of the New Testament church that had been removed from the earth during a "Great Apostasy" that occurred at the end of the apostolic era.

Another important element of the Latter-day Saints' doctrine is their concept of a "plan of salvation" that encompasses the spirit's existence before, during and after time spent on earth. The Saints believe that prior to being born, each person has a pre-mortal life. In the pre-mortal realm, spirits dwell with God, the literal father of all people, and develop talents and knowledge to prepare for mortal life.

When their preparation is complete, individuals must progress and spend time on earth. Gaining a physical body, they practice actively choosing between good and evil the Articles of Faith reject the concept of original sin and gain new levels of knowledge that will allow them to become like God, the ultimate goal of Mormon spiritual development.

Mormons believe that after death, the spirit leaves the body and moves on to the spirit world to wait for resurrection. During this time, those who did not embrace the Gospel are segregated from those who lived according to God's word, and the spirits of individuals who never had a chance to hear the Gospel are given this opportunity. The Plan of Salvation teaches that Heaven is divided into three separate kingdoms of glory: the celestial, the terrestrial, and the telestial. These kingdoms are where all men and women except a certain few known as Sons of Perdition, who will go to Outer Darkness will go after they are judged by God and their spirits are reunited with what will be their immortal bodies.

Those judged to have followed the Gospel move on to the celestial kingdom, ruled by God himself. Those who did not devoutly follow but also did not actively reject the word of God are sent to the Terrestrial Kingdom, and those who actively rejected the Gospel or committed grievous sins must dwell in the Telestial Kingdom, away from God's light. Latter-day Saints believe entrance into each kingdom depends on a person's worthiness and their adherence to the commandments of God and the ordinances he has prescribed.

Since God is the ultimate judge, all people will be judged fairly and put into the kingdom where they will be most happy. Even so, according to Mormon theology, all three kingdoms are kingdoms of glory, and even the lowest is more glorious than man can currently comprehend.

Suggestions for Study and Teaching

Key Documents to Understanding the Great Apostasy [Brother Hermenegild TOSF] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Saint Paul prophesied. Key Documents to Understanding the Great Apostasy - Kindle edition by Brother Hermenegild. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones.

While it is true that the church has recently placed more emphasis on their Christian-ness than it once did, from the time the church was organized in onward, church members have always regarded themselves as Christians. Their name, "Latter-day Saints" references the fact that members of the "primitive" church in New Testament times were called Saints.

Gordon B. Hinckley , president of the church, has said, "We are Christians in a very real sense and that is coming to be more and more widely recognized. Once upon a time people everywhere said we are not Christians. They have come to recognize that we are, and that we have a very vital and dynamic religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. There are Christians -- particularly among the modern evangelical and fundamentalist communities -- who argue that Mormons are not Christians. They base this contention on the fact that the Mormon conception of God -- summarized by LDS President Lorenzo Snow, who said, "As man is God once was, and as God is man may become" -- differs from traditional Christian ideas.

They also point to the Mormons' avoidance of the cross as a religious symbol Mormons believe it is a symbol of Christ's death, and they prefer to focus on his life, his suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, and his resurrection ; their belief in the fallibility of the Bible because of its human translation ; their acceptance of continuing revelation which gives Mormonism an open canon ; and their rejection of the Nicene Creed, a list of common Christian beliefs originally authored in AD and subscribed to by most denominations.

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Animosity between fundamentalist Christians and Mormons peaked in the s, when the Southern Baptist Convention held an annual meeting in Salt Lake City, partly in hopes of converting Mormons to Protestant Christianity. More recently, some high-profile fundamentalist Christians have gone on record apologizing for past discord and accepting Mormonism as a branch of Christianity, but some tension remains.

The Mormon temple is considered an earthly point of contact with higher spheres of being. Mormons believe that God is present in the temple space. This makes it a sacred place set aside to learn things that allow individuals to progress toward becoming like God -- the temple ordinances, especially celestial marriage, make "eternal progression toward Godhood" possible. The family unit is central to Mormonism, and the primary ritual function of the temple is to perform ceremonies that seal families together, thus allowing them to dwell together for eternity when they pass on to the celestial kingdom.

The specific rituals supporting this function are marriage and family sealing ceremonies -- in which a husband, wife and children are officially bound together -- and baptism for the dead -- through which individuals who died without accepting the Latter-day Saints' Gospel and no longer possess the physical body required for baptism are represented by living proxies, thereby granting them the opportunity to join their families in the celestial kingdom.

The temple is also used to perform the Mormon endowment ceremony. During this ritual, adult Mormons go through a series of lessons and exercises to deepen their faith, and they make covenants with God to keep his commandments. After receiving their endowments, Latter-day Saints wear a distinctive underwear on which special marks are embroidered.