Truth is not only
violated by falsehood;
it may be equally
outraged by silence.
Joseph Smith claimed that after the death of the apostles the early church became completely apostate. His proof text is 2 Thessalonians 2:3, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (KJV). But the subject in 2 Thessalonians is the day of the Lord, i.e. the second coming of Christ. Prior to that there will be a falling away, and the anti-Christ will be revealed.That hasn’t happened yet. Moreover a falling away doesn’t mean a total apostasy, merely a decline in numbers:
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (1 Timothy 4:1, KJV)
Christ assured His church that He would safeguard them, that the gates of Hades would not overpower them, and that He would always be with them. He promised that He would protect them from temptation and that no one would be able to pluck them from His hand:
“… upon this rock I will build My church; and
the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.” (Matthew
“… And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20, KJV)
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-29, KJV)
“… I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” (John 15:16, KJV)
“… I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it. … I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world … ” (Revelation 3:8, 10, KJV)
After the Israelites had daubed their doorposts with the blood of the sacrificial lamb, the angel of death passed them by (Exodus 12:22-23), God freed them from slavery and they travelled to their promised land of rest. In the same manner, those who trust in Christ and His shed blood are set free from the penalty for sin and released from bondage to sin and self. That’s what the Lord Jesus was talking about, when He said He had come to set the prisoners free (Luke 4:16-21).
God had no intention of allowing the Israelites to be taken back to their old lives of slavery. So when the Egyptian army began to pursue them, He destroyed them. He also enabled the Israelites to overcome their foes on their journey to, and in their conquest of their promised land. Just so, He enables New Covenant believers to overcome their foes of sin and self so that they can enter their promised land of spiritual rest.
The Old Covenant has physical promises, whereas the New Covenant’s promises are spiritual.
Bear in mind that the Israelites had been enslaved for 400 years. So they’d had no experience in warfare, were poorly armed and had no horses or chariots. On the other hand, their enemies had all the necessary implements of war plus the skill that they lacked. Nobody doubted that it was God who gave them the victory.
“For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of
the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye
did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the
other side of the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly
destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our
hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage
in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is
God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.” (Joshua
“Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not. … and thou subduest before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gavest them into their hands, with their kings, and the people of the land, that they might do with them as they would.” (Nehemiah 9:21, 24, (KJV)
God is sovereign. And He has unlimited power. No one can thwart His will. Just as He was able to protect His Old Covenant people, Israel, from being taken back into captivity or wiped off the face of the earth; so He was, and still is, perfectly able to keep His New Covenant people, the church, from falling into total apostasy on their spiritual journey through life.
Yet the LDS expects us to believe that He couldn’t do this. They also insinuate that He was unable to prevent the Bible that He had given us for our guidance and spiritual protection, from being corrupted. But strangely enough they regularly assure their membership that He will always protect the LDS church from going into error.
Contrary to Joseph Smith’s claims, during times of general apostasy God has always preserved a remnant of faithful believers. The following scriptures bear this out:
“Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the
knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which
hath not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18, KJV)
“Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” (Isaiah 1:9, KJV)
“And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.” (Isaiah 11:16, KJV).
“Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.” (Romans 9:27, KJV)
“Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” (Romans 11:5, KJV)
Members of Christ’s church have endured persecution rather than compromise the gospel. In his book The Trail of Blood, Dr. J. M. Carroll traces the martyrs from the inception of the church up to the present time. Secular writings also mention Christians who, throughout the ages, have refused to deny the true gospel and have paid for this privilege with their own blood.
During the infamous Spanish Inquisition faithful followers of Christ were subjected to barbaric forms of torture in an attempt to force them to recant their biblical beliefs in favour of Roman error. And in England godly Christians were publicly burned alive at the stake for the same reason. Fox’s Book of Martyrs, still in print, should be an eye-opener to Mormons. It provides historical proof of a faithful remnant of Christ’s church who were prepared to pay the ultimate sacrifice rather than embrace doctrinal error.
A news broadcaster recently announced that during the past few years there have been more Christians persecuted and martyred on an annual basis, than there were during the entire period since the church came into existence. And the numbers are going up. Believers are still losing their lives for the sake of the same gospel that was preached by Christ’s apostles.
The fact that there are churches and groups who go by the name of Christ yet do not hold to the true, biblical gospel, doesn’t mean that everyone should be tarred with the same brush. There always have been apostates and those who propagate false teachings.
Many of Smith’s detractors believe that his claim about apostasy was nothing more than a vindictive attempt to get back at the Christian churches of his day, because of his experience with the Methodist church. You can read all about it by clicking on this link: Joseph Smith’s First Vision
This site is dedicated to helping Mormons understand the Bible.
Copyright © 2013 by Yvonne Gibbs. All rights reserved.