Did Jesus really organize a church?

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GBSmith
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Re: Did Jesus really organize a church?

Post by GBSmith » 23 Feb 2014, 18:56

DarkJedi wrote:
GBSmith wrote: One thing I don't believe anymore is what I taught in the old six discussions nearly 50 years ago of a complete organization that was set up by Jesus and then lost.
Yes, GBS, I am there, too. I'm actually fine with the way the church is organized. I think it's efficient and it serves its purpose. I don't believe it mirrors the primitive church, and I'm not really sure Joseph Smith and others who organized the modern church (which organization still changes*) set about to base it on the primitive church, which others have pointed out was really much more likely organized by the apostles and other primitive church leaders. It would appear that many of these things are simply administrative and policy related as opposed to some divine organization handed to us directly from Jesus Christ. Again, I'm fine with that, what I have issue with is teaching that it's something it probably isn't.

*Remember Assistants to the Twelve and Regional Representatives and seventies in stakes?
If you google "restoration churches" wikipedia has a long piece about the restoration movement and the belief that Christianity had strayed from it's original form and needed to be brought back.
The Restoration Movement (also known as the American Restoration Movement or the Stone-Campbell Movement, Campbellites, and Campbellism) is a Christian movement that began on the American frontier during the Second Great Awakening (1790–1870) of the early 19th century. The movement sought to restore the church and "the unification of all Christians in a single body patterned after the church of the New Testament."[1]:54 Members do not identify as Protestant but simply as Christian.[2][3]
As I recall Sidney Rigdon was a Campbellite minister and brought with him his congregation with similar beliefs about the direction Christianity should take.

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SamBee
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Re: Did Jesus really organize a church?

Post by SamBee » 24 Feb 2014, 06:28

Restorationism is a logical progression from the Protestant Reformation.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

jhp33
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Re: Did Jesus really organize a church?

Post by jhp33 » 24 Feb 2014, 09:42

Let's assume a few things for a moment.

First, let's assume that the church's claim that the Bible has had many "plain and precious" things removed from it, and one of those things was more information about the organization of the church.

Let's also assume that the BoM does indeed hold "the fullness of the gospel" and that one of its purposes is to help fill in those gaps that the bible lacks due to the plain and precious things being taken out.

So, that would lead us to 3 Nephi to understand how Christ wants his church organized. How did he do it? What can we learn from how he organized the church when he visited the Nephites? Some things stand out to me:

First, he organized the sacrament, but quite differently than we practice it today.

3 Nephi mentions MULTIPLE times that those who partook of the sacrament did so "until they were filled." It's quite apparent to me that this isn't just some shallow spiritual euphemism. They literally ate bread and drank wine until their stomachs were full. Quite the juxtaposition to the small scraps of bread and shots of tap water we do today.

Second, Christ explicitly instructed his called disciples to partake first until they were full, THEN give to the multitude. Again, not how we do it today. Other ways our sacrament differs: he commanded them to sit "on the earth." We sit in pews. Also, Christ ordained ONE to bless and administer the sacrament to the disciples, to then distribute to the multitude. We use multiple priests.

Interesting that Christ closes out his sacramental instructions with the explicit charge that doing "more or less" than this is not of him and doing so is expressley forbidden. Yet, in our modern church we have taken it upon ourselves to change the ordinance, with no clear understanding as to why.

The only other information we have from Christ on the specific organization of his church is his calling of the 12 disciples in 3 Nephi 11 and 12.

Of note: he did not call 12 disciples plus an over-arching First Presidency. The first time we learn anything about a First Presidency being used is through Joseph Smith in D&C 81. It seems that the 12 disciples Christ called in the Americas were supposed to be a presiding council, with no one person being above another.

He also outlined the requirements for baptism: repentance and desire. That's it!

There's more, but I think you get my point, that it's very curious to me that how Christ chose to organize his church among the Nephites is so very different than we observe it today, yet he explicitly instructed them that doing "more or less" than his instructions would put them on shaky ground and was not of him.

GBSmith
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Re: Did Jesus really organize a church?

Post by GBSmith » 24 Feb 2014, 10:34

jhp33 wrote:Let's assume a few things for a moment.

First, let's assume that the church's claim that the Bible has had many "plain and precious" things removed from it, and one of those things was more information about the organization of the church.

Let's also assume that the BoM does indeed hold "the fullness of the gospel" and that one of its purposes is to help fill in those gaps that the bible lacks due to the plain and precious things being taken out.

So, that would lead us to 3 Nephi to understand how Christ wants his church organized. How did he do it? What can we learn from how he organized the church when he visited the Nephites? Some things stand out to me:

First, he organized the sacrament, but quite differently than we practice it today.

3 Nephi mentions MULTIPLE times that those who partook of the sacrament did so "until they were filled." It's quite apparent to me that this isn't just some shallow spiritual euphemism. They literally ate bread and drank wine until their stomachs were full. Quite the juxtaposition to the small scraps of bread and shots of tap water we do today.
The sacrament in early Christianity was a meal and at one point Paul had to caution about people showing up just to eat. It was some time before it morphed into the symbolic meal we see now. Churches like RC, Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, etc. refer to that part of the service as the liturgy of the table.
Second, Christ explicitly instructed his called disciples to partake first until they were full, THEN give to the multitude. Again, not how we do it today. Other ways our sacrament differs: he commanded them to sit "on the earth." We sit in pews. Also, Christ ordained ONE to bless and administer the sacrament to the disciples, to then distribute to the multitude. We use multiple priests.

Interesting that Christ closes out his sacramental instructions with the explicit charge that doing "more or less" than this is not of him and doing so is expressley forbidden. Yet, in our modern church we have taken it upon ourselves to change the ordinance, with no clear understanding as to why.
Churches are always changing to adapt to the situation. Acts and a good share of the epistles reflect that. Wanting things to be the same can give you a sense of legitimacy of what you're doing but just because something was doesn't mean it has to be now especially if it doesn't work. An Anglican priest said once that God doesn't expect you to check your brain at the door.
The only other information we have from Christ on the specific organization of his church is his calling of the 12 disciples in 3 Nephi 11 and 12.

Of note: he did not call 12 disciples plus an over-arching First Presidency. The first time we learn anything about a First Presidency being used is through Joseph Smith in D&C 81. It seems that the 12 disciples Christ called in the Americas were supposed to be a presiding council, with no one person being above another.

He also outlined the requirements for baptism: repentance and desire. That's it!

There's more, but I think you get my point, that it's very curious to me that how Christ chose to organize his church among the Nephites is so very different than
we observe it today, yet he explicitly instructed them that doing "more or less" than his instructions would put them on shaky ground and was not of him.
On this last point you're just going to have to decide if you take the BoM as gospel or if it's just a good story making some good points.

Roy
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Re: Did Jesus really organize a church?

Post by Roy » 24 Feb 2014, 10:55

jhp33 wrote:Let's also assume that the BoM does indeed hold "the fullness of the gospel" and that one of its purposes is to help fill in those gaps that the bible lacks due to the plain and precious things being taken out.
I believe that the BoM reflects Josephs understanding of what the gospel should look like at the time (1830?).

As his understanding evolved or his ideas grew, he doesn't seem to be too worried about sticking to the gospel as presented in the BoM.

Of course the church has grown and changed much since the days of JS. I believe that many of these changes have been positive.

Just my $.02
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

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DarkJedi
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Re: Did Jesus really organize a church?

Post by DarkJedi » 24 Feb 2014, 11:58

jhp33 wrote:Let's assume a few things for a moment.

First, let's assume that the church's claim that the Bible has had many "plain and precious" things removed from it, and one of those things was more information about the organization of the church.

Let's also assume that the BoM does indeed hold "the fullness of the gospel" and that one of its purposes is to help fill in those gaps that the bible lacks due to the plain and precious things being taken out.

So, that would lead us to 3 Nephi to understand how Christ wants his church organized. How did he do it? What can we learn from how he organized the church when he visited the Nephites? Some things stand out to me:

First, he organized the sacrament, but quite differently than we practice it today.

3 Nephi mentions MULTIPLE times that those who partook of the sacrament did so "until they were filled." It's quite apparent to me that this isn't just some shallow spiritual euphemism. They literally ate bread and drank wine until their stomachs were full. Quite the juxtaposition to the small scraps of bread and shots of tap water we do today.

Second, Christ explicitly instructed his called disciples to partake first until they were full, THEN give to the multitude. Again, not how we do it today. Other ways our sacrament differs: he commanded them to sit "on the earth." We sit in pews. Also, Christ ordained ONE to bless and administer the sacrament to the disciples, to then distribute to the multitude. We use multiple priests.

Interesting that Christ closes out his sacramental instructions with the explicit charge that doing "more or less" than this is not of him and doing so is expressley forbidden. Yet, in our modern church we have taken it upon ourselves to change the ordinance, with no clear understanding as to why.

The only other information we have from Christ on the specific organization of his church is his calling of the 12 disciples in 3 Nephi 11 and 12.

Of note: he did not call 12 disciples plus an over-arching First Presidency. The first time we learn anything about a First Presidency being used is through Joseph Smith in D&C 81. It seems that the 12 disciples Christ called in the Americas were supposed to be a presiding council, with no one person being above another.

He also outlined the requirements for baptism: repentance and desire. That's it!

There's more, but I think you get my point, that it's very curious to me that how Christ chose to organize his church among the Nephites is so very different than we observe it today, yet he explicitly instructed them that doing "more or less" than his instructions would put them on shaky ground and was not of him.
I hate to make assumptions because we all know what happens when we ass-u-me. Nevertheless, I think your point is valid. There is little in the Bible that speaks of the organization of the church itself, and even less in the four gospels which are the accounts of Christ's mortal ministry. Likewise, there is little in the BoM, as you point out - institution of the sacrament and calling the disciple leaders. (I once learned they couldn't be called apostles because there was already a Q12 in place on the earth and there could be only one - even though there is no possible way at that time they could have ever had any contact with each other and the organizations were apparently quite different. I'm not saying this is true, just throwing it out there.) I have reached the conclusion that based upon available evidence, Jesus probably did not organize a church when he was on the earth and the modern church cannot therefore be based upon nor have an organization like the one Jesus organized, although it might be said that the modern church is similar to the primitive church which existed after the life of Christ.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Old-Timer
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Re: Did Jesus really organize a church?

Post by Old-Timer » 24 Feb 2014, 12:06

Please take this in the spirit in which it is being written:

I am not, in any way, a firm believer in the idea that Jesus organized a church during his mortal life, as I've said, but . . .

Honestly, with the exception of going from a meal to a small piece of bread and a sip of water, I see the differences in the sacrament from then and now as trivial - and even the amount of food involved isn't a deal breaker for me. I'd love to eat communal meals more often, but, as I've said previously, if we can go from circumcision to baptism as the marker of membership, we can handle just about any other ordinance change imaginable.

I also think it's a huge stretch to think that where someone is sitting (a pew or the ground, when both actually are sitting) and how many people administer the sacrament (one or eight, for example) matters in whether or not our current method is legitimate or not. To be as blunt as I can, I see that as a perfect example of the concept of straining at gnats / nit-picking.

There is a great quote in mackay11's quote of the day thread by Elder Maxwell that says obsessing over the dimensions of the cross can blind us to what occurred on it. I thought of that quote in the context of the points above.
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Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Did Jesus really organize a church?

Post by DarkJedi » 24 Feb 2014, 13:02

I definitely not stuck on things like the sacrament - it really does make sense to me that it doesn't matter what the blessed things are (bread or cracker, water or wine) because it's much more about what we think. And, I believe scholars are pretty much in agreement that the first sacrament as described in the Bible probably took place at a Passover Seder. I much more hung up on the idea that there were 12-year-old deacons passing sacrament in white shirts during the three-hour block in Christ's day. Yes, I am being a facetious, but I think it's pretty clear our organization is not the same as it was then - and I'm fine with that as long as we don't go around saying it is.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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SamBee
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Re: Did Jesus really organize a church?

Post by SamBee » 24 Feb 2014, 16:06

Perhaps we should revive circumcision as a qualification. The High Priests and GAs can go first.

(Didn't early Mormonism have some attempt to revive it?)
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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DarkJedi
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Re: Did Jesus really organize a church?

Post by DarkJedi » 25 Feb 2014, 04:31

SamBee wrote:Perhaps we should revive circumcision as a qualification. The High Priests and GAs can go first.

(Didn't early Mormonism have some attempt to revive it?)
I wouldn't be surprised if the early modern church did try to revive circumcision, it would seem to fit some of the early thinking, and Jews and Muslims do still observe it. As for HPs and GAs being first, keep in mind that most of us were born in an era when it was almost universal to circumcise baby boys - so most of us already are sans any ceremony. Aside from the religious aspect, I am actually a fan of circumcision but that's another discussion for a different forum.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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