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The Mormon Temple Part 6

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
August 2, 2021 6:24 am

The Mormon Temple Part 6

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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August 2, 2021 6:24 am

This is the second week of a two-week series dealing with a variety of aspects on the LDS temple, why it’s needed in this religion, and what takes place inside these buildings.

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One member is examining the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective view .1 limited sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism welcomed this additional viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM last week we started looking at a very important aspect that is unique to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and that is Temple building Temple participation. Certainly we don't find anywhere in the New Testament that this was a huge deal to the early Christians, but it certainly is to Latter Day Saints. But the problem we have with their connection with the temple in the Old Testament as they make it appear that what they are doing in their unique temples scattered throughout the world is very similar or a restoration of what was done anciently in this room we have to draw a line because there is no historical evidence to show that the early Christians practiced temple worship in the same way that Latter Day Saints are practicing temple worship today we don't see anywhere in the New Testament of any kind of effort on the part of the early Christians to have their own temple.

There was one temple at the time. And of course that was the temple in Jerusalem.

The connection is made by Mormon leaders themselves. We read last week to you statements from two leaders.

George q. Cannon, who was a member of the first presidency under Brigham Young and others. But he said why is it that we are so anxious to build temples, it is that we may attend to ordinances necessary for the salvation of the living and the dead, that we may be baptized for our ancestors who died without having the privilege of hearing and obeying the gospel. This is a statement made on December 3, 1871, and can be found in the Journal of discourses, volume 14, page 320, but then we have Mormon apostle Mark E Peterson in a book why Mormons build temples and this is what he says on page 3 in biblical times. Sacred ordinances were administered in holy edifices for the spiritual salvation of ancient Israel. The buildings thus use were not synagogues nor any of the ordinary places of worship. They were specially constructed for this particular purpose. Following the pattern of biblical days the Lord again in our day has provided these ordinances for all who will believe and directs that temples be built in which to perform those sacred rights must see. This is where we would have a problem when Peterson says following the pattern of biblical days the Lord again in our day has provided these ordinances for all who will believe and we talked about these ordinances last week dating to include washings and annoying teens.

They include the endowments and there's also marriages and ceilings of families for eternity as well as the practice of baptism for the dead, though we certainly do see ritual washings taking place in the temple in Jerusalem.

We don't see any mention whatsoever of anything going on in the temple that resembles endowments or marriages are ceilings of families for eternity, or even baptisms for the dead.

I brought out last week how silly it is to assume, let's say that if baptism for the dead was really all that important to the early Christians and they needed the temple in order to perform this ordinance. Can you imagine a group of Christians going up to the temple saying we need to borrow a portion of your temple because we need to baptize on behalf of some of our dead ancestors. How do you think the Jewish leaders who were in charge of the temple in the first century are going to look at such a request, they would laugh them off the temple mount.

I think you're bringing out a great point. Think about this the Christians if Jesus dies around 30 or 33 A.D. that's those of the two dates often given and the temple is destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70, were talking less than 40 years that Christians have a chance to be able to participate.

Yet, as you mentioned, we don't really see any encouragement for Christians to go to the temple that was being run by the Jewish leadership. Instead, they talk about how we are to have a personal relationship with Jesus and even in first Corinthians 6 talks about the temple being the the body and so that was the real emphasis of the New Testament and the apostles. There after the temple is destroyed. You don't see Christians historically begging to rebuild the temple at all and I point that you raise. I think we need to to delve in a little bit further because when we look in acts chapter 21, we find an interesting story where Paul is requested by James who is the head of the Christian church in Jerusalem and because there was tension at that time between the Jewish Christians, those who had converted out of Judaism into Christianity and this tension that they had with the Gentile Christians, because Paul's make it very clear that Gentile Christians do not have to have anything to do with the ceremonial law, the Jewish Christians were really struggling with this and this is what we find in some of Paul's epistles he's addressing.

This tension is a real political problem going on.

Will James asks Paul to take for men to go through purification right in the temple in order to make peace, you might say with these Jewish believers because they felt that Paul was actually against the ceremonial law that he was against the Mosaic law. Paul was not against that he just did not see it as a means for salvation or forgiveness. In fact, a note in one of my Bibles that I have to this passage spoken of in acts 2117 this note says, thousands of Jewish Christians in Jerusalem strictly observe the Mosaic law.

While many of these no doubt resented the fact that Gentile Christians were not required to observe the ceremonial law of Moses the charge here was that Paul was encouraging Jews to forsake the law as well.

Such a charge may have been prompted by reports that Paul himself did not follow the Jewish ceremonial law when in Gentile company.

Though Paul had no objection to Jews following their ancestral customs. He opposed any attempt to make such observance in some way necessary for salvation. Always careful to avoid giving unnecessary offense. Paul's flexibility in such matters show that the interests of the gospel were always foremost in his mind that takes this now to what happens in verse 26, it says that Paul took these men in the next day, having been purified with them entered the temple to announce the expiration of the days of purification how what happens when Paul is in the temple area and is doing what is normal in the eyes of the Jewish believers.

They recognize that Paul is a Christian. He's a follower of the way they don't want Paul there. Do you really think if we are to imagine that a group of Christians were going to go to that same temple to baptize on behalf of their dead ancestors that they would be welcomed in such a way.

Absolutely not.

It's ludicrous to draw such a conclusion, but yet were supposed to believe that what Latter Day Saints do in their temples is patterned after the biblical days, at least hear what Paul is engaging in was a normal practice in the Jewish Temple have endowments they didn't seal couples for time and eternity.

They didn't seal families for eternity. They didn't baptize for their dead, they did not participate in certain handshakes or tokens that are a part of the endowment ceremony.

They want learning new names that were going to be necessary to give to angelic sentinels that block their way after they die in order to get into the celestial kingdom. All that is unique to Mormonism. So when you have these leaders like Mark Peterson same following the pattern of biblical days the Lord again in our day is providing these ordinances, folks, that's just not true. It's just not true. It's not defendable either by the New Testament or by history Eric you and I were talking about the hard time.

The early Christians had because of the persecution that was going on and this is why we have what's known as the Diaspora when the Christians had scattered all over the known world at that time. This came to an end with the Emperor Constantine. Now you can argue whether or not Constantine really converted to Christianity or not.

That's a great debate love to have that but that's not what were you referring to here now. The fact is, when Constantine comes into power the persecution stops and this could be unfortunate. You could say that the church has the state behind it. Now the church even has finances behind it.

How come we don't see any effort by the Christians through the means of Constantine, the Emperor to start building a temple for the Christians so that they could do what Mormons do in their temples today, we see no such effort like that at all. I look at acts chapter 15 and that's the Council of Jerusalem and what took place there. This is what acts 15 six says in following the apostles and elders were gathered together to consider the matter, and after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said brothers you know that in the early days, God made a choice among you, that by my mouth.

The Gentile should hear the word of the gospel and believe in God, who knows the heart bore witness to them by giving them this Holy Spirit just as he did to us and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now therefore why are you putting God of the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear, but we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus just as they will not. Peter is responding to some who belong to the party of the Pharisees who had said that it was necessary to circumcise them and order them to keep the law of Moses and the disciples decided at Jerusalem that that should not be the case.

Yet in the next chapter acts chapter 16 Paul circumcise his Timothy because he had not been circumcised because he had a Greek father. Why does he do that. Not because he thought that was necessary for salvation, but because it was advantageous for him to be able to serve the Jewish people. I think in acts chapter 21 Paul is doing the same thing they're trying to bring peace between the Jewish believers and the Gentiles.

And so this was an expedient act to be able try to unite the two groups. I think you're absolutely correct in and here's the problem that we have is 21st century Western Christians were not living in that political world. This is a big deal that's going on in that early part of of Christian history in the first century most of the believers were of a Jewish background. After the first century that starts to change radically now are seeing more and more Gentiles coming into the fold when Mormon leaders make it sound like what they're doing in their temples is very similar to what was done in biblical times. We should reject that claim totally Mormons could have their temples if they want to do that, that's their business.

But there's no way that you're going to try and make this connection that what they are doing is the same thing that was done in the first century church, or even that the early Christians saw the need for such buildings because we don't see that at all.

Thank you for listening. If you would like more information when guarding his research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research. We hope you'll join us again as we look at another viewpoint is

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