The Instigator
WalkingTarget
Pro (for)
The Contender
chrislee125
Con (against)

New Testament Reveals: A Church Indefectible; or a Great Apostasy

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/20/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 628 times Debate No: 98293
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
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WalkingTarget

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for this debate. Though we clearly disagree on several issues, Chris is genuinely kind and desires the good of others. Like myself, he wants others to come to the true faith but one of us is not in the true faith, hence the purpose of this debate.

Does the New Testament teach that Christ instituted an indefectible Church that would last until the end of time or does it teach that this Church Christ established would die on the vine and need restoration? I will argue the Roman Catholic (RC) position that the New Testament teaches an indefectible church. Both RC and Latter-day Saints (LDS) debaters will be using the agreed upon source of the NT in the KJV Bible. [1] Both sides will share the burden of proof. Other rules will be posted in the comments section.

Premise 1: Jesus made promises pertaining to his Church throughout His ministry consistently since he first promised to build his church, to being with his church, and how it will be led and guided without his visible presence that, if true, negate a NT narrative about a Great Apostasy and Restoration some 1800 years later.

Matt. 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Jesus promised that he will build his Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. Where we could quibble over the meaning of Peter and his role in the church; that is not the topic for this debate. The promise about the Church’s longevity is loud and clear. Even Death will not overcome Christ’s Church. The word for hell in Hebrew is Sheol and in the Greek, Hades. This is the place in Jewish tradition where the dead are gathered in. The reference to the gate is that of power so by saying the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against His Church, Christ is promising that the power of death will not prevail.[2]

In contrast, the LDS position is, “With the death of the Apostles, priesthood keys, or the presiding priesthood authority, were taken from the earth.”[3], This contradicts to the promise of Jesus as the LDS case is that Death literally prevailed against the Church Christ established for nearly 1800 years.

Matt. 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

Here we have a promise of Jesus Christ to His Apostles that he is with them always, even to the end of the world. Christ promises to be with his church all days, to the end of time. Christ, especially in his glorified state would know that the Apostles would not be able to do such a task themselves without serious divine aid and others would need to take up their mantle as the Apostles would die long before the Gospel of Jesus Christ would make it to Japan, Australia, and countless other places. Christ’s promise is directed to the authorities in place that he would remain with His Church until the end of time.

Let us suppose that my LDS opponent is correct and that the Great Apostasy did occur. Here, we have Jesus Christ in his glorified state with all power of heaven and earth given to him. He would have known the Great Apostasy would occur so, why commission the 11 if he knew that they couldn’t go about baptizing all nations and teaching all nations if they would die before doing so? Why not be frank about the Great Apostasy here and let his faithful know that they will be killed, all authority will be lost for bordering on two millennia, long before His church could reach all nations to baptize and teach them what Jesus taught? The Answer is simple, our Lord knows his Church needs him in order to be successful and this reassuring promise in the face of very brutal times would help encourage them and it still encourages us today as we can read this very promise in Sacred Scripture.

John 14:16, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.”

Here, Jesus promises to pray to the Father to send the Comforter who will remain with his Church as a guiding force forever. Christ says that this is the means by which his church will not be left orphans but again, the LDS church would have us believe that we were left orphans for about 1800 years.

Additionally, Jesus says in John 16:13-14, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”

Jesus says this specifically in reference to things that he has yet to say to his Apostles because they cannot bear them yet and the Holy Spirit will guide the Church into all truth. We see examples of how the Holy Spirit moved the Church though debates like Paul at the Areopagus debating the Greeks, though sermons like Peter at the Sanhedrin in Acts 2: 14-42 where some 3,000 were converted and baptized that very day and also councils like that in Jerusalem where the matter of circumcision being necessary or unnecessary was debated upon and decided in Acts 15. We watch the Holy Spirit faithfully at work as the Church grows.

Premise 2: The above are real promises and are not contingent upon the Church who receives the promises

Promise: a declaration that one will do or refrain from doing something specified. [4]

Covenant: a usually formal, solemn, and binding agreement. [5]

To prove this premise, all we need to do is examine the verses mentioned and the contexts within and around them and we find that these promises are not contingent on the actions of those receiving the promises. There are no agreements, so we can know that these are not covenants; however, they are solemn. Jesus says He will do specific things regarding His church and the authorities with no expectation of anything in return and like gifts, he gives them.

Premise 3: Christ will not break his promises.

This premise is based upon Hebrews 4:15, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” And it goes like this.

If Jesus is without sin, then he cannot lie. If he cannot lie, he cannot break a promise, nor can he make a promise that he cannot keep. To do this would be detrimental to his credibility as Teacher and Master but would also, like anyone who has ever broken a promise to someone personally, break trust.

Matt 16:18 is a promise that death will not prevail against His Church. Breaking this promise would do damage to the credibility of Christ who said in Matt 7:24-25, “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on a rock. The rains fell, the floods came, and the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on a rock.”

If Jesus would first tell his disciples that all who would listen to him would be like a wise man who builds his house on a rock and no matter what happened to that house, it will not collapse because it was set solidly on that rock, then, Jesus decides that he will build his Church on a rock, Peter, and declare that the gates of hell will not prevail against it, only to have the gates of hell prevail against it would demonstrate that Jesus cannot practice what he preaches. So why listen to him and heed his words if he himself is not a wise man who cannot tell the difference between rock and sand?

Matt 28:19-20: Again, Christ has all power in Heaven and Earth and promises to be with His Church till the end of time as they go on their mission to baptize all nations but if he breaks this promise then in vain does he commission his apostles.

In light of Luke 15:28-30, “Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, 'This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish’.” Would Jesus not be the subject of laughter to first make this statement and then build a church that fails within 75 years of its commissioning? It absolutely would if true and it would go double for the LDS proposal with two failed churches.

John 14:16-18 & 16:14 Jesus promises that his Church will receive the Holy Spirit who will guide them into all truth and that He will not leave his Church orphans but should he break this promise, abandon his Church body, and leave orphans when He is needed perpetually and without explanation for nearly 1800 years would be nothing short of malicious. To illustrate, imagine an adoption agent who promises an eight year old child that he or she will receive a guardian who will watch over them and teach them. The orphan is adopted but because of his or her disobedience, the guardian decides to leave the child and move to a different house far away. Who is at fault for the child’s abandonment? The child, the guardian, or the adoption agency? If you said the child, Social Services is not the right career path for you.

If these promises were broken, it would make Jesus nothing more than a thoughtless Rabbi and a fool at best and at worst a sinner of the highest caliber for intentionally undermining his own Church with false hope. However, since Jesus is neither fool, nor capable of sin, none of these promises can be broken.

Conclusion

The N.T. testifies that Christ established a Church that will stand till the end of time under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and not to the Complete Apostasy of Christ's Church.

Thank you.


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chrislee125

Con

In this debate, I (the negative), will be arguing that the Early Christian Church fell into apostasy due to many particular elements that I will mention later.

I have agreed to the rules of this debate and to the use of the KJV bible. I will also be sharing my burden of proof.

First, let me start by defining apostasy. Then, I will begin my debate.

Apostasy: When individuals or groups of people turn away from the principles of the gospel, they are in a state of apostasy.

I will present 3 contentions that support my case.

Contention 1: Revelation.

Contention 2: Thank you Satan.

Contention 3: The Crumbling Foundation.

Contention 1: Revelation. Without the Apostles, proper revelation for the direction of the Church ceased.
The Church Jesus Christ, as said by Matthew 16: 15-18, is built upon revelation.

15He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Peter, and the other apostles, knew Jesus Christ and his doctrine through revelation (although they did hang out with Jesus and witnessed his miracles, their biggest witness of Christ was through revelation and the Holy Ghost). This revelation gave the apostles guidance to lead Christ"s Church after his resurrection. Due to revelation, the apostles were of one mind when it came to doctrine. The apostles did not dispute over doctrine with each other. Rather, throughout the New Testament, we can see that the apostles were often correcting corrupted gospel doctrine all over the church.

Doubts will always arise in the church (thank you satan). Doubts are not necessarily bad; but if they are not handled right and led to eventually spread throughout a congregation, corruption will accumulate in the church. Corruption leads to the destruction of doctrine and the erection of false doctrine. Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ (Prophets and Apostles) are given revelation to protect and teach the doctrines of the Church. One of their main jobs is to extinguish corruption throughout the Church (see the books of Ephesians and Corinthians). Therefore, without leaders in the Church (Prophets and Apostles), corruption will ultimately destroy gospel doctrine and the Church (this outcome can actually be proven multiple times throughout the Old Testament). Think of it, in a way, kind of like a vehicle without a pilot. Without proper guidance given to the wheel, the vehicle can no longer function on a straight and controlled path. If the Church no longer has leadership with proper revelation and guidance, corruption will eliminate doctrine and the Church can no longer follow a straight and narrow path.

If corruption and false doctrine rule, apostasy will eventually take place. But because Heavenly Father loves us, He often sends more prophets and apostles to us to help correct and fix the foundation of the Church.

"All historical Christian churches agree that revelation for the direction of the church ceased with the last of the apostles," -James L. Barker, Apostasy from the Divine Church (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1984), p. 650. If the formula for corruption is correct: after the Apostles were murdered (and not replaced), there was no longer divinely constructed leadership in the Church. This led to incurable corruption within the early Christian Church. Because of this corruption, doctrines and scriptures in the Church were changed to satisfy the intentions of ill-willed men. Ultimately, due to corruption and the lack of proper leadership and guidance, the early Christian Church fell into apostasy.

Andrew C. Skinner, in the article "Apostasy, Restoration, and Lessons in Faith.", explains how the early Christian Church functioned without the Apostles and proper revelation:
"History shows, in fact, that after the first century, church leaders, in order to decide important issues, could not (and did not) appeal to heaven for authoritative direction because they did not possess the keys of the kingdom. There were still honorable people on the earth who received personal inspiration for their individual lives. But the church was run largely by men who gathered in councils and held debates, letting their decisions rest on the collected wisdom of mortal beings.
Modern scholars have labeled the post-apostolic era an "obscure period." Indeed it was, for the doctrinal integrity of the Church began to be compromised with self-appointed rulers stepping in to fill the void left by the Apostles" passing. Formerly, bishops and other Church officers had been appointed and supervised by the Apostles, as indicated in the book of Acts and Paul"s letters (see, for example, Acts 6; 1 Tim. 2, 1 Tim. 3;Titus 1). But immediately after the Apostolic Age, things changed radically. This is an example of what happened after we lost leadership and revelation in the Church."
As Skinner explained, the leaders of the apostatized Christian Church relied more on the intelligence of man more than the revelation from God. This goes against the foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ (Matthew 16: 15-18) and therefore confirming that the early Christian Church was in a state of apostasy due to their lack of proper leadership and revelation.

Contention 2: Thank you Satan.
Most Christians hardly are required to be taught that the creator of all apostasy is Satan. Though he did not start out as Satan, he became Satan through opposition. He did so by seeking to change the plan of the Father and then audaciously attempting to usurp God"s own power, prerogatives, and glory. As expressed by John the Revelator in Revelations 13:7: "It was given unto him (Satan) to make war with the saints, and to overcome them". The Prophet Joseph Smith said, "the moment Latter-day Saints revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power."

The Apostle Paul predicted this would happen in the early Church. In a letter to the Thessalonian Saints, he foresaw that there would "come a falling away " and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (or satan); "Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God (the Church), shewing himself that he is God" (JST, 2 Thes. 2:3"4).

Paul went even further by outlining, in a letter to his associate Timothy, some of the characteristics that certain apostate leaders and false prophets would demonstrate. They would "depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; "Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; "Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats" (1 Tim. 4:1"3).
In other words, these apostate leaders would act out of deliberately dishonest motives; they would appear to possess "a form of godliness" but would not have the power thereof (2 Tim. 3:5; see also 2 Tim. 3:1"4).

Contention 3: The Crumbling Foundation.
The loss of the Apostles meant the loss of what Paul had called in Ephesians 2:20 "the foundation" of the Church. This loss allowed false brethren to drive the true Church "into the wilderness" (Rev. 12:6) until the promised restoration. Just like Andrew C. Skinner said, Modern scholars have labeled the post-apostolic era an "obscure period." Indeed it was, for the doctrinal integrity of the Church began to be compromised with self-appointed rulers stepping in to fill the void left by the Apostles" passing. Formerly, in Acts 6; 1 Tim. 2, 1 Tim. 3; Titus 1, bishops and other Church officers had been appointed and supervised by the Apostles. But immediately after the Apostolic Age, things changed radically. Evidence indicates that by the end of the first century, the great apostasy was an accomplished fact. Paul"s prophecies had been fulfilled.
This is demonstrated in a work whose author is unknown, written perhaps at the end of the first century and entitled Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. It directs: "Appoint for yourselves, therefore, bishops and deacons " for unto you they also perform the service of the prophets and teachers." In other words, self-appointed bishops were to be regarded as filling the same roles as prophets had earlier. Of this post-New Testament record, the religious historian Williston Walker has written: "The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles shows that self-seeking and fraudulent claimants to divine guidance were soon preying on the churches."
The same image arises from the writings of a late first-century bishop at Rome named Clement. Clement wrote to correct "the abominable and unholy schism" in the Corinthian branch of the Church, a situation that had resulted from apostates deposing Church officers (bishops and deacons) who had been lawfully and authoritatively appointed by the Apostles.
Clement stated emphatically that it was the Apostles who had overseen the Church and had appointed converts to be deacons and bishops. Therefore, the rebellion against, and unlawful rejection of, legitimate priesthood leadership was the height of religious sedition. But worse than that, says Clement, is the fact that the "schism has led many astray; it has made many despair; it has made many doubt; and it has distressed us all. Yet it goes on!" Here two important truths are corroborated: mass apostasy destroys the faith of many, and it is hard to curtail.

In conclusion, I would like to re-state that due to a lack of revelation, Satan, and the crumbling foundation, the early church fell into apostasy.

Thank you.

Sources:

Lds.org
http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org...
https://www.merriam-webster.com...
https://www.lds.org...
Debate Round No. 1
WalkingTarget

Pro

Rebuttal to contention 1: Formal Sufficiency and Material Insufficiency

Chris and I lead with the same area in scripture, Matt 16:15-18, only his focus comes from the beginning and mine at the end but there is one other difference. My first premise is Formally Sufficient, Chris has some Material evidence but it falls short. I will illustrate is Mark Shea’s analogy, “What's the difference between material and formal sufficiency? It is the difference between having a big enough pile of bricks to build a house and having a house of bricks.”[1]

In premise 1, I have achieved Formal sufficiency. Jesus promised to build his church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Enough said, it is out of the mouth of Jesus. Some of the brush of Jewish tradition with Greek and Hebrew words had to be cleared up but my brick house is clearly there. My opponent on the other hand, relies on the biblical fact of Simon receiving a revelation, which is material evidence, it is a brick but the other bricks had to be caricatured in.

Chris says, “The Church Jesus Christ, as said by Matthew 16: 15-18, is built upon revelation.” But Jesus did not say, “Upon your revelation, which is Rock, I will build my Church.” Nor does he say, “This is how you will receive all knowledge in faith, morals, and doctrine. He says, “Thou art Peter (rock), and upon this rock I will build my church.

Chris Says,” The apostles did not dispute over doctrine with each other.” However, scripture gives us a different story in Acts 15 which details the Judaizers who believed that to become Christian, one must practice Mosaic Law and be circumcised and debated this issue with Paul and it eventually went before Peter. Acts 15:7 puts it plainly, “And when there had been much disputing…” So clearly they did dispute doctrine. The results of which continue through Acts with peter weighing the evidence and making a decision that I then carried by four messengers to spread word of the new dogma for the church.

Chris Makes use of Andrew C. Skinner (which I will address in full later) to claim that the apostles died and were not succeeded. Unfortunately Mr. Skinner fails twice in this regard. First, God is ultimately in control. Acts 12 reveals that when Peter was imprisoned and under guard, he miraculously escapes his fate. If nothing else this is evidence that God isn’t going to let Peter die until He is good and ready. Second, how does Mr. Skinner know history shows that Christian Leadership didn’t make appeals to heaven for authoritative direction because they did not possess the keys of the kingdom? In what historical document did this come from? He certainly doesn’t give us one. Though we are debating the Great Apostasy in the New Testament, I still expect the supplementary claim to be substantiated.

Rebuttal to contention 2: Thank You Paul.

Firstly, we agreed to use King James Version of the bible.. The Negative violates this rule by using the Joseph Smith Translation of the bible fore 2 Thess 2:3-4. For that reason, my rebuttal will refer to the KJV as agreed.

2 Thess. 2:3-4, “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; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”

In this verse, Paul is not addressing a Great Apostasy but the Second coming of Christ. (v.2) Paul adds that there are two signs of the second coming of Christ, one of which is a falling away. I will point out the obvious here, Paul does not say it is a total or complete falling away. In fact, Paul already told them in 1 Thess 4:17 says that those who are alive and remain will be called up the cloud Christ comes down on and will ever be with him. Obviously, those people will not be apostate. Secondly, the negative Claims, “The Apostle Paul predicted this would happen in the early Church” but in context, the falling away will occur just before the second coming of Christ. If anything, Paul is telling them that this falling away will not be soon at all, hence why they should not be troubled. (again, v.2)

The second sign of 2 Thess is that the man of sin would be revealed. The Negative inserts (or Satan) next to the “son of perdition” as if to say that this is Satan himself; however, Paul is talking about an earthly ruler who will claim to be God or a god like roman emperor. This is evident when Paul says, “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.”(v.9) Here the man of sin is contrasted with Satan so Paul can’t be talking about Satan. (Also see Matt 24:24, Christ says there will be false Christs and false prophets having power but are not Satan.)

The Negative also claims that the temple of God Paul is talking about is the Church but he is more likely talking about the actual and only temple of God in Jerusalem. Here is why. Scholars have nailed down the date 2 Thess was written to about 51-52 A.D.[2],which is two decades before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem which occurred around 70A.D.[3] 2 Thess gives us some details about the “man of sin” so we will know who he is. About 10-12 years prior to the writing of this letter, a roman emperor, Gaius, tried and ultimately failed to put his image in the temple of Jerusalem to be worshiped as God.[4] Likely still fresh in the mind of the Thessalonians, Paul tells them that the man of sin will succeed where Gaius filed as he expresses he told them this before. (v.5)

Lastly, these two signs are tied together and are said to happen just before the second coming Christ and final judgement (Luke 21:25-36) and not immediately after the apostolic age.

1 Tim 4:1-3

Before addressing the scripture Chris quotes, I will point out the portion of the verse used that seemed to have gotten missed. Verse 1 reads, “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.” Again, Paul is not talking about a Great Apostasy but that only some shall depart from the faith, not all and as we are concerned with a Great Apostasy and not just some departing, Chris will have to explain why this is relevant.

Rebuttal to contention 3: The Solid Foundation

Probably the least relevant of all, the Negative submits Eph 2:20 which does demonstrate the foundation of the Church being the apostles but then tries to tie it into Rev 12:6 to demonstrate that false brethren to drive the true Church "into the wilderness"

First, I will address two points where Chris is absolutely right!

1) I agree Ephesians 2:20 does show that the Apostles are the spiritual foundation of the church with Christ as the capstone.

2) Chris correctly interprets the woman in Rev.12 as the True Church established by Christ.

Where Chris misses the mark on Eph 2:20 does not indicate demonstrate the loss of the apostles or a teaching about the loss of their lives. When the entire chapter does show is the spiritual oneness of the Christians. Verse 21 likewise shows that it is Christ himself who hold this spiritual structure together structure and verse 22 says,” In whom ye also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” It is all Christians whom he builds together for a spiritual habitation for God. Instead of showing a crumbling foundation, Paul tells us how strong a foundation it is and how strong the power of Christ is to pull us into this spiritual structure. Which only support the promise made in Matt 16:18.

In Rev. 12:6 Chris makes the same error as 2 Thess 2 only instead of identifying men as Satan, he identifies Satan as men when he says, “false brethren to drive the true Church "into the wilderness" (Rev. 12:6)” but in Rev. 12:9, makes reference to the one making war with the woman. “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” So he clearly cannot be false brethren and therefore not a reference to a Great Apostasy. Further, the woman is protected and nourished in the wilderness. (v. 14) Rev. 12 makes no reference to a restoration of the church anywhere, likely because one is not required no matter how tightly the negative would like to press the phrase, “until the promised restoration.” To Rev 12:6, it doesn’t become scripture.

With the last point, I am going to address the elephant in the room. This entire time, I’ve actually been debating Andrew C. Skinner as the negative has drawn from him all but verbatim.

The piece I will cite here is the Negatives final point:

“Modern scholars have labeled the post-apostolic era an “obscure period.”… "The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles shows that self-seeking and fraudulent claimants to divine guidance were soon preying on the churches."

<portion regarding Eusebius omitted>

Clement wrote to correct “the abominable and unholy schism”… Here two important truths are corroborated: mass apostasy destroys the faith of many, and it is hard to curtail.”[5] Just use the
CTRL + F function on any phrase above to confirm.

That said, it is my guess that the Negative has never read the Didache or, The Teachings of the Twelve Apostles or Clements letter to the Corinthians but only what MR. Skinner wants him to read of them. Not to mention, Acts 6; 1 Tim. 2, 1 Tim. 3; Titus 1. If he had only read Acts 6 as Skinner correlates, He would have read how the apostles call the multitude of disciples and told them to pick seven members who would become Deacons. Sure, the apostles laid their hands upon Steven and the others but it was the disciples who chose them. Which is perfectly consistent with the Didache.

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chrislee125

Con


Merry Christmas everyone!




Due to the limit on space, I will only cover my opponent's case in this rebuttal. I will go over his attacks and my debate in later rounds.




Apostasy and Fallacy:




As I covered my opponent's argument and read through my own, I saw one major difference that drastically affects my opponents debate. The differences (and similar to the debate topic): Apostasy. If you study both the affirmative and negative arguments you will see a difference between our definitions of apostasy. Let me explain the difference:




Apostasy (according to LDS.org):When individuals or groups of people turn away from the principles of the gospel, they are in a state of apostasy.




Apostasy (according to dictionary.com): a total desertion of or departure from one's religion, principles, party, cause, etc.




Apostasy (according to WalkingTarget): When Jesus leaves his Church to be orphans.




As you can see, the LDS definition of apostasy (and also backed up with similar definitions by thousands of sites) is the complete opposite of my opponents. All of the definitions that I found agree that apostasy is when someone leaves and completely ignores their religion, belief, or God. But for some reason, WalkingTarget decided to create his own definition of apostasy. His definition (a complete opposite definition of apostasy) declares that apostasy is when Jesus Christ sees that His Church has failed, so He just leaves them like a bad girlfriend. Well, seeing that the LDS definition of apostasy is the correct definition (as backed up by multiple dictionary/religious sites), then WalkingTarget's definition is completely false. This fractures his entire argument, seeing that his entire argument is built upon his definition of apostasy. WalkingTarget's definition of apostasy also led him to commit fallacy.




It is to my knowledge that my opponent has committed two fallacies:




1. The Scarecrow fallacy: My opponent committed the Scarecrow fallacy with his definition of apostasy. This fallacy occurs towards the end of my opponents argument in Premise 3. In this premise, my opponent gives a sympathetic illustration of an adoption agency and an eight year old orphan. WalkingTarget explains that the orphan was disobedient, leading the adoption agency to disown the orphan. He relates this to apostasy and my case by showing that Christ leaving the Church would be like the agency leaving this orphan (it is wrong). The Scarecrow fallacy was committed through this illustration because it has nothing to do with my case or the true definition of apostasy. My opponent threw out this flaming scarecrow in a attempt to demoralize my arguments. This is wrong, I will ask the voters to not let my opponent slip away from this crime.




2. The Loaded Question fallacy: WalkingTarget has also committed the Loaded Question fallacy with his definition of apostasy. This fallacy is present throughout most of my opponents debate. There is a question posed when my opponent explains the concrete dome of the Savior's promise. Christ is perfect, therefore He can not lie. When WalkingTarget talks about the Lord's promise, he explains that apostasy destroys that promise (making Christ imperfect). So my opponents question (that created fallacy) is as follows: "Did the Great Apostasy destroy Christ's promise?" My opponent has already implied and assumed that even if I answer "yes" or "no", I still believe that "Jesus [was] nothing more than a thoughtless Rabbi and a fool at best and at worst a sinner of the highest caliber for intentionally undermining his own Church with false hope." You see, my opponent has already loaded this question with a false judgment to create lies about my intentions (creating a Loaded Question fallacy). Of course I don't believe the Jesus was a fool, I love Jesus Christ. But through this loaded question, it is implied that I believe that Jesus was the high school equivalent of a dork. This is unjust, and this fallacy should be considered during the voting period.




Now, to attack my opponent's general argument.




Premise 1: Death will not overcome Christ’s Church. My opponent is correct:Death will not overcome Christ’s Church. I mean, in the LDS Church, if an apostle dies, he will be later replaced by another divinely appointed brother. So if death doesn't overcome the Church today, why did it overcome the church during its early years? Even more examples: why would it stop the Church way back in the Old Testament, like when Adam died; leaving his descendants to indulge themselves in apostasy (until Noah and the flood came along). In all of the accounts of apostasy that I can think of (multiple in the Old Testament), the situation usually involves the death of the Church leader. But in other accounts when a Church leader dies (like Lehi to Nephi in the Book of Mormon, or Moses to Joshua in the Old Testament), Church leaders are replaced and the Church goes on. So through these examples, we can see that it really isn't death that overcomes the Church, yet it is just simply apostasy. When a Church leader dies in a righteous time in the Church, the Church divinely replaces the leader and moves on. But when a Church leader dies in a apostasy stricken Church, apostasy continues to dissolve the Church. So in the early Christian Church, when the apostles died (in a apostasy stricken Church), the Church fell into apostasy. The now apostate Church didn't divinely replace the apostle, self appointed bishops decided to replace the apostles. So Jesus was right, death will never overcome his Church, but due to agency, apostasy overcame the Church.




Matt. 28: 19-20:


I believe that Jesus wasn't only saying this to the apostles, but to every missionary teaching his gospel. It is directed to the authorities in his Church.




John 14:16 & John 16:13-14:


The spirit is a constant companion for everyone who invites the spirit into their lives. We drive away the spirit when we sin or turn away from the principles of the gospel (apostasy). So when the early Christian Church first started to fall into apostasy, sinful acts were rampant (in sheep's clothing, or unnoticed) and faithful people started to turn away from the principles of the gospel. Therefore, they started to drive away the spirit in their lives. Many people have even denied the spirit (like Judas). Therefore, the Holy Ghost will be a constant companion in our lives only if we are living righteously and we are inviting the spirit into our lives.




Premise 2: Promises. Yes, Jesus Christ promised to build and be with his church, but that doesn't eliminate apostasy. Apostasy has no affect on Christ's promises, it only affects the people of Christ's Church. The people can reject that promise and ignore it, but that promise is still there. Christ won't force his promises on any of his children due to agency.




Premise 3:Christ will not break his promises. Yet again, we have to go over this. I'm just going to repeat what I said in the last premise:Yes, Jesus Christ promised to build and be with his church, but that doesn't eliminate apostasy. Apostasy has no affect on Christ's promises, it only affects the people of Christ's Church. The people can reject that promise and ignore it, but that promise is still there. Christ won't force his promises on any of his children due to agency.




Jesus Christ will never break his promises, but we can break our promises to Christ if we fall into apostasy.




Since my opponent made his illustration (with the adoption agency and the orphan) with a false definition of apostasy, I will rewrite it using the correct definition of apostasy.




Imagine an adoption agent who promises an eight year old child that he or she will receive a guardian who will watch over them and teach them. The orphan is adopted, but becomes extremely rebellious. The orphan chooses to go against the teachings of his/her guardian by doing drugs, committing sexual sin, etc. Because of the orphan's rebellion, the orphan seems to have less and less interpersonal communication with his/her guardian. Although the orphan is disrespecting the guardian, the guardian still pushes to bring back their son/daughter. The guardian soon reaches out to the orphan, and the guardian helps correct the orphans foolish ways and they become a family again.




Jesus Christ (the guardian) will never leave his Church (the orphan), even if it is in a state of apostasy. As we have seen through history, because God and Jesus Christ love us so very much, they will continue to send prophets and apostles to help correct the effects of apostasy and to restore the gospel. Jesus Christ will always be there for his Church, even if the church isn't there for Christ. When the early Christian Church fell into apostasy, they turned away from Christ. But Christ loved them, so He sent the prophet Joseph Smith to restore the Gospel.




Conclusion: Apostasy is when the members of the Church turn away from Jesus Christ, not when Jesus Christ turns away from his Church. Thank you.




Sources:




http://www.dictionary.com...


www.lds.org


https://www.lds.org...
Debate Round No. 2
WalkingTarget

Pro

Trio of Strawmen

The negative claims I have committed a few errors. Let us shed some light on them.

Strawman 1

The first claims is that I defined Apostasy in my opening statement, premise 3:

“Apostasy (according to WalkingTarget): When Jesus leaves his Church to be orphans.”

As this statement is found nowhere in my opening statement. I challenge the reader to use the CTRL + F function to see where this definition first appears. As it won’t be found, this claim of fallacy is his first strawman designed to divert the reader’s attention from the negative’s burden of proof. In my opening statement, I laid out what our respective burdens are, “Does the New Testament teach that Christ instituted an indefectible Church that would last until the end of time or does it teach that this Church Christ established would die on the vine and need restoration?” Unless I am mistaken, the LDS position is that “Nothing less than a complete apostasy from the Christian religion would warrant the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (B.H. Roberts, History of the Church 1:XL) ”[1] That is the negative’s burden and I will take him to task again if he tries to avoid it.

Strawman 2

The Negative claims I threw a flaming scarecrow at him! Since both strawman and scarecrow are the same fallacy we should probably define what that is.

Strawman Fallicy: “Substituting a person’s actual position or argument with a distorted, exaggerated, or misrepresented version of the position of the argument.”[2]

The negative commits this fallacy by misrepresenting the analogy in premise 3, “My opponent threw out this flaming scarecrow in a attempt to demoralize my arguments.” This is both distortion and exaggeration for a few reason.

  1. 1. The analogy was to make clear that it would be immoral of Christ to promise that they would have the Holy Spirit abiding with his Church for ever only to have the Church abandoned anyway. The Analogy adds strength to my premise as the negative already concedes Jesus will not break his promise and validating my third premise.
  2. 2. I was the first to go in round one, I can’t demoralize his argument when he hasn’t made it yet. Nor did I say what my opponent will argue. So unless I am incorrect about the LDS doctrine of the Great Apostasy as explained by B.H. Roberts, I have not committed this fallacy but it is the negative who has and for a second time now.

Strawman 3

The last strawman is the claim to a loaded question the negative claims I gave, “Did the Great Apostasy destroy Christ's promise?” He quotes me on this but you will not find this quote in my opening argument or my rebuttal. Please use the CTRL + F function to prove this question was never posed by me and appears first in the negative’s rebuttal. This is a blatant distortion and a question I would never ask because it presupposes that a Great Apostasy occurred and I do not believe one happened at all. I also find it ironic that the negative would put quotes around it for the sake of misrepresentation and not put quotes around the paragraphs written by Andrew C. Skinner which made up the bulk of contention 3 and at least half of contention 2. Moreover, he hasn’t said one thing to his shameless plagiarism, perhaps hoping that his crying wolf will distract from the fact.

Rules of Engagement

In addition to the above, the negative is continuing his trend for abandoning the rules he agreed to. In his opening argument, he diverts from the KJV New Testament for the use of the Joseph Smith Translation, now he isn’t using it at all.

The rule are clear:

1) All bible verses will be provided by www.kingjamesbibleonline.org. Both sides affirm that the NT is not up for debate and is equipped to make our cases. All other outside sources are considered supplementary. Both sides also affirm that Jesus Christ is an infallible authority.”

2) As the debate is centered on the New Testament, it must be used as the primary source material for examination. All other historical data, to include expert commentaries, statistics, etc. is in a purely supportive role.

Not only is the agreed upon New Testament not on display in his rebuttal but also commentaries, historical data, leaving only conjecture and opinions about what he believes about my arguement.

In Defense of Premise 1

Matt 16:15-18

The Negative starts by conceding this piece of my premise. He then tries to distort the issue by giving us a process not found in Matt 16:15-18 or the rest of the New Testament for that matter, “When a Church leader dies in a righteous time in the Church, the Church divinely replaces the leader and moves on. But when a Church leader dies in a apostasy stricken Church, apostasy continues to dissolve the Church. So in the early Christian Church, when the apostles died (in a apostasy stricken Church), the Church fell into apostasy. The now apostate Church didn't divinely replace the apostle, self appointed bishops decided to replace the apostles. So Jesus was right, death will never overcome his Church, but due to agency, apostasy overcame the Church.”

Not only was this idea not found in the New Testament and contradicts the evidence plagiarized from Skinner about the Didache which instructs the church members to appoint Bishops and Deacons with a certain set of criteria, which demonstrates that Bishops and Deacons were not self-appointed as the Negative claims but appointed by the Church body. I’ve also given one example to the contrary where the disciples of the apostles are instructed to pick 7 men who would be deacons in Acts 6 ironically cited by Mr. Skinner.

Matt. 28: 19-20 & John 14:16 & John 16:13-14

As the negative fails to demonstrate a cause for his opinions from the New Testament or anywhere else, they must need no further explanation.

In Defense of Premise 2

The Negative says, “Yes, Jesus Christ promised to build and be with his church, but that doesn't eliminate apostasy.”

My case is not that an individual or groups can become apostate but that the Church Christ established cannot fall into a complete or total apostasy because he promised that death would not prevail against it, He is with it forever, He sent the Holy Spirit to teach and guide it and remain with it forever. I have backed each claim with a promise from the mouth of the Lord in the New Testament it is those infallible promises that negate the idea that His church in its entirety would become an apostate church. If it is the negative’s case that Christ’s promises can be broken or that they don’t matter, the negative has to provide evidence from the New Testament to demonstrate it.

In Defense of Premise 3

The Negative opens by saying, “Jesus Christ will never break his promises, but we can break our promises to Christ if we fall into apostasy.”

But where in the New Testament do the apostles make promises to Christ or establish a covenant? If they had, it would invalidate premise 2 but as the promises Christ made to His Church were not contingent upon anything the ones receiving his promises (His Church) must do or not do. Therefore, allowing death to overcome his church, not being there always, and the Holy Spirit not leading and guiding the Church forever would constitute breaking promises which the negative concedes Christ cannot do.

Further, it would show Christ’s extreme lack of forethought to promise something that would not happen and people could rightly call him a fool to have a foundation that would crumble faster than quicksand. This too is out of the mouth of the master builder as already demonstrated. (Luke 15:28-30)

As to my analogy, it applies perfectly to my premise as it is Christ Himself who describes his Church body as those who would be made orphan and promised he would not leave them orphans. He knows that his Church would be like children lost without their parents and so, has a moral obligation to send a comforter to teach and lead them especially after he guarantees it with a promise.

The negative also tries to distort my analogy proposing the idea that the eight year old was really, bad drug using sexual deviant. Does abandoning this child then become morally good? No, it becomes worse than the analogy I gave because the child clearly needs more help.

Conclusion:

The Debate title is, “New Testament Reveals: A Church Indefectible; or a Great Apostasy” It is that dichotomy that we are investigating as it pertains to the New Testament, not what our opinions and feelings are. The Negative needs to remember that individual apostasy is not on the table. He may be surprised that I agree, that individuals can become apostate from Christ established. (Rom 11:22 and 2 Peter 2:19-22) but my positive claim is that Christ’s promises about His church demonstrates his foreknowledge that his Church is Indefectible because Christ is the head of his church and the Holy Spirit guides and protects it. Comments like, “…he gates of hell shall not prevail against it; “…lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” and “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” are definitive statement that negate a Great Apostasy of the primitive church as described by B.H. Roberts. They do not give an inch for selective interpretation on what forever mean. For ever means for ever, not forever minus 1700 years. Always, even unto the end of the world means, always until the end of the world (without exception). The definitive end, death, not having its normal effect of putting an end to things does not mean that it will until a restoration, and after that it won’t.

The words of Christ in the New Testament are definitive, and their meanings clear and no amount of subjective conjecture is going to distort it.

I ask the voters to consider the plagerism, the disregard for the rules, and cryng wolf.

[1] http://www.mrm.org...

[2] https://www.logicallyfallacious.com...

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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by FollowerofChrist1955 1 year ago
FollowerofChrist1955
You should attend this debate:
Atheism- A lost reality! A hopeless, helpless cause!
Posted by WalkingTarget 1 year ago
WalkingTarget
Shame.
Posted by one2one 1 year ago
one2one
Not many LDS on this site. Good luck to both sides
Posted by chrislee125 1 year ago
chrislee125
"I would also like to thank WalkingTarget for this debate. There is actually way too many things to be grateful for from WalkingTarget. He has practically been my mentor throughout my entire trip here on Debate.org. WalkingTartget is extremely knowledgeable in debate tactics, religious topics, and a plethora of other things. I have learned a lot from him, and I am very excited to be debating him now."

Due to a lack of room in my debate, I had to cut this section out. I really didn't to leave it out of this debate, so I felt it alright just to post it in the comments section.
Posted by WalkingTarget 1 year ago
WalkingTarget
Debate rules:

1) All bible verses will be provided by www.kingjamesbibleonline.org. Both sides affirm that the NT is not up for debate and is equipped to make our cases. All other outside sources are considered supplementary. Both sides also affirm that Jesus Christ is an infallible authority.

2) As the debate is centered on the New Testament, it must be used as the primary source material for examination. All other historical data, to include expert commentaries, statistics, etc. is in a purely supportive role.

3) Cross examination questions are to be presented prior to the opponents 4th round.

4) In the event of round forfeiture, the debate will be rebooted with all posts reposted without alteration and the person who committed the forfeiture will pass the round by writing in, Forfeiture and proceeding.
Amendment to rule 4: Due to an extenuating circumstance, with at least 24 hours notice, an opponent an forfeit and not be penalized on the restart of the debate. Within 24 hours, the matter can be discussed.

Cross Examination Rules:

1) A minimum of three questions are to be answered in the field. As mentioned before all Cross Examination questions are to be presented prior to the answering parties turn.

2) Questions must relate directly to the debate.

a. To clarify, direct relation to the debate means the question;

i. Must be contrived from the New Testament scripture and/or context; or

ii. Be related to the to the supporting evidence of the New Testament, or

iii. Target particular strategies particular strategies using the New Testament.

iv. The one giving answer may not skirt the question.

3) The examiner cannot, at any time, penalize his opponent for failing to answer particular questions but may only respond to those which were answered.
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