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Can the Gates of Hell prevail against the Church?

 
 

The Mormons are here: I stopped by a friend’s house and she had a smile on her face and seemed to be very excited to see me.  As I walked in I noticed, to the left, two young men wearing suits.  When I saw the suits, the first thought that came to mind was that the Mormons are here.  I didn’t know anything about Mormons.  I was hungry and I wasn’t in a Mormon talking mood!  And so I mentioned that I couldn’t stay long; I was just stopping by and I was on my way to get something to eat.  I was just trying to get out of there. It is kind of like the Jonah and the whale, Jonah was going one way and God was calling him another.  And so, God sends a whale to get Jonah turned around.  No, I was not swallowed by a whale!  How could I, she wouldn’t let me out of the house.  She said; “I have some nice warm rolls for you!” and I was hungry."   For those who are tempted to think that I am rather shallow and superficial because I didn’t want to talk to the Mormons before I had something to eat, just remember this, it only took a couple sweet rolls to get me turned; it took a whole whale to get Jonah turned around.

So, now I am sitting in her living room. One Mormon was sitting on the couch and the other was sitting on the floor. I asked them who was they’re founder? They said, Joseph Smith. I asked them, when was their church founded and they told me 1830. I then asked them what happened to the church between the death of last Apostle and 1830 when your church was founded. They said that the church had apostatized and there was no true Church in all of those centuries.

This came as a surprise to me because I had never heard anyone say there was no true church lasting for centuries, up to the point of the founding of another Church. I mentioned to them that it was Jesus who said, "I will build my Church and THE GATES OF THE NETHER WORLD WILL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT" (Mt. 16:19).  I further explained to them that if the Church had apostatized and there was no one true Church for all those centuries then the Bible was wrong. This would mean that the gates of the nether world did prevail against the Church during those centuries when there was no Church.  And so in order for this to be true, Jesus was either a liar or sadly mistaken.  I could not accept either one of these scenarios. So then I asked them, what they had to say about this. The Mormon sitting on the floor looked up at the other one on the couch and said; “You can answer that one!”  They had no answer.

The point is this; there has to be ONE true Church established by Jesus Christ in every century or the gates of Hell did prevail against it, in those centuries and the Bible and Jesus are wrong. In the Apostles Creed it says; “I believe in ONE holy catholic and Apostolic Church.” This is the same creed that is said in Catholic, Lutheran and some other Churches. But, was the Church really ONE as we say in the Apostles Creed? Or was the Church an abstract invisible reality that embraces a multitude of contradictory theologies? What does the Bible say? 

  • Jesus said; “May they all be ONE, just as, Father, you are in me and I am in you, so that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me. I have given them the glory you gave to me, that they may be ONE as we are ONE. With me in them and you in me, may they be so perfected in UNITY that the world will recognize that it was you who sent me and that you have loved them as you have loved me” (Jn 17:21:23).
     
  • The Apostle Paul said; “Take every care to preserve the UNITY of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. There is ONE Body, ONE Spirit, just as ONE hope is the goal of your calling by God. There is ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, and ONE God and Father of all, over all, through all and within all” (Eph 4:3-6). 

I can believe Jesus and Paul who say the Church must be ONE or I can believe those who say the Church is a multitude of contradictory theologies. The Church was and is ONE; and it has been ONE in every generation up to the present.   And those who believe there was no true Church for many centuries are at odds with the words of Jesus.  "I will build my Church and THE GATES OF THE NETHER WORLD WILL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT."