Like many of you, I have a best friend. His name is Trevor and if I ever make it to heaven, he’s going to be largely to blame. Trevor and I really enjoy apologetics ( A theological science which has for its purpose the explanation and defence of the Christian religion. ). A lot of people view it as an exercise in pride. Argumentation is viewed as a bad thing nowadays. I don’t see it that way. I see it as an exercise in catechisis. Anyways, we like apologetics, so when a pair of Mormon missionaries found him during a jog and asked if they could come over to talk about the New NEW Testament, he was all over it. We spent the next few Fridays talking to these elders (who were a few years younger than us). I could write pages and pages about that experience. I’ll spare you. One thing Trevor and I couldn’t wrap our heads around was the Mormon doctrine on prophecy. They described the time after Christ as a continuation of the time before Christ. For them, nothing changed. The people of G-d receive a revelation, screw up again, and have to be sent a prophet to fix things. To them, that’s who Joseph Smith was. For Christians (Mormons are not Christians and usually do not claim to be), prophecy ended with the death of the last apostle. To say that we still need prophets after Christ is to say that Christ’s life, death, and resurrection didn’t do much. More problematic, it says that scripture’s account of who Christ was seems to be wrong.
During Advent I always spend time thinking about John the Baptist. We read about him quite a bit in the liturgy during this time of the year. He is described in tradition as the final prophet of the Old Testament, or the Old Covenant. The opening lines of the Gospel of Saint John (different John) tells us why.
In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with G-d
and the Word was G-d
He was in the beginning with G-d.
All things came to be through him
and without him nothing came to be…
and the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
Full of grace and truth.
– John 1:1-3; 14
Prophecy is that which reveals to us something about what is to come. With regards to our faith, prophecy reveals to us something about G-d that we do not know yet. Before Christ, that’s what the people of G-d needed. Once the word was made flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, The Word was spoken. In the person of Christ, The Lord speaks every word he has ever said, every word he ever needed to say, and every word he ever wanted to say to his people. After Christ, things changed. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says it this way:
“In many and various ways G-d spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son.” Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father’s one, perfect and unsurpassable Word. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one.
“The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
If Jesus is The Word of G-d (he is) and if he is truly present in the Eucharist (he is), then the church has no need for prophecy anymore. In the Eucharist, we have the entirety of G-d’s revelation to us; we have Him. In the Eucharist, he whispers to his church everything she ever needed to hear. When we receive him in Holy Communion, we receive everything G-d ever wanted for us. The idea that another prophet was needed after him is irreconcilable with who scripture claims Christ to be. It necessitates opposition to who the Christian G-d has revealed himself to be.
Rey and Trevor: 1
Mormon Elders: 0
December 8, 2013 at 11:06 pm
Yes, Joseph Smith was greatly uninstructed and misled. I believe that his doctrine has changed over time as it was shown not to work too well. I’m sorry for his followers; not their fault. I admire your respect for the Name. Please consider why you would need to spell it with only “G-d” when even the Doctors of the Church and Popes did not. “G-d” even without the “o” still means what it means; it is still the Name and it is understood that you are not taking the Name in vain. Nevertheless, I do respect your respect.
December 9, 2013 at 1:39 am
Thanks for the appreciation! I usually feel like a dope for doing it. I’m actually planning on writing a whole post on it soon. Stick around.
December 11, 2013 at 8:12 pm
Francis, that is a very interesting point.
December 9, 2013 at 1:58 am
Okay, good! 🙂 I’m sorry you feel like a dope. I think it good how you demonstrate respect for the Name. It is admirable. Remember that Jesus referred openly to His Father in Heaven, and we were instructed by Him to pray, “Our Father…” There is intimacy now. 🙂
December 9, 2013 at 6:56 pm
Good stuff Rey. I think what you might be getting at towards the end of your post is the difference between Public revelation and Private revelation. Even now people can share in the gift of prophecy but the difference is that up until the death of the last apostle (John) public revelation (from specifically chosen prophets which the Bible is comprised of) is binding. That means we must believe it. Private revelation is normally meant for the person it is revealed to and can be edifying for others – but others are not bound by it and are not required to believe it. This is the case with various Marian apparitions, miracles… etc.
Great post man!
December 9, 2013 at 7:20 pm
I debated putting that in. I knew I was bringing it up, but I’m trying really hard to keep these things short. Maybe I’ll do a part two.
December 11, 2013 at 8:23 pm
Where to begin with our Mormon brothers and sisters… or with Trevor for that matter? 😉
In all of my conversations with Mormons, they do profess that they are Christians… just with a different view on the godhead. They do not believe in the Holy Trinity, but that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three distinctly different gods.
To be honest, Mormons are the most difficult to have deep theological debate with. They will retreat at the earliest sign of being challenged. IIRC, you experienced this.
I will say this, Mormons are fantastic at educating their young people in their faith, and their sense of community is second to none. We as Catholics could learn something from them in these areas.
December 11, 2013 at 11:39 pm
I got my Mormons to admit that they worship a different being than we do and that they are, therefore, not Christians like us. That’s the issue. The object of their worship is a being which is incompatible with the Christian G-d. Therefore, they are not Christians.