Can you find it....the Original Church of Jesus Christ?

The "Original Church" of Jesus Christ? 17 Tests You Can Apply

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What do we know about Christ's original "church"?

[1] Jesus taught of "the church" (Matthew 18:17); and He "added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47), while in Hebrews 13:8 we can read of "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever." That said, is it true that today He would have many differing churches?

[2] Ephesians 5:23 states "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body." In Ephesians 5:25-26 we are told, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."

[3] Christ said that He (Christ) will build His Church, using Peter, as He has used other men over the centuries. The Book of Acts speaks of prophets in the early days of His Church, and Amos 3:7 states clearly that "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." If His Church spoke of prophets, and if Jesus is unchanging, and if nothing will prevail against His Church, does Christ no longer work through disciples and prophets?

[4] That appears impossible, for listen to what Paul wrote to the Ephesians in Ephesians 2:19-20: "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone;" His Church has apostles and prophets. As with any building, if you take away the foundation, the building itself is changed and endangered. But, His Church is unchanging and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

[5] If that is so, then His Church must be the same as the church which He organized. We read further in Ephesians (4:10-15) that Paul wrote: "He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things. And he gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:". Was Paul recounting all the functions filled in His Church? If so, Paul forgot at least one function which Luke 10:1 mentions: "After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place whither he himself would come."

[6] His Church, unchanging and with Christ as its head, must have divine authority. As Paul admonished the Ephesians not to be carried about with every wind of doctrine or sleight of men's craftiness, His Church isn't something here and something there; it is divine. Listen to John 15:16, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father, in my name, he may give it you." In His Church He chooses and ordains with authority to ask the Father in His name. Later (John 20: 21-23) we are told : "Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." Authority, authority of immense proportions, was given. Was John alone in this recounting of how His Church gained authority in such matters? We read in Paul's letter to the Hebrews (Hebrews 5:4-10) "And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec, Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec." In Acts (6:6) we are also instructed that in their choice of Stephen ("a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost") and others "Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed they laid their hands on them." They ordained them.

[7] What did this ordination mean? It conferred authority. It was the passing on of the original divine authority. Even with our civil authority this heritage is preserved in part by the taking of a holy oath with one hand placed on the Holy Bible. Contrary to such paid positions, however, we read that His Church and His authority is not a group of "hired hands." You may know the story of Cyrus (from Isaiah 45:13.) God called Cyrus for His Church's sake. Isaiah quotes God as saying: "I have raised him up in righteousness and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of hosts." In John also (10:10-14) the "hireling" is spoken of by Jesus saying, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep, But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep." So also in 1 Peter 5:2-3, Peter, the rock on which Christ would build His Church, admonishes "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock." Many churches have "hired hands" doing the work, often in ways purposely designed to promote job security and continued income. There is a relevant quote from Jesus that describes that form of service: "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (from Matthew 6:24)

[8] How do people join His Church? Perhaps a parallel question can also be considered: Why do people join His Church? In Christ's tale of the good shepherd, He prefaced the tale by saying, in John 10:10, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." He was speaking of His sheep who would know Him. Before Christ chose and taught His disciples, He went to his cousin John the Baptist "to be baptized of him. But John forbade him, saying 'I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'" We know that the baptism of John the Baptist continued, but Paul in Ephesus said: "'John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is on Christ Jesus.' When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied." (Acts 19:4-6) Also in Acts 8:12-16 we are told of Philip, and Simon Peter, and John baptizing. Interestingly, while in Samaria Philip "baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" and Peter and John were sent to Samaria by the apostles "Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (for as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost." These Samaritans received baptism first from Philip, but not until the two disciples Peter and John (both) did what was described, did they receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. There is scripture which says Jesus taught "Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:18-19) At the end of [4] above, the scripture was mentioned in which Jesus "appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two" (Luke 10:1). It appears that Philip, who had the same ordination that Peter and John had, could baptize in the name of the Lord Jesus, but it took two with authority to lay their hand prayerfully on the heads of those who had joined His Church, before the gift of the Holy Ghost could be given. Numerous scriptures show the process of joining His Church to be one of repentance, baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus, and the laying on of hands of those in authority to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost. Why? "...that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (Keep in mind that in the reference in Acts 19:4-6 there is reason to believe Luke was with Paul.)

[9] What is life "more abundantly"? Wealth? Actually we are told to store up treasures in heaven where moth and rust will not destroy them. Next to wealth, and before it, rich and poor are agreed that life without health would not be anyone's definition of life "more abundantly." Certainly then, His Church must offer good health as part of Christ's promise of a more abundant life to His sheep who will know Him. Did Jesus Christ organize such a church? In Mark 3:14-15 we are told: "And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:". Luke, who is referred to as a physician, writes "And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God." There are numerous tales of the compassion and healing of Jesus Christ and His disciples. His Church would certainly be one in which divine healing is practiced by those in authority "to preach...to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils".

[10] His Church would not ignore Christ's own teachings on important distinctions between Christ and His Father in heaven. While Christ and His Father and the Holy Ghost are by Christ's own teaching at one in unity and in spirit, Christ also made important distinctions between them. John was perhaps Christ's closest disciple. At His death, Christ proclaimed John as his heir being the son of Mary, Christ's mother, and Mary as the mother of John, that John fulfill Christ's own mortal responsibilities under Jewish law to care for and comfort Mary, when Christ could no longer do so as a mortal son. Despite this closeness and trust, John's gospel states that Jesus said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." Even more to this point (in verse 11) "And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are." John's gospel also recounts what Jesus said to Mary Magdalene in the garden following His resurrection: "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." John's gospel also states clearly and succinctly: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name." (John 21:30-31)

[11] His Church will teach what Jesus taught. To teach any other doctrine would make it at odds with its own cornerstone. What Christ taught has been preserved and comes down to us in the histories, the gospels of his disciples and followers. What did Christ teach them about what God looked like? For this teaching of His Church, let us look at three separate books from the Holy Bible: Luke 24:36-39, Acts 1:9-11, and Hebrews 1:3. The reference in Luke states: "And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." The reference in Acts states: "And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven; shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." And, the reference in Hebrews 13 states that Christ ("whom he [God] hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;") "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.", His Church will teach two basic teachings concerning Christ and Our Heavenly Father; namely, that Christ and Our Heavenly Father are two separate beings, and both have perfected bodies of flesh and bone. The Holy Bible says these are true teachings.

[12] These hints, or tests, for identifying His Church can be helpful to anyone seeking to share in the true blessing of His Church, and here is another: His Church will be a restored church. How do we know this from the Holy Bible? Three references will suffice. In Daniel 2:44 the scripture says: "And in the days of these Kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." This was the end of Daniel's interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream. In Acts 3:19-21 Peter states, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." In Revelation 14:6 is written "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people." When is that "day of Christ"? In his second epistle to the Thessalonians (2:3) Paul wrote "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;".

[13] If His Church must be restored, if His everlasting gospel is to be preached "unto them that dwell on the earth", and if a kingdom shall be set up which shall never be destroyed, how does all this come about? By election, by force, by luck? Hebrews 5:4 states "And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron." And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,..."And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar, Aaron's sons." (Exodus 28:1) And this is explained further in Exodus 40:13-16 in which we are told: "And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest's office. And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats: And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations. Thus did Moses: according to all that the Lord commanded him, so did he." If there should be a falling away, then a restoration of His Church, and if, even with the greatness of a Moses, as God's chosen servant, there is the need for priests to serve in His Church through the anointing of those called as Aaron was called....and if, as we have seen, His Church has a structure and organization which is clearly set forth in the Holy Bible....must there not have been someone "he that is called of God, as was Aaron" with a restored authority to anoint those that are called? Restoring, leading, and serving as priests in His Church would seem to require this, that the priesthood might truly be everlasting throughout their generations.

[14] In Amos 3:7 we read that "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." The very books of the Old Testament recount such relationships between God and "his servants the prophets." The New Testament also has 144 references to "prophet," 37 are in Matthew the very first book of the New Testament, and they continue through the New Testament to eight in The Revelation of St, John The Divine. In fact, Revelation 22:6 defines God as "the Lord God of the holy prophets" and says that He "sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done." If God has restored His Church, would it be restored without prophets?

[15] The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all have final chapters that speak of Jesus Christ charging his disciples that they teach, baptize, and care for the peoples of all the world. Matthew recounts this charge in these words of Christ: "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 alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Mark states: "And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen." Luke states: "then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." In John, in addition to the repetition of Christ's charge to Peter that Peter "Feed my lambs...Feed my sheep...Feed my sheep" John recounts in 20:30-31, "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." Surely His Church, following His own commandments as his original disciples did, would also beware of His caution in the Sermon on The Mount (Matthew 7:15-20) to "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them" His prophets cannot bring forth evil fruit; His disciples, as branches of Christ, cannot in His name bring forth works or doctrine of thorns and thistles. Those pretending to be His prophets, but working iniquity, cannot bring forth good fruit. If, therefor, a church is restored, led by a prophet (or prophets) and apostles, whose works and fruits are good, and whose prophecies in the name of the Lord are true, and whose followers enjoy life more abundantly for their following of Christ's teachings and commandments, and whose priests are called of God and anointed with authority as was Aaron, it certainly merits investigation and testing by such tests of truthfulness as the Holy Bible provides.

[16] In the "falling away" spoken of in the Bible there is given the presumption that one or more characteristics of His Church must be lost. The one most certainly lost is that of divine authority. When a person, be he prophet or publican, falls away from God's teachings and commandments, he no longer acts by God's authority, just as we cannot gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles. If all members of His Church were to follow false prophets, practice false teachings, perform false ceremonies, and in the end pervert true teachings and true commandments, then certainly His Church would need to be restored. There is a unique ceremony of His Church which Paul refers to only in the context of Paul's forceful teaching that Jesus Christ was resurrected and that Christians have truth on their side in hoping for their own resurrection. Paul is writing to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 15:16-29): "For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is in vain, ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him, that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead ?" Paul is in the midst of a critical piece of teaching on the resurrection, Christ's role in God's plan, and Christ as the Son of God. He would not choose such a moment to introduce a frivolous subject, and as a true disciple of Christ he would certainly not teach false doctrine. Paul mentions here a ceremony of the early days of His Church...baptism for the dead for their hope and sleep ln Christ, just as those who learned of and believed in Christ were "fallen asleep in Christ." Certainly for those who were taught of Christ and believed and shared in the promise of the resurrection Paul is discussing, there must have been the question: "But what of those who have died without such knowledge and promise; are they lost?" What of those who have searched for His Church during the time of the "falling away"? Were they doomed because they failed to find it? Paul's reference in the midst of such a serious letter to the Corinthians (and with no further teaching on the subject) deals with a ceremony that needed no further explanation because it was not new to them; it was held up as an example, not as a curiosity, not as new doctrine. Consider for a minute the sacred nature of baptism, and the sacred reverence the living continue to have for the dead. Consider the importance Paul attached to writing his letter to the Corinthians, and its preservation to this day. Would baptism for the dead have been a false doctrine introduced by Paul into such a context? In the restoration of His Church would baptism for the dead also be restored? Perhaps that is part of the meaning of 1 Peter 4:6 where we read: For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

[17] "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines." If this teaching from Hebrews 13:8-9 has validity for us today, then we know that Christ did not change and his followers are not to be "carried about with divers and strange doctrines." If there is a church of Jesus Christ, His Church will be the same yesterday, today, and forever. Can you find it?...The Original Church of Jesus Christ? Perhaps these hints, these guideposts from the Holy Bible, can truly help you to do so. Amen

A last word, as it were, from Paul: " Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like-minded having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind." (Philippians 2:2)

© 1989 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.





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Comments 27 comments

Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

Wow! What an amazingly scholarly hub. I wish I had your faith. Very interesting and well written.


SimpleGiftsofLove profile image

SimpleGiftsofLove 4 years ago from Colorado

Thorough, truthful, and thoughtful, what a great presentation, and of course hub. Up, interesting, useful beautiful and meaningful. Thanks!


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 4 years ago from USA- Florida

Perspycacious:

Good Hub Bro. Ephesians 4:11-16 is a very important verse that speaks to us today. I wrote a hub called "Every Wind of Doctrine" that discusses this same problem.

The average American christian today can not differentiate between strange and sound doctrines. It is a huge problem and is a sign of the times.

Thanks for speaking out my friend keep up the good work.

ABR


EphremHagos profile image

EphremHagos 4 years ago from Addis Ababa

With backward and forward linkages in time and place, the series of contexts ascertain beyond any doubt that "my church" refers to Jesus Christ's once-and-for-all DEFINING MOMENT, a.k.a., perpetual self-revelation, as "life-giving Spirit" with absolute authority over death and "complete freedom" of true worship of God in "a new way, a living way".

[Matt. 16: 13-28; 17: 1-13 (parallel to Luke 9: 1-13); 22: 29-32; 26: 26-29, 64; 27: 50-56; Acts 2; Heb. 10: 19-25; Rev. 5]


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond Author

First attempt at publishing in book form didn't fit the publisher's schedule though credit was given for the "thorough research". Any Hubber out there with a suggestion for a possibly interested publisher? Looking for the next one to contact. Thanks to EphremHagos, Abrushing1968, Simplegiftsoflove, and Gypsy Willow for taking the time for a long read and thoughtful comments.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

Thank you for such a wonderful hub. Even though I am a Christian and I do love God and Jesus for fogiving my sins there is always a lot to learn and you are helping me to do that. I do pray you find your publisher, you are worth it.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond Author

Thank you Michele. The search gets distracted, but it is ongoing and will come to fruition. I am so glad that at least it is available here on HubPages where anyone seriously intereted in understanding the original church can find it. I enjoy your Hubs, too. We are all learning as we practice what we know to be true.


SamboRambo profile image

SamboRambo 4 years ago from Salt Lake City, Utah

Wow! It sounds like you are a member of my church. I invite you to go to my homepage and read my hubs. Then let me know if I'm right. Voted up.


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

This hub was well put together and researched pointing out great points of the true church of Christ. I am a member of the church that fits all of these points in exactness and more, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have been a member for 20 years as of March 29 2012. I discovered the church through a relative but considered it after two elders from the church knocked at my door. I was 15 years old. I have accepted Christ as my personal savior earlier after reading the Book of Mormon earlier that year in 1992. I did not know the book was associated with The Church of Jesus Christ at the time. Once they presented their message, I took their advice after they left and prayed to God about whether or not they spoke the truth. I felt His presence and He answered me yes. After that, I accept all they told me. I have since found out other things from God that give me a sure knowledge of my choice back then, and I continue to prayerful consider all that I hear from God whether in personal prayer or from a prophet's voice. I like being in control of my religious beliefs. I don't have to ask anyone if what I believe is true but God and he assures me of it, especially when I want to give into the anti-Christ forces of the day. Having the Gift of the Holy Ghost to guide my path helps me to stay focused on living a Christian life and being willing to know that without Jesus, I am not able to return to live with my Father in Heaven. I know that God gives His words to all that will hear. From what you have written, you have given people a guide to find the truth. I love it.Thank you for your words.


SamboRambo profile image

SamboRambo 4 years ago from Salt Lake City, Utah

Amen, Rodric.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond Author

We might each ask ourselves how much of what we believe is because we were "born into it" and how much is because we "sought it out"? Is it "my" belief or did I "inherit it"? Am I a Methodist because my family always went to that church and I still do? Am I Catholic by tradition and because I understand its beliefs better than any that other people believe? Are the only people I admire, the ones who adhere to my same beliefs, or is there something of value they may have found that I could benefit from understanding? These may be valid questions to consider in our own search for deeper understandings of who we are, where we came from, and what happens after this mortal life ends.


SamboRambo profile image

SamboRambo 4 years ago from Salt Lake City, Utah

In my case, I'm LDS. I believe a true follower is one who is "converted," whether brought up in his church or not. I fell away from the LDS Church for while, doubting. Later, the Spirit began to work on me, and then a true conversion began to take place. I'm grateful to the Lord that He nourished my heart during my "hard" times, so that I could feel the Spirit when He began His work on me. It turns out I really didn't have my own testimony beforehand; only a "copied" one.

Therefore, I am a Mormon not because I was brought up in the Church, but because I was converted through the manifestations and teachings of the Holy Ghost.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond Author

SamboRambo: Are you aware of the testimony of the non-Mormon professor who completed the translation of the Book of Mormon into Afrikaans? Here is a recounting of what he had to say as the translation and publication was first made available:

Die Boek van Mormon

by John M. Pontius

I was searching through my books in storage a few days ago and came across a first edition of the Book of Mormon in Afrikaans. I served a mission in South African from 1971 to 1973. It was an interesting and challenging experience.

I attended the Stake Conference in Johannesburg on May 14, 1972 when the new translation of the Book of Mormon into Afrikaans (Die Boek van Mormon) was presented. It was an electric moment. People wept. Some had waited all of their lifetimes to read the Book of Mormon in Afrikaans. Many people had learned English for the sole purpose of reading this scripture. The Spirit was strong among us as we rejoiced.

Remembering back more than 50 years, I can still remember Professor Felix Mynhardt as he spoke of his experience in translating that sacred book. We also had a special Zone conference a few days prior where our Mission President, Harlan Clark, recounted his involvement and experience of getting the Book of Mormon translated. I had a good friend who was an Assistant to President Clark, and who later shared with me his experiences of being in meetings with Professor Mynhardt and Elder Clark several times. I can no longer remember who said what exactly, but I remember what I felt, and how it affected my newly-minted testimony as a young missionary. I will retell it as best I can recall.

Professor Mynhardt was invited to come to the stand and speak about his experience in translating the Book of Mormon. He recounted how he had been given a gift of languages from God from his youth. He said that he was fluent in many languages, including English, Afrikaans, Hebrew and Egyptian, as well as many others. He was presently employed at Pretoria Univerist as a language professor. He said he had been praying that the Lord would give him some task, some divinely important task, that would justify his having this gift of language from God.

He said in about 1970 that he had visited a group of Mormon leaders, including a Bishop Brummer, Mission President Harlan Clark and others, who sought to commission him to translate the Book of Mormon from English into Afrikaans. He said that he knew of the Book of Mormon from his religions studies, and his initial reaction was that he did not want to be involved in translating it.

However, that evening, as he prayed upon his knees, as was his habit, he said the Spirit of the Lord convicted him. The message was something on the order of, “You asked me for a great, divinely inspired task of translation, I sent it to you in the form of translating the Book of Mormon, and you declined.” Professor Mynardt said he could not sleep through the night because he knew that translating the Book of Mormon would get him into trouble with his university, which was owned and operated by the Dutch Reformed Church. When morning came he telephoned Elder Clark to inform him that he would begin the translation immediately.

He stood at the pulpit and described the experience. He said, “I never begin translating a book at the beginning. Writing style usually changes through a book, and becomes more consistent toward the middle. Accordingly, I opened to a random place in the middle of the Book of Mormon, and began translating.” He said, “I was startled by the obvious fact that the Book of Mormon was not authored in English. He said, “It became immediately apparent that what I was reading was a translation into English from some other language. The sentence structure was wrong for native English. The word choices were wrong, as were many phrases.” He said, “How many times has an Englishman said or written, ‘And it came to pass?’” We all laughed, and knew he was right, of course.

He continued, “When I realized this, I knew that I had to find the original language, and translate it back into the original language, or a similar language to the original, and then proceed to translate it into Afrikaans. He listed a half-dozen languages he tried, all of which did not accommodate the strange sentence structure found in the Book of Mormon. He said, “I finally tried Egyptian, and to my complete surprise, I found that the Book of Mormon translated flawlessly into Egyptian, not modern, but ancient Egyptian. I found that some nouns were missing from Egyptian, so I added Hebrew nouns where Egyptian did not provide the word or phrase. I chose Hebrew because both languages existed in the same place anciently.”

“I had no idea at that time why the Book of Mormon was once written in Egyptian, but I can tell you without any doubt, that this book was at one point written entirely in Egyptian.” I heard him say this over and over. Then, he said, “Imagine my utter astonishment when I turned to chapter one, verse one and began my actual translation and came to verse two, where Nephi describes that he was writing in the language of the Egyptians, with the learning of the Jews!”

He said, “I knew by the second verse, that this was no ordinary book, that it was not the writings of Joseph Smith, but that it was of ancient origin and was in fact scripture. I could have saved myself months of work if I had just begun at the beginning. Nobody but God, working through a prophet of God, in this case Nephi, would have included a statement of the language he was writing in. Consider, how many documents written in English, include the phrase, “we are writing in English!” It is unthinkable and absolute proof of the inspired origins of this book.

He paused, then noted, “I am one of the few people in the world that is fluent in ancient Egyptian. I am perhaps the only person fluent in ancient Egyptian who is also fluent in Afrikaans and English. And I know for a fact, that I am the only person alive who could have translated this book first into Egyptian, and then into Afrikaans. If your church ever needs an Egyptian translation of the Book of Mormon, it is sitting in my office as we speak.” We all laughed.

Professor Mynhardt spoke of many other things regarding the translation of this book, and then said, “I do not know what Joseph Smith was before he translated this book, and I do not know what he was afterward, but while he translated this book, he was a prophet of God! I know he was a prophet! I testify to you that he was a prophet while he brought forth this book! He could have been nothing else! No person in 1827 could have done what he did. The science did not exist. The knowledge of ancient Egyptian did not exist. The knowledge of these ancient times and ancient peoples did not exist. The Book of Mormon is scripture. I hope you realize this.”

“I have since been asked to translate the book you call the Doctrine and Covenants. I got part way through and set it down. It is not like the Book of Mormon. Anyone could translate it into Afrikaans. It is not scripture in the same sense that the Book of Mormon is scripture. I declare that the Book of Mormon is of ancient origin, and is scripture of the same caliber as the Old Testament, or for that matter, the New Testament.”

“I have taken this book of scripture, this Book of Mormon, and presented it to my Board of Regents, and urged them to embrace it as scripture. They declined, of course. I took it to the head of our Dutch Reformed Church and demonstrated why the Book of Mormon is scripture, and urged them to at least study it, even if they did not canonize it or even share it with the people of the church. I urged them to just think what having a new and profound book of scripture could mean to the church, to my church, the Dutch Reformed Church. I pointed out that they need not become Mormons, in the same way that they did not need to become Jews to embrace the Old Testament. They considered my presentation for a very few seconds and then rejected it. They next threatened me regarding my belief in the Book of Mormo


SamboRambo profile image

SamboRambo 4 years ago from Salt Lake City, Utah

I really enjoyed that. Thanks for sharing it.

It's funny that in his last sentence, he used the word "threatened," then left off writing abruptly. No connection?


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond Author

SamboRambo: For some reason, perhaps length, the cut and posted of the story behind the Afrikaans translation did not print all of the article. Here is the rest:

"They next threatened me regarding my belief in the Book of Mormon, threatened my employment, and ejected me from their presence. I am deeply disappointed, but I am not deterred. I will keep promoting this book as scripture for the remainder of my life – simply because it is scripture, and I know it.”

He paused then added, “I am not a member of your church, and do not expect to become one. I have been asked why I have not joined your church many times, and my answer is because God has not directed me to join you. If He had, I would be standing here as a fellow Mormon. Perhaps my mission in life is better served outside of your church. I haven’t studied your doctrine or your history since Joseph Smith. The only thing I know about you is that you have authentic, ancient scripture in the Book of Mormon, that your church was begun by a living and true prophet of God, and that all of the world should embrace the Book of Mormon as scripture. It simply can’t be denied. I believe every religion could embrace the Book of Mormon without becoming a Mormon. You probably disagree with that, but it is my present belief, and my message to anyone who will listen.”

I have pondered that experience for half of a century now. I do not know if Professor Mynhardt ever joined the church. I know my memory of his exact words is wanting, but my memory of what I felt and what I knew and how potent it was to hear his testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon is one of those things that I will never forget.

Brother John

© March 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.

Mr. P.


SamboRambo profile image

SamboRambo 4 years ago from Salt Lake City, Utah

"Oh, yes! A great ending!"


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I enjoyed this addition to the hub. I want to find out about this person now because i served a mission in the Cape Town South Africa Mission from 1998 to 2000. Maybe I met a descendant.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond Author

SamboRambo: Just as the original witnesses never changed their testimonies, so it is with this one. What a great insight by an "outsider."


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond Author

Rodric29: Have you had any luck in expsnding on the story? I hope you have and that you will let us read of it.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

I had to vote up on this hub even though it took a loooong time to read it. :-) Excellent sermon, adding to my testimony. Thank you for taking time to present this.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond Author

vocalcoach: Oh yes, there was a lot of typing along with the research and organizing. Interestingly I found out later that four friends had resolved to do this same research and came up with their own similar list, and about four years later (perhaps after Vietnam experiences) three of the four had joined the same church based on that same research. It was confirming news to me and felt validating.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 3 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond Author

Lost: Living Apostles (by 100 A.D.) Living Prophets (by the end of the 1st Century) The Seventy (by the end of the 1st Century) Belief in a personal God (by 320 A.D.) Belief in the divinty of Christ (by 200 A.D.) Being "called as was Aaron" (by the end of the 1st Century) A lay clergy (largely lost by the 4th Century) Gifts of the Holy Spirit (unknown after Constantine) Christians called "Saints" (discontinued after 250 A.D.) Continuous Revelation (Stops after the 1st Century) Additional scripture (ended by the end of the 1st Century) Baptism by immersion (sprinkling began in the 2nd Century) Sacrament of the Lord's Supper (changed after Constantine) Belief in a physical resurrection (Rejected during the 1st Century) Gospel preached to the dead and Baptism for the dead (was unknown after the 3rd Century).

Paul wrote that Christ would not return "except there come a falling away first" (See 2 Thessalonians 2:3) Would you say the falling away occurred?


Perspycacious 3 years ago

You can still find it, bcause between 1829 and 1840 all those characeristics of the original church of Jesus Christ were restored. That church is named "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" and over 14,000,000 have found it. You can, too.

One other aspect should be considered. Christ taught in the temple, as did his apostles after him. Truth is still taught in temples today, and those 14,000,000 members have built and paid for a temple near you where worthy, baptised members of His church can unite in prayer and worship God our Father, and then go forth to be of service.


SheGetsCreative profile image

SheGetsCreative 16 months ago from Seattle, WA

Enjoyed the hub - always good to read someone else's perspective.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 16 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond Author

SheGetsCreative - Perhaps there are as many different perspectives as there are writers who tackle that subject. I tried my best to base the Hub on what could be found in the Bible.

That you read this Hub to understand "someone else's perspective" is a tribute to your approach to reading.

That you enjoyed reading about my perspective is thanks enough and more.


Ephrem Hagos 16 months ago

The FORWARDING ADDRESS for the original church of Jesus Christ, a.k.a., "my church", which is a typically altruistic reference to post-incarnate revelation (by the Holy Spirit) of his own divine identity and absolute authority, is known.

Personal KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST is possible by prayerful following the signs: "not even death will ever be able to overcome it", i.e., "the God of the living, not of the dead”. (Matt. 16:18; 22: 29-32; 27: 50-53)

That is how Simon Peter’s U-TURN confession, “It was impossible that death should hold him prisoner”, precipitated the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. (Acts 2)


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 16 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond Author

Thanks for contributing here, and probably for the long time spent reading this Hub. May God bless your righteous activities this day and always

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