January 15, 2017 3 Comments
We believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
Since the LDS Sunday Schools are studying the revelations of Joseph Smith this year, I thought I would contribute a little complication to our usually brief narrative of priesthood and our connection of that idea to the New Testament. Enjoy.
Once upon a time, Judaism and Christianity were one. That is, Christians were seen as a Jewish sect. You can see this in Luke’s account of what Paul says at Rome, Acts 28. The Jewish community there (it was pretty important, some Jewish high priests ended up there and the church there was likely established by missionaries from Jerusalem) speak about the believers in Jesus as a sect, a division of Jews.
17 After three days he called together the local leaders of the Jews; and when they had gathered, he said to them, “Brethren, though I had done nothing against the people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. 18 When they had examined me, they wished to set me at liberty, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. 19 But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar—though I had no charge to bring against my nation. 20 For this reason therefore I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.” 21 And they said to him, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brethren coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you. 22 But we desire to hear from you what your views are; for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.” [RSV]
While Paul worked mostly among Gentiles, it was because he was unable get Jews in the diaspora to listen to him. And he grew angry over Jerusalem Jews coming into his Gentile branches and breaking the rules agreed to about preaching to Gentiles. See his letter to the Galatians. [This looks ahead to part 3 of this series.]
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