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CHAPTER 3
CHAPTER 4
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CHAPTER 25
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CHAPTER 29
CHAPTER 30
CHAPTER 31
CHAPTER 32
APPENDIX 'A'
APPENDIX 'B'
APPENDIX 'C'
APPENDIX 'D'
BIBLIOGRAPHY
FOOTNOTES & THE END
ALMA 7:10 - SETTLED!
“AND IT CAME TO PASS”
GUEST OP-ED: WHAT'S WRONG WITH THOSE STUPID MORMONS?
FRED PHELPS' DEPRAVITY!
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TRUTH IN LOVE TO MORMONS . COM
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PLURAL MARRIAGE COMMANDED BY GOD
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LORI MCGREGOR TALKS TWADDLE
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JESUS TELLS CHRISTIANS TO FORSAKE THEIR SINS
A STINGING COMPLAINT AGAINST CONCERNED CHRISTIANS
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RENDELL'S DISHONEST CLAIMS
DOUG HARRIS BETRAYER & PROMISE BREAKER
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UNIVERSALISM TAUGHT - DR HANSON'S THOUGHTS
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BOGUS 'DR' JAY DEE NELSON
GB HANCOCK
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BRINKERHOFF'S EGREGIOUS ERROR
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BRINKERHOFF'S TREACHERY EXPOSED - 2
IS ANTI-MORMONISM CHRISTIAN ?
DANGEROUS FUNDAMENTALISM
"THE GOD-MAKERS"
GODMAKERS AND THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS - AN EDITORIAL
ERYL DAVIES
IS GOD IMMATERIAL?
THE VISIBLE GOD
EGYPTIAN INFLUENCE IN ANCIENT PALESTINE
EGYPTIAN INFLUENCE ON HEBREW THOUGHT AND LITERATURE
SEPARATING THE WHEAT FROM THE CHAFF
BEECHER ON MORMONS AND THE BIBLE
SALVATION & BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD
JESUS PREACHED IN HELL TO SAVE SOULS
THE JOHANNINE COMMA
EZEKIEL'S STICKS
BOOK OF MORMON
EVIDENCES OF THE BOOK OF MORMON
TEMPLES
JOSEPH SMITH'S OWN STORY
ELDER OAKS AT HARVARD LAW SCHOOL
SOME CHRISTIANS TELL LIES FOR CASH
MISCELLANY
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
THE WALL OF TRUTH & THE WALL OF SHAME
THE PERSECUTION CULTUS
INSANITY AWARDS
DAN CORNER CORNERED & PITCHFORKED!
ISAIAH 29 & THE BOOK OF MORMON
BOM CHANGES
AM I AN ANTI-MORMON?
WHY I AM A MORMON
COMPACT DISCS
THE INSANITY OF ANTI-MORMONISM
A FALSE DICHOTOMY - MORMONISM OR CHRISTIANITY - WHY MUST I CHOOSE WHEN I CAN BE BOTH AT THE SAME TIME?
A MORMON ANSWERS
DEIFICATION - THEOSIS CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE
SALVATION FOR THE DEAD - A BIBLE TEACHING
THE CHRIST OF MORMONISM IS THE CHRIST OF THE HOLY BIBLE
THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM
ON THE HOLY TRINITY
BIBLE TEACHINGS THAT DO NOT SUPPORT THE TRINITY - 01
AN EXAMPLE OF ANTI-MORMON FOOLISHNESS
A CASE STUDY ~ ANTI-MORMON ATTITUDES
JP HOLDING'S BOOK, "THE MORMON DEFENDERS"
ARE YOU PREPARED FOR HIM?
THE STANDARD OF TRUTH
BLACK MUSEUM OF ANTI-MORMONISM
THE SALAMANDER LETTER
DANITES - THE MYTH
I HAD A DREAM - A CAUTIONARY TALE
CARELESS TALK - DR MICHAEL L BROWN
LINKS FOR FURTHER STUDY

  

Responses by Ronnie Bray

to Misinformation Published as:

What Does Mormonism Teach? 

by Matt Slick

From: CARM.org on Mormonism [in black font throughout]

  

The doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) are very interesting. Most of the 'odd' ones are not initially taught to potential converts. But they should be. Instead, "they are revealed later as one matures and gains the ability to accept them."  The LDS Church tries to make its official doctrines appear Christian but what underlies those Christian sounding terms is far from Christian in meaning.

  

Following are the teachings of its officials throughout the years.  Please note that these teachings are documented from Mormon writers, not anti-Mormon writers.

  

Finally, many Mormons respond that most of the citations below are not from official Mormon writings, as if that disproves the doctrines they teach.  If they are not official, fine.  But, if not, then why have the Mormon apostles and high officials taught them, written them, and why are their books sold in Mormon bookstores?  The truth is, the following is what Mormons are taught.

  

CARM asks: " ... why are their books sold in Mormon bookstores?"

 

Because 'Mormon' Bookstores are Bookstiore that for the most part are owned and run by individual Mormons and they are free to stock and sell whatever they choose.  Clearly, CARM wants to control what Latter-day Saint business people can and cannot stock and sell in their private businesses! A very revealing statement as to the true nature of CARM.org.

    Atonement

  

        "Jesus paid for all our sins when He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane," (Laurel Rohlfing, “Sharing Time: The Atonement,” Friend, Mar. 1989, p. 39.).

  

Ronnie Bray responds [in red font throughout]: 

  

The line in quotes comes from a story told by Paul H Dunn, one time member of the Quorum of Seventy, now deceased.  Dunn is retelling a story about forgiveness and atonement using the words his father used when young Paul sent a baseball through the window of a local church’s stained glass window, and the ministers came to his house to be compensated.  

  

This selective use of a third hand quote is typical of Anti-Mormons that scour Mormon writings and works to find a word or a sentence that they can turn to sinister use.  With such a fine ability to track down single words and short phrases it is evident that they pass by perhaps hundreds of substantial theological works that tell how Latter-day Saints [Mormons] actually do view the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  This is part of the story used by writer Laurel Rohlfingin an article correctly attributed to “Sharing Time: The Atonement,” from the children’s LDS Magazine, The Friend, used for 3 to 11 year old children.  Since children of that age are unlikely to be able to follow profound theological expositions, any more than Paul Slick seems to be, the stories are intentionally aimed and weighted to the understanding of children.  In this story, eleven years old Paul Dunn scored a home run through the window of a nearby church’s stained glass window.  The ministers were in his hiome when Paul went to tell his parents what he had done.  The passage to which Slick refers is:

  

“Paul admitted to the ministers that he had hit the ball that had broken the window and told them that he was very sorry.  Paul’s father put his arm around his son’s shoulder, patted him on the head, and said, “This is a good boy.” He, too, apologised [to the two ministers] for the mishap and asked how much it would cost to replace the stained glass window. They told him that it would be about $500.

  

It was then that his father taught young Paul a great lesson. He asked the ministers if they understood the principle of Christ’s atonement. They seemed a little puzzled. His father said, 

  

“In our Church, we believe that ‘through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel’” (third article of faith). He explained that the atonement allows each of us to be forgiven of our sins if we repent. Jesus paid for all our sins when He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane. As the only perfect person who ever lived on earth, He was the only one who could do this for us. We could not do it for ourselves. Without His sacrifice, we could never be forgiven of our sins and would not be able to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus again.

  

Paul’s father pointed out that although Paul had broken a window, he could never pay for it himself. His allowance of 25¢ a week would never pay for a $500 window. Taking his chequebook from his coat pocket, he wrote out a check for the amount needed and said, “As Paul’s father, and because I love him, I will pay the price that he cannot.”

  

This experience helped Paul understand what Jesus did for us when He atoned for our sins. At this Easter time we can be thankful that Heavenly Father loved us enough to send His Son so that we can be forgiven when we do something wrong.”  

  

Let me expand Mr Slick’s understanding of the Mormon view of the Atonement of Jesus Christ by introducing him to authoritative statements made by Latter-day Saints on the subject.

  

“Is the cross important to our faith?  The answer is an unequivocal yes! The Redeemer’s suffering on the cross is vitally important to us and is an inseparable part of the Atonement, through which He suffered and died for our sins and thereby provided us with a clear path to salvation and exaltation.”  [Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer Of the Seventy.  Ensign, July 2011]  

  

Rich meaning is found in study of the word atonement in the Semitic languages of Old Testament times. In Hebrew, the basic word for atonement is kaphar, a verb that means “to cover” or “to forgive.” 19 Closely related is the Aramaic and Arabic word kafat, meaning “a close embrace”—no doubt related to the Egyptian ritual embrace. References to that embrace are evident in the Book of Mormon. One states that “the Lord hath redeemed my soul … ; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.” 20 Another proffers the glorious hope of our being “clasped in the arms of Jesus.” 21

  

I weep for joy when I contemplate the significance of it all. To be redeemed is to be atoned—received in the close embrace of God with an expression not only of His forgiveness, but of our oneness of heart and mind. What a privilege! And what a comfort to those of us with loved ones who have already passed from our family circle through the gateway we call death!

  

Scriptures teach us more about the word atonement. The Old Testament has many references to atonement, which called for animal sacrifice. Not any animal would do. Special considerations included:

  

 • the selection of a firstling of the flock, without blemish, 22

 • the sacrifice of the animal’s life by the shedding of its blood, 23

 • death of the animal without breaking a bone, and 24

 • one animal could be sacrificed as a vicarious act for another. 25

  

The Atonement of Christ fulfilled these prototypes of the Old Testament. He was the firstborn Lamb of God, without blemish. His sacrifice occurred by the shedding of blood. No bones of His body were broken—noteworthy in that both malefactors crucified with the Lord had their legs broken. 26 And His was a vicarious sacrifice for others.

  

While the words atone or atonement, in any of their forms, appear only once in the King James translation of the New Testament, 27 they appear 35 times in the Book of Mormon. 28 As another testament of Jesus Christ, it sheds precious light on His Atonement, as do the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. Latter-day revelation has added much to our biblical base of understanding.

  

Infinite Atonement

  

In preparatory times of the Old Testament, the practice of atonement was finite—meaning it had an end. It was a symbolic forecast of the definitive Atonement of Jesus the Christ. His Atonement is infinite—without an end. 29 It was also infinite in that all humankind would be saved from never-ending death. It was infinite in terms of His immense suffering. It was infinite in time, putting an end to the preceding prototype of animal sacrifice. It was infinite in scope—it was to be done once for all. 30 And the mercy of the Atonement extends not only to an infinite number of people, but also to an infinite number of worlds created by Him. 31 It was infinite beyond any human scale of measurement or mortal comprehension.

  

Jesus was the only one who could offer such an infinite atonement, since He was born of a mortal mother and an immortal Father. Because of that unique birthright, Jesus was an infinite Being.

  

The Ordeal of the Atonement

  

The ordeal of the Atonement centered about the city of Jerusalem. There the greatest single act of love of all recorded history took place. 32 Leaving the upper room, Jesus and His friends crossed the deep ravine east of the city and came to a garden of olive trees on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives. There in the garden bearing the Hebrew name of Gethsemane—meaning “oil-press”—olives had been beaten and pressed to provide oil and food. There at Gethsemane, the Lord “suffered the pain of all men, that all … might repent and come unto him.” 33 He took upon Himself the weight of the sins of all mankind, bearing its massive load that caused Him to bleed from every pore. 34

  

Later He was beaten and scourged. A crown of sharp thorns was thrust upon His head as an additional form of torture. 35 He was mocked and jeered. He suffered every indignity at the hands of His own people. “I came unto my own,” He said, “and my own received me not.” 36 Instead of their warm embrace, He received their cruel rejection. Then He was required to carry His own cross to the hill of Calvary, where He was nailed to that cross and made to suffer excruciating pain.

  

Later He said, “I thirst.” 37 To a doctor of medicine, this is a very meaningful expression. Doctors know that when a patient goes into shock because of blood loss, invariably that patient—if still conscious—with parched and shriveled lips cries for water.

  

Even though the Father and the Son knew well in advance what was to be experienced, the actuality of it brought indescribable agony. “And [Jesus] said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” 38 Jesus then complied with the will of His Father. 39 Three days later, precisely as prophesied, He rose from the grave. He became the firstfruits of the Resurrection. He had accomplished the Atonement, which could give immortality and eternal life to all obedient human beings. All that the Fall allowed to go awry, the Atonement allowed to go aright.

  

The Savior’s gift of immortality comes to all who have ever lived. But His gift of eternal life requires repentance and obedience to specific ordinances and covenants. Essential ordinances of the gospel symbolize the Atonement. Baptism by immersion is symbolic of the death, burial, and Resurrection of the Redeemer. Partaking of the sacrament renews baptismal covenants and also renews our memory of the Savior’s broken flesh and of the blood He shed for us. Ordinances of the temple symbolize our reconciliation with the Lord and seal families together forever. Obedience to the sacred covenants made in temples qualifies us for eternal life—the greatest gift of God to man 40 —the “object and end of our existence.” 41

  

Footnotes: 

19. We might even surmise that if an individual qualifies for the blessings of the Atonement (through obedience to the principles and ordinances of the gospel), Jesus will “cover” our past transgressions from the Father.

20.  2 Ne. 1:15.

21.  Morm. 5:11; additional examples are in Alma 5:33; Alma 34:16.

22. See Lev. 5:18; Lev. 27:26.

23. See Lev. 9:18.

24. See Ex. 12:46; Num. 9:12.

25. See Lev. 16:10.

26. See John 19:31–33.

27. See Rom. 5:11.

28.  Atonement=24; plus atone, atoning, or atoned=8; plus atoneth=3; total 35 times.

29. See 2 Ne. 9:7; 2 Ne. 25:16; Alma 34:10, 12, 14.

30. See Heb. 10:10.

31. See D&C 76:24; Moses 1:33.

32. See John 3:16.

33.  D&C 18:11.

34. See Luke 22:44; D&C 19:18.

35. See Matt. 27:29; Mark 15:17; John 19:2, 5.

36.  3 Ne. 9:16; see also D&C 6:21; D&C 10:57; D&C 11:29; D&C 39:3; D&C 45:8; D&C 133:66.

37.  John 19:28.

38.  Mark 14:36. The word Abba is significant. Ab means “father”; Abba is an endearing and tender form of that term. The nearest English equivalent might be Daddy.

39. Centuries later, the Lord shared innermost recollections of this experience with the Prophet Joseph Smith, the record of which we read in Doctrine and Covenants 19.

40. See D&C 14:7.

41. Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah (1978), 568.

  

[Elder Russell M. Nelson, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Ensign, October 1996]

  

        "We accept Christ's atonement by repenting of our sins, being baptised, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and obeying all of the commandments." [Gospel Principles, Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1979, p. 68.]

  

 Baptism

  

        Baptism for the dead, (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. II, p. 141). This is a practice of baptizing each other in place of non-Mormons who are now dead. Their belief is that in the afterlife, the "newly baptized" person will be able to enter into a higher level of Mormon heaven.

  

There is no such thing as ‘Mormon Heaven.’  The heaven to which Latter-day Saints look is that heaven where God and Christ dwell.  

  

Baptism for the dead leading to Salvation for the unbaptised dead is a Christian teaching traceable to the New Testament Church, and is found in the teachings of the Apostolic and Sub-apostolic fathers.

  

Some scholars suggest that baptism for the dead was practiced by some Early Christian groups, continuing until at least the late fourth century, which must be correct in light of the ruling of the Roman Catholic Church.

  

As part of their Sacraments, the New Apostolic Church and Old Apostolic Church also practices Baptism for the Dead, as well as Communion and Sealing to the Departed. In this practice a proxy or substitute is baptised in the place of an unknown number of deceased person. According to NAC and OAC doctrine the deceased do not enter the body of the substitute.In the Reformed Old Apostolic Church it is believed that all deceased persons that are baptised reside within the body of the substitute.

  

  

Fourth Century Baptism for the Dead 

  

A fourth-century Christian custom of baptizing dead bodies and giving the Eucharist to them as Baptism of the Dead, give support for modern Baptism for the Dead.  Hebrew and early Christian scholar Dr John A Tedvetnes formerly of Brigham Young University writes:

  

  

“That baptism for the dead was indeed practiced in some orthodox Christian circles is indicated by the decisions of two late fourth century councils.

  

The fourth canon of the Synod of Hippo, held in 393, declares, "The Eucharist shall not be given to dead bodies, nor baptism conferred upon them."

  

The ruling was confirmed four years later in the sixth canon of the Third Council of Carthage.” 

  

  

John Chrysostom

  

John Chrysostom describes a similar practice among the Marcionites of the same century: if one of their followers who was being prepared for baptism died before receiving baptism, the dead person's corpse was addressed with the question whether he wished to be baptized, whereupon another answered affirmatively and was baptized for the dead person. 

  

In the same passage, Chrysostom, a speaker of the language (Koine Greek) in which Paul the Apostle wrote, explained Paul's mention of people being "baptized for the dead" as a reference to the profession of faith in their own future resurrection that Christians made before being baptized.

  

  

Metaphorical Exegesis

  

Some interpret "baptized for the dead" as a metaphor for martyrdom, as in Mark 10:38 and Luke 12:50 baptism is a metaphor for suffering or martyrdom; accordingly they would translate it as "being baptized with a view to death".

  

In this interpretation, the phrase is closely linked with what Paul says immediately afterwards of the suffering that he himself faces and is enabled to endure precisely because of his faith in his resurrection which is similar to John Chrysostom's idea.

  

  

More Explaining Away

  

Martin Luther regarded the biblical reference to 'baptism for the dead' as a practice of being baptized above [ὑπέρ] the tombs of the unconverted dead whereas John Calvin thought it a reference to being immersed when close to death.  

  

  

In Praise of Good Sense

  

The third and for many the most natural interpretation sees the phrase as referring to vicarious baptism on behalf of dead people performed in the belief that the dead were thereby benefitted in some way. This belief is put forward as the reason why, when Paul compares the Corinthians' experience to that of the Israelites in crossing the Red Sea and being fed on manna, he insists that the Israelites were not thereby prevented from sinning.

  

  

The Search For Truth Rages

  

The Tyndale Bible Dictionary concludes that Paul probably did not approve the practice of baptism for the dead. He refers to its practitioners as "they", not as "you" (the Corinthian Christians to whom he wrote).

  

The note in the Catholic New American Bible is more cautious:

  

"Baptized for the dead: this practice is not further explained here, nor is it necessarily mentioned with approval, but Paul cites it as something in their experience that attests in one more way to belief in the resurrection."

  

This is similar Tertullian who wrote in 207 CE, that Paul's aim in alluding to the practice of baptism for the dead, "whatever it may have been", was "that he might all the more firmly insist upon the resurrection of the body, in proportion as they who were vainly baptized for the dead resorted to the practice from their belief of such a resurrection."

  

  

Blame It On Gnosticism!

  

The practice of baptism for the dead, according to Professor Elaine Pagels is easily explained by gnostics who argued that the text was an allegory and that, therefore baptism for the dead refers to pneumatics (i.e. gnostics) taking the place of psychics (i.e. literalists), who were dead to gnosis.

  

Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp, wrote about the gnostics as being heretical in his work On the Detection and Overthrow of the So-Called Gnosis.

  

  

Or on the Marcionites

  

The doctrines of Marcion were similar enough to those of Gnosticism to cause Irenaeus in the to consider  Marcion one of their number. Eventually Marcion was excommunicated for his views.

  

Tertullian wrote about gnostics in his work Against Marcion indicating that there was another aberrant Christian sect who believed in baptism for the dead.

  

Clement of Alexandria in his Excerpta ex Theodoto against paganism and deviations from Christianity, cites baptism for the dead as a doctrine peculiar to Christian gnostics.

  

Although not a ringing endorsement for Christian belief in salvation for the dead through proxy baptism, the noted Christian theologian, Karl Rahner, accepted the notion that without Christ it was impossible to achieve salvation, but he could not accept the notion that people who have never heard of Jesus Christ would be condemned.  [see: Stephen Clinton, Peter, Paul, and the Anonymous Christian: A Response to The Mission Theology of Rahner and Vatican II October, 1998 The Orlando Institute, Leadership Forum November, 1998 Evangelical Theological Society].  Rahner said:

  

"Anonymous Christianity means that a person lives in the grace of God and attains salvation outside of explicitly constituted Christianity — Let us say, a Buddhist monk — who, because he follows his conscience, attains salvation and lives in the grace of God; of him I must say that he is an anonymous Christian; if not, I would have to presuppose that there is a genuine path to salvation that really attains that goal, but that simply has nothing to do with Jesus Christ. But I cannot do that. And so, if I hold if everyone depends upon Jesus Christ for salvation, and if at the same time I hold that many live in the world who have not expressly recognized Jesus Christ, then there remains in my opinion nothing else but to take up this postulate of an anonymous Christianity."  [see: Todd Wilkin, ‘What is the Catholic Teaching of "Anonymous Christianity"’?]

  

Saint Paul's discourse emphasising the reality of the resurrection from the dead of all that have passed from mortality through the door of death is a stirring argument against the position of those that denied the reality of the resurrection of Jesus and likewise taught that none of the dead would be raised either.  

  

If their teaching was true,then the hope of salvation as Christians believed would be a futile daydream with no hope of it being realised.  Paul makes a fulsome answer to this false teaching in 1 Corinthians chapter fifteen:

  

15:1  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

15:2  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

15:3  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

15:4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

15:5  And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

15:6  After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

15:7  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

15:8  And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

15:9  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

15:11  Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

15:12  Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

15:13  But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

15:14  And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

15:15  Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

15:16  For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

15:17  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

15:18  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

15:19  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

15:20  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

15:21  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

15:23  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

15:24  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.

15:25  For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

15:26  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

15:27  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.

15:28  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.

  

15:29  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?

  

15:30  And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?

15:31  I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

15:32  If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

15:33  Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

15:34  Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

15:35  But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?

15:36  Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

15:37  And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:

15:38  But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

15:39  All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.

15:40  There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

15:41  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.  15:42  So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

15:43  It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

15:44  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

15:45  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

15:46  Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

15:47  The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.

15:48  As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

15:49  And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

15:50  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

15:51  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

15:52  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

15:53  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

15:54  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

15:55  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

15:56  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

15:57  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

  

  

Some Christians posit that Apostle Paul is appealing to a pagan rite to support his belief in the resurrection.  Why would a Christian apostle appeal to paganism to buttress the Christian doctrine of resurrection?  It makes no sense.  Paul was clearly pointing to a well known Christian rite that required no further explanation other than it was linked to the expectation of Christian resurrection and full salvation for those baptised by proxy.  

  

  

Wherever there is a belief in the continued existence of man's personality through and after death, religion naturally concerns itself with the relations between the living and the dead. And where the idea of a future judgment or of Purgatory obtains, prayers are often offered on behalf of the dead to God.

  

  

JUDAISM AND THE DEAD

  

Yizkor

  

Prayer for the dead appears in 2 Maccabees where Judas Maccabeus offers a sacrifice as a propitiatory sin-offering and a memorial thank-offering. These prayers and sacrifices were intended to improve the standing of the dead during the resurrection. However, Jews do not regard 2 Maccabees as canonical, possibly because of that are seen as its theological innovations.

  

  

Yet in Judaism prayers form important elements in Jewish services. The prayers offered on behalf of the deceased consist of:

  

 Recitation of Psalms;

 Reciting a thrice daily communal prayer in Aramaic known as "Kaddish" which actually means "Sanctification" (or "[Prayer of] Making Holy") which is a prayer "In Praise of God";

 other special remembrances known as Yizkor; and also a

 Hazkara said either on the annual commemoration known as the Yahrzeit as well on Jewish holidays.

  

The form of Kaddish in use in England contains the following:

  

Have mercy upon him; pardon all his transgressions . . . Shelter his soul in the shadow of Thy wings. Make known to him the path of life.

  

But, whether Christian or Jew why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

CHRISTIANITY AND THE DEAD

  

In the New Testament

  

A passage in the New Testament which may refer to a prayer for the dead is found in 2 Timothy 1:16-18, which reads as follows:

  

May the Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain, but when he was in Rome, he sought me diligently, and found me (the Lord grant to him to find the Lord’s mercy on that day); and in how many things he served at Ephesus, you know very well.

  

But, why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

As with the verses from 2 Maccabees, these verses refer to prayers that will help the deceased "on that day" (meaning Judgement Day).

  

It is not stated that Onesiphorus, for whom Saint Paul prayed, was dead, though some scholars infer this, based on the way Paul only refers to him in the past tense, and prays for present blessings on his household, but for him only "on that day".

  

And towards the end of the same letter, in 2 Timothy 4:19, Paul sends greetings to "Prisca and Aquila, and the house of Onesiphorus," distinguishing the situation of Onesiphorus from that of the still living Prisca and Aquila.

  

  

The Historic Christian Tradition

  

Prayer for the dead is well-documented within early Christianity, both among prominent Church Fathers and the Christian community in general.

  

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

In Eastern Orthodox Christianity prayers are raised for "such souls as have departed with faith, but without having had time to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance."

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

In Roman Catholic Christianity the assistance that the dead receive by prayer on their behalf is linked with the process of purification known as purgatory.

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

While prayer for the dead continues in both these traditions and in those of Oriental Orthodoxy and of the Assyrian Church of the East, many Protestant groups reject the practice.

  

The tomb of the Christian Abercius of Hieropolis in Phrygia (latter part of the 2nd century) bears the inscription: Let every friend who observes this pray for me, i.e. Abercius, who throughout speaks in the first person.

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

The inscriptions in the Roman catacombs bear similar witness to the practice, by the occurrence of such phrases as:

  

Mayst thou live among the saints (3rd century);

  

May God refresh the soul of . . . ;

  

Peace be with them.

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

Among Church writers Tertullian († 230) is the first to mention prayers for the dead, and not as a concession to natural sentiment, but as a duty: The widow who does not pray for her dead husband has as good as divorced him!  

  

This passage occurs in one of his later Montanist writings, dating from the beginning of the 3rd century.

  

  

Subsequent writers similarly make incidental mention of the practice as prevalent, but not as unlawful or even disputed (until Arius challenged it towards the end of the 4th century).

  

  

The most famous instance is Saint Augustine's prayer for his deceased mother, Monica, at the end of the 9th book of his Confessions, written around 398.

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

An important element in the Christian liturgies both East and West consisted of the diptychs, or lists of names of living and dead commemorated at the Eucharist. To be inserted in these lists was a confirmation of one's orthodoxy, and out of the practice grew the official canonization of saints; on the other hand, removal of a name was a condemnation.

  

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

In the middle of the 3rd century we find St. Cyprian enjoining that there should be no oblation or public prayer made for a deceased layman who had broken the Church's rule by appointing a cleric trustee under his will: 

  

"He ought not to be named in the priests prayer who has done his best to detain the clergy from the altar."

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

Although it is not possible, as a rule, to name dates for the exact words used in the ancient liturgies, yet the universal occurrence of these diptychs and of definite prayers for the dead in all parts of the Christian Church, East and West, in the 4th and 5th centuries shows how primitive such prayers were. 

  

The language used in the prayers for the departed is very reserved, asking only for rest and freedom from pain and sorrow. We may cite the following from the so-called Liturgy of St James:

  

“Remember, O Lord, the God of Spirits and of all Flesh, those whom we have remembered and those whom we have not remembered, men of the true faith, from righteous Abel unto to-day; do thou thyself give them rest there in the land of the living, in thy kingdom, in the delight of Paradise, in the bosom of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, our holy fathers, from whence pain and sorrow and sighing have fled away, where the light of thy countenance visiteth them and always shineth upon them.”

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

Public prayers were only offered for those who were believed to have died as faithful members of the Church. But Saint Perpetua, who was martyred in 202, believed herself to have been encouraged in a vision to pray for her brother, who had died in his eighth year, almost certainly unbaptized; and a later vision assured her that her prayer was answered and he had been translated from punishment. 

  

St. Augustine thought it needful to point out that the narrative was not canonical Scripture, and contended that the child had perhaps been baptized.

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

Among the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, while there is no doctrine of purgatory, prayer for the dead is encouraged in the belief that it is helpful for them. Specifically how the prayers of the faithful help the departed is not elucidated; Eastern Orthodox simply believe that tradition teaches that prayers should be made for the dead.

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

Saint Basil the Great († 379), a saint of undivided Christianity, writes in his Third Kneeling Prayer at Pentecost, 

  

“O Christ our God...(who) on this all-perfect and saving Feast, art graciously pleased to accept propitiatory prayers for those who are imprisoned in hades, promising unto us who are held in bondage great hope of release from the vilenes that doth hinder us and did hinder them ... send down Thy consolation... and establish their souls in the mansions of the Just; and graciously vouchsafe unto them peace and pardon; for not the dead shall praise thee, O Lord, neither shall they who are in Hell make bold to offer unto thee confession. But we who are living will bless thee, and will pray, and offer unto thee propitiatory prayers and sacrifices for their souls.”

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

Saint Gregory Dialogus († 604) in his famous Dialogues (written in 593) teaches that, 

  

"The Holy Sacrifice (Eucharist) of Christ, our saving Victim, brings great benefits to souls even after death, provided their sins (are such as) can be pardoned in the life to come."

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

However, St. Gregory goes on to say, the Church's practice of prayer for the dead must not be an excuse for not living a godly life on earth. 

  

"The safer course, naturally, is to do for ourselves during life what we hope others will do for us after death."

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

Father Seraphim Rose († 1982) says, 

  

"the Church's prayer cannot save anyone who does not wish salvation, or who never offered any struggle (podvig) for it himself during his lifetime."

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

The various prayers for the departed have as their purpose to pray for the repose of the departed, to comfort the living, and to remind those who remain of their own mortality. For this reason, memorial services have an air of penitence about them.

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

Orthodox Christians offer particularly fervent prayers for the departed on the first 40 days after death. Traditionally, in addition to the service on the day of death, the memorial service is performed at the request of the relatives of an individual departed person on the following occasions:

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

The Roman Catholic Church

  

In the West there is ample evidence of the custom of praying for the dead in the inscriptions of the catacombs, with their constant prayers for the peace and refreshment of the souls of the departed and in the early liturgies, which commonly contain commemorations of the dead; and Tertullian, Cyprian and other early Western Fathers witness to the regular practice of praying for the dead.

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

The West felt that it was inappropriate to pray "for" the martyrs, since they were believed to be in no need of such prayers. Theoretically, too, prayer for those in hell would be useless, but since there is no certainty that any particular person is in hell, prayers were and are offered for all the dead, except for those believed to be in heaven. These are prayed to, not for. With the development of the doctrine of purgatory, the dead prayed for were spoken of as being in purgatory, and in view of the certainty that by the process of purification and with the help of the prayers of the faithful they were destined for heaven, they were referred to as the "holy souls".

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

Limits were placed on public offering of Mass for the unbaptised and notorious sinners, but prayers and even Mass in private could be said for them. The present Code of Canon Law states that, unless the person concerned gave some signs of repentance before death, no form of funeral Mass may be offered for notorious apostates, heretics and schismatics; those who for anti-Christian motives chose that their bodies be cremated; and other manifest sinners to whom a Church funeral could not be granted without public scandal to the faithful.

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

During the slaughter of the First World War, Pope Benedict XV on 10 August 1915, allowed all priests everywhere to say three Masses on All Souls' Day. The two extra Masses were in no way to benefit the priest himself: one was to be offered for all the faithful departed, the other for the Pope's intentions, which at that time were presumed to be for all the victims of that war. The permission remains.

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

Anglicanism

  

The Church of England's 1549 Book of the Common Prayer still had prayer for the dead, as (in the Communion Service):

  

"We commend into thy mercy all other thy servants, which are departed hence from us with the sign of faith and now do rest in the sleep of peace: grant unto them, we beseech thee, thy mercy and everlasting peace."

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

But since 1552 the Book of Common Prayer has no express prayers for the dead, and the practice is denounced in the Homily "On Prayer" (part 3).

  

Nonjurors included prayers for the dead, a practice that spread within the Church of England in the mid-nineteenth century, and was authorized in 1900 for forces serving in South Africa and since then in other forms of service. 

  

Many jurisdictions and parishes of the Anglo-Catholic tradition continue to practice prayer for the dead, including offering the Sunday liturgy for the peace of named departed Christians and the keeping of All Soul's Day.

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

Non-Anglican Protestant churches

  

The sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation continued at first the traditional custom of praying for the dead, but before long came to denounce it, partly because they believed it to be without biblical foundation, partly through their rejection of the doctrine of purgatory and the practices associated with it.  

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

  

Prayer for the dead is rigorously avoided by those of marked Evangelical belief in keeping with their denial that the mercy and love of God are universally available.  

  

"[A]nd they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out. And the noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin." [Catechism of the Catholic Church, 12:43-45]

  

Why pray for the dead if their condition cannot be affected thereby?

  

CARM.org signally fails to understand Christian doctrines and yet it has set itself up as the arbiter of Christian Biblical Teachings.  Not very Slick, eh?