Mormonism and Continuing Revelation

Nathan Brewer

The “basic beliefs” section at has some of the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). The following shows that Latter Day Saints depend on latter day revelation for their existence:

Following the death of Jesus Christ, wicked people killed the Apostles; as a result, priesthood authority to direct Christ’s church and receive revelation from God was lost.

Jesus Christ has restored his gospel to the earth, established a prophet and apostles with priesthood authority to receive revelation and perform saving ordinances such as baptism. Christ’s restored church is called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Mormons believe it was always God’s intent that direct revelation come to the church through a prophet and apostles, and that there would always be a succession of these positions in the church. The LDS Church has a “prophet” and men designated as “apostles.”

But the Apostle Paul teaches that all miraculous gifts the church had in the first century were for a specific purpose—revealing the New Testament—and when that purpose was accomplished, the gifts were to cease.

First Corinthians Chapter 12 lists the nine miraculous gifts the church had, and Chapter 13 says these gifts, including “prophecies” (v. 8) will cease. When? “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (vv. 9-10).

“That which is perfect” does not refer to Jesus. “Perfect” in verse 10 literally means “complete.” Paul is talking about revelation. In the first century, knowledge and prophecy came in bits and pieces—“in part”—directly from heaven (1 Cor. 13:9). But when the New Testament of Jesus Christ was completely revealed, that which was “in part”—the miraculous gifts listed in Chapter 12—were done away.

Mormons cite Ephesians 4:11-13 as proof that God wanted a prophet to receive direct revelation to guide the church on earth. But these verses teach the same lesson as First Corinthians 13. Ephesians 4:7-8 say Jesus ascended and “gave gifts unto men.” These gifts were to equip the saints, to aid in ministry, and to edify the church, and were to last until “we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man” (Eph. 4:13). Many, including the Mormons, believe this means gifts were to last until Jesus comes again. But the immediate context, and First Corinthians 12-13, show that Paul has in mind completed revelation.

If revelation ceased when the New Testament was completed in the first century—and it did—then Mormon claims are false, and Mormon founder Joseph Smith was a false prophet. We don’t need apostles and prophets on the earth today. Our prophet is Jesus Christ, and the authority to guide the church resides in His revealed, written and confirmed Word.

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