• (Taken from a Catholic Encyclopedia) Hermas (First or second century), author of the book called "The Shepherd" (Poimen, Pastor), a work which had great authority in ancient times and was ranked with Holy Scripture. Eusebius tells us that it was publicly read in the churches, and that while some denied it to be canonical, others "considered it most necessary". St. Athanasius speaks of it, together with the Didache, in connection with the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament, as uncanonical yet recommended by the ancients for the reading of catechumens. Elsewhere he calls it a most profitable book. Rufinus similarly says that the ancients wished it to be read, but not to be used as an authority as to the Faith. It is found with the Epistle of Barnabas at the end of the New Testament in the great Siniatic Bible Aleph (fourth century), and between the Acts of the Apostles and the Acts of Paul in the stichometrical list of the Codex Claromontanus. In accordance with this conflicting evidence, we find two lines of opinion among the earlier Fathers. St. Irenæus and Tertullian (in his Catholic days) cite the "Shepherd" as Scripture. Clement of Alexandria constantly quotes it with reverence, and so does Origen, who held that the author was the Hermas mentioned by St. Paul, Romans 16:14. He says the work seems to him to be very useful, and Divinely inspired; yet he repeatedly apologizes, when he has occasion to quote it, on the ground that "many people despise it". Tertullian, when a Montanist, implies that Pope St. Callistus had quoted it as an authority (though evidently not as Scripture), for he replies: "I would admit your argument, if the writing of the Shepherd had deserved to be included in the Divine Instrument, and if it were not judged by every council of the Churches, even of your own Churches, among the apocryphal and false." And again, he says that the Epistle of Barnabas is "more received among the Churches than that apocryphal Shepherd" (De pudic., 10 and 20). Tertullian was no doubt right, that the book had been excluded at Rome from the Bible Instrumentum, but he is exaggerating in referring to "every council" and to a total rejection, for the teaching of the "Pastor" was in direct contradiction with his own rigid views as topenance. His earlier use of it is paralleled by the Acts of Sts. Perpetua and Felicitas, before the end of the second century, but there is no trace of it in St. Cyprian, so that it would seem to have gone out of use in Africa during the early decades of the third century. Somewhat later it is quoted by the author of the pseudo-Cyprianic tract "Adv. aleatores" as "Scriptura divina", but in St. Jerome's day it was "almost unknown to the Latins". Curiously, it went out of fashion in the East, so that the Greek manuscripts of it are but two in number, whereas in the West it became better known and was frequently copied in the Middle Ages. Chapter 16 of his ninth Similitude "Explain to me a little further, sir," I said. "What is it that you desire?" he asked. "Why, sir," I said, "did these stones ascend out of the pit, and be applied to the building of the tower, after having borne these spirits?" "They were obliged," he answered, "to ascend through water in order that they might be made alive; for, unless they laid aside the deadness of their life, they could not in any other way enter into the kingdom of God. Accordingly, those also who fell asleep received the seal of the Son of God. For," he continued, "before a man bears the name of the Son of God he is dead; but when he receives the seal he lays aside his deadness, and obtains life. The seal, then, is the water: they descend into the water dead, and they arise alive. And to them, accordingly, was this seal preached, and they made use of it that they might enter into the kingdom of God." "Why, sir," I asked, "did the forty stones also ascend with them out of the pit, having already received the seal?" "Because," he said, "these apostles and teachers who preached the name of the Son of God, after falling asleep in the power and faith of the Son of God, preached it not only to those who were asleep, but themselves also gave them the seal of the preaching. Accordingly they descended with them into the water, and again ascended. [But these descended alive and rose up again alive; whereas they who had previously fallen asleep descended dead, but rose up again alive.] By these, then, were they quickened and made to know the name of the Son of God. For this reason also did they ascend with them, and were fitted along with them into the building of the tower, and, untouched by the chisel, were built in along with them. For they slept in righteousness and in great purity, but only they had not this seal. You have accordingly the explanation of these also."
  • The most oft cited verse on this subject is 1 Corinthians 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?" In this verse Paul is trying to prove the reality of the resurrection by referencing a practice that was common among the Corinthians. If there was to be no resurrection then what was the point of performing baptisms for those that were already dead? Those that don't believe in this practice say that Paul was just citing a false practice that they knew about to prove the truth of the resurrection. Well let me ask this. How can you use a falsehood to prove a truth. The only way to do this is to first disprove the falsehood. However, Paul makes no attempt to disprove the practice of Baptism for the dead. Furthermore, to disprove that practice would not have supported the point that he was trying to make. So, it seem pretty obvious to me that Paul accepted it as a true practice. Now, why do we perform baptism for the dead. Jesus said to Nicodemus, that a man must be baptized in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. However, there are many, many people who have died and will yet die without ever having the chance to accept Christ as their savior. For much of the world's history, the knowledge of Christ was limited to just a few parts of the world. The people who died without the opportunity to accept the savior will receive that opportunity in the spirit world. However, they still need to be baptized. That is an ordinance that can only be performed in mortality. So, we perform the ordinance on their behalf so that it is available to them should they accept it. This is not a matter of us trying to force our beliefs off on those that are dead. They have the opportunity to reject the baptism if they choose to do so. It is just that we are making the opportunity available to them if they want it.
  • Very few people know, or understand that God, our Heavenly Father has placed Himself in a very precarious position. Let me explain..In Acts 17;26, we read.."And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;" Then in Jn.14;6.."Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." So here we have a situation where God created this earth for men to dwell on all the face thereof. And we are told He,(God) determined the TIMES BEFORE APPOINTED, AND THE BOUNDS OF THEIR HABITATION! To me this says the Father decided, before we were born, WHEN AND WHERE WE WOULD BE BORN on this earth! Then in John, Jesus says "No man can come to the father, but by me!" It is quite clear that many Millions and even Billions of God's children would be born on earth at at time when the name of Jesus Christ would not be known by all. And yet the promise is that no man can come to the Father except through Christ. That means..if even one person comes before the judgment, who has not even had a chance to hear of Christ, let alone accept him, God will become an unjust God! And when God becomes unjust, He ceases to be prefect. And when God ceases to be perfect, He ceases to be God! Why? Because it was God who placed us here on this earth when and where He did. So it is His responsibility to see to it that everyone of His children have the same opportunity to hear the same Gospel of Jesus Christ and have the same opportunity to have our sins removed by proper Baptism by proper authority, on this earth, and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, by proper authority as well. Do you know of any other Church or Religion, that has a better plan to do this, than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? The way this works is, we seek out all of our ancestors back to Adam and Eve and see that they are Baptized properly and receive the Gift Holy Ghost, by that authority. Then righteous spirits in the spirit world will teach the same Gospel we have here, to the spirits of the dead. And if they accept the gospel there, and accept the ordinances performed here for them, they will be freed from spirit Prison and escorted into Paradise, to await the resurrection and judgment of God. Could God's plan for all of His children be any more fair and complete? Anything short of this will result in God becoming an unjust God! Think about it...Later
  • SHORT ANSWER: 1) Mormons practice Baptism for the Dead based on a corrupt interpretation of I Corinthians 15:9. 2) While it's indeterminate from the Historical Record whether the Corinthian church was performing Baptist for the Dead or not, Paul's sarcastic mockery of the rite in I Corinthians 15 clearly demonstrates that it was a pointless, unBiblical, and theologically absurd rite. In other words, in all cases it's a waste of time and does nothing for the dead. 3) The practice is also theologically discredited by LDS Scripture in the Book of Mormon, Alma 34:35-36. LONG ANSWER: Mormons base the practice of baptism for the dead on the following passage: 1 Corinthians 15:29 (King James Version) 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? However as James Patrick Holding notes: "The Mormon interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:29 is fraught with difficulties. If LDS apologists wish to affirm that the rite of proxy baptism is the subject of a new revelation, they may do so--but they cannot appeal to 1 Corinthians 15:29 as support. The verse does not confirm the LDS practice of vicarious baptism. - Paul uses the 'baptism for the dead' as a proof of the resurrection, but not in the sense that the existence of the rite proves the resurrection. The proof is in the sense that the Corinthians' practice of baptism for the dead shows that they are inconsistent when they profess that there is no resurrection (I Corinthians 15:12). They could not disbelieve in resurrection if they did something that derived its significance from resurrection. - The Christian argument that focuses on Paul's switch in pronouns is linguistically flawed, but essentially correct. Paul associates baptism for the dead with the party advocating the false, 'no resurrection' teaching. - I Corinthians 15:29 is unlikely to refer to vicarious baptism for three reasons: The likelihood of a need for such a rite; the Greek tendency to believe that deeds executed on earth could not affect events in the spiritual realm; and Paul's lack of reaction to the practice. I Corinthians 15:29 most likely refers either to a ceremonial rite with no theological significance, or figuratively to baptisms done in the names of apostles referred to in I Corinthians 1:13-17: 1 Corinthians 1:13-17 (King James Version) 13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; 15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. 16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. - Supposed parallel practices in the early church are unlike the Mormon practice of vicarious baptism and are probably based on incorrect applications of I Corinthians 15:29." ("The Mormon Defenders", pp. 78&79) And this, from a Catholic Mormon Studies Scholar is also noteworthy: The case against baptism for the dead is also made by the Mormon scriptures themselves. The current Mormon doctrine on baptism for the dead is quite unlike what Joseph Smith first taught. As in other cases, the Book of Mormon becomes an important tool for the Christian apologist. It contradicts much Mormon theology, and baptism for the dead is no exception. In Alma 34:35-36 we read: "For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he does seal you his. Therefore, the spirit of the Lord has withdrawn from you and hath no place in you; the power of the devil is over you, and this is the final state of the wicked." In other words, those who die as non-Mormons go to hell, period. There's no suggestion of a later, vicarious admission into the Mormon church. We also see present-day Mormon doctrine contradicted in 2 Nephi 9:15: "And it shall come to pass that when all men shall have passed from this first death unto life, insomuch as they have become immortal, they must appear before the judgment seat of the Holy One of Israel, and then cometh the judgment and then must they be judged according to the holy judgment of God. For the Lord God hath spoken it, and it is his eternal word, which cannot pass away, that they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still; wherefore, they who are filthy . . . shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them; and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end." It is unfortunate that Smith abandoned his own, earlier doctrine. It would not have made the Mormon scriptures any more authentic, but it would have prevented millions of futile Mormon proxy baptisms from being performed. So whether you go to the Bible or LDS Scripture, the modern Mormon doctrine of Baptist for the Dead is discredited. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

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