Church Organization and Life
“The Priesthood is an everlasting principle, and existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years. The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the Gospel is sent.”
- Joseph Smith1
Perhaps none of the issues we have studied is of greater contemporary significance than the question of how the earliest Church was organized and how the business of worship was conducted in it. Catholics postulate that the priesthood was given to relatively few men who conducted a rich ritual tradition, and the governance of the Church as a whole was given to the Bishop of Rome after the death of the Apostles. Protestants, on the other hand, see the early Church as a loosely-bound community of love, administered by a “priesthood of all believers,” and with a minimum of ritual.
Who is correct? Does an ordained clergy separate from the laity help or hinder the kind of personal relationship with God Jesus intended for us when he established His Church? Unfortunately, there is not enough information available on first century Christianity to completely differentiate fact from speculation, and hence Davies calls the evidence concerning the constitutional order of the earliest Church “fragmentary and ambiguous.”2 However, even though we can’t piece together these fragments to get a completely coherent picture of the earliest Church, it will be possible to once again examine what evidence exists for the kind of organization and worship Joseph Smith restored.
Almost everyone agrees that some kind of authority is necessary to minister in Christ’s Church. However, broad disagreements exist as to the nature of that authority and as to how it is transmitted. Members of the Catholic tradition, some Protestant churches, as well as Mormons, recognize that priesthood authority must be transmitted by ordination, accomplished by the laying on of hands of those who already have the authority in question.
The Necessity of Ordination
Priesthood ordination goes back to the times of the Old Testament. For example, Aaron and his sons were consecrated as priests by Moses: “Anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.” (Exodus 28:41) This “consecration” was certainly accomplished by the laying on of hands, since that is the way Moses transmitted authority on other occasions. “Moses set Joshua before the congregation; he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the Lord commanded.” (Numbers 27:22-23)
In New Testament times as well, officers were ordained by those in authority. For instance, Jesus ordained His Apostles: “He ordained twelve, that they should be with him to preach, to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils.” (Mark 3:14) These men didn’t volunteer for the job. Rather, they were called and ordained by Jesus Christ Himself. “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you.” (John 15:16) According to both Clement of Rome and Clement of Alexandria, the Apostles would go about preaching and organizing congregations, appointing and ordaining leaders in every locale:
The Apostles have preached the Gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the Apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first-fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe.3
Referring to John, Clement of Alexandria stated:
For when, after the tyrant’s death, he returned from the isle of Patmos to Ephesus, he went away upon their invitation to the neighboring territories of the Gentiles, to appoint bishops in some places, in other places to set in order whole churches, elsewhere to choose to the ministry some one of those that were pointed out by the Spirit.4
Likewise, Hippolytus gave the accepted procedure for ordaining men to the offices of bishop, elder, and deacon by the laying on of hands in his Apostolic Tradition.5
Paul told Timothy to “neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of hands of the presbytery.” (1 Timothy 4:14) Notice also that these appointments were always made with the assurance of the Holy Ghost, not for any political motive, and by ordination. Thus Paul could say (in the present tense) of the priesthood that “no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Hebrews 5:4) And we have seen that Aaron was called of God and then ordained by one in authority.
Not only did these ordinations take place, but once called, God respected his servants in their offices, and did not allow others to usurp their authority. For example, Paul found certain disciples at Ephesus and asked them if they had received the Holy Ghost. (Some missionaries at that time, e.g. Philip, had only the authority to baptize, but not to give the gift of the Holy Ghost, so higher authorities had to be called in sometimes to make sure all the proper ordinances were performed–see Acts 8:12-17.) However, these believers hadn’t even heard of the Holy Ghost.
And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, 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 19:1-6)
Was John’s baptism then invalid? Obviously not, since John was an Aaronic priest, and Jesus Himself submitted to the authority of John’s baptism. (Matthew 3:13-17) But since John always preached that one would come after him who would “baptize . . . with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Matthew 3:11), Paul had reason to suspect that they had been baptized by some well-meaning, but unauthorized, imitator of the Baptist who neglected to preach John’s message about the one who would baptize with the Holy Ghost.
Likewise, the authority to perform ordinances is not conferred at baptism. Simon Magus was baptized, and then desired the power to confer the Holy Spirit, so he offered to pay for the privilege. Peter rebuked him for his temerity:
And when Simon saw that through laying on of the Apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou has thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.” (Acts 8:13, 18-20)
Indeed, in the early Church there was always a distinction made between ordained clergy and the lay-membership. Bettenson asserts that Clement of Rome’s use of the word “layman” (laikos) before A.D. 100 marks “the clear distinction of ministers and people.”6 Clement’s exact words are as follows:
For his own peculiar services are assigned to the high priest, and their own proper place is prescribed to the priests, and their own special ministrations devolve on the Levites. The layman is bound by the laws that pertain to laymen.7
The Apostolic Constitutions made the same distinction even more specifically:
Neither do we permit the laity to perform any of the offices belonging to the priesthood; as, for instance, neither the sacrifice, nor baptism, nor the laying on of hands, nor the blessing, whether the smaller or the greater: for “no one taketh this honour to himself, but he that is called of God.” For such sacred offices are conferred by the laying on of the hands of the bishop.8
Kelly reports that Clement of Rome, Ignatius, and the author of 2 Clement (in the late first and early second centuries) all preached that the church is inseparably tied to the ordained priesthood.9 We have already seen in Chapter 2 the immense stress Ignatius placed on loyalty to the bishops10, and likewise the author of 2 Clement warned that at the Judgment the wicked would cry, “Woe unto us, Thou wast He, and we did not know and did not believe, and we did not obey the presbyters [elders] when they declared unto us concerning our salvation.”11Indeed, Wand points out that unity and authority were the hallmarks of the early Church:
Nearly every epistle we have in the New Testament shows how anxious were the leaders to maintain the close unity of all in one body, openly exercising their own authority where necessary to that end. Unity and authority, as we have seen, were the two most characteristic notes of the primitive Church.12
The Church was not only a body but a corporation, which necessarily involved organisation and a law. It is indeed doubtful whether in the mind of the Jew, stored as it was with hopes of a coming Messianic Kingdom, any mere vague sentiment or disembodied ideal could ever have been received as a possible new religion.13
Ignatius of Antioch (ca. 110 A.D.) summed up the natural conclusion drawn from this information. Namely, without the ordained priesthood, there is no Church. ”In like manner, let all reverence the deacons as an appointment of Jesus Christ, and the bishop as Jesus Christ, who is the Son of the Father, and the presbyters as the sanhedrin of God, and assembly of the Apostles. Apart from these, there is no Church.”14
The “Priesthood of All Believers”
Some Protestants defend themselves against such charges with their doctrine of a “priesthood of all believers.” That is, Peter called the Church a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood . . .” (1 Peter 2:9), so each believer is by definition ordained as a priest to God. It might be inferred from this that the priesthood was meant to be more generally spread throughout the Church than is the Catholic practice. As Irenaeus put it, “For all the righteous possess the sacerdotal rank [i.e. the priestly rank or the rank of an elder].”15
However, when Protestants claim that “our baptism consecrates us all without exception and makes us all priests . . .,” and that all offices within the Church are merely “human callings”16, they are every bit as out of step with the early Church as are the Catholics with their limited concept of the priesthood. As Noll points out, Peter’s characterization of the Church as a “royal priesthood” must be taken in the corporate sense of an elect and holy people who had the benefit of the priesthood, just as in the ancient Israelite community:
In conjunction with this, the faithful of that early sub-Apostolic period were also challenged by 1 Peter and by the Apocalypse to see themselves as a ‘priestly’ people. This did not imply that each one of them was a priest, but rather that the whole community was/is made up of those who are elect and holy, and to express this fact the community was described, by adopting the covenant formula of Exodus 19:6, as a body of priests or a priestly community.17
This corporate conception of the priesthood was described by Origen: “Or are you ignorant that to you also, that is, to all the Church of God and to the people of believers, the priesthood was given? . . . [1 Peter 2:9] Therefore, you have a priesthood because you are a ‘priestly nation . . . .’”18
Any such conception of a corporate priesthood did not make the Church hierarchy superfluous, however. Early writers such as Irenaeus and Cyprian were adamant that any schism from the “Apostolic succession” was heresy itself. The following are representative statements from these writers:
He shall also judge those who give rise to schisms, who are destitute of the love of God, and who look to their own special advantage rather than to the unity of the Church; and who for trifling reasons, or any kind of reason which occurs to them, cut in pieces and divide the great and glorious body of Christ, and so far as in them lies, [positively] destroy it,–men who prate of peace while they give rise to war, and do in truth strain out a gnat, but swallow a camel. For no reformation of so great importance can be effected by them, as will compensate for the mischief arising from their schism.19
Wherefore it is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church,–those who, as I have shown, possess the succession from the Apostles; those who, together with the succession of the episcopate, have received the certain gift of truth, according to the good pleasure of the Father. But [it is also incumbent] to hold in suspicion others who depart from the primitive succession, and assemble themselves together in any place whatsoever, [looking upon them] either as heretics of perverse minds, or as schismatics puffed up and self-pleasing, or again as hypocrites, acting thus for the sake of lucre and vainglory. For all these have fallen from the truth.20
There is one God, and Christ is one, and there is one Church, and one chair founded upon the rock by the word of the Lord. Another altar cannot be constituted nor a new priesthood be made, except the one altar and the one priesthood. Whosoever gathereth elsewhere, scattereth. Whatsoever is appointed by human madness, so that the divine disposition is violated, is adulterous, is impious, is sacrilegious. Depart far from the contagion of men of this kind. and flee from their words, avoiding them as a cancer and a plague, as the Lord warns you and says, “They are blind leaders of the blind.”21
Thence, through the changes of times and successions, the ordering of bishops and the plan of the Church flow onwards; so that the Church is founded upon the bishops, and every act of the Church is controlled by these same rulers.22
An interesting case is that of Tertullian, who early on in his career was quite critical of heretics who separated themselves from the priesthood leadership. Note the following comments:
But if there be any (heresies) which are bold enough to plant themselves in the midst of the Apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down by the Apostles, because they existed in the time of the Apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that [that first bishop of theirs] bishop shall be able to show for his ordainer and predecessor some one of the Apostles or of Apostolic men,–a man, moreover, who continued stedfast with the Apostles.23
For even on laymen do [the heretics] impose the functions of priesthood.24
On the other hand, after Tertullian had joined the Montanist heresy, he changed his tune. His attitude was surprisingly similar to that of modern Protestants:
Vain shall we be if we think that what is not lawful for priests is lawful for laics [i.e. laymen]. Are not even we laics priests? It is written: “A kingdom also, and priests to His God and Father, hath He made us.” Therefore, if you have the right of a priest in your own person, in cases of necessity, it behoves you to have likewise the discipline of a priest whenever it may be necessary to have the right of a priest.25
Therefore, it is easy to see that the “priesthood of all believers” was not the original Christian concept, but rather a convenient invention of those whom modern Protestants themselves would consider heretics. Clearly, the true Church of Christ must either have a continuation or a restoration of the original priesthood and Church leadership.
The Priesthoods of Aaron and Melchizedek
In ancient Judaism, the priesthood was held by members of only one tribe of Israel, the Levites, and certain offices could only be held by direct descendants of Aaron. The high priest was the firstborn of the sons of Aaron, and the other male descendants were priests. These priests were responsible for the sacrifices, etc., which went on at the Temple at Jerusalem, the high priest being responsible for the special services on the Day of Atonement. The rest of the Levites were basically assistants to the priests.
But all the sacrifices for the sins of the people performed by the Aaronic priests were only a type of the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which was still to come. Thus the Messiah was the “Great High Priest,” who sacrificed Himself for the sins of all mankind. However, this sacrifice was not done under the auspices of the Aaronic priesthood, obviously, since Jesus was from the tribe of Judah. “For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda[h]; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.” (Hebrews 7:14)
This sacrifice had to be accomplished by the authority of another priesthood–the same priesthood that was held by the Old Testament figure, Melchizedek. Indeed, God told the Messiah, “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4) Melchizedek was the king of Salem (later Jerusalem) around 2000 B.C. He is described as a “priest of the most High God” (Genesis 14:18), to whom Abraham paid tithes.
Paul explained that this change in priesthood authority necessitated a change in the law: “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” (Hebrews 7:12) And instead of daily offering sacrifices, the Great High Priest after the order of Melchizedek offered a single sacrifice, which needed no repetition. “For such an high priest became us . . . who needeth not daily, as those [Aaronic] high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.” (Hebrews 7:26-27)
So there you have it–essentially all the information contained in the Bible concerning the priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. Consequently, there is not much in the Bible to either prove or disprove the wealth of information Joseph Smith restored concerning both priesthoods and the relationship between them. The Lord explained:
There are, in the church, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic, including the Levitical Priesthood. Why the first is called the Melchizedek is because Melchizedek was such a great high priest. Before his day it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God. But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name, they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek Priesthood. All other authorities or offices in the church are appendages to this priesthood. But there are two divisions or grand heads–one is the Melchizedek Priesthood, and the other is the Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood . . . . The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right of presidency, and has power and authority over all the offices in the church in all ages of the world, to administer in spiritual things . . . . The second priesthood is called the Priesthood of Aaron, because it was conferred upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations. Why it is called the lesser priesthood is because it is an appendage to the greater, or the Melchizedek Priesthood, and has power in administering outward ordinances. (D&C 107: 1-6, 8, 13-14)
While the extant early Christian documents make no mention of the two priesthoods within the Church, it is at least clear that there was a hierarchy of authority at least roughly corresponding to the distinction made by the Lord to Joseph Smith. That is, certain officers in the Church were authorized to perform only the “outward ordinances” while others were also able to “administer in spiritual things.” For example, Philip, who was one of the seven ordained by the Apostles to take on the work of caring for the needy in the Church (Acts 6:1-6), was able to baptize quite a few people in Samaria, but the Apostles had to travel all the way there from Jerusalem to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost on these new believers.
Now when the Apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen on 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. (Acts 8:14-17)
Likewise, members of the Aaronic priesthood among the Latter-day Saints perform temporal functions and ordinances, including baptism, but cannot perform the higher ordinances, such as the laying on of hands.
Specific Priesthood Offices
The Lord did not merely restore “the priesthood” through Joseph Smith, however. Specific offices within the priesthood were also given, forming a hierarchy of authority and function within the Church. These can be compared to those offices known to have existed within the early Church, but one caveat must be taken into account before we proceed with this comparison. Specifically, this dispensation includes the priesthood and power given in all other dispensations. “For unto you . . . is the power of this priesthood given, for the last days and for the last time . . . in connection with all those who have received a dispensation at any time from the beginning of the creation . . . .” (D&C 112:30-31) It is a “welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories . . . .” (D&C 128:18) Therefore, since different variations on the basic organization of God’s kingdom have existed during the various dispensations, it should not be expected that the organization of the Restored Church would necessarily correspond exactly to that of the early Church. For example, the offices present in the Church in ancient America after the advent of the Savior are included in the present LDS organization, but the Restored Church also includes many additional priesthood offices. (See Moroni 2-3)
In any case, since the information we have about the organization of the early Church is somewhat ambiguous, our method will not be to compare the restored and primitive organizations side-by-side, but to list the various offices and their functions in the Restored Church and then try to marshal any scraps of evidence for their existence in the early Church. If we find that the evidence for the existence of certain offices is somewhat sketchy, however, it should come as no surprise considering the caveat noted above.
Apostles and Prophets
The necessity of Apostles and prophets in the Church was discussed in chapter 2, but not in connection with the general Church organization. In the Restored Church, there are two distinct groups of Apostles which govern the flock. The highest council of the Church is the First Presidency, consisting of three Apostles, one of which is the President of the Church. Under the First Presidency is the Council of the Twelve Apostles. All of these men are considered general officers of the Church, whose authority has no territorial boundaries, and as special witnesses of Jesus Christ they are called to receive direction for the entire Church from the Lord and to preach the gospel in every nation.
While the early Church was led by a council of twelve Apostles, as well, there seems to have been no separate presidency of three additional Apostles. However, Peter, James, and John apparently had some position of primacy among the Apostles, equivalent to a presidency within the Twelve. Jesus told Peter, “thou art Peter [petros], and upon this rock [petra] I will build my church;” (Matthew 16:18) and shortly thereafter the Lord took Peter, James, and John upto a mountain and was transfigured before them. Moses and Elias appeared, as well, and the Apostles heard the Father’s voice. (Matthew 17:1-9) In addition, Clement of Alexandria claimed that these three Apostles were entrusted by the Savior with some items of “higher knowledge,” which they then dispensed to the other general officers of the Church: “The Lord after his resurrection imparted knowledge to James the Just and to John and Peter, and they imparted it to the rest of the Apostles, and the rest of the Apostles to the seventy, of whom Barnabas was one.”26
This arrangement of councils of three and twelve to lead the community of the faithful may well have been an accepted Jewish practice from which early Christianity derived its own order of government. The Essenes of the Dead Sea Scroll community, Qumran, list this arrangement in their Manual of Discipline, which contains their community rules. “In the Council of the Community there shall be twelve men and three Priests, perfectly versed in all that is revealed of the Law, whose works shall be truth, righteousness, justice, lovingkindness, and humility.”27
What about “prophets”? In contemporary LDS tradition both councils of Apostles are termed “prophets” by virtue of their callings. In addition, those who are called to positions of leadership in other general and local capacities are in need of the gift of prophecy to effectively shepherd that part of the flock entrusted to them. Indeed, any member of the Church may be given the gift of prophecy, and thus effectively become a prophet, though the Lord does not direct the Church as a whole through him or her.
It is evident from the New Testament that there were people called prophets within the organization of the Church (Ephesians 4:11), as well as lay members who were given the gift of prophecy. (1 Corinthians 12:10) The first century Didache contains instructions on how to receive the Apostles and prophets who traveled from community to community.28 Also, “certain prophets and teachers” who were in the Church at Antioch ordained Paul and Barnabas for a missionary labor which extended beyond the bounds of the local area, and so were undoubtedly part of the Church organization. (Acts 13:1-4)
Under the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve in the Restored Church is another group of general officers called the Seventy. These men are essentially the “chief missionaries” of the Church, and they also have administrative authority under the direction of the Twelve.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus called seventy disciples for the preaching work in addition to the Twelve. “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.” (Luke 10:1) But did the Seventy survive as a body in the post-Resurrection Church? There is some evidence that they did. For example, Clement of Alexandria was quoted above as saying that the Apostles handed down the higher knowledge given after the Resurrection to the Seventy, and in Chapter 2 we noted that Clement of Rome claimed the local officers of the Church had been appointed by the Apostles or “other eminent men.”29 Eusebius records that “After the ascension of Jesus, Judas, who was also called Thomas, sent to [King Abgar] Thaddeus, an Apostle, one of the Seventy.”30 Perhaps there aren’t very many references to the Seventy after the ascension of Jesus because such officers were referred to by their general functions as “prophets” and “evangelists” (see Ephesians 4:11; 2 Tim. 4:5), rather than as “the Seventy.” This would explain the order in which Paul listed the various functions or offices in the Church: “And he gave some, Apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers . . . .” (Ephesians 4:11)
The Restored Church also includes certain ministers called patriarchs. Until recently, there was a patriarch for the entire church as well as local patriarchs in most areas where the Church is established. “This order was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage . . . from Adam to Seth [through Enoch, etc.]” (D&C 107:39-52) The main duty of patriarchs is to give “patriarchal blessings,” which outline the will of the Lord for individuals, to the saints. Similarly, the patriarch Jacob, or Israel, gathered his sons together and administered blessings relating to them and their children. “And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.” (Genesis 49:1) Isaac gave a similar blessing to Jacob. (Genesis 27:27-30)
One might think that this office is likely not to have been included in the early Church, since it seems to belong to the first dispensations after Adam, but according to Joseph Smith the New Testament Church did include patriarchs. “An Evangelist is a Patriarch,”31 the Prophet preached, indicating that the New Testament function or office of “evangelist” included (but perhaps was not limited to) this calling. Indeed, the word “evangelist” is a translation of the Greek “euangelistes,” meaning “a messenger of good tidings.” Can the good tidings of the gospel be preached in any more personal way than through a patriarch called to bless the saints and pronounce the will of the Lord for them?
None of this can really be considered firm evidence for the existence of patriarchs in the early Church, however, since the office of evangelist is merely mentioned, and not described, in the New Testament. On the other hand, the ultraconservative Montanists at the turn of the third century are said to have been governed by the usual bishops, elders, and deacons, as well as officers called “patriarchs” and a shadowy order known as the koinonoi (stewards).32 Perhaps these officers were a holdout from the old Church order.
At the local level, the Restored Church is administered by the Stake Presidency, a council of three high priests who preside over a small number (generally 7 to 10) of congregations. Although there seems to be no trace of church organization at the equivalent of the stake level in the early church (there may well have been various levels of “pastors”), the offices of bishop (Greekepiscopos = overseer), elder (Greek presbyteros), and deacon (Greek diakonos = minister) were present in the early Church. The relationship between elders and bishops is not expressly given in the New Testament, however, and therefore this has been the source of some confusion. It seems that in some communities the Church was governed by a council of elders, while in others a bishop was placed at the head of the council of elders, and as a consequence the terms “bishop” and “elder” are used almost interchangeably.33 Perhaps the situation was similar to that in the Restored Church, where exceptionally small congregations are administered by a “branch presidency” who may be elders rather than a bishop, who is a high priest.
By the first decade of the second century the roles of bishop, elder, and deacon were fairly well defined. Ignatius of Antioch revealed some of the specifics of this hierarchy.
See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Christ Jesus does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the Apostles. Do ye also reverence the deacons, as those that carry out [through their office] the appointment of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as where Christ is, there does all the heavenly host stand by, waiting upon Him as the Chief Captain of the Lord’s might, and the Governor of every intelligent nature. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize, or to offer, or to present sacrifice, or to celebrate a love-feast. But that which seems good to him, is also well-pleasing to God, that everything ye do may be secure and valid.34
Davies explains that a presbyter could perform all the same ordinances as a bishop, but only with the bishop’s express permission.35 This is exactly the case in the Restored Church. Elders and bishops both hold the higher priesthood, and so can perform both temporal and spiritual ordinances. However, everything must be done under the auspices of the bishop to be considered valid.
As for the offices of the Aaronic priesthood, only deacons are mentioned in the New Testament Church. Davies explains that the deacons served as messengers to the bishop, ministers to the sick and imprisoned, carriers of the sacrament (Eucharist), and collectors of offerings.36 We might characterize the early Church deacon as roughly equivalent to a priest in the Restored Church, who is authorized to perform all the functions delegated to the Aaronic priesthood. Were there further divisions within the order of the lesser priesthood in the early Church? The Restored Church has both priests and teachers, as well as deacons, but it is unclear whether these offices existed in the Apostolic Church. At least as early as the late second and early third centuries the offices of priest and subdeacon were introduced. For example, Davies asserts that the order of subdeacons, who performed some of the functions of the deacons, must have existed at least as early as A.D. 170-180.37
The author of the Acts mentioned that “a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:7) Did these men then lose their callings as Aaronic priests, or were they included as priests in the new covenant community? The New Testament is silent on this matter.
Origen mentioned the presence of priests in the Church of the early third century. Interestingly, he also reveals that priests were selected by the Church hierarchy, but had to be approved by the entire Church.
For in ordaining a priest, the presence of the people is also required that all may know and be certain that from all the people one is chosen for the priesthood who is more excellent, who is more wise, who is more holy, who is more eminent in every virtue, lest afterwards, when he stands before the people, any hesitation or any doubt should remain.38
Cyprian indicated that the vote of the people was required to install someone into the priesthood, but Bettenson notes that this was limited to the ratification of the choice made by the other bishops.39 This, of course, is exactly the case in the Restored Church. “No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church.” (D&C 20:65)
The New Testament does mention the presence of teachers (e.g. Ephesians 4:11), but the context of these passages suggests that these were merely members who had a spiritual gift for teaching. Certainly the teachers among the “prophets and teachers” at Antioch who ordained Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:1-3) were not teachers of the Aaronic order.
High Priests after the Order of Melchizedek
Another local priesthood quorum in the Restored Church is that of the high priests. These men hold the Melchizedek priesthood just as the elders do, but their office is higher, and consequently one must be a high priest to hold certain administrative positions, including that of bishop. As was mentioned earlier in this chapter, the New Testament identifies Christ as the great High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, but says nothing more on the subject. Were there other high priests after this order? It seems obvious that Melchizedek was one, at least, and it is called an “order,” after all. Theophilus of Antioch taught that Melchizedek was the first of many priests of his order:
And at that time there was a righteous king called Melchisedek, in the city of Salem, which now is Jerusalem. This was the first priest of all priests of the Most High God; and from him the above-named city Hierosolyma was called Jerusalem. And from his time priests were found in all the earth.40
Again, it is unclear whether an actual office of “high priest” existed in the early Church, but many early Christian documents other than the New Testament do refer to prophets and bishops as “high priests.” However, it is not completely evident whether this was just a literary device to compare them to the old order of Aaronic High Priests or a reference to their specific office.
Both Ignatius and Hippolytus called bishops “high priests”: “And say I, Honour thou God indeed, as the Author and Lord of all things, but the bishop as the high-priest, who bears the image of God–of God, inasmuch as he is a ruler, and of Christ, in his capacity of a priest.”41 ”Grant unto this Thy servant whom Thou has chosen for the episcopate to feed Thy holy flock and serve as Thine high priest . . . .”42 Clement of Alexandria called each man who had been entrusted with the mysteries of God a “truly kingly man; he is the sacred high priest of God.”43 Likewise, theDidache referred to prophets and Apostles, as “high priests.” “Every first-fruit, therefore, of the products of wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and of sheep, thou shalt take and give to the prophets, for they are your high priests.”44
Origen called the Apostles and their successors “priests after the great High Priest.” “In the same way the Apostles also and their successors, priests according to the great High Priest . . . .”45On the other hand, Origen insisted that only Christ can be a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek:
But to this we reply that the Apostle clearly defined his meaning, and declared the prophet to have said about the Christ, “Thou art a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedek,” and not according to the order of Aaron. We say accordingly that men can be high-priests according to the order of Aaron, but according to the order of Melchisedek only the Christ of God.46
It is clear from the foregoing citations, however, that bishops and others were considered “priests” after the order of Melchizedek, if not “high priests.” We have also seen that the New Testament Church may not have made a distinction between offices corresponding to the Aaronic priesthood. Therefore, if there were no office of Aaronic priest, there may not have been a need to distinguish priests of the higher priesthood by calling them “high priests.” That is, the office of “priest after the order of Melchizedek” in the early Church may have been equivalent to the office of “high priest after the order of Melchizedek” in the Restored Church.
The Purpose of Priesthood Offices
What can we say about the organization of the Restored Church as compared to that of the early Church? Simply that they are quite similar, although certain offices present in the Restored Church may or may not have been present in the Church of the former dispensation. But as was pointed out earlier, one need not expect the early Christian Church to have had all the same offices as the Restored Church because Joseph Smith claimed to have restored priesthood offices from all former dispensations.
The most important thing to note is that Joseph Smith restored the basic structure of the early Church “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12) Not just human inventions, the offices in the Church reflect these purposes Paul listed and were meant to endure in God’s Church “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,” so that “we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine . . . .” (Ephesians 4:13-14) Therefore, these same offices of “Apostles; . . . prophets; . . . evangelists; . . . pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11) and others for which there is some evidence in the records of the early Church were restored by God through the Prophet Joseph Smith after a long period of apostasy had left Christianity without inspired leadership.
Just as the LDS Church has a similar organization to the early Christian Church, several peculiarities of LDS worship, church government, and sacramental practice have early Christian analogues as well.
The Lord’s Day
Along with most of the rest of Christianity, Latter-day Saints conduct their regular worship services on the first day of the week, Sunday, rather than following the Old Testament custom of celebrating the Sabbath on the seventh day. On the other hand, some other millenarian movements which started around Joseph Smith’s time, notably the Seventh Day Adventists, have claimed that Christians should continue the Jewish custom, since the New Testament never explicitly states that the original Sabbath had been superseded.
However, the evidence from early Christian documents weighs heavily in favor of those who celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday. And while this is not particularly striking confirmation of the Prophet’s inspiration, it is nevertheless solid evidence when placed in context with the rest of this study. Therefore, a brief presentation of this evidence is in order.
While it has already been pointed out that the New Testament never explicitly states that the Old Testament Sabbath had been superseded, it does show that after the Lord was resurrected on the first day of the week, the Apostles and other Christians began gathering together on that day:
In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead [men]. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. (Matthew 28:1-6)
Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. (John 20:19)
And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. (Acts 20:7)
The first day of the week was called “the Lord’s day” by Christians thereafter, because they celebrated the day of the Lord’s resurrection. (E.g. John indicated that he “was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” when he received his revelation–Revelation 1:10.) And while the scriptures themselves are not especially explicit on this point, other very early Christian documents are. BothBarnabas and the Didache indicate that the Sabbath was to be celebrated on Sunday:
Ye perceive how He speaks: Your present Sabbaths are not acceptable to Me, but that is which I have made, [namely this,] when, giving rest to all things, I shall make a beginning of the eighth day, that is, a beginning of another world. Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead. And when He had manifested Himself, He ascended into the heavens.47
But every Lord’s day do ye gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one that is at variance with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice.48
Ignatius told the Magnesians to go forward, “no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death.49 Clearly this practice was initiated very early on in Christian history, most probably immediately after the Ascension of the Lord.
An examination of early Christian worship reveals that it was manifestly dissimilar to the ornate displays which grew up as part of the medieval mass. The earliest Christians had simple worship services which more resembled those of the Latter-day Saints and many Protestant denominations. That is, the believers gathered on Sunday to participate in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and to preach the gospel to one another, pray, sing hymns, etc. Davies asserts that there was a remarkable amount of freedom exercised in the organization of these early services, nevertheless, there were certain fixed liturgical forms such as the sacrament.50
Justin Martyr described a typical Christian worship service in the second century:
And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the Apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability . . . . But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead.51
The bishop or president was not the only one who could give sermons in such a meeting. Bishops Alexander and Theoctistus of Jerusalem and Caesarea, respectively, insisted that it was the practice of many churches in their day (3rd century), as it is in many contemporary churches, to allow qualified laymen to preach:
For whenever persons able to instruct the brethren are found, they are exhorted by the holy bishops to preach to the people. Thus in Laranda, Euelpis by Neon; and in Iconium, Paulinus by Celsus; and in Synada, Theodorus by Atticus, our blessed brethren. And probably this has been done in other places unknown to us.52
The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
Water, Wine, or Water and Wine?
It is interesting to note that Justin indicated the use of wine and water in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Similarly, Latter-day Saints usually use water in the sacrament, although they at one time used wine. This practice was started as a result of a revelation to Joseph Smith, wherein an angel warned him not to purchase wine from his enemies for communion, since it could easily be poisoned. The Lord explained that the exact substances used in this ordinance didn’t matter, as long as it was done in remembrance of Christ’s body and blood:
For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory–remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins. (D&C 27:2)
And while some anti-Mormon critics charge that Latter-day Saints substitute water because they “reject the full value of Christ’s blood,”53 it can be shown that some early Jewish Christians used water in this ordinance, as well. One of the very early (first or second century) Odes of Solomon referred to this practice. The hymn asserts, “Blessed then are the ministers of that draught who are entrusted with that water of His . . . .” 54 Commenting on this passage, Carl Jung points out that the use of water shows that, like the Mormons, these early Christians were more interested in the symbolism behind the ordinance than in the use of any particular ritual substance: “The fact that the Eucharist was also celebrated with water shows that the early Christians were mainly interested in the symbolism of the mysteries and not in the literal observance of the sacrament.”55
The principal reason many Jewish Christians opted to use water in the sacrament was that some of them had taken Nazarite vows; that is, they had vowed to abstain from wine56, from cutting their hair, and from contact with the dead. The second-century writer Hegesippus claimed that James the brother of Jesus had taken such a vow:
James, the brother of the Lord, succeeded to the government of the Church in conjunction with the Apostles. He has been called the Just by all from the time of our Saviour to the present day; for there were many that bore the name of James. He was holy from his mother’s womb; and he drank no wine nor strong drink, nor did he eat flesh. No razor came upon his head; he did not anoint himself with oil, and he did not use the bath. He alone was permitted to enter into the holy place ; for he wore not woolen but linen garments.57
The Acts of Thomas also described the Apostle Thomas as one who drank only water58, so when one Mygdonia brought him some bread and wine for the sacrament, he refused it and “He brake bread and took a cup of water . . . .”59
As early as the late second and early third centuries, however, this practice was called into question by those who insisted on using water mixed with wine. Therefore, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Cyprian all condemned the Ebionites and other Jewish Christian “heretics” who used only water:
Therefore do [the Ebionites] reject the commixture of the heavenly wine, and wish it to be water of the world only . . . .60
And those destitute of prudence, that is, those involved in heresies, “I enjoin,” remarks Wisdom, saying, “Touch sweetly stolen bread and the sweet water of theft;” the Scripture manifestly applying the terms bread and water to nothing else but to those heresies, which employ bread and water in the oblation, not according to the canon of the Church. For there are those who celebrate the Eucharist with mere water.61
Thus, therefore, in consecrating the cup of the Lord, water alone cannot be offered, even as wine alone cannot be offered. For if any one offer wine only, the blood of Christ is dissociated from us; but if the water be alone, the people are dissociated from Christ; but when both are mingled, and are joined with one another by a close union, there is completed a spiritual and heavenly sacrament.62
Changes in the Doctrine of the Sacrament
This attention to symbolic meaning rather than empirical reality by the Jewish Christians was a product of the Hebrew roots of the early Church. It was the loss of this attitude that led to the adoption of the strange doctrine of “transubstantiation,” which was foreign to the Hebrew mind. Davies explains:
The Hebrew, unlike the Greek, was not interested in things in themselves but only in things as they are called to be. He was not concerned with an object as such but with what it becomes in relation to its final reference according to the divine purpose. The meaning of an object therefore does not lie in its analytical and empirical reality but in the will that is expressed by it. Hence Jesus could say of a piece of bread: ‘This is my body.’ The bread does not cease to be bread, but it becomes what it is not, namely the instrument and organ of his presence, because through his sovereign word he has given it a new dimension.63
Thus, Edwin Hatch asserts that “it is among the Gnostics that there appears for the first time an attempt to realize the change of the elements to the material body and blood of Christ.”64
This unfortunate trend of formalization in sacramental practice and changes in the doctrine of the sacrament continued into the Middle Ages, as various pagan concepts and formulae were adopted into the Catholic and Orthodox liturgies. And as we have seen, this type of thing was an inescapable consequence of the loss of revelation in the Church.
Anointing the Sick
It is common for Latter-day Saints to follow the admonition of James: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick . . . .” (James 5:14-15) Accordingly, Latter-day Saint elders consecrate olive oil for use in blessing the sick. And while people of other denominations also anoint the sick on occasion, the consecration of the oil in early Christianity is not found in the New Testament, but is consistent with LDS practice.
Specifically, there was a clear demarcation in the early church as to who could and who could not bless the oil. While bishops and elders could consecrate oil, those in the lower echelons of the priesthood, such as deacons, could not. The Apostolic Constitutions described the practice:
Concerning the water and the oil, I Matthias make a constitution. Let the bishop bless the water, or the oil. But if he be not there, let the presbyter bless it, the deacon standing by. But if the bishop be present, let the presbyter and deacon stand by, and let him say thus: O Lord of hosts, the God of powers, the creator of the waters, and the supplier of oil, who art compassionate, and a lover of mankind, who hast given water for drink and for cleansing, and oil to give man a cheerful and joyful countenance; do Thou now also sanctify this water and this oil through Thy Christ, in the name of him or her that has offered them, and grant them a power to restore health, to drive away diseases, to banish demons, and to disperse all snares through Christ our hope, with whom glory, honour, and worship be to Thee, and to the Holy Ghost, for ever. Amen.65
Gradually the rite of anointing the sick was corrupted. For example, John Chrysostom advocated using oil taken from church lamps and from martyrs’ shrines, while some others suggested the use of oil filtered through martyrs’ relics.66 Finally, J. Halliburton notes that after the patristic period, anointing of the sick became restricted to those who were deemed incurably ill and needed a ritual preparation for purgatory.67
Tithes, Offerings, and the United Order
All churches need money to function in the world, and the Restored Church is no exception. Inspired by God, Joseph Smith restored correct, biblically based principles for the collection of church revenue. The principles restored fall into two categories which we will call the “law of consecration” and the “law of tithes and offerings.”
Consecration and Tithing
The law of consecration concerns the consecration of all one’s time, talents, and substance to the building of the Kingdom of God. In the spirit of this law members of the New Testament Church renounced the practice of “serving Mammon” and lived with common ownership of all their substance.
And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things in common. (Acts 4:32)
Similarly, the Lord instituted a program called “the United Order” in the Restored Church, and at one time the Saints lived with all things in common. Various revelations to Joseph Smith delineated exactly how this order was to be administered. (e.g. see D&C 51, 82, 104) Unfortunately, the Saints proved themselves unready to live such a lofty law and therefore it was held in abeyance and the lesser law of tithes and offerings was instituted:
Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming. (D&C 64:23)
The law of tithes and offerings is basically that one should give one tenth of one’s income to the Lord, as well as offerings for the poor. This law was practiced in the Old Testament, as evidenced by the following passage from Malachi:
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings . . . . Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:8, 10)
Although it is obvious, the “United Order” in the early Christian Church didn’t last long, the New Testament is not clear about what replaced that system. Consequently, some have criticized the Latter-day Saints for practicing the law of tithes and offerings, which they say is a holdover from the Mosaic Law. This law was terminated by the death of Jesus, they say, and therefore should not be required.68 However, the Apostolic Constitutions make it clear that the law of tithes and offerings was practiced in the early Church:
Let him [the Bishop] use those tenths and first-fruits, which are given according to the command of God, as a man of God; as also let him dispense in a right manner the free-will offerings which are brought in on account of the poor . . . .69
In fact, it can be shown that tithing was thought to have replaced consecration as a lower law. In the third decade of the third century Pope Urban I claimed that some Christians, especially clergy, still attempted to live the law of consecration:
We know that you are not ignorant of the fact that hitherto the principle of living with all things in common has been in vigorous operation among good Christians, and is still so by the grace of God; and most of all among those who have been chosen to the lot of the Lord, that is to say, the clergy, even as we read in the Acts of the Apostles: “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.”70
In 251 A.D. Cyprian looked back with nostalgia at the time when the early saints lived with everything in common, and complained that the Christians of his day were for the most part unwilling to even pay tithes:
But in us unanimity is diminished in proportion as liberality of working is decayed. Then they used to give for sale houses and estates; and that they might lay up for themselves treasures in heaven, presented to the Apostles the price of them, to be distributed for the use of the poor. But now we do not even give the tenths from our patrimony; and while our Lord bids us sell, we rather buy and increase our store. Thus has the vigour of faith dwindled away among us; thus has the strength of believers grown weak.71
In addition to tithes, free-will offerings are given in the Restored Church in conjunction with a monthly fast. That is, the members of the Church fast, and then give at least the amount of money they saved by not eating to the Bishop for distribution to the poor. A passage in Isaiah indicates that the Israelites of the Old Testament had a similar practice:
Is this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? (Isaiah 58:6-7)
Once again, the early Christian documents are clear that Joseph Smith restored a genuine early Christian practice in this case. Davies explains that in the second century, “fasting was closely linked with almsgiving.”72 For example, Barnabas and Hermas advocated a practice nearly identical to that which the Prophet restored:
Behold, this is the fast that I have chosen, saith the Lord, not that a man should humble his soul, but that he should loose every band of iniquity, untie the fastenings of harsh agreements, restore to liberty them that are bruised, tear in pieces every unjust engagement, feed the hungry with thy bread, clothe the naked when thou seest him, bring the homeless into thy house, not despise the humble if thou behold him, and not [turn away] from the members of thine own family. 73
Offer to God a fasting of the following kind: Do no evil in your life, and serve the Lord with a pure heart: keep His commandments, walking in His precepts, and let no evil desire arise in your heart; and believe in God . . . . Having fulfilled what is written, in the day on which you fast you will taste nothing but bread and water; and having reckoned up the price of the dishes of that day which you intended to have eaten, you will give it to a widow, or an orphan, or to some person in want . . . .74
1 Joseph Smith, in TPJS 157.
2 Davies, The Early Christian Church, 60-61.
3 1 Clement 42, ANF 1:16, brackets in original.
4 Clement of Alexandria, in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3:23, in NPNF Series 2, 1:150.
5 Hippolytus, The Apostolic Tradition 2, 8-9, pp. 2-3, 13-17.
6 Bettenson, The Early Christian Fathers, 43.
7 1 Clement 40, in ANF 1:16.
8 Apostolic Constitutions 3:10, in ANF 7:429.
9 ECD 35.
10 E.g. Ignatius insisted that “apart from [the bishops and elders] there is no elect Church, no congregation of holy ones, no assembly of saints.” Ignatius, Trallians 3, in ANF 1:67.
11 2 Clement 17, in ANF 7:522.
12 Wand, A History of the Early Church to A.D. 500, 26-27.
13 Wand, A History of the Early Church to A.D. 500, 3.
14 Ignatius, Trallians 3, in ANF 1:67.]
15 Irenaeus, Against Heresies 4:8:3, in ANF 1:471. In fact, laymen in the patristic period did have an active role in the Church.
History shows that laymen took an active part in all of the internal workings of the Church. They had an important role to play in the liturgy, which was still, at that time, a “popular” liturgy, that is, a liturgy for the people. They had their word to say in the election of bishops, and the nomination of priests. They contributed to the drawing up of church laws and customs; prepared some of the matter for discussion at the councils, and even took part in them. They administered church properties, and it was an accepted thing that they should be allowed to preach. . . ; the records show that they often did so. LeClerq, J., “The Priesthood in the Patristic and Medieval Church,” in Nicholas Lash and Joseph Rhymer, eds., The Christian Priesthood (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1970), 55.
However, in the Middle ages this all changed so that there developed a vast chasm between the clergy and the laity. See LeClerq, 56-62.
16 Sinclair B. Fergusen, David F. Wright, and J.I. Packer, eds., New Dictionary of Theology (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 531.
17 Noll, Christian Ministerial Priesthood, 43; cf. J.H. Elliot, The Elect and the Holy: An Exegetical Examination of I Peter 2:4-10 and the Phrase “Basileioun hierateuma” (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1966), 223.
18 Origen, Homilies on Leviticus 9:1:3, translated by Gary W. Barkley (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1990), FC 83:177.
19 Irenaeus, Against Heresies 4:33:7, in ANF 1:508, brackets in original; cf. Ignatius, Ephesians 5, in ANF 1:51.
20 Irenaeus, Against Heresies 4:26:2, in ANF 1:497, brackets in original.
21 Cyprian, Epistle 39:5, in ANF 5:318.
22 Cyprian, Epistle 26:1, in ANF 5:305.
23 Tertullian, Prescription Against Heretics 32, in ANF 3:258, brackets in original.
24 Tertullian, Prescription Against Heretics 41, in ANF 3:263.
25 Tertullian, Exhortation to Chastity 7, in ANF 4:54.
26 Clement of Alexandria, quoted in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 2:1, in NPNF Series 2, 1:104.
27 The Community Rule 8, in Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, 85.
28 Didache 11, in ANF 7:380-381.
29 1 Clement 44, in ANF 1:17. Jean Daniélou claims that these men were clearly the “heirs of the Twelve,” and were different from any of the priesthood officers normally discussed. He also asserts that this institution must have been created by Christ Himself. Daniélou, The Theology of Jewish Christianity, 355.
30 From a Syriac appendage to a letter from Jesus to King Abgar, in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 1:13, in NPNF Series 2, 1:101.
31 Joseph Smith, in TPJS 151.
32 Davies, The Early Christian Church, 90.
33 Bettenson, The Early Christian Fathers, 90, n. 1.
34 Ignatius, Smyrnaeans 8, in ANF 1:89-90, brackets in original.
35 Davies, The Early Christian Church, 131.
36 Davies, The Early Christian Church, 131-132.
37 Davies, The Early Christian Church, 132.
38 Origen, Homilies on Leviticus 6:3:1, FC 83:120.
39 Bettenson, The Early Christian Fathers, p.267.
40 Theophilus, To Autolycus 2:31, in ANF 2:107.
41 Ignatius, Smyrnaeans 9, in ANF 1:90.
42 Hippolytus, The Apostolic Tradition 3:4, p. 5.
43 Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 7:7, in ANF 2:533.
44 Didache 13, in ANF 7:381.
45 Origen, On Prayer 28:9, translated by John J. O’Meara (New York: Newman Press, 1954), ACW 19:112.
46 Origen, Commentary on John 1:3, in ANF 10:298. However, Ignatius wrote that Christ was the only High Priest “by nature.” Ignatius, Smyrnaeans 9, in ANF 1:90. Perhaps others can become “High Priests” by grace.
47 Epistle of Barnabas 15, in ANF 1:147, brackets in original.
48 Didache 14, in ANF 7:381.
49 Ignatius, Magnesians 9, in ANF 1:62.
50 Davies, The Early Christian Church, 63-64.
51 Justin Martyr, First Apology 67, in ANF 1:185-186.
52 Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 6:19, in NPNF Series 2, 1:268.
53 Decker and Hunt, The God Makers, 136.
54 Odes of Solomon 6, in Platt, ed., The Forgotten Books of Eden, 122.
55 Jung, C. G., “Transformation Symbolism in the Mass,” in Joseph Campbell, ed., The Mysteries (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1955), 280-281.
56 One rationale for continuing the LDS practice of using water in the sacrament is that the Word of Wisdom, the LDS health code, forbids the drinking of alcoholic beverages. However, I amnot suggesting that the early Christian Church had any such health code. The Word of Wisdom explicitly states that it was designed “in consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days. . . .” (D&C 89:4.) Therefore, there is no need to suppose that this revelation was a restoration of anything from a former dispensation, especially in light of the fact that the New Testament shows Jesus drinking wine.
57 Hegesippus, quoted in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 2:23, in NPNF Series 2, 1:125.
58 Acts of Thomas, in ANF 8:539.
59 Acts of Thomas 121, quoted in Daniélou, The Theology of Jewish Christianity, 371.
60 Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5:1:3, in ANF 1:527; cf. Daniélou, The Theology of Jewish Christianity, 371.
61 Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 1:19, in ANF 2:322.
62 Cyprian, Epistle 62, 13, in ANF 5:362.
63 Davies, The Early Christian Church, 54.
64 Hatch, The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages Upon the Christian Church, 308.
65 Apostolic Constitutions 8:29, in ANF 7:493. Apparently by this time they also used water (holy water?) for anointing.
66 Halliburton, J., “Anointing in the Early Church,” in Dudley and Rowell, eds., The Oil of Gladness, 86.
67 Halliburton, J., “Anointing in the Early Church,” in Dudley and Rowell, eds., The Oil of Gladness, 89.
68 Jehovah’s Witnesses have recently made this criticism. See “The Mormon Church: A Restoration of All Things?,” Awake! (November 8, 1995): 24.
69 Apostolic Constitutions 2:25, in ANF 7:471.
70 Pope Urban I, Epistle to All Christians 1, in ANF 8:619.
71 Cyprian, On the Unity of the Church 26, in ANF 5:429.
72 Davies, The Early Christian Church, 108-109.
73 Barnabas 3, in ANF 1:138, brackets in original.
74 The Pastor of Hermas, Sim. 5:1, 3, in ANF 2:33-34.