A Living Prophet - The Cure For Religious Division?

The Mormons, along with many other "1atter-day revelation" groups, contend that a "living prophet" of some kind is necessary to end the state of religious confusion found in the world today. We wish to show that first, the lack of a "living prophet" was not the cause of division; and, second, that having one today is no cure for it.

We agree with our Mormon friends that a "falling away" of the church was predicted in the New Testament. But the cause of this apostasy was, as we learn from 1 Timothy 4:1, a departure from "the faith" and not the death of the apostles and prophets, as the Mormons claim. As long as man was obeying the faith(Act 6:7) continuing in it (Colossians 1:23), and contending for it (Jude 3), there was unity There will be religious unity today by the same means. We have the same "faith" or gospel that they had then. If we obey it, continue in it, and contend for it, as they did, we will be united. But It we "depart" from it, there is religious division. The function of the apostles and prophets was to "deliver" the faith. It was up to those who received it to keep the faith and maintain unity. So the absence of a living prophet is not the cause of division.

The presence of a living prophet is no guarantee of religious unity. There was religious division in the first century while more than one apostle and prophet was living. See 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, and notice the division then in existence. In the 12th chapter of this book, we learn that there were "prophets" among the Corinthians. But there was still division in spite of "living prophets." Since 1830, when the Book of Mormon was first published, there have been over a hundred distinct religious groups spring into existence, each claiming to believe the Book of Mormon. Nearly all of these groups claimed miraculous divine guidance of one kind or the other. More than half of them claimed specific revelation from a "living prophet" to the effect that they were right and all the others wrong! These facts lead irresistibly to the conclusion that a living prophet is not the answer to religious division.

In addition to the divided Mormon groups, Seventh-Day Adventists, Christian Scientists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and many others have claimed "living prophets," "testimonies of the Spirit," and the other paraphernalia of latter-day revelation. Yet all of these groups are divided from one another. Such systems are not only not the cure for religious division, but they are clearly one of the leading causes of it!