Don asked:

I have some Mormon friends. Do you have some Socratic questions you can give me so that we can plant some seeds with when talking to them?

Tim Staples replied:

"I have a book called Nuts and Bolts ... in the section on Mormonism what I do is I use the Socratic method rooted in Matthew 18:15 through 18 when it comes to the issue of authority. This is what I do, Don in a nutshell. I begin by praising the Mormon for their denial of sola scriptura ... they don’t believe the bible is the sole root of faith ... I begin the conversation by saying sola scriptura makes no sense because what happens when you disagree about a text of scripture? I mean what do you do?

... it’s in that context that I take them to Matthew 18:15 through 18 where Jesus says, ‘if your brother shall offend against thee go tell him his fault between you and him alone.’ Well Don, there’s no greater offense that you can have against anyone then heresy. To accuse someone of heresy, which is one of the greatest sins ... So what do you do if you someone accuses you or you accuse someone else of heresy? Hey this is wrong what you’re saying about the bible. Well Jesus says, 'if your brother offends against thee go tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother, if he won’t hear you take two or three with you, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word may be established.'

And of course the Mormon is agreeing ... Well if he still won’t hear then what do you do? You tell it to the Church. And the one who fails to hear the Church is to be as a heathen and as a publican, because whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. There you have it. Jesus says tell it to the Church.

And at the time the Mormon will be saying oh I agree with you whole heartedly. Right? Well, then you ask this question as I say in that chapter. Well what do you do Mister Mormon if you pick up this bible and let’s say you’re in the colonies. The brand new thirteen colonies in the United States in 1778 and you have a problem? And you pick up your bible and you say wow, Jesus promised that I could go to the Church and get an answer. Where do you go in 1778? And that’s where you normally have spontaneous silence. Why? Because the Church does not exist to the Mormon in 1778. And I say to that then Jesus is a false prophet because Jesus said I will build my Church in Matthew 16:18 and the gates of hell will not prevail. Jesus says that if we have a problem with our brother we can take it to the Church, and the one who fails to hear the Church is a heathen and a publican...”

Don replied:

They would deny that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. They would not say that refers to the Catholic church.

Tim Staples replied:

"Well that’s fine. But there has to be A church here in 1778. I’m not getting to it’s the Catholic church. I’m saying it’s not the Mormon church, because the Mormon church didn’t exist in 1778. So the Mormon church is not the church that Jesus established. If you get them there, you’ve got a stumped Mormon ..."

Source material:

Matthew 18
15 If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Matthew 16
18 And I tell you, you are Peter,[d] and on this rock[e] I will build my church, and the powers of death[f] shall not prevail against it.


Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2013)

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Show air date: August 20, 2013

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Tim Staples

Question appeared in show: 42:36, 47:08

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"...and upon this rock I will build My Church..." Matthew 16:18