I live in an area with an extremely high Mormon population and was discussing theology with a friend, who is Mormon. I was trying to point out biblical scripture which contradicts Mormon theology. I was looking at Matthew 24:23-27,
"At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ' or 'There he is!' do no believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.'" (NIV)
I was using that as evidence that Joseph Smith could not have seen Christ, as he claimed, since Christ himself said that when He returns everyone will witness it. However, I was stumped when she then pointed out that Christ appeared only to select people after the resurrection, not to the entire world, therefore it is entirely possible that He appeared to Joseph Smith centuries later.
I certainly don't believe Joseph Smith and think that he is one of the most dangerous false prophets in history, but I'm not sure how to rebut her argument. Does anyone have any thoughts on this.
Well, disregarding the whole "Mormon" aspect and just concentrating on the teaching itself and the question about Christ's initial appearances, note that Christ speaks using the phrase "at that time". Clearly Christ means to speak of His second coming, and not of his resurrection appearances, which are in one sense before He had even left the earth the first time (still being in the same body, although a resurrected body to be sure.)
Deut 18:22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. NASU