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Remnant or Replacement?: Outlining a Possible Apostasy Narrative

TitleRemnant or Replacement?: Outlining a Possible Apostasy Narrative
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsFrederick, Nicholas J., and Joseph M. Spencer
JournalBYU Studies Quarterly
KeywordsAbrahamic Covenant; Apostasy; Covenant Theology; Great and Abominable Church; Great Apostasy; Nephi's Vision; Plain and Precious Things; Remnant

In this essay we will attempt to show how Nephi calls for an understanding of apostasy focused primarily on how Christians understand their relationship to the covenants given anciently to Israel. Our treatment of this issue falls into two parts. In the first, we consider Nephi’s vision directly, spelling out the way it (schematically) narrates the beginnings of Christian apostasy. In the second part, we then look more broadly at how Book of Mormon prophets—with Jesus Christ among them—spell out a proper understanding of Christianity’s relationship to Israel’s covenants. A brief conclusion draws out some general reflections. We might note that this essay is, for us, just the beginning of a larger project. Here we outline the scriptural warrant for and basic shape of a responsible apostasy narrative for early Christianity. In future publications, we aim to turn from the Book of Mormon to a direct considering of the texts of earliest Christianity to show how Nephi’s vision might be corroborated by history.