Sister Hinckley’s Challenge

by Rusty Lindquist on January 25, 2011 · 0 comments

Sister Marjorie Hinckley described the condition in which she hoped to arrive in heaven, and in so doing, offers us a challenge….

I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenk’s lawn. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden. I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.

Doctrine and Covenants 58:27

Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

I’m with Sister Hinckley.  Let’s go find some ways to get our hands dirty.

Rusty

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Margaret July 9, 2008 at 9:46 PM

I love Sister Hinckley. When I grow up I hope I can be more like her!

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2 ryan July 10, 2008 at 2:18 PM

this is a better explanation of “Christianity” than the definition Pondering Pastor provided in the dialogue proceeding “Unbaptized babies will be saved.”

As C.S. Lewis pointed out in “Mere Christianity,”
“On this view the thing has happened: the new step has been taken and is
being taken. Already the new men are dotted here and there all over the
earth. Some, as I have admitted, are still hardly recognisable: but others
can be recognised. Every now and then one meets them. Their very voices and
faces are different from ours; stronger, quieter, happier, more radiant.
They begin where most of us leave off. They are, I say, recognisable; but
you must know what to look for. They will not be very like the idea of
“religious people” which you have formed from your general reading. They do
not draw attention to themselves. You tend to think that you are being kind
to them when they are really being kind to you. They love you more than
other men do, but they need you less. (We must get over wanting to be
needed: in some goodish people, specially women, that is the hardest of all
temptations to resist.) They will usually seem to have a lot of time: you
will wonder where it comes from. When you have recognised one of them, you
will recognise the next one much more easily. And I strongly suspect (but
how should I know?) that they recognise one another immediately and
infallibly, across every barrier of colour, sex, class, age, and even of
creeds. In that way, to become holy is rather like joining a secret society.
To put it at the very lowest, it must be great fun.”

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3 ponderingpastor July 10, 2008 at 4:40 PM

Nice shot Ryan. But here is the rub. Followers of Islam believe in Jesus and follow some of his teachings. That does not make them Christian. What Sister Hinkley describes is living the way Christ taught. That does not make her a Christian. If I live the 10 commandments, that doesn’t make me Jewish.

Pondering Pastor

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4 Rusty Lindquist July 10, 2008 at 4:58 PM

PP – In all due respect, I’d encourage you to beware of who you judge. I for one, would NOT want to have it written on the Books of Life that I claimed Marjorie Hinckley wasn’t a true Christian.

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5 Rusty Lindquist July 10, 2008 at 5:04 PM

Besides that, I’m trying, I’m really trying to be patient and forgiving of your persistent bigotry on my blog. Surely we can be above that. Your a pastor, for goodness sakes, I would hope for more.

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6 ponderingpastor July 10, 2008 at 5:18 PM

Rusty, in no way am I attempting to say that Sister Hinckley is or is not a Christian. I don’t even know who she is. I only stated that living as Christ taught is not determinative of whether or not she is a Christian. There is a huge difference. There is not judgment there. Ghandi lived in a way that was like Christ taught. He was not Christian. And, as far as I know, he made no claims to be a Christian.

I was not aware that I had crossed the line into bigotry. How are any of my comments different than your claim that what I call the Christian church is apostate? That is is loaded term, far more inflammatory than anything I’ve written.

However, if you want me to stop writing on this blog, I will comply.

Pondering Pastor

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7 Margaret July 10, 2008 at 5:55 PM

Sister Hinckley is the wife of our previous Prophet, President Hinckley. She is much beloved by all Latter-Day Saints. We don’t take kindly to derogatory comments about her.

I know we disagree on some very basic principles. I share Ditchu’s feelings about your excluding us from being Christians. I totally disagree with your reasoning and wish you could be “a little more Christian” about it.

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8 ryan July 10, 2008 at 6:56 PM

PP,

please don’t leave this site–I have enjoyed your comments. They have helped me see the background into why Mormons are not regarded as Christians by many sects.

I lived in Arkansas for three years. I got to see first-hand Southern hospitality. Everyone was friendly, loving, and kind–the best neighbors I could ask for. But I discovered that once they found out I was Mormon, by the way some people treated me afterwards was as if I grew horns out of my head. And even in discussions similar to this, they would not regard me as Christian.

In one of my last readings of the Book of Mormon, I decided to mark with an orange pencil every time the word “Lord” or “Jesus” or “Christ” or “Messiah,” etc–any reference to our Savior. I’ve never counted them, but I have to search hard to find a page that doesn’t have an orange word on it. And some pages will have well over twenty. Within the title of the Book of Mormon it states “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” Our church’s name bears His name. He is my Redeemer, my God, and my King. Without Him I cannot hope to be saved into the Kingdom of God.

So what about that makes me a non-Christian?

Ryan

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9 Mark Heard July 10, 2008 at 10:07 PM

Because you don’t see Christ as the living God in human flesh. It isn’t just to believe in Christ. It is to believe in the Christ that is God in human flesh. That’s the basic bottom line reality of the Christian faith.

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10 Mark Heard July 10, 2008 at 10:10 PM

Listen there have been many Christs , there are many Christs, and there are going to be many Christs. Read Matthew chapter twenty-four where Jesus says in the latter times many Christs, false Christs, false prophets, false Messiahs are going to come along, you’d better be sure that the one you worship is the true Christ of God: God in human flesh.

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11 Rusty Lindquist July 11, 2008 at 7:42 AM

PP – She’s Mormon, so you are saying that she’s not Christian, except we’re not talking about how you live, but what you believe.

I’ve al so never called you apostate. There’s a big difference. The definition for apostate is one who forsakes his religion, cause, or party. You clearly have not forsaken your religion. Actually in truth, I give credit to Martin Luther, for Christian religions had apostatized form the true doctrine of Christ long before his time, and from what I understand, he perceived this, and separated from the rest. The only problem was, while I think he was likely inspired to attempt to correct what he saw wrong, he lacked the proper authority (not given by man, but by god) by the laying on of hands, and while some of his corrections may have been inspired, he lacked actual revelation from god as a prophet. But here we get back to the importance of having a line of prophets, the same now as in times of old. Without them, all we have are the doctrines of man.

Regardless, I’ll not try to persuade you to stay or to go. It wasn’t I who asked you to offer a refutation to every post I make about Mormonism, as you said, you believe that command came from the Lord. I know if I felt commanded by God to do something, I’d stick to it. To be clear, I don’t mind you staying at all, and quite enjoy some of our conversations, I find that you’re generally respectful.

But surely you can understand, as one who has subjected their life to Christ, accepted him as his Lord and Savior, admitted that without him I cannot be saved, and ONLY through him can I be saved; as one who believes in him with all my heart, loves and trusts him, and endeavors to teach his gospel… you should not be surprised therefore, that someone tells me I’m not a Christian, I tend to get a bit prickly. He is my all.

Moreover, Sister Hinckley is the absolute embodiment of Christ-like attributes. I too, hope to be like her when I grow up.

Rusty

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12 Rusty Lindquist July 11, 2008 at 8:06 AM

Mark, you say “Because you don’t see Christ as the living God in human flesh. It isn’t just to believe in Christ. It is to believe in the Christ that is God in human flesh. That’s the basic bottom line reality of the Christian faith.”

First, we DO see God as having human flesh and bones. So does that mean we’re Christian, because we agree on the nature of God? If so, then there are a lot of other Christians that you’re abandoning, such as those who believe he is a spirit. If one’s acceptance of the nature of God is determinative, the definitive measure by which we can know if they’re Christian, then none of us are. It’s a logical fallacy, a non sequitur. For the premise upon which that judgment is made is subjective. To one who believes God has not a body, then you and I are not Christians. For one who believes that God has a body, they are not Christians. For one who believes in the trinity, some all-in-one, being then those that believe in three distinct beings are not Christians. And to those who believe in the Godhead, those who believe in the trinity are not Christian. For that to be the definitive measure, there must be a universally and unequivocally known description of his nature, otherwise, all we’re doing is name-calling. Like Junior High.

Someone once said this argument is like saying “I believe ducks are birds that are white, float on the water, have a flat bill, webbed feet, and quack”, but then stating that Mallards cannot be ducks because their feathers are the wrong color.
As the Pondering Pastor said to me on another post – as much as Mormons would like to believe that they are Christian, it is not for those who are outside of Christianity to decide what is Christian and what is not. But who is to decide who is inside, and who is outside Christianity? The fact of the matter is, it’s for none of us to decide. Christ will be the only one to make that judgment, and not man.

Interestingly, Mormons don’t make this claim (claiming the corner on Christianity), even though most don’t share the same view of the nature of God as we. So why is that? Why is it that Mormons can accept another’s claim to Christianity, but they cannot accept ours? It’s a matter I’ll explore in detail in the post I’m doing “Are Mormons Christian”, but I cannot help but think it’s partially a result of commercialized religion, which I explore in detail here.

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13 ponderingpastor July 11, 2008 at 10:48 AM

Rusty,

If I didn’t like you so much, I’d use some pejorative terms to describe your response. What I will say is that I read a great deal of hurt in your response. I have not intended to cause you harm. I hope that I am mistaken in my conclusions about the subtle attacks that I read in your response. They seem to be more like sharp sticks than daggers.

I’ll leave this thread alone and not offer rebuttals to it. It has strayed too far from the original intent, which was to describe a very good description of what it means to follow Christ’s teachings.

You will, however, expect lively challenges to the post, “Are Mormons Christian.” I promise, I won’t rehash all the old arguments.

Pondering Pastor

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14 Margaret July 11, 2008 at 1:09 PM

PP,

I find it unfortunate that you spend so much time tearing down when there is such a need in this world to build up. I’m not saying you never build up, but I find tearing down a waste of precious time.

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15 Rusty July 11, 2008 at 3:18 PM

PP, yeah, I’m hurt by the question of my Christianity, but I can deal with it, it just makes me edgy. 😉 Still, I didn’t see any daggers in my reply. But I guess we can deal with that when I do the actual post. But I also don’t mind you rehashing old issues on the new post. The purpose of the new post is to have the whole argument in one location, rather then all spread out over the whole blog.

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16 Mark Heard July 11, 2008 at 7:53 PM

Rusty maybe I didn’t fully express the phrase “Christ as the living God in human flesh”. It should be read: Because he don’t believe that the one true eternally existing God Himself became man.

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17 ditchu July 14, 2008 at 6:02 PM

Skipping the string of comments that followed this post… I agree with Sister Marjorie, and I think the former President of the LDS church (Her husband) does too. To truly appreciate the Love of Christ we need to give it away.
-D

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18 Margaret July 15, 2008 at 12:56 PM

Ditchu-you are the one centering us now! Maybe we need a post about how to avoid being distracted from the subject at hand. It’s getting out of control lately.

Let’s all go get our hands dirty giving service for a while and come back ready to focus! Readers need to be able to follow our discussions without jumping all over the place.

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19 Suebee October 23, 2008 at 1:40 PM

Mark Heard – Please don’t take this badly, I am truly simply curious, and do not understand your entry about God in human form.

How do you reconcile the notion that “Christ as the living God in human flesh” and Jesus Christ are one and the same, with Bible passages that reflect Jesus talking with, and praying to, his father?

That God the father (“the one true eternally existing God himself”) became the man Jesus – here I am assuming you meant He became Jesus Christ on earth – seems to ignore instance after instance where Jesus communicated with his father while on earth.

Who then was he talking and praying to?

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20 Mark Heard October 23, 2008 at 5:54 PM

Jesus frequently spoke of His unique, otherworldly origin, of having preexisted in heaven before coming into this world. To the hostile Jews He declared, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world” (John 8:23). “What then,” He asked, “if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?” (John 6:62). In His high-priestly prayer Jesus spoke of the glory which He had with the Father before the world existed (John 17:5). In John 16:28 He told His disciples, “I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.” Thus, John described Jesus in the prologue of his gospel with these words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

Amazingly, Jesus assumed the prerogatives of deity. He claimed to have control over the eternal destinies of people (John 8:24; cf. Luke 12:8-9; John 5:22, 27-29), to have authority over the divinely-ordained institution of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:8; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5), to have the power to answer prayer (John 14:13-14; cf. Acts 7:59; 9:10-17), and to have the right to receive worship and faith due to God alone (Matt. 21:16; John 14:1; cf. John 5:23). He also assumed the ability to forgive sins (Mark 2:5-11)–something which, as His shocked opponents correctly understood, only God can do (v. 7).

Jesus also called God’s angels (Gen. 28:12; Luke 12:8-9; 15:10; John 1:51) His angels (Matt. 13:41; 24:30-31); God’s elect (Luke 18:7; Rom. 8:33) His elect (Matt. 24:30-31); and God’s kingdom (Matt. 12:28; 19:24; 21:31; Mark 1:15; Luke 4:43; John 3:3) His kingdom (Matt. 13:41; 16:28; cf. Luke 1:33; 2 Tim. 4:1).

When a Samaritan woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us” (John 4:25) Jesus replied, “I who speak to you am He” (v. 26). In His high-priestly prayer to the Father, He referred to Himself as “Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3); “Christ” is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word translated “Messiah.” When asked at His trial by the high priest, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” (Mark 14:61) Jesus replied simply, “I am” (v. 62). He also accepted, without correction or amendment, the testimonies of Peter (Matt. 16:16-17), Martha (John 11:27), and others (e.g., Matt. 9:27; 20:30-31) that He was the Messiah. He was the One of whom Isaiah prophesied, “His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

The Lord’s favorite description of Himself was “Son of Man” (cf. Matt. 8:20; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:22; John 9:35-37, etc.). Although that title seems to stress His humanity, it also speaks of His deity. Jesus’ use of the term derives from Daniel 7:13-14, where the Son of Man is on equal terms with God the Father, the Ancient of Days.

The Jews viewed themselves collectively as sons of God. Jesus, however, claimed to be God’s Son in a unique sense. “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father,” Jesus affirmed, “and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27). In John 5:25-26 He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself.” After receiving word that Lazarus was ill Jesus said to the disciples, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it” (John 11:4). When asked at His trial, “Are You the Son of God, then?” Jesus replied, “Yes, I am” (Luke 22:70; cf. Mark 14:61-62). Instead of rejecting the title, the Lord embraced it without apology or embarrassment (Matt. 4:3, 6; 8:29; Mark 3:11-12; Luke 4:41; John 1:49-50; 11:27).

The hostile authorities clearly understood that Jesus’ use of the title Son of God was a claim to deity. Otherwise, they would not have accused Him of blasphemy (cf. John 10:46). In fact, it was Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God that led the Jews to demand His death: “The Jews answered [Pilate], ‘We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God'” (John 19:7). And in John 5:18 — “The Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” Even while He was on the cross, some mocked Him, sneering, “He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now, if He delights in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God'” (Matt. 27:43).

Jesus further outraged the unbelieving Jews by taking for Himself the covenant name of God, “I am” (Yahweh). That name was so sacred to the Jews that they refused to even pronounce it, lest they take it vain (cf. Exod. 20:7). In John 8:24 Jesus warned that those who refuse to believe He is Yahweh will perish eternally: “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (The word “He” is not in the original Greek.) Later in that chapter “Jesus said to [His hearers], ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am'” (v. 58). Unlike many modern deniers of His deity, the Jews knew exactly what He was claiming, as their subsequent attempt to stone Him for blasphemy makes clear (v. 59). In John 13:19 Jesus told His disciples that when what He predicted came to pass, they would believe that He is Yahweh. Even His enemies, coming to arrest Him in Gethsemane, were overwhelmed by His divine power and fell to the ground when Jesus said “I am” (John 18:5-8).

All of the above lines of evidence converge on one inescapable point: Jesus Christ claimed absolute equality with God. Thus He could say, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30); “He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me” (John 12:45); and “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (14:9-10). And thus we can conclude that “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9), and we can worship Him accordingly as “our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:13).

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21 ditchu October 24, 2008 at 3:29 PM

Mark Heard,

Equality does not make me you, nor does it make Jesus the exact same personage as God the Father.

Taking all of that aside I do see in some aspect how Jesus is the Father: As Jesus in one of the many faces of God, we each person are one of the many faces of man. In this instance as Jesus was God and Man we each share in his divinity: Man is another face of God, thus each man, woman, child is a reflection of Deity. Jesus being a man has a right to claim this reflection in this Point of view.

Now down to earth, we should note that that is not quite what you are talking about.

-D

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22 Mark Heard October 24, 2008 at 9:01 PM

Ditchu,

The title “Son of God” when applied to Christ in Scripture always speaks of His essential deity and absolute equality with God. The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ time understood this perfectly. John 5:18 says they sought the death penalty against Jesus, charging Him with blasphemy “because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”

In that culture, a dignitary’s adult son was deemed equal in stature and privilege with his father. The same deference demanded by a king was afforded to his adult son. The son was, after all, of the very same essence as his father, heir to all the father’s rights and privileges–and therefore equal in every significant regard. So when Jesus was called “Son of God,” it was understood categorically by all as a title of deity, making Him equal with God and (more significantly) of the same essence as the Father. That is precisely why the Jewish leaders regarded the title “Son of God” as high blasphemy.

The begetting spoken of in Psalm 2 and Hebrews 1 is not an event that takes place in time. Even though at first glance Scripture seems to employ terminology with temporal overtones (“this day have I begotten thee”), the context of Psalm 2:7 seems clearly to be a reference to the eternal decree of God. It is reasonable to conclude that the begetting spoken of there is also something that pertains to eternity rather than a point in time. The temporal language should therefore be understood as figurative, not literal.
Scripture refers to Christ as “the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14; cf. v. 18; 3:16, 18; Heb. 11:17). The Greek word translated “only begotten” is monogenes. The thrust of its meaning has to do with Christ’s utter uniqueness. Literally, it may be rendered “one of a kind”–and yet it also clearly signifies that He is of the very same essence as the Father. In the design of God, each creature begets offspring “after his kind” (Gen. 1:11-12; 21-25). The offspring bear the exact likeness of the parent. The fact that a son is generated by the father guarantees that the son shares the same essence as the father. This is the sense Scripture aims to convey when it speaks of the begetting of Christ by the Father. Christ is not a created being (John 1:1-3). He had no beginning but is as timeless as God Himself. Therefore, the “begetting” mentioned in Psalm 2 and its cross-references has nothing to do with His origin. But it has everything to do with the fact that He is of the same essence as the Father.

The full, undiluted, undivided essence of God belongs alike to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is but one essence; yet He exists in three Persons. The three Persons are co-equal, but they are still distinct Persons. And the chief characteristics that distinguish between the Persons are wrapped up in the properties suggested by the names Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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23 Suebee October 26, 2008 at 2:28 PM

Mark Heard

Although I grasp your meaning, I cannot find anything that refers to Jesus as an “essence” of another being.

Hebrews Chapter One, God, speaking of his Son Jesus Christ as “the express image of his person” and “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high”…and “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name that they”. In the same epistle God expressly says of Jesus “and let all the angels of God worship him.” And he specifically talks to his Son, telling him “Thy throne O God (God is talking to his son here), is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom” intimating that, (not for the first time) his Son is the inheritor of the created world, and a deity in his own right.

Although you gave several passages that indicate Jesus Christ was acting on behalf of his Father, and in His name, and commanded angels as would a Deity – that appears to have been part of the original plan of his father.

But as to my questions:

If they are one and the same entity, to whom was Jesus praying (in the garden for example), and to whom were his pleas directed?

Why would he feel the need to pray to himself?

If he were actually God himself why come to the world in disguise, or incognito as the son of God, Jesus Christ? Why not simply declare I am God, or I am all three personages in one – God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit?

And if Jesus is an essence, or alter ego, does God have no heavenly offspring?

I cannot quite yet reconcile those issues between God, as three personages in one; and the multitude of passages where Jesus Christ states in no uncertain terms that he is the living (only begotten) son of God. Why would that phrase appear so often in the Bible to so many diverse crowds if it is literally not true?

I am pretty committed to the separation of the three, but am also always trying to understand other points of view.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. -John 3:16-17

I appreciate your explaining your point of view without taking offense. It is seldom that a strong belief can be explained without rancor.

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24 Mark Heard October 26, 2008 at 9:46 PM

Suebee:

The Lord is one, and yet He manifests Himself in three distinct persons. You can have the Son praying to the Father; you can have the Spirit praying to the Father, from the believer; you can have all of these things within the framework of God.

“Being made so much better than the angels,” The Greek word used there for “made” is not poieo, which means, “to make” or “create”; it is ginomai, which means, “to become.” Jesus Christ has always existed, but He became better than the angels in His exaltation, inferring at one time that He had been lower than the angels (Heb. 2:9). Specifically, in Hebrews 1:4 the writer is referring to Christ as God’s Son. Christ as a man became lower than angels. But as a result of His faithful obedience and the wonderful work He accomplished as a Son, He was exalted above the angels, which is where He had been before. But this time He was exalted as the Son. Christ did not become the Son of God until His incarnation. He was not the Son of God in eternity past; He was God as the second person of the Trinity. It was as the Son that He was exalted above angels, and that’s why He became better than angels. For a while He was lower than the angels, faithfully accomplishing God’s work; He became better than the angels as the exalted Son.

Verse 6 says that Christ is the “first-begotten.” Many people use this word as their proof text that Jesus is a created being. But they don’t understand that the word “first-begotten” does not have anything to do with time but position. Colossians 1:15 says Christ “is the image of the invisible God, the first- born of all creation.” They also try to use that as a proof text. They claim Colossians 1:15 proves that Christ was created. But the Greek word for “first-begotten” and “first- born” is prototokos, which means “the chief one.” Christ was not begotten; He is the chief, the sovereign of everything. That term was connected with the concept of the first-born because the eldest son was usually the heir to everything–the chief of the father’s estate. Prototokos then came to mean, “one with all the dignity and honor who stood as the chief one.” Jesus Christ is the prototokos. And that refers to His right and authority, not to His time of birth.

There were two brothers in the Old Testament named Jacob and Esau. Now Esau was the oldest, but Jacob was the prototokos. Genesis 49:3 describes the character of Jacob’s prototokos: “Reuben, thou art my first-born, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellence of dignity, and the excellency of power.” What does prototokos mean? Might, strength, dignity, and power. So it is not a word of time; it is a word of authority. Jesus Christ is the prototokos in the sense that He has the right to rule.

The writer of Hebrews quotes two Old Testament passages to show that Jesus has a better name than angels. Hebrews 1:5 quotes Psalm 2:7: “Unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?” Then again in verse 5 he says, “I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son.” That’s a quote from 2 Samuel 7:14, where David had been given a prophecy that he would have a great son. Which angel has ever been called a Son? None. As Christians, we are collectively called “sons of God” or “children of God”; the angels are likewise in the sense that God created them. But no one angel is ever called the “Son of God.” Neither has God said to an angel, “This day have I begotten thee.” God says, “I have a Son who has a greater name.” The Old Testament predicted that a Son was going to come. Psalm 2:7 says, “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” Second Samuel 7:14 also predicts the coming of the Son: “I will be his father, and he shall be my son.”
Did you know that when 2 Samuel was written, Jesus Christ was not the Son of God? Why? The title “Son” refers to Jesus Christ in His incarnation. Christ did not become the Son until He was begotten into time. Prior to His incarnation, He was the eternal God. God as Father and Jesus as the Son is God’s analogy to help us understand the relationship between the first and second Persons of the Trinity.

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25 ditchu October 27, 2008 at 12:07 PM

MarkH.,

In “Essance” you are talking about one Entity. I see that entity more like a business/corporat entity. Not a person but a co-operatitive group of persons that are working together for the Goals and mission of the one entity. In the Christian Religous case that entity is called God.
-D

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26 ditchu October 27, 2008 at 12:09 PM

By the way what does the point of God being 3 personages or 3 aspects of 1 personage have to do with the Challange form Sister Hinkley?

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27 Suebee October 27, 2008 at 5:08 PM

Among early Christians there was much debate over the nature of the Godhead. The Nicene Creed and subsequent reformulations and evolutions of it declared that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost were three distinct persons, yet one God. Since the 4th century, this doctrine has been stated as “three persons in one God, all three of whom, as distinct and co-eternal persons, are of one indivisible Divine essence”.

I think I’m beginning to understand your concept of that Trinity a little better. But I have never been able to find any compelling evidence of the doctrine itself, nor any evidence that his apostles and followers understood that to be the case.

Yet, like the original Christians (the apostles and subsequently sainted as Christians John, Paul, etc.) I believe the Three to be separate beings Father, Son and Holy Ghost, united perfectly in will and purpose, divine and eternal, and I too am a Christian.

When He was baptised by John the heavens opened up and he saw “the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him; And lo a Voice from heaven, saying ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ ” This is compelling evidence to me that there were three separate entities there at that baptism with John.

It is an article of our faith, and eloquently stated by Elder Jeffery R. Holland that “It is not our purpose to demean any person’s belief or the doctrine of any religion. We extend to all the same respect for their doctrine that we are asking for ours.”

But civil discussion, and earnest curiosity often broadens knowledge. It seldom changes strongly-held views, but tends to strengthen deeply-held convictions.

One of my curiosities, perhaps a failing of mine, is to understand the WHY of things. I am satisfied with the “whys” that I believe to be true, but if you believe it to be otherwise, then I am curious to understand those whys.

So these “whys” continue to puzzle me.

When you said that Jesus could pray to or communicate with God (even though they are essentially the same being), you say “you CAN have all of these things within the framework of God”. Well, there is nothing that you cannot believe is within the framework of God. The question is WHY would He do this? Being one and the same, would there be a need, or even a reason, to pray to another component of your own self?

And was the resurrection accomplished by God the Father in the person of Jesus Christ? Was He tempted by Satan? And if so, what would be the purpose since He is not susceptible to sin, cannot sin. Did God himself actually suffer a physical death? And, if so, why would He have a need to atone for our sins?

You say that “God as Father and Jesus as the Son is God’s analogy to help us understand the relationship between the first and second Persons of the Trinity.” I don’t see where that analogy was made clear to the Jews (or the Romans) in the New Testament. Throughout the New Testament, Christ continually preaches that He IS the Son of God. The Apostles certainly believed Him to be the literal Son of God (a belief that He perpetuated throughout, even when the Apostle’s found Him praying to His Father in Heaven in the Garden of Gethsemane). He does not even explain to them (or reveal the analogy) that He and the Father and the Holy Ghost) are incarnations of a single Trinity.

I cannot find an analogy. An analogy assumes that information is transferred typically using similes, parables, metaphors or other allegories to aid the receiver in understanding the information. I did not find an “analogy” that brings home the relationship you speak of. There are a number of parables in the Bible, with the express purpose of trying to help the multitude understand teachings, principles and relationships. A parable might have been the ideal analogy. But there is no parable about the Trinity there. Is there, in fact, somewhere in the NT that draws that analogy?

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28 Suebee October 27, 2008 at 5:45 PM

Ditchu,

Sorry. I guess I just got carried away. It pains me, though, to be told I am not a Christian because my beliefs do not match up to the one apparently rigid measurement – the trinity -when Christians all over the world hold widely variant beliefs.

Some, when asked, do not even understand what they believe or worse, do not know. Yet, because they profess to embrace the trinity concept, they are in fact Christians. Many cannot even explain it.

I am trying to understand why it is that some people think that if you live your life in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ, you are not a Christian…

“Because you don’t see Christ as the living God in human flesh. It isn’t just to believe in Christ. It is to believe in the Christ that is God in human flesh. That’s the basic bottom line reality of the Christian faith.” says Mark Heard.

Maybe if I understood why they find the trinity so compelling, I would understand the rigidity thing. But I can’t even find the concept written in the NT, let alone an analogy.

Maybe not.

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29 ditchu October 27, 2008 at 10:47 PM

Suebee,

I understand your plight to be considered a Christian when by the very definition you are one. I fall under the same contempt by people who think they are christian and that the only difinitive Christian agrees solely with them.

About the Trinity I have had some experience in the Belief of the trinity and have found it a concept more simple than most try to make it.
I have posted my opinions on the subject on my Blog.

You do not find any Parable, Analogy or direct instruction from the New Testament (or old) that speaks clearly about the Trinity because it is not a Biblical concept. The theory of the Trinity and its strucre and opperation are completely Man Made concepts, develpoed and utilized in hopes to reason further many parts of scripture. Often someone will bring up the versuses that talk about how Jesus and the Father are one. and how as one has seen Jesus he has seen the Father… But alas there is no definitive
scriptural referance that described the trinity. As it were it is just one view of the Godhead.

I am not sure that you believe as I do, but that is not the point. The point is that all christians, that is Followers of Christ, are to have love for all of God’s Children, all people. Jesus exrted his deciples, “Love eachother as I have loved you…” As I see it there is no room for mane calling and the “I’m better than you” games that are too often exibited by many claiming to be Christian, whwn Christ suggested himself all that matters to be claimed Christian “I know my own and my own know me…” What else is there? I may not know all of the followers of Christ but I cannot say that you are not one of them. How am I to know for Jesus did not say that I would know them… no, it is for me to know Christ and Christ to know them.

God bless you on your journey in this life, and may we each reach home in the end. I await the day that I can celebrate with you in our Father’s kingdom.

-D

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30 Mark Heard October 28, 2008 at 12:33 AM

Suebee,

We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the substance. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Spirit. But the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit have one divinity, equal glory, and coeternal majesty. What the Father is, the Son is, and the Holy Spirit is. The Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated. The Father is boundless, the Son is boundless, and the Holy Spirit is boundless. The Father is eternal, the Son is eternal, and the Holy Spirit is eternal. Nevertheless, there are not three eternal beings, but one eternal being. So there are not three uncreated beings, nor three boundless beings, but one uncreated being and one boundless being. Likewise, the Father is omnipotent, the Son is omnipotent, the Holy Spirit is omnipotent. Yet there are not three omnipotent beings, but one omnipotent being. Thus the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. However, there are not three gods, but one God.”

While it is true that there is only one God, it is equally true that God exists as three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. During His earthly ministry and being subject to a mortal body, Jesus willingly endured the limitations of man. As such, it should come as no surprise that He communicated with The Father through prayer! This does nothing to diminish the deity of Jesus Christ or to contradict the monotheistic nature of God.

It is true, as you point out, that there is no concise, clear teaching of the Trinity in the New Testament or Old Testament. However, by such reasoning, there is also no clear teaching regarding smoking or illicit drug use. Yet by examining Scripture in its greater context, it is clear that our body is the temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19) and Paul urges us to purify ourselves from things which contaminate the body (2 Cor. 7:1). Similarly, by examining the sum of Scripture in immediate and greater context, it is clear that God is triune. He is one God, eternally existent in three divine persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

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31 Suebee October 30, 2008 at 8:38 AM

Mark Heard

I guess we just have to agree to disagree as I tend to find nothing clear in the scriptures about the concept of three beings in one.

But I respect your right to believe what you do, and deeply appreciate the fact that you can discuss the differences in our beliefs without becoming angry (which I often encounter in religious, and political for that matter, discussions).

As Ditchu pointed out, however, I guess this is not the right forum, so I will attempt to find “his blog” to post on.

I believe you are sincere and we will no doubt, someday, meet again for further discussions whether on this earth, or in Our Father’s Kingdom where all of this will no longer be an issue.

Thank you,

Suebee

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32 Suebee October 30, 2008 at 8:56 AM

Ditchu

I do not know where your blog is located. Perhaps you can direct me. I am insatiably curious about other points of view and why those views often tend to make people feel angry or insulted when there is disagreement. It seems to be true in both religion and politics, both of which interest me greatly.

I am not one to get angry, but I love debate. I love to hear other points of view and the basis for them, and of course I like to provide my own like anyone else who holds a conviction on a subject. I like to think I am open-minded and persuadable if the evidence is overwhelmingly compelling, however like most people there are certain tenets that are so sacred to me they are unswayable (if that is a word!)

I am a child of God. I believe in God the Father, his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. I believe I am a Christian who is not perfect, yet striving to do the best I can. I believe that one day I will live in one of His kingdoms. I may not be able to visit you, but perhaps you can visit me when that day comes.

Thank you for your input, also without rancor.

God bless Sister Hinckley. I regret that I had a hand in changing the course of this forum, but I truly believe she would understand and forgive the intrusion.

Suebee

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33 ditchu October 30, 2008 at 12:34 PM

Suebee,
If you click on my name at the start of the comment you should get to my page. that is the most common way to find the page that a commenter is hosting.

I can also be found at http://ditchu.wordpress.com

I am not trying to get you to stop commenting on this or other pages. I just did not know the connection to the topic that started this dialogue.

“I am a child of God. I believe in God the Father, his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. I believe I am a Christian who is not perfect, yet striving to do the best I can. I believe that one day I will live in one of His kingdoms.” That pretty well sums it up for me as well.
I can see that you have the compation of christ in your life, I am glad that there are others out there that shine with the light of Christ.

God bless,
-D

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34 Jason December 28, 2008 at 4:01 AM

hopefully the dirt under the fingernails came AFTER she made the sandwiches for the kids….

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35 ditchu December 29, 2008 at 12:36 PM

A little clean dirt never hurt anyone.

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36 BillinDetroit January 31, 2009 at 10:28 PM

“Christian” is a verb. Make it a superlative one.

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37 ditchu February 2, 2009 at 12:39 AM

Christian… Verb? I think one may mistake the Noun: Christian for the verb cristen. Hope this is not the case here.

BD – I am not sue I get your meaning, please elaborate if you will.

-D

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38 ty March 10, 2009 at 3:24 PM

I agree with her. Why dont most think the same way. I just see mormons being super capitalists driving brand new cars everywhere. Like didn’t Larry H Miller have a 6 million dollar car. He that how he is rolling up to the pearly gates?

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39 ditchu March 10, 2009 at 5:34 PM

Ty,
Who is Larry H Miller?
Most LDS I know have the fortunate luck to never have to worry about the snare of riches. Although there is this guy in my ward that is saving up his life’s wealth. He has got to be the richest LDS I know (but not know of) one would think he could splurge sometime and buy some koolaid for his family… But I guess there are many roads to wealth, I just seem to be going the oppsite way on them.
Don’t be too quick to judge us all by the actions, words, or wealth of a few of us.

-D

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