Who is the true God the Father
The only true God and Jesus Christ whom he sent
As Elder Ballard mentioned in this meeting, conflicting trends of our time have drawn increasing attention to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Lord of old heralded His work in these latter days as "a wonderful work, yes, a miracle."1, And that's it. We invite everyone to this wonderful To consider the work in detail, but there is one thing nobody should think about wondernamely whether we are Christians or not.
By and large, all controversy on this issue revolves around two doctrinal issues - our conception of Godhead and our belief in continued revelation and hence in an open canon of scriptures. When we talk about it, we don't need to defend our beliefs, but we don't want to be misunderstood. Desiring to be clearer and to make it clear that we are Christians, I am speaking today about the first of the two doctrinal points just mentioned.
The first and foremost Article of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reads: "We believe in God the Eternal Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit."2 We believe that these three divine Persons who form a single Deity are one in their intentions, conduct, testimony, and mission. We believe that they are equally filled with divine mercy and love, justice and grace, patience, forgiveness, and power to redeem. Surely it is correct when I say that we believe that they are one in every great and eternal trait that can be imagined. But we believe Notthat they are three persons forming a single being - a Trinity doctrine that has never been stated in the scriptures because it is not true.
In fact, it says in no less a source than the unwavering Bible dictionary Harper’s Bible Dictionarythat “the formal doctrine of the Trinity, as defined by the great ecclesiastical councils of the fourth and fifth centuries, is in the [New Testament] Not to be found ".3
So anyone who criticizes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' image of God does not correspond to the current Christian conception of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit Not how we relate to Christ. Rather, he recognized (recognized correctly, I would like to add) that our conception of the Godhead deviates from the post-biblical history of Christians and returns to the teaching that Jesus himself proclaimed. A few words about this post-biblical story are sure to help.
In 325 AD, the Roman Emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicea. There - among other things - an increasingly controversial point, namely God's alleged "Trinity in Unity", should be discussed. The result of heated disputes among church people, philosophers and church dignitaries was (after another 125 years and three other large councils)4 known as the Nicene Creed, which was later reformulated several times, for example in the Athanasian Creed. These creeds, which have been developed and revised over and over again - as well as others that have followed over the centuries - declare that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are abstract, absolute, transcendent, omnipresent, of one essence, equally eternal and unknowable, without Body, limbs and impulses, staying beyond space and time. In such creeds, all three members of the deity are separate persons, but they are a single being, the oft-quoted "Mystery of the Trinity". They are three separate persons, but not three gods, but one god. All three persons are incomprehensible, and yet there is one God who is incomprehensible.
We agree with our critics at least on this point: Such a concept of deity is really incomprehensible. With such a confusing definition of God imposed on the church, it is not surprising that a fourth-century monk exclaimed, “Woe to me! You have taken my God from me ... and I don't know who to worship or address. "5 How should we trust a God, love him, adore him, even strive to be like him when he is incomprehensible and unknowable? Then why did Jesus say in prayer to his Heavenly Father: “This is eternal life: you, the only true God, too detect and Jesus Christ, den you sent "?6
It is not our intention to demean anyone's beliefs or any religious doctrine. We respect the teaching of other religions as we would like our teaching to be respected (that, too, is one of our articles of faith). But if someone says we are not Christians because we do not share a fourth or fifth century concept of Godhead, what about the first Christian saints? Many of them have seen the living Christ with their own eyes, and neither have they believed in the idea.7
We proclaim that the scriptures clearly show that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are separate persons, three divine beings. Clear evidence of this is the Savior's farewell prayer mentioned above, his baptism by John, the experience on the Mount of Transfiguration and the martyrdom of Stephen, to name just four.
Think of these and other passages from the New Testament8, it is probably superfluous to ask what Jesus meant when he said: "The son cannot do anything of his own accord, but only when he sees the Father doing something."9 Another time he said: "For I did not come down from heaven to do my will, but the will of him who sent me."10 He said of his opponents: "But now they have seen ... and yet they hate me and my father."11 And don't forget: Jesus always respectfully subordinated himself to his Father, which is shown in the words: “Why do you call me good? Nobody is good except God, the one. "12 "The father is bigger than me."13
Whom did Jesus plead so fervently over the years, such as in the painful exclamation: "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by"14 or "my God, my God, why did you leave me"15“One is not guilty of polytheism if one confesses to the evidence in the scriptures that the otherwise completely unified members of the deity are nonetheless distinct and separate beings. Rather, it is part of what Jesus revealed here on earth about the nature of divine beings. Perhaps the apostle Paul put it best: "Christ Jesus, who was in the form of God, did not consider it a prey to be equal to God."16
In connection with this, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not classified by some as a Christian Church because, like the prophets and apostles of old, we believe in a God in a physical - but certainly glorified - form.17 To those who criticize this scriptural view, at least rhetorically, I ask the question: If the thought of God in physical form is so repulsive, then why are the central doctrines - the unique, characteristic features of all Christianity - the Incarnation, the Atonement, and the physical resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ? If it is not only not necessary but also undesirable for God to have a body, then why did the Savior of mankind have his Redeemed body from the grip of death and the grave and thus ensured that it would never again be separated from its spirit in time and eternity?18 Whoever rejects the idea of a God in physical form also rejects the mortal and risen Christ. Nobody who claims to be a true Christian would want to do that.
To all who can hear me who have wondered if we are Christians, I give this testimony: I testify that Jesus Christ is literally the living Son of our literally living God. This Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer, who under the direction of the Father created heaven and earth and all that is in them. I bear my testimony that he was born of a virgin, that he performed great miracles during his life, seen by innumerable disciples as well as his enemies. I testify that he had power over death because he was divine, but that he willingly submitted to death for our sake because he too was mortal for a time. I proclaim that in his willingness to submit to death, he took upon himself the sins of the world and paid an immeasurable price for all suffering and sickness, anguish and sorrow, from Adam to the end of the world. In doing so, he conquered the grave physically and hell mentally and liberated all of humanity. I testify that he literally rose from the grave and, after ascending to his Father to complete the resurrection process, repeatedly appeared to hundreds of his disciples in the Old and New Worlds. I know that he is the Holy One of Israel, the Messiah who will one day return in perfect glory to reign as Lord of lords and King of kings on earth. I know that no other name is given under heaven by which man can be saved. Only by relying wholeheartedly on his merits, on his mercy and his everlasting grace19, we can have eternal life.
In addition, in the context of this glorious teaching, I testify that Jesus has come in preparation for His millennial reign in the latter days - more than once, in physical form and majestic glory. In the spring of 1820 a fourteen-year-old boy went to pray in a grove, confused by many of the same doctrines that still confuse much of Christendom today. In response to this sincere prayer offered at such a young age, the Father and Son appeared as physical, glorified beings to the young Prophet Joseph Smith. That day marked the beginning of the return of the true gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ from the New Testament and the restoration of other prophetic truths preached from Adam to this day.
I testify that my testimony of all of this is true and that the heavens are open to all who seek the same validation. Like we all through the Holy Spirit of truth "to know the only true God ... and Jesus Christ whom [he] sent".20 And may we then live according to their teachings and be true Christians in word and deed, I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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