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From the Life of Joseph Fielding Smith

The Savior carried that burden in some way beyond our comprehension. I know that, because I accept his word.


Can I help loving him? No, I cannot. Do you love him? Then keep his commandments. When we turn from the commandments the Lord has given unto us for our guidance then we do not have a claim upon his blessings. What good does it do for us to petition the Lord, if we have no intention of keeping His commandments? Such praying is hollow mockery and an insult before the throne of grace.

How dare we presume to expect a favorable answer if such is the case? But is not the Lord always near when we petition Him? Verily no! If we draw near unto Him, He will draw near unto us, and we will not be forsaken; but if we do not draw near to Him, we have no promise that He will answer us in our rebellion.

Living by Every Word That Proceeds from the Mouth of God

It is necessary for us to walk in the full light of the truth, not in part of the truth only. If we want exaltation, if we want the place which the Lord has prepared for those who are just and true, then we must be willing to walk in the full light of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and keep all the commandments.

We cannot say that some of them are small and insignificant and therefore the Lord will not care if we violate them. The Lord expects us to believe in him, to accept his everlasting gospel, and to live in harmony with his terms and conditions. It is not our province to select and obey those gospel principles which appeal to us and forget the rest.

33 Replies to “The Divinity of Jesus Christ, In Scripture and in his own words.”

It is not our prerogative to decide that some principles no longer apply to our social and cultural circumstances. He expects us to cleave unto every true principle, to put first in our lives the things of his kingdom, to press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, and to serve him with all our might, mind, and strength. That will not come all at once, but line upon line and precept upon precept, example upon example, and even then not as long as we live in this mortal life, for we will have to go even beyond the grave before we reach that perfection and shall be like God.

But here we lay the foundation. Here is where we are taught these simple truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in this probationary state, to prepare us for that perfection. It is my duty, it is yours, to be better today than I was yesterday, and for you to be better today than you were yesterday, and better tomorrow than you were today. Because we are on that road, if we are keeping the commandments of the Lord, we are on that road to perfection, and that can only come through obedience and the desire in our hearts to overcome the world.

If a man feels that it is hard for him to pay his tithing, then that is the thing he should do, until he learns to pay his tithing. If it is the Word of Wisdom, that is what he should do, until he learns to love that commandment. To please [the Lord], we must not only worship him with thanksgiving and praise, but render willing obedience to his commandments. Verizon Media will also provide relevant ads to you on our partners' products.

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I thought you were going to say being Dutch you were Calvinist. I would say the Church of England has plenty of humanism in it and Jesus has a lot of humanism in his teaching. So, yes there has got to be common ground in terms of moral values between Christianity and a lot of other people. The sense of wonder is basic to religion, and, in that sense, a lot of humanists are probably more religious than they think. Ethics and philosophical ethics can be discussing moral principles without much sense of wonder about why there is a world at all.

Your third choice of book is yet again by a German. Why are there so many Germans on your list? It was the 18th century Enlightenment. In France, it was often anti-religious, or anti-Catholic. In Germany, the Enlightenment was quite religious and quite Protestant and therefore German theology, like German philosophy, took on board the Enlightenment early on, and a big strand in German academic theology was infused with Enlightenment beliefs and values.

In the early 18th century, English Deists were pioneers in criticism of the Bible and dogma, but in the 19th century all the leaders were German or German influenced. That remained roughly true till about Some did, but generally no. Unlike Roman Catholicism there was no mechanism for chucking you out if you were a Bible critic.

The conservative side of the German church was hostile to Biblical criticism. But the German theological faculties in state universities had some independence while closely tied to the provincial churches. Theologians were able to follow the evidence as they saw it. They divided into different schools but the radicals were allowed to publish books and teach students who then became clergy. So the German church as a whole was open to Biblical criticism sooner than the Church of England. Greek is your starting point, because the New Testament is written in Greek.

Yes, probably. Most people in Palestine at that time would be speaking Aramaic. Jesus may have understood some Greek, and he would have understood Hebrew. But it was the Hellenistic age, Greek was the lingua franca and a few miles from Nazareth there were Greek towns. So Jesus would have heard Greek spoken and a couple of his disciples have Greek names: Andrew and Philip. Latin, not so much: The Roman authorities would have spoken Greek as well as Latin.

OK, so this book number 3. I knew him even before he was a professor, when he was teaching in a school and writing this book.

Jesus on War - Online Library of Liberty

But those who know what to look for will see layers of theological reflection in there as well. In the course of that, it says a lot about the Judaism of that period and of the political situation between the Romans and the Jews. Theissen also manages to feed in some of the apocalyptic, the nightmare stuff. Anyone who gives a direct portrait of Jesus is likely to be partly looking in the mirror.

To try and get at him through an indirect method, of which this book is the clearest example, actually catches some things that a straight biography might miss. Everything Theissen writes is creative. Biographies vary, but they do try to give the meaning of the person. Attending to someone else reflecting on him can get more of the inwardness of what is going on in Jesus, which Christians call God. Of the outward picture, a number of important facts are pretty clear. But even when all agree that a central theme was Jesus proclaiming the Kingdom of God, God ruling, God in charge, how Jesus understands that remains elusive.

The book originated in a teacher entertaining the kids as well as informing them.

To write something really good, yes. Any New Testament scholar can write a book about Jesus, it goes with the turf. But to write a good book about Jesus is difficult.


When I was a student in Germany we spent a lot of time on the history of the interpretation, but that tended to be what theologians thought about it. I put Raymond Brown in for two little reasons and one big reason. The little reasons are that it would be monstrous not to have a Roman Catholic, because there are now many good biblical scholars. I also needed to have an American, because in the last 40 years, Americans have been the most productive in writing about Jesus.

But, more importantly, I wanted to include a commentary.

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