Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fellowship With The Father

3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (New Testament, 1 John, 1 John 1)

Back before my time at BYU, I remember hearing about some doctrinal clarification provide by Elder Mcconkie which served to clarify some teachings by Bro. George Pace who was a popular BYU educator, speaker and writer of the book now called, "Knowing Christ".

From what I was told, (interesting that I am aware of the issue at all), Bro. Pace spoke at BYU a lot about developing a personal relationship with Christ.  Whether it was intended or not, I think there were a lot of BYU students setting goals to receive a visitation by Jesus Christ and then being disappointed when it didn't happen in the months and few years ahead. 

Wikipedia reports that Elder Mcconkie spoke at BYU some time after the publishing  of Bro. Pace's book, without mentioning the book or Bro. Pace's name, but directly clarifying the doctrine that  regarding striving for a personal relationship with Christ vs. striving for a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father. 

I see parallels between the message by recently excommunicated Bro. Snuffer and Bro. Pace. I can see that setting a goal to receive a visitation from Christ could lead to religious extremism as Elder Mcconkie rightly said; or disappointment.  I remember it being explained to me that what we should be seeking is a relationship with our Father in Heaven through Christ and not Christ alone, to the exclusion of the Father.

Many Protestant's have a limited concept of Heavenly Father and His relationship to God the Son. This is a major defining factor for LDS theology. The reason is that God the Father sent Christ to condescend to our sinful level. Accordingly, many people conclude, 'Christ is in me, therefore, I'm finished and I'm saved.' 

What they may not understand is that Heavenly Father sent Christ to save us "from our sins" and not just "in our sins"; and the road of repentance and sanctification is just beginning. Christ condescends to our sinful level to "rescue/save" us, but then we must then allow Christ to "draw us", "raise us" up to the level and perfection of Our Heavenly Father.

Seeking a personal relationship with Christ at the exclusion of the Father may lead to other unfortunate consequences.  Because Christ condescends to our sinful level, we may be tempted to see God in our image instead of allowing God to changing and transform ourselves into His image.

Case-in-point: I remember a roommate at BYU who wrestled in High School tell me he couldn't wait to see Christ face-to-face because then they could then enjoy a good wrestle together.  I don't mean to belittle the point.  Both Joseph Smith and Jacob in the Bible enjoyed a good wrestling.   It's just that wrestling is not the first inclination I can see myself having when I'm standing at the judgement bar.

Honestly, I have never thought to set a goal like this (see Christ). My goals are more concerned with keeping specific commandments and developing and maintaing certain good habits.  Goals come with a timetable, and I don't think its proper to put God on our timetable. We need to put ourselves of His timetable. 

The Holy Ghost is every bit a member of the Godhead as Jesus Christ or God the Father. I am happy, grateful and content to enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost in my life.

I'm not saying, I don't desire to see the Savior as Paul did or Nephi in the Book of Mormon. I just don't put God on a timetable by making a specific time-based goal about it.

I decided to become a Doctor in 6th grade. I used to see other students wear scrubs to schools to signal to others their interest in the health professions. I knew I was going to be a doctor, and I had no interest buying and wearing scrubs knowing I'd be wearing them for a long long time to come.

In the same way, I know I'm gonna see the Savior and Live Eternally. I just want to do my home teaching 100% this month. I'd be happy and content with that goal. I had some non-LDS friends over for dinner with the sister missionaries tonight. I'd love it if they would come to accept the invitation to attend church. In reality, I'm happy just remembering to read the scriptures and praying every day.

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