Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gospel Study - The Doctrine of Christ

Today I read Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s talk entitled, The Doctrine of Christ.

I loved this talk. I love talks that focus on the basics. That's the most important part of the gospel anyway - the basics. Elder Christrofferson does a pretty good job of being clear about it.

“This is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. 

“And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. 

“And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. 

“… And whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost. … 

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them” . 

This is our message, the rock upon which we build, the foundation of everything else in the Church. Like all that comes from God, this doctrine is pure, it is clear, it is easy to understand—even for a child. With glad hearts, we invite all to receive it.”

Isn't that perfectly put. Definitely simple enough for a child to understand. The gospel of Jesus Christ really is that simple. Everything else is, as the prophet Joseph Smith said, an appendage to the fundamental doctrine of the plan of salvation - the atonement of Jesus Christ, our Savior.

As far as understanding what else
 is doctrine, Elder Christofferson gives us a little bit of a guideline -

At the same time it should be remembered that not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. It is commonly understood in the Church that a statement made by one leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, not meant to be official or binding for the whole Church.

I think that principle - that not everything a prophet or apostles says is doctrine is an important one to understand and keep in mind. A lot of judging goes on in the Church because of people who think they know what the doctrine is, but are really just taking one man's statement and turning it into their own false doctrine (anything that isn't truly doctrine is false doctrine). We should be careful to focus on the true doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we do that, we will never go wrong.

I also find it interesting that this talk came 6 months before President Monson made an announcement changing the age of missionary serve.  God was preparing the people through the mouths of His prophets.

What did you get out of Elder Christofferson's talk?

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