Defending the Faith: Perfection is a very long path

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  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 11, 2012 1:57 p.m.

    RE:rnoblewe should be looking at revelation? JST Mt 5:50,“Ye are therefore commanded to be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” Not found in any manuscripts or papyrus variants. Which confuses the point of love.

    I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,(Mt 5:44).Christ calls on us to love the unlovable, in verse 48, When He says, "You are to be perfect(in love) as your heavenly Father is perfect" Christ is not saying that a person can attain perfection in this life. It’s the same Christ who’s going to teach us to pray, "Forgive us our sins: forgive us our debts, forgive us our trespasses". Christ is not expecting us to achieve perfection in this life . Christ is saying, ”Have the same kind of all embracing love that your heavenly Father has.”
    And now these three remain: faith, hope and (agape)love). But the greatest of these is (agape) love(1Cor 13:13 NIV),see KJV poor translation.

  • rnoble Pendleton, OR
    Aug. 10, 2012 5:18 p.m.

    Thoughtful article and comments.

    I take issue with the position that we need not have anymore scripture because we have failed to live up to that which we have. I recognize both the repetitive nature of scripture, and the comments, guidance, and encouragement we get from our prophets, as additional assistance in the original goal of becoming like Him; perfect.

    The concept of "closed canon" suggests that there needs to be new and wonderful demands on us in order to justify the doctrine of continuing revelation. Instead we should be looking at "closed canon" in terms of we have all that is needed for our becoming like him, and we should be looking at revelation as providing connections to the Spirit for our continued improvement in understanding and performance. On a entire Church and World Basis, continued revelation is about operations and providing ways to increase the span of influence to complete God's Work which is to "bring to pass the immortality and ETERNAL LIFE" of all of us. That would be best thought of as helping us get all the depths of meaning available about eternal principles while bringing attention to problematic world and Church tendencies.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    Aug. 10, 2012 1:00 p.m.

    When teaching Matthew 5:48 I often ask a new mother if I can hold her baby for a moment. The baby squirms and coos and the class gives a little "Awww." I smile and ask, "Is this baby perfect?"

    Invariably, the answer is "Yes."

    And they are correct. This baby is all it can be at the moment. It is perfect even though it must learn and grow much, much more.

    We are not so far from that baby. And if we feel the spirit of the Lord with us - that warm, comforting feeling of God's love. If we have obeyed the commandment to "receive the Holy Ghost." We too are perfect. The spirit cannot dwell in unholy tabernacles. Thus, we are holy and perfect in that moment. God accepts us as we are and loves us. His spirit gently and kindly nudges us along, like a patient parent of a loved child.

    That baby has progress to make. So do we. If we know the gift of the Holy Spirit we've tuned into the eternal homing beacon. We've found our flight path. We are perfect because perfection is not a place it is a process.

  • pmccombs Orem, UT
    Aug. 10, 2012 12:05 p.m.

    "We're unable to live up to what we already have in the Bible, so what good would it do us to have more?"

    This seems to be a good enough excuse for some of the brethren!

    "Prophets have always taught by repetition; it is a law of learning. You will hear repetition in themes and doctrines in general conference. Let me reassure you: this is not due to a lack of creativity or imagination. We continue to hear messages on similar issues because the Lord is teaching and impressing upon our minds and hearts certain foundational principles of great eternal importance that must be understood and acted upon before we can move on to other things"

    I have often thought that we Mormons have a de-facto closed cannon: The Standard Works. What we get from our leaders is rarely canonized anymore, does not constitute new doctrine, and does not appear to be of any different caliber that what leaders of other churches are saying, though we label it as "revelation."

  • gcrobmd GADSDEN, AL
    Aug. 10, 2012 7:32 a.m.

    I always enjoy Bro. Peterson’s remarks.

    Why do we have more than the Bible? Scriptures tell me what to do, yes, but so much more.

    At night when I cannot sleep, I read the scriptures: they calm my mind and sooth my soul. Soon, I am sleeping again. They are a lullaby in the night.

    Scriptures are like a song. Why settle for just one favorite melody when there are more?

    Scriptures are like roses. Why settle for red when there are yellow, white, peach, pink and scarlet?

    Scriptures are like this beautiful earth. Why settle for a single mountain when there are rolling prairie hills, ocean shore lines, New England autumn forests, springtime southern gardens with bursting azalea blossoms, blooming deserts, endless icy Antarctica, and tropical rainforests?

    Scriptures are like children. Ask the parents of more than one child, why wasn’t one enough, sufficient, and complete?

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Aug. 9, 2012 5:29 p.m.

    A good and hopeful article!

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 9, 2012 12:39 p.m.

    RE: Be ye perfect(Mt 5:48)Christ sets up a high ideal of perfect, “complete”(Love, see context verses 43-47)not that we can attain it in this life. God’s standard for us.

    Arabic translations tend to use "kaamil," which means "complete." We're to become "perfect and entire, wanting nothing" (James 1:4)?
    Why not use one of the many modern English translations? Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and “complete,” not lacking anything(James 1:4 NIV)

    @Abeille, Christ led an absolutely sinless life. True,an incommunicable attribute of God.
    For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.(2 Cor 5:21) But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.(1 John 3:5 NIV).

    Although Christ’s temptations are not always parallel to ours, he was tried through his human nature, as we are. However he had no sin nature and he was a divine person also. (Theanthropos)

  • Abeille West Haven, Utah
    Aug. 9, 2012 8:27 a.m.

    Hellooo -

    'Christ as human was not perfect...'

    I guess it depends on what you mean by the word 'Perfect'. Most people use that word to mean 'sinless'. If this is how you're using the word 'perfect' in your post, I couldn't disagree with you more. Christ led an absolutely sinless life. If not, he could not have atoned for our sins. If you're using the word 'Perfect' with the same meaning as this article - 'Mature', 'Fully Developed', 'Complete' - then I can agree with you somewhat, in the sense that Christ had not finished his earthly work until after he had taken upon himself our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane and broken the mortal curse of Adam in his death on the cross and subsequent resurrection.

    Thanks for your comment.

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2012 6:05 a.m.

    Excellent article Dr. Petersen. Of course, there is not perfection in this life. The verse in Matthew to be understood must be read as a rhetorical sentence. So, if you do all this (the previous commands of the Lord in the preceding verses) "be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect", and then with no answer another list of behaviors to master. It is a phrase to remind arrogant humans (all of us) that we are not of His magnitude and can not be. Christ as human was not perfect, only after the Resurrection and ascension to Heaven does he change to that immortal status and thereby in the Book of Mormon refer to himself along with his Father as the Relative Perfect upon which our eyes should always focus, our entire beings submit to (meekness) so as to attain through a broken heart and contrite spirit and by forgiving all trespasses against us; by His Grace we may be joined to that Eternal Perfection, which is only His and only through Him can be attained.