Friday, March 6, 2009

Scripture Study 03.05.09

So today I was reading more from The History of the Church. Not going to lie, this portion has been a bit drier. I have a tough time completely diving in. It's difficult reading too. B. H. Roberts (he's the author of the Introduction which I'm still in) is still recounting the apostate circumstances of the early Roman Church. I must say, I feel like Constantine was a pretty bad dude. Sure he did something that had some decent intentions through his adoption of Christianity, especially after the various persecutions handed down by former Roman emperors. However, in his adoption he basically seized control of the Church and its doctrines, thus corrupting the purity of what was once Christ's Church. Also, he turned around to persecute the pagans and other heretics. A quote from one of the ancients relative to this basically called out Constantine on the utter hypocrisy of persecuting those that were not of his faith. The teachings of Christ extol all sorts of tolerance, patience, persuasion, and love but Constantine would not allow those of differing faiths to practice such. Roberts relates the story of Christ's rejection by the Samaritans and the call of some of the apostles for fire from heaven to scourge the Samaritans. Christ did not agree with this because Christ did not come to bring such punishment but to lift us to heaven.

I guess that really is so much of what we need to keep in mind about Christianity, it's all about lifting us to a higher plateau. Tearing others down is never the goal of our Father in Heaven or Christ, but rather they seek to help us gain something far more than what we have. The hope and happiness they offer us is found in seeking the betterment of all mankind, not in the tearing down or destruction of those who may not be like us. I think a strong witness of this is the influence that these sorts of actions have upon us. When we serve others in this way, we feel the joy and happiness that comes through finding success. Also, when others assist us in this way, we feel a similar blessing and in both cases we draw closer together. Doctrine and Covenants Section 50 testifies of this. We read, "He that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together." This joint edification and rejoicing a sign that the Spirit is manifest.

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