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What is the difference between us and a Prophet

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Terrywoodenpic, Oct 7, 2005.

  1. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber Well-Known Member

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    Greetings! :)

    I first need to make a semantic distinction: I'm a Baha'i, and in the Baha'i view a "prophet" is simply a man (or woman) like the rest of us who has been given the gift of prophecy by God. A Manifestation of God (aka Divine Messenger), in contrast, is a whole different order of being!

    The Baha'i scriptures state that there are five of what we call "kingdoms of creation." In ascending order, these are:
    - mineral,
    - plant,
    - animal,
    - human, and
    - Divine Messenger.

    Each of these has the attributes of the lower ones (for example, an animal has life and growth like a plant, and all three have the physical charcteristics of minerals), but each level also adds something new not had by lower levels. For example, humans have an eternal soul; animals don't.

    In the case of Divine Messengers, They share a special direct investiture of the Holy Spirit that makes Them perfect mirrors reflecting all the attributes of God! (It is thus correct to refer to Them both as God and as humans even though they aren't actually God Himself.) These Messengers are also all spiritually One and the same (even though remaining different human beings), so that each is in fact the Return of all the previous ones! They also have full knowledge of the past (plus, of course, the gift of prophecy mentioned above).

    And the Baha'i scriptures assure us there will NEVER be a "last Messenger" because God's grace and mercy are unending!

    Best, :)

    Bruce
     
  2. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I don't see how Aqualung was "restricting" God's power. :confused: All she was saying is that there is order in everything God does. I can receive revelation pertaining to my own life and to those I am directly responsible for guiding (i.e. my children, when they were little). But how much sense would it make if I were to receive a revelation clarifying LDS doctrine for the entire Church? What would happen if I were to go to our Prophet and tell him that he needs to start teaching such and such, because God told me? That's all Aqua's saying. God can speak to anyone at any time. He just chooses to use the line of authority He has personally established.
     
  3. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    I don't think of it being so much a case of "who said God........." as more a case of who would God trust as a messenger; I am quite convinced that Gos shows me 'things' (as in that he helps me decide on a course of action), but I can't imagine him 'using me' as an intermediary to pass some awesome message to the world.
     
  4. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Oldest Heretic

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    I do not think Prophets, in anchient times, were ever appointed except directly by God.
    I think, if he wanted one, that would be God's course today. I know your Church has a Prophet but that seems unique to LDS.

    Terry___________________________
    Amen! Truly I say to you: Gather in my name. I am with you.
     
  5. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Oldest Heretic

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    I really don't Know who God would chose, In the past he chose some pretty unlikely fellows, so I think his choice would not be obvious to us.
    All I am saying is that It his own choice not ours, to have a prophet or not, and also who he might chose.

    Terry_____________________
    Amen! Truly I say to you: Gather in my name. I am with you.
     
  6. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I don't think so either. A person does not become a prophet by receiving prophesy. He becomes a prophet by being called by God to act as His mouthpiece.

    Obviously. And I think that's exactly what He did. ;)

    You're right again. What is it the scriptures say? "One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism." God doesn't call a prophet to direct each of the denominations that currently preach Christianity today. There would be no point to that. Instead, He speaks through just one. (How am I supposed to say that without offending? I don't know. I do try.)
     
  7. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Cool, Truth. I was not aware of that. Do Muslims believe that you can identify who these people are? Is there a record of who they have been?
     
  8. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    I agree, but the question is how were they appointed? Is it always the case that God appeared as a burning bush or an angel? Or can God speak to us thru our own consciences?

    Take the story of Jonah. It says that the word of the Lord comes to Jonah and tells him to do something that he doesn't want to do. Is that God appearing as a vision or is that God communicating thru Jonah's conscience? Maybe God calls on us all the time and we ignore God the way that Jonah tried to ignore God.
     
  9. jonny

    jonny Well-Known Member

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    When I read your post I thought of a scripture in the Book of Abraham - LDS scripture. Keep in mind that the LDS church believes in a premortal spiritual life.

    "Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; and God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born"

    From this scripture we learn that the prophets were chosen by God before they even came to earth. I would expect that God has appeared in some way or sent an angel to prophets every time he has restored his authority to the earth, but that once it was restored the prophet has the right to pass this authority on to his successors through revelation.

    As for us ignoring God, I really think you have a point there.
     
  10. Aqualung

    Aqualung Tasty

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    I'm not restricting God's wants. He doesnt' want to give docrinal teachings to everybody, just his prophets. That's how it's always been. He will give me personal revolation about my own life, but he will only give a prophet revelation about doctrine
    Exactly. And ours is, too.
     
  11. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Oldest Heretic

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    I am not convinced that he always uses the same approach. Most of the ancient prophets seem to have been rather strange and in some ways outcasts...Who would want to live with a Prophet?...
    What seems to be common was that they all "Had a Message". They were all deeply concerned about the evil way men were living, They all told men to return to the way of GOD.
    God seems to be unconcerned when they don't want to do what they are instructed,They do it anyway.

    Being a Prophet was certainly not an easy life.

    I still do not have an understanding of the difference between God speaking to any one of us and God speaking to a 'Prophet'. The actual content of the message as the LDS believe( personal or universal) seems too vague a distinction for me.

    Terry_________________
    Blessed are the gentle, they shall inherit the land
     
  12. Aqualung

    Aqualung Tasty

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    The difference between personal revolation and what the prophet gets is like this. I can receive revalation about how I should like my life. Like right now I'm praying to see if I can watch movies like Die Hard. That's personal revolation about how I live my life. I can also receive revolation about the people immediately under me. Like if I had kids I cuold receive revolation about them. If I were the Bishop of my ward, I could receive revolation about ward members. The Prophet, being the very highest guy in the hierarchy, can receive revolation about everybody. For example, I could get revalation that I shouldnt' watch Die Hard, but that's just me. I might be particularly prone to get violent when watching violent movies. But I can't tell jonny not to watch that movie. For all I know, he's really good at distancing himself from the violence in movies. But, if they prophet were to receive inspiration that Die Hard were a movie that nobody should watch, I would have to do what he says, becuase he is authorised to receive revalation about me. Does that clearify things better?
     
  13. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Oldest Heretic

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    It is easy for you as an LDS to believe this,and it is easy to follow.
    I personally do not believe in such a hierachy, so the explanation does not work for me.
    It would be interesting to hear what You or your LDS friends would say starting from my stand point.

    Thanks

    Terry__________________________
    Blessed are the gentle, they shall inherit the land
     
  14. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I think we're trying. We're just not being very successful. In your opening post, Terry, you said:

    Maybe none of us who have attempted to answer you understands what you're asking. I don't believe that there is a "difference in kind" between me and the Prophet who leads my Church. There is simply a difference in what God chooses to reveal to Him and what He chooses to reveal to me.

    In Ephesians 4:11-15, I believe Paul explains what would happen if God failed to differentiate between what He told the prophet who leads His Church and a member of that Church. He said,

    "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ..."

    You are free to reject the heirarchy, but Jesus Christ established it. His Church was "upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone." Without this specific heirarchy or foundation, we would be "carried about by every wind of doctrine." Yes, we have the Holy Ghost to guide us -- all of us can appeal to God for this aid. But without a chain-of-command, a heirarchy, you end up with exactly what the world has today: 30,000 different Christian denominations and millions of people who believe that the Holy Ghost has guided them to where they have ended up. The Holy Ghost can confirm to us what the Prophet teaches, but in order to avoid the kind of chaos that Paul describes, God speaks to the prophet in directing the affairs of the Church as a whole.

    Since I really haven't said anything new in this post, I'm relatively sure that my answer isn't going to be any more satisfactory than my last ones have been. So, please be patient with me (with all of us, actually) and explain again what exactly your standpoint is and how you believe God reveals His will to us today -- if, in fact, you believe He does.
     
  15. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    [PART QUOTE=Katzpur]
    ..............."Since I really haven't said anything new in this post, I'm relatively sure that my answer isn't going to be any more satisfactory than my last ones have been. So, please be patient with me (with all of us, actually) and explain again what exactly your standpoint is and how you believe God reveals His will to us today -- if, in fact, you believe He does.".........................[/PART QUOTE]

    May I answer please ? *holds hand up in class* I think God reveals his will to us (If we are prepared to want to hear it) through personal revelation; I am not sure that he feels the need for public revelation since Jesus' s life; I think Jesus gave us all we had to know.;)
     
  16. Aqualung

    Aqualung Tasty

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    If he gave us all we needed to know, why is there so much confusion about what we need to do?
     
  17. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    What confusion is there? I believe we all know what to do - the only problem is in doing it the way Jesus Christ would have; without sin. which is impossible.
     
  18. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Then why do we have thousands of different interpretations of God's word? Why don't we agree on whether baptism is required, whether we should be baptizing infants and whether we should be doing so by sprinkling or immersion? Why do the Catholics have more books in their Bible than the Protestants? If these books really are God's word, shouldn't we all accept them as such? Is the Bible the only word of God? Which translation is the most accurate? Should we be paying tithing or not? When we take the Lord's Supper (communion, Eucharist, the sacrament) is the bread and wine/grape juice/water literally transformed into Christ's body and blood or is it merely symbolic of them? Will we be allowed to live forever with those we loved on earth, or will they be strangers to us after the resurrection. How important is faith versus works? Do we need only to believe in Christ to be saved or do our works contibute to our salvation. Once we have acknowledged Christ as our Savior, are we saved? And is this salvation reversible or not? Is God a trinity? What is His true nature? Do we have a responsibility to proselytize or should we just be good examples? How much emphasis should be put on Mary? Should we pray to her? Can she intervene on our behalf? Was she free from sin throughout her life? Was she a virgin throughout her life? Are the rest of us born in sin or are we born pure and clean? Do all churches have a valid claim to the authority Jesus gave Peter? If not, which one does? Or is authority even an issue?

    And you ask, "What confusion is there?"
     
  19. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Oldest Heretic

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    Kathryn
    Thank for your reply.I think you are trying very hard, and have taken the discussion to an area that is clearly central to LDS theology.



    I do not read it quite that way … the NRSV says-

    And the gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry.

    This shows me that God has given us all gifts (various abilities) to enable us to do the work of Christ.

    It is Paul’s way of showing that these people are not self appointed but under the direction of God.

    It certainly does not limit the number of each, or say who they should be, except that they (the abilities) are the gift of God. Nor does it say the chosen people were born with the gift or that they are appointed by God at some other particular time during there lives. It still leaves a lot of possibilities open for how God dispenses his gifts, and to who might receive them.

    I agree that the lack of Clarity, Authority and Understanding amongst Christians, has lead to a proliferation of sects. With each sect having their own interpretation on how their various Churches should be organised. They can all point to somewhere in the scriptures that supports their view.

    You can add further to the confusion, when you add all the other non Christian faiths in the world that are in some way inspired by God.

    It would be nice to think that God will some day explain to us his reason for all this confusion, but I doubt that it will be before we are recalled to be with him.

    Returning to the start of the thread, I think Prophets come from all ranks of people, teachers, pastors, evangelists or the man in the street. It is the Gift of prophecy by God. It can be welcome, unwelcome, surprising, unbelieved, or generally acclaimed. It seems that only in hindsight that a Prophet is fully acknowledged.


    Terry___________________________________


    Amen! Truly I say to you: Gather in my name. I am with you.
     
  20. TashaN

    TashaN Veteran Member
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    They can't identify him but most of the time he just supposed to be a famous scholar at that time and nothing special about him except that he will just guide people.
     
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