Whatever happened to Jesus?

December 9, 2009 | 51 comments
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Are we as church members downplaying Jesus?

I don’t mean this in a theological sense; rather, it seems to me that church members (and leaders) tend to de-emphasize the use of the single-name description Jesus. We regularly use the name Jesus when it is associated with the title Christ. However, when we use a single-word name, LDS speakers — unlike speakers I’ve heard from other denominations — tend to use the name Christ, not Jesus.

For instance, Elder Uchtdorf’s talk The Way of the Disciple uses the combined title Jesus Christ more than two dozen times. Elder Uchtdorf uses a one-word title four times; three of them are Christ.

“Perhaps the disciples thought this was a turning point—the moment when the Jewish world would finally recognize Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah.”

“The gospel is the good news of Christ.”

“The more we fill our hearts and minds with the message of the risen Christ, the greater our desire is to follow Him and live His teachings.”

“This, in turn, causes our faith to grow and allows the light of Christ to illuminate our hearts.”

Elder Uchtdorf’s recent talk The Love of God also focused on being a disciple of Jesus Christ. This talk does not make any references to the stand-alone name Jesus; it does contain five references to the stand-alone title of Christ.

“Our walk as disciples of Christ becomes more joyful.”

“Love is the defining characteristic of a disciple of Christ.”

“Don’t feel downcast or despair if you don’t feel worthy to be a disciple of Christ at all times.”

“As you reach out to your Heavenly Father, as you pray to Him in the name of Christ, He will answer you. ”

“If you listen for the voice of the Father, He will lead you on a course that will allow you to experience the pure love of Christ.”

A decade ago, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve issued a statement about the divinity and importance of Jesus Christ. Its title? “The Living Christ.

Why is this?

Are there theological reasons to use title rather than name? Could Elder Uchtdorf’s references be replaced with the name Jesus? “Our walk as disciples of Jesus becomes more joyful”; “Love is the defining characteristic of a disciple of Jesus”; “If you listen for the voice of the Father, He will lead you on a course that will allow you to experience the pure love of Jesus”? It even sounds a little wrong, doesn’t it? We have grown accustomed to an environment where the stand-alone name of Jesus is used much less than the title Christ. More extensive use of the name Jesus sounds — well, evangelical.

Is this just a cultural tic, or is there theological content to this tendency? What do folks think?

51 Responses to Whatever happened to Jesus?

  1. document on December 9, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    I had a seminary teacher tell us that we did it to honor his “immortality” more than his “mortality”. “Immortal” as the “Christ”, “mortal” as his given name on Earth.

    That’s the only explanation I’ve ever heard.

  2. Christopher Bigelow on December 9, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    I like to close prayers with “name of Jesus, amen,” but sometimes I get weird looks and complaints. Not sure why—maybe first name only is too informal or casual for Mormon sensibilities? Maybe it sounds too born again Christian?

  3. Geoff J on December 9, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    Is this just a cultural tic, or is there theological content to this tendency?

    It is a cultural tic and nothing more.

    We like to be different than creedal Christians in small ways when we can.

  4. Eric on December 9, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    His title and role of “Christ” is what makes it possible for us to pray in his name. I have and will always pray in the name of “Jesus Christ.” I believe using “Christ” shows more reverence, its a testimony of who I know he is, not just Jesus, but the savior of the world.

  5. Benjamin on December 9, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    I’ve also thought about this, and my theory is that we almost always hear evangelicals/born-agains/baptists refer to the Savior simply as “Jesus.” Using alternative titles, or appending “Christ,” in our speech is one way we differentiate ourselves from other American-born Christian religions. Thus, at least in some cases — and certainly unfairly — we likely associate the use of single-name-only with anti-Mormonism and/or apostasy, or at least with a culture that, in many ways, butts heads with our own.

  6. Benjamin on December 9, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Umm. . . what Geoff J said :)

  7. Eric on December 9, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Perhaps other denominations use ‘Jesus’ so frequently (often in vain) that it has lost some of its value and meaning. Therefore by adding Christ in our culture, it not only reverences him, but puts his role back into perspective.

  8. DavidH on December 9, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Our former stake president always prayed “in Jesus’ name”, as did my high priest group leader. And I usually pray that way too.

    I agree that those who choose to refer to Jesus simply by his title/second name, do so, as Eric suggests, because to some it evinces more respect.

    Sort of like referring to Thomas S. Monson simply as “President”, or “President Monson”, rather than as “Tom” or “Tommy”.

    I think some may view it as building a little “reverential” distance between us and Jesus Christ, in the same way that many people consider that “Thee” and “Thou” puts some distance between us and God the Father.

    Evangelicals preach a closeness to God and Jesus. Many Mormons preach reverential respect.

    Fortunately, unlike “Thee” and “Thou”, there is no directive of any kind to use “Christ” or “Jesus Christ” instead of “Jesus.” Otherwise, just think of all the hymns and primary songs that would need to be removed for disrespect: Jesus wants me for a sunbeam. Tell me the stories of Jesus. Jesus, Lover of My Soul – #102, Jesus, Mighty King in Zion – #234, Jesus, my Savior true – #101, Jesus, Once of Humble Birth – #196, Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me – #104, Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee – #141.

  9. David of Orem on December 9, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    On the other hand, I have always loved this declaration: “I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.” (2 Nephi 33:6)

  10. dangermom on December 9, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Agreeing with 3 and 5 here. I suspect that to many of us, evangelicals’ constant use of the word “Jesus” sounds overfamiliar and not reverent enough (much like the kitschy stuff to buy that goes by the name ‘Jesus junk’–of course we have our own kitsch too but anyway). We react by going the opposite way.

    I’m not sure it’s actually a good thing–maybe we need a little more familiarity–but I’d call it a cultural tic all right.

  11. Warren on December 9, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    I would like to add that Jesus was and still is a common name in many languages. The title Christ is what distinguishes Him as the Savior of mankind.

  12. Alex on December 9, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Neal Maxwell and Jeffrey Holland often refer to ‘Jesus’ rather than ‘Christ’

  13. Scott W. on December 9, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    When my now two year-old daughter learned to recognize paintings and other depictions of Jesus she used to say simply “Jesus” as that’s the way we first identified him to her (e.g. “Look sweetie, this is Jesus”). Over the past few months as she has begun participating more in prayer she has heard us constantly reference ‘Jesus Christ’ in our closings and suddenly switched to using ‘Jesus Christ’ whenever she saw him depicted. So she marches around saying, or sometimes yelling excitedly, “Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ!” after seeing a picture at home or at church depicting Jesus. In the mouth of a child ‘Jesus’ suddenly seemed far more appropriate to my ear than ‘Jesus Christ’. No doubt this has something to do with the differences in formality between simply ‘Jesus’ and ‘Jesus Christ’–a product of our culture I presume.

    On a related note, I seem to remember a talk by Pres. Hinckley a few years back in which when recalling his youth, he specifically mentions that “…in Jesus’ name” was used to conclude prayers much more frequently then than we are accustomed to doing now. Am I dreaming this up?

  14. Jeremy on December 9, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    What I find mildly annoying is the use (overuse, in my opinion) of “The Savior,” or, worse, the singsongy overuse of the phrase “Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Is this only a south Utah County thing?

  15. Rob Perkins on December 9, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    Cultural tic. Mormon Americans still suspect the Evangelicals, and don’t care to sound so much like them.

    As a seminary teacher I use “Jesus” all the time.

  16. Raymond Takashi Swenson on December 9, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    At the time Jesus lived on earth, there were many of his neighbors who had the same name, actually Jeshua or Joshua (“Savior”). The idea of the name “Jesus” uniquely identifying a specific man is a cultural artifact, and to a large extent one that would not necessarily apply in Hispanic cultures where “Jesus” (“Hay-soos”) is a given name.

    Use of the title “Christ” = “Messiah” emphasizes his mission, and I assume that when Elder Uchtdorf is teaching us about the mission of Christ, he uses that term to emphasize the unique, and divine, role of the Savior. “Lord” and “Savior” and “Redeemer” and “Jehovah” all refer to the same being. I think that when we are talking about the mortal actions of Jesus of Nazareth, we freely use just the name “Jesus” to describe where he was born, his mother Mary, his step-father Joseph, his probable work as apprentice carpenter and perhaps stoneworker/builder.

    Remember that many people respect “Jesus”, sincerely, as a great man and teacher, even if they do not regard him as divine. That was true for Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin. They nevertheless sincerely believed in a God and an afterlife. Jefferson edited the New Testament to remove references to Jesus as divine or miraculous. So use of the title “Christ” makes clear that our concept of Jesus is different from theirs.

    The combination of the terms “Lord” and “Savior” refers to two different relationships between ourselves and Jesus. Many Evangelicals emphasize their own salvation by Jesus, but having Jesus as “Lord” specifically evokes a duty of the born-again Christian to actually obey the commandments Jesus gave us, something which many Evangelicals do not believe is required for salvation. This controversy over the Lordship of Jesus is a very lively one among Evangelicals, discussed in books like “The Gospel According to Jesus”, which asserts that the Sermon on the Mount sets out duties of all Christians, while other Christians specifically reject the Sermon on the Mount as applicable to the born-again.

    The use of the title “Christ” by LDS leaders emphasizes that we regard Jesus as divine, and not just a prophet, as Muslims do, and even some Jews might do. In a time when many question whether Mormons are Christian, emphasis on use of the title Christ is a clear rejoinder to those who misrepresent the LDS doctrine about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

  17. Wm Jas on December 9, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    A possibly related pattern is the Mormon preference for “the Lord” rather than “God” in most contexts.

  18. Cameron Nielsen on December 9, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    I also think it’s a title/respect thing, and to emphasize his divine position. I don’t mind the first name use though. I’m all for a little more Moroni/Mormon ‘goodness of Jesus’ and running meetings by the Spirit instead of cutting off the closing hymn after a sacrament meeting about music (not bitter cough cough).

  19. Keith on December 10, 2009 at 12:38 am

    I tend to agree that the liberal theological tendencies to see Jesus fundamentally as a great moral teacher and exemplar, or as a social fighter for the poor and disenfranchised, or as a revolutionary against political oppression adds nuances to the use of ‘Jesus’ that it makes a significant difference in many situations. ‘Disciple of Jesus’ may be synonymous with ‘Disciple of Christ’ for some, but there’s so much potential difference in meaning here, given the theological history of the 19th and 20th Centuries.

    My experience at graduate school (including half of my courses at a school of theology), and having continued to study and teach about Christianity, I think I disagree that the use of Jesus sounds Evangelical. (I’ll have to give that a little more thought, check my books, etc.) And whether that is so or not, my experience reading other theologians, particularly if there is a traditional belief in the Son’s divinity, that ‘Christ’ is used more frequently than ‘Jesus’. Something Raymond’s pointed to in his post.

    Actually, with regard to the quote by Pres. Uchtdorf, I find his use just a slight bit out of the ordinary for General Authorities. I tend to hear the terms Lord, Savior, and Jesus Christ much more than ‘Christ’ by itself. (I can’t honestly say one way or another whether I heard ‘Jesus’ used more than ‘Christ’.)

  20. Lynnette on December 10, 2009 at 1:24 am

    Somewhat related to #13–when I was a kid, I remember thinking that “Jesus” was what kids called him, and “Christ” was the name used by adults. We do seem a lot more likely to use the name “Jesus” when talking to kids. Which is interesting; do we emphasize an attitude of familiarity for kids, and one of reverence for adults?

  21. Tom D on December 10, 2009 at 1:38 am

    The title of your post implies that our use of the name “Jesus” in the Church has changed, and not in a good way either. Is this a rhetorical trick to kick start a lively discussion discussion or what?

    I do not think that our use of the name “Jesus” has changed much in the recent past, but I may be mistaken. I personally feel it is more respectful to use “Christ” or “Jesus Christ”, but I have occasionally used His first name alone when it seemed appropriate. Circumstances vary. I suspect that the ever larger numbers of Latinos in the Church will discourage the use of it even more as it seems to be a fairly common name among them. I am nearly certain that I have heard talks encouraging the preferential use of “Lord”, “Christ”, and “Jesus Christ”. I am not sure whether the talk were in Sacrament Meeting, Stake Conference, or General Conference, but the sentiment feels appropriate to me.

    I actually edited the previous paragraph to remove four instances of the Savior’s name. It just didn’t feel right to toss His name around so much. It felt disrespectful. I often capitalize the pronouns I use to refer to Him. He is far too important and dear to me as my Lord and Savior to refer to casually.

    As a latter-day saint, I think I talk more about my relationship with Heavenly Father than my relationship with the Only-Begotten Son, but I know that that relationship is mediated through the merits and mercy of our Savior and Redeemer and that His name, Jesus Christ, is the only name given under Heaven whereby man can be saved and come back into the presence of God.

    I personally feel all too weak and imperfect, but the older I get and the more experiences and difficulties I have, the more I have felt His hand in my life and grown to love Him.

    P.S. I didn’t intend this comment to turn into a testimony, but it did and it felt great. I imagine that most folks (possibly everyone) who commented here also has a testimony of the Savior too. What a nice upbeat note to go to bed on. Take care.

  22. J. Madson on December 10, 2009 at 3:14 am

    I personally use the title Jesus of Nazareth as often as I can and only use Christ if Im referring to a specific aspect of his ministry. I do this on purpose because I often feel that using the term Jesus forces us to look at his life, teachings, and ministry more intently. I often worry that we turn Jesus into an icon or magic balm that cures any ills while missing the radical demands and announcement of the nature of the kingdom of God. I think what we call the passion only makes sense if we know what he was passionate about and that we find largely in his life where he was known as Jesus of Nazareth.

    I also think that the use of the term Messiah or Christ may have meant something different in first century palestine than how we use it today in the church. I base this largely on the works of NT Wright and some other biblical scholars.

  23. john f. on December 10, 2009 at 6:28 am

    Cultural tic, in my view, but a good one (since I’m acclimated to expect it, it conveys more reverence for me personally than a more casual reference to Jesus; but I accept that this is due to cultural usage and not to something inherent in the nature of either name and that therefore creedal Christians who always say Jesus instead of Christ are not being irreverent in doing so).

  24. Peter LLC on December 10, 2009 at 7:31 am

    I seem to remember a talk by Pres. Hinckley a few years back in which when recalling his youth, he specifically mentions that “…in Jesus’ name” was used to conclude prayers much more frequently then than we are accustomed to doing now. Am I dreaming this up?

    I don’t think so. That’s what my mother always says (she’s about 25 years younger than GBH.

  25. Quincy on December 10, 2009 at 10:00 am

    I think that President Uchtdorf’s word choice is not the best example for this because he is German and there is a high probability that his word choice is based on his experiences as a native German speaker. Germans use a form of “Christ” much more than they use “Jesus”. Also, the “J” sound in English, as pronounced in the beginning of Jesus, is not really used in German–it is a foreign sound and so he would be even less inclined to use it. If he did, there’s a good chance it might come out “Yay-soos”. Anyway, that leaves me to believe its a German cultural tic, not a Church tic or theological device.

  26. J. G. on December 10, 2009 at 10:26 am

    The Church has more Spanish speaking members than English now. Have you ever noted how many Hispanics have the name Jesus, making it rather common. It honors Deity to give Him the full title Jesus Christ who there is only One.

  27. Anne P. on December 10, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Straining at gnats? Let’s worry about how well we follow Him- not whether we or others append or don’t append the title Christ to His name, or simply use His title. The scriptures refer to Him both ways, and with many other titles. I could point out that there are many mortals who bear the name Jesus – so praying in the name of Jesus Christ leaves little room for doubt about in whose name we pray.

  28. JW on December 10, 2009 at 11:20 am

    I think Kaimi’s right–there has been a shift on this count. Whether Elder Uchdorf is the best example of this shift is beside the point.
    But I disagree with those who say we are trying to differentiate ourselves from Evangelicals in appending “Christ” to “Jesus.” Actually it is the opposite. We are trying to build bridges, not destroy them. We are saying ours is not “a different Jesus” as you have been claiming for years. We are a replacing a particular–”a”–with a general–”the.” We worship “the Christ,” the Son of the Living God. This way of speaking declares our commonality with the rest of Christendom, not our difference. The word “Jesus” doesn’t declare much of anything.

  29. JW on December 10, 2009 at 11:34 am

    To illustrate the shift in usage over the past fifty years, Lowell Bennion’s many Institute and Young Men’s/Women’s manuals, and even the small books he wrote in later years, almost always use the word “Jesus.” Although Bennion believed in Jesus’ divinity, his primarily emphasis was on Jesus’s ethical teachings more than His claims to authority, an emphasis that fit within the assimliationist paradigm in which he wrote. This distinction came right out of the historical Jesus literature of Bennon’s youth: “Christ” cannot be recovered, but “Jesus” can be. Bennion often placed “Jesus” in a string of figures worthy of emulation: e.g. “Isaiah, Jesus, Confucius.” We would never see that in any of our manuals today. We seem to be in a new period of assimilation, in which we align ourselves not with the ethical monotheists but against the secularists, those who deny God and Christ and their place in the fabric of public life.

  30. Mark B. on December 10, 2009 at 11:40 am

    I think it’s to avoid confusion with Jesus from Tijuana.

  31. Mark B. on December 10, 2009 at 11:47 am
  32. Mark D. on December 10, 2009 at 11:48 am

    A possibly related pattern is the Mormon preference for “the Lord” rather than “God” in most contexts.

    I think this is because “the Lord” is a reference to a specific individual (generally speaking, Jesus Christ), while “God” is strictly speaking a reference to at least three individuals (the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), or ambiguous when used to refer to only one, without some sort of qualifier, as in “God the Father”.

  33. Crick on December 10, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Alex is right…Elder Maxwell often said “Jesus”.

    I kind of like our practice. Whether it is cultural or doctrinal to usually emphasize both names, it distinguishes us *and* somewhat differentiates the meaning of both terms. By generally using “Jesus Christ” in a formal sense, I think it gives something of a poetic quality (in English) when only “Jesus” is used. I generally say “Jesus Christ” but occasionally will say “Jesus” in a lesson because it helps prod the mind away from auto-pilot when hearing a common phrase that really represents the most uncommon of people. Using “Jesus” also reminds us of His humanity and that he has a universal reputation as a great teacher—not only amongst LDS or even Christians.

  34. Thomas Parkin on December 10, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    I like to use “Jesus”, but don’t see it as a decisive thing.

    Not only the words “Jesus Christ”, but the declarative way in which they are routinely said,- I’ve noticed this especially with missionaries,- have started to take on the feel on incantation. The use of the word ‘atonement’ is sometimes the same. It is almost as if they are magical words which can by their use alone prompt a spiritual reaction. I think there is some danger that the name of our Savior go into the bin with phrases like ‘I know the church is true.’ Things routinely said, personal identifiers without substance. ~

  35. Bored in Vernal on December 10, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    I’m surprised no one’s mentioned this:

    D&C 107:3-4 Before his day it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God. But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name, they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek Priesthood.

    Historical precedent?

  36. Aaron on December 10, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    I don’t care so much whether one uses Jesus or Jesus Christ, but I am bothered by the casual, almost careless, way we seem to be using Jesus’ name in church, as if he is some casual friend from school or some guy we know from work. He is the Lord, and regardless of how we address him or speak of him we should do it in a way that respects and honors who he is.

  37. Jacob F on December 10, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Kaimi,

    I quickly looked at the last 20 conference talks Elder Maxwell gave, and here’s the number of times each form is used: Jesus Christ (or similar) – 10; Christ (alone) – 42; Jesus (alone) – 103.

    There are only three talks where he uses ‘Christ’ more than ‘Jesus.’

  38. Gordon on December 10, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Even a more disturbing trend in the church, is to refer to Jesus as our Elder brother..

    Where in the scriptures does it EVER refer to Christ as our Brother.
    He is the creator or planets, The great jehovah, our redeemer, our judge, our king, our God.

    But our elder brother very very last.

    Gordon

  39. Mark D. on December 10, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Here:

    But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

    For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee (Hebrew 2:9-11)

  40. Mark D. on December 10, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    And here:

    “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.(Heb 2:17)

  41. TMD on December 10, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    to take quincy’s (25) point further, I seem to remember there being a substantial scandinavian content to the Utah period. This may have effected a broader trend, which is most evident in Elder Uctdorf.

  42. bfwebster on December 10, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    It seems as though I’ve seen this same discussion two or three times before in the Bloggernacle. I remain unconvinced that there’s much to it, since the issue when raised tends to be based on one person’s perceptions and not any particular statistically meaningful analysis.

    I also remain unconcerned, even if the “shift” is real. Once you get outside of the four Gospels and Acts, you’ll find in the NT that “Jesus” only occasionally appears by itself; the vast majority of instances instead are “Jesus Christ” or “Christ Jesus”. (There is also a large set of instances of “Christ” without “Jesus” nearby.)

    So I’m not sure what your concern is. ..bruce..

  43. Garrett on December 10, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    Jesus was a common name at the time, and Jesus is still a very common name in many countries today… I don’t see why we SHOULD use Jesus without his title. In the world as it is today, it’s better to make everything you say unmistakably clear…

  44. ji on December 11, 2009 at 6:51 am

    for Mark D. (39 and 40), it seems to me that Gordon (38) makes a good point and that the Hebrew citations really don’t answer Gordon’s concern. By our scriptures, and the Book of Mormon and D&C especially, we are reminded that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God.

  45. Michael A. on December 11, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Christ comes from Greek meaning “Annointed”. So which annointing did He receive? He received the annointing of Yahshua (Hebrew for Yah’s Salvation as the Father is incomplete without His children). Yahshua attoned our sins in order for the Father (Yah, Yahweh) to have His creation redeemed. Jesus is more of a gentile nickname as Yahshua went from Greek to Latin to English. The letter J didn’t come on the scene until the mid 1400′s. Yahshua’s name in English is Joshua. While this was a common name amongst Israel (Joshua son of Nun who lead Israel into the Promised land) only one name (character) could receive the Moshiach (Hebrew for annointing) to be Yah’s salvation. So, while many are called Yahshua especially in 1st Century, only one could be Yahshua Ha’Moshiach (Joshua the Messiah).

    Interestingly, Barabbas is the last name of the man released to go free while Yahshuah Ha’Moshiach was impaled. Barabbas’s first name was also Yahshua. Barabbas means Son of the Father. Shalom.

  46. Michael A. on December 11, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    ——————————————————————
    35.Bored in Vernal
    12/10/2009 at 3:18 pm I’m surprised no one’s mentioned this:

    D&C 107:3-4 Before his day it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God. But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name, they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek Priesthood.

    Historical precedent?
    ——————————————————————–

    The name of the Supreme Being (YHWH – Yahweh) – Yah as in the Psalms) appears over 6,800 times in just the “Old” Testament alone.

  47. Gordon on December 11, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    RE: Mark D. (post 39)

    If you really want to get down to doctrine, Christ becomes our spiritual father through adoption. (Not a brother)

    In fact, without the adoption relationship of the atonement, We are orphaned of our HEAVENLY father.

    Becoming a BROTHER of Christ doesn’t do it..

    Mosiah 5:7 “And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters. ”

    We must be born of him.

    Now as to your reference in Hebrews.. This is similar to John 15:15, where Jesus calls his apostles friends. They certainly are..
    He might have even called them “Buddies”, and that too, would be true..

    BUT! First and foremost, Christ is God, Christ is our Redeemer, He gives and breathes live into the world. Literally the light and life.

    He is SO SO much more that and “Elder Brother”
    When will we stop referring to him with such a low title.

  48. Doug Z on December 12, 2009 at 10:41 am

    A quick correction for Quincy (25). The J is not at all foreign to German. The word “ja”, which means yes is quite common in German as are many other uses of the letter/sound.
    On a vaguely related note and in reference to David H (8), the pronouns thee and thine are not intended to show respect or distance us from Deity, quite the contrary. But I agree it does feel like it. In the original English the pronoun “thou” was the familiar, like “you” is used now. A commoner did not address a king as “thou”, he used “you”. Only family members and close friends said thou. We have regressed from that to today’s English. In German, when praying, the familiar pronoun “du” is used instead of the formal and respectful “Sie”. “Sie” is even capitalized where “du” is not. You will find the same in other languages where there are formal and informal pronouns.
    Now, how much does that relate to the discussion topic. I have no idea, it just got me to thinking.
    I agree that the overuse of Jesus sounds evangelical, but we use it more with our children.
    Have a nice day.

  49. queuno on December 12, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    The Maxwell stat makes me wonder if, as we get closer to our Savior, we begin to feel comfortable calling him by name…

  50. Alex J. on December 13, 2009 at 10:01 am

    To Gordon:

    Actually, within the doctrines of the Church, the title of Jesus as our Elder Brother holds great importance. The way by which we develop a close, personal relationship with God the Father is by realizing that He is our literal Father, and that we were born of Him.

    Logic can only dictate that the means by which we develop a personal relationship with Christ should come by acknowledging that He is not only the Creator of worlds and galaxies, but we are of direct relation to Him as sons and daughters of God.

    That is not to say that we should downplay in any way the reverence and respect we should show to both Jesus Christ and the Father, but the moment we forget our heritage is the moment the Church is no longer true. Just something to think about.

  51. Eduard A. Erdtsieck on December 16, 2009 at 5:31 am

    In the New Testament, When the Herodians or the temple priests argued with Jesus of Nazareth, in order to make Him proof, that He is the Son of God or the Messiah. Jesus always referred to Himself as the Son of Man. He was always careful not to threaten them with His special status. For them it was blaspheme to claim to be a son of God.

    Jesus had not yet been glorified by Father in heaven and He had not yet been accused before the High Priest Caiaphas or Pontiue Pilate and the Roman tribunal.

    Personally, when I speak of Jesus, I like to place His name in context. Jesus or Jesus of Nazareth or the Messiah before His crucifixion. After his glorification and atonement I refer to Him as Son of God or the Only Begotten in the flesh.

    In my prayers I always refer to Him as Jesus Christ. I believe the title “Christ” has been over used and has lost intensity. Furthermore with 5 billion of the 6 billion people on earth, today, of a non-christian denominational persuation; the title “Christ” carries a sense of pride.

    I think it would do well, if we followed Jesus example by not emphasizing our favorite status in His Plan for our salvation. Just as He did with His opposition.