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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bennion's Teachings of the New Testament, List 2

by Seattle Jon (bio)

A few months ago I purchased and slowly read Teachings of the New Testament, written by Lowell Bennion and used in the adult Sunday School in 1953. Brother Bennion was Director of the Institute of Religion in Salt Lake City when he wrote the manual.

There are 44 chapters, or lessons, in the manual designed to "bring out the moral and religious implications of New Testament teachings for our times." Our time is not their time, but the fundamental principles taught by our Savior are timeless in their application. Here is the second of four lists (list one) in the manual I found interesting, uplifting and easy to replicate in post form.

Implications of the Fatherhood of God for us today

1. God being just, fair, and impartial, we should claim no special favors for ourselves. He loves us as his children, but no more than he loves Jew and Gentile - Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Buddhist. They too are his children, the object of his great love. They too live under the same forces of nature and under the same moral laws.

2. Since all men are children of the same Father, we should promote equality among them. By this we do not mean that men are equal in intelligence, or that this world's goods should be divided equally among men, or that we should live in a socialistic or communistic society. We mean this: being the offspring of the same eternal Father, we should consider each one a child of God endowed, like ourselves, with free agency, with the need to grow in his moral and spiritual life. Underneath, differences of race, language, color, intellectual capacity, culture, and education, all men are children of the same earth and of the same God.

3. We need to learn to treat people not as functions, as means to our own ends, but as persons in their own right. Jesus stated this in the Golden Rule: Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them. How does our behavior affect others as persons? The butcher not only sells me meat, but, he like me, is also a husband, a father, possessing debts, fears, hopes, aspirations. He needs the same kind of friendship, praise, respect, and trust that I need. Do I treat him as someone who sells me meat or as a person like myself? Jesus bids us to feel with another as a person, to act with his interest in mind as much as our own.

4. In the light of the Fatherhood of God, we need to broaden our interest in human relations. Religion lived on the personal level - private prayer, study, purity of thought and language, private charity, kindness to one's intimate associates, temperance - is good, but it is not enough if one wishes to be a disciple of Christ. One must also be directly interested and active in larger human relationships.

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