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Vort

What does it mean that an apostle is a special witness of Christ?

What does it mean that an apostle is a special witness of Christ?  

21 members have voted

This poll is closed to new votes
  1. 1. What does it mean that an apostle is a special witness of Christ?

    • It means that the apostle has actually seen Jesus Christ in the flesh, spoken with him, probably touched the tokens of his crucifixion in his hands and feet.
      3
    • It means that the apostle has received a special spiritual witness, greater than that given to most others, of the reality of the living Christ and his atoning sacrifice.
      8
    • It means that the apostle has received a witness. All witnesses are special. We should all receive that "special witness", so we can bear the same testimony as the apostles.
      2
    • It means only that the apostles have received the assignment to bear testimony of Christ to the world. It doesn't mean there's some special knowledge bestowed.
      4
    • It means something else, which I will explain in a response in this thread.
      4
    • I don't have a clue what the "special witness" thing is supposed to mean.
      0

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  • Poll closed on 08/17/19 at 02:37 AM

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I voted #2 but I think something is missing in the wording (perhaps not the intent).  That is a witness through the power and gift of the Holy Ghost.  But I also believe that the calling of an Apostle is an "Ordinance" of the Church of Jesus Christ through the laying on of hands - as Jesus gave example to his apostles and as Judas was replaced in Acts.  Thus, through the ordinance, the witness coming through an Apostle becomes both a commandment and a witness of Christ - that he was resurrected and the "Living" G-d, in and of itself.

 

The Traveler

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I chose the 4th option. That most closely reflects my understanding.

As per the Guide to the Scriptures: "In Greek, Apostle means “one sent forth.” It was the title Jesus gave to the Twelve whom He chose and ordained to be His closest disciples and helpers during His ministry on earth. He sent them forth to represent Him and to minister for Him after His Ascension into heaven. Both anciently and in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the restored Church today, an Apostle is a special witness of Jesus Christ in all the world to testify of His divinity and of His resurrection from the dead." Link

And just to add, Elder Bednar says some interesting things in this video: Elder Bednar Speaks on Apostles Role

Edited by Connie

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4, but with a doctrinal charge to aspire to 1 (See Oliver Cowdery’s apostolic charge).  In practice, I think it probably most commonly means 2, with at least a couple of 1s at any given time.  

Also:  forty-two.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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I voted for the 2nd option, without denying the possibility that at least some of the apostles have had an experience like the 1st option. I wanted an option that blended 2 and 4 (given a special witness and also a special calling to carry that witness to the world). Maybe should have taken the write-in option and put blend of 2 and 4, but the vote is cast as it is.

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7 minutes ago, MrShorty said:

I wanted an option that blended 2 and 4 (given a special witness and also a special calling to carry that witness to the world). Maybe should have taken the write-in option and put blend of 2 and 4, but the vote is cast as it is.

Yes, a 2-4 blend was my feeling, as well, but I didn't want to give a bunch of muddy choices.

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A special witness of Christ is an ordained leader in the Melchizedek Priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are chosen through inspiration by the President of the Church, sustained by the general membership of the Church, and ordained by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles by the laying on of hands. … In addition to serving as witnesses of Jesus Christ to all the world as Jesus’ special witnesses did, members of the current Quorum of the Twelve special witnesses hold the keys of the priesthood —that is, the rights of presidency

I make the assumption that a “special witness of Christ” is synonymous with “apostle” so i just copy/pasted the gospel topics page of apostles 

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2 minutes ago, Fether said:

I make the assumption that a “special witness of Christ” is synonymous with “apostle” so i just copy/pasted the gospel topics page of apostles

The problem with that assumption is that it makes the topic question a tautology, and thus without value.

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Guest MormonGator
1 hour ago, Midwest LDS said:

I voted for the first one, but I also believe the second one is a possibility as well. 

Same here. It's between one and two for me. 

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I stated earlier that during a Church History tour I was surprised at the number of Church leaders that left the Church (apostatized) because of the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society.  It is interesting that not one witness to the Golden Plates came out west with the Saints - half of the original 12 and 2/3 of the First Presidency.  I have also learned that not everyone that has seen Christ in our dispensation has become an apostle.  I can be honest and say I do not know why one person is called an apostle and another not.  The only difference between and apostle and a regular member is that an apostle is called, sustained and ordained.  Otherwise they are just like everyone else - which may be in part the reason that so many Christian denominations do not respect that office and calling and why even of the ancient apostles most of their teaching were ignored in determining what would be New Testament scripture - with the emphasis on Testament - which was specifically what Jesus commanded.

 

The Traveler

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9 minutes ago, Fether said:

...well...

If my question were, "What does it mean that a bird is a feathered flying animal?", and the response was, "Birds and feathered flying animals are the same thing", then my question is of no value. It's a tautology. So if "apostle" and "special witness of Christ" are identical, then the question I asked is useless. It's like asking, "What does it mean that cemetaries are graveyards?", or "What does it mean that wives are female spouses?"

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Just now, Vort said:

If my question were, "What does it mean that a bird is a feathered flying animal?", and the response was, "Birds and feathered flying animals are the same thing", then my question is of no value. It's a tautology. So if "apostle" and "special witness of Christ" are identical, then the question I asked is useless. It's like asking, "What does it mean that cemetaries are graveyards?", or "What does it mean that wives are female spouses?"

I totally get what you're saying... to me it does appear to me to only be Tautology and... well... pointless. I personally can't find much info to answer your question directly and fully on any official church sites.

While writing this, however, it did occur to me that a discussion could be had about the capital letter "Special Witnesses" vs the lower case "special witnesses". Similar to a prophet vs a Prophet.

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I did find this quote, granted I don't know the original source, but it is attribute to Elder Oaks on "Ask Gramps"

" I think is that modern Apostles are called to be witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world. Doctrine and Covenants 107:23. This is not to witness of a personal manifestation. To witness of the name is to witness of the plan, the work, or mission, such as the Atonement, and the authority, or priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ."

I personally don't believe that an apostle or even a prophet needs to see Christ to be called to their calling. I remember being told that by a GA... but until I can find some official statement, you can only take my word for it...

Additionally, as I mentioned above in my comment to Vort. In his title he used "special witness" not the title form "Special Witness". Don't know if that was purposeful to drive a point that we all have our own special witnesses, but I would just like to add that just like we are all prophets, we are all special witnesses.

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Even if an Apostle were to see Christ face to face, it would be irrelevant as the basis of a witness without the equal presence of the Holy Ghost to testify. 

Does any of us actually believe that Paul was convinced solely by seeing Christ, or can we all agree that his heart was pricked by the Spirit of God, and a change was wrought within him as his mind was opened and his understanding expounded?

Whether or not any apostles have seen Christ face to face, I would suggest that such a manifestation of the Spirit as I presume Saul experienced would be enough for any man to have as a special witness, whether for himself, or for the Church as a whole.

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22 minutes ago, person0 said:

Even if an Apostle were to see Christ face to face, it would be irrelevant as the basis of a witness without the equal presence of the Holy Ghost to testify. 

Does any of us actually believe that Paul was convinced solely by seeing Christ, or can we all agree that his heart was pricked by the Spirit of God, and a change was wrought within him as his mind was opened and his understanding expounded?

Whether or not any apostles have seen Christ face to face, I would suggest that such a manifestation of the Spirit as I presume Saul experienced would be enough for any man to have as a special witness, whether for himself, or for the Church as a whole.

Im not so sure about this.

There are many ways that one can witness Christ.  We witness Him whenever we take the sacrament.

There were many people who stood in Christ’s presence during His mortal ministry who did not appreciate His grander.

But there were many who met Him and understood who He was.  

The Holy Ghost’s power of testificatiion is not greater than Jehovah’s or Elohim’s power.  

If an Apostle were to meet with Christ and be brought into his presence, that would be an awesome experience.

Although The Godhead has 3 separate personages with each having different roles, this does not mean that the Holy Ghost has powers that Christ or Elohim do not possess.  

Elohim is training Jehovah as well as the Holy Ghost, and even us.  

I am sure that if Christ so chose He could present any General Authority with a humbling and heart changing exoerience.

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23 minutes ago, mikbone said:

There are many ways that one can witness Christ.  We witness Him whenever we take the sacrament.

Not without the Spirit you don't.

23 minutes ago, mikbone said:

There were many people who stood in Christ’s presence during His mortal ministry who did not appreciate His grander.

That is exactly my point.

23 minutes ago, mikbone said:

But there were many who met Him and understood who He was.

By the power of the Holy Ghost they were able to come to this understanding.

23 minutes ago, mikbone said:

The Holy Ghost’s power of testificatiion is not greater than Jehovah’s or Elohim’s power.

The Holy Ghost's power to testify IS Jehovah and Elohim's power.

23 minutes ago, mikbone said:

If an Apostle were to meet with Christ and be brought into his presence, that would be an awesome experience.

Of course it would be, unless the Spirit of God was not present, then it would still be awesome, but to about the same extent as meeting ones favorite celebrities.

23 minutes ago, mikbone said:

Although The Godhead has 3 separate personages with each having different roles, this does not mean that the Holy Ghost has powers that Christ or Elohim do not possess.  

The above quoted is a demonstrably false statement:

Quote

The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.  (D&C 130:22) emphasis added

The Holy Ghost has the ability to enter inside our body; neither the Father, nor the Son posses this ability in and of themselves.  This is why the Holy Ghost is essential as a member of the Godhead.  If the role of the Holy Spirit could be fulfilled by either the Father or the Son, then there would be no need for the Holy Spirit.

Edited by person0

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5 minutes ago, person0 said:

The Holy Ghost has the ability to enter inside our body; neither the Father, nor the Son posses this ability in and of themselves.  This is why the Holy Ghost is essential as a member of the Godhead.  If the role of the Holy Spirit could be fulfilled by either the Father or the Son, then there would be no need for the Holy Spirit.

Do you think that the personage of spirit that is the Holy Ghost actually enters into your body?

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1 minute ago, mikbone said:

Do you think that the personage of spirit that is the Holy Ghost actually enters into your body?

The Holy Ghost is fully able to enter into ones body; that I most definitely believe.  That He does so to the same individuals on a frequent and consistent basis I would say is unlikely.  The Holy Ghost does not have to be inside ones body for His presence to be felt, however, He most definitely can dwell in us, as the scripture makes clear.  The Father and Son cannot dwell in us, this is an ability exclusive to the Holy Ghost, because He does not have a body of flesh and bones.

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10 minutes ago, person0 said:

The Holy Ghost is fully able to enter into ones body; that I most definitely believe.  That He does so to the same individuals on a frequent and consistent basis I would say is unlikely.  The Holy Ghost does not have to be inside ones body for His presence to be felt, however, He most definitely can dwell in us, as the scripture makes clear.  The Father and Son cannot dwell in us, this is an ability exclusive to the Holy Ghost, because He does not have a body of flesh and bones.

D&C 130:22 does not say that the Holy Ghost’s Personage enters into our bodies. Logistically that would be impossible for his personage to enter into every person’s body during our Sunday services etc.

More than likely his spirit has a capacity to send out tendrils / influence / spirit / light that influences us.

And it is extremely likely that either Heavenly Father or Jehovah taught him this ability.

 

Edited by mikbone

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When I was a teenager I believed #1 but now that im in my forties and especially seeing how the church has evolved in the past 20 years I no longer believe #1 and support #2

 

..besides wasn't Josephs first vision more of a spiritual encounter rather then a physical one in the sense of how we understand the law of physics.

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