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Doctrine of Christ

I have been trying to fully understand the "Doctrine of Christ". I heard a talk which mentioned that the doctrine of Christ was repentance and baptism--this scripture seems to support this idea.

38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. (3 Nephi 11:38-39)

The Doctrine and Covenants gives this very concise definition of the Doctrine of Christ

67 Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.
68 Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.
(D&C 10:60-68)

Not only does it limit the Doctrine of Christ to only repentance and coming to the Savior, but it says, That "whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church." Wow, that seems pretty strong language. That doesn't seem to leave much room or misunderstanding about what is defined as the "doctrine of Christ." But let us examine this further.

When Christ is talking to the Nephites in 3rd Nephi he talks about "my doctrine."

30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away. (3 Ne. 11:30)

This seems to limit "my doctrine" to the one principle of avoiding contention.

Then I realized that "my doctrine" isn't a single statement or set of principles. It is basically Christ's position on a topic. That doesn't mean he doesn't have other positions that would also be called his doctrine. He goes on to talk about where his doctrine comes from.

31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.
32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.
35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and [1]whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the [2]Father bear record of me, for he will [3]visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the [4]Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.
37 And again I say unto you, [5]ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be [6]baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.
41 Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth. (3 Ne. 11:31-41)

So we can see that the Doctrine of Christ does include repentance [5] and being baptized [6], but there would also seem to be more that is included in the definition of the Doctrine of Christ. Now let us review 2 Ne. 31-32. It seems to be a very complete definition of "the Doctrine of Christ". Nephi tells us in verse 2 that he is going to "speak concerning the doctrine of Christ" and then starting in verse 11 he mentions repenting and being baptized 4 times in the next  6 verses. So we can definitely say that repentance and baptism are an important part of the Doctrine of Christ. But there also seems to be a progression with each mention of repentance and baptism.

2 Nephi 31:

2 Wherefore, the things which I have written sufficeth me, save it be a few words which I must speak concerning the doctrine of Christ; wherefore, I shall speak unto you plainly, according to the plainness of my prophesying. . . .
10 And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?
11 And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.(2 Ne. 31:2, 10-11)

This 1st mention of repentance and baptism is a command from the Father

12 And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do. (2 Ne. 31:12)

Then the "voice of the son" tells us that after baptism that "to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost."

Next we get the 2nd mention of repentance and baptism.

13 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.(2 Ne. 31:13)

But this time it is combined with "full purpose of heart", "real intent", "willing to take upon you the name of Christ". After baptism, "then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost, yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost" and a new  addition that "then can ye speak with the tongue of angels"

Then Nephi mentions repentance and baptism a 3rd time.

14 But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me.
15 And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.

16 And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.(2 Ne. 31:14-16)

This time  includes the same blessing of fire and the Holy Ghost and speaking with a new tongue. But now a warning is added to the person if they should deny him, "it would have been better for you that ye had not known me." This is not just a spirit filled baptism, but they had "known" the Savior. Now I think we are getting closer to the meat of the Doctrine of Christ. It is not only the repentance and ordinances, but it is to actually know the Savior.

This relates to D&C 82:3
For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.

And D&C 76
31 Thus saith the Lord concerning all those who know my power, and have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and defy my power—
32 They are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born;
33 For they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity;
34 Concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come—
35 Having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame.
36 These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels—
37 And the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power;
38 Yea, verily, the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath. (D&C 76:31-38)

Nephi goes on to mention repentance and baptism a 4th time.

17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.
19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen. (2 Ne. 31:2, 10-21)

  Nephi gives us these four items
  1. That ye might know the gate
  2. repentance and baptism by water
  3. a remission of your sins by fire and the Holy Ghost
  4. ye are in the narrow path which leads to eternal life
And then it repeats the list again:
  1. ye have entered in by the gate
  2. ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son
  3. ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son
  4. ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path
But he wants to make sure that we realize that we are not done yet. Even after we have had the Holy Ghost witness to us of the Father and the Son he asks, "it all is done"?  And then answers that we have come this far because we have been "relying wholly upon the merits of him who is might to save." And then he outlines the next steps:
  1. relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
  2. Press forward with a steadfastness in Christ
  3. having a perfect brightness of hope
  4. a love of God and of all men.
Then he repeats again what he has just told us, saying that IF:
  1. ye shall press forward
  2. feasting upon the word of Christ
  3. and endure to the end
  4. behold, thus saith the Father,
THEN, "Ye shall have eternal life" Nephi then explains that "this is the way, and there is none other way" to be "saved in the kingdom of God" and "this is the doctrine of Christ".

Nephi then explains more about the process after you have "entered in by the way" He is explaining how the Holy Ghost can speak the words of Christ and we need to feast upon those words from the Holy Ghost. If we don't understand it is because we do not ask.

1 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do after ye have entered in by the way. But, behold, why do ye ponder these things in your hearts?
2 Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?
3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.
4 Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.
5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.
6 Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do. (2 Ne. 32:1-6)

He explained that the doctrine of Christ is to receive the Holy Ghost and follow what we are directed to do by the Holy Ghost. He explained that there would be no more doctrine until Christ would manifest himself. Nephi was going to tell us more, but the Spirit stopped him.

7 And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be. (2 Ne. 32:7)

Are we blinded by "unbelief and wickedness", "ignorance,. and the stiffneckedness of men"? Can we allow the Spirit to tell us what Nephi was just starting to tell us? That when he is talking about when Christ would "manifest himself unto you in the flesh" he was talking about you and me if we are willing to accept it.

With this background let us review again the verse in the Doctrine and Covenants.

67 Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.
68 Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.
(D&C 10:60-68)

We started off by thinking that the Doctrine of Christ might just be repentance and baptism. This verse could be interpreted that way, but notice that this is not what it says. It says to repent and "cometh unto me". Coming unto Christ is the process that Nephi outlines. It is entering the gate which is repentance and baptism, but it continues with feasting on the word of Christ as we receive it through the Holy Ghost. It is listening to those words that will "tell you all things what ye should do." It continues until "he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh" -- That is the Doctrine of Christ. To follow the strait and narrow path TO CHRIST.

Only True Doctrine

Notice that this is not just the Doctrine of Christ, but we have to be careful that we not add to or take away from this doctrine. This is the "only and true doctrine of the Father, and the Son and of the Holy Ghost"

21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor namegiven under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen. (2 Nephi 31:21)

Notice in 3 Nephi 11 that the Lord again emphasizes his doctrine and declares that, "whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock"

31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.
32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.
35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.
37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.
(3 Nephi 11:31:40)