“Continue in the Faith”: King Benjamin’s Preemptive or Deliberative Sermon

Scott Stenson, Brigham Young University - Provo


King Benjamin’s sermon(s) is primarily about achieving political and social continuity through personal and lasting conversion to Christ more than it appears to be about such themes as service and unity. My interpretive method, mostly literary in nature, is to take Nephite prophetic preaching tradition and to demonstrate that King Benjamin channels such an unsettling tradition that he might stir up his people to continue in the faith of their fathers. I attempt to demonstrate that King Benjamin’s discourse has a thread of thematic unity with implied political and personal implications. I read certain distinct phrases and passages in new ways and explore several theological concepts as they naturally emerge from out of the text. My purpose is to begin to account for the power of the complex sermon while exploring its presumed, elusive cohesion.