Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mormons Are Non-Traditional Christians (and other interfaith dialogue)

I really can't get enough of LDS-Evangelical dialogue. I've learned so much through the process--it's like "a whole new world...I never knew". (My daughter and I just finished watching "Aladdin" and the song is stuck in my head!) :)

I'm all for increased dialogue. It's a win-win, if only both sides are committed to the process of mutual understanding instead of perpetuating "more of the same" closed minded dismissals. I applaud the efforts of those who are interested in more effectively communicating with those of different faiths. See, for example, "Summa Theologica", which does an amazing job at promoting mutual understanding.

Great links were brought to my attention today here, including an article in the Salt Lake Tribune entitled "Mormon-Evangelical dialogue could clarify misperceptions of doctrine" and an article posted on Beliefnet by one of the leaders in LDS-Evangelical dialogue, Richard Mouw. Mouw serves as president of the respected Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena.

Here are three links to some "must reads" both for Latter-day Saints AND Evangelicals:

A New Opportunity for Mormonism?--Richard Mouw's advice to Mormons. One quote: "As an evangelical who has publicly called for a friendlier dialogue with Mormons, I know something about a deep anti-Mormon bias in American life."

We Have Sinned Against You--Richard Mouw
I'd heard of this talk in the news right after it was given but I'd never actually read it until now. I'm so glad I did. One quote: "We evangelicals have often seriously misrepresented the beliefs and practices of the Mormon community. Indeed, let me state it bluntly to the LDS folks here this evening: we have sinned against you. The God of the Scriptures makes it clear that it is a terrible thing to bear false witness against our neighbors, and we have been guilty of that sort of transgression in things we have said about you. We have told you what you believe without making a sincere effort first of all to ask you what you believe."

"Let’s Call Mormons ‘Nontraditional Christians’"
Finally a "Christian" title both sides can live with! Mormons will gladly accept "Non-traditional Christians". A wonderful essay by LDS author Orson Scott Card on Beliefnet's Blogalogue debate about "Are Mormons Christians?" This one's a must read. One quote: "Instead of saying that we are “not Christian,” which is an obvious falsehood by any rational, widely accepted definition of the word Christian, let us agree that Mormons are “nontraditional Christians.” We’ll live with that label quite happily, because it’s true. We are Christians, but nontraditional ones. And if we ever become traditional, we’ll have no reason to exist as a separate religion!"

I'm encouraged by the progress being made in this area of inter-faith understanding and dialogue. I'm inspired by it, whereas many who have had bad experiences in times past have given up and are now missing out on some awesome opportunities.


Steve said...

Right after watching it the first time, I couldn't help but wonder what "Baptists at our Barbecue" would have looked like had it been produced by Baptists instead of Mormons with a nearly all-Mormon cast. We've made some headway but we still have a long way to go.

Eugene Lakes said...

I always enjoy your thoughts and comments and have printed it to share with your dad.

ama said...

Awesome! I feel the same way you do about the Evangelicals. I have learned that their love for the Savior is deep and their respect for Deity is very sincere. I have written quite a few posts over on my site about this and I am glad to see someone else doing the same.


DH said...

AMA and CC-

I also am interested and love healthy non-contentious dialouge between Evangelicals and Mormons. I have recently had lots of conversations with Evan. friends in a way that has been mutually beneficial. I came up with a list of questions for them in response to their belief that we are "saved exclusively by grace" and posted it on my blog. It has been very intersting to hear their responses to some of my questions. If you guys get a chance to stop by and take a peek and more importantly add any questions you guys have come up with I would be much appreciative.

Again my intent is not to form questions to cause contention nor prove them wrong but to simply make my Evangelical friends think and try to help them see what I see when I read the Bible, so at the very least they see "my side of the coin."



Clean Cut said...

See LDS Newsroom Blog: "Are Mormons Christians?" by Nate Nielson