What would Jesus say to a Mormon?. The talk is by evangelical scholar Craig Blomberg, and Aquinas highlights the introduction, believing it to be very significant. I have to say I agree:
“I’m not going to...preach some harsh or condemning message. I have often heard Christians, for example, turn to the Book of Galatians and read from the very first chapter where Paul is talking to that church in what today we would call central Turkey, and he writes “I’m astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different Gospel which is really no Gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the Gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a Gospel other than the one we preached to you, let that person be under God’s curse.”
"There is a time and a place particularly in speaking to God’s speak to warn them in strong language about what in a given place and time in the Church’s history is significant deviation from historic orthodox truth in those areas that are so central that someone’s salvation might be called into question.
"But it strikes me, as I read the whole sweep of the New Testament, that the times Jesus and Paul and the other apostles speak like this, and speak most harshly, is when they are talking, we might say, ‘in house’–Jesus to the religious leaders of his community, particularly certain Pharisees and scribes, Paul, here, to a group of individuals that he goes on to call Judaizers who are requiring, even as they confess Christ, people to obey the Jewish law as a requirement for salvation. And he is not directly addressing them so much as he is trying to convince those in churches he personally planted and founded, not to be let astray. There is a time and a place for these kinds of messages.
"But when Jesus is speaking to the one outside his community, when Paul is trying to win those not in his churches to the faith, we find a very gentle a very wooing spirit. We find Jesus criticized for intimate association with tax collectors and sinners. We see Paul saying in 1st Corinthians 9 that he tries to be “all things to all people, so that by all means, he might save some.” So in that spirit, I would like to hope, I don’t know if it’s true, that we might save some Latter-day Saint guests with us with us this morning. If we don’t, I have some friends that I’m imagining sitting in the audience from the LDS Church and I want to speak to them, in ways that I believe they would agree represent their convictions, and I simply invite the rest of you to listen in."
I have great respect for Craig Blomberg. You can listen to the whole talk, or download it here.