Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What would Jesus say to a Mormon?

Hat tip to Aquinas for spotlighting a fascinating and informative talk:
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.


Nathan said...

Maybe it's just me, but i don't think Latter-day Saints should waste their time dabbling with evangelicals who are trying to debate or 'save' them.

We have the fullness of the Gospel in the Restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I don't say that to be condescending, but it is my testimony that that is a fact. I know some of other faiths would whole-heartedly disagree with that and accuse me of being presumptuous, but my testimony is strong enough and cannot be shaken, that this is the True Church of Jesus Christ set up here on the Earth in these latter days.

So when I hear of LDS allowing themselves to trifle with other evangelicals (in this case participating in a congregation where the sole intent of the pastor is to 'save' some poor lost Mormon) it makes me wonder if their testimony has been shaken.

A stranger approached me online the other day with the clear intent of drawing me into a debate between my religion and theirs. He turns around and sells his audio debates (if he can get them) for money. I want no part of making him money off a debate.

As President Hinckley recently said, "[We are] not argumentative. We do not debate. We, in effect, simply say to others, 'Bring all the good that you have and let us see if we can add to it' " ("The BYU Experience," BYU devotional address, 4 Nov. 1997). That's what I try to do with my testimony, share it with others and invite them to ask questions or to learn more. We boldly claim that the Gospel has been restored in its fullness and invite all to learn more.

Clean Cut said...

“Maybe it's just me, but i don't think Latter-day Saints should waste their time dabbling with evangelicals who are trying to debate or 'save' them.”Nathan, I think you’re misunderstanding either Craig Blomberg, Aquinas (see Why Summa Theologica?) , perhaps myself, and/or the distinction between interfaith dialogue and polemical debate. There’s a big difference.

“We have the fullness of the Gospel in the Restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”But this does not mean we have all the answers or that we can’t learn from good people of other faiths, including those who live the gospel according to their own understanding better than even many Latter-day Saints do.

“I don't say that to be condescending, but it is my testimony that that is a fact. I know some of other faiths would whole-heartedly disagree with that and accuse me of being presumptuous, but my testimony is strong enough and cannot be shaken, that this is the True Church of Jesus Christ set up here on the Earth in these latter days.”This really isn’t about questioning anybody’s testimony. It’s more about closed-mindedness versus open-mindedness; gentle and respectful dialogue versus harsh and polemical criticism. Craig Blomberg is advocating a better way of communication, and he has walked the walk in addition to talking the talk. Perhaps you’re unaware that Blomberg is the co-author, along with LDS scholar Stephen Robinson, in the watershed book “How Wide the Divide?”. I highly recommend you look into this book; I wrote about my experience with it here: "How Wide the Divide?".

“So when I hear of LDS allowing themselves to trifle with other evangelicals (in this case participating in a congregation where the sole intent of the pastor is to 'save' some poor lost Mormon) it makes me wonder if their testimony has been shaken.”See my last comment above.

“As President Hinckley recently said, "[We are] not argumentative. We do not debate. We, in effect, simply say to others, 'Bring all the good that you have and let us see if we can add to it' " ("The BYU Experience," BYU devotional address, 4 Nov. 1997). That's what I try to do with my testimony, share it with others and invite them to ask questions or to learn more. We boldly claim that the Gospel has been restored in its fullness and invite all to learn more.”This is good. I agree with the sentiments here. But remember, communication is a two-way street, and other good Christians share their testimony with us and invite us to ask questions and learn more too. Not all of them are critics. And not all critics are polemical. Some are very sincere and honest; I wish there were more of them. Too often people on both “sides” forget that we can be convicted AND civil. To better see where I’m coming from, please see my post: Convicted and Civil.

Clean Cut said...

I tried to put spaces between my comments and your comments, but for some reason they've all been squished together, even after trying a second time. Oh well.

Eric Nielson said...

He would probably say something similar to what he said to Joseph Smith - to not join any of the churches for they are all wrong, and that their creeds are an abomination.

Bruce in Montana said...

I wasn't going to comment but I'll throw my 2 cents worth in. I tend to agree that the evangelicals don't have anything to offer us. There has been enough restored to keep us busy trying to live up to it without bothering ourselves with the opinions of those people, not matter how well-intentioned. The best that the mainstream Christian world has to offer pales in comparison to the restored gospel. If the Bible were enough, the restoration would not have been necessary.

Ok...maybe 1 1/2 cents worth...

Oh, and I don't think that we should debate despite the temptation. Joseph Smith said, "Avoid contentions and vain disputes with men of corrupt minds, who do not desire to know the truth."
I need to work on that one :)

Clean Cut said...

In the interest of full disclosure, Bruce in Montana is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--or a "mainstream" Mormon. He now considers himself a "Mormon Fundamentalist".

Eric (*rolling my eyes*) of course in a post in which Blomberg is giving sound advice to evangelicals in their interaction with Mormons, you bring up a quote I’ve had to explain many a time to offended Christians.

I believe the exact quote is, “I was answered that I must join none of them [the then-current churches], for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (Joseph Smith History 1:19)

In other words, it’s not the churches themselves that were an abomination, but the creeds, which were being taught as the word of God, when clearly only the Bible is. But even on this point, however, I tend to agree with Ray on a recent post: The Creeds and the Trinity. In essence, he says: "I believe strongly that the “creeds” mentioned in the First Vision are not the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athenasian Creed, but rather are the Westminster Confession and other more modern Protestant Creeds. Those were the primary creeds of the religions about which Joseph prayed, and those are the statements that include elements which are anathema to Mormon doctrine."

I actually think Ray is right on. After all, as Elder Bruce D. Porter made clear in this recent interview, the only part of the Nicene Creed that Mormons would not agree with would be the statement that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are of "one substance".

The churches of Joseph Smith's day, on the other hand, were just "wrong"--meaning, not the one “exclusive ecclesiastical, authority-bearing agent for our Father in heaven in this dispensation”, as Elder Neal A. Maxwell put it.

Now, having said that, I don’t believe Mormons should go out and say other churches are all wrong. It’s not that clear-cut, not that black and white to me. My paradigm allows other churches to have much truth–just not a fullness of truth. I readily acknowledge that many churches sprung up, not because of the Great Apostasy, but in spite of, to counteract the Great Apostasy. In other words, I think most Christians are doing the best that they know how.

“God, the Father of us all,” Ezra Taft Benson said, “uses the men of the earth, especially good men, to accomplish his purposes. It has been true in the past, it is true today, it will be true in the future.” Elder Benson then quoted the following from a conference address delivered by Orson F. Whitney in 1928: “Perhaps the Lord needs such men on the outside of His Church to help it along. They are among its auxiliaries, and can do more good for the cause where the Lord has placed them, than anywhere else.

“God is using more than one people for the accomplishment of His great and marvelous work. The Latter-day Saints cannot do it all. It is too vast, too ar­duous for any one people.” Elder Whitney then pointed out that we have no warfare with other churches. “They are our partners in a certain sense.”

SilverRain said...

"These people" are Children of God, our brothers and sisters, who are walking through this life with the hope and intent to be like the Savior. They are not different from us. They are not less because they are not members. In some areas, they may have better understanding and application of Christ and the Gospel than we do. I would say that those evangelicals and mainstream Christians who advocate teaching in love demonstrate a much better understanding of Christ's teachings and more humility than those Mormons who claim that they have nothing to offer us and aren't worth our time.

Clean Cut said...

THANK YOU, SilverRain.

Eric Nielson said...

CC - I guess you can roll your eyes all you want.

I did not say in my comment that the churches were an abomination, did I? My simplified version was not functionally wrong - I don't believe.

As far as the major creeds go, we would also have a problem with creation ex nihilo language as well. So we would have fundamental disagreements on the nature of God, and on the nature of man. This may not be a long list, but is it fundamental.

Other churches are not only wrong based on a lack of priesthood authority. They are also wrong on many doctrinal issues as well. The nature of God, the plan of salvation, the Godhead, grace and works, salvation and exaltation, preexistence, degrees of glory, modern day revelation, and on and on. Wrong on nearly every fundamental point of doctrine and with no priesthood authority. Wrong.

Sure other churches have some truth, but that is almost always a subset of truth we already have - and not really a lack.

Nobody is saying people of other churches are bad people. Nobody is saying that they will not join the church someday. Nobody is saying they will not be judged based on what they know. Nobody is saying that God does not love them. Nobody is saying we should not love them and be civil.

But in addition to a lack of priesthood authority there is also very fundamental doctrinal differences between Mormonism and Evangelical Christianity. Millet, Robinson, and you can try and water down Mormonism and meet Evangelical friends at some doctrinal middle ground if you want. But the purpose of bridging the divide should be to bring them back over the bridge to the proper side of the divide. Not linger at some doctrinal middle ground.

You can roll your eyes all you want, but you seem to be getting more evangelical in your thinking all the time. Not sure that is progress. It is interesting that in your question about what Jesus would say to a Mormon, you reference Blomberg.

SilverRain said...

Eric—I'm most certainly butting into a conversation that is not about me, but I'm going to anyways.

I was once taught by a true disciple and Apostle of Jesus Christ that His teaching methods were to meet an individual where they were, and then lift them to where they could be, if they were willing to be lifted. Although it is true that we cannot compromise on doctrinal truth, it is also true that we cannot hope to teach people when we do not understand and do not care where they are coming from. Yes, there are major doctrinal differences, but it is by concentrating and learning about the similarities that we can both "be edified and rejoice together". The medium of divine teaching is the Spirit, the medium of the Spirit is Christian love, and the medium of love is understanding. To God's children in general it does not matter whether or not a person is right nearly so much as it does whether or not a person cares and understands.

From what I see, Clean Cut is not advocating bending doctrinal truth for the sake of getting along, but he is pointing out how Christ taught, and that teaching as Christ did is not the sole domain of those who profess to lay claim to His truth.

Clean Cut said...

Eric, no you did not say anything “functionally wrong”. I rolled my eyes because you seemed like you were just wanting to stir things up rather than gain anything from another perspective.

The title of the post was the title of Blomberg’s talk. That’s why I cited Blomberg. It wasn’t my question; I just enjoyed hearing from his perspective and using it as impetus for reflection. It's okay if it’s not your thing, but more productive interfaith dialogue is something I have a great interest in.

I certainly don’t want to be misunderstood here. I’m not trying to “water down” Mormonism. I just happen to enjoy seeking out respectful interfaith dialogue as well as seeking out mutual understanding.

Again, I’m coming from the perspective that we can be both convicted in our own faith AND civil. I strive to be both. I’ve also found that this type of approach is much more rewarding. (See my post: Convicted and Civil). I'm convinced that we can be true to our own faith and convictions, not compromising our doctrine or way of life, while at the same time striving to better understand and respect our neighbors of other religious persuasions.

As for all the various doctrinal differences, I’ve discussed many of those right here on my blog. I’m always discussing and exploring our similarities and differences with traditional Christianity. I do not, nor will I, ever minimize our objection to creation ex nihilo and our distinct belief about the nature of God. I actually agree with you that this is fundamental. That we do not believe in the great ontological divide between God and humanity is actually the single greatest difference between Latter-day Saint Christians and Traditional Christianity.

Certainly I could also discuss “priesthood authority, the plan of salvation, the Godhead, grace and works, salvation and exaltation, pre-[mortal] existence, degrees of glory, modern day revelation, and on and on.” As you know, I’ve done that right here on this blog, since you have participated in many of those conversations and you even felt that I had laid things out fairly well.

This simply wasn’t one of those posts. It’s merely an invitation to hear from an evangelical scholar who I actually respect; one who is not antagonistic towards Mormonism but quite thoughtful and respectful. That seems to be a rare combination sometimes, and I felt it was worth sharing.

Eric Nielson said...

Sorry for my blunt and direct way of communicating. It sometimes gets me in trouble. I am a little baffled as to why pointing out the differences would be seen as a lack of love, or a lack of understanding. I think it could be evidence of both.

I hope you all do not think this is weird but I prayed about this over my afternoon break. The thought that came into my mind is the Ammon story of the conversion of King Lamoni. Where Ammon asks if Lamoni believes in God, Lamoni said he believed in the Great Spirit, and Ammon simply said - this is God, and moved on. He didn't worry that Lamoni might not have a complete view of the nature of God - he just moved on with the 'first discussion'.

Another thought came to me as I prayed, and that had to do with how you (CC) seemed to enjoy the grand debate over at NCT between GeoffJ (Mormon) and Aaron (a strict Calvinist). How could you seem to look for similarities between Evangelical Christianity and Mormonism, yet seem to enjoy Aaron getting raked over the coals theologically.

The thought came to me of having Mormonism on one side, Evangelical Christianity in the middle, and Strict Calvinism on the other side. For me the gap between Mormonism and Evangelical Christianity is really big, and the gap between Evangelical Christianity and Calvinism is really small. You probably see a smaller gap between Mormonism and Evangelical Christianity, and a large gap between Evangelical Christianity and strict Calvinism.

Is this about right? I think this may explain why I get grouchy regarding EC, because I view it as being just baby steps away from Calvinism.

I wonder, does a moderate Evangelical Christian think of themselves as being closer to Mormonism, or closer to Calvinism? In my experience, they would feel they were much closer to Calvinism. But maybe this is wrong.

Anyway, I love the doctrines of the church. I think it is our differences that make us 'true'. I think there are people out there who are looking for something more, and if they feel that Mormonism is very, very similar to Evangelical Christianity then why bother? They can stay where they are.

Anyway, CC, I was a big fan of yours when you got started. I have been turned off recently because it seems like you are clouding things like the Godhead, grace-works, etc. There is a delicate balance I think between seeking important similarities, and communicating important differences. You seem to prefer one end of the balance while I prefer the other.


peace through the gospel, restored in the latter-days,


(That is my Aaron impression)

Clean Cut said...

Eric, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts here. I really actually think we agree more than you realize; we just communicate things differently. I did not mean to question your love or your understanding—I don’t think I did but if that’s how it came across, then I apologize.

I’m actually in agreement with you on the necessity of pointing out the differences between LDS Christians and Traditional Christians. Sometimes I blog about our similarities (since I’m genuinely surprised at how many we have) and sometimes I blog about our differences (which are fundamental). I defend those differences with all my heart. I just hope that while I do so, I do not come across as closed-minded or arrogant. (I'm not saying you are either, I'm just saying this is very important to me).

Latter-day Saints do have significant differences, as you have mentioned above. I feel like I enjoy emphasizing those differences, and I make no apologies for them. You’re absolutely right when you express that these doctrines are what makes the restored gospel of Jesus Christ so unique and special. I also seek to communicate those differences in a meaningful way that can be understood (and not misunderstood) by other sincere Christians.

I think in this case I simply misunderstood your motivation in your first post above. I thought you were being flippant, and I worry about others taking offense. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy defending Mormonism in a way which hopefully is not offensive. Ironically, the primary audience I had in mind when I first read this Blomberg talk were those counter-cultists who feel that they can speak harshly against Mormonism because they believe it to be a “false gospel” and the ends justify the means.

Blomberg makes clear that harsh language was reserved for “in house”, and that more gentle language was used in biblical times for those outside of the religious community. That's a message I'd like to "get out". While I obviously don’t agree with Blomberg that I, as a Mormon, still need to be “saved” from anything (since I believe I already am) that’s a big concern for evangelicals so I can understand that and just know where he's coming from.

As I dialogue with those not of our faith, my primary hope is that they come to better understand us--hopefully in a way that they cannot possibly misunderstand us. Alas, many continue to misrepresent us and bear false witness. But many do try to get it right, and I seek to make friends of them. And since I don’t want to be a hypocrite, I try to carefully learn their positions so I can “get it right” too. And semantics do matter in all of this, after all. For example, there is a difference in saying that traditional Christians are missing out on something extraordinarily special (the restored gospel) versus saying that they’re faith is completely inadequate (which I don't believe).

Eric, I like you and continue to appreciate your words and knowledge as you share it around the bloggernacle. As you mentioned, I was both entertained and enlightened by the debate over at NCT between GeoffJ and Aaron. I don’t think we need to pull any punches in describing our concerns about extreme Calvinism. I also don’t think Blomberg or Robinson pulled any punches in “How Wide the Divide?” either. That’s why it’s such a great book. They didn’t pull any punches AND they managed to respectfully differentiate between our real differences and our similarities.

I agree with you that there is a delicate balance, and not all Latter-day Saints are always in agreement on this balance. "In essentials let there be unity; in non-essentials, liberty, and in all things, charity."

Finally, I did get a kick out of your Aaron impression. (I still can’t figure out why some of those guys feel the need to have those kinds of sign-offs, anyway). By any means, “peace through the gospel, restored in the latter-days”. Love it.

Clean Cut said...

One more thing I need to clarify, Eric. The reason I went on to explain that quote from the Joseph Smith's First Vision was not for you, but rather for other "lurkers" who might benefit from a fuller understanding and so it will not be misunderstood.

My primary concern was Joseph Smith not being misunderstood, since critics love to bring that up as if to prove that Mormons have a history of antagonism towards other traditional Christian churches.

Eric Nielson said...

Well, I might clarify also. You may have misread my first comment. I was not being flippant to a potential evangelical lurker, I was angry with you. I have thought some of your recent posts sounded more Evangelical than Mormon, and then you have a post titled "What would Jesus say to a Mormon?" and in response to the question you do not point to the scriptures, or to conference, or to the prophet. Instead you point to an evangelical preacher who is giving instructions on how to proselyte to Mormons. It made me mad. Steaming mad.

After my prayer, my fears about you ceased. I believe that you are being sincere, and that you are likely a good guy all around. And while I might not always like your approach, I now believe it is properly motivated.

My 'fear' in all this is that by making Mormonism appear evangelical like, that some of the most important aspects of Mormonism are lost.

peace and eternal life, through the atonement of Jesus Christ, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.

Papa D said...

Eric, for what it's worth, you've misread Clean Cut. There isn't a more dedicated Mormon I've met on-line.

I agree totally with the central point of the OP. Jesus railed against specific hypocrites, but he taught and modeled love and meekness and mercy and patience and charity and not reviling to and for just about everyone else - about 99% of the total time he spent teaching. I think that's important.

I also stepped outside my normal pattern of communication on that NCT thread, but I did so specifically because I see Aaron's approach as hypocritical and his theology as damnable. In that instance, forthright and strong words are justified, imo - as long as they don't cross the line of personal judgment and condemnation. Otherwise, I try hard to communicate as the Lord did - even though I fail regularly in that effort.


Clean Cut said...

Thanks Ray.

Anonymous said...

I second Ray, Eric.
Clean Cut's about as TBM as they get on the bloggernacle. His LDS friends who follow his blog would be sure to lovingly inform him if any of his posts have ever crossed the line. I've never seen one that even comes close.

Tom said...

Psychochemiker has an analysis of the Nicene creed here.He rates it 90% agreeable to Mormons.

Thanks for the post CC. Blomberg's point is really interesting and directly opposed to most people over at "I Love Mormons."

I for one am grateful for evangelicals like Blomberg and Bridget Jack Myers who recognize that the dialog needs to be respectful and dwell on substantive issues of theology - not straw men like whether or not we believe in a "different Jesus." That ones a real show stopper for me. If those are the first words out of an EV's mouth, I'm done. Frankly, if I believe in a different Jesus, I don't want to believe in their Jesus.

Tom said...

I believe it was Brigham Young that said the Elders of the Church should go to the religions of the world and find what truth they have and bring it back to Zion. Now, we aren't going to find new saving truths in other religions, but as Hugh B. Brown said, we do not have the corner market on truth.

I want to have respectful dialog with EV's because I always learn from it. I learn from EV interpretation of the Bible, even if sometimes I think they are interpreting it completely wrong.

Honestly, I want to understand their worldview and "what makes them tick."

Clean Cut said...

Well said, Tom--and agreed. And thanks Madchemist. I respect both of you greatly and appreciate all the good work you do. Somehow we all seem to congregate at the same places and I always look forward to reading what you have to say. Carry on...

Anonymous said...

Just finished the MP3, it was amazing to listen to. I will highly recommend it to both my Mormon and non-Mormon friends.

I especially liked the stories of missionary work he shared, and the praise for our devotion. It's certainly a different trend than I'm used to hearing.

Clean Cut said...

I found the following quote by Dr. Blomberg on another blog and thought it would be interesting to include it here for more context:

"It’s probably worth explaining that I was invited by the church at which I spoke to address this topic. It was the church’s decision to do an extended series of sermons, with several guest speakers along with the senior pastor, on “What Would Jesus Say to ____________?” I did feel a little awkward playing that role, but I understood the rationale: if we can ask “What Would Jesus Do?” in all kinds of situations, why not ask this question as well? So I happily complied.

"The live response was interesting–most people found it a breath of fresh air compared to the better known combative, denunciatory approach, but a few people insisted that’s exactly what Jesus (or the apostles) would have done. Yet I researched and wrote an article published 5 years ago in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society that surveyed all the harsh rhetoric found anywhere in the New Testament and observed that it was uniformly used to address corrupt, overly legalistic or sinful “insiders” to the church, whereas Jesus and the apostles bent over backwards to woo “outsiders” graciously, even while calling them to repentance. It’s sad to see how often we have exactly inverted that approach!"

Katie Langston said...

Interesting post and comments.

I think the idea that we don't have anything to learn from Evangelicals is pretty arrogant and presumptuous. I know that, personally, my life personally has been greatly blessed by a deeper understanding of Christ and His atonement through my engagement in interfaith dialogue.

I also think the Church is stronger as we emerge from constructive conversations with others--and come to terms with some of the problems within our culture and popular teachings.

aquinas said...

I’d like to explain more of the background of this talk for readers who are not familiar. Southern Gables is an Evangelical church located in Colorado and Sound Living is the name of their audio sermon resource. In 2007, Sound Living ran a “What Would Jesus Say” series, with various speakers speaking on what Jesus would say to a Mormon, a Catholic, a New Ager, a Muslim, etc.

I think it is important to realize that Southern Gables could have picked anyone to speak for their Mormon segment. Think about all the possible candidates. Think about all the self-proclaimed experts on Mormonism. Many times churches who offer such talks choose a former Mormon who is critical of Mormonism to speak, or someone who is part of a counter-cult outreach ministry. Southern Gables didn't do that. They chose Dr. Craig Blomberg, professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary. In 1997, Dr. Blomberg co-authored “How Wide the Divide: A Mormon & an Evangelical in Conversation” with Stephen E. Robinson author of “Believing Christ.” I’m very pleased that Southern Gables invited Dr. Blomberg to participate in their series and pleased that Dr. Blomberg chose to accept their invitation. While Sound Living determined the title of the talk, I believe those who listen to the talk will realize that Dr. Blomberg is sincerely explaining what he would say to his Mormon friends.

I hope Latter-day Saints can appreciate the immense benefit and contribution that came from this conversation and dialogue between Robinson and Blomberg. As a result, Dr. Blomberg is not only able to benefit Latter-day Saint audiences, but more than that he is able to provide Evangelical audiences with a much more informed and accurate picture of Latter-day Saint worship and thought, something that probably would not have happened in years past. This and many other events like it are the fruits of respectful and charitable dialogue between Latter-day Saints and Evangelicals.

I highly recommend actually listening first to the talk before passing judgment. I think those who have taken the time to listen to the talk are in a better position to offer further thoughts and observations.

Alan said...


I wonder, what would Jesus say to an Evangelical?

I know what He told me; that the Book of Mormon was true and that I should seek baptism in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Clean Cut said...

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

Anonymous said...

I have been meeting with Mormons occasionally for a few months now, who I love and hold dear. However, the more I hear and learn of the beliefs they hold being spread the more pity I feel for them all. It is so plain to see that that you are one of the false religeons spoken of throughout the bible. The ORIGINAL word of God tells us to beware or we will be led astray by false dotrines if we are not careful. The book of Mormon and religon that was created by a guy in New York named Joeseph Smith, totally throws everything in the holy word of God off into false doctrines. God says that no one is to "add to nor take away from the least of his words" and yet Mormons have added an entire book! And let me ask you Mormons a question, are you imprinted or implanted? Meaning, did you obligate yourself to this religon and call this book real that has absolutely no historical credibility and begin spreading the word of JOESEPH SMITH, (rather than of GOD) Because someone along the way or maybe in your raising told you this is the way? Or did you begin to seek God's will on your own and let the Spirit become implanted in you, leading you? Answer yourself honestly. Not me. I believe that you are doing what you feel is real and just, and God bless you for that, but you are the lost sheep that got led astray by satan's master manipulation. Put away all legalism, prior teachings, and opinions taught to you and start over. I challenge you to get back to basics and begin reading the original word of God (Holy Bible... which by the way is still the same living word today that was here 100, 500, 1000, and even 2000 years ago, because God says that tho the earth and all contained shall perish, his word shall never perish)You know, the book of God that you added your own book to? read it for yourself and study it. Ask God the Father to reveal to you the truths and to not let your ear be attentive to any falsehood. He will reveal it to you. After about a year or so, go to the book of Mormon. Read it and listen to what your teaching. You will plainly seee how contradicting and false the book of mormon is. Rather than pointing fingers and telling me that your testimony serves as proof, seek the truth and be open to GOD... not man or religon, or legalism... but the father himself. Latter day saints would waste their time babbling because they really believe what they say and why wouldnt they when its been imprinted in your minds? Dont tell me why you think its real.. tell yourself and God. You'll see. I am not hating on anyone, I am merely stating facts in hopes that you wil be led to the truth and palinly see what all the TRUE children of God see so clearly. We do have pity on all of you because though your hearts mean well, you are doing evil without knowing. Who is it you think the Holy bible means when it talks about false teachers and writings that will lead you astray from the truth? WHo exactly? And why did the bible need a revelation? It never changed!

How do you KNOW that Joe Smith really and truly had a dream in the woods? Who bore witness to this? Where is the proof? How do you know that this man wsa not a story teller making up a vision that would cause people to accept him rather than condemn and critisize him for his problem with lust? His excuse for not being able to keep a job? How do you knw that Satan didnt use this man who had a reputation for lazines and lust to lead a multitude away from his enemy? God. Tell your self the answers because it is not likely I will ever return to this site and nothing you say could ever possibly make me believe in a book written by a man with no credibility that contradicts what my God and Savior have to say. Good Luck and I pray that your eyes be opened to the absolute truth..

Clean Cut said...

No, Anonymous, somehow I don't think that's what Jesus would say to a Mormon.

But if so, He would probably use correct grammar.

Anonymous said...

Clean cut... I dont believe Jesus would be too concerned with how he spelled things, but rather the core truth in the message. Yes Jesus loved all but do you honestly think he would sit and let a false prophet or writings be taught amoung the people?! No... read the bible and pray about it.. Not to Joe Smith from New york, but to the Holy God of all creation.

Anonymous said...

To let it be known, regarding the grammar comment, I am the CEO of a major corporation where my commutal skills are imperative. However, in doing research for statistics, I came across the absurd blogs that completely go against what my God, very plainly, says to all the world. It sickens me in the pit of my stomach to know that people are trying to infect the truth with lies and deception. Forgive me for not meeting the grammar tactics you think should be applied when blogging. I was trying to shed light in the darkenss of this page. Good day and happy seeking to you all! A-

Clean Cut said...

Hey there, I'm surprised you came back after all. That bodes well for actually having a conversation rather than a one-way lecture (as your first post came across). Proper grammar or not, I don't think that's what Jesus would say to a Mormon. (Did you even read the originial post?)

If only your method of communication were a little more respectful and more informed, then perhaps your words would be more helpful and you could actually persuade me you have some light to share.

Look, I don't know how much time you've spent on my "dark" blog, but not enough for me to change my mind that you've still got to come out of some darkness of your own. But since God is love, and I seek after God, let me lovingly share with you a helpful tip/link if you truly want to learn How to Win Friends and Influence Mormons. You're welcome.

Clean Cut said...

PS: Would you mind at least using a pseudonym rather than just being "anonymous"?

Anonymous said...

I can't tell you how many times I have heard Mormons say that Christians have nothing to offer them and that they have the fullness of the gospel and don't need "saving." According to God's word, man can do nothing to earn salvation. It isn't about being a member of the "right" church, following church rules and rituals. It isn't even about doing all the good works you possibly can. Jesus said HE is THE Way and the Truth and the Life. Apart from Him, there is no way to the Father or eternal salvation. Only a life fully surrendered to Jesus pleases God. It's not about One's testimony, but the work and blood of Christ. It has nothing to do with man but everything to do with God the Son.

This is the one crucial difference between Mormons and Christianity. Christians know it's Jesus plus NOTHING else.

Clean Cut said...

Anonymous, are you the same anonymous as above? (I doubt it, because there's so much I agree with in your first paragraph, but it gets hard to have a warm conversation with "anonymous").