Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mormons and Evangelicals

Also in the current First Things, Richard John Neuhaus recommends a book about Christianity and Mormons:
.... With all the talk about Mormonism, people who are not going to become experts on the subject of Mormonism want a reliable guide to what they believe that we also believe and what beliefs are in conflict. For such people, Claiming Christ: A Mormon-Evangelical Debate by Robert L. Millet and Gerald R. McDermott is just the thing (Brazos Press). I have mentioned Millet before. He's a Mormon who has done pioneering work in establishing closer bonds with various Christian communities. McDermott is a theologian at Roanoke College. He is an Episcopalian with broadly evangelical sympathies and is committed to the Great Tradition of conciliar Christianity. The book might have been titled a Mormon-Christian debate, but that of course would have preempted the question at issue, namely, whether Mormonism is Christian. Of most particular importance is that the authors are close friends. The exchanges are mutually respectful. There are no cheap shots on either side. Sub­jects covered include historical evidences, God or Gods, Son of God, Trinity, creation, atonement, scrip­tural canon, and church and sacraments. McDermott interestingly contrasts the Mormon "American Christ" with the biblical "Palestinian Christ" and draws fascinating parallels between the way Christians view Mormons and the ways in which Jews of biblical times viewed the Samaritans. Come to the crunch point, and no matter how sympathetically one may try to interpret the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, McDermott concludes that we cannot worship with Mormons in the confidence that we are worshiping the same God. Claiming Christ is a rare and instructive exercise in which learning, candor, and friendship join in search of truth.

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