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Saturday, April 16, 2005

Dipping my Toe in Mormon Christology

I need to interact with Mormon theology for one of my classes at school, and since I know very little about it I thought it might be helpful to actually get some answers straight from the horses mouth (rather than just reading what Christians say about them).

What I am looking for here is not so much "the history of the Mormon church" but rather the delineation of Mormon theology - what do they actually believe about Jesus; how do they actually view salvation. I am eager to understand how they actually differ from us.

So I rummaged around the web and found some Mormon blogs, posted my request for input, and a number of very nice individuals have taken time to respond (thank you!).

The most frequently recommended book has been How Wide the Divide?, a conversation between Craig Blomberg (evangelical) and Stephen Robinson (Mormon). I've dialed it up on Amazon an my copy is on the way.

Several respondants also made intriguing comments about why my task may prove challenging:
  • "Your question is actually a little difficult to answer, because Mormons don't do theology per se, let alone systematic theology."
  • "You’ll find, especially if you engage a variety of Mormons that nailing down a consistent theology is rather difficult. A lot of this has to do with history, but also the dynamics within the church."
  • "Theology among Mormons simply does not work at all the way it does among a lot of other Christian denominations."
  • "I personally (and all the Mormons I know) accept Jesus as the unique Son of God who died on the cross and atoned for our sins, and that we are saved by his grace, conditional upon our covenantal acceptance of Him."
Hmm...this sounds interesting! I am already beginning to see that 'Mormonism' is not the monlithic entity I presumed it to be - they have their camps and factions too (ranging from conservative to liberal). I was especially struck by this last comment, however: I suspect that apart from the 'and all the Mormons I know part,' most Christians would probably see this as a very "orthodox" statement.

SO...my curiousity is piqued and I'm looking forward to learning more! I'll be sure to keep you posted on the results of my reading, and I'll try to give our Mormon friends a chance to respond as well (just to make sure I'm not misreprenting things).

Stay tuned!

7 Comments:

At 12:12 PM, April 17, 2005, Anonymous Oreamnos said...

The changing nature of prophecy in the Mormon Camp is strongly, if not solely, responsible for the heterodox theology that you will most likey encounter.

Best bets are for you to go directly to an OFFICIAL Mormon website, run by THE Church of Latter Day Saints, and then to use that as a Rosetta Stone for the other information that will be coming in.

Interesting points of interpolation for the information might be:
1)Race/ Ethnic Background
2)Generational standing in the church
3)Geography
4)Economic standing
5)Religous experiance prior to participation in the church

Also, this could be beneficial to correlate to Evangelical heterodoxy throughout the United States.

Happy Hunting!

 
At 12:33 PM, April 17, 2005, Blogger Christian said...

Oreamnos: thanks for the comments! I appreciate your suggestions.

And about the name...'Oreamnos' = 'Mountain Goat'?

 
At 9:16 PM, April 17, 2005, Blogger Mark Traphagen said...

And you must be aware that when they say "unique Son of God" they do not mean a person of the Trinity as we do but rather a created being.

 
At 10:38 PM, April 17, 2005, Anonymous oreamnos said...

Oreamnus americana is the proper name of the Mountain Goat.

A good symbol of the Church (They can't stand being around each other and fight by stabbing with their horns into the rear flanks), of Christians (they retreat to the heights), and me (they appear as white as the wind driven snow, but are actually a dirty yellow if you get close to one).

You can Google the name and come up with all kinds of fitting allagories: like they are not really a goat at all, they just look like one.

Anyways, I DON'T LIKE ALLAGORY, and I am detracting from your original blog: Mormon Christology.

Dialogue is the way to go.

Invite a LDS Missionary over for dinner. That should tickle them pink:) I think they have a 1-800 number....

And Foolish Sage is RIGHT ON about the "unique" aspect of the Son of God. He is "unique in that he is the first of many sons of God, being that all believers are sons of God."

 
At 9:15 AM, April 18, 2005, Blogger Joey said...

I'm a former Mormon now Christian living in Salt Lake. I have a heart for Mormons and am always encouraged when other Christians seek to understand Mormons as they seek to be understood. I cringe whenever Christians go to anti-cult literature first. While sincere and mostly accurate, that kind of literature almost always paints the wrong picture.

I have, of course, rejected Mormonism's truth-claims, but there is so much more depth to Mormonism than many Christians are willing to admit.

I posted a similar question about Mormon reading material a few weeks ago on my blog. I received a number of good suggestions and wanted to pass them on. You can see my post here.

God bless you in your research.

 
At 4:57 PM, April 18, 2005, Anonymous Uncle Jake said...

Joey,
I couldn't agree with you more.
When I attended Moody Bible Institute, I took an Evangelism class. The professor related the story of how two Jehovah's Witnesses came knocking at his door one afternoon. He proceeded to invite them in for a "discussion."
The whole class sat on the edge of their seats as the professor proceeded to rip them apart like a lion among the sheep. We were all Gung-Ho about our professor nukeing them out of the water. They were left without a leg to stand on. And then our professor asked us:
"Pretty impressive, right?"
Everyone knods in aggreement.
"But how did this serve to further the kingdom?"
"I had two men in need of God's love inside of my house, and all I showed them was my pride".
"They left, not looking for God in humility, but humiliated and looking for more ammunition."
This was a long, long time ago, so don't take this as a NASB quote, but more of an TLB qoute:)
Needless to say, the gist of that lecture stayed with me, and I find it more applicable as I mature.
May the Angels rejoice in your salvation, and may You rejoice in His saving grace!

 
At 12:27 AM, April 23, 2005, Blogger Mabel Maybe said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 

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