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April 11, 2021 9:27 pm
One member is examining the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint when Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect.
And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism.
So glad you could be with us for this additional viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM.
The LDS gospel topics series a scholarly engagement is a book that came out in 2020, and it deals. Of course, with the subject of the gospel topics essays that were produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Beginning in 2013 and reposted incrementally up to the year 2015 there were 13 different essays and they dealt with. I guess you could say Eric some of the more controversial subjects pertaining to Mormonism. They tackled subjects such as polygamy, they tackled subjects such as race and the priesthood, and as we have said we look at the gospel topics essays is really being a gift when it comes to evangelism among the people of the LDS church because now we have the church itself admitting to a lot of things that for us as a ministry we been saying for decades. But it's nice to have the church finally admitted and because they were admitting a lot of these controversial things. It caused a lot of members of the LDS church to question their beliefs that we know of several who have left the church because of what the essays had to say. The first essay that is covered in the book deals with a question that you would think would be first and foremost, and that is are Mormons Christian. Of course, when you talk to a latter-day St. they will be quick to tell you that they in fact are Christian talk to X Mormons who tell me that when they were younger and in the LDS church. They would usually say they were Christians that I've talked about that many times on this show. I think the reason why they would make that distinction is they would not want you to assume that their version of Christianity really had much to do with their Christianity will in this chapter, written by Dr. Craig Blomberg, and we should mention that Craig Blomberg is a professor at Denver seminary.
He was engaged in dialogue with Latter Day Saints for a number of years. He even mentions that on page 34 of the book. I have to say Eric in reading this chapter way. Dr. Blumberg writes sometimes, at least for me was very confusing. How was it for you. I agree with you completely. Dr. Blomberg is a scholar. There's no doubt he's the New Testament scholar. He's the only representative in the evangelical Christian community who has contributed a chapter to the 13 chapters in this book, LDS gospel topics series.
I just want to say up front and ran talk about this chapter are weak. It was confusing at times and it was. I have to admit disappointing. Some of the things that he said will let's go back to the beginning of his article because he does talk about what he thinks are some disappointing aspects when it comes to the critique of the doctrines and history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
He mentions on page 28 the coming forth of the film the God makers. He calls it a scaremongering sensationalizing and at times simply in accurate portrayal of the Mormon faith. My assessment of the film. There were certainly some things that I wish would've been said that her, but for the most part it was pretty accurate and a lot of it contained testimonies of people who were in the LDS church and had come out of the LDS church, but then he goes on to criticize Dr. Walter Martin, you can get the impression very quickly that Dr. Blomberg is probably not a real fan of Walter Martin. Even though Walter Martin was a huge influence when it came to the subject of the cults.
You have to understand with people like Blomberg and others like Richard now they don't like the phrase counter cult. They always use it as a pejorative and what he does concerning Dr. Walter Martin. This is where we get right into the confusion because I've read some of these paragraphs over and over and over again, wondering in my misunderstanding something here.
Is he being complementary or is he being pejorative, well let's read what he has to say. He says in the 1980s. This was the era of Walter Martin's books, some of which were published earlier were reaching their zenith in popularity and impact on not nearly as scaremongering or sensationalizing though his life talks could be.
There were still places where his information was inaccurate. At least he did not nor did other counter cult writings and ministries in the last quarter of the 20th century tended to distinguish much between what was official LDS doctrine found in the church is Canon I standard works and what was unofficial Mormon folklore or what was semi-official teaching of respected LDS authorities, but not part of Mormon scripture. This is why I'm kinda confused as to what he's trying to get across here when he says, at least he did not know that sounds almost complementary. But then he goes on to say, to distinguish much between what was official LDS doctrine and what was unofficial folklore of semi official teachings of respected LDS authorities.
Is he saying that Dr. Martin was very clear in distinguishing the difference between these or is he saying he clouded the issue because one of the common arguments that I have heard people say when it comes to work, such as martins or even our own as they will say things like, will you present information as if this is all official. I will be just respond to that charge, no we don't. We certainly don't do that. In fact, I have a presentation that I've given at numerous churches dealing with what is official doctrine and how to recognize what we can use as a good source for LDS teaching as opposed to subjects or resources that might not be as good as others so I'm not really sure what he saying here. I guess what I'm saying is I'm probably going to have to assume that this is not meant to be flattering when he says much between what was official LDS doctrine. And then he mentions the standard works. The four written Canon I standard works. I'm confused on that, because later in the book he seems to give a lot of credence to some of the scholars and apostles are spoken. A general conference and taking their words and it almost seems like sometimes he's taking what they've said and restating it in a way that makes it sound like it's more Christian than what it really is and I think that's a problem because he doesn't follow what he saying here because he goes beyond just what the standard works as on the next page on page 29 he says, but once anyone could set up a website, a blog or respond to others who publish legitimate or illegitimate reports.
The quality control over what many people believe to be true plummeted every year saw the amount of information added to the World Wide Web increase but every year saw the amount of misinformation skyrocket as well. Not, I don't think I would disagree with that. Naturally, when you start putting millions and millions of people in a public forum such as the Internet, you can expect that there's probably going to be information that isn't accurate. I don't know if that really takes away from the many that are posting that are being accurate and as we talked about last week built these gospel topics. Essays probably would have never been created had it not been for the Internet because the information the church was not officially teaching its people was out there, and so the church had to respond so I think the gospel topics essays which is ironic because that's what this book is covering the different LDS gospel topics essays that were written between 2013 and 2015 going down that same page. Page 29. Dr. Blomberg writes little wonder then that the LDS church authorities preface their online presentation of gospel topics with the following explanation quoting recognizing that today so much information about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can be obtained from questionable and often inaccurate sources. Officials of the church began in 2013 to publish straightforward in-depth essays on a number of topics normal sounds like it's poisoning the well with that statement, doesn't it, because obviously everything is negative about us can't be true, it has to be inaccurate, let's move on page 35 of the book Dr. Blomberg says the LDS gospel topics SAR Mormons Christian begins by affirming the majority of what the typical believer faithful to the historical roots of Christianity holds dear Mormons we are told quote worship God the eternal father in the name of Jesus Christ."
Now he does say Mormons we are told worship God the eternal father in the name of Jesus Christ. Now taking that by itself, though, we would ask what do they mean when they say they worship God the eternal father in the name of Jesus Christ. Now in the chapter. Dr. Blomberg is going to delve a little bit deeper but again sometimes he says some things and in this particular case, you might wonder will is he saying that when the LDS articles of faith states that they worship God the eternal father in the name of Jesus Christ, that that's really what we hold dear. Because the way they define those words. I would not hold dear. Those definitions so right there. I'm having a problem in and I think a lot of Bible believing Christians who understand how important it is to define your terms I would assume they would probably question that statement as well because let's be serious. Mormons really do not worship God the eternal father because Elohim, the God of Mormonism was once a man, there's no way he could have been God the eternal father if he was a human at one time. So definitely we would have a problem there, but on page 36 there's a lot of information here that I think we need to look at on the top of page 36.
Blomberg points out, the three major differences between Mormons and evangelical Christians. And so here are the three points that he makes number one Mormons do not accept the creeds and confessions of post-New Testament Christianity number two they referring to the Mormons do not descend from any one of the three lines of historical Christianity, Eastern orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism or Protestantism and finally number three Scripture for the LDS includes not just the Bible but the book of Mormon, the doctrine and covenants and the Pearl of great price, but he points out on page 37 that there are some things that are missing from this list of things that are important between Mormons and Christians, such as salvation by grace through faith talking about the Jesus of Mormonism, the Trinity being different. The Mormon restoration as far as the great apostasy and also the LDS expanding Canon and lack of importance of the Bible and LDS thought completely mess and those are good points that he made yeah I would say that those probably should've been included in this essay, and Dr. Blomberg is basically hinting that if they were to ever revise this essay that they would include some of those points, but what might shock you is sometimes Dr. Blomberg gives us the impression that he thinks that when they delve into these topics. The case for the LDS church being Christian becomes better and I don't know if we would agree with that.
Thank you for listening you would like more information when guarding this research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website www.mrm.org you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint is looking for and attend Mormonism from a Christian perspective for you have questions about the history or doctrines of the LDS church, Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson are once again volunteering at the Utah lighthouse bookstore and would be glad to speak to you on Saturdays from 1 to 5 PM Utah lighthouse bookstore is located right there at 1358 SW. Temple St. in Salt Lake City. Be sure to come by any Saturday from 1 to 5 PM and say hi to Bill for Eric