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Gospel Topics Chapter 1 Blomberg Part 5

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
April 15, 2021 9:37 pm

Gospel Topics Chapter 1 Blomberg Part 5

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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April 15, 2021 9:37 pm

This week Bill and Eric take a closer look at chapter 1 (“Are Mormons Christian?”) in a book titled The LDS Gospel Topics Series, a 2020 book published by Signature Books. Craig Blomberg, an evangelical New Testament professor from Denver Seminary, wrote this first chapter, and there were some issues we found that needed to … Continue reading Gospel Topics Chapter 1 Blomberg Part 5 →

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Viewpoint on Mormonism, the program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from a Biblical perspective. Viewpoint on 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 edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry, and with me today is Eric Johnson, my colleague at MRM. Today we wrap up our look at the first chapter of a book that came out in late 2020, a book titled the LDS Gospel Topics Series, a scholarly engagement. This critiques the various essays that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posted on their official website between the years 2013 and 2015. The first chapter was titled Our Mormons Christian, written by Dr. Craig Blomberg, who's a professor at Denver Seminary, and it responds to the essay by that title, Our Mormons Christian. Today, as we wrap up, I want to look at a comment that Dr. Blomberg makes on page 37, where he says, Our Mormons Christian, speaking of the essay, concludes with an appeal for Christians of all stripes to work together in the social and moral arenas to counter the unethical and anti-family malaise of our modern world. It asks others to judge the LDS by their overall fruits, and in parentheses, in the spirit of Matthew 7, 16 through 20, rather than by certain distinctive, possibly divisive doctrines.

Now, when I read that, Eric, I have to ask myself, can I in good conscience do that? Well, what did the Apostle Paul do? Did he decide that he was going to join hands with the Pharisees and the Sadducees and the people at the Temple of Diana, or was he going to tell them the truth?

Now, he always used good tactics in how he went about things, but a lot of people hated him for it. And why? Because divisive doctrines. And why not?

Because doctrine is what does separate Mormonism and Christianity, and if we don't have the same doctrine, then we need to be able to resolve our differences by discussing those differences instead of just pretending it doesn't exist. And that's what it seems like to me. Don't rock the boat, is what he's saying, and instead, let's just unite and let's work together on the social and moral arenas. And I'm going to say that's a dangerous thing, because this is the here and now. This is all temporal, though. I think the eternal is more important, and if we spend our entire lives living without telling other people about the truth of what the Bible teaches, then shame on us. Because there's going to come a day where they're going to have to face the judgment throne, and do you think that those folks are going to appreciate the fact that you kept from them the possibility of hearing the gospel that is delivered in the Bible? I think they're going to hold contempt for people who did not tell them the truth.

And it's kind of bothersome, because it's almost like, you know, move along, move along, nothing to see here. Let's not forget, folks, this is an organization that claims that your church, my church, Eric, your church, are in a state of apostasy. We're a part of the great apostasy. They really had nothing good to say about us, especially in the early years of the Mormon movement, and they have made truth claims that need to be challenged, and I think people need to know this. Well, this idea of working together in social and moral arenas obviously is a huge issue with Dr. Blomberg, because it comes up at the end of his chapter.

If you look at page 49, he starts off by saying, He goes on to say, In my experience that seldom actually happens, and even allowing for very rare instances in which it might, is it not worth the risk for the sake of the good that would be accomplished in the process? And do not those fears of confusing the two movements somehow imply that both LDS and Evangelicals would be mute in the process of whatever projects they jointly undertook, telling no one who the people were who were involved or why they were doing what they were doing, and what are the odds of that ever happening? Well, let me just first of all state that I really don't have a problem with Christians working with Mormons on certain projects. I've often said, though, there is a risk of being confused when talking to average Latter-day Saints if you're not really familiar with the movement and what officially the Church teaches. Now, when he says that seldom actually happens, I have to only point back to page 49, when Dr. Blomberg himself gives the impression that the LDS Church, or at least some within the LDS Church, are holding to views on the atonement and grace that seem to match what he believes. And I would argue that the people he points to saying that, either he misunderstood or they're people that have no authority to speak on behalf of the Church. So you might say, Dr. Blomberg is a poster boy of the concerns that I have as a Christian.

And we talked all week about this, Bill, the things that you're talking about. We have covered this entire week, and go to our website, slash Our Mormons Christian, with hyphens between those words, and I think we have documented why we disagree with what Craig Blomberg is saying. Well, when he says on page 49 that he thoroughly supports joint efforts to combat unhealthy moral and social trends, the plea with which the essay ends, and then he says, I find it unfortunate that evangelicals of my generation have largely resisted such cooperation, typically because they think it will confuse others into imagining that we are all alike. Now there's a footnote there. And I have to admit, this is kind of bothersome because that footnote is footnote number 67 on page 50.

What does footnote 67 say? Precisely the main arguments given to me repeatedly by counter cult ministry leaders, Sandra Tanner and Bill McKeever in private communication and oral conversation after the publication of Robinson and Blomberg, How Why the Divide. Now remember, the context was working with Mormons in social capacities. I can't recall ever having a conversation with Dr. Blomberg about that. I have never spoken to the man personally face to face. Now he says that these arguments have been given to him repeatedly by people such as Sandra Tanner and myself in private communication and oral conversations.

Repeatedly? I've never talked to the man. However, I have had a concern with some things that Dr. Blomberg has said, and one of them was back in California when I heard him speak, and he made the comment that people such as those that are involved in counter cult ministry, and there were several of them there listening to him at that time, probably would not be happy if the church was to turn towards a Christian consensus because they would be out of jobs.

Now, should I not find that to be a bit offensive? In 2012, I was watching a webinar that Dr. Blomberg was putting on from Denver Seminary, and what do you know? He basically said the same thing. So obviously, this is something that he's repeated more than once, I have to assume, because I heard it twice, and what are the odds of me just catching that haphazardly? I don't follow Dr. Blomberg around, but I find it troubling that he found it necessary to name me and Sandra, and I might mention, if I'm going to be thrown under the bus, what better person to be thrown under it with than Sandra Tanner, whom I have a lot of respect for her many years of service in the ministry of Christ reaching out to the LDS people. But when he says repeatedly in private communication and oral conversation, I have to be honest, Eric, I don't know what he's talking about. So I decided when I read this to write Dr. Blomberg, I have his email address, and so I express my concerns, the things that you're talking about right now, and I just want to read part of an email that he sent me back. This is December 16, 2020, and this is what he wrote me. He says, I am sorry you or anyone else found my comments condescending.

Even after rereading them, they don't appear that way to me, and they were certainly not intended as such. I am sorry also that your friends' memories are failing them on this point. Though I can empathize as I realize, even at a younger age than they, what I can no longer remember that others close to me assure me I did or said. Bill and I had numerous written exchanges after How Wide the Divide first came out, but I have long since deleted those. In fact, I once had a hard copy of filed letters I received from people in the late 1990s when we still wrote those, and I'm pretty sure Bill's first correspondence with me, his most irate one, was in that kind of a letter. Let me ask you, Bill, do you have any record of any letters that Dr. Blomberg has ever sent you? No, I don't, and I went back through all the letters that I have saved over the years, some going clear back to the 1990s. I don't recall having any correspondence like that, certainly not numerous correspondence.

I don't recall that at all. Now, we do have a review of How Wide the Divide, and I think we are very cordial in what is said in that article. In fact, most of our criticism in that review is against Dr. Robinson, not so much Dr. Blomberg. And for him to say that I was irate, I can't even imagine me responding that way to a person with the caliber of a Dr. Blomberg.

I just can't imagine me doing that. For him to say that there were numerous written exchanges, I'm just wondering, Bill, if he's conflating the review that we did. We did say perhaps some things he didn't appreciate in that review, and thinking that that was a written correspondence.

Let me be quite honest. I think it's a bit irresponsible of him if he does not have the evidence that shows what he's accusing us of. Why would you put our names in your book?

I just think it was poor form. And he does end that email with me, and he says, Well, Bill, you and I read footnotes. This is not an end note. This is on the same page as what he is writing in his chapter. Overall, does he answer the question, Eric? He never answers the question, Are Mormons Christian?

There's no real firm yes or no on that question. He seems to think that because he knows of some people within the LDS church that, according to his opinion, seem to be agreeing more along the evangelical lines that that's a good thing. Well, I would say it would be a good thing, too. But does that represent the church?

Let's be serious here. If he was to go up to, let's say, Jeffrey Holland, whom he mentions, and say, You know what, Mr. Holland? I am so glad in that speech you gave on the atonement, because it sounds like you're coming closer to apostate Christianity. Do you think Jeffrey Holland would agree with that assessment? Does Jeffrey Holland really think that a person can have the full benefits of the atonement if they never go to the temple, if they never get married in the temple, and they never pay their tithes? I wonder if Dr. Blomberg has ever thought to ask these gentlemen a question like that. As we look at another viewpoint on Mormonism.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-01 13:40:04 / 2023-12-01 13:45:08 / 5

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