Millet and McDermott on “The Mormon Jesus”
I recently became aware of and finished listening to one hour public conversation titled “The Mormon Jesus” given at Roanoke College, Salem, Virginia on September 20, 2005 (mp3 audio here). The lecture was moderated by Dr. Paul Hinlicky. I personally like to hear audio conversations of this nature and enjoyed the interchange between Robert L. Millet and Gerald R. McDermott.
I found McDermott extremely well spoken and I felt he gave a rather accurate view of what he finds to be uniquely Mormon doctrine. It is very fortunate that this public lecture was recorded because the difficulties of discussing one’s beliefs really comes through. Again, I was struck with the fact that, even two Ph.Ds can have a difficult time coming to terms and understanding each other’s theological positions. However, this interchange clearly began with the fact that Millet and McDermott genuinely like each other and consider each other friends. This interchange is a good model of the kind of discussion which needs to take place with greater frequency.
Topics discussed include the incommunicable and communicable attributes of God, the canon (open or closed), the eternality of matter, the fall and original sin, the atonement, the Mormon view of grace, the trinity, and natural law.
I do want to mention a statement that Millet makes in the question and answer segment. Millet explains,
“I am trying to be true to my tradition on the one hand, and trying to be open to the fact that… Would I like people to understand that my faith is totally in Christ? Absolutely! Would I therefore, in order to accomplish that, would I relinquish something that I really hold to? No, I wouldn’t go that far… We are trying to take what the focus of the present church is today, and trying, without leaving behind the beginners of the faith…and yet, what we’ll have to insist on, is that people need to see Mormonism as what it is today, and not as it was necessarily as it was in 1830 or 1840.” (1:22:20-1:24:27)