Blake Ostler on Interfaith Voices
Blake Ostler was interviewed by Interfaith Voices on May 31, 2007. Ostler’s interview comprises the first 27 minutes (listen to audio and mp3). The original topic is Mitt Romney’s candidacy. However, before this topic is discussed, Ostler is asked to explain the position of the Church on polygamy, homosexuality, abortion, and whether a Mormon politician would be required to hold political positions in conformity with Church doctrine, the view of the trinity in Mormon theology, and differences between Mormons and other Christian faiths such as Catholics and Protestants. Ostler is also asked to explain the Book of Mormon, explain baptism for the dead.
One of the more interesting parts of the interview is that Ostler offers the rejection of creation ex nihilo, or creation out of nothing, as the main difference between Mormonism and other faiths, with serious doctrinal implications.
Ostler is author of a multi-volume series entitled ‘Exploring Mormon Thought’ published by Kofford Books.
Richard Sherlock commenting on Ostler’s work offers this insight,
“These books are the most important works on Mormon theology ever written. There is nothing currently available that is even close to the rigor and sophistication of these volumes. B. H. Roberts and John A. Widtsoe may have had interesting insights in the early part of the twentieth century, but they had neither the temperament nor the training to give a rigorous defense of their views in dialogue with a wider stream of Christian theology. Sterling McMurrin and Truman Madsen had the capacity to engage Mormon theology at this level, but neither one did. They were both better at broad, sweeping generalizations and comparisons than they were at rigorous detailed analysis. Ostler’s work brings together the rigor of current work in philosophy of religion in the Anglo-American tradition, a rich knowledge of major Christian thinkers like St. Augustine (354–430), Thomas Aquinas (1225–74), and John Calvin (1509–64), as well as a deep commitment to Mormonism. Nothing of this depth and obvious faith has ever been attempted before.”