What happens when you engage in a non-confrontational dialogue with those of another faith? Well, for one thing it allows exchanges such as the following. Ergun Caner, President of Liberty Theological Seminary in Virginia, interviews and dialogues with LDS missionaries in front of a live audience (in 2006) as part of his “Engaging The Cults” podcast (1:06:36 total time).
The podcast description notes:
“Caner invited leaders of such groups of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Baha’I and other, to speak directly to evangelicals. Instead of lecturing about world religions, this series was designed to speak to them, and to engage various systems with the truth claims of the Gospel. This is an entirely unique approach, and one that has generated more interest than we expected. As a result, these debates are now available online for you.”
This really is a unique approach. One thing I appreciate about this interview is that two competent and seasoned LDS missionaries have been chosen for this event (i.e. they have been in the field over 20 months). Both missionaries are converts to the LDS Church, one a convert of four years.
In addition, I appreciate Caner’s ability to allow them to tell their conversion story, explain things in their terms as well as to seek clarification about their beliefs in a respectful manner. They discuss topics such as salvation, baptism, temples, worship services, marriage, priesthood, nature of God, trinity, etc. A question and answer segment with the audience takes place afterwards.
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. Read more…