So, you’ve read How Wide the Divide and you want more? Per your request, I’m listing just a few pertinent articles published in the wake of HWD as well at Blomberg’s excellent 11-year recap of How Wide the Divide. The authors below differ in backgrounds, perspectives and personalities.
I think it is important for those interested in the Mormon and Evangelical dialogue to keep abreast of the various ideas and concepts that have been discussed in order to effectively build upon the efforts of others and interact with the thoughts of others.
The better we are acquainted with the literature, the better informed our future discussions and dialogues will become.
Connelly, Matthew R., Craig L. Blomberg, Stephen E. Robinson and BYU Studies Staff. “Sizing Up the Divide: Reviews and Replies,” BYU Studies, 38/3 (1999):163-190. [HTML]
This is a great introduction to the reactions to HWD. Connelly provides a wide and ranging review of the many responses to HWD. Also, Blomberg and Robinson get a chance to respond to criticisms.
Eugene England, “The Good News—and the Bad,” review of How Wide the Divide? A Mormon and an Evangelical in Conversation, by Craig L. Blomberg and Stephen E. Robinson, BYU Studies 38/3 (1999): 191-201. [HTML]
England provides an example of a Mormon who is critical of interfaith dialogue and while he continually praises Blomberg and Robinson for their civil and responsible dialogue, England is also very suspicious of Evangelicals and their theology. In many ways, England doesn’t necessarily review HWD, but rather seeks to distinguish Mormonism from Evangelicalism in his own way.
Ostler provides an excellent and rigorous critique of Blomberg and Robinson. Ostler spends quite a bit of time on inerrancy and inspiration theory, and explains the problems in speaking of God exclusively in finite or absolute terms.
Mosser, Carl and Paul Owen, How Wide the Divide? A Mormon and an Evangelical in Conversation” [including Appendix: Hellenism, Greek Philosophy, and the Creedal “Straightjacket” of Christian Orthodoxy] FARMS Review of Books 11, no. 2 (1999): 103-177. [PDF] [HTML]
Mosser and Owen, authors of the Fall 1998 article in Trinity Journal in which they exhaustively reviewed a great deal of Mormon scholarship, are aptly qualified to review and critique HWD. They further defend the Evangelical position. They also provide an important appendix where they “hope the sentiment that all things Greek are ‘mad, bad, and dangerous to know’ will be abandoned by Latter-day Saints.”
Paulsen and Potter, both trained in philosophy, reply to Owen and Mosser. They future note the challenges with speaking of God in terms of finite and absolute terms.
Robert M. Sivulka “Similar yet Different,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 31, no. 3 (1998): 196-98. [SITE]
Sivulka (MA from Talbot School of Theology, BIOLA University; MA San Diego University) focuses mostly on inspiration theory and inerrancy, and provides a very needed balance to the literature.
Craig Blomberg. “How Wide the Divide? Eleven Years Later, Mormons and Evangelicals in Conversation.” Denver Seminary’s Women’s Forum, Feb 27, 2008. [AUDIO]
What happened after How Wide the Divide? This audio lecture is absolutely essentially for understanding the origins and history of the Mormon-Evangelical dialogue.
“Stephen Robinson and the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.” Summa Theological Interfaith Dialogue, blog, April 21, 2009. [LINK]
Does Robinson really accept the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy? Many commentators seem to think so. I argue here that the confusion while understandable can be resolved by a closer reading of Robinson and Blomberg.
Every now and then there is a claim or even a passing observation that Mormonism is changing. In many cases these claims are made without understanding the broader environment in which they are made, and not fully appreciating the implications of the statement. I hope to outline the cause of this perception and explain the different reactions to this perception both among Mormons and Evangelicals and the relationship between these reactions. Read more…
Gerald McDermott and Robert Millet’s book “Claiming Christ” has recently been published and as any one could predict, critiques from several Evangelical commentators has begun to appear in print and on the web. (See past posts relating to Gerald McDermott)
In this post I am not going to offer a review of the book, but rather, I would like to offer some brief observations of the larger dynamic of joint Evangelical & LDS publications. Ten years ago in the aftermath of How Wide the Divide a similar situation occurred. It is here where efforts at Dialogue come into contact with the wider Christian apologetic community. Generally speaking, Dialogue does not interpret the statements of others in order to defeat or vanquish the other person as an opponent, but rather, Dialogue seeks to better understand the other person. That understanding may eventually be applied to evangelistic purposes which I think is legitimate and, I might add, much more fruitful than the traditional apologetic methods of refutation. However, when dialogue results in a book co-authored by an Evangelical, like McDermott, naturally and in accordance with past precedent, the Christian apologetics community will want to see if the book maintains the traditional distinctions on Mormonism. They want to make sure that Mormonism is properly distinguished from traditional Christianity and that nothing has been conceded in the enterprise of dialogue. This tension is quite real and it will yet to be seen whether responses from the Evangelical community will be different in the wake of ’Claiming Christ’ than the responses received after How Wide the Divide was published. I recall Paul Owen’s observations of reactions to How Wide the Divide: Read more…
Some of the images that Christian apologists often remember are those of Christ speaking harshly against the Pharisees. Sometimes the simple conclusion is that, as a Christian, if I am to follow Christ, then it is completely justified for me to condemn those I believe are wrong, because Christ did the same thing. Where is the harm in that?
Recently, I have observed a re-examination of and reflection on the communication and discourse methods in the New Testament between Jesus and Paul and those of other faiths such as the Samaritans and the Athenians. This re-examination is particularly helpful given the skepticism and suspicion that some have regarding the appropriateness of interfaith dialogue. I would like to highlight three statements which I have come across in recent months. Read more…
I recently posted some thoughts on Francis Beckwith’s return to Rome. During his time as an Evangelical, Beckwith produced writings in the volume “the New Mormon Challenge.” Also writing in that volume as an Evangelical was Dr. Paul Owen, who converted to Anglicanism in 2006. Dr. Owen, who currently chairs the Bible and Religion Department at Montreat College, is perhaps best known to Mormons for the article ”Losing the Battle and Not Even Knowing It” co-authored with Carl Mosser.
Owen has engaged in open-dialogue with LDS scholars and writes in Our Witness to the Mormons:
…there is nothing to be lost in advocating an open-minded approach to dialogue with the Mormon people. We need to be exposed to the breadth of theological vision which is possible within Mormonism. We need to encourage influential Mormon thinkers like Robert Millet to take steps in the direction of sound biblical and ecumenical Christian orthodoxy. We need to praise any attempts they might make to move in the right direction.