15 November 2006

Christian-Mormon Dialogue, Part I

Steve's got an assignment for his Apologetics class to have an apologetic dialogue with someone from a differing faith. The dialogue has been pretty interesting thus far, so I'll post it as it progresses.

Christian: Thanks for your help with this dialogue. First, feel quite free to be critical. In this forum I expect it to be open and often. I know it is for learning/teaching, not insult (that will be my intent as well). Obviously we will have a multitude of areas where we disagree, so I'll try to narrow these down to fundamental areas where we can focus our efforts. For convenience, I'll use "Christian" and "Mormon" to refer to our different faiths (though I know at least some "Mormons" consider themselves "Christian").

In my perception, the fundamental difference between our faiths is our view of scripture or the bible. Generally, in my tradition, we consider the (protestant) bible to be the inerrant word of God. Though I know we no longer have inerrant copies/translations. My understanding is that Mormons do not believe in inerrancy of the bible in the same sense as many Christians. I believe all our other disagreements sprout from this point. Agree/disagree? Do you see another area as a more fundamental disagreement?

If Mormons would accept the bible as a reliable and therefore authoritative source, I think it would eliminate our other fundamental (but I think secondary) areas of disagreement. Among these I think the person and work of Jesus is the most prominent but also the nature/charater of God, the Trinity, the process/road/requirements for gaining salvation, and the validity of the Mormon testimonty (i.e. The Book of Mormon, etc.). Do you agree or do you find other areas of disagreement more prominent/important?

Feel free to make your own suggestions or ask your own questions.

Mormon: First off, all Mormons consider themselves Christians. My definition of a Christian is someone who considers Jesus Christ to be the Savior of the World. I'm not sure what your definition is, but whatever it is, I'm sure Mormon beliefs still constitute as Christianity.

Mormons agree with Protestants in that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, so long as it is translated correctly. We don't believe that there is an absolutely correct translation of the Bible available today. Nevertheless, we still use it and it is considered 2 of the canonized books of scripture we use.

I don't agree that all differences in beliefs stem from our views on the Bible. First off, I think we both have the same view of the Bible. You said "I know we no longer have inerrant copies/translations." Obviously, protestants feel their version is the most accurate, and Mormons feel our version is the most accurate. However, if we all used the same translation that wouldn't bring us to the same beliefs. I say this because there are many different faiths that use the exact same version of the Bible, yet their interpretation of the same verses are completely different which leads to different doctrines and beliefs. The same thing has happened to the Mormon church. There have been numerous branches off of the Mormon church which use the exact same scriptures we use. Yet, their beliefs differ in various areas. Why? They interpret certain scriptures differently.

The solution to this problem is what I believe to be one of the core differences between Mormonism and Protestants (in my opinion). That would be modern day revelation. The LDS church is guided by modern day revelation that is given through a prophet and 12 apostles. This modern day revelation eliminates confusion as to what a particular scripture or point of doctrine means in any of our canonized books, including the B of M. Christ's church (when he was on the earth) was also founded on continuing revelation. He communicated to the apostles key points of his gospel. They in turn taught the rest of us. After he left the earth, they continued to receive revelation for the church community of saints (saints meaning followers of Christ).

As the apostles were killed and/or died, and the local leaders of the Christian churches began to deviate from the pure gospel, the priesthood (authority to act in the name of God) and revelation (for the Church of Christ as a whole through the apostles) were no longer on the earth, and the church Christ established fell into apostasy.

Modern day revelation not only helps us understand older scriptures, but gives us guidance for the circumstances in the world today. There are some other key differences, but I'll end here and see where we go.



Blogger LDS Patriot said...

Cool post. As an FYI, my blog has many links to LDS sites: http://ldspatriot.wordpress.com/

27 November, 2006 00:10  

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