Belief by essay faith mormon scholar thoughtful

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Edge and David L. One is wearing a black T-shirt thougntful a Day-Glo image of a bug-eyed, big-headed alien. Such intuitive writing has little value. There are situations in which beljef authors consider review by both peer and human rights committees necessary.

Coincidentally running into me the next day, he apologized for the lapse of his friend and fellow Evangelical from the politeness and even friendliness that had otherwise characterized the debate. Later, he encountered Mormonism again through the teaching of the late counter-cult writer Walter Martin, for whom he plainly has a lingering respect that I find myself utterly unable to share or even, really, to grasp.

I get a lot of help on this from the great Reformation theologian John Calvin. Calvin was no pacifist. He believed that leaders, including Christian leaders, sometimes had to resort to warfare in dealing with an obvious evil. But he also knew that this is a very dangerous area spiritually. So he said that when leaders are considering initiating a military attack, they ought first of all to engage in some serious reflection. He was aware of a sinful pattern that keeps getting stirred up in our hearts and that we have to be constantly on guard against: the tendency to put the best possible interpretation on our own motives and the worst possible interpretation on the motives of the people we want to attack.

But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? During the life of any heart this line keeps changing place; sometimes it is squeezed one way by exuberant evil and sometimes it shifts to allow enough space for good to flourish. The founders of [non-Christian] religions, like Mohammed, were simply considered imposters, enemies of God, and accomplices of the devil. But ever since those religions have become more precisely known, this interpretation has proved to be untenable; it clashed both with history and psychology.

In his comments on the subject, Bavinck refused to carry on in that vein. And even more important, he suggested that we can expect to find God-given truths in those teachings. Hodgson, who, in his magisterial three-volume work The Venture of Islam , argued that any religious movement that has earned the allegiance of large numbers of people over lengthy periods of time must contain soul-satisfying truths. Otherwise, it would not have survived, let alone flourished. Hodgson had Islam foremost in mind, of course, but the principle holds more broadly than that.

And surely, by this stage in our history 5 it should be obvious that Mormonism is no merely ephemeral faith briefly entertained by a few marginal and monochromatic cranks.

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Indeed, we glory in that fact. There are, he says, three big questions about Mormon thought with which he continues to struggle:. He has at least three reasons, he says, for hope or encouragement with regard to whether or not we Latter-day Saints are talking about the same Jesus as traditional, mainstream Christians.

Three Stories

Secondly, he says, the disagreements that he has with Latter-day Saints are often not altogether unlike those that he has with theologians who plainly fall within the traditional Christian mainstream. And they see these other writings as on a par with the Bible. Not entirely and clearly so, anyway. For that reason, I feel somewhat churlish and ungrateful to look this gift horse in the mouth. The real point is that books are not where the true [Page ] authority resides for Mormons.

Evangelical Christians often miss this basic point. The real authority for Latter-day Saints, he correctly observes, resides in the prophetic office. In this regard, as in certain others, Mormonism aligns better with Catholicism than it does with Evangelical Protestantism. Packer, of the Council of the Twelve, illustrates quite dramatically the claim of the Latter-day Saints on this issue:. In an area general conference was held in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Bearing Witness: My Journey Out of Mormonism - Quillette

Following the closing session, President Spencer W. He had visited there some years earlier and wanted all of us to see it, to go there. Along each side stand the statues of the Apostles, Peter at the front to the right and the other Apostles in order. Most of our group was near the rear of the chapel with the custodian. Pinegar and Johan Helge Benthin, president of the Copenhagen stake. President Kimball pointed to those keys and explained what they symbolized. The influence was spiritually powerful; the impression was physical in its impact.

We walked to the back of the chapel where the rest of the group was standing. Elder Packer is an Apostle. Elder Thomas S. Monson and Elder L. Tom Perry are Apostles, and I am an Apostle. We are the living Apostles.

Mormon Stories #370: Phil Barlow's Thoughtful Faith Part 1

Pinegar and Elder Robert D. I felt I had had an experience of a lifetime. In Mormonism, authoritative teaching comes from revelation to living prophets and apostles, not from books — though, obviously, books can eventually contain records of past revelation. But surely that was also true of earliest Christianity, as well.

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Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, and Paul had some kind of authority in the primitive Christian movement — whether it derived from priesthood office or closeness to Jesus or some combination of those two and perhaps of other factors — well before they wrote their gospels and epistles, which, in fact, derived their own original status among believers from the status of their purported authors. The Christian movement had existed for decades before the Bible came to be, even in part.

Christianity predates its scriptures. Noah, Abraham, Moses — none of these had anything like a Bible. God spoke directly to them. Similarly, in the New Testament and the early church, there was much reliance on oral tradition — the memories of what Jesus had taught and done, and later the memories of the teachings of the apostles.

Believing History

At this point, it might be appropriate to comment upon the term people of the Book itself. Apparently borrowed from Islam, it nonetheless refers specifically to the Jewish people and the Torah, or to the Jewish people and their wider canon including, for example, the Mishnah and the Talmud. Followers of other religions in the Abrahamic tradition e. But this should raise warning flags for a follower of Christ. Already in the New Testament, Jesus alludes to those who venerate dead prophets but decline to allow the possibility of living ones:. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!

And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:.

Questing and Questioning

That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. The Book of Mormon has become an icon that is revered more than understood, according to the contributors. Attempts to make the book relevant often gloss over context. Hutchinson, Ph. New Approaches to the Book of Mormon will modify, even transform previous theories regarding the nature of Mormon scripture.

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Painstaking research undergirds the ten essays included in this compilation. Contributors share with readers a wealth of fresh perspectives and offer an array of new directions for future Book of Mormon research. However, those with less partisan objectives should find them thought-provoking and absorbing whether their interests are academic or theological. As with any revisionist study, traditional assumptions are challenged, but many faith-affirming perspectives will endure. He has moderated panels on the Book of Mormon for the B. Roberts Society and Sunstone symposia and has published on related topics. Indeed, it must submit to every analysis and examination. It must submit to historical tests, to the tests of archaeological research and also to the higher criticism. All rights reserved. Signature Books is a registered trademark of Signature Books, Inc. Includes bibliographical references. And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good;… —2 NEPHI Interest in the Book of Mormon has already cultivated resourceful studies, and this trend promises to refine perceptions of Mormon scripture as history and theology.

Critical methodology incorporates textual criticism, historical criticism, redaction criticism, form criticism, structuralism and semiotics, narratology, economic- and gender-oriented readings, and the application of sociology, anthropology, and archaeology. Similarly New Approaches to the Book of [p. The application of literary- and historical-critical methods to the Book of Mormon allows for the possibility that it may be something other than literal history.

In fact, tolerance for nontraditional views of Mormon scripture and pluralistic expressions of faith are increasingly common. Leonard J.

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