In the book “How Wide the Divide,” Craig Blomberg from a Denver seminary and Stephen Robinson, from BYU (both have PhD’s in religion) attempt to “bridge the gap” between Evangelicals and Mormons. The first step is to have a correct understanding of what the other believes. The following is an excerpt from their book:
Since very few Latter-day Saints and Evangelicals are theologically bilingual, the same misunderstandings tend to be compounded over and over, which is grist for the mills of prejudice on both sides…(How Wide the Divide, page 14)
In an attempt for both Evangelicals and LDS people to learn about each other’s beliefs, both Blomberg and Robinson share a modern-day translation of “Articles of Faith” for both religions. I will now share their thoughts. Feel free to share yours in your comments.
LDS Articles of Faith Translated for Christians of other Faiths
We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. We accept the biblical doctrine that God is three and that God is also one, but we reject the post-New Testament attempts to explain how these two truths are to be reconciled
We believe that humankind fell through the transgression of Adam and Eve and that humans in their present state are subject to sin, death and corruption. However, we believe that individuals are accountable for thier own sins, not for guilt inherited from Adam and Eve. We accept both divine justice and human accountability, but we do not believe in original sin.
We believe that through the atonement of Christ, fallen humanity may be saved by accepting and obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ. No one is predestined either to salvation or to damnation; anyone may be saved who responds appropriately to the good news of Christ.
We believe that we respond appropirately to Christ and we accept his gospel by having faith in and being faithful to Christ as Son of God and Savior, that is, by accepting him as Lord and Savior and making him Lord of and in our lives. We cannot merit salvation of ourselves, nor is it possible to “earn” the grace by which we are saved, but the obedience of faith, a godly walk and conversation, is a necessary component of faith in Christ. Jesus will save us from our sins but not with our sins. Beyond having faith in Christ, we must also repent of sin, consent to baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and receive the regenerating and sanctifying gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.
We believe that the Christianity of the first century, New Testament Christianity, is true Christianity. As such, it is the only standard by which to define Chrisitanity, as opposed to defining it by post-New Testament councils and creeds. We believe that the priesthood authority, church organization, spiritual gifts, sacraments (i.e. ordinances) and doctrines of the modern church must be as they were in the New Testament church. This obviously includes the presence of apostles and prophets who receive direct, continuing revelation for the church in the world.
We accept the Bible (the King James Version) as the inspired word of God–every book, every chapter, every verse of it–as revealed to the apostles and prophets who wrote it. We also hold the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price to be the word of God.
We believe in the divine conception, subsitutionary atonement, sacrificial death, bodily resurrection and present glory of Jesus Christ and that he will return to this earth in judgment and in his glory to cleanse it from all wickedness and to establish his personal millennial reign. Both the saved and the lost will be resurrected, the former at Christ’s coming or during his reign, the latter at the end of th millennium.
We believe that the church established by Christ in the New Testament was changed by later Chrisitan intellectuals who believed the simple New Testament proclamation to be inadequate. Feeling the language of Scripture to be unsophisticated, incomplete, vague, ambiguous or imprecise, the second, thrud and fourth-century church sougt to “improve” the New Testament gospel by the standards of Hellenistic philosophy, but compromised it instead.
We believe that the Lord in preparation for his imminent second coming has “restored” New Testament Chrisitanity in the latter days through the prophet Joseph Smith. Nevertheless, all honest Christians of whatever deonmination, not just LDS Christians, will be among the saved at the last day…(How Wide the Divide, pgs 16-17)
Evangelical “Article of Faith” or “Confession Statement”
- We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
- We believe that there is one God eternally existent in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
- We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and His personal return in power and glory.
- We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful man regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
- We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
- We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
- We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. (How Wide the Divide pgs 29-30)