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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Christian-like fair shake...
...for both authors to express the beliefs of their religions, to the best of their understanding. Finally! An Evangelical gets to state 'his side', and a Mormon gets to state 'his side'... about scripture, God, the Trinity, and salvation... without un-Christian-like rumors and rhetoric.
Both authors are peers who pracice their religions. Both know the doctrines...
Published on February 5, 2000

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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good conversation starter
_How Wide the Divide?_ is a groundbreaking attempt at getting beyond the heated rhetoric Evangelicals and Latter-day Saints often throw at each other to actually trying to understand one another. For this reason alone, it ought to be read widely by people from both traditions. It has already served as a useful point of reference to begin other conversations between...
Published on July 4, 2001 by Timothy A. Griffy


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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Christian-like fair shake..., February 5, 2000
By A Customer
...for both authors to express the beliefs of their religions, to the best of their understanding. Finally! An Evangelical gets to state 'his side', and a Mormon gets to state 'his side'... about scripture, God, the Trinity, and salvation... without un-Christian-like rumors and rhetoric.
Both authors are peers who pracice their religions. Both know the doctrines of their denominations. Both say they don't "officially" represent either side... but they try to convey the beliefs to the best of their understanding. From my personal experiences with both sides, both authors are pretty well on target. The Mormon side wasn't written by any of the top Mormon leaders. However, the Evangelical side wasn't written by any of the top Evangelical leaders, either-- and I think that was part of the point of the book.
I wouldn't like someone coming to me and saying, "You believe such-and-such", as if they can read my mind-- espcially if it wasn't true, and they really didn't know what they were talking about. How insulting! ~That is something this book tries to cut through.~ (For example, some thump on the Adam-God theory-- yet, Adam-God is not even in the official Mormon canon, and I have devout Mormon friends who don't embrace that theory.)
The book was a fair look at both sides, done in a Christian spirit of love and respect. It was well worth my time and money.
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65 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book changed my life, December 31, 2002
This book is essentially an exercise in intellectual honesty. Both authors (a) realize that there has been virtually zero healthy books written by Evangelicals and little more written by Mormons on the subject and (b) decide to do something about it. Less than a year before I read this book (subsequent to my having read The New Mormon Challenge, which had inspired me to read this) I remember making the comment, based on my only having read Evangelical Christian(?) critiques of Mormonism, "the term Mormon scholar is an oxymoron." Gosh, I felt [stupid]when I read these 2 books. I'm reading Craig Blomberg, who I have been familiar with for some time as an excellent New Testament scholar, actually losing some points to Stephen Robinson. Needless to say, I was shocked! Those guys weren't kidding in The New Mormon Challenge when they said there actually were good Mormon scholars winning the debate for Mormonism over evangelicalism (this was in a paper presented by Mosser and Owen entitled "losing the battle and not knowing it"). I by no means think we (evangelicals) have lost. I don't even think that Blomberg's points were totally defeated, but the book makes you sure of one thing - Nearly all Mormon-evangelical material in the past has been sub-par. This is the 1st step in making it a healthy relationship. I'll never forget how many times I've heard the phrase, "Mormon's just don't know what they believe." Stephen Robinson deals with this statement well. If nothing else, this book should bring some balance to the discussion, whether you're a Mormon who's never heard strong arguments from the Evangelical side, or an Evangelical who's never heard strong arguments from the Mormon side. It is my hope that this book will be the stepping stone to a plethora of scholarly and fair books on the subjects involved with Mormon-Evangelical relations.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, January 12, 1998
By A Customer
As a Christian looking into Mormonism, I found it interesting to finally read a book that took an honest look at what LDS believe. So many of the books out there are so biased and full of inaccuracies or misleading statements that they are close to worthless.
This book lets a knowledgeable Mormon state his religious views in his own words, comparing them with evangelical positions. An evangelical does the same thing, and the two authors' writings complement each other well. I thought that Robinson was at his strongest in his questioning of the evangelical views of the Trinity, and Blomberg was strongest in stating reasons he believes the Book of Mormono was written in the 19th century. (FWIW, I think they're both right about these.)
I sometimes wonder if the harsh critics of this book have really read it. It's as objective of a look at Mormonism and evangelicalism as you're going to find anywhere. I'd highly recommend it for anyone familiar with evangelical jargon who is studying Mormonism, and for Mormons who want to know what other Christians believe. I think both will be surprised.
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56 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great concept, great book, but it has its flaws., October 4, 2001
By 
Chris in Maine (Portland, ME United States) - See all my reviews
I was greatly interested in this book when I saw it, because I am interested both in the study of apologetics and Christian theology, as well as comparative religions. As far as my study of comparative religions goes, I prefer to let the adherents of those religions speak for themselves. So when I saw this book, which is authored by one Evangelical Christian and one Mormon, I was sold.
Though the authors are very direct and honest about how strongly they feel about their positions (as they should be), they are unbelievably charitable. There is a lot to be learned here, not just for those interested in learning the language the other groups speak and how they define some terms differently, but in learning the language we all should speak; that of love.
My only complaints come in some factual blunders committed by the authors. Some of them are pretty big too, and for the most part show an ignorance of history.
The first big one occurs on page 39 when Bloomberg is discussing how the canon of Scripture came about, he refers to the councils of Hippo and Carthage as "Ecumenical" councils. This is simply untrue. The councils were actually provincial or local councils, and certainly did not include all of the world's Catholic Bishops as do ecumenical councils. This may seem minor, but the distinction is actually massive in regards to the authority of the council's decisions.
The next red flag came about on page 57, where Robinson is discussing what it means for Scripture to be inspired. In the last full paragraph of the page, he states what are, in my firm opinion, ideas contrary to 2 Peter 1:20 (even though he quotes that verse in the next paragraph). My advice therefore is simply to refer to that passage carefully as you read this page.
Moving to page 61, Robinson claims that "Mormons do not believe that the fullness of the Gospel has been available to Orthodox Christians since the 2nd or 3rd century." My problem is that I have read many of the writings of the early fathers - and even those which are pre-Nicene in origin sound completely orthodox to me, a devout Catholic. If nothing in those "pre-apostasy" writings sound any different doctrinally than things written in the 4th, 5th, 13th, or even 19th or 20th centuries, just what did they get wrong, and where do purely Mormon ideas appear in those early writings? I think this a major problem that more Mormons need to address.
A valid point that Robinson makes on page 69 seems to be a valid challenge only to those who adhere to "sola Scriptura." He asks Bloomberg, "Give me some biblical criteria of canonicity that exclude LDS Scriptures, and you create a problem for me." His point, which Bloomberg actually concedes, is that Protestants have no Biblical criteria to declare a closed canon, at least in principle. This is another case where it seems that neither author ever considers that the Catholic Church might be the actual Orthodox Christian body. In any case, this question would have been painfully easy for a Catholic to answer, and literally impossible for a Protestant. The Canon is closed because the Church established by Christ acted upon the teaching authority given to it by Jesus Christ and infallibly declared it so.
From this point forth I found little objectionable in the book, and even applauded Bloomberg's implicit acceptance of the idea of the development of doctrine on page 126, regarding the Trinity.
Overall an excellent book, but like all things, this should simply be a starting point for more serious students of comparative theology.
I wish a book such as this existed between Evangelical Protestants and Catholics.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning about Christianity, March 5, 2000
By A Customer
I read this book because I was attracted to the family-oriented characteristics of the Mormons, but knew little of them, living in England. The Bushman's 'Mormons in America' gave a good teenage-level introduction,but as they are LDS I wanted to read a fair sceptic. The problem is that some of the other books (reading reviews on amazon.com) seem vitriolic by ex-Mormons. What a delight therefore to read 'How Wide the Divide?'. Both authors write very clearly and with mutual-respect. I had anticipated a running conversation, but was very pleased to find that they had used a subtle alternative (which is easier to read than to explain!). I now understand a lot about the Mormon beliefs. The thing that surprised me is that I now know a lot more about mainstream Christianity (and I thought I was a reasonably knowledgeable Christian).
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great dialogue, September 9, 2005
By 
MysteryMan (West Valley City, Utah United States) - See all my reviews
This truly a landmark book. Where a Mormon and Evangelical can speak clearly to each other and not being able to succor punch the other. They discuss four areas of belief: Scripture, God and deification, Christ and the Trinity, and Salvation. Both represent there version of what their beliefs on these items are very well. They then talk about what the differences and common grounds are. Both show a very great respect for the other. I certainly recommend this book to anyone wanting to know about some of the differences between Evangelicals and Mormons. This book has recieved some negative reviews. Some have attacked Stephen Robinson for not knowing his own faith. I want to mention that Robinson is a life time Mormon, has spent many more hours studying his churchs beliefs than those who think they know more then he does about Mormons. Some have attcked Craig Blomberg for not knowing how big the differneces between Mormons and Evangelicals and for allowing Robinson to give a sugar coated view of Mormonism. Trust me, Blomberg being a Evangelical scholar knows of all the little attacks Evangelicals have used against Mormons far better then those who say he does not. Blomberg was just very respectable and used commen sense in knowing that Robinson knows his Mormon beliefs better then he does. These two criticisms of the authors is done by extreme ignorance. I don't really have any criticisms of the book. I will say that I do believe the divide between Mormons and Evangelicals are not as wide as some think but that they are wider than the conclusion of this book. I would recommend also reading FARMS (Foundation of Ancient Research and Mormon Studies) Review of Books, Volume 11, Number 2, 1999. Which reviews this book. I know this a Mormon publication but the first review in it is done by Evangelicals Paul Owen and Carl Mosser. So you do get both sides of the coin in that Review. Also the reviews in this Farms Review of books does give more views and does give the book How Wide the Divide some more balance.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helps define Mormonism in Evangelical Terms, and vise versa., June 30, 1998
By A Customer
I am half way through my second reading of this amazing book (this time with a pencil). I was fascinated to learn how much confusion is caused by our common vocabularies with different definitions. This alone should help disipate many of the feelings of mistrust between Evangelicals and Mormons.
Robinson and Blomberg do not set out to prove their doctines true, or to prove the other's false. Instead, they present their doctine, explain why they believe it, then calmly describe their differences, misconceptions and reservations. They each demonstrate a genuine and commendable willingness to communicate and understand each other. I loved the way they ended each chapter with a section entitled "A More Positive Conclusion". I believe that Blomberg and Robinson both acheived that goal.
I am LDS and have often felt bewildered to hear my own beliefs described so incorrectly. I have also wondered why Evangelicals believe what they believe, especially about Mormons. Now that our terminologies have been "decoded", I hope to better understand what my Evangelical friends are REALLY trying to say. I sincerely hope this book can help them do the same for my faith.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Effort to Bridge Beliefs, March 23, 2000
By A Customer
After reading all of the other reviews I decided to put my two cents in. Whether or not the beliefs of either religion are correct, whether a person agrees with the beliefs of either religion, is not the point of this book--and I don't believe--should be considered when one picks up this book and reads it. I think what the authors intended to do was introduce and explain their beliefs in an open, objective, and non-hostile environment. As a reader, I came away quite refreshed. Many beliefs I have oftened lamented over were explained. I didn't feel that one side was represented better than another side. On the whole I would recommend this book to anyone seeking to better understand the Evangelical side or the Mormon side. What I hope happens is that people from both sides can come together to discuss their beliefs with a very Christian--Christ-like--attitude now that they have an example in the authors how this can be accomplished. One must remember that this is a fairly short book, so neither side can get into great detail, history and doctrine. However, as a brief overview and introduction this book is a keeper.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great dialogue, September 27, 2002
This truly a landmark book. Where a Mormon and Evangelical can speak clearly to each other and not being able to succor punch the other. They discuss four areas of belief: Scripture, God and deification, Christ and the Trinity, and Salvation. Both represent there version of what their beliefs on these items are very well. They then talk about what the differences and common grounds are. Both show a very great respect for the other. I certainly recommend this book to anyone wanting to know about some of the differences between Evangelicals and Mormons. This book has recieved some negative reviews. Some have attacked Stephen Robinson for not knowing his own faith. I want to mention that Robinson is a life time Mormon, has spent many more hours studying his churchs beliefs than those who think they know more then he does about Mormons. Some have attcked Craig Blomberg for not knowing how big the differneces between Mormons and Evangelicals and for allowing Robinson to give a sugar coated view of Mormonism. Trust me, Blomberg being a Evangelical scholar knows of all the little attacks Evangelicals have used against Mormons far better then those who say he does not. Blomberg was just very respectable and used commen sense in knowing that Robinson knows his Mormon beliefs better then he does. These two criticisms of the authors is done by extreme ignorance. I don't really have any criticisms of the book. I will say that I do believe the divide between Mormons and Evangelicals are not as wide as some think but that they are wider than the conclusion of this book. I would recommend also reading FARMS (Foundation of Ancient Research and Mormon Studies) Review of Books, Volume 11, Number 2, 1999. Which reviews this book. I know this a Mormon publication but the first review in it is done by Evangelicals Paul Owen and Carl Mosser. So you do get both sides of the coin in that Review. Also the reviews in this Farms Review of books does give more views and does give the book How Wide the Divide some more balance.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This books puts the fairy tales about both religions to rest, August 23, 1998
By 
Stephen Davis (California, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a very good source for Mormons and Evangelicals alike to rethink the prejudices they have about each other's religious beliefs which are largely based on incorrect information. I learned, from these two professed experts, that not all Evangelicals have the same prejudices against Latter-day Saints, and I learned why perhaps those few extreme fundamentalists do, from a simple language barrier.
What was also meaningful about this book, was that neither author compromised on their respective beliefs, but at the same time, were willing to admit where they had each had prejudices about the other's religion based on some incorrect "stories."
Even though this book was published by a Christian publisher, and Blomberg had equal time to state his and his religion's positions, I fear that it wont be read, or at least if it is, wont be taken seriously by a great number of extreme fundamentalist Evangelicals, because it throws the wrongful and erroneous story telling of many well known Evangelical "authorities" right in their faces, and I don't believe there are many of these particular forms of Christians who are ready to consider that perhaps what they have heard about Mormons from their local religious leaders, may be incorrect.
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