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Mormon Christianity: What Other Christians Can Learn From the Latter-day Saints 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199316816
ISBN-10: 0199316813
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Much of this book reads like an extended love letter, not one from the lover to his beloved, but from the lover to his family explaining what he loves about her and responding to the family s objections...[Webb] is a readable writer, quite capable of explaining technical philosophical ideas in nonphilosophical terms...I strongly recommend Webb's book, not just to the non-Mormons at whom it is aimed but also to Mormons. Latter-day Saints will learn a great deal about Catholicism by reading it...Webb's book offers non-Mormons a love letter explaining why he loves Mormons and giving them reasons why they might also."--Mormon Studies Review


"Webb addresses readers unfamiliar with Mormonism as a fellow Christian, rather than in a more traditional, academic non-partisan tone that might be expected from a book bearing a university press's imprint... Webb's generous tone and easy to understand rhetoric ensure that Mormon Christianity will be accessible to both Mormons and Christians -- he represents some of the very best of the Robert Millett/Richard Mouw type of Mormon/Christian dialogue in printed word... All in all, Mormon Christianity is an excellent introduction to Mormon theology, and will be useful to teach undergraduates as well as lay Christians (and Mormons) about Mormon beliefs." --The Juvenile Instructor


"Whether or not one agrees with Mormonism's teachings and theology, those interested in learning its nuances and relationship to the larger Christian community likely will profit from Mr. Webb's work. It's a fascinating subject, and one Mr. Webb covers with a penetrating, thought-provoking approach." --Washington Times


"An excellent example of philosophical theology that will likely be appreciated by Mormons and non-Mormons alike for years to come."--BYU Studies Quarterly


"Ever since the Mormon Tabernacle Choir won the silver medal in the 1893 World's Fair, Mormons have been more renowned for their cultural than their theological contributions. In this intelligent, articulate, and highly readable volume, Stephen Webb begins to address that imbalance, bringing Mormonism into conversation with the wider Christian tradition in fresh and sometimes startling ways." - Terryl L. Givens, Co-author of The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life


"Mormon Christianity is truly a ground-breaking work. It's winsome, intelligent, and generous account of the Latter-day Saints and their faith sets a new standard in interreligious dialogue. Although one may find oneself on occasion disagreeing with the author-as I do on a few points-I cannot think of a more careful presentation of the LDS worldview and the sorts of challenges and promises it brings to both Mormons and Traditional Christians alike." - Francis J. Beckwith, Professor of Philosophy and Church-State Studies, and Resident Scholar in the Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University


"At once domestic and exotic, Mormon thought does not nest easily into any of the usual categories with which scholars describe Western metaphysics. This has attracted the intrepid and wide-ranging gaze of Stephen Webb, an evangelical convert to Roman Catholicism. Probing beneath crude superficialities, his analysis will provoke debate. Webb argues with imaginative brilliance that Mormonism's 'big ideas' recover, challenge, and expand-rather than exceed-the bounds of Christian orientations to reality. The Mormon metaphysic thus demands a rethinking of many aspects of Christian history and tradition." - Philip Barlow, Leonard J. Arrington Professor of Mormon History & Culture, Utah State University


"This is a sophisticated step in what can be a long-term conversation." --Library Journal


"Groundbreaking work...highly recommended essential reading." --Publishers Weekly


About the Author


Stephen H. Webb has taught philosophy and religion for twenty-five years. He is the author of eleven books on such varied topics as the musical philosophy of Bob Dylan, theological critiques of the theory of evolution, the importance of the doctrine of providence in American history, the role of religion in public education, and the history of vegetarianism. He has been published in First Things, Books & Culture and Touchstone.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199316813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199316816
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.9 x 5.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #309,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Christian scholar Stephen Webb in this book summarizes the origins and formation of LDS theology, particularly on the theology of matter.

To set the stage, Webb reviews first traditional Christian doctrine as influenced by the Greek philosophies of Plato and his "world of the forms," or the realm of abstract--and immaterial--ideas that constitute the highest realities. For us who haven't studied philosophy in depth, this is a good primer on the philosophy of matter and it's relation to classical theism. Plato essentially equated pure matter with nothingness, because it has no form. Only when matter is given form such as properties like size, weight, shape, color and so forth, does matter become something real to us. For these reasons, matter was not revered, but dismissed as nothingness. Only the forms are true reality. What do these philosophies have to do with traditional Christianity? To quote Webb, "[N]early all Christian theologians have accepted them as the proper way to think about matter." They heavily influenced the Catholic, and by extension, Protestant theologies about the nature of God, namely, that God is completely outside the realm of all matter.

Given this prevailing view at the time of the second great awakening, Webb demonstrates how radical Joseph Smith's theology really was. At a time when the dogma was that God is immaterial, Smith claimed as revelation from God, "There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter....We shall see that it is all matter."

This doctrine was later elaborated and organized by later church leaders, particularly Orson Pratt, who as an amateur philosopher, expounded the ideas of Smith. In sum, Webb explains that Mormons believe matter to be good and divine.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Stephen Webb's recent book about the benefits of dialogue between Mormons and other religions demonstrates a commitment to learn from insiders. He has obviously spent the time and effort necessary to come to grips with some fundamental philosophical issues and is able to contrast what Mormons believe with his own evangelical background as well as his current Catholic faith. He does this from a sympathetic but measured perspective, acknowledging some fundamental differences, but suggesting that Mormon theology has a unique and useful approach that needs to be explored. Webb convinced me that respectful and informed discussions between Mormons and other Christians, especially Catholics, could be beneficial to everyone willing to be involved.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Stephen Webb's Momon Christianity is one of the most informed, enlightenend and interesting books I have read on Mormonism. It surprises me hojw deeply Webb has probed the doctrines, teachings, and practices of the Mormon faith and how clearly he sees Joseph Smtih's unique and often profound Christianity--and how close it is to the original Christinity. Webb is an acute oserver of Mormonism and, what is rare of a non-Mormon scholar, praises what he can praise aboui Mormoism without, reservation, apology or the usual necessity to damn with faint praise. Webb has done what few outside scholars of Mormonism have done: he has taken the religion seriously, considered it within the broad Judeo-Christian tradition and discovered its radical beauty. In a way, one can say that Webb has restored the Restoration by showing what Christianity has lost and what it could gain by taking the Mormon prophet and his New World religion more seriously. This book will be required reading in my Momron Studies classes at Graduate Theological Union and the University of California, Berkeleu.

Robert A. Rees, Ph.D., Visiting Professor, Graduate Theological UInion and the University of California, Berkeleu
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought that this was an insightful work especially from a non-Mormon. I felt it gave the proper deference and respect to not just how Mormons fit into the family of Christianity but also how much of Mormon theology is similar to what many in the early church possibly believed. I also felt that this was a highly approachable work for both the lay person and the trained academic. My academic background is in the history and development of Christianity with an emphasis on Christian Gnosticism specifically the Albigensian Crusades. Webb is correct that the LDS Church more accurately aligns with other restorative sects rather than as a completely different faith. Having been raised Presbyterian, I too had those gnawing questions on predestination: the apparent arbitrary (and possibly capricious) nature of God selecting or rejecting those who are saved and, if this is so, the necessity of the Savior's atonement on the cross. It is why I and many of my Calvinist friends left for more rational religious choices. I have been recommending this work to all people of faith (Mormon and non) who want to get a better understanding of the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I think that any non-Mormon will find that as they get to know Mormons, they will understand that Christ is at the very center of their belief. Well done, Dr. Webb!
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Format: Hardcover
The writer grew up in an evangelical christian church, and converted to Roman Catholicism as an adult. In the book, he compares and contrasts the theology and metaphysics of various branches of Christianity (briefly, since it's only 203 pages in this edition including three appendices). The one sentence version of his conclusions is that the theology of Mormonism is what the early Christian church might have adopted had they not considered the Greek philosopher Plato an "honorary Christian" and adopted his dualistic split between matter and spirit. There's a lot of depth to this book for it's brevity; well thought out and engaging of my imagination. I didn't agree with everything he wrote, but overall I think it's very well written.
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