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Talking with Mormons: An Invitation to Evangelicals Paperback – April 30, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Richard N. Ostling
— Coauthor of Mormon America, former religion writer with Time magazine and the Associated Press
"In this book the esteemed president of Fuller Seminary appeals to fellow evangelicals to observe civility and fairness in dialogue with Latter-day Saints. Given that the Mormon church has had relatively little formal contact with traditional Christianity for a century and a half, this is an important statement — and one that doubtless will provoke controversy."

Robert L. Millet
— Brigham Young University
"Richard Mouw's persistence in conducting an interfaith dialogue with Mormons — in the face of bitter criticism from those of his own tradition — speaks volumes about his character and integrity. . . . While as a Latter-day Saint I obviously disagree with some of Mouw's conclusions, I am moved to the core by his generosity of soul and his eagerness not only to engage theological differences but also to celebrate points on which there is welcome agreement."

David Neff
— Editor in chief, Christianity Today
"Mouw represents a rare blend of doctrinal certainty and generosity of spirit. In this book &mdash and over many years of dialogue with leading Mormons — he has put this winning combination into practice."

Richard Bushman
— Columbia University
"Can Mormons and Calvinist evangelicals talk to each other without compromising their beliefs or minimizing their differences? Richard Mouw knows the pitfalls but shows it can be done. The engaging story of his decade-long conversation with Mormons is a model for interfaith dialogue in the twenty-first century and an exemplification of Christian love, intelligence, and good humor."

Craig L. Blomberg
— Denver Seminary
"I have had the privilege of partnering with Rich Mouw in the Evangelical-Mormon dialogues he describes in this little book. It always amazes me how some who have not been a part of these conversations can confidently pronounce on what really happened at them and even on the motives of the participants. Rich sets the story straight here. . . . A must-read for anyone interested in Latter-day Saints!"

BYU Studies Quarterly 
“Mouw does a great job providing a workable structure for Mormons and Evangelicals to begin speaking to each other.”
 
Calvin Spark 
“Advocating humility, patience and a willingness to admit our own shortcomings, Richard Mouw shows why it is necessary to engage in dialogue that allows both parties to express differences and explore common ground.”

About the Author

Richard J. Mouw is president and professor of Christian philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. His many other books include Uncommon Decency, Praying at Burger King, and Abraham Kuyper: A Short and Personal
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 107 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans (April 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802868584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802868589
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,060,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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I'm Helen's husband, Cal.
If you're not religious, in other words, if you're open to the Spirit of God, and if you want to expand your mind into new horizons of God's wisdom, get this book. Richard Mouw is not a liberal. I see no sign that he is compromising his biblical standards. But God is beginning to show him that the Mormon Church isn't exactly what most evangelicals have been led to believe it is. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has many flaws but. . . . (See the book for more.)
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An evangelical friend wanted me to read this book as a starting point for a good discussion between us (I am a Mormon). I found the book to be enlightening and fairly accurate, which is so unusual when evangelicals write about Mormon doctrine. I'm so glad Mouw has found common ground to bring about a dialog between two branches of Christianity.
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This book is the product of Mouw's ongoing efforts to educate the evangelical community about his ongoing work with Mormonism. Mouw believes the atmosphere of Mormon/Evangelical interaction has too often been toxic and infused with polemical pollutants. The Amazon reviews and resulting comments provide plenty of evidence that strong feelings prevail and the air is murky. Mouw hopes to clear the air by example.

The book is largely conversational; Mouw says deep theological engagements aren't the focus of this volume. Instead, he describes his interactions with several prominent Mormons-from BYU professors to an apostle-and exhibits some of the fruits of these discussions. The bulk of the book tackles three questions evangelicals frequently raise about Mormon perspectives: Whether they believe in the "same Jesus," what they believe about the authority of the Bible, and what is the role of Joseph Smith as a claimed prophet. He argues that these examples suggest that the divide between Mormons and evangelicals may not be as wide as they think. Perhaps the book's most repeated plea is for evangelicals to cease entering the conversation believing they already understand what Mormons believe.

Even though the book is framed as an invitation to evangelicals, Mouw makes his motivation clear by affirming his desire to change Mormonism to align more closely with his own Calvinist perspective. It's evident he does not see a need for evangelicals like himself to adjust their own theological perspectives in exchange. The main "invitation" here is for evangelicals to first seek to understand Mormonism more fully, and second, to help shift Mormon views closer to those of evangelical Calvinists.

How can they accommodate this shift?
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I've never read this book as I'm sure most of the one star reviewers have. However I plan to. I deeply am grateful that this evangelical pastor has the heart to speak truly about my church. I'm a recent convert into the lds church from athiest. I detested and literally hated Christians and Christianity until I found the lds church. My church is the only church that truly lives by the word of christ. Unlike protestant evangelicals who spread nothing but hate judgment and selfishness around the world. I've never met people more hateful and in denial then protestants whom can't even have the decency to call catholics Christans. Maybe if they did a little research and weren't so hateful and ignorant they would see there sects broke off from cathlosicm. I'm so proud and happy to know I'm a child of God that I found god and a family in the most beautiful faith in the world. I am sick and tired of the hatred and bigotry protestants preach not only about lds but everything. Grow up truly follow Christ. I pray you people one day will know the truth
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I read "Talking with Mormons" cover to cover in less than 2.5 hours. There are few conclusions drawn about the nature of this faith compared to Christianity - in several instances where Mr. Mouw is 'hopeful' about the Mormon church. Little historical information is provided in this slim volume to reinforce any justification for that hope. This same publisher, Eerdman's printed a smaller book in the 1950's titled "Mormonism Under the Searchlight" which gave a substantial understanding of the origin of Mormonism/Joseph Smith/the Salt Lake City move/changes in revelation/contradictory statements in their own doctrine/true belief system, etc. However, I believe Mr. Mouw is free to speak about Christianity with anyone he chooses, hopefully without rebuttal from others who are disciples of his faith.
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On page 38 of theologian Richard J. Mouw's new book, "Talking with Mormons: An Invitation to Evangelicals" (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.), the author recounts a telephone call from an LDS man who, 10 years after his baptism, was questioning whether he was a Christian.

Mouw asked the following questions , quoted from the book:

How many Gods are there, I asked.

Well, there is one Godhead, made up from three divine Persons -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit, he responded.

Will you ever become a god like them?

Oh no. I hope I'm becoming more Christ-like, but only the three Persons of Godhood are worthy of worship. More like God -- yes. To be a God -- no way!

What is the basis for your salvation? Do you earn it by your good works?

No, my good works can't save me. I'm saved by grace, through the atoning work of Christ on the Cross. My good works -- those I perform in gratitude to what He has done for me.

Mouw assured the caller he was a Christian, and he also told the man to remain a Mormon, so long as he can give those answers without reproach to his LDS leaders. That anecdote, delivered in this slim, valuable volume, shows the wisdom of the author. There is nothing untruthful in what that man told Mouw.

There are Latter-day Saints who would chastise the man for choosing to become more like God rather than deciding to be like God. And there are evangelicals who will jump all over the man's statement that the Godhood is comprised of three divine persons. Mouw offers the rational response -- why diminish that man's beautiful testimony of Christ's atonement?

Mouw, who has angered some evangelicals, is not an apologist for Mormon doctrines that he disagrees with.
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