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Claiming Christ: A Mormon-Evangelical Debate [Paperback]

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Item description for Claiming Christ: A Mormon-Evangelical Debate by Robert Millet...

Covers one of the most significant issues between evangelicals and Mormons A fair presentation of both sides - clarifying similarities and differences Offers an honest appraisal of the two views and establishes grounds for continued conversation

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Brazos Press
Pages   240
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.8" Width: 6" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 30, 2007
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
ISBN  1587432099  
ISBN13  9781587432095  

Availability  0 units.

More About Robert Millet

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Dr. Robert L.Millet has been on the Religion faculty at Brigham Young University since 1983 and is now a Professor of Religious Education, Outreach, and Interfaith Relations. He was Dean of Religious Education for ten years. He has published more than 50 books including Different Jesus? The Christ of the Latter-Day Saints and Grace Works.

Robert L. Millet has an academic affiliation as follows - Brigham Young University, USA.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Mormonism > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Apologetics

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > Apologetics

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Reviews - What do customers think about Claiming Christ: A Mormon-Evangelical Debate?

Better Dialogue Still Needed  Nov 21, 2008
The Apostle Paul warns us against "he that cometh [and] preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached," or offers "another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted" (2 Corinthians 11:4). Devious preachers may proclaim another Jesus, another spirit, or another gospel. With this in mind, how does one know which Jesus is the true Jesus? Do Mormons preach the true Jesus? Do evangelicals? Do Mormons and evangelicals believe in the same Jesus? These are the kinds of questions that Mormon scholar Robert Millet and evangelical scholar Gerald McDermott debate in Claiming Christ.

After providing background on their personal friendship, McDermott and Millet take turns interacting on various topics related to Christ. Starting with their sources of authority, the co-authors move on to a discussion of Christ before Bethlehem, the Trinity, Jesus' passion and atonement, the historical Jesus, the church and the sacraments, salvation in Christ, and the fate of the unevangelized. In each chapter, one writes the main article, the other follows with a response, and a final rebuttal concludes the section. This format allows the reader to grapple with both authors' views.

Unfortunately, McDermott's role as an evangelical contributor is compromised by his deficient view of the Bible. He denies biblical inerrancy, questions the sufficiency of Scripture, and rules out the principle of Sola Scriptura (i.e., that the Bible alone is our final authority in faith and practice). Thus, he says "'The real question, then, is not whether we will be influenced by tradition in our reading and interpreting, but which tradition?'" (20). Unfortunately, McDermott misses the point. Sola Scriptura does not mean that we can interpret Scripture apart from tradition; it means that the Bible is the Christian's ultimate standard of truth. We can (and must!) subject our traditions to what God has revealed in Scripture. The Word of God is the ultimate arbiter of truth.

Since McDermott denies these fundamental beliefs, he comes across as more interested in maintaining historic orthodoxy rather than in biblical faithfulness. A typical example would be his treatment of the gospel and the relationship between faith and works. Rather than expositing relevant biblical passages, McDermott gives the reader a comparative analysis of the views of Martin Luther and Jonathan Edwards. In the following chapter on the destiny of the unevangelized, McDermott does not try to answer this difficult issue with Scripture; instead, he summarizes the positions of Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, showing that Christians throughout history have been somewhat flexible. Often I was left asking: So what? How is one to know whether these Christians were right or wrong in their views? The Mormons, as it turns out, have an answer: An authoritative prophet tells us. McDermott never effectively counters the Mormon claim with the proper response--namely, that we have authoritative Scripture to enable us to discern truth from error. Orthodoxy is the result of biblical faithfulness. And while church history can assist us in understanding our faith, it must never be the basis upon which we establish our faith.

McDermott often fumbles when trying to point out similarities between Mormonism and historic Christianity. For example, he consistently maintains that Mormons believe Jesus is fully divine. He actually states: "Rejecting the Nicene definition of the Trinity but holding to the full deity of Jesus and salvific value of his cross and resurrection seems not as serious as denying the incarnation and the atonement" (221). But as I have written to him before:

". . . I do not know how you can maintain: 'On the LDS and Jesus, it is a fact that the Mormon view of Jesus is better than the Jehovah's Witness view, which is fully Arian. They do indeed believe Jesus is fully God.' While I have no problem insisting upon the defectiveness of the JW Jesus, the LDS Jesus is no less defective. The LDS do not believe that Jesus is fully God--if we are defining God consistently. The only way one could maintain that the Mormons believe that Jesus is fully God is by committing the fallacy of equivocation, for the God we refer to is nothing like the God of Mormon doctrine. The word 'God' is not some nebulous, abstract notion. God has revealed what divinity is to us.

"Essentially, the LDS church redefines 'God' when applying the term to Jesus. And in his case, it is no different from the Jehovah's Witnesses, because both refuse to accept Jesus as the eternal, immutable, omnipotent, omniscient God. Both offer distortions f the one, true Trinitarian God. As you have stated, the LDS Jesus is not the Jesus of classic orthodoxy. He is a false Jesus--an imaginary Jesus who cannot save."

McDermott's equivocations throughout this work all too often prevent one from properly understanding the distinct and opposite beliefs which separate Mormonism and evangelical Christianity.

A truly helpful debate between Robert Millet and an evangelical has yet to be published. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that Mormons and evangelicals can engage in far better dialogues than this book presents, and I hope that a far more productive work will come out soon.

John Divito, Director
Africa Center for Apologetics Research
light shining through  Jan 17, 2008
Mcdermott concedes that MC has been falsely persecuting the LDS for over a century. The three points he continues to dispute however are the nature of God, creation out of nothing, and modern authorized revelation.

First Mcdermott uses Old testament scripture to support the hellenized Nicence God. What he misunderstands about these scriptures is that nations surrounding Israel at the time worshiped various Gods but they were not the true God. Thus Moses, along with other prophets, would teach and warn there is but one God and no others beside him.

Mcdremott disregards numerous biblical verses that testify that God and Jesus are distinct beings with bodies. Jesus claimed that the father is greater the he, Stephen saw Christ on the right hand of God, God proclaiming that he is well pleased with his son, The great intercesssory pray, Jesus ascending to heaven in front of the disciples and the angels proclamation he will return in like manner, the significance of the resurrection, legion desiring bodies of swine to no body. etc. McDermott calls these plain and simple statments divine mysteries. But if such simple and plain language is a mystery, then what is to stop the whole bible from being viewed in this light. This reminds one of the broad way Christ warned of. That MC represents an anything goes as long as Christ is mentioned form of worship is easily dicernable. The danger is that MC worships a false God fashioned by Greek philosophers which keeps man in the dark. It refuses him lasting peace in this world and the obtaining of eternal life in the next.

Light (truth) is shining in darkness and the darkness rejects the light because its works are dark. These works are adhereing to false traditions, and the preaching for fame and fortune. It is the same obstacle Christ and his followers had to confront. Modern and ancient parallels are strikingly similar.

MC rejects the need for modern apostles and prophets (revelation) but the early church was built and maintained upon the rock of revelation. New apostles were ordained when a vacancy arose. If divine revelation ceases to flow through ordained individuals, Christ's church cannot exist. What amazes is that with the abundant evidence provided, MC continues to prefer darkness and keep souls from the light. The LDS church is a warning to MC and the world that it needs to repent and prepare for the return of Christ. The LDS church is going forth in the spirit and power of Elias. Elias has returned and restored these keys. Like Moses pleading with Israel to look upon the serpent and live, the LDS plead with the world to look and partake of the restoration and live.
Slowly, the truth is coming out -- and it's not good news for Evangelicals or Fundamentalists  Nov 7, 2007
Brazos Press in Grand Rapids, Michigan - which describes itself as "faithful to the wide and deep embrace of God, publishing out of and to all the major streams of the historic Christian tradition," has produced the latest entry in the respectful dialogue now taking place between some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ("Mormon") and its evangelical neighbors. On the evangelical side of this published back-and-forth is Dr. McDermott, a professor of religion and philosophy at Roanoke College and teaching pastor at St. John Lutheran Church.

While I did not consider this book nearly as engaging as "How Wide the Divide" - a book so terrifically engaging that it is banned from some Christian bookstores (i.e., the Mormon guy won big!) - "Claiming Christ" is a fascinating study in the notorious back-pedaling that always occurs when an honest evangelical comes face-to-face with a real Mormon and real Mormon doctrine. I have no doubt that Drs. Millett and McDermott are dear friends - and that their efforts in writing this book were hardly to create this kind of reaction in someone like me - but I have rarely seen such stark proof that evangelicals have been libeling Mormons in the most egregious ways for nearly two centuries now. They did it without shame, and they did it for money. A lot of them still do it, though a few of them - while unwilling to embrace the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ - are at least repenting somewhat for those past sins.

This book demonstrates that, again and again, in-the-pew Christians have been grossly misled by their leaders on the issues of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and LDS doctrine - and someday there is going to be an accounting. Until then, here are some highlights from the "tipping point" to come (all of the following quotes are concessions made by Dr. McDermott):

pp. 55-56, I'm afraid I am one of those who has misunderstood and misrepresented Mormons. ... I mistreated a distinguished Mormon historian when he came to speak to my class more than a decade ago. Besides treating him rudely, I did not understand how central Jesus Christ was to his faith and to the LDS Church generally. ... I suspected he wasn't telling me the whole truth when he insisted he was trusting in Jesus for his salvation, and I suggested as much to my class by my repeated counter-assertions and questions.
I have since learned that ... Jesus Christ is indeed at the center of Mormon faith. As I have learned from my own reading of the Book of Mormon, Jesus Christ is central to the story .... The Mormon view of Jesus Christ is different from that of evangelicals and other orthodox Christians, but the fact remains that Christ is central to LDS consciousness. I am struck by [one Mormon scholar's] calculation that Christ or his ministry is mentioned on the average of every 1.7 verses in the Book of Mormon.
... [V]erses [in the Book of Mormon] that would surprise evangelicals who have been led to believe that all Mormon doctrine is totally wrong on Jesus are 2 Nephi 11:4 and 7. These passages assert plainly that there is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ .... They also proclaim that Christ is God .... This and many other passages in the Book of Mormon prove clearly that the Mormon Jesus is not ... less than fully God[], despite the belief of many evangelicals and other Christians.

pp. 63-64, Evangelicals and Mormons agree on lots of things about Jesus. Many evangelicals are surprised to learn, for example, that Mormons believe not only that Jesus is the Son of God but also that he is God the Son. I find that many evangelicals have somewhere picked up the idea that Mormons deny the deity of Jesus Christ. They are often amazed to learn that, unlike Jehovah's Witnesses and other groups they typically classify as "cults," which do indeed deny the deity of Christ, Mormons declare emphatically that Jesus was and is incarnate God. ... I have to say that evangelical agreement with [Mormons] on Jesus is significant and, when compared to a history of evangelical denunciations of Mormonism, remarkable.

p. 102, This chapter by Professor Millet has been, I suspect, another surprise for many evangelical readers. They were amazed to see such emphasis on the suffering and death of Jesus as the events that save you and me. Some might find it hard to believe that the Book of Mormon teaches that "there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah" (2 Nephi 2:8).

pp. 163, 169, 171, In the "fog of theological war" we evangelicals often accuse Mormons of teaching salvation by works, even when they protest they don't and try to prove it with passages from the Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants. ... Many of us have wrongly accused Mormons of teaching salvation by works because they have put some strong emphasis on works. We have become convinced that Mormons do not understand or teach grace ....
One of the problems with this evangelical view of LDS teaching is that ... Jesus also teaches the necessity of works. ... So let's put some old staples of evangelical anti-Mormon apologetics to rest. Let's stop saying incessantly that Mormons teach unadulterated salvation by works and that they have no conception of grace.

pp. 177, 190-91, What I am about to say may cause all of my evangelical friends to desert me, or think I have lost it. But I think we evangelicals have something to learn from our Mormon friends on th[e] subject [of salvation] that is absolutely integral to faith. ... Perhaps we can learn from the Mormons that we have wrongly separated faith from works, that we have created a false dichotomy between justification and sanctification, and that while we are saved from being justified by the law, nevertheless, the law is still "holy, and just, and good" (Rom. 7:12). ... We evangelicals are often guilty as charged, failing to admit the possibility that we could be wrong in our estimation of what Mormons really believe. ... Evangelicals have most typically dismissed Mormonism as unchristian because it was thought to teach salvation by works. I hope this chapter will show the case to be significantly different.

pp. 218, 220, Early on in my evangelical life I was told that Mormonism is a cult with radically un-Christian beliefs. Chief among these, I was told, were the ideas that we are saved by our works and that Jesus is not God. Their focus, I thought, was on Joseph Smith rather than Jesus Christ.
Then, a number of years ago, ... I ... discovered that there was more emphasis on grace in the Book of Mormon and other parts of the LDS canon than I had imagined and that Mormons worship Jesus as God. I saw a concentration on Jesus that I had previously thought to be absent. ... [I]t is clear that the LDS Church is related to the family of Christian communities. It is quite different, obviously, from Judaism or Islam, which reject the gospel explicitly. Mormons reject the relativism of some postmodern religions and, unlike many other spin-offs from the orthodox tradition, robustly profess the full deity of Jesus Christ.

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