What can traditional Christians learn from Latter-day Saints? This provocative question receives rigorous consideration in a book titled Mormon Christianity by Stephen H. Webb. Webb—a formerly evangelical, now Roman Catholic scholar—advances an ongoing dialogue between historic Christianity and Mormonism, which has been building momentum for several years. (Three other volumes involving scholars with a connection to evangelicalism that stand out in this regard are How Wide the Divide? A Mormon & an Evangelical in Conversation by Craig L. Blomberg and Stephen E. Robinson (1997), Claiming Christ: A Mormon-Evangelical Debate by Robert L. Millet and Gerald R. McDermott (2007), and Talking with Mormons: An Invitation to Evangelicals, by Richard J. Mouw (2012).)
According to Webb, the Mormon moment generated by Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign opened up the door to a longer-term interest in Mormonism, a phenomenon he refers to as “Mormon Ecumenism.” Webb hopes that fresh consideration of Mormonism will provide a helpful challenge to many Christian minds and imaginations.
The distinctive feature of Webb’s ecumenical effort is his emphasis on metaphysics (meaning “big ideas”). Webb’s thesis is that “Mormons have an original, fascinating, and provocative metaphysics.” What is so provocative—and appealing—about Mormon metaphysics? It is the notion of God’s eternal-material embodiment. As he writes near the outset of the volume, “Much of this book is nothing more than an attempt to take seriously the possibility that God has a form or shape that is something like what we call a body.” For Webb, this perspective bears on the whole range of Mormon thought and practice.
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SOURCE: Christianity Today
Paul Louis Metzger