Is Mormonism Christian? A Baptist Theologian Analyzes Stephen E. Robinson’s Arguments for Accepting Mormonism as Christian -- By: Robert B. Stewart

Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 01:1 (Spring 2003)
Article: Is Mormonism Christian? A Baptist Theologian Analyzes Stephen E. Robinson’s Arguments for Accepting Mormonism as Christian
Author: Robert B. Stewart


Is Mormonism Christian? A Baptist Theologian Analyzes Stephen E. Robinson’s Arguments for Accepting Mormonism as Christian1

Robert B. Stewart

Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Theology
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
3939 Gentilly Blvd.
New Orleans, LA 70126

In 1991, Latter-day Saint scholar Stephen E. Robinson authored a book entitled Are Mormons Christians?2 Robinson answers that the Mormons are indeed Christian. He supports this contention by listing six bases upon which Mormons are often considered to be non-Christians and seeks to show how none of them affords a sufficient reason not to recognize Mormons as Christians.3 In 1997 Robinson co-authored How Wide the Divide?: A Mormon and an Evangelical in Conversation, with Denver Seminary professor, Craig L. Blomberg.4 In How

Wide the Divide? four issues are addressed by both authors: (1) Scripture; (2) God and Deification; (3) Christ and Trinity; and (4) Salvation. Each author writes a section on each topic summarizing his respective position and then discusses his misgivings with the doctrinal positions of the group the other represents.5 At the end of each section, there is a joint conclusion stating areas of agreement and disagreement. The authors wrote separate introductions but the final conclusion was a joint effort. So far as this writer knows, How Wide the Divide? is the first effort of its kind involving a Mormon and an evangelical scholar.

Despite the differences in style between the two books, certain arguments overlap and are present in each. Robinson’s basic contention throughout both books is that Mormonism is Christian. This paper will seek to delineate some of the problems with Robinson’s arguments.

Robinson’s arguments can be divided into two categories: (1) formal arguments; and (2) material arguments. These will be evaluated in order.

Formal Arguments

There are two formal moves that Robinson makes in each book: (1) he seeks to distance “official Mormonism” from the “non-official” statements of past Mormon leaders; and (2) he seeks to represent the creeds of the church as pagan philosophical impositions upon biblical

Christianity that function as extra-biblic...

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