Is Mormonism Christian? An Evangelical Critique Of LDS Scholar Stephen E. Robinson’s Arguments For Recognizing Mormonism As Christian -- By: Robert B. Stewart

Journal: Journal of Christian Apologetics
Volume: JCA 01:2 (Winter 1997)
Article: Is Mormonism Christian? An Evangelical Critique Of LDS Scholar Stephen E. Robinson’s Arguments For Recognizing Mormonism As Christian
Author: Robert B. Stewart


Is Mormonism Christian?
An Evangelical Critique Of LDS Scholar
Stephen E. Robinson’s Arguments For Recognizing Mormonism As Christian

Robert B. Stewart1

In 1991, Latter-day Saint scholar Stephen E. Robinson2 authored a book entitled Are Mormons Christians?3 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.4 In 1997 Robinson co-authored How Wide the Divide? A Mormon and an Evangelical in Conversation,5 with Denver Seminary professor, Craig L.

Blomberg. 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.6 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 article will seek to delineate some of the problems with Robinson’s arguments.

Robinson’s arguments can be classified 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. He argues that the creeds function as extra-biblical sources of authority for orthodox Christians in the same way as the additional books of the Mormon canon do for Mormons. The difference for Robinson is the Hellenistic and pagan nature of the early church creeds.

What Is Mormon Doctrine?

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