Who Is This Jesus? An Examination Of The Christology Of The Latter-Day Saints -- By: Travis Kerns

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 16:2 (Summer 2012)
Article: Who Is This Jesus? An Examination Of The Christology Of The Latter-Day Saints
Author: Travis Kerns


Who Is This Jesus? An Examination Of The Christology Of The Latter-Day Saints

Travis Kerns

Travis Kerns is Assistant Professor of Christian Worldview and Apologetics and Department Coordinator for Worldview and Apologetics at Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky. He received the Ph.D. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Introduction

Although Latter-day Saints1 are found in all fifty states and in most countries around the world, most people, including Christians, know very little about them.2 However, given the worldwide influence of the Latter-day Saints and their strong missionary endeavors, a better understanding of Latter-day Saint history and doctrine is becoming increasingly necessary. As Christians we need to know more about the theological convictions of those we are called to minister to, and as such, the purpose of this article is to introduce evangelicals to the basic theology of the Latter-day Saints and especially their Christology.

As noted, even though Latter-day Saints have been a part of the American landscape since the LDS Church was first founded in 1830, the Saints may be some of the most misunderstood persons in contemporary life. Indeed, for some in our society, Mormonism and Christian theology are sometimes identified, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the LDS Church often finds herself answering questions about multiple wives, secret rites inside temples, and racism. Indeed, a poll released in January, 2012 by The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life indicates “62% of Mormons say the American people know little or nothing about Mormonism and about two out of three Mormons say the American people as a whole do not see Mormonism as a part of mainstream American society.”3

Mainstream Americans, though, are not the only persons who misunderstand Latter-day Saints. Some in the academy have misunderstandings as well. Francis Beckwith, Carl Mosser, and Paul Owen concluded in their landmark work, The New Mormon Challenge, “The traditional LDS theology described in many books on Mormonism is, on many points, increasingly unrepresentative of what Latter-day Saints actually believe.”4 One scholar at Brigham Young University, Daniel Peterson, agrees. Writing about works concerning other religious groups,

Peterson argued,

Now, this leads to another rule. It seems to me that one of the rules of doing comparative religion stuff is that whe...

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