Mormon Scholarship, Apologetics, and Evangelical Neglect: Losing the Battle and Not Knowing It? -- By: Carl Mosser

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 19:2 (Fall 1998)
Article: Mormon Scholarship, Apologetics, and Evangelical Neglect: Losing the Battle and Not Knowing It?
Author: Carl Mosser

Mormon Scholarship, Apologetics, and Evangelical Neglect:
Losing the Battle and Not Knowing It?

Carl Mosser*

Paul Owen**

* Carl Mosser is a recent graduate of Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California, where he earned masters degrees in Theology, New Testament, and Philosophy of Religion and Ethics.

** Paul Owen is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where he is studying in the department of New Testament Language, Literature, and Theology.

Spiritual warfare is a reality. Battle in the spiritual realm is not fought with guns and tanks in the manner of the world. Instead it is a war of ideas that vies for people’s minds. The apostle Paul tells us that the weapons we fight with have divine power to demolish such intellectual strongholds. Of Christians he says that, “we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor 10:5). However, tearing down arguments entails knowing first what the arguments are. This paper seeks to describe the scholarly and apologetic arguments of one group which we, as evangelicals, believe inhibit true knowledge of God.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormonism, has in recent years produced a substantial body of literature defending their beliefs. This paper does not discuss the full range of defensive and offensive scholarship by Latter-day Saints. Instead, we will focus our discussion upon those disciplines that fall under the broad categories of biblical studies and church history.1 We choose these two categories because of the importance they play in understanding Christian origins and the nature of early Christianity. Both Mormonism and evangelicalism claim to be the church which Christ founded. Both claim to be the heirs of NT Christianity. Both cannot be correct.

We realize that what we say will not be welcomed by all. Some may criticize us for giving the Mormons too much credit and for being too harsh on fellow evangelicals. However, much like testifying against a loved one in court, we cannot hide the facts of the matter. In this battle the Mormons are fighting valiantly. And the evangelicals? It appears that we may be losing the battle and not

knowing it. But this is a battle we cannot afford to lose. It is our hope that this paper will, in some small way, serve to awaken members of the evangelical community to the important task at hand.

I. Evangelical Myths and Five Conclusions

Too many evangelicals accept and propagate certain myths about Mormon scholarship. It is a myth that there are few, if any, traditional Mormon ...

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