Monday, May 02, 2005

Eerdmans preaches the Mormon "Jesus"

Question: What do the following have in common?

On the one hand: great works of Biblically Christian thought such as Christianity and Liberalism, by J. Gresham Machen; Redemption Accomplished and Applied, by John Murray, and Systematic Theology, by Louis Berkhof.

On the other hand: a work defending Mormonism as true and Christian (A Different Jesus?: The Christ of the Latter-day Saints, by Robert L. Millett).

The answer: all are published by Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Eerdmans has long since strayed from exclusively publishing books within the sphere of Biblical orthodoxy, so this -- while gut-wrenchingly tragic and appalling -- cannot come as a totally jaw-dropping surprise. But this is, as far as I know, Eerdmans' first foray into publishing an up-front cultic apologetic.

If the sales numbers are good, it will not be the last.

Read some informative and on-target discussions by James White: A Different Jesus? Eerdmans Publishes LDS Apologetics Work; and Eerdmans Responds. It is so sad to see the Christians who destroy their credibility by praising this book, as White points out. Also check out Dustin, of Staying Current!, as he sadly (and passionately) writes Eerdmans embraces Mormonism and More on Eerdmans and embracing Mormonism. Also read Dr. Vincent Cheung, Kinchen vs Eerdmans.

The seeds for this treacherous act were surely sown in the event I mentioned over at the Biblical Christianity Message Board. Among other things Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, actually went to Salt Lake and apologized to Mormons on behalf of Christian evangelists/apologists.

So this is part of a slide some of us have noted for years. As to Fuller, I imagine that the late Harold Lindsell would be deeply saddened, but not dumbstruck; he had warned of Fuller's doctrinal defection when it was still a-borning. Slippage in larger evangelicalism has been well-documented elsewhere, including the sad but thoroughgoing work of Iain Murray.

Each of us could illustrate anecdotally, no doubt. When I was on-campus at Biola, unrepentant Roman Catholic students had achieved some prominence. In recent years, I've noticed that Christian bookstores (I'm fighting the temptation to put both words in quotation-marks) have started carrying specifically Roman Catholic religious hardware.

If the Roman Catholics are accepted as Christian brothers with a few minor doctrinal variances here and there, how could the Mormons be far behind? And so, it proves, they aren't.

I only have one original thought to offer on this: I'm guessing Fuller's enrollment must not be all they wish. I guess Eerdmans' sales must not be up to their expectations. The prospect of Mormon dollars must be very tempting. Since both institutions threw off the sufficiency and full inerrancy of the Bible as essential foundational doctrines years ago, what could possibly stand in the way?

Just an educated guess.

UPDATE: James White further details the damage caused by Richard Mouw's concessions to this fundamentally non-Christian religion, his giving occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, in Mouw Asks for Context. Fuller Seminary is one of the "unpaid bills" of Evangelicalism... whatever that is, anymore. When the indifference of evangelicals to Fuller's defection from the absolute authority of the Bible enabled it to continue its claim to the label, just this sort of a disaster was being prepared by the Enemy of the faith we profess. Now the bill comes due.

UPDATE II: And once again with the James White! He interacts with another "Mormons are Christians... just kinda different" apologist, Paul Owen, in Paul Owen Finally Lays His Cards on the Table (#1) and Paul Owen Finally Lays His Cards on the Table (#2). In the latter, he has this rather tour-de-force summary of the problem with this position:
A religion founded upon the assertion that the Christian Church is apostate and has not existed with proper authority since the second century after Christ; that teaches a plurality of Gods; that God is an exalted man; that Jesus is the first begotten spirit child of an exalted man from another planet and one of this physical being's flesh and bones wives; that teaches the most rank forms of works-salvation and Pelagianism (2 Nephi 25:23, Moroni 10:4-5); that adds wildly a-historical and heretical books to the Bible; that says Jesus Christ has not eternally been God; that says that Jesus Christ was begotten by God the Father in the flesh; that says Christ's atonement began in the Garden of Gethsemane and that there are certain grievous sins you can commit that the blood of Christ cannot atone for (your own blood must be shed to atone for these sins); that practices baptism for the dead; ---such a religion does not give Dr. Paul Owen of Montreat College [-- nor, evidently, Richard Mouw, nor Eerdmans] a problem.

No comments: