A recent article at the Patheos website by evangelical
Christian writer and publisher Warren Cole Smith made a big splash both on that website and in Mormon circles because of Smith’s argument that a Mitt Romney presidency would be “dangerous” for many souls who could lose their salvation if they were led astray by Mormonism’s false teachings about God and Christ. Smith hangs his case for a president’s religious beliefs being a strong enough influence for something like this to happen on several claims that many, including other evangelicals writing at Patheos, find dubious. Yet, according to Smith (and the number of “likes” his article received on the Patheos site), many people are sympathetic to his warnings.
Why do such claims arise? Why are there many who see Mormonism as so different from Christianity’s primary streams (Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism) that someone’s salvation might be threatened if they believed as Mormons do? Where does Smith and his “danger to souls” line of thinking fit along the Evangelical Christian spectrum of belief? How have Mormon attitudes and actions contributed to their being excluded by many as “Christians?” Are new forms of dialogue and seeing each other emerging that can lead the groups to learn important things from one other?
In this episode, Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon is joined by Joanna Brooks, Jana Riess, and John Morehead, an evangelical writer and host of dialogues between evangelical Christians and Latter-day Saints . Even if discussions about the differences between evangelical/mainline Christian and Mormon teachings and attitudes seem like well-worn territory for many listeners, this podcast episode contains satisfying, frank talk about difficult issues as well as fresh insights and reasons for hopefulness that greater respect and understanding between the groups is on the horizon.
One of the key moments in this latest foray about Mormon differences and their “danger” discussed in the podcast conversation is Joanna Brooks’s Religion Dispatches interview with Warren Cole Smith. It’s awesome. Check it out!
Also, please visit Jana Riess’s blog, Flunking Sainthood, but especially at this moment to read her post about this discussion and the issue of where healthy dialogue about religion crosses the line into “anti-” territory.
We look forward to having a great discussion below! Please join in!