Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Rejoinder to an Review

On June 7, 2012, having finished reading a book titled Talking withe Mormons: An Invitation to Evangelicals written by former Fuller Seminary President Richard J. Mouw, I decided to post a review on, a site where I have written 341 reviews for more than a decade and am currently ranked just under 4,000 for Top Reviewers. Let it be said that I only review books that I have actually read. The following (in bold) is my review, accessible at:
Before I begin, let me state upfront that, yes, I have read this book, cover to cover. Richard Mouw, the president of Fuller Theological Seminary who just announced he will be stepping down this year, has written a book that is both troubling and poorly researched. Many may remember Mouw as the one preceding Ravi Zacharias a few years ago at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, making an "apology" on behalf of the Christian community, even though he was not commissioned to do so and was warned about doing this in the first place. Let me share some of my main concerns with this work:
1. Mouw takes Joseph Smith at face value. He claims that Smith "gave an orthodox-sounding account of salvation matters," quoting him from an early D&C section. Can he really insinuate that Smith was orthodox when it came to salvation? After all, Smith said later, "Here, then, is eternal life--to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 346-47) Any Christian who says that Smith's teachings on salvation is somehow "orthodox-sounding" needs to be questioned. And he writes that it is wrong "to demonize a person who is not a demon is itself a terrible thing, and evangelicals have to be careful not to sin against Joseph Smith and his followers by setting up false devils" (p. 18). The case against Joseph Smith is quite long, with heresy, immorality, and deceitfulness among just some of the many possible charges.
2. Mouw takes Mormon apologists at face value. Mouw listens to his LDS friends (such as BYU professor Robert Millet) instead of researching the teachings of the Mormon leaders themselves. For example, while he refers to General Conference addresses made by LDS leaders (such as his friend Apostle Jeffrey Holland) and says that the LDS leadership is more emphasizing the cross, the atonement, and supposedly other distinct Christian doctrines)(see 92-93), he does not show any specific evidence. Anyone can say that he is orthodox, but the proof is in the pudding. If I had space, I could show very clearly how the LDS leadership is NOT supporting unique Christian doctrines today any more than they did in the past. While the leaders are more careful in how they couch their language, they still hold to the traditional teachings of the past, which distort or deny every fundamental teaching of the historic Christian church. When he asked his Mormon friends about the Godhead and the role of good works in salvation, Mouw was told by his LDS friends that they were able to give answers mimicking the answers given in Christianity. At that, "I believed them and was encouraged." (40) You know, Mormon missionaries are instructed to tell Christians that they believe (name the doctrine) just like they do. This could involve "God," "Jesus," and "salvation by grace." Mouw's face-value testing of Mormonism a completely naive.
3. Mouw makes it appear that Mormonism should not be considered a cult. He says that "it has never felt to me as though I was talking to members of a 'cult.'" (x) He says that "the label 'cult' seems inappropriate for describing the Mormonism that we've seen up close." Then he has the gall on page 30 to call Jehovah's Witnesses a "cult." Why? Because "they stick to a party line" and don't argue amongst themselves. And the JWs don't have a "world-class" university. Really? I'm not making this up. Talk about making a term work for you by creating the definition!
4. Mouw has bad theology littered throughout the book. I understand that this wasn't meant to be a theological book. (There are no citations, so it's certainly not meant to be scholarly either.) But, just a number of little issues stick out like a sore thumb. For example, he says that "Satan regularly tempts me" on page 17. But the Bible says in James 1 that "each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin. And sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death." There are others, but an Amazon review is not the place to create so many subpoints.
5. Mouw paints with a broad brush when he writes, "One of those Commandments tells us that God doesn't like it when we bear false witness against our neighbors. God is not honored when we're unfair to people with whom we disagree, misrepresenting what they believe." (p. 22) In other words, he insinuates that those who are involved in apologetics to LDS communities are disparaging them through mischaracterization. This is an unfair assessment, one that Mouw makes throughout the book.
6. Mouw gets Mormonism wrong in a number of areas. For instance, he makes it appear that Mormons hold to an "infallible" Bible (44). I politely ask, who is the "they" he referring to? (His Mormon friends? The LDS leadership?) If the leadership, where have they ever denied Article 8 (the Bible is true only "as far as it is translated correctly") and embraced such an idea? (Trust me, it's not true.) Or he says that Mormonism no longer teaches the Lorenzo Snow couplet ("As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become.") (55) Really? There are many church sources (including LDS General Conference addresses and officially church-correlated materials) to refute such his simplistic denial.
So much more could be said, but an Amazon review is not the place for a full-blown, detailed review. I just think it would be tragic if someone reads Talking With Mormons and come to the conclusion that this is an accurate portrayal of Mormonism; this is not just another Christian path, which is what the author of this book apparently wants the reader to think. Therefore, I cannot recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the issues that truly separate Mormonism and biblical Christianity.
I close my review by stating how Mr. Mouw owes his own apology to the Christian pastors and apologists who work on the front lines and do their best to lovingly present an accurate picture to their Mormon friends, co-workers, and family members. You owe the apology, Mr. Mouw, and a retraction of what you have said in your book.
On June 20, 2012, Jamie L. Rehmel wrote a review--not of Dr. Mouw’s book, but of my review--titled “Well written (sic) book by a leader in interfaith dialogue.” With that, I have decided to post my rejoinder to her criticisms and place this offsite (where her review should have been) onto my personal blog site. Her review is underlined, with my responses throughout.
In honor of Dr. Mouw's retirement and subsequent transitioning of roles at Fuller Theological Seminary, I decided to go out today and purchase his latest book and write a review to share with others. In addition, I will employ a technique Dr. Mouw endorses in this text by dialoging with E. Johnson and his vitriol laden assessment.
Seriously, she decided “in honor of Dr. Mouw’s retirement" to go out and buy his book? And this particular book? Then she writes a review about it? (This Amazon review was her fourth ever, with one written about an air purifier.) Really? For some reason, this seems a little odd. Then, in a place where “book reviews” are supposed to be posted, apparently Ms. Rehmel decided to spend 90% of her space critiquing my review rather than providing her own unique assessment.
Of course, Ms. Rehmel has a right to disagree with my critiques of the book written by Dr. Mouw, but I do not believe aiming her assault here was the place to do it. Reviews should cover the actual book, not other reviews on that book.
Regardless, she gives the book a five-star assessment (I gave the book two stars) and says she is employing a technique used by Dr. Mouw called “dialoguing.” I find it interesting this is “dialoguing,” which the dictionary defines as a “conversation between two or more persons." If her intention was to dialogue, then my email was readily available on my profile. It would have been very easy for her to have written me and we could have had a “dialogue” rather than having her write a one-sided hit piece using loaded language (e.g. “vitriol laden (sic) assessment”).
In "Talking with Mormons: An invitation to Evangelicals", Dr. Mouw's shares his personal experience and reflections on the relationship between Orthodox Christianity and that of the Mormon faith. Dr. Mouw points out quite clearly time and again that he has many disagreements with the mormon faith, does not see it as simply a legitimate branch of Christianity, and does not view Joseph Smith's "revelation" as legitimate. But, he does think there has been some significant misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Mormons on the part of Christians that needs addressed lest we find comfort in "bearing false witness" against our neighbors. Indeed, perhaps there is a bit of unexpected overlap between these faith traditions (e.g., requisite salvation) that many of us have not adequately perceived. Dr. Mouw suggests that God is not honored when we attack or disregard other groups without truly understanding them first.
A book review is meant to be more than just telling the person what the book is about. What does Ms. Rehmel feel about the above? Probably she’s positive, but she doesn’t give us any specifics or details about what makes this book work. Instead, she will spend the rest of her review attempting to debunk the points made in my review. 

As a point of illustration, I will attempt to convey my understanding of another reader's (below) assessment, E. Johnson, and articulate my possible difference of opinion.
Ms. Rehmel would have done better sticking with her review of the book rather than spend the rest of her time trying to refute me. But since she has, I'd like to respond in kind.

1: Johnson suggests that in contrast to what Mouw says, Joseph smith is a heretic and his beliefs were not orthodox in any way. He says that Mouw's suggestion that Smith gave a "orthodox sounding" salvation theology is questionable. Unfortunately, Johnson's credibility is what is called into question as he takes Mouw's comments out of context in an effort to make a point. In a strict summary, Mouw points out that Smith is on record as saying that justification, sanctification, and salvation come through Jesus christ and all must repent and believe in him to receive eternal life in God's kingdom. That is what is orthodox sounding (p. 56). And yes, misrepresenting others or bearing false witness is a clear violation of God's law. Ouch.
Acknowledging that he did not agree with Smith’s theology, Dr. Mouw writes on page 87, “Idolatry is indeed a very bad thing, and it’s a good thing to take a strong stand against it. But I repeat here G.K. Chesteron’s wise counsel: setting up false gods is a terrible thing, but wrongly to demonize a person who is not a demon is also bad, and evangelicals have to be careful not to sin against Joseph Smith and his followers by setting up false devils” (exact words he had written on page 18). While Dr. Mouw doesn’t agree with Smith, he insinuates in the previous paragraphs that it is a “problem” for anyone to see “things in terms of stark alternatives.” Dr. Mouw wrote, “A perspective on life is either righteous or unrighteous. Every moral option is either right or wrong. You’re either on God’s side or Satan’s. And a person like Joseph Smith is either a true prophet of God or a deceiver…” 
In my review, I used the word “insinuate” when talking about Dr. Mouw. Of course, I understand that, at the foundational level, he disagees with Smith. But thow is the Christian “sin(ning) against Joseph Smith and his followers by setting up false devils” by calling his teachings heretical? As intriguing or creative as Smith might have been—again, of this, there is no debate—this is irrelevant. If Smith was heretical in his teaching, doesn’t it follow that he is a heretic? How is pointing out Smith’s theology “heretical” or a sin against him?
Dr. Mouw is a world-class expert on things pertaining to Calvinism and I respect his knowledge and understanding of the Reformer John Calvin. But suppose that I said that Jacob Arminius was a “Calvinist.” Since words have meaning, this is nonsensical. Arminius taught in prevenient grace and the possibility of losing one’s salvation, differing completely from Calvin. There was something even called the Remonstrance. An assertion that Arminius was a Calvinist is just silly because there is a definition to Calvinism that we can understand. I’m sure Dr. Mouw disagrees with the assessment of Jacob Arminius and holds to the opposite viewpoint. As much as he might appreciate Arminius’ life and dedication to interpreting the scripture on the sovereignty of God and free will, I'm confident Dr. Mouw would say he was wrong. Is saying that Arminius "wrong" somehow a sin? I don't think so.

(Note: I understand that there is a big difference between the issues of Calvinism/Arminianism and Christianity/Mormonism, as two people can disagree about the conclusion of the first issue and both are still considered Christian. However, two people cannot disagree on the second issue and both still be considered Christian.)

2: Johnson suggests that mormons are liars and say they are orthodox but do something quite different. He suggests that Mouw is naive, listening to just his friends and accepting what they say at "face value". He needs to consult more sources than Robert Millet and Jeffrey Holland. In reality, Mouw talks at great length as to why he believes the things many mormons have told him. He says that he has sat amongst many during debates and conversations where critical doctrinal points have been discussed, at times heatedly so. Mouw also cites a litany of scholars both outside and inside the Mormon faith and references leaders in the LDS community. Page after page after page is annotated with footnotes indicating his sources.
I doubt that Ms. Rehmel has a personal background and understanding about how the Mormon Church operates. I never suggested that “Mormons are liars.” I merely questioned the source of authority where Dr. Mouw receives his information. He seems to rely too much on the words of his friends, apparently not asking follow-up questions about what exactly is meant. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints functions with 15 men in the top positions, called the First Presidency (including the Prophet and the two counselors) and twelve “apostles.” These leaders are charged with delivering “doctrine.” This can be easily documented, in their own words, and I'll provide it for anyone who would like it. BYU professors and others with whom Dr. Mouw dialogues certainly are free to hold their personal viewpoints, but this church does not give them the right to declare doctrine. There is confusion, though, because the theological language is the same as Evangelical Christianity, but the meaning of words can be quite different. Thus, when a Mormon uses “God,” “Jesus,” and “salvation,” an uninformed Christian may think there is more commonality than there really is. 
I am bothered by Dr. Mouw’s statement on page 40 which he gave in a talk in Nauvoo, IL: “I told the group that our dialogues had given me the hope that there would come a day when all of us could say together what that young man had said in response to my questions. God is God, and we are not. The Godhead alone—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is worthy of worship. Salvation comes by grace alone, through the substitutionary atoning work of Christ on Calvary. Our good works cannot contribute to our salvation—they are done in response to a grace that has accomplished for us what we could never accomplish for ourselves. Several of the Mormons in the group told me that they could already give those answers. I believed them and was encouraged.”

Is a seminary president with a Ph.D. really taking “several” Mormons at their word? Dr. Mouw is only hearing what he wants. This is nothing less than a case of naiveté, and that of the worst kind, bordering on gullibility. Some may feel that very little separates Mormonism from Christianity, which possibly can be resolved with more “dialogue.” But if the person is not paying attention to what is meant by “God,” “Godhead,” “salvation by grace alone,” and “substitutionary atoning work of Christ on Calvary,” as so clearly stated by the leadership, he is playing with fool’s gold. I am someone who listens to every word of the LDS biannual general conference talks (two weekends a year); I read Mormonism’s official magazines and manuals and do what I can to understand what the leadership is saying. I’ve been doing this for more than two decades. Meanwhile,Dr. Mouw has been involved with these discussions for only a decade and shows no evidence that he has studied the leadership based in Salt Lake City. I believe it’s very dangerous for someone—even an educated Ph.D.—to go outside his area of expertise and merely take another person’s word (no matter how sincere the Latter-day Saints to whom he speaks) on a subject where he has not done his homework. This is the problem I have with Dr. Mouw’s book. He infers that by “talking with Mormons” (as the title states) it’s possible to understand Mormonism and possibly disregard past and present leaders who contrarily taught the opposite. It’s an error that I pointed out, rightfully so, in my review.

3: Johnson takes issue with Mouw's differentiating between Mormon's and Jehovah's Witnesses on the point of being a cult. He thinks Mouw's argument is lacking. Mouw's point, that Johnson seems to have missed, is that Mormon's appear to leave room for discussion. Both internally and with external sources, conversation and debate has ensued which has often led to growth and refinement of theological beliefs. Cults, on the other hand, the Jehovah's witnesses being an example, tend to dogmatically adhere to a particular belief system and quickly cast out the members who deviate from the norm.

What is the definition of “cult”? In one part of the book, Dr. Mouw says that a group having a university like BYU should not be considered a cult. Really?  Biola University/Talbot Seminary professor Alan W. Gomes wrote a book a few years ago titled Unmasking the Cults. It’s short and to the point. His expertise is historical theology, and guess where he received his Ph.D.? Yes, Fuller, which is the same seminary that, until recently, was where Dr. Mouw served as president. Here is his definition of a cult:

“A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrinal system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which (system) denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible.” (p. 7)

Dr. Gomes considers Mormonism to be a cult. For example, on page 19, he writes, “If one considers only Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, the two largest cults that fit the definition used in this book, the number of cultists totals nearly 14 million.” Should I take the word of a former Fuller Seminary president whose expertise is in philosophy who has conversed with some BYU professors? Or should I consider someone whose expertise is in historical theology, a Fuller Seminary graduate, no less? With Mouw agreeing that Mormonism differs theologically in many ways when compared to Christianity, I’m not sure how he can be accepted as being authoritative in this arena. 

4: Johnson suggests that Mouw has "bad theology" and, based on the epistle James, doesn't believe that external influences can effect behavior. Curiously, he says there are no citations throughout the book. This is hysterical. I'm not sure if Johnson know's what a citation is. Mouw used footnotes and the numbers in the text correspond to the works at the bottom of the page. Awkward...
Indeed, Dr. Mouw does provide limited citations, and I should have clarified that in my review. Yet there are other places he gives no sources for his argument when sources for support would have been helpful.

But anyway... Dr. Mouw has an MDiv from Western Theological Seminary, in addition to a PhD in Philosophy, and served as a professor at Calvin College and at Fuller before becoming their president. Mouw has written several highly regarded theological books, has served as president of the Association of Theological Schools, AND was given the Abraham Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Life by Princeton Theological Seminary. Mouw is theologically sound.

He may be “theologically sound” in the basics of his faith but make theological errors in his writing. It is possible to make theological errors, especially with peripheral issues, and not be a heretic. I never questioned Dr. Mouw’s Christianity.

Yet, Johnson appears to have his or her own exegetical hang ups. He takes issue with Mouw confessing that he feels tempted by "satan" at times. Johnson suggests that the epistle of James does not leave room for such a notion and uses a proof texting theology to make her or his point. James, however, is largely irrelevant to this issue. James is likely a response to a Pauline group that distorted some of Paul's teachings. James seems to offer correctives by emphasizing the need for good works as an outpouring of our faith in Christ. Furthermore, James endorses living by the law of liberty (i.e., living as part of the church) as opposed to the law of Moses which, according to him, condemns adherents if they fall short on any one point of the code.

There is no question that orthodox Christianity adheres to a notion that things in the world are not as they should be. Some call it a fall. Others suggest that it wasn't a fall but that sin came into the world. Regardless, things are warped in some way and the redeeming work of Christ is the divine solution.

Many, if not most, in the Christian tradition have personified evil and labeled it a satan or deceiver. To suggest that using that term is bad theology highlights a historical theological naiveté. Regardless, it is unquestioned in Christian circles that things are not as they should be and even Paul is recorded as saying I often do what I know I shouldn't!

I noticed, in all of the words used to refute my point, that no other scripture was given to show that Satan is the cause for a person to fall. I provided a specific passage that said “each one is tempted when, by his (or her) own evil desire he (or she) is dragged away and enticed.” James is clearly talking about trials and temptations in this first half of chapter one. Context clearly shows that a person may have outside influences, but you can’t blame anybody but yourself when you fall to temptation. After all, Satan—who’s not omniscient—may not even know Dr. Mouw’s name, and I’m sure Satan has never had a personal encounter with Dr. Mouw. Therefore, to give credit to Satan for something he's not responsible for is an error. Yes, it’s a simple point, but I think it needs to be addressed.
Now, perhaps Dr. Mouw really wasn’t meaning to blame Satan for his giving into temptation, and I’ll give him that. But I’m only going on what he said. It wasn’t the only place I disagreed with him in this book from a theological point of view, but nowhere did I ever say or even insinuate he was not orthodox in his faith. (If anyone took it that way, then I apologize.) I’m sure that no two Christians would have the exact same theology in every issue, even if they went to the same church. Even Calvinists disagree on the nuances when it comes to Calvinism. I believe that Ms. Rehmel needs to be careful in her own accusations and not read more into what was actually written.

5: Johnson says that Mouw unfairly criticizes Christian evangelists to Mormons for "disparaging them through mischaracterization". This is just flat wrong. One of Mouw's central points throughout this entire book is that Christians need to engage Mormons in a way that allows us to hear them articulate their faith in all its richness. This is put in tension with being overzealous to judge and critique before we fully understand their positions on key theological issues.

I’m all for dialogue and do it all the time with Latter-day Saints. Just don’t make it appear that your way of dealing with the issue is better than the people you’re criticizing (e.g. those who directly evangelize and do counter-cult work, something that Dr. Mouw apparently disdains).

He uses the example of Dr. Walter Martin who, in his sermon to an audience about the evils of Mormonism, would not listen to an actual mormon attendee in the crowd that basically said: this is not what I believe. I believe that Jesus is my savior and only through his blood can i be saved.

Regarding that story involving Dr. Martin, perhaps Dr. Mouw and Ms. Rehmel need to read a blog from Jill Martin Rische, the daughter of Walter Martin to show some serious errors in this story. Listen to this:
“But there is a logical fallacy in Richard Mouw’s argument that is surprising, considering his place in academia. Mouw chose to set up a Straw Man argument, a caricature of Walter Martin and his approach to apologetics, instead of representing him fairly. The birds Barnhouse shot on his farm were far away; Walter Martin’s meticulous research brought him up close to the grackles. He aimed precisely. It seems as if Mouw never read a footnote in any of Walter Martin’s work. Martin quoted primary source material—he meticulously identified his targets using their own intelligence.
Two more serious errors Mouw makes are these: First, ignorance of his two subjects, Walter Martin and Donald Barnhouse. If Richard Mouw knew Walter Martin at all, he would be familiar with the story he always told about his friend, Rocky Marciano, the Heavyweight Champion of the World. In it, Marciano gives a great sermon illustration with his “peek-a-boo” style of boxing: ‘If I was fighting a guy like you, Walt,’ he said,

‘And you could hit anywhere near as hard as I could, you would annihilate me. I’d never get close enough to hit you. I learned that long ago, so I developed a style: Cover-up, peek-a-boo. I took the blows on my arms, my shoulders, and sometimes on my face—five, six, seven, eight to one—because I knew if I could get in close enough, I could take them out with one shot.’
My father loved this illustration. Get in close with the Word of God, whatever it takes: this accurately describes the apologetic style of Walter Martin. He never advocated aiming in ignorance from far away.

It seems as if Richard Mouw did not know Donald Barnhouse, either. In academic research, context is everything, but Mouw chose to leave out the historical context surrounding this story. He left out the fact that Barnhouse loved and supported Walter Martin—and my father loved and respected him. This close relationship meant that Barnhouse would have rebuked my father privately and publicly if he truly believed Walter Martin used ‘Shoot First’ Apologetics. He also left out the fact that Donald Barnhouse did not shy away from confrontation.”

 For the rest, see By the way, this blog was posted in 2007, yet Dr. Mouw apparently still ignored the context five years after he was shown his error. This, Dr. Mouw, is not scholarly.

This is a crucial point. Dr. Mouw says time and again that there are some real issues that distinguish Christians of any denomination or church from Mormonism. He never denies that and makes it clear that he does not consider Mormonism a branch of Christianity. But, there may be a bit more overlap in belief systems than what we have traditionally appreciated and that may be becoming more so as their faith tradition evolves with increased intra-faith scholarship and dynamic leadership.

Overlapping with something like arsenic is overlapping with death. If Mormonism leads people to death, then to make it appear that Mormonism and Joseph Smith are “not that bad” is a most dangerous philosophy.

6: Johnson suggests Mouw doesn't know what he is talking about and actually the opposite is true of many of his points about mormonism. As far as the infalliable bible goes, on page 44 Mouw is conveying his admitted struggle between the mormon's stance on scripture, particularly as it relates to extra-biblical sources, and his own high view of scripture. Again, Johnson has taken Mouw out of context. And with regard to the Lorenzo couplet, Mouw simply says that it has never held an "official canonical status". Many Christians endorse unorthodox teachings as well (e.g., reading Genesis like it's a scientific account of creation).

Once more, this shows the naiveté of Dr. Mouw. The Lorenzo Snow couplet doesn’t hold “official canonical status”? In that case, Mormons must not believe in Heavenly Mother because it’s nowhere found in LDS canon. Yet Mormonism teaches the Lorenzo Snow couplet throughout the speeches and writings of its leaders and official manuals. It is certainly found in the teaching of the religion's founder, Joseph Smith. (See Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 344-45). Because a non-GA Mormon suggests it’s “not official” doesn’t mean it’s not official. As far as Genesis and science, this is a non sequitur, apples and oranges, and is a completely different topic. Why even bring it up?

Johnson arrogantly (see: need for Mouw to apologize) made many attempts at critiquing Mouw's book which mostly fell into the realm of fantasy.
I criticize and therefore I’m “arrogant.” If criticism is what equals arrogance, then is Ms. Rehmel “arrogant” as well since she has criticized me? Even if I'm wrong in my criticism, as so asserted by Ms. Rehmel, does this necessarily mean I'm "arrogant"? No, just wrong. I won't say Ms. Rehmel is arrogant, but I do feel she has not sufficiently supported her claims.
Again, Mouw does not accept Mormonism as Christian although he does see some overlap in beliefs and a trend toward, perhaps, more agreement. The extent to which there is overlap may provide a trust in Christ that is salvific. The Catholic church suggests something similar in their publication Dominus Iesus. This isn't new. Yet, he also acknowledges there are some fundamental differences that cannot be overlooked and require further consideration and an openness to inter-religious conversation and friendship.
Overall, I do not believe Ms. Rehmel has shown my reasoning to be faulty. With a few adjustments, as acknowledged in my review, I stand by what was originally written. I still believe Dr. Mouw owes an apology to the Christian churches and countercult groups, especially those of us who live in Utah. For some reason, I don't expect it any time soon.


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