Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tim's Open Letter to Evangelicals

Tim, primary contributor to the excellent LDS & Evangelical Conversations blog, has recently provided a superb, thought-provoking post titled "An Open Letter to Fellow Evangelicals". It's the sort that I heartily recommend everyone read. Tim posits that, given the current state of LDS affairs, perhaps the time has come for a new Evangelical approach in which we "focus on explaining how and why we live out our faith", indeed "step[ping] up these messages at the expense of talking less about Joseph Smith", because - Tim contends - the Internet era has already resulted in the exposing of the "questions that threaten the LDS church". Tim concludes with the following lines:
We have a new mission. Let us recognize that our battle is not against Mormon flesh and blood but rather against Mormon powers and principalities. Begin your transition. It's time to be spiritual healers. It's time to be pastors. Let us no longer erect bulwarks against those lost to Mormonism. Let us now build bridges for those Mormonism has lost.
Now, of course this is specifically intra-Evangelicalism discourse; our LDS readers may not cotton to the way Tim phrases things, or the very concept of a mission of proselytism to Latter-day Saints at all. For my own part, yes, I do believe in the mission to reclaim Latter-day Saints for the fullness of the historic Christian faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints in former days and has enlivened and invigorated the ever-present church of Jesus Christ for millennia. And while I do think that a depth-analysis of traditional and nontraditional LDS teaching is requisite for this task, I also agree with Tim that there's a need to become at least as starkly pro-Jesus, pro-gospel, pro-orthodoxy, pro-Evangelicalism as to be a critic of whatever errors and faults one might find within the LDS variant on the Christian message and its practice. For more details, I once again encourage the reading of Tim's open letter.

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