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Bridging the Divide

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I just finished reading Bridging the Divide: The Continuing Conversation between a Mormon and an Evangelical by Robert Millet and Greg Johnson. It's the sequel to How Wide the Divide, which I haven't read yet (because the library doesn't have it).

The book is essentially an edited transcript of a public conversation the authors have in their presentations. I appreciate the modeling that the two authors did of how to converse with friends in the spirit of "convicted civility". I would have preferred more Johnson and less Millet (that might just be because I already know what Mormons believe). I also would have preferred Johnson explain Evangelical teachings. His emphasis was more on the need for Evangelicals to soften their approach and use more of a "relational" ministry (much like the commitment pattern and the training in the missionary guide for all you veteran missionaries).

I would have liked to have seen Johnson address:

  • the Trinity - what are the flavors? what's mainstream? and what's heresy? (I ask because until I came across, I thought modalism was the Trinity doctrine based on what I'd heard in my own church, as well as conversations I had with Protestant Christians)
  • Youth instruction - through the use of youth camps and the youth ministries in general, it has been my observation that Evangelicals do a great job of teaching the youth to love Jesus and accept Him in their hearts. They even "know" a lot about LDS beliefs (at least, they know we're wrong on certain doctrines, even if they don't know what the particulars of that doctrine is), but getting them to explain what they believe in a consistent way is challenging (again, using the Trinity example - it was either explained to me as a form of modalism, or in a way that I believe, which I was told was wrong).
  • Evangelicals - What exactly is it? Johnson mentions that it spans denominations and emphasizes the Bible as the source of Truth and Doctrine, but I would like more clarification (because I always assumed Evangelicals were an offshoot of Baptists because of how similar they sounded to me).
  • Reason-based faith - Johnson mentions that he believes the Bible because of the various evidences for it, etc etc. I'd like to hear him walk me through how doctrine is established using reason with the Bible as a foundation. I'm familiar with the example of the Bereans, but would like to hear how it plays out in a modern setting, especially when there are disagreements.
  • The Rapture - I don't know if this has always been a big deal for Evangelicals, but the Rapture seems to be really popular. Is this just because of the recent eschatological novels of recent years? the fervor of a new millennium? or has this always been a key component of the movement?

I would probably rate this book at 3/5 stars for the proper modeling and the call for civility, but it was too one-sided in my mind (it would only get 2 stars, but I think just having the dialogue is important enough to bump it up).

Edited by mordorbund

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