Evangelical-Mormon “Detente”?

Evangelical-Mormon “Detente”? October 31, 2013

Adelle Banks of Religion News Service has a fascinating piece on signs of a possible new evangelical-Mormon detente, a thaw that goes even beyond the widespread evangelical support for Mitt Romney as president. She writes

Last month, after being sure to get his caffeine fix at Starbucks, Southern Baptist leader Richard Land went where few evangelicals had dared to go before: the campus of Brigham Young University, the intellectual heart of Mormonism.

After lecturing on “family, faith, freedom and America,” Land attended a BYU football game with Mormon leaders and joined them to hear James Taylor sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Days later, George O. Wood, the general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, also visited BYU, followed by the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptists’ flagship seminary.

Is there a new detente — perhaps more practical than theological — between evangelicals and Mormons?

She notes that Albert Mohler, whose speech focused largely on religious liberty and the redefinition of marriage, did not hold back in articulating the theological differences between Mormons and evangelicals. This is true, and led to the most remarkable section of Mohler’s speech, in which he said

I am not here because I believe we are going to heaven together. I do not believe that. I believe that salvation comes only to those who believe and trust only in Christ and in his substitutionary atonement for salvation. I believe in justification by faith alone, in Christ alone. I love and respect you as friends, and as friends we would speak only what we believe to be true, especially on matters of eternal significance. We inhabit separate and irreconcilable theological worlds, made clear with respect to the doctrine of the Trinity. And yet here I am, and gladly so. We will speak to one another of what we most sincerely believe to be true, precisely because we love and respect one another. I do not believe that we are going to heaven together, but I do believe we may go to jail together.

It would be interesting to know how this statement was received at BYU.

In any case, check out Banks’ whole article. What’s the status of evangelical-Mormon relations, in your view?

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