09 September 2005

Leftover comments about this week's discussion



I've had a couple of private conversations and received a few off-line e-mails this week regarding the Millet-MacArthur meetings. Also, one or two issues came up in the comments that I wanted to respond to but didn't have time.

So I thought a good way to end the week was by posting a list of my own comments and observations. Here are a few lingering thoughts about evangelical-Mormon détente:

  • I agree with whoever said it's not entirely fair to draw harsh conclusions about Talbot School of Theology solely from a paper two students wrote eight years ago.
  • Still, I think there's ample evidence that recent policies at Biola-Talbot have deliberately and aggressively sought to move the school's historic boundaries outward. In the late '90s, after a task force issued a report advising the administration that Eastern Orthodox doctrine is incompatible with the school's evangelical stance, three Eastern Orthodox faculty members (including an Orthodox priest who served as dean of students) were nevertheless permitted to remain in their teaching positions.
  • And here's a giddy news report from a Mormon source celebrating the fact that eighteen Biola students visited Brigham Young University last January for dialogue and relationship-building, so that the evangelical students could "pursue truth together" with Mormon kids.
  • One of the main organizers of that get-together was Pastor Greg Johnson, who has practically made a career out of holding public "dialogues" with Mormonism's best-known missionary to naive evangelicals, Dr. Robert Millet. Pastor Johnson had the unmitigated gall to tell a Mormon reporter, "We are trying to show the upcoming generation that we don't have to be confrontational on truth. There is a lot of room for us to build on our compromise of scriptures." Those are his exact words. I kid you not.
  • To be clear: I don't think the atmosphere of creeping ecumenism is unique to Biola. You'll find evidence of the same subtle latitudinarianism at many once-solid evangelical schools (and even a few formerly fundamentalist ones). But if you were to ask me whether the ideas set forth by Carl Mosser and Paul Owen in their infamous 1997 paper are novel notions they brought with them to Talbot or the kind of ideas we might expect from someone who has absorbed the post-evangelical atmosphere that dominates many so many institutions of higher learning in the Moody/Wheaton/Biola genre—my judgment would be the latter.
  • Dr. Millet and Pastor Johnson
    Dr. Millet and Pastor Johnson
    By the way, Greg Johnson is the Utah pastor who (before it became clear that his strategy was one of compromise) first contacted John MacArthur to arrange a meeting with Millet in 1997. Johnson is a former Mormon, and he has founded a ministry he calls "Standing Together." He seems obsessed with "seeking common ground" between Mormons and evangelicals, and he and Millet appear regularly together on a television program aired in Salt Lake City, called "Bob and Greg in Conversation."
         Here's an intriguing point of trivia: Johnson and Millet made a joint pilgrimage to visit the esteemed Bishop of Durham, N. T. Wright, back in May.
  • Both Carl Mosser and Paul Owen e-mailed me today after hearing about yesterday's blogpost. Without really addressing anything concrete in my posts, Owen accused me of "lying" and (as is his custom) dismissed me and pretty much all my friends as "uneducated." As usual, however, despite all his bluster about academic integrity and the importance of dispassionate scholarship, he neglected to reply with anything resembling an argument or documentation.
         Mosser was friendlier, but he said according to the way he remembers it, MacArthur ultimately confirmed Mosser's description of the Millet meeting and I later had to retract my objection to Mosser's account of the meeting. Apparently Mosser's memory is as mangled as his original report claiming "that Millet and MacArthur came very close together in their views."
  • For the record, here is John MacArthur's own description of the Millet meeting, taken from a letter MacArthur wrote to clarify the facts for someone who had been told that MacArthur was part of the campaign to establish "common ground" with Mormonism:

When I met with Robert Millet I expressed my conviction as clearly as possible that the God of the Bible is a completely different God from the god of Mormonism, that the Christ of Scripture is a wholly different Christ from the christ of Mormonism, and the true gospel is a radically different gospel from the gospel of Mormonism.
     I have maintained a cordial relationship with Dr. Millet for the sake of the truth, and am happy to provide him with as much of my material as he wishes to read. But my concern is for the truth; I'm not interested in artificial harmony between two contradictory faiths. For that reason I have consistently made clear in all my dialogue with Dr. Millet that there is no spiritual common ground between biblical Christianity and Mormonism.
     I would never deliberately equivocate on the truth or do anything that might lend credence to Mormonism. I'm convinced (as are all who understand Scripture accurately) that Mormonism is a false religion, generated by Satan. It is a damnable heresy, and in the words of Paul, "a different gospel," under God's anathema.


Clear enough?

Phil's signature

18 comments:

Announcerboy said...

Rock on, Phil.

Mataikhan said...

I wondered where the LDS bloggers were. I couldn't believe that no Mormon bloggers had been provoked to comment this week, but I guess if they wrote you personally to call you a liar, then you've been heard.
If a blogger posts in the blogosphere, and no body comments, does he make a sound?

Jeremy Weaver said...

I wonder if Mosser and Owen know that you speak with the good doctor (MacArthur) on a daily basis?

chris said...

The trip to Salt Lake by Biola students was a mission trip. I'm sure the Mormon students wouldn't report it that way.

Joe said...

Clear enough.

Larry said...

It's so refreshing in these PC, don't offend anyone times to actually read a black and white statement.

Impacted Wisdom Truth said...

Phil,

It seems that Owen and Mosser get around.

DOGpreacher said...

As I commented on your previous post...there are so few today who make the clear, unambiguous statements as John MacArthur does. I thank God that He has given them such a desire that they can do nothing less. Thanks Phil, and keep bringin' it!

Aaron Shafovaloff said...

Johnson's ministry has a correcting page online:

http://www.standingtogether.org/misquote.html

More commentary and info available here:

http://mormoninfo.org/index.php?id=153

May God bless BOTH relational and confrontational ministries in Utah with gentle grace and truth-heralding courage.

Grace and peace in Christ,

Aaron

Steve said...

Phil: It doesn't surprise me the least that Mosser and Owen accused you of "lying" and being "uneducated." I don't have the quote in front of me at the moment so this won't be exact, but I recently read the following words in the context of legal debates:

"If you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. If you have the truth on your side, argue the truth. If you have neither on your side, then blacken the character of your opponent."

That last line is exactly what Mosser and Owen have resorted to.

Impacted wisdom truth: Thanks for that fascinating link. Sad, but informative.

Ian said...

Hi Phil,
I just thought I'd let you know that Dr. Haykin has recently set up a blog. He'll get it up to snuff this week.
Ian Clary

Ian said...

I guess I should have posted the link to Dr. Haykin's blog! Ooops.

It is http://mghhistor.blogspot.com/

Sorry 'bout that!

Josh S. said...

Clear enough, but isn't "off-line e-mails" a contradiction? Electronic mail that didn't go through the internet? :)

tmssteve said...

Right on point! Years ago, I was asked to speak to a group of evangelism leaders at Grace Church. They were looking for THE key verses that brought me to faith, thus the key to reach Mormons. I told them Mormons have a wrong view of Man, Sin, God, Christ, Salvation, and Scripture. It is difficult to be more wrong than that.

Renee said...

Well, if they were confused about Macarthur's position or to busy following rumors of the meeting...

I think his letter makes it crystal clear his postion

Thanks Phil for keeping us up on this. I think you mentioned it best earlier this week (and Macarthur says it in his letter)...Mormon's do not worhsip Christ of the bible or believe the same Gospel, it really doesn't matter how close they are on definitions of certain doctrines if they are only using them to worship a false christ. The only dialogue that needs to be had is the true Gospel about the one and only Christ.

The Lord is definitely seperating the wheat from the tares (for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear)

SoccerReformer said...

"I'm convinced (as are all who understand Scripture accurately) that Mormonism is a false religion, generated by Satan. It is a damnable heresy, and in the words of Paul, "a different gospel," under God's anathema"

Well I mean look at all the wiggle room he is leaving with this statement.........................................I mean just LOOK at it!

Juice said...

Can someone just tell me what that picture of the two men is from? That's all that remains to be explained.

GetRighT said...

I believe the same could be said of Calvinisme. and Armenisme for that sake. All is heresy and not biblical.