The New Mormon Challenge: Responding to the Latest Defenses of a Fast-growing Movement

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Zondervan, 2002 - Religion - 535 pages
Current facts about Mormonism *Over 11 million members. *Over 60,000 full-time missionaries---more than any other single missionary-sending organization in the world. *More than 310,000 converts annually. *As many as eighty percent of converts come from Protestant backgrounds. (In Mormon circles, the saying is, 'We baptize a Baptist church every week.') *Within fifteen years, the numbers of missionaries and converts will roughly double. *Within eighty years, with adherents exceeding 267 million, Mormonism could become the first world-religion to arise since Islam. You may know the statistics. What you probably don't know are the advances the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) is making in apologetics and academic respectability. With superb training, Mormon scholars outclass many of their opponents. Arguments against Mormon claims are increasingly refuted as outdated, misinformed, or poorly argued. The New Mormon Challenge is a response to the burgeoning challenge of scholarly Mormon apologetics. Written by a team of respected Christian scholars, it is free of caricature, sensationalism, and diatribe. The respectful tone and responsible, rigorous, yet readable scholarship set this book in a class of its own. The New Mormon Challenge recycles no previous material and duplicates no one's efforts. Instead, responding to the best LDS scholarship, it offers freshly researched and well-documented rebuttals of Mormon truth claims. Most of the chapter topics have never been addressed, and the criticisms and arguments are almost entirely new. But The New Mormon Challenge does not merely challenge Mormon beliefs; it offers the LDS Church and her members ways to move forward. The New Mormon Challenge will help you understand the intellectual appeal of Mormonism, and it will reveal many of the fundamental weaknesses of the Mormon worldview. Whether you are sharing the gospel with Mormons or are investigating Mormonism for yourself, this book will help you accurately understand Mormonism and see the superiority of the historic Christian faith. Outstanding scholarship and sound methodology make this an ideal textbook. The biblical, historical, scientific, philosophical, and theological discussions are fascinating and will appeal to Christians and Mormons alike. Exemplifying Christian scholarship at its best, The New Mormon Challenge pioneers a new genre of literature on Mormonism. The Editors Francis J. Beckwith (Ph.D., Fordham University), Carl Mosser (Ph.D. candidate, University of St. Andrews), and Paul Owen (Ph.D., University of Edinburgh) are respected authorities on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the authors of various books and significant articles on Mormonism. Their individual biographies as well as information on the book's contributors appear inside. With contributors including such respected scholars as Craig L. Blomberg, William Lane Craig, J. P. Moreland, and others, The New Mormon Challenge is, as Richard Mouw states in his foreword, 'an important event for both Protestant evangelicals and Mormons' that models 'to the evangelical community what it is like to engage in respectful and meaningful exploration of a viewpoint with which we disagree on key points.' 'In recent years, Mormon scholars have produced a body of literature that has been largely ignored by evangelicals. This current volume takes a giant step forward in correcting this oversight in a way that is both intellectually vigorous, yet respectful.' ---Ken Mulholland, President, Salt Lake Theological Seminary 'Intellectually serious evangelical responses to the faith of the Latter-day Saints have been depressingly rare. This book represents a significant contribution to a conversation that, really, has just begun.' ---Daniel Peterson, Brigham Young University; Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) 'Finally we have a book from evangelicals in which the authors have made a good-faith effort to accurately represent the range of Mormon beliefs. I believe this book is the best effort to date by evangelicals to assess and critique Mormon worldviews.' ---Blake Ostler, LDS philosopher, author of Exploring Mormon Thought: The Attributes of God 'I applaud the sensitivity and understanding invested in this enormous work.' ---Ravi Zacharias 'This impressive new book makes every earlier evaluation of Mormonism outdated. The book sets a new standard in evangelical discussions of Mormon beliefs.' ---Dr. Ronald Nash, Reformed Theological Seminary (Orlando) and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville) '. . . displays an admirable grasp of primary sources and a commitment to genuine courtesy, combined with an unflinching desire to remain faithful to Scripture.' ---D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School 'What an important book! Evangelical scholars have joined together to pay Mormonism the high compliment of a serious, contemporaaaaaary evaluation. This is not a volume of 'Anti-Mormon' rhetoric, but rather a thoughtful, scholarly interaction in the tradition of How Wide the Divide? While theologically sophisticated, this is nonetheless an accessible book that will assist readers of all kinds to respond effectively to the new Mormon challenge. It is a book that demands a response.' ---Rev. Gregory Johnson, President, Standing Together Ministries, Orem, Utah See additional endorsements inside.

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An interesting and worthy attempt to refute what Mormons claim to be revealed by God Himself. Ultimately, it is man's argument against the God who created him. No one but the Mormons claim to have been visited directly by God the Father and Jesus Christ, no one claims to have had the Aaronic priesthood restored by John the Baptist, nor the Melchizedek priesthood restored by Peter, James and John, nor has anyone else claimed to have been instructed to usher in the last dispensation of the fullness of times. These are significant claims that should alone give any intellect pause. 

Contents

A Muchneeded and Challenging Book
19
Mormonisms Appeal Growth and Challenges
27
THE APOLOGETIC IMPULSE IN EARLY MORMONISM The Historical Roots of the New Mormon Challenge
31
AND THE SAINTS GO MARCHING ON The New Mormon Challenge for World Missions Apologetics and Theology
59
The Mormon Worldview
89
CRAFTSMAN OR CREATOR? An Examination of the Mormon Doctrine of Creation and a Defense of Creatio ex nihilo
95
THE GOD OF ABRAHAM ISAAC AND JOSEPH SMITH? God Creation and Humanity in the Old Testament and Mormonism
153
A TALE OF TWO THEISMS The Philosophical Usefulness of the Classical Christian and Mormon Concepts of God
193
THE ABSURDITIES OF MORMON MATERIALISM A Reply to the Neglected Orson Pratt
243
Mormonism and Christianity
267
MONOTHEISM MORMONISM AND THE NEW TESTAMENT WITNESS
271
IS MORMONISM CHRISTIAN?
315
The Book of Mormon
333
DOES THE BOOK OF MORMON REFLECT AN ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN BACKGROUND?
337
RENDERING FICTION Translation Pseudotranslation and the Book of Mormon
367
FINAL CONCLUSIONS
397

MORAL LAW THE MORMON UNIVERSE AND THE NATURE OF THE RIGHT WE OUGHT TO CHOOSE
219

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About the author (2002)

Francis J. Beckwith received a M.A. and PhD. from Fordham University and a M.J.S. from the Washington University School of Law, St. Louis. He is a Professor of philosophy and church-state studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He has held visiting full-time academic appointments at Princeton University, University of Notre Dame, and the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is the author of many books including Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice, Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic, Politics for Christians: Statecraft As Soulcraft, and Taking Rites Seriously: Law, Politics, and the Reasonableness of Faith, which won the 2016 American Academy of Religion Book Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in Constructive-Reflective Studies.

Carl Mosser (PhD candidate, University of St. Andrews) has published significant articles on Mormonism in both evangelical and Mormon journals.

Paul Owen (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is assistant professor of Bible and religion at Montreat College. He has published significant articles on Mormonism in both evangelical and Mormon journals. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

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