Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

A Different Jesus? the Christ of the Latter-Day Saints

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

A Different Jesus? the Christ of the Latter-Day Saints

Article excerpt

A Different Jesus? The Christ of the Latter-day Saints. By Robert L. Millet. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2005. xviii + 226 pp. $16.00 (paper).

Appearing during the bicentennial celebration of Joseph Smiths birth, this book marks an extraordinary moment in Mormon history. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has come a long way since its founding in 1830-from persecuted sect to one of the world's fastest growing religious organizations. Masked mobs are passé, but scores of books, videos, and websites continue to brand the church a cult and its prophet a charlatan. At stake in the exchange between Latter-day Saints and their detractors is the LDS claim to Christian identity.

Millet attempts to set the record straight on at least one point: Christology. The Brigham Young University religion professor is a leading figure in the burgeoning enterprise of the Mormon encounter with Protestant and Catholic Christians. Moving the discussion from debate to dialogue, he presents the LDS doctrine of Christ in the spirit of what Fuller Seminary president Richard Mouw calls "convicted civility" (p. xv). He especially targets evangelical readers sincerely curious about the place of Jesus in Mormon thought.

Millet explores the major dimensions of a fascinating Christological vision which is "Christian but different" (p. 170). The LDS view of Christ, he argues, cannot be understood apart from belief in the restoration of authentic Christianity and the reality of modern prophecy. The scope of Mormonism's "high Christology" (p. 71) encompasses Christ's various roles in the LDS worldview: firstborn spirit child of God the Father, creator of multiple worlds, Jehovah among the Israelites, Messiah in first-century Palestine and ancient America, and Savior in the postmortem spirit world. Two chapters concentrate on the relationship between Christology and soteriology. Millet explains the LDS emphasis on Gethsemane in Christ's atoning work and places the practice of baptism for the dead and the Mormon tendency toward universalism in Christological perspective. …

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