Kent, on your question of “Evangelical Mormon” you might find a few of the reviews of “How Wide the Divide?” pretty relevant (some of them directly tackle the question of whether Robinson makes too many concessions to Evangelicalism). Here’s the link to a blog post compiling them:
To How Wide the Divide Graduates
I’d actually recommend this resource to anyone who is interested in this area.]]>
@ #12 Kent M: I had a professor in the religion department at BYU who had attended Young Life and Baptist youth groups as a teenager (though he was raised LDS) and was regularly tempering his teachings with evangelical commentaries and views of things. I called him my Evangelical Mormon friend… so, are you an evangelical Mormon? You very well could be.]]>
Regarding Salvation & Exaltation: I have found it very helpful to talk about how different the expectations I have for heaven may be from those of other Christians. Without a paradigm shift, we end up speaking past each other. Mormons believe that the afterlife is full of purposeful work and that this life is training for that purposeful work. We are sent to earth to freely choose to be about God’s work rather than serving selfish interests. As a result, salvation ends up being about my desire for Christ to mediate and heal my relationship with God and others whom I’ve hurt (and to heal me too). Christ will save me from the pain of my fractured relationships just as quickly as I ask him to do so (as long as it is sincere and I truly give him my life).
Salvation is not just a heavenly reward, it is to be experienced in the here-and-now; it is a state-of-being, having all of my relationships mediated through Christ (giving life to all those relationships). Kingdoms of glory are not “rewards” for individuals who do a good job in this life, they are representative of the state-of-being of resurrected individuals who have demonstrated trustworthiness with the gifts they have been given. In Mormonism, the priesthood is not a feather in the cap (to quote Nibley), rather it is a burden, a joyful burden which yokes us to Christ, but a burden all the same.
In the next life, God isn’t going to be passing out trophies and keys to mansions, he is going to ask us to continue on the apprenticeship program we started in this life. Those who have shown themselves to be trustworthy with a few things, will be given more work to do. Exaltation is just different degrees of work and responsibility.
The way I view God’s blessings is that his arms are full of gifts to give me, but I refuse to receive the gifts based on my inability to give up sin and receive his life into mine. In the afterlife we will be the one who says, “This is all I can handle right now, I can’t take any more glory/responsibilities.” Right now you couldn’t pay me enough to be the president of the U.S., I’m just not ready for that kind of responsibility or power. I think the afterlife will be full of people accepting power and responsibility at very different rates.
So, am I an Evangelical Mormon?]]>