LDS Perspectives Podcast: Robert L. Millet “Mere Christians?”

Listen on the LDS Perspective Podcast website, or directly, here.

Robert L. Millet was the Abraham O. Smoot Professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University and has spent years engaging in interfaith dialogue with scholars of many religious traditions.

He has often been asked the core question: “Are Mormon’s Christian?” His answer is echoed in a recent Gospel Topics essay on resolutely declaring, “Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unequivocally affirm themselves to be Christians.”

The early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may have been considered peculiar, but they were rarely accused of not being Christian.

The current argument against Mormonism’s Christianity is based on three observations:

1) Latter-day Saints do not accept the creeds, confessions, and formulations of post-New Testament Christianity.

2) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not descend through the historical line of traditional Christianity. That is, the LDS Church did not break off of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestant traditions.

3) Latter-day Saints do not believe in a closed canon.

In this LDS Perspectives Podcast, host Nick Galieti asks Robert Millet to clarify distinctions of doctrine, to suggest how members of the LDS Church can use the “Are Mormon’s Christian?” Gospel Topics essay, and to comment on why members of the LDS Church should embrace what is both unique about LDS theology and what they share with other Christian faiths.

Check out to the resources referenced in this podcast at LDS Perspectives

3 thoughts on “LDS Perspectives Podcast: Robert L. Millet “Mere Christians?”

  1. I live in the south, where this effort to blend Mormon identity with the term “Christian” results in a *lot* of confusion, because the word “Christian” to folks here has always meant someone whose God is the trinitarian Christ/Father/Spirit. “Christian” here also means someone who pledges unquestioning devotion to all other aspects of the Nicene Creed (which folks down here recite in church each week, led by their PhD-in-divinity pastors), so when Mormons down here keep asserting, “I am Christian,” the local actual Christians get confused and say, “But I thought y’all were more unitarian in your theology?”

    Instead, when talking to locals, I identify myself as a devout disciple/follower of Christ, one who worships the Father as a distinct, separate God and reverences His Son as a separate deity, which pretty much spells out non-Christian, but shows that I have a lot of common ground to build on with my Christian neighbors, but eliminates the confusion as I talk to them about my LDS beliefs

    I just can’t figure out why so many Mormons keep insisting on applying the “Christian” moniker, when that term popularly embodies all the Nicene doctrines that are not ours?

    • Sometimes it can help to go to the New Testament and read the scriptures there where the term Christian is used and define a Christian based on scripture. Theoretically, that shouldn’t offend or confuse folks who believe in sola scriptura as scripture is supposed to be the infallible rule of faith and practice. Acts 11:26-30 is good. I read it as a Christian is a disciple who listens to apostles (living ones) and does what they ask. 🙂 It might be easier to stop calling ourselves Christians but then we allow others to (re)define the term into something that also excludes the earliest believers in Christ.

      • Ah, good scripture–love it. But to quote scripture in the presence of my southern Christian friends (and they don’t *ever* identify by religion name, be they Methodist, Baptist, Anglican, etc but always just call themselves “Christian”) would only lead to contention. Did I mention those PhDs in divinity? 😉 They are good folks, all of them, which is why I sort of scratch my head as to why we are trying so hard to adopt their name/identity, when we don’t ever intend to adopt the Nicene creed, which they consider THE foundational belief of the Christian. To foster greater accord with our brothers and sisters here in the Bible Belt, I believe that we need to ditch this “religious appropriation.” We’re already getting a dose of our own medicine w/ the polygamists who persist in using the name/identity of “Mormon,” even though they don’t fully embrace our doctrines, either.

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