This open letter has two major emphases. The first is a response to an e-mail that was received by Richard Mouw. The second emphasis addresses what I see are problems within the counter-cult community between what I will refer to as "academics" and "trench-level" ministers.
Thank you for your response. I will add my comments below yours.
First, some folks have asked who the "we" is that I apologized on behalf of when I said that that "we" evangelicals have sinned against Mormons by bearing false witness against them. I certainly did not mean to imply that every evangelical has sinned in this regard. Suppose I were to address an African-American gathering and say that we whites have sinned against you blacks. Who would deny that this is a correct assessment? But who would think that I was speaking about and on behalf of all white people?
It is interesting that you bring this up. Days before you sent your e-mail regarding your comments, I was talking to a friend of mine and compared your statements to a Promise Keepers event I attended a few years ago. A white man was on stage with a black worship leader and knelt down before him to ask his forgiveness on behalf of whites because "we" had enslaved this worship leader's forefathers. I thought this was totally inappropriate as he implicated all whites in his comment by not making a distinction between those who were guilty and those who happen to be white. My forefathers are from Canada and had nothing to do with slavery. I was personally offended by this act.
Your comments also offended me and I have to disagree with your apology for a number of reasons. While I agree with you that there have been those who have treated the Mormons poorly, you did not make a distinction between those who are guilty and those of us who conduct our ministry in a God-honoring manner. I have a number of questions for you.
What have you personally done to the Mormons that warranted an apology? If nothing, then who specifically were you apologizing for?
Did you get their permission to make the apology on their behalf?
If not, then how do you know they are sorry? It does no good to apologize for someone who does not believe they have done anything wrong.
Did you consult anyone else before you made your apology? If so, who, and did they agree with your apology?
Does Standing Together Ministries stand behind your apology?
There is no question in my mind that there has been a discernible pattern of sinning against LDS folks in this regard. I could show, for example, how Walter Martin oversimplified Mormon teachings in his much-read books.
Please do. I'd be interested to see it.
But here is an obvious example of more recent vintage: when Dave Hunt writes a whole book whose main thesis is that Mormonism is Satanic in its inspiration and practice, I think this is bearing false witness.
If Mormonism is not Satanically inspired, then what is it's origin?
On a more technical point, I have received emails in the past few days where evangelicals have said that Mormonism teaches that God was once a human being like us, and we can become gods just like God now is. Mormon leaders have specifically stated that such a teaching, while stated by past leaders, is something they don't understand and has no functioning place in presentday Mormon doctrine.
Really? Where have current Mormon general authorities stated that this doctrine has "no functioning place in present day Mormon doctrine?" Mind you, I am not looking for Time Magazine articles. I would like to see this in official Church publications.
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