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From Exclusion, Toward Embrace

Latter-Day Saint and Traditional Christian Thought Through the Lens of the Lord's Prayer

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On the four corner lots formed by the intersecting of Main and Church Streets in Palmyra, NY, one finds four large Protestant churches today. Two centuries ago on the Smith family farm a few blocks to the south, a teenage Joseph Jr. found himself caught in the rivalry between such churches contentiously competing to claim the allegiance of repentant converts from the most recent revival. He wrote that, while praying in a grove of trees a short walk from his log cabin home, "I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong." He would go on to organize a new church, which-ironically-would soon claim to be "the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth."
Over the years Protestant denominational loyalties and exclusivity claims have faded and expressions of mutual embrace are not uncommon. However, the lines between these churches and the one founded by Joseph Smith Jr.-The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-have remained stark and at times harsh.
How does Jesus Christ, himself, perceive this excluding of one another? In the Lord's prayer recorded in John 17, Jesus appears to anticipate these divisions arising among his would-be followers. So he prays repetitively and passionately that they be protected from these. At stake is the validity of their witness to the world of his own exclusive claims. To be sure, differing beliefs as to what those claims are should not be superficially dismissed. But, in the light of how Jesus prayed, should they not be honestly and prayerfully discussed in a mutually respectful way?
To stimulate and facilitate this discussion is the intent of this book, using as our guide the simple but profound petitions Jesus taught us in the more well-known Lord's Prayer.

"I came to know and admire Bill Heersink in a formal theological dialogue between Evangelical Christians and Latter-day Saints. Bill has chosen to look carefully at the beliefs of Evangelicals and Latter-day Saints through the lens of a scriptural passage beloved by both groups-the Lord's Prayer. And how better could we hope to achieve unity of purpose and 'convicted civility' than through Jesus Christ?"
-Robert L. Millet is Professor Emeritus of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University, where he served as Dean of Religious Education.

"Bill Heersink, seminary professor and participant in many dialogues, brings his most irenic and upbeat spirit to this gem of a book. Fully abreast of the most important academic questions, the book nevertheless wears its learning lightly and at times reads more like a devotional. Warmly to be commended to all readers of any or no faith communities."
-Craig L. Blomberg is Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary and co-author of the groundbreaking book How Wide the Divide? A Mormon and an Evangelical in Conversation.

"Having lived in Utah among the Latter-day Saints for many years, the author affirms his own deeply Christian beliefs while respectfully seeking to reconcile differences between Mormon and Protestant theology and beliefs."
-Richard E. Bennett is Professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University and former President of the
Mormon History Association.

"Bill has brought all of that experience to the writing of a book that expresses a pastor's heart, a love of Mormon neighbors, theological savvy, and a Christ-centered spirituality ... a book that evangelical pastors and Mormon bishops can recommend with confidence."
-Richard J. Mouw was President of Fuller Theological Seminary,1993-2012.

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  • Additional Details
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    Product Specs
    • SKU: 9781973679479
    • Manufacturer: Westbow Pr
    • Author: Bill Heersink
    • ISBN 13: 9781973679479
    • Publication Date: 12/01/2019
    • Format: Hardcover
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