(Baltimore Sun) Jason Poling–Evangelicals and Mormons: Can we talk?

what I tried to convey remains true: There are unbridgeable gaps between traditional Christian orthodoxy and the theological positions taken by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As Brigham Young University professor Robert Millet notes, “Latter-day Saints are not in the line of historic Christianity and ”¦ do not accept the concepts concerning God, Christ, and the Godhead that grew out of the post-New Testament councils.” The theological affirmations contained in the great creeds of the historic church are held by Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants alike; the Mormon church teaches that all of these branches of the historic Christian family tree are apostate and not authentically Christian.

I know many individual Mormons and historic orthodox Christians who believe people in one another’s communities to be genuine followers of Jesus Christ. But the religious movements of historic Christianity on the one hand and Mormonism on the other do not recognize one another’s movements as Christian. That doesn’t mean individual people within those movements reject one another as citizens, or as political leaders ”” let alone as friends and colleagues. But it does mean that these religious traditions have things to say about one another.

Read it all but please note that what Mr. Poling attributes to Luther [“With Luther, I would rather be governed by an honest and capable man of a different religious faith than by a corrupt and ineffective politician who attended my church”] is something you often see quoted, but no one has ever been able to show me a reference where this was said in Luther’s own works [and I recall the now late Richard John Neuhaus saying much the same]. If any blog readers can find such a reference, do let me know–KSH.


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2 comments on “(Baltimore Sun) Jason Poling–Evangelicals and Mormons: Can we talk?

  1. IowaJay says:

    The normal version attributed to Luther is that it is better to be ruled by a “wise Turk” then a “foolish Christian.” The closest it appears that Luther came to saying something like that is when he said it is better to be ruled by a prince who is prudent, but not good, rather than one who is good but not prudent. The quote from his commentary on Deuteronomy can be found here:

  2. Kendall Harmon says:

    Thanks #1–that quote of course doesn’t come close to saying what Luther is alleged to have said.

    I somehow found the Neuhaus reference, it is from 1997:

    I’ve been trying to put it to rest for years, but this cat has nine times nine lives. She appears again in another incarnation in an interview that Jeff Greenfield did with Ralph Reed of the Christian Coalition. Greenfield asks whether one can derive from Christian faith a set of public policy specifics. Reed: “I guess my argument on that would be what Martin Luther said, which is: I would rather be operated on by a Turkish surgeon than a Christian butcher.” The usual form of it is, “I would rather be ruled by a wise Turk than by a stupid Christian.” I had used it for years in speeches and writing until I was challenged. My curiosity piqued, I launched an inquiry that ended up involving scholars and librarians both here and in Europe, only to discover that Luther never said it. It fits Luther’s “twofold kingdom” approach to civil governance, and he said much of the same purport, but please take this as yet another effort to put it to rest.

    I see also that Wikiquote has it as disputed (see the very bottom) http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Martin_Luther#Disputed.

    It looks like this may require a separate entry.