From Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, from Chapter 11 of his book To My Friends — Messages of Counsel and Comfort

In addressing friends of other faiths, my purpose is not to make some sort of ecumenical statement. We are all who we are, and we believe what we believe. In saying that, I acknowledge at the outset important doctrinal differences between us. But I also acknowledge that what we have in common is so good, so extensive, and so potentially powerful in addressing the ills of society that we ought in the fellowship of Christ to know and understand each other better than we do.

Friends, you know what I know—that there is in the modern world so much sin and moral decay affecting everyone, especially the young, and it seems to be getting worse by the day. You and I share so many concerns about the spread of pornography, abuse and abortion, illicit sexual transgression, violence, crudity, cruelty, and temptation, all glaring as close as your daughter’s cell phone or you son’s iPad. Surely there is a way for people of good will who love God and have taken upon themselves the name of Christ to stand together for the cause of Christ and against the forces of sin. In this we have every right to be bold and believing, for “if God be for us, who can be against us?” You serve and preach, teach and labor in that confidence, and so do I. And in doing so I believe we can trust in that next verse from Romans as well, “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” I truly believe that if across the world we try harder not to separate each other “from the love of Christ,” we will be “more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (Romans 31, 32, 35, 37)

I don’t need to tell anyone that Latter-day Saints and other Christians have not always met on peaceful terms. From the time in the early 19th century when Joseph Smith came from his youthful revelatory epiphany and made his bold declaration regarding it, our exchanges have been anything but cordial. And yet, strangely enough—I cannot help but believe this to be a part of divine orchestration of events in these troubled times—LDS and evangelical academics and church figures have been drawn together since the late 1990s in what I think has become a provocative and constructive theological dialogue. It has been an honest effort to understand and be understood, an endeavor to dispel myths and misrepresentations or both sides, a labor of love in which the participants have felt motivated by and moved upon with a quiet force deeper and more profound than a typical interfaith exchange.

The first of those formal dialogues took place in the spring of 2000 at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where, in an earlier life, I served as president. Names and faces have changed somewhat over the years since then, but the dialogue has continued.

Over the next decade the various participants came prepared (through readings of articles and books) to discuss a number of doctrinal subjects, including the Fall of Man, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, Scripture, Revelation, Grace and Works, Trinity/Godhead, Edification, Authority, and Joseph Smith. The dialogues were held not only at BYU but also at Nauvoo, Illinois; Pasadena,California; Palmyra, New York; Chicago Illinois; and at regular meetings of the American Academy of Religion.

~ Jeffrey R. Holland, To My Friends (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2014), 197-220 Dwarsligger®

continued. . .



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