Dr. Jeffress, Mormonism and dialogue

by Shelby Cade

dialogueA few weeks back,  Dr. Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas caused a stir by calling the Mormon religion a cult before the national media.  Was this the correct avenue to take?  I took a survey shortly after Jeffress statement with a group of men, and half said Jeffress did the right thing.  Being a pastor in the same denomination, I will have to disagree with Dr. Jeffress and the men in my survey.  I could never match the intelligence of pastor Jeffress, but believe he was mistaken by stirring the pot in this way before the national media.  I am not disagreeing with Dr. Jeffress theological assessment concerning  the differences between Mormonism and Orthodox Christianity, but feel his branding of Mormonism before the national media does nothing but kill all possible dialogue between Mormons and those who fall within the Orthodox beliefs of the Church.

The Apostle Paul when dialoguing with others was conscious of his audience and tailored his discussion so that dialogue could take place.  In Acts 17, while speaking to the Greek philosophers, Paul never once mentions Scripture, but instead addresses the people on their level.  In fact, Paul’s knowledge of the Greek thinkers allowed him to connect with the people by quoting two poets that the philosophers would have known about.  Paul said nothing offensive to block dialogue, but went out of his way to present the gospel such that people could respond.  In dialoguing in this way Paul gave freedom to the Holy Spirit to convict the hearts of the Greek thinkers, and this is exactly what happened…

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