Evangelical leader says commonality with Mormons deeper than differences

Published: Saturday, Nov. 16 2013 7:45 p.m. MST

“I show that address to my students at Fuller,” Mouw said. “They tell me that if they didn’t know it was a Mormon speaking they would have thought it was Billy Graham.”

Mormons and evangelical Christians, he continued, “say the same things” about Jesus Christ.

“These are profound teachings that we both talk about,” Mouw said. “These are the things we need to be talking about rather than shouting at each other and demonizing each other.”

Such focus, he explained, is an important element of what he calls the “convicted civility” that should exist between faith groups.

“We do need to give a witness of those deepest convictions in our soul,” Mouw said. “But we also need to be willing to learn from each other, to be open, to listen. And we need to be able to work together for the common good.”

Evangelicals and Mormons both “hear God’s call to justice and righteousness,” he continued. “In our communities, when we are asked to say something about the deep hope that is in us, we name the name of Jesus. Together we need to serve sinful people in a fallen world.”

During a panel discussion held later in the afternoon as part of UVU’s interreligious engagement initiative, Mouw identified religious freedom as one of the key areas in which evangelical Christians and Mormons can work together.

“We need to figure out how we can work together in the battle to maintain our religious rights,” he said, sharing the panel with UVU President Matthew Holland. “And not just our own rights. The best thing we can do together is to defend the rights of Muslim women to wear a burqa, or the religious rights of Sikhs or Jehovah’s Witnesses. We need to not seem like we’re just in the battle for ourselves. This is larger than just us. We need to look out for the religious rights and freedoms of all people. When we defend the rights of others, we are also defending our own rights."

Matthew Holland agreed.

“Wherever we are in this relationship,” he said, “it is the religious liberty issue that beckons into the future a commonality that may help transcend past barriers in ways we have never previously seen.”

Email: jwalker@deseretnews.com

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