Craig Harline’s Sunday

Hey, my wife and I are soon flying to North Carolina in order to speak in a missions conference.  But I have noticed today that the conservative Christian website, Sharper Iron, has posted my short book review on Craig Harline’s, Sunday (Doubleday, 2007).

Check it out.  I noticed that Craig is not too fond of Puritan, Calvinistic preachers.  Would you think it right of me in saying that Mormonism is the direct antithesis?


  1. I suppose theologically, it ought to be. But culturally, I doubt it. The old Mormon stock came from largely Protestant roots and old habits die hard. Additionally, Mormonism in America has been on a steady journey of mainstreaming with American culture. That means going Protestant. American Mormons seem to be doing their darndest to be good Protestants.

    No offense Todd, but this trend bugs me to no end.

    Protestantism holds almost no personal appeal to me. I’d prefer Judaism and Catholicism first. I just think that Mormonism’s tie to Protestantism is purely cultural and has nothing to do with the doctrine we’ve been given. Certainly the LDS faith is arguably more catholic (lower-case) than Protestant. We also seem to have a strong Jewish tie-in as well.

    And theologically, Calvin is simply reviled in Mormon thought. John F’s comments on predestination are actually fairly representative of the reaction from Mormons who actually bother to think about Calvinism. Try to bring up Calvinism on the Mormon blog “New Cool Thang” and you’ll be quickly torn to shreds. It just really is toxic from our theological perspective.

    But culturally, Mormons are, ironically, still kind of wed to the Protestant ethical assumptions Calvin helped form.

  2. Todd, I must say that I found this completely irrelevant.

    “Just as early Mormonism taught the idea of planets governed by gods, ancient Babylonians…”

    Harline was writing the book as a historian, not as a Mormon. It went through a non-LDS press for a non-LDS audience. To read it or critique it as though it were a Mormon take on the sabbath is to misread it, and bringing in irrelevant (and inaccurate?) historical issues doesn’t make you look terribly professional. But I’ve come to expect irrelevant theological elbow jabs from EV’s.

  3. How is this for some honesty?

    Harline is biased (did you notice his slight comments in the book about historical conceptions of God?). I am biased. And Nitsav, you are biased. We all portray biased sensitivities.

    Back in the late summer, for the first time I listened to Hebrew LDS scholar, David Bokovoy, as he praised the early Babylonian sun god, while giving a session on Isaiah and Nephi.

    If Bokovoy can connect Mesopotamian gods with LDS thoughts on gods, why am I not allowed to make my comments?

    Also, as you implied inaccuracy in your paranthesis, how am I being this? I would like to be corrected if I am wrong.

  4. Todd, I’m aware that we all have biases. However, being aware of them doesn’t justify distortion.

    Your comment distinctly implies that like the Babylonians, early Mormonism assigned different deities to planets of our solar system.

    The burden of proof is on you to support this assertion, not on me to prove its inaccuracy.

    What did your comment have to do with the book? ARe you implying that Harline included his data on the Babylonians because he’s Mormon? Or just taking a swipe at your misperception of early LDS belief?

    I don’t mind people making well-informed asides that help people understand the topic. But yours distorts LDS belief.

    Did David make any analogy between Shamash and LDS thought? Or did he simply use his professional knowledge of Babylonian belief and thought?

    I guess I see them differently because 1) David actually studies Akkadian 2) he didn’t distort anything in his aside 3) it related to his topic.

    Was it a review of the book or of Harlines bias?

  5. Your comment distinctly implies that like the Babylonians, early Mormonism assigned different deities to planets of our solar system.

    Ahhhhhhh. I get it now, Nitsav. It takes a while for me to register things. Harline is talking about planets of our solar system, while I in my aside, I did not make that distinction difference.


    I can highlight this correction in the thread of my review on Sharperiron.

  6. That’s much better, thanks. Sorry it’s taken so long to respond (and the original prickly response), I’ve been traveling.

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