It would be a tragedy for us to allow t heological differences to keep us from laboring together on matters of such importance.
thayne: Who are some of your colleagues that are involved in this dialogue?
millet: This takes two forms. There is a dialogue that Pastor Gregory
some extent we’re working together
thayne: You mentioned “God things.”
Johnson and I participate in quite
already. We could just do it much
I’m not familiar with that term. Does
often, entitled “A Mormon and an
engaging in interfaith dialogue require
Evangelical in Conversation.” Then
learning, in a sense, a new language?
there is the larger dialogue that takes
thayne: Did graduate school promote
millet: No question. For graduate
place between a group of Latter-
your interest in interfaith dialogue?
school, I had to learn an entirely new
day Saint thinkers and a group of
millet: It did. When I started at
vocabulary for the academic study of
Evangelicals. Professor Camille Fronk
Florida State, there were about eight
religion. Now, in my interaction with
Olson and myself in ancient scripture,
or nine of us beginning our doctoral
Evangelicals, I’ve had to learn a new
David Paulsen from philosophy, Grant
studies at the same time, and our
vocabulary to know where they’re
Underwood from history, and Richard
beliefs were across the spectrum.
coming from, so that if they should
Bennett, Spencer Fluhman, and Reid
We had a Roman Catholic, three or
ask me, “Are you a saved Christian?”
Neilson from Church history and
four Southern Baptists, a Nazarene,
I know what they’re asking. They’re
doctrine. Roger Keller and Stephen
a secular Jew, and a Latter-day
asking, “Have you received Jesus
Robinson were also involved with us
Saint. And they were fascinated with
Christ as your Lord and Savior?” My
in the past. So there are usually about
Mormonism. There were a number
answer to that is yes. Or if they want
seven or eight of us on each side in
of things that happened during those
to know if I’ve been born again, I
our Evangelical-LDS dialogue team,
five years that, as I look back on
know what they’re asking. So yes, I’ve
as we call it, and we meet together
it, were, as my Evangelical friends
done a great deal of reading and had
a couple of times a year to consider
would say, “God things.” We would
hundreds of hours of conversation to
a different matter of doctrine. We
say they were inspired occurrences
gain that sort of clarity.
will read in advance an Evangelical document on the topic, whether it’s a
that God orchestrated, causing me to realize the Lord’s hand was in this.
thayne: Would you say that commu
book or articles, and we’ll read some
Something important was happening.
nication barriers can sometime present
Latter-day Saint material on it. And
For example, I went early to class one
opportunities to actually get closer to
then we’ll have an exchange back
day so I could get some reading in
someone than you otherwise could, by
and forth on ideas, asking, “What do
and a group of young people from the
overcoming such boundaries?
you see in this?” Not too long ago, for
seminar came in. One of them said,
millet: Yes, let me give you an illus
example, we studied the doctrine of
“We came to study a little bit too, but,
tration. There is a word we use almost
human deification, or theosis.
Bob, let me ask you something. We’ve
every day in our faith that is a bit
been talking about Mormonism.
off-putting for many other Christians.
thayne: Have you seen any positive
Would you take a minute to draw on
It’s the word worthy. They think by
results from this dialogue?
the board what you people believe
the word worthy that we mean I have
millet: We have. I’ll give you an
about God’s plan?” That’s like a huge
made myself worthy and Christ didn’t
example. I received a long-distance
softball being served up to a batter,
have a thing to do with it. I’ve tried to
phone call not long ago from a
and I had enough of those occa
explain that our equivalent to being
student. She said, “I’m a doctoral
sions and interaction with people of
worthy is equivalent to their being
student at Columbia University, and
all sorts that I think it prepped me
saved. In other words, if I’m worthy,
my dissertation topic is such-and-
when the time was right to want to be
I’m on a course for salvation.
such in American religious history.
engaged in interfaith relations.
I also deal with some LDS beliefs. W INT E R 2 0 0 9 15
Published on Feb 26, 2009
Published on Feb 26, 2009
BYU Religious Education Review magazine provides readers with information about BYU’s college of Religious Education, the Religious Studies...