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Mormon Defenders BookWelcome to the hub page for The Mormon Defenders, which was published in 2001. Here we'll provide descriptions of each chapter, plus whatever links are necessary for further discussion and news on each of these chapters. This will include links to discussion forum threads, answers to any attempts at rebuttal, and any new information about what is discussed in the chapters.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword by Kevin Bywater, director of curriculum for Summit Ministries

  • Introduction: Aggressive Apologetics. A prediction and warning that Mormon evangelistic efforts will attempt to use apologetics strategies.

  • Chapter 1: Deity and Definition. On the Mormon claim that God is a glorified human being.

  • Chapter 2: Sonship and Separation. On the Mormon understanding of the nature of Jesus -- a sort of tritheism vs. orthodox Trinitarianism.

  • Chapter 3: Persons and Pre-Mortality. On the Mormon doctrine of the eternal pre-existence of human spirits.

  • Chapter 4: Baptism and Beyond. On the Mormon doctrine of proxy baptism for those already deceased.

  • Chapter 5: Dealing with the Dead. On the Mormon doctrine of postmortem evangelization (that is, the evangelization of those who have already died but did not get a chance to hear the Gospel in this life).

  • Chapter 6: Requirements or Results?. On the Mormon doctrine of salvation (covenental nomism).

  • Chapter 7: Reckonings and Rewards. On the Mormon doctrines of the afterlife.

  • Conclusion: Apostasy or Anachronism. A challenge to Mormon apologists.

  • Appendix: 1 Peter 3:18-20, The Augustianian Interpretation. A look at a different exegesis of this passage used by orthodox Christians.


    Here, we'll note reviews of the book.

    • Kevin Bywater rewrote the Foreword as a review on Amazon books:

      For over a century-and-a-half the Mormon Church has sought to claim the theological and biblical high ground over the Christian faith. For more than a decade I have watched new Latter-day Saint apologists emerge into the public dialog. I have witnessed LDS scholars gain and hold prestigious academic positions in non-LDS institutions. I have observed an increasing sophistication in their advocacy and in their responses to critics. And I have been greatly disappointed as my fellow Christians returned time and again to overstated, largely ineffective materials published to teach us how to refute Mormon arguments and how to witness of the grace of Christ to them.

      The seriousness of our situation became urgently clear when InterVarsity Press published an inter-faith dialog between Dr. Craig Blomberg (Denver Seminary) and Dr. Stephen Robinson (Brigham Young University) entitled, "How Wide the Divide?" While Dr. Blomberg brought a distinctly learned and refreshing perspective to the discussion, I wondered at the persistent equivocations on the part of Dr. Robinson. Robinson employs Christian vocabulary, to be sure, but he harbors a distinctly unbiblical dictionary. I was well aware of his rhetorical techniques from reading his books and articles (especially "Are Mormons Christians?"). I was disappointed that Dr. Blomberg did not expose Dr. Robinson's less-than-mainstream (or less-than-candid) presentation of his Mormon faith.

      With the publication of "The Mormon Defenders" my hopes have been reignited. J. P. Holding is someone well acquainted with LDS arguments and rhetoric, and familiar with the Bible and current biblical scholarship (whether "conservative" or "liberal"). He discusses such topics as divine embodiment, the relationship of the Father and the Son, preexistence, baptism for the dead, salvation for the living and the deceased, and deification. At every point, he evidences an extensive knowledge of his sources - whether Mormon, Christian or other. And while readers may take issue with some of the arguments in these pages, it is distinctly clear - thanks to Mr. Holding's studied and insightful engagement of the issues - that Mormonism is not biblical, regardless of the advanced degrees, regardless of their inroads into mainstream scholarship, regardless of their protestations to the contrary, and regardless of their rhetoric.

      As a former fifth-generation member of the LDS Church, I enthusiastically recommend "The Mormon Defenders" as an able, insightful and engaging defense of truly biblical Christianity. I pray that it will be just one of many such worthy volumes.

      The Mormon Defenders is averaging four stars in reviews on Amazon. One of the one-star reviews was a plagiarizing of the review of The Mormon Defenders in the FARMS Review of Books, to which I have issued a response.

      There was formerly a rebuttal of the book in progress by my friend Kevin Graham, but he has since publicly declared certain misgivings with the Mormon faith and has taken down the material. I have taken down my own responses, and kept copies them, which I will provide them on request.

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