Evangelicals, Latter-day Saints Discuss Divergent Views
In conjunction with the AAR/SBL meetings, the Evangelical Philosophical Society hosted a nearly four-hour formal discussion between Latter-day Saints and Evangelicals revolving around the nature of God and the doctrine of creation ex nihilo ("out of nothing"). Richard J. Mouw, president of California's Fuller Theological Seminary, moderated the discussion. Evangelical presenters included Francis J. Beckwith (Trinity Graduate School), Paul Copan (Trinity International University), William Lane Craig (Talbot School of Theology), Carl Mosser (a doctoral student at St. Mary's College of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland), and Paul Owen (Montreat College). The Latter-day Saint respondents included BYU professors David L. Paulsen (philosophy), who led off the discussion, Daniel C. Peterson (Arabic and Islamic studies), and Stephen D. Ricks (Hebrew and Semitic languages), followed by Hollis R. Johnson (a retired astrophysicist from Indiana University) and Blake T. Ostler (an attorney and philosopher from Salt Lake City). The discussion was substantive but civil, and its academic tone and content (as well as its venue) represent a significant milestone in the often difficult relationship between Latter-day Saints and conservative Protestants.