Avenues toward Christianity

Mormonism in Comparative Church History

Book Notice

Avenues toward Christianity: Mormonism in Comparative Church History, by Christian Gellinek and Hans-Wilhelm Kelling (Global Publications, 2001)

This is not a book to be read in one session. Its title is well chosen because of the richness in diversity and tradition that is reflected in this work. The book does not address a narrow issue, but, as the word avenues indicates, takes a broader perspective on the Restoration, Mormon history, and doctrines. The authors, with their heritage in Germany, provide appropriate insights into Mormonism for German readers. At the same time, any reader unfamiliar with Latter-day Saint history in Germany will find that this work provides valuable information, especially about the early days of the Church in Germany and Denmark. The book also covers much of the historical development of Mormonism in the United States, and selective issues and key Mormon doctrines are thoughtfully discussed. Such discussions include perspectives on the Book of Mormon as an extension of the canon of scripture testifying of Christ.

Because they have intimate familiarity with the doctrines of the Reformation, the authors provide the reader with solid arguments about the historical context of Mormonism. Gellinek’s previous research of Hugo Grotius demonstrates similarities between the thinking of pre-Renaissance European scholars and doctrines associated with the Restoration. The comparison between Reformed Christianity and Mormon Christianity gives context to views about the purpose of life in both Calvinism and Mormonism.

This is a book that deserves more than one reading. Many of the issues discussed have to be studied and contemplated; one sitting will not do justice to the intended reach of this scholarly work.

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