Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 86

REVIEW OF MORMON CHRISTIANITY - Paul into mortality and after he ascended. Webb makes the material eternal body the centerpiece of his Christology. Since Mormons tend to do the same, Webb’s book provides a rich dialogue between estranged Christian cousins who, as Richard Mouw says, in spite of believing their respective theologies defective, still put their trust in the true Christ. Webb wants to lift the absolute eternity of the incarnate Jesus Christ to the center of Christian thought. Why is the eternity of incarnation such a pivotal truth to him? It must have something to do with his desire to worship the right God, and more, to rightly know who he, the worshipper, is. The eternity of the incarnate Christ points to the same eternal incarnate possibility for every human person. If this doctrine that God is heavenly flesh from eternity is true, then humans can take an optimistic attitude about their experience in this material world and look forward (and backward) to the enjoyment of bodily and thus social form. For me, Webb opens the door to a refreshing breeze of naturalist theology that coherently allows for the eternity of matter and forms that do not place God outside of them. In the spirit of William James, Webb allows for material reality that is currently unmeasured by our instruments. He uses science, philosophy, and theology as useful tools for tentatively better understanding God and humanity too. For Mormons, this book (and Webb’s earlier book on the material God) provides a clear voice of connection between their restored gospel and the ongoing Christian tradition. The Mormons will no longer hear only vague echoes of lost truth but vibrant backup choirs singing at times together but often apart. For example, they will understand how Roman Catholics and Calvinist Protestants differ greatly over the freedom of man as it relates to the absolute control of God; and how the Mormons are closer to many Catholics thinkers than they are to traditional Calvinists in many ways. The Christians—Catholic and Protestant—will read and find an interpretive lens with which to grasp the original background message radiating from the Christian big bang in the first century: God the Father is a material person revealed clearly by the material man-god Jesus. The supposed elevation of the material divine person to the immaterial being beyond time and space was an unintentional degradation of God. Webb’s theological project is a coin with two sides. On the topside, he wants to show how the divine Son was an eternal material being, and God (“The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do” [Jn 5:19 85