“Starting at the Finish Line; The Gospel of Grace for Mormons” is the story of Dr. John Wallace’s exit from the Church of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). He opens his book by providing unique insight into his childhood/early adult years in the church and the subsequent struggle to satisfy the requirements of the church. This struggle left him feeling empty and, at times, hypocritical. Wallace experienced a crisis of faith as became unsettled with the reality of God’s grace. In the second section of his book, he defends the accuracy and reliability of the Bible. This is crucial because the Mormon Church, as Wallace sees, is guilty of picking and choosing the parts of the Bible they will believe while at the same time dismiss it altogether. Wallace builds a solid defense of the Bible’s reliability.
In the third section, Wallace gives his readers a look into his crisis of faith as he came to terms with God’s holiness and the Mormon tenant that man has the capacity to become a god. This crisis served as the catalyst for his exit. Sections four and five consist of Wallace’s demonstration of the difference between Christianity and Mormonism in the areas of the person of Jesus Christ, the sufficiency of the blood atonement, grace, the balance between faith and works, and eternity. The latter sections are given to reconciling an existing tension between Christians and Mormons. That tension: Mormons believe there has to be something more than faith and Christians believe there can be nothing but faith.
“Starting at the Finish Line” is a good work. When it comes to leading someone out of a false belief system, the most effective means in doing so is the testimony of one who belonged to that belief system. Wallace takes a fair and balanced approach in his writing. This is not a Mormon-bashing book. Wallace puts Mormon theology and the words of their leadership alongside the Bible and asks the reader to decide. This is a great book for the Mormon who is struggling within their belief system. This is also a great book for Christians to be able to understand the basic beliefs of the LDS Church and how to defend the tenants of the Christian faith.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from CrossFocused Reviews as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”