The author recognizes that the devout Latter-day Saint is unlikely to ever pick up this book to read it. Technically, he is prohibited from doing so! And even if he were to, the central message of this book -- that we are saved by the grace of God the moment we place our full faith and trust in Christ's complete work for our salvation on the cross of Calvary -- would likely seem overly simplistic and terribly inadequate to that devout Mormon. This is unfortunate and the cause of much frustration on the part of ...
The author recognizes that the devout Latter-day Saint is unlikely to ever pick up this book to read it. Technically, he is prohibited from doing so! And even if he were to, the central message of this book -- that we are saved by the grace of God the moment we place our full faith and trust in Christ's complete work for our salvation on the cross of Calvary -- would likely seem overly simplistic and terribly inadequate to that devout Mormon. This is unfortunate and the cause of much frustration on the part of both the Christian who just cannot seem to "get through" to his or her LDS loved ones, and to the the Mormon that feels insulted that the Christian even feels the need to "save" them.
Starting at the Finish Line, then, is really for three groups of people: 1) The "cultural Mormon" who might highly value all the wonderful benefits of belonging to the LDS church but secretly doesn't fully believe in the Joseph Smith/Moroni/gold plates narrative (or in any of a number of other difficult doctrines). 2) Those that have already left the Mormon faith but don't know where to turn. These folks often feel lost and untethered in this world, often concluding that if Mormonism isn't true, then nothing is! 3) The Christian that desperately wants to better understand the Mormon mindset, if for no other reason but to know how to dialogue with them.
And this is where the author excels. Having been Mormon for twenty years, deeply committed to the LDS way of life and thoroughly versed in LDS doctrine, Dr. Wallace serves as somewhat of a "double agent"; that is to say that he fully understands the hearts and minds of both Mormons and evangelical Christians. And while this book does not strive to be a comprehensive, point-counterpoint analysis of Mormon and biblical Christian theologies, it may very well prove to be the most powerful (and relatable) explanation of the Gospel of Grace written specifically in terms the Latter-day Saint will understand. Or as the author is fond of saying, this is all about "sharing the good news of the gospel, and making it sound like good news to the Latter-day Saint."
Starting at the Finish Line seeks to convince the Latter-day Saint of three primary truths: 1) The Bible is the Word of God. It is trustworthy in terms of its translation and transmission to us over the many centuries, and authoritative in terms of leading us into a saving-faith relationship with Christ. 2) Christ purchased our salvation with his precious blood on the cross of Calvary. This is the work of our salvation and there is no other work for us to do other than to receive this gift in faith. 3) Any attempt on our part to contribute to our salvation (by works and obedience) is an offense to God. It demonstrates our lack of faith in the sufficiency of Christ's redeeming blood. As Paul so bluntly wrote to the Galatians, this severs us from God's grace, putting us in the unenviable postition of needing to obey the law perfectly if we are to ever enter God's kingdom. Lots of luck!
Ultimately, the author, by sharing his own personal story, demonstrates the incomparable joy of emerging out of a religion of obedience and works, into relationship with Christ predicated on acceptance and freedom. Furthermore, Wallace delves deep into the mystery of what it means to be "born again", inviting the Latter-day Saint to trust that obedience and good works are indeed important in the Christian life, but that they are natural by-products of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Dr. John Wallace was an active member of the LDS church for two decades but in the last twenty years has come to see the beauty of simply being a follower of Jesus Christ. A practicing dentist in Southern California, John is also director of Singles Ministry at his home church, Calvary Chapel Westgrove. Reaching out to transitioning Mormons remains the primary focus of his personal ministry.