New Fall Class to Take Place in Salt Lake City

A 90-minute class will take place in Salt Lake City beginning in September 2019 for anyone who might be interested to take a basic “Gospels” class.

Who is invited? Anyone willing to commit to regularly attending the every-other-week sessions and doing the reading (regularly)

What? A free class on the Gospel accounts of Jesus

When? Every-other-Tuesday nights (usually…see calendar below) from 7:00 to 8:45 p.m. beginning Tuesday, September 3rd.

Where? Upstairs at Sandra Tanner’s Utah Lighthouse Bookstore (1358 S W Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84115), across the street (first base side) from the Smith’s Ballpark stadium (Bees). There are only three official parking spots at the store, but there is additional parking on the street. (Note: Sandra will not be officially participating in this class.)

Why? Especially for those who have left Mormonism and would like to know more about the trustworthiness of the Bible. though this class is also open to those who are not/never have been LDS but would like to know more about the Gospel accounts. (Note; Mormonism will not be the centerpiece of these classes.)

The class will be facilitated/taught by Eric Johnson (foreground, blue shirt and hat), who works with Mormonism Research Ministry in Draper, UT. For many years, Eric was the Bible department head at Christian High School in El Cajon, CA, teaching upperclassmen on apologetics, marriage/family, and worldviews. He also taught classes at Grossmont Community College (for 9 years) and Bethel Seminary San Diego. At San Diego Christian College, Eric taught a Gospels class. Eric received his bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University in 1985 (Journalism/Marketing) and his master’s degree (M.Div., New Testament) at Bethel Seminary San Diego in 1991. Eric has authored or coauthored five different books, including Mormonism 101 (Baker, 2015) and Answering Mormons’ Questions (Kregel, 2013).

The class must have at least 5 interested students (or it would be subject to cancellation) and if there is sufficient demand will be limited to no more than 20 students.


It might be difficult to just “read” a book that is intended for a college audience. However, if placed in a “class” format, learning college material can be exciting, especially when it is related to Jesus. The intention is to help attenders better grasp the Gospel accounts in the New Testament while considering different types of “criticism.” Among other things, the attender will consider:

  • Competition gospels and why they were rejected
  • The similarities and differences between the four Gospels
  • The historical / religious / social / cultural setting for each Gospel
  • A look at the literary styles, plots, theological themes and purpose for each of the four Gospels
  • The historical quests for Jesus
  • The historical reliability of the Gospels
  • The chronology of Jesus’s life
  • The birth / childhood of Jesus
  • The beginning of His ministry
  • The message of Jesus
  • The miracles of Jesus
  • The Messianic Words / Actions of Jesus
  • The Death of Jesus
  • The Resurrection of Jesus

What is required?

  1. You must register for the class by contacting Eric directly (eric at mrm dot org)–first come, first served (minimum of 5, maximum of 20). He will write you within 2 days to let you know you are registered and place your email on a mailing list for the class.
  2. To get the most out of this class, you are being asked to purchase the book Four Portraits, One Jesus and read the chapter for that week. One chapter per class session will be covered. Please bring the book to class. (Couples are free to share.)
  3. You must be willing to attend the majority of the class sessions (obviously, you may need to miss some, which is totally understandable, but the full benefit for this class will come when the majority of the people are able to attend the majority of the time).

If you are interested in signing up, please contact Eric and register for the class. Again, we are limiting this class to 20. First come, first served.

Tentative class schedule (7 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.)

  1. DVD teaching by Dr. Mark Strauss on the particular chapter (first 20 minutes)
  2. Teaching/discussion

This class will emphasize discussion. We will emphasize the  study questions that are given at the end of each chapter. Occasionally Eric will provide additional information (via other articles or PowerPoint teachings) to provide additional information. We will start promptly at 7 p.m. (feel free to come as early as 6:45 p.m.) to maximize our time and make sure we can let everyone out on time (many may have to work the next morning). Those who have additional questions are free to linger for a while.

Tentative Schedule

September 3: Introduction / Chapter 1 (What are the Gospels?)

September 17: Chapter 2 (Exploring the Origin and Nature of the Gospels)

October 1: Chapter 3 (Reading and Hearing the Gospel Stories)

October 15: Chapter 4 (The Historical Setting of the Gospels)

October 22: Chapter 5 (The Religious Setting: First Century Judaism)

November 5: Chapter 6 (The Social and Cultural Setting of the Gospels)

November 19: Chapter 7 (Mark: The Gospel of the Suffering Son of God)

December 3: Chapter 14 (Jesus’ Birth and Childhood)

Christmas break

January 7: Chapter 8 (Matthew: The Gospel of the Messiah)

January 21: Chapter 9 (Luke: The Gospel of the Savior for All People)

February 4: Chapter 10 (John: The Gospel of the Son Who Reveals the Father)

February 18: Chapter 11 (Searching for the Real Jesus)

February 18: Chapter 12 (The Historical Reliability of the Gospels)

Winter break

March 24: Chapter 13 (The Contours and Chronology of Jesus’ Ministry) (Back to Back weeks)

March 31: Chapter 19 (The Death of Jesus)

April 14: Chapter 20 (The Resurrection of Jesus) (Back to Back weeks)

April 21: Chapter 15 (The Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry)

May 5: Chapter 16 (The Message of Jesus)

May 19: Chapter 17 (The Miracles of Jesus)

June 2: Chapter 18 (The Messianic Words and Actions of Jesus) / Conclusion)