I'll call you a Christian if you'll call me an intellectual

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(David) There's the joke about insecure Evangelical scholars who promise their liberal counterparts, "I'll call you a Christian if you call me an intellectual."

I can't quite figure out the quid pro quo between Mark Noll, Wayne Grudem and the Latter Day Saints, but it looks like the LDS is on the receiving end of a similar bargain.

Take, for instance, this priceless comparison between Mormon belief in Joseph Smith and the Evangelical doctrine of divine inspiration by Mark Noll in a Reuters story on Mitt Romney:

"Some Southern Baptists will live near Mormon communities functioning at their best, where they will see in practice the kind of family-oriented, sober, diligent, and disciplined lives that Southern Baptists preach but do not always display," said Mark Noll of the University of Notre Dame. "...Southern Baptists maintain a vigorous doctrine of divine revelation. That latter belief is not too far from the Mormon belief that God spoke to and through Joseph Smith," he said.

"Not too far?" Like, say, the increasing distance between Noll himself and Evangelical belief?

Or, in perhaps an equally amazing statement, this endorsement of Mitt Romney by Wayne Grudem, "co-founder and past president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood":

As an evangelical professor of Bible and theology, I have decided to support Mitt Romney for President (even though he is a Mormon) for two old-fashioned reasons: First, he is the best-qualified candidate, and second, he holds moral and political values consistent with those in the Bible.

Best-qualified: The best predictor of future performance is a person’s past track record. Romney’s record is stellar:

Intellectual ability: He was in the top 5 percent of his class at Harvard Business School and simultaneously in the top 1/3 of his class at Harvard Law School. He is incredibly intelligent.

Governor of Massachusetts: He won the governor’s race as a Republican in Massachusetts and restored financial discipline to the state. He was a successful governor of a liberal state. This also means he has a good shot at winning some New England states away from the Democrats in the general election.

Business success: He was hired by Bain & Company, one of the elite business consulting firms in the country, and was so successful that he became a partner. He then founded Bain Capital and made it a highly successful investment company. He built a personal fortune of around $200,000,000 in the process, an amazing business achievement. He knows how to run businesses, and what makes them profitable.

Were Wayne and Mitt roommates--or perhaps Hasty Pudding members together--at Harvard?