Calvinism in particular is full of theological holes, some of which has already been exposed in my recent blog posts. They can take advantage of that to put them on the defensive. Calvinism is not only unchristian, it is anti-Christian. Biblical Christianity is all about doing good. Calvinism is all about not doing good! In Calvinism, doing good is a sin! Calvinism is about “faith alone”—no works! If you attempt to do “works,” you are dead! Calvinism is the direct opposite of biblical Christianity and the gospel of Jesus Christ. If Mormons don’t know how to put Calvinists on the defensive, they are doing something wrong.
To be able to successfully defeat the critics, the Mormon academics need to equip themselves with two things. First, they need to have a good grasp of traditional Christian theology, which they often don’t. They don’t know its weaknesses or its strengths. It has strengths as well as weaknesses. They can benefit from its strengths, while at the same time exposing its weaknesses. And they won’t be able to do that if they are going to dismiss everything as Greek philosophy (which is what they have done in the past). They also need to familiarize themselves with basic theological terms which they sometimes misunderstand. Secondly, they need to have a good grasp of true Mormon theology as derived directly from Mormon scripture, which they can only do by acquiring an in-depth knowledge of that scripture. Relying on the writings of others like Bruce R. McConkie or Blake Ostler and the like won’t do it.
Another thing that LDS academics can do to defeat their critics is to exploit the divisions that exist among them. The critics are not all united among themselves in their theology. The Baptist churches in the US (who have often been the most vocal critics of Mormonism) are riven with factionalism and theological disagreements among themselves, especially between the “traditionalist” wing and the “Calvinist” wing, with wide variations in between. Paul exploited the divisions that existed between the Pharisees and the Sadducees to his own advantage (Acts 23:6-10), and Mormons can do the same.