From an LDS perspective, this book represents a critical step in what is now being called the "Golden Age" of Mormonism in academia. The idea is old: Mormons and Christians writing in dialogue. The approach, however, is really the first of its kind: serious, real theology. I emphasize "real" because it may come as a shock to many LDS readers that they have never read or ever even been exposed to theology--a systematic/philosophical/reasoned approach to religious beliefs. Mormon doctrine, instead, entirely depends on revelation, not necessarily dogmatically, but mostly without any philosophic scrutiny. Ask Mormons why they believe what they believe and their answers will cite revelation, both personal revelation and revelation for the Church as a whole. This, of course, is a great source of pride to Mormons--as it should be--but is of little help in an academic or theological setting. Indeed, Mormons tend to think of theology as nothing more than "hard doctrine," where "hard" is synonymous with "obscure." BYU itself is a telling example: The two religious departments are Ancient Scripture and Church History and Doctrine. Even the more difficult authors like Nibley, Talmage, et al. lean closer to being historians or scriptorians than theologians.
But sitting in the Richard L. Evans chair (previously held by the Church's other foremost theologian, Truman G. Madsen) Dr. David Paulsen has been one of the quiet few working on theology. For years he has been building relationships via The Harvard Theological Review and Faith and Philosophy and Clark Pinnock and Donald Musser and other important publications and thinkers. And this book is in large part a huge reflection of his lifelong work on these fronts.Read more ›
The book is a must for all those who are interested in religion. It is how dialogue between those of different theological positions should dialogue. It is honest, open, and mostly friendly.
The book gives a GREAT introduction to both theology and LDS doctrine. I hope that others will read this and further the discussion, not just among "Christians" and "LDS", but between all Christian denominations and faith traditions.
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