David Paulsen and Brett McDonald, “Joseph Smith and the Trinity: An Analysis and Defense of the Social Model of the Godhead,” Faith and Philosophy Vol. 25, No. 1 (January 2008): 47-74.
Early this year, David Paulsen (Brigham Young University) and Brett McDonald (UCLA School of Law) published “Joseph Smith and the Trinity: An Analysis and Defense of the Social Model of the Godhead” in Faith and Philosophy a quarterly journal of the Society of Christian Philosophers edited by Thomas Flint at the University of Notre Dame, Department of Philosophy.
In 2007, Paulsen and McDonald presented a paper by the same title at the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology.
I highly recommend those working on Mormonism and the Mormon-Evangelical dialogue to obtain and read this article. With roughly 140 cited footnotes, and peer reviewed by several Christian philosophers, Paulsen and McDonald provide a lasting contribution to our understanding of the discussion surrounding Social Trinitarianism as well as the insights that Joseph Smith’s views bring to bear on the subject. No longer will discussions between Latter-day Saints and Evangelicals on Joseph Smith and the Trinity, the Nicene Creed and homousious, be fruitful without first engaging in Paulsen and McDonald’s paper.
I’m always on the look out for excellent audio lectures and interviews and I’d like to share one I’ve recently come across. Dr. Maxie B. Burch, Associate Pastor for Faith Development at North Phoenix Baptist Church is presenting several lecture series on the History of Christianity. “What is Christian Theology” (total time 1:48:27, listen or download mp3), given January 22, 2008 is the first lecture in his course “Introduction to Historical Theology.”
Dr. Burch has a M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Baylor University. As a historian of Christian theology, he has taught courses at Grand Canyon University, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Arizona State University. In this introductory lecture, Dr. Burch gives a fresh and balanced introduction to the fundamental principles in Christian theology and I believe Evangelicals, Catholics and Latter-day Saints will find much in his lecture which would challenge them as well as affirm their faith.
If you’ve never been exposed to the study of Christian Theology I highly recommend this lecture. If you have studied Christian theology, you will appreciate Dr. Burch’s balanced and open approach to the subject.
Enjoy the full series “History of Christianity” available via iTunes.
Dr. Burch takes the approach that “Theology is taught by God, teaches of God, and leads to God.”
(Theologia a Deo docetur, Deum docet, et ad Deum ducit – St. Thomas Aquinas).
On a cloudy evening, Meno and Aquinas discuss the nature of apologetics, how it is good how it is bad and how it might be improved.
Aquinas: Meno, are you suggesting that omitting words or replacing them completely with new words in a bible translation, would be a example of bad apologetics?
Meno: Yes, Aquinas. You’re assuming that all apologists are honest and informed well enough to never mangle a translation or definition.
Aquinas: Perhaps we can make this a criterion of good apologetics, that in the defense of our position, we would not change any of the words to support our position?
Meno: No, that’s an example of what not to do. There needs to be some things that one ought to do in an offense. To attack someone else’s position.
Aquinas: Is that the goal of apologetics? To attack someone else’s position? Read more…
Blake Ostler was interviewed by Interfaith Voices on May 31, 2007. Ostler’s interview comprises the first 27 minutes (listen to audio and mp3). The original topic is Mitt Romney’s candidacy. However, before this topic is discussed, Ostler is asked to explain the position of the Church on polygamy, homosexuality, abortion, and whether a Mormon politician would be required to hold political positions in conformity with Church doctrine, the view of the trinity in Mormon theology, and differences between Mormons and other Christian faiths such as Catholics and Protestants. Ostler is also asked to explain the Book of Mormon, explain baptism for the dead.
The landmark book in this field is “How Wide the Divide?: A Mormon and Evangelical in Conversation” (Intervarsity Press, March 1997) by Craig L. Blomberg and Stephen E. Robinson. And despite the severe backlash from many in the Evangelical community, this book did much to model genuine dialogue. Anyone interested in interfaith dialogue should read this book.
Following this model, two new books will be available this fall.
I recently became aware of and finished listening to one hour public conversation titled “The Mormon Jesus” given at Roanoke College, Salem, Virginia on September 20, 2005 (mp3 audio here). The lecture was moderated by Dr. Paul Hinlicky. I personally like to hear audio conversations of this nature and enjoyed the interchange between Robert L. Millet and Gerald R. McDermott.
I found McDermott extremely well spoken and I felt he gave a rather accurate view of what he finds to be uniquely Mormon doctrine. It is very fortunate that this public lecture was recorded because the difficulties of discussing one’s beliefs really comes through. Again, I was struck with the fact that, even two Ph.Ds can have a difficult time coming to terms and understanding each other’s theological positions. However, this interchange clearly began with the fact that Millet and McDermott genuinely like each other and consider each other friends. This interchange is a good model of the kind of discussion which needs to take place with greater frequency. Read more…