Christian Theology | BYU Studies

Christian Theology

The Collected Writings of David L. Paulsen, Volumes 1-3

Author David L. Paulsen, Compiler BYU Studies,
David L. Paulsen, professor emeritus of the Brigham Young University Philosophy Department, is one of the most prominent LDS theologians. His writings span an impressive array of topics. BYU Studies has collected all his articles, book chapters, and reviews and arranged them by topic in three impressive ebooks. The first volume includes a brief overview of Paulsen's life; an account of a... Read more

Relations, Reviews, and Responses, The Collected Writings of David L. Paulsen, Volume 3

Author David L. Paulsen, Compiler BYU Studies,
David L. Paulsen, professor emeritus of the Brigham Young University Philosophy Department, is one of the most prominent LDS theologians. His writings span an impressive array of topics. BYU Studies has collected all his articles, book chapters, and reviews and arranged them by topic in three impressive ebooks, of which this is the third. In this third volume, readers will find dialogues, reviews... Read more

The Nature of God, The Collected Writings of David L. Paulsen, Volume 2

Author David L. Paulsen, Compiler BYU Studies,
David L. Paulsen, professor emeritus of the Brigham Young University Philosophy Department, is one of the most prominent LDS theologians. His writings span an impressive array of topics. BYU Studies has collected all his articles, book chapters, and reviews and arranged them by topic in three impressive ebooks, of which this is the second. In this second volume, readers will find Paulsen's... Read more

Theology, The Collected Writings of David L. Paulsen, Volume 1

Author David L. Paulsen, Compiler BYU Studies,
David L. Paulsen, professor emeritus of the Brigham Young University Philosophy Department, is one of the most prominent LDS theologians. His writings span an impressive array of topics. BYU Studies has collected all his articles, book chapters, and reviews and arranged them by topic in three impressive ebooks, of which this is the first. In this first volume, readers will find a brief overview... Read more

LDS Views on Early Christianity and Apocrypha

Editor BYU Studies,
This compilation of articles exploring topics related to early Christianity is selected from over fifty years of LDS scholarship published by BYU Studies. This volume features articles on the Apocalypse of Peter, the Apocalypse of Adam, the Gospel of Judas, the development of the doctrines of God and creation, early Christian prayer circles, Masada fragments and the Qumran scrolls, and much more... Read more

Joseph Smith and Comparative Theology

Author Various Authors,
This compilation of groundbreaking articles comparing Joseph Smith's theology with the views of other religions and individuals is selected from over fifty years of LDS scholarship published by BYU Studies. This volume features articles on the Shakers, the making of a global religion, the problem of evil, the corporeality of God, Søren Kierkegaard, open and relational theology, preexilic... Read more

The Catholic Liturgy and the Mormon Temple

Most of the world's religions incorporate some form of ritual into their worship, be it merely the singing of a hymn in a meeting, the wearing of a particular attire, or kneeling at a certain time and place. The older the religion is, the more complex and numerous the ceremonies seem to be and the more they often resemble each other, indicating the probability of a common ancestral beginning in... Read more

What Does God Think about America? Some Challenges for Evangelicals and Mormons

I visited an Evangelical church once in my younger years where the sermon of the day featured a straightforward exposition of the teachings associated with dispensationalist premillennialism. The signs of the times are clear, the preacher said. Wars and rumors of wars. Earthquakes and famine. Widespread lawlessness. The prophetic clock is ticking. God's plan for the future of the earth centers on... Read more

Understanding Christian Baptism through the Book of Mormon

Early Christianity saw a wide proliferation of theories and practices concerning baptism, and now many Christians, including Mormons, commonly understand it as a means to repent and wash away one's sins. But the Book of Mormon prophets taught that baptism is a covenant and a witnessing to God that one has already repented and commits to follow Jesus Christ, and that sins are remitted by the Holy... Read more

The Doctrine of Divine Embodiment: Restoration, Judeo-Christian, and Philosophical Perspectives (Intro)

*This article is being offered free as a courtesy to lds.org as it was footnoted in an expanded Gospel Topic on their site. This article has been broken into sections. This page contains the introduction. Read Part I: Restoration of the Doctrine of Divine Embodiment ; Part II: Early Christian Belief in an Embodied God ; and Part III: Philosophical Arguments Regarding Divine Embodiment . Read more

The Perils of Grace

Robert L. Millet offers his perspectives as a Mormon and a scholar who has engaged in the study of grace. He suggests gentle correctives to his evangelical friends and his fellow Latter-day Saints regarding their respective views of grace. To the Evangelicals he suggests they may place an excessive stress on grace, to the point that they emphasize forgiveness but neglect repentance. By contrast,... Read more

Confession in LDS Doctrine and Practice

In the Christian understanding, all are sinners (Rom. 3:23; Gal. 3:22); consequently, in order that all may be forgiven, repentance is one of the first principles of the gospel. A key element of repentance is confession: "By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them" (D&C 58:43). Accordingly, confession is one of the five steps of repentance... Read more

Conversation in Nauvoo about the Corporeality of God

Religion scholar Jacob Neusner looks at the corporeal nature of God through the lens of Mormonism and Judaism. He addresses anthropomorphism and incarnation, and concludes that the way to know God is through "our relationship with him, not through our act of the incarnation of God in heart and mind and soul." Neusner appreciates the powerful doctrine of God's corporeality taught by the Prophet... Read more

Part I: Restoration of the Doctrine of Divine Embodiment

*This article is being offered free as a courtesy to lds.org as it was footnoted in an expanded Gospel Topic on their site. This article has been broken into sections. This page contains Part I: Restoration of the Doctrine of Divine Embodiment. Read the introduction ; Part II: Early Christian Belief in an Embodied God ; and Part III: Philosophical Arguments Regarding Divine Embodiment . Read more

Cradling Mormonism: The Rise of the Gospel in Early Victorian England

"The Gospel is spreading," jubilantly wrote the Mormon Apostle Heber C. Kimball from England in 1840, and "the devils are roaring." Elder Kimball, along with six missionary associates, first landed in England from America in July 1837. Their proselyting efforts produced what seemed to them a remarkable success. In less than a year, they added approximately 1,500 to the handful of members they had... Read more

Joseph as a Type of Christ in Syriac Literature

Kept among the marvelous manuscript treasure of the British Library is a fifth-century Syriac manuscript containing details of the lectionary readings, or Old and New Testament passages for religious services. Prominently featured among the Old Testament readings prescribed for Easter are the account of the binding of Isaac and excerpts from the story of Joseph. The story of binding Isaac is... Read more

Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism

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Part II: Early Christian Belief in an Embodied God

*This article is being offered free as a courtesy to lds.org as it was footnoted in an expanded Gospel Topic on their site. This article has been broken into sections. This page contains Part II: Early Christian Belief in an Embodied God. Read the introduction ; Part I: Restoration of the Doctrine of Divine Embodiment ; and Part III: Philosophical Arguments Regarding Divine Embodiment . Read more

Early British Christianity

The purpose for tracing in this article the early Romanization of Britain relates to a possible suggestion that perhaps Christian missionaries (or converts) were confined to the Roman Empire in their proselyting activities during the first century (or centuries?) of Christianity. Even were one to grant such a suggestion—a point not proven in any way—it does not preclude the introduction of... Read more

The Uses of the Mind in Religion

Since you have distinguished yourselves as thinkers and scholars and, by your very presence at Brigham Young University bear witness of your commitment to religious faith, I thought it not inappropriate to talk with you this evening about the used of the mind in our relationship to the restored gospel. Living in these latter days we are the recipients of many legacies from East and West, but the... Read more

Open and Relational Theology: An Evangelical in Dialogue with a Latter-day Saint

Clark H. Pinnock and David L. Paulsen dialogue about open theism and Latter-day Saint theology, examining the convergences and divergences between the two traditions. Open and Relational Theology: A Latter-day Saint in Dialogue with an Evangelical explores beliefs on divine embodiment, spiritual warfare, deification, omniscience and omnipotence of God, divine feminine, theodicy, creation, and... Read more

Part III: Philosophical Arguments Regarding Divine Embodiment

*This article is being offered free as a courtesy to lds.org as it was footnoted in an expanded Gospel Topic on their site. This article has been broken into sections. This page contains Part III: Philosophical Arguments Regarding Divine Embodiment. Read the introduction ; Part I: Restoration of the Doctrine of Divine Embodiment ; and Part II: Early Christian Belief in an Embodied God . Read more

From Arcadia to Elysium in The Magic Flute and Weimar Classicism: The Plan of Salvation and Eighteenth-Century Views of Moral Progression

Presumably, many people gloss over the aphorism that life is a journey—indeed, for Latter-day Saints, an "eternal journey"— as cliché. But this aphorism encapsulates profound theological, philosophical, moral, and even teleological implications that should indeed interest most people. The journey metaphor connotes progress and ascension, indicating beginning, purpose, and end to mortal existence... Read more

Wisdom (Philosophy) in the Holy Bible

Assuming the author has not missed his count, the word wisdom appears 180 times in the Old Testament and 53 times in the New Testament, for a total of 233 times in the Bible. (Prima facie, this may suggest that wisdom, as reflected by the frequency of the use of that word, was of greater concern to the writers of the Old Testament than to the writers of the New Testament; but in view on the... Read more

The Reverend Dr. Peter Christian Kierkegaard's "About and Against Mormonism" (1855)

Born on July 6, 1805, the Danish Lutheran priest Peter Christian Kierkegaard, brother of philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, was an exact contemporary of Joseph Smith Jr., the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Both men devoted their lives to the refinement and advancement of their believes, albeit within very different sociohistorical contexts, and both had profound impacts... Read more

"My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?": Psalm 22 and the Mission of Christ

Perhaps no Old Testament texts have exerted more influence on the New Testament understanding of Christ's mission than Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. Among Latter-day Saints, however, Isaiah 53 has received much more attention than Psalm 22. This paper aims to illuminate the powerful, Christ-centered nature of Psalm 22. It first discusses Psalm 22 in detail, demonstrating its prophetic connections with... Read more

The "Hymn of the Pearl": An Ancient Counterpart to "O My Father"

One of the most endearing writings found in early Christianity is known as the "Hymn of the Pearl." This text has immediate appeal to readers of all levels and resonates a beautiful message of a soul's journey from a premortal home, through mortality, and back to heavenly parents. To this extent, the poem can be seen as an early Christian counterpart to the early Latter-day Saint hymn "O My... Read more

Martin Luther: The First Forty Years in Remembrance of the 500th Anniversary of His Birth

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"To Dress It and to Keep It": Toward a Mormon Theology of Work

This article takes an interdisciplinary approach toward a Mormon theology of work. Walker Wright argues that Adam's earliest calling in "the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it" (Gen 2:15 KJV) implies that work is part of man's original purpose. He then examines a diverse amount of ancient prophecies and their use of Edenic imagery to describe the world to come, thus echoing and expanding... Read more

Sizing Up the Divide: Reviews and Replies

In August 1997, Stephen E. Robinson and Craig L. Blomberg published through InterVarsity Press a book that broke important ground in LDS and Evangelical circles. The award-winning book— How Wide the Divide? A Mormon and an Evangelical in Conversation —is a bold attempt to conduct an ongoing, civil dialogue between Mormons and Evangelicals. As the title suggests, HWD asks a significant question... Read more

Catholic and Mormon: A Theological Conversation

Catholic and Mormon: A Theological Conversation, by Stephen H. Webb and Alonzo L. Gaskill, initiates a long-overdue dialogue in doctrine and religious practice between the Roman Catholic Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The book, which is as thoughtful and amicable as it is scholarly and stimulating, comes at an important moment in the rapport between the two faiths... Read more

Four LDS Views on Harold Bloom: A Roundtable

A fascinating book about the Mormons and other religious groups in the United States is Harold Bloom's The American Religion . Bloom is an internationally recognized literary critic. What he says about the LDS tradition, Joseph Smith, and the future of the Church, has engendered a wide range of responses. Accordingly, BYU Studies has gathered four discussions of this book, one by an essayist,... Read more

The Christian Commitment: C. S. Lewis and the Defense of Doctrine

Latter-day Saints are often surprised when they read C. S. Lewis. But it is the shock of delight and the pleasure of recognition which produces the surprise. Here is an Oxford professor who strikes home again and again on matters of doctrine which, in this age of rapid theological retreat, we have come to feel are uniquely "Mormon." But Lewis insisted that he wrote only about those doctrines... Read more

Future Mormon: Essays in Mormon Theology

Adam Miller is a professor of philosophy and the director of the honors program at Collin College, McKinney, Texas. He is the author of at least five books in Mormon studies and three in philosophy, as well as serving as editor of a collection of Mormon studies essays. As one of several young Mormons not only doing theology but also asking how it ought to be done, Miller offers us a thoughtful... Read more

The Search for Love: Lessons from the Catholic Debate over Moral Philosophy

Catholic scholars are not entirely unaware of the difficulties of attributing a doctrine of moral natural law to the New Testament. There is a large debate over the issue, and a number of Protestants have argued that there is no doctrine of natural law in the Bible. Concerning this issue, Louis C. Midgley concludes that "the Catholic debate over moral philosophy is merely one manifestation of the... Read more

The American Home Missionary Society Collection and Mormonism

Historians of American religion have long known of the wealth of material contained in the collection of the American Home Missionary Society (AHMS), located at the Amistead Research Center, the Old U.S. Mint, New Orleans, Louisiana. Occupying 234.8 linear feet of shelf space, the AHMS collection is a significant part of the Center's holdings and consists of over 100,000 letters from Calvinist... Read more

Ex Nihilo: The Development of the Doctrines of God and Creation in Early Christianity

Joseph Smith taught that the first principle of revealed religion is to know for a certainty the character of God, and his reaffirmation of Deity as the loving, personal Father of the scriptures stands in conspicuous contrast to the confusion and obscurity of traditional and modern theologies. Just as the orthodox doctrine of an incomprehensible God who creates ex nihilo is clearly odds with the... Read more

Reverend George Lane—Good "Gifts," Much "Grace," and Marked "Usefulness"

The Methodist Minister, Reverend George Lane, (1784–1859) is one of many of the personalities who touched early Mormonism and whose initial role has drifted into comparative obscurity. Rev. Lane was, according to certain accounts, instrumental in moving Joseph Smith to make his epic inquiry of the Lord with the attendant vision of the Father and Son. The renewed research on Mormon origins has... Read more

Religion and Communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe

Even before Marx first saw religion as a tool of suppression for the bourgeoisie, there existed the idea that religion adapts itself in order to be adopted by the state. The relationship between religion and communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe could be categorized in three ways: first, the two struggled to influence the beliefs of the population, as both are ideologies; second, the... Read more