Latter-day Saint philosopher James E. Faulconer says nobody really needs to do theology. After all, salvation is available without it. “Unlike serving and comforting, loving and healing,” Faulconer writes in his new book Thinking Otherwise, “theology has never been one of the things required of all followers of Jesus Christ.”
Why a book about theology, then? Because, Faulconer says, for many church members theology feels inescapable. In some cases the need is ethical: someone asks you a question about your faith and you’d like to offer a reasoned response, or you need to help a struggling friend find answers to their questions. At times the need is psychological: questions press down on your mind and you can’t avoid them. Perhaps your theological need is merely a matter of enjoyment. Or, as many have discovered, thinking theologically has helped you deepen and enrich your faith.
Whatever your particular reason for wanting to think theologically, Faulconer is a wise and steady companion. Over the course of his career he has often called Latter-day Saints back to the scriptures as a source of divine truth and direction—not merely for theological reflection, but for taking action right here and now in everyday life.
The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship is excited to expand our Living Faith book series with Faulconer’s latest work, Thinking Otherwise: Theological Explorations of Joseph Smith’s Revelations. Available for pre-order now from Amazon, Deseret Book, or the BYU Store.
Note: If you’d like a copy before Christmas, BYU Store and Deseret Book are your best options. Amazon’s release day is December 22.