I was excited yesterday to see the announcement for this new book. Dayton Hartman was my student at Liberty University where I had the privilege to serve as mentor for his MA thesis--a presentation of the historic doctrine of the Trinity to Muslims. Dayton went on to earn his PhD in Church and Dogma History from North-West University in South Africa. Joseph Smith' Tritheism is the published version of that PhD thesis. Again, from a historic Nicene perspective, Dayton evaluates the theological claims of the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The book description from the publisher's web site reads:
Few figures in North American religious history are quite as enigmatic as Joseph Smith. His unabashed adherence to tritheism gave birth to one of the most influential religious movements in American history. Many attempts have been made to engage his life and unorthodox theology. However, Joseph Smith's Tritheism is a unique text that blends church history, thoughtful theological exegesis, and evangelical apologetics in an attempt to engage Joseph Smith's theology anew.
Some early endorsers have written:
Many books by evangelicals demonstrate the fundamental implausibility of Mormonism. Fewer books address carefully the theological positions advanced by the Latter Day Saints. Doing so can be a difficult task because Mormon theology frequently employs strategic ambiguity in order to accommodate contemporary sentiments. Dayton Hartman’s book falls into the second category. He approaches the topic of the Trinity in Joseph Smith’s teaching and how it has been restated over the history of the LDS Church. But first, he demonstrates how orthodox Trinitarianism is rooted in the Bible and how the early church arrived at its definitive declarations. Then he points out the historical factors that may have led to Joseph Smith’s unorthodox point of view, the change it underwent over his lifetime, and the further revisions introduced by subsequent LDS thinkers. In contrast to many works in apologetics, this book does not leave the reader hanging with merely a negative critique but also provides a careful explication of the orthodox view. It is helpful both for its content and for the method that Hartman exemplifies as a blue print for others to follow.
Winfried Corduan, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion, Taylor University
Author of Neighboring Faiths
Dayton Hartman’s well-researched and well-reasoned book serves as a reminder that a proper understanding of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity—in its biblical and historical context—is necessary to accurately evaluate the theological claims of Mormonism, not to mention other departures from orthodoxy. Hartman ably shows that Mormonism’s view of deity is deficient and that creedal Christianity, which is a truthful distillation of the Scriptures, is not.
Paul Copan, Ph.D.
Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University
Author of Is God a Moral Monster?