In a religiously pluralistic world, the Christian church is faced with challenges and responsibilities regarding its relationship with other faiths. Can Christians learn anything from other religions? What is the theological relationship between other faiths and Christianity? And, is Jesus really the only way to salvation?
From a theological perspective, the field of study that explores these questions is known as the “Theology of Religions”. Within systematics, this discipline has recently become one of the most intensely studied areas in contemporary theology. One accepted schema of describing the various responses to other faiths is the three-fold typology of soteriological exclusivism, inclusivism, and pluralism. Exclusivists take the view that an explicit profession of Christ as Lord and Savior is essential to enter into a relationship with God. Inclusivists argue that for followers of their religions who have never heard of the gospel, divine salvific grace may have been granted to them. Pluralists contend that the other religions may independently embody as much divine light as the Christian faith.
This book discusses the various Christian responses to religious plurality based on the tri-fold typology. It begins with a discussion of pluralism in generic terms before proceeding to describe some of the challenges that religious pluralism poses for the Christian faith. The theological merits and pitfalls of each standpoint are analysed, before concluding with some observations on the current trend in the theology of religions, one that is based on the doctrine of the Trinity and called the Trinitarian Theology of religions.
About the Author:
Tan Loe Joo (PhD, University of St. Andrews) is Lecturer in Systematic and Historcial Theology at Trinity Theological College, Singapore. A former engineer, he was Senior Member of Technical Staff of the Centre for Electronic Warfare at DSO National Laboratories before joining the Fellowship of Evangelical Students (FES) as full-time staff from 2003-2009. His research interests include the theology of religions, the doctrine of the Trinity and patristic theology. He has published articles in journals as the Scottish Journal of Theology, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, New Blackfriars, Trinity Journal and Jian Dao Journal. Loe Joo also serves as peer-reviewer for the Journal of Research in Christian Education.