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Christianity & Religion

Wright presents a cross-section of biblical material pertaining to the issue of how Christians should view other religions. In the Old Testament we find sections on creation and fall, the patriarchs (covenant with Abraham, patriarchal religion), and Israel and the gods of the nations (“no other gods”, Israel’s social structure, prophetic satire, eschatological vision, the mission of the Servant). In the New Testament are sections on the kingdom of God, light and logos, and Peter and Paul (“no other name”, Cornelius, “an unknown God”). Wright has sought to “bring out both the universal, cosmic, inclusive dimension and the inescapable particular, historical and exclusive dimension of the biblical revelation.”

Chapman identifies three broad responses to the question “What About People Who Have Never Heard the Gospel?” Chapman’s own reading of Scripture makes him willing to allow differences within the shared conviction that salvation is only to be found in the name of Christ. Chapman seeks to clarify what constitutes legitimate dialogue with other religions and urges parrhesia, “boldness” in witness.

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Dewi Arwel Hughes, head of Religious Studies in the Polytechnic of Wales, concludes his review of the relationship between Christianity and other religions by stressing the need for a divine and objective criterion of truth.

Alphonse identifies three factors that explain why people of other faiths are throwing strong challenges at Christian evangelistic endeavour. He goes on to analyse the kinds of challenges, discriminating between intrinsic challenges (involving a resurgence of non-Christian religions) and interactional challenges (resurgence having encouraged a spirit of rivalry). He analyses each of these challenges and then encourages the development of a contextual Christology that requires the formulation of what Alphonse terms situational accentuation. He urges “the discovery of an effective method of evangelism which will not be seen as a threat or an open onslaught on other faiths.” He encourages interfaith dialogue and approvingly presents E. Stanley Jones’ round table conference method.

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