By Cracknell, Kenneth
International Bulletin of Missionary Research , Vol. 21, No. 1
Christianity and the Religions: A Biblical Theology of World Religions.
Edited by Edward Rommen and Harold Netland. Pasadena, Calif.: William Carey Library, 1995. Pp. 274. Paperback $9.95.
"They have Hindus as their neighbors, their children go to school with Muslims. Religious pluralism is a fact of their lives, and these people seem to be decent, ordinary people who wrestle with the same problems and concern which face any Christian" (p.10). So Gordon T. Smith sets the scene for this welcome volume by members of the Evangelical Missiological Society.
The first section consists of essays from biblical scholars. They provide rich material for discussion, but there are unresolved hermeneutical issues. The religious pluralism that the biblical writers knew is hardly the pluralism that Gordon Smith describes, yet we get here only a biblical theology of the religions of the ancient world. I wonder how helpful that is to contemporary American laypeople. Missionaries have a better appreciation of what it felt like to be Paul in Athens, Corinth, or Ephesus than do purely biblical scholars. See, for example, Don Howell's brilliant discussion of Paul's attitudes from within a Japanese context. …