by Timothy C. Tennent
This book intends to push conservative Christians into serious engagements with a pluralistic world as well as challenge the faulty presuppositions of liberal Christians who sacrifice the basic tenets of the Christian faith.
Baker Academic, P. O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287, 2002, 272 pages, $19.99.
—Reviewed by Roger E. Hedlund, director of the Dictionary of South Asian Christianity project at the Mylapore Institute for Indigenous Studies, Chennai (Madras), India.
Tim Tennent believes in dialogue, but is disturbed by dialogical theologians who dilute the Christian message. This book intends to push conservative Christians into serious engagements with a pluralistic world as well as challenge the faulty presuppositions of liberal Christians who sacrifice the basic tenets of the Christian faith.
The author is an engaged exclusivist, committed to the historic Christian faith and engaged in communicating the gospel with those of other belief systems. Evangelical Christians will be pleased to find a clear statement of the gospel along with a charitable approach to the followers of other faiths. The beliefs of Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic respondents are expressed clearly and kindly in this excellent book.
The author’s arguments are presented in the form of conversations with representatives of the other faith traditions. Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims exchange views with Tennent regarding their comprehension of the doctrines of God and ethics. These conversations (chapters two through seven) comprise the main contents of the book.
Three case studies provide additional stimulation. The first is a re-examination of Justin Martyr’s Logos Spermatikos. “Greek philosophy became a tool to turn people away from the worship of false gods and to prepare them to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ” (202). Might it be possible to make similar applications of Hindu philosophy for communicating Christian theology? The second case study proposes exactly that. Here Tennent studies Brahmabandhav Upadhyay’s utilization of the Uphanishads to explain the Christian concept of the Trinity. Upadhyay’s language “evokes an Indian (rather than a Greek or Latin) atmosphere” (223). The third is an examination of A. G. Hogg’s concept of universal revelation and theory of disturbance. “A presentation of the gospel to a Hindu or Muslim or
Buddhist should arouse a keen awareness of a problem for which his or her own beliefs have no answer” (232).
Christianity at the Religious Roundtable is relevant in the present pluralistic context of North America and Europe as well as in the non-Western world where the majority of today’s Christians are located, and is highly recommended.
Check these titles:
Kalapati, Joshua. 2002. Dr. Radhakrishnan and Christianity: An Introduction to Hindu-Christian Apolo-getics. Delhi, India: ISPCK.
Yong, Amos. 2003. Beyond the Impasse: Toward a Pneumatological Theology of Religions. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic.
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