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Encountering Religious Pluralism: The Challenge to Christian Faith & Mission Paperback – September 14, 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Netland examines the critical issues that evangelicals must address if they are to grapple effectively with these emerging religious realities. He concludes with a proposal for 'an Evangelical Theology of Religions' that is constructive and hopeful.' Wilbert Shenk, Professor of Mission History and Contemporary Culture --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Netland is professor of philosophy of religion and intercultural studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He has spent much of his professional life in Japan. His other books include Dissonant Voices: Religious Pluralism and the Question of Truth.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (September 14, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 083081552X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830815524
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #446,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
So I'm sitting at work bored, and I decide to look up a few of my favorite books on Amazon to see how others rated them. The best book I've ever read on religious pluralism from an evangelical perspective is Harold Netland's "Encountering Religious Pluralism." I read it almost three years ago for a seminary class, and it still affects how I approach the issues and problems that our pluralistic culture raises for someone coming from a traditional Christian perspective. Imagine my surprise to find out that no one had reviewed this fine work. Thus I took it upon myself to be the first.

Netland's strength lies in his ability to cover a broad range of topics concerning religious pluralism while remaining lucid and concise in his writing. For example, he not only gives a brief history of religious pluralism and how the church has reacted to it, but he also levels sophisticated critiques against it and even devotes a chapter to the most ardent modern day religious pluralist, the philosopher of religion John Hick. And he doesn't just give us Hick's views, he actually goes into detail into Hick's personal journey from being a conservative Christian to a radical pluralist.

Netland's critiques of Hick and other modern pluralist views are trenchant. Of course on the surface it seems very warm and fuzzy and modern to proclaim that all religions are really different manifestations of the same ultimate reality, but Netland points out the serious problems with this view. Take, for example, Hick's notion of "the Real." In Hick's view, all the religions of the world are nothing more than different cultural manifestations of human responses to "the Real." What matters is that we live a life that is not self-centered but Real-centered.
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Netland presents a very compelling case for the traditional Christian viewpoint of exclusive truth and does so with fairness, grace, generosity and above all a deep and scholarly engagement with the issues involved. The book simply gets better as one reads through it. Some of the initial chapters were tough sledding as Netland addressed the underlying philosophical issues involved, but in doing so he builds a strong foundation (if not credibility) for what is to follow.

The tone of the book was such that this reviewer wondered if he would "defect" in some way and make some significant compromise on the exclusivity of the Christian faith, but he never did, though open minded individuals will appreciate his nuances and carefully wrought arguments. All this makes his conclusions all the more compelling, and make the book a exemplar of how inter-religious dialog (and indeed, Christian witness of any kind) should take place.

I was profoundly challenged by this fine book, both intellectually and behaviorally. That's a lot to get in return for less than $20!
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just finished reading this book for a grad class. Although the book did seem a bit wordy at times the subject matter and author's obvious passion for the subject made up for it. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in missiology for the 21st century or any layman wanting to be more effective in reaching a religiously diverse culture in America. Kudos to Netland for tackling this very delicate and sensitive subject.
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