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A God of Many Understandings?: The Gospel and Theology of Religions Paperback – April 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Academic (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805448225
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805448221
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,129,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Todd Miles is assistant professor of Theology and Hermeneutics at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon, where he earned the M.Div. He also holds a Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.


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Customer Reviews

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A thorough, biblical, and practical book on the issue of inclusivism/exclusivism.
Doyle Peyton
Miles does an excellent job documenting and giving extensive quotations of what advocates believe in their own words.
SLIMJIM
This book could be a text book on the subject, while remaining very readable for any Christian lay person.
Gary Mitchell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Gary Mitchell on August 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have just completed reading A God of Many Understandings? This is one of the best defenses of the Gospel of Jesus Christ I have ever read. In the context of a major compromise occurring right now in Christendom, religious pluralism and inclusivism regarding entrance into the Kingdom of God, Todd Miles writes a historic and detailed presentation of the Gospel of faith in only Jesus Christ alone, by faith alone, through grace alone, in order to be saved from eternal separation from God. This author is thorough and exhaustive in his research regarding the religious pluralist movement and it's main contributors while being balanced, biblical, and very fair minded in his responses to their beliefs. All of the biblical texts referred to, both in response to the adherents of the pluralist/inclusivist movement as well as the defense of the Gospel, are on point. This book could be a text book on the subject, while remaining very readable for any Christian lay person. It is also very practical as one of the final sections of the book has common sense advice on how to respectfully interact with religious peoples who have not been exposed to the Christian faith and the Lord Jesus Christ. I highly recommend A God of Many Understandings? I hope Todd Miles will have additional opportunities to author Christian books in the future.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dan on March 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
Miles is on a mission with this book. He wants to combat certain trends in evangelical scholarship that represent--or have contributed to--the church's conforming to the pluralistic mindset of the world. While Miles is far from being angry or polemical, he is assertive that pluralism (and its cousins inclusivism and universalism) are both untrue to Scripture and subversive of the Great Commission. I agree with Miles' position on these issues, but what I love most about this book is its thorough engagement with views that do not echo my own. Without denying his own perspective, Miles gives chapter-length presentations of universalism, inclusivism (both evangelical and Catholic), and pluralism--including selected portraits of major proponents, such as John A.T. Robinson, John Hick, Karl Rahner, Clark Pinnock, etc. Consequently, by the end of the book, I felt like I had received a clear and generous distillation of the author's expertise, and I am grateful for the extensive footnotes and bibliography included to guide future reading. Most importantly, I felt motivated and better equipped to engage Christians who have been influenced by pluralism.

**Please note: This book is not a primer on the different world religions. For that type of book, the reader will have to look elsewhere.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By SLIMJIM on May 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
With the recent Evangelical discussion of Rob Bell and the issue of Emergent theology, salvation and hell, this book does make a contribution even though the book was published in 2010 and a year before the whole Bell's "Love Wins" controversy. It would seem to me that the issue of "theology of religion" is largely not the subject of conscious focus in these debates, though they are foundational to the discussion. Here the author Todd Miles explore what the Old Testament and New Testament's view of other religions are, especially in regards to it as means of salvation. But don't expect that the four hundred page work to be nothing more than a glorified bible study of proof text regarding the Bible's view on other religion. The author does engage the text of Scripture in an accurate way with care and consideration of the context. Miles also interact with Universalism, Annhilationism and Inclusivism and their particulars, such as their history, scriptural arguments and what contemporary advocates are saying. Miles does an excellent job documenting and giving extensive quotations of what advocates believe in their own words. One might even fault the author's extensive quotations to a fault--it seems that at times entire chapters are devoted to quoting people multiple times when Miles has already made it the point that this is what these people believe and why they believe what they believe. Readers will also be intrigued with a footnote reference that discusses the Emergent movement and a comment on Rob Bell in a charitable light that he has not openly embrace universalism, at least in light of the literature at that point. What a difference in a year makes!Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Johnny Walker on November 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
I have long been interested in the Christian mission of global evangelization. As such, the way that Christianity relates to other religions is of prime importance. Is the advance of the kingdom of Jesus to the ends of the Earth necessary? Isn't that too imperial? Aren't we being arrogant in thinking that we have the gospel for all the world?

It is these kind of questions that Todd Miles, a professor here in Portland and elder of my previous church community, aims to answer in his book, A God of Many Understandings? The Gospel and a Theology of Religions.

Miles begins his work by establishing his thesis. He argues for an exclusivist understanding of world religions that demands conscious faith in the gospel of Jesus (for those unaware, in a city like Portland this is perhaps the chief sin. Say this in Powell's and hipsters will stone you with books). This thesis guides the rest of the volume.

He briefly surveys the way that Scripture speaks about and responds to, what he terms, "religious others". Miles is adamant that the consistent refrain in the Hebrew Bible is a call for exclusive worship of YHWH. He states, "There is not even a hint that anything other than exclusive worship of the Lord, on his terms, is acceptable" (58). Upon evaluation of the New Testament, Miles concludes, the evidence is univocal in how the early Church responded to religious others: They preached the gospel. The times of ignorance had been overlooked, but now God was calling all people, everywhere to repent and look to His Messiah.

After he lays his Biblical foundation on which he constructs the rest of his argument, Miles assesses the available options for a theology of religions.
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