Can Christians Remain Committed to Evangelism While Accepting ‘Religious Others’?
skeptical world is watching the Christian church to see how it will
respond to the growing presence of other religions in its midst,
religion professor Harold A. Netland told Samford University
divinity students Oct. 14.
we simply exacerbate the tensions or will we show a better way forward?”
Dr. Netland asked in a lecture at Samford’s Beeson Divinity School. He
spoke on “The Gospel and ‘Religious Others.’”
the days ahead Christians must demonstrate that we can both be faithful
to Jesus Christ as the one Lord and Savior for all peoples and work for
peace, harmony and mutual respect among adherents
of different religions,” he said.
added, “we must engage in responsible evangelism among followers of
other faiths. But we must also be active in promoting justice and
protecting the rights of minority religious communities
to live and practice their faith among us.”
Netland is professor of philosophy of religion and intercultural studies
at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill.
Explaining one reason for the world’s skepticism, Netland said “we live
in a post-colonial world that is acutely aware of the injustices of
four centuries of Western imperialism and that believes—rightly
or wrongly—that Christianity bears much of the blame for such
Christians remain committed to Jesus Christ “as the one Lord and Savior
for all humankind and to the need for evangelism among adherents of
other religions,” he asked, while also being accepting
of religious diversity and working for harmonious relations among those
“This is the watershed issue for evangelicals in the days ahead,” he said.
Netland reminded the students of three biblical texts related to his
subject: the Great Commission, the Great Commandments to love the Lord
and love your neighbor as yourself, and the Golden
Rule. These are at the heart of Jesus’ teaching and help to define
what a disciple of Jesus is like, he said.
upon these texts, then, we have three obligations with respect to
followers of other religions. One, we are to make disciples of
‘religious others’; two, to love religious others; and
three, to treat religious others the way we would want to be treated by