The Reality Of The West S Post Christendom, Multiethnic, Multicultural Context Has Meant That, Than Ever, Christians Face Questions Posed Not Simply By The Existence Of Other Religions, But Also By Their Apparent Flourishing If Secularization Is Alive And Well, Then So Too Is Society S Sacralization Hence, A Theology Of Religions Is Arguably The Most Significant Concern Confronting Christian Mission And Apologetics In The Twenty First CenturyThere Has Been Little Evangelical Theology Offering A Detailed, Comprehensive, And Biblically Faithful Analysis Not Only Of The Question Of Salvation But Also Questions Of Truth, The Nature And History Of Human Religiosity, And A Host Of Other Issues Pertaining To Christian Apologetics And Contextualization Amid Religious Pluralism In Their Rock Is Not Like Our Rock, Lecturer And Vice Principal Of Oak Hill College In London, Daniel Strange, Explores These Issues And Offers The Beginning Of A Theology Of Other Religions Great book overall Well supported thesis Seemed to drag on in parts Could have been concise. I will run a full review on www.westernseminary.edu transformedblog Here are some quick thoughts 1 Strange s thesis, which is also his definition of other religions, is as follows From the presupposition of an epistemologically authoritative biblical revelation, non Christian religions are sovereignly directed, variegated and dynamic, collective human idolatrous responses to divine revelation behind which stand deceiving demonic forces Being antithetically against yet parasitically dependent on the truth of the Christian worldview, non Christian religions are subversively fulfilled in the gospel of Jesus Christ 42, 335.2 Daniel Strange is the best evangelical voice on theology of religions This is my dissertation topic and I have read a lot of writers.3 Strange is Reformed in his soteriology and his expressed purpose in writing this book was to write a robust theology of religions from the Reformed perspective Those who share his convictions will love the consistency of his theological approach 4 His commitment to Reformed theology is also the weakness of the book, because non Reformed folk will not always agree, though they ought to agree with most and certainly appreciate the lucidity of his writing.5 Strange is thoroughly biblical and is forthright about leaving simple prooftexting to connect dots theologically.6 The book never deviates from the explanation of his definition of a theology of religions and the religious other People may not like his definition, but they cannot accuse him of being opaque in his definitions and argumentation. If Christianity is true, why are there so many other religions Where did they come from What is their purpose And how do our answers to these questions affect the way we do missions and ministry These are all issues that Daniel Strange tackles in this ambitious but brilliant work Within its pages, Strange seeks to present a full blown theology of religions from specifically a Reformed, evangelical perspective The book provides a massive survey of both the Old and New Testament s teachings concerning the religious Other, and in the process draws on the writings of Reformed theologians throughout the centuries ranging from John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, J H Bavinck, and Cornelius Van Til to modern authors such as John Frame, D A Carson, and Timothy Keller just to name a few Strange s book is filled with theological, historical, and missiological insights that combine to make a compelling case for his model of subversive fulfillment which will be summed up below Though the book is written at an academic level, it is well worth the time and effort it takes to work through the dense sections in order see the rich, biblical perspective on other religions that it puts forth The final two chapters in which he seeks to answer the So what questions by applying his subversive fulfillment model to approaches to missions and ministry are alone worth the price of the book His thought provoking main thesis is worth quoting in full From the presupposition of an epistemologically authoritative biblical revelation, non Christian religions are sovereignly directed, variegated and dynamic, collective human idolatrous responses to divine revelation behind which stand deceiving demonic forces Being antithetically against yet parasitically dependent on the truth of the Christian worldview, non Christian religions are subversively fulfilled in the gospel of Jesus Christ If that summary whets your appetite for a serious, theologically deep and historically informed study of the Scripture s teachings regarding non Christian religions, then I would highly recommend this excellent book. Subversive FulfillmentDaniel Strange has given a wonderful gift to the evangelical world with his theology of religions As he readily admits, there is nothing new in his treatment of other religions, but he does help to bring to light some of the key issues regarding how evangelicals should interact with other faith traditions I will briefly mention a few First, Strange writes that the gospel is able to bring subversive fulfillment to other religions Second, he helps the reader to see how some truthful elements can be found in other religions by demonstrating that they are a like parasites on a healthy host dependent upon the truth of Christianity Third, he reconciles the two paradoxical truths that idols are both nothing and demonic Finally, Strange persuasively argues that other religions are directed by God in order to bring Him glory when they are found to be false and utterly unsatisfying This is not an introductory textbook on world religions, and it is probably not for everyone who will seek to be witness for Christ among people from various religious backgrounds, but for those who are interested in the theological and philosophical underpinnings for the idea that evangelicals MUST share the gospel with people from other faith backgrounds, I can highly recommend this book.Phil BarnesMissionary in Sub Saharan Africa Strange draws on the thought of Cornelius Van Til, J H Bavinck, Hendrick Kraemer and others such as Vos to formulate the framework for a theology of religions He lays the foundations for his theology in the Creator creature distinction and the imago Dei The point is that the unbeliever is a complex individual, greatly affected by the Fall hence the antithesis but still made in God s image and with their sin restrained by common grace Strange then turns to how fallen man developed religions Strange argues in favor of an original monotheism and an remnantal revelation that remained in various religious traditions, explaining the commonalities between them Though not dogmatic regarding elements of the exegesis, Strange argues that Babel marks the beginning of false religions in the post flood world The dividing of peoples leads to the diversity of religion, while shared memory of remnantal revelation accounts for similarities He further suggests demonic involvement in the development of religions after Babel Strange then looks at the Old Testament s view of other religions He takes idolatry as the Old Testament s basic category, and he critiques recent attempts to argue that early in the Old Testament there is a greater acceptance of false religion than later In his treatment of the New Testament, Strange examines the New Testament s teaching on the uniqueness of Christ, and the necessity of faith in Christ for salvation He rejects the claim that God s overlooking sin in the times of ignorance involves a permission for idolatrous religion prior to Christ and, according to some, at present where Christ has not yet been proclaimed He also exegetes Romans 1 18 25 to establish the clarity of general revelation and its suppression by idolaters With the preceding as a foundation, Strange argues that the gospel brings about the subversive fulfilment of other religions The word subversive is important for this thesis He rejects Gerald McDermott s argument that there can be a fulfillment of continuity with regard to false religion He presses hard on the fact of the antithesis since religions are systems there is no truth at all in false religions because whatever might be identified as true is part of a larger false system And yet, because of the image of God in man, the influence of remnantal revelation, and the influence of Christianity, there is a pseudo similarity and counterfeiting of true divine revelation in false religions The gospel subverts the what is false and shows the true fulfillment of what was being counterfeited In the closing chapters Strange looks at the missiological and pastoral implications of his study Strange is clear that this book is an outline for a theology of religions He calls for others to follow behind and fill in the outline or to apply it to specific religions. This is far and away one of the most timely books I have ever read.I feel as if every Christian that engages regularly with Christianity and culture essentially those active in ministry of some capacity and college students needs to read this book, and anybody seeking to do mission work of any kind needs to read this book as a primer to what s really going on in the hearts of the idolatrous.I absolutely consumed this book and plan to reread it sometime in the future to refresh my newfound theology of religions. Will surely become a future standard textbook on the subject of the religious other The thesis which is argued over the course of the book is incredibly succinct, though heavy on those big theological words Definitely one to read and re read. Highly recommend reading this AFTER reading Michael Heiser s book The Unseen Realm Daniel Strange s thesis is stellar and paradigm shifting for evangelists and preachers in particular Basically he argues that God scattered religions confessions tongues at Babel and this was a gracious judgment to prevent a monolithic religious order from destroying the elect These nations are given over and assigned to other gods demons, ie Deut 32, Psalm 82 and are faux religions of the one true religion The gospel of Jesus Christ then subversively fulfills all these idolatrous religions by revealing them for the frauds they are and bringing the gentiles into the kingdom of God.When we engage now with other worldviews religions, a helpful methodology in missions is to Affirm, Expose, and the Evangelize This means we find the common ground truth that the false religion is parodying and then expose that religion s inability inconsistency in satisfying the common ground longing We then Evangelize by demonstrating the gospel of the kingdom as the one religion that meets those common ground deep religious desires.
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- ‘For Their Rock Is Not As Our Rock’: An evangelical theology of religions
- Daniel Strange
- 28 September 2017 Daniel Strange