Item description for Four Views On Salvation In A Pluralistic World (Counterpoints) by John Hick; Clark H. Pinnock; Alister E. McGrath; R. Douglas Geivett; Gary W. Phillips...
Overview Four views, from salvation in Christ alone to the belief that all ethical religions lead to God, presented by advocates of each, help Christians understand and meet the challenges of our pluralistic culture.
Publishers Description To read the New Testament is to meet the Old Testament at every turn. But exactly how do Old Testament texts relate to their New Testament references and allusions? Moreover, what fruitful interpretive methods do New Testament texts demonstrate? Leading biblical scholars Walter Kaiser, Darrel Bock and Peter Enns each present their answers to questions surrounding the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament. Contributors address elements such as Divine and human authorial intent, the context of Old Testament references, and theological grounds for an interpretive method. Every author applies his framework to the same three texts so that readers see each method s practical use. Each contributor also receives a thorough critique from the other two authors. A one-stop reference for setting the scene and presenting approaches to the topic that respect the biblical text, Three Views on the New Testament Use of Old Testament gives readers the tools they need to develop their own views on this important subject. The Counterpoints series provides a forum for comparison and critique of different views on issues important to Christians. Counterpoints books address two categories: Church Life and Bible and Theology. Complete your library with other books in the Counterpoints series."
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 5.25" Height: 8" Weight: 0.55 lbs.
Release Date Aug 6, 1996
Publisher Zondervan Publishing
ISBN 0310212766 ISBN13 9780310212768 UPC 025986212766
Availability 0 units.
More About John Hick; Clark H. Pinnock; Alister E. McGrath; R. Douglas Geivett; Gary W. Phillips
Stanley N. Gundry is executive vice president and editor-in-chief for the Zondervan Corporation. He has been an influential figure in the Evangelical Theological Society, serving as president of ETS and on its executive committee, and is adjunct professor of Historical Theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He is the author of seven books and has written many articles appearing in popular and academic periodicals.
Stanley N. Gundry currently resides in Grand Rapids, in the state of Michigan.
Stanley N. Gundry has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Four Views On Salvation In A Pluralistic World?
Informative, but limited in scope Nov 30, -0001
This will be brief. Overall I am pleased with the Counterpoints series Zondervan has published, but like the publisher, these works are filtered through a fairly conservative lens. The present volume is a case in point. The editors admit in their introduction they agree with a particularist approach to salvation (i.e., exclusivist, traditional, etc), and while I certainly appreciate this nod towards being transparent in their editorship, as I read through the book it didn't take long to realize I would need to seek out other sources - none evangelical in tone and stance - to inform my understanding of the debates in soteriology and today's church. John Hick and Alister McGrath offer particularly strong arguments in their essays - their writing is cogent and informative. Clark Pinnock is perhaps misrepresented in this volume, because his brand of inclusivism teeters on the edge of particularism. In fact, he sounds like a disillusioned traditional evangelical who doesn't know how to make sense of salvation so he just takes a vague middle road. The Geivett/Phillips article is pretty useless in my opinion - they reiterate nothing new or interesting that you can't hear on a Sunday morning at your local Baptist church. Furthermore, their responses to the other authors are spurious and at best nothing more than piecemeal critiques. Their writing and responses are just as close-minded and tired as is their theology of salvation.
With that said, you should judge the book for yourself. I do recommend it, but with the caveat that it should be read with a critical eye and an understanding that this discussion of salvation is somewhat narrow, but there is value in the book. Again, Hick and McGrath are the highpoints.
One of the Better Works in Four Views Series Nov 30, -0001
Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World edited by Okholm and Gundry discusses the issue of salvation in light of the multiplicity of contemporary worldviews. This is part of the Four Views series published by Zondervan.
The following four perspectives of salvation are discussed: * John Hick - Pluralism - all religions lead to God * Clark Pinnock - Inclusivism - universally available but through Christ * Douglas Geivett/Gary Philips - Exclusivism - only through acceptance of Christ * Allister McGgrath - Exclusivism (slightly nuanced)
Although the Four Views series is normally characterized by solid argumentation, it has been criticised for its narrow perspective. This limited scope often makes the texts come of as a bit of an hair splitting exercise between conservative American Protestants. In this regard, the current instalment is notably better - John Hick's extreme liberal if not non-Christian perspective helps to significantly widen the discussion.
With regard to the quality of the contributions, I thought given the limited space they were generally good (McGrath's piece struck me as hastily written and a bit off tone). As one of the most recognizable proponents of religious pluralism, Hick's comments were especially helpful and interesting. Without a doubt he advocates the most politically correct position in the current Western intellectual climate. At the same time, however, it is the most at variance with scripture and tradition - indeed, while hopeful; Hick's position is arguably not truly a Christian one. Pennock's piece and the one by Geivett and Philips were also useful in filling out the spectrum of viewpoints. McGrath while sometimes an able commentator added little to the debate.
Overall this is a good read for those interested in Christian theology. I encourage Zondervan to continue this series, but with a wider range of contributors (Catholic and/or Orthodox might be helpful). As it is Four Views is a good series - with a wider range of perspectives it could be outstanding.
Good exchange from four respected theologians Nov 30, -0001
Four Views On Salvation in a Pluralistic World manages to accomplish what most counterpoint books do not. It gathers four assertive, yet respectful theologians who can adequately express the view they represent, and challenge the positions of the others.
The editor's preface is pretty helpful in laying the groundwork for the book. Terminology is always important in theology and in this case it is rather confusing. The editor does a good job, especially in trying to normalize the labels given to each position so as to not start out with prejudicial names. Mainly, this occurs on exclusivism/restrictivism being renamed to particularism. Two terms not distinguished well enough are Universalism and Universality. Universalism is the view that everyone will be saved by God without specifying the mechanisms or a Savior per se'. Universalism is Hick's view and it is a natural fit with pluralism. The Universality (axiom) is one of Pinnock's Inclusivist devices, saying everyone will be saved, but only through Christ (even if they never have heard of him). The Universality axiom and Universalism are similar but they are not the same.
Hick opens with an expose' centered on his journey from orthodox Christian belief to his well-known pluralism. He considers himself Christian but feels this is just a function of the culture he was raised within. His theological descriptions are much more like a pantheist or perhaps a deist. Hick's conception of God, does not (or cannot) transcend the gap between itself and man well enough to deliver a clear, unambiguous message. Instead, man is left groping in the dark, and manufactures something that will transform personal lives to move away from self-centeredness. This is much of what spirituality has to offer in Hick's view.
On the flipside of Hick's theology, he critiques other views by pointing out in his experience (all anecdotal), he feels the amount of sainthood to villainous behavior is about the same in all cultures irrespective of underlying religion so Christianity has no special claim to God. This is one thing to discuss, but it does not have the crushing weight Hick ascribes to it. Something in Hick obviously favors pluralism and now he rationalizes it through personal experience. I have read other works by Hick and frankly have always been amazed he receives the degree of credibility as a theologian he commands. He is intelligent and kind, but his theology seems ridiculous. He seems to find the supernatural so dubious that he distances it with vague language saying very little that is specific enough to matter in religous practice. For Hick, theology is whatever he makes it up to be. McGrath observes Hick's theology is often improperly considered a marquis of post-modernism. In fact, it is a sad remnant of modernism. Hick is behind the times, not defining them.
Pinnock shows he is his own theologian who (unlike Hick) holds the Bible in high regard. He makes some good points about Melchizedek, Cornelius and others being righteous pagans (this point is briefly addressed by other authors in the book). Pinnock gave me some things to think about, and I would not mind reading more from him, but he also proof-texts the Bible as obviously as any theologian I know of. Pinnock does not engage many widely discussed- passages that undermine his position (again, the other authors take a little of this up with him). Perhaps the page limits in a short essay held him back from presenting a significantly more robust case, but frankly I have some doubts.
Allister McGrath does a fine job of showing why it is disrespectful to each religion when the pluralist lumps them all together to sooth his own conscience. "Dialog implies respect, but it does not presuppose agreement." (p156) McGrath makes the case for a rather nuanced position, which (like Pinnock) expects other religions may be used, by the Spirit, as a type of pre-evangelism before its adherents hear the gospel of Christ. He remains agnostic on the issue of there being salvific power in those non-Christian practices if the gospel is never heard. McGrath is interesting and definitely has a voice of his own. Pinnock does catch him in an inconsistency. McGrath critiques Universalism by saying it denies humanity the right to say no to God, but as Pinnock points out, McGrath is a Reformed theologian. His Calvinistic theology has no place for men to say no (or yes) to God on salvation since it is predetermined, by God. So why critique Universalism for having an extremely similar attribute? Great point Pinnock.
Geivett/Phillips present and defend the traditional evangelical view that Christ is the only way to salvation, and it is a narrow path according to scripture. If anyone thinks the traditional view must sacrifice something in these kind of discussions, this article may challenge that thinking. Geivett/Phillips use a fair portion of their article to present a classical apologetic for Christ starting with evidence for the existence of God. I love apologetics, but I believe this is somewhat out of place in their article. Perhaps they felt it provided necessary background, but much of the information would support Pinnock's position as well as it does theirs. Hick goes too far in saying this classical argument is "such as to convince only those who already believe their conclusion."(p248) Of course, most of us know classical apologetics are used everyday to help inform honest seekers. Hick is not moved because he has made a dogmatic commitment to his strange concoction of deism, naturalism and inconsistent religious homogenization.
If you are interested in soteriology (biblical and non-biblical), you will like this book. One understated issue affecting the topic of the book is the authority behind religious statements. When Hick promotes pluralism, where does the authority for those religious claims come from? After all, he is saying things about God. The same question can be applied to all four views, but is not explored explicitly enough. I enjoyed the book and hope you do too.
Grace and peace to you, whatever your stripe
Christianity has many aspects Nov 30, -0001
The world we live in is characterized by diversity and a clamoring for equality. Our pluralistic society seeks to hear the voices of all its components without one drowning out another. The challenge of engaging this society has forced Christianity to rethink its positions so as to either change or to at least clearly articulate its beliefs in order to communicate to a multifaceted society. An overview of this change/articulation is found in the book Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World.
The first perspective discussed is normative religious pluralism, or what some might call `Christian pluralism.' The person defending this position is its leading advocate, John Hick. He begins by relating how he eventually rejected his conservative upbringing and came to hold his present theological stance. His position is that each major world religion (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism) provides a sufficient way of salvation, independent of any other religion. For him, the god of each religion is the `Ultimate Reality,' an awareness that is different for each religion. Hick's main arguments in support of Christian pluralism are: (1) no particular religion can claim moral superiority over other religions and hence cannot claim to be the one true religion; and (2) he asks wherein lies the love and grace of the Christian God if most of the human race is lost due to nothing more than the `bad luck' of being born in societies that have never heard the gospel? Hick reinforces his view by pointing out that Jesus could not have been divine. The picture we have in the gospels of a supernatural Jesus is simply a creation of the early church; this argument is similar to the proposal put forth by the Jesus Seminar.
Another perspective is that of particularism, which is actually divided into two different views. The idea of particularism is more in line with the traditional Christian position that salvation is grounded only in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, there have developed two similar but different strands of particularism. The first is called `hard restrictivism.' This view holds that only those who explicitly profess faith in Jesus Christ will be saved. This position is promoted by two authors, R. Douglas Geivett and W. Gary Phillips. This duo offers the most detailed Biblical examination of any view in the book and they argue that the Bible is clear that salvation cannot be found in anyone else other than Christ. They uphold the orthodox belief that Jesus is divine and the final revelation of God. Alongside hard restrictivism is the position of Alister McGrath, who advocates `optimistic agnostic particularism' (where agonistic does not mean that a person is unsure about the existence of God but that one is unable to say for sure that God can only save if Christ is explicitly believed in). McGrath's point is that he cannot say with certainty there is no hope for those who do not hear the gospel of Christ. He holds the same position as Geivett/Phillips regarding the deity of Christ; however, where McGrath differs from them is that he is not convinced God is `prevented' from saving those who never hear the good news of Jesus Christ. He holds this position all the while refraining from claiming the certainty of God's saving grace in the non-Christian world as held by Hick and Pinnock (see below).
The last view, proposed by Clark Pinnock, is somewhat of a via media, a middle way. The inclusivist view rejects the universalism of Hick and the particuarlism of McGrath and Geivett/Phillips. For Pinnock, God's presence is everywhere in the world, and hence his accompanying grace is preparing others outside the church for acceptance of the gospel of Christ. He follows the tone set by the Second Vatican Council and adds a point by telling the reader that inclusivism upholds the position that salvation is ultimately found in Christ, even if such knowledge may only be discovered by an individual after death. Also, Pinnock points out that his theology avoids the `dark features' of particularism, which `restrict' God's salvation to only a select minority, one fortunate enough to have heard the gospel.
The format of the book is straightforward. The editors open with an introduction that profiles the contributors to the book, as well as discuses their respective views. Following the introduction are four chapters, each containing an examination of one the four views of salvation. Each chapter contains five sections. The opening part is a discussion and defense of a particular view. This part is followed by the response of each of the proponents of the other views. The chapter concludes with a rebuttal by the scholar who opened the chapter. There is an index.
On the positive side, the reader will find in one source a good cross section of current trends in Christian theology. Pluralism, in a general sense, is a fact of life today and Christianity has felt its impact. The reader will be introduced to the main points of the entire spectrum of Christian thought in a point-counter point fashion Several technical terms (e. g., general revelation and special revelation) will be fleshed out in detail (though terms such as god, religion, and salvation will never be agreed on). Also, if one is interested in the debate between liberal and conservative scholarship, this book will help. Not to be overlooked is the helpful footnotes, both in terms of sources and explanations.
On the downside, there is much repetition in the book, for when the contributors respond to the others, they often quote verbatim from other parts of the book. The editors could have helped the reader by at least citing the page from which the quote was taken. The index does little to help, as it is not in the familiar form of alphabetized by topic, but grouped under a particular view. And (not of the fault of the editors) there is often personal attacks made by one writer on another. While one expects sharp disagreement between people who passionately hold to personal positions (and what is more passionate and personal than religious beliefs?), I am not sure it speaks well of Christianity to have criticism of an argument develop into ad hominem or personal insult.
Overall, this work is a four star book that will enlighten, if not entertain, the reader.
Counterpoint Series Nov 30, -0001
I'm going to apply this commentary for the entire Counterpoint Series published by Zondervan Publishing Company. My compliments to that company for creating this series. I initially purchased "Four Views on the Book of Revelation" but soon realized it was only one in a series. I got so much out of that volume, that I decided to purchase the entire set to study and keep for reference. My spiritual growth has been remarkable as a result. Seminary students and professionals would probably enjoy this series, which seems geared for them. But this series is also excellent for those college-educated laypeople who feel inclined to enhance their understanding of Christian theology. That is, with one caveat: Buy a decent theological dictionary to refer to at first. It probably won't get used much after about the third book you choose to read, but initially you will be need it to be confident of some of the terms used among advanced theologians. Then, the Counterpoint series will give you a full understanding of many different concepts and concerns of the Christian faith which have been applicable from early on until the present. I've learned a lot, and the only way I think I could do better is if I were enrolled in Seminary. A list of all the titles I am aware of from this series is:
Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? Five Views on Law and Gospel Five Views on Sanctification Four Views on Hell Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World Four Views on the Book of Revelation Three Views on Creation and Evolution Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond Three Views on the Rapture Two Views on Women in Ministry