Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 159:635 (July 02) p. 368
By The Faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary
Matthew S. DeMoss, Editor
Can Evangelicals Learn from World Religions? Jesus, Revelation and Religious Traditions. By Gerald R. McDermott. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000. 233 pp. $14.99.
In this provocative book Gerald McDermott, associate professor of religion and philosophy at Roanoke College, defends the study of the major religions of the world by evangelical Christians. In short, his answer to the question raised in the title is a resounding yes.
McDermott’s thesis for the book is clearly stated. “This book is the beginning of an evangelical theology of the religions that addresses not the question of salvation but the problem of truth and revelation, and takes seriously the normative claims of other traditions. It explores the biblical propositions that Jesus is the light that enlightens every person (John 1:9) and that God has not left Himself without a witness among non-Christian traditions (Acts 14:17).”
McDermott affirms that God’s self-revelation is primarily found in two forms: special revelation (the Scriptures) and general revelation (primarily in creation). In addition God has placed in nature “revealed types,” which, although not completely understood, are sometimes appropriated by unredeemed humanity into their cultural and religious belief systems. These types are the Creator’s fingerprints on the created order. Since, as Paul indicated in Romans 1:20, God’s evidence in creation is plain, it is not surprising that evidence of the Creator might be found in some religions. Thus there is value in studying world religions in order to discover the truth found there. Of course apart from the work of the Spirit, no one can properly interpret this evidence as pointing to the true God. But the fact that such evidence is usually misinterpreted does not negate the accuracy of the revelation. Humans often misinterpret God’s revelation, as evidenced by errors of interpretation of the inerrant Scripture even by the most devout Christians. The problem is neither with the revelation nor the Revealer, but with the interpreters of that revelation.
McDermott emphasizes that he is not arguing for a pluralistic or inclusivistic view of salvation. This book is not about salvation at all; rather, it is about God’s means of revelation. McDermott does, however, provide an insightful critique of pluralism and inclusivism (pp. 39–44). He affirms his conviction that “Jesus is the only Savior and way to God” (p. 41) and he acknowledges that wo...
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