Evangelism And The Peril Of Pluralism -- By: Wayne A. Detzler

Journal: Christian Apologetics Journal
Volume: CAJ 04:2 (Fall 2005)
Article: Evangelism And The Peril Of Pluralism
Author: Wayne A. Detzler


Evangelism And The Peril Of Pluralism

Wayne A. Detzler

Emeritus Professor John Hick of Birmingham University is noted for his pluralistic stance. In many ways he has been the primary pluralistic spokesman among the theological community. He writes: “I have not found that the people of the other world religions are, in general, on a different moral and spiritual level from Christians.” Then he adds: “the basic ideal of love and concern for others and of treating them as you would wish them to treat you is, in fact, taught by all the great religious tradition.”1

The negative effect of Hick’s position is seen in his body of work. One recalls that Hick penned the blasphemous book, The Myth of God Incarnate, in which he categorically denied the deity of Christ. The book exploded like a bomb on the British scene in 1977. Michael Green countered almost immediately with the now famous book, The Truth of God Incarnate.

This mindset marked Hick as a radical voice of secular theology, and his thought process came to fruition in his book, The Second Christianity, where he concluded:

Indeed, if we are to understand the entire range of human awareness of the divine, including those enshrined in the Buddhist, Hindu and Taoist, as well as the Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions, we shall need an even greater framework of thought.. .. However, given these cultural ways of being human we can I think to some extent understand how it is that they constitute different “lenses” through which the divine Reality is differently perceived.2

From another culture, C. S. Song, the Taiwanese theologian seeks a synthesis between Christianity and Buddhism. He compares the lotus blossom and the cross. The lotus seems to be in perfect harmony with nature, whereas the cross is a violent affront to nature. C. S. Song concludes: “The place for the cross and the lotus to intersect and intercommunicate is the people - the people who have to fight both spiritual and physical fears, the people who have to live and die without knowing why.”3

Pluralism pronounces that all truth claims are equally valid. Therefore, the exclusive claims of Christ are rejected outright. Writers like Hick and C.S. Song are the tip of an academic iceberg. They enshrine pluralism as an absolute, and thus reject the absolute truth of biblical Christianity.

It is the contention of this author that pluralism and evangelism are mutually exclusive. In fact, if one accepts the premise of plura...

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