“My Glory I Will Not Give to Another” The Prophets & Religious Pluralism -- By: Mark R. Stevenson
EMJ 8:1 (Sum 99) p. 65
“My Glory I Will Not Give to Another”
The Prophets & Religious Pluralism
If you were to travel to any number of college campuses and ask students their views on “religion,” you would probably encounter answers like these:
“Your belief is your belief. If it keeps you going, you know, if it’s a support to you, then it’s…good. I mean, you need something.”
“I think Buddhists can go to heaven, just as well as Christians.”
“I haven’t come across any real religions that were contradictory, except for maybe Satanism or something like that.”
“Just because I was socialized into Christianity, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s the only belief that’s valid.”
“I would like to take the good parts from all the religions and make the best religion from out of it.”1
What these students have articulated is widely known today as religious pluralism—the belief that all religions are equally valid, and equally salvific. As
* Mark Stevenson is an alumnus and current registrar at Emmaus Bible College.
EMJ 8:1 (Sum 99) p. 66
such, religious pluralism is one of the challenges facing Evangelical Christians today. Those who proclaim an exclusive gospel are not welcome in the marketplace of modern religious dialogue.
However, religious pluralism is no new phenomenon. It was alive and well in the Ancient Near East. The people of Israel, though their own faith was very exclusive, found themselves wrestling with the temptations and challenges that arise from life within a pluralistic framework. In contemporary discussions of religious pluralism, the experience of God’s people under the old covenant is sometimes forgotten, misunderstood—or worse, deemed irrelevant. But biblical Christians who want to remain faithful in their generation, and who have a burden for the peoples of neighboring faiths, cannot afford to ignore the instruction of the Old Testament. The purpose of this article is to examine what the Old Testament Prophets have to say about other religions, or more properly, the gods of the nations.2 We will survey some of the relevant material, and then consider a few implications for the contemporary situation.
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