Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 15:1 (Winter 1972)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Christianity and Comparative Religion, by J. N. D. Anderson. (Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 1970). 593 pages and bibliography and index. $1.95. Reviewed by Paul M. Krishna, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Ill.

Every evangelical who sets himself the task of reviewing the religions of the rest of mankind has to tread a hazardous razor’s-edge path. The very fact of his commitment to the finality and the all-sufficiency of the atonement accomplished by our Lord, involves a certain pre-judgment upon all the remaining faiths of mankind. And unless the whole effort is infused and inter-penetrated by the spirit of Christian charity and humility, it is bound to wreck itself and fail in its main purpose, which is not to win an argument at the expense of other religions, but to deliver precious souls, “staggering” as the late Winston Churchill once said in another connection “around the rim of hell.”

The overall impression that one carries after a perusal of his Christianity and Comparative Religion is that Professor Anderson succeeds, in the main, in keeping his balance along this razor’s edge. He recognizes the need to keep always in mind the much neglected warning of Professor W. Cantwell Smith:

“No one has understood the diverse faiths of mankind if his so-called explanation of them makes fundamental nonsense of each one.” (The Faith of Other Men—W. C. Smith. New American Library, 1962.)

and this accounts for his success in this difficult venture.

Among the more important of the admirable features of this book are, firstly, the clarity with which such contemporary trends as syncretism, mysticism and experiential fads are dealt with and their pitfalls for Biblical Christianity pointed out. Secondly, the uniqueness of the Lord Jesus Christ is brought out with clarity. The technique of spelling out the finality of Christ under four questions, each forming a chapter, namely

(a) A Unique Proclamation?

(b) A Unique Salvation?

(c) A Unique Disclosure?

(d) No Other Name?

is highly effective and the reader sees the Majesty of the Lord Jesus and

His accomplished work, especially as in each chapter the main tenets of the non-Christian religions are dealt with in juxtaposition.

And thirdly, the beautifully charitable way in which he deals with the thorny question of whether or not the unevangelized are lost. The absence of that rigid dogmatism that flows from a hardened heart is indeed commendable, even though the author does not depart...

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