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THE CHRISTIAN FAITH AND OTHER FAITHS

Rev. Wendell Karsen[1]

 

I.     Preliminary Presuppositions.

A.    Christianity's having all the truth/light doesn't mean that other Faiths have no truth/light. We have an obligation to search for and affirm that truth/light.

B.     Christianity is as bewildering in terms of doctrines, interpretations, schools, sects, movements, historical ambiguity, etc. to a person of another Faith as his Faith is to us. It too has many tensions and unsatisfactory "answers" (in areas like suffering, evil, hell, etc.). It too needs a clearing away of popular superstition, mythology, cultural accretions, etc.

C.     There is that in the teaching and practice of other Faiths that can enrich and/or correct distortions in our own Faith.

D.    We Christians do not have a right to share our Faith unless we have first made a serious effort to dispel our ignorance about another person's Faith. Any "sharing in the dark" will be unproductive in the sense of being an affront to a person of another Faith. It will be a sharing that will not be directed to his/her felt needs, will fail to utilize his/her spiritual/ cultural context, and will fail to be based on a relationship of understanding and respect.

II. Reasons Why Christians Can Affirm the Truth/Light/Revelation That Adherents of Other Faiths Have Received and Responded To.

A.    God has not left himself without a witness. Every one of his children has received and is responsible for some light at some level. John 1:4; Acts 14:17; 17:23-28; Heb.1:1.

B.     God's will is that every one of his children should realize the fullness of life that he intended when he created him/her. I Tim. 2:1-6; 4:10; Titus 2:11-14; Heb. 2:9; II Pet. 3:9.

  1. He grieves over every child of his who refuses his gifts of grace, even over children like Hitler and Stalin. Ps. 78:40-41; 81:11-12; 116:15; Hosea 11:1-9; Lk. 13:34ff; 19:41ff.
  2. God's power to create, sustain the cosmos, etc., is awesome, but his most awesome and mysterious power is his capacity to suffer as the Parent of every human being, particularly of those who spurn his grace and are intent on pursuing a course of self-destruction. From the failure of his first daughter and son (Eve and Adam) until today, his shoulders have been broad enough to bear all the griefs, sorrows, waywardness and rebellion of his children. His love has never wavered, and he continues to stand on the road with his arms outstretched calling all his daughters and sons (whether rebels on the "outside" or on the "inside") "home." Lk. 15:18-24, 29-32.
  3. The cross, the ultimate concentration of his suffering on behalf of all of his children, is at the same time totally mysterious and totally, wonderful. The depth and breadth of his suffering demonstrate the breadth and depth of his all-embracing love. Rom.5:6-11.

C.     God's children have seen and responded to God's light/truth/revelation at different levels. The crucial factor is whether they have been open to God at that level and continue to be open for further light when they see it. Rom. 2:14-29. (Read "gospel " for "law, " "Hindu" for "Gentile, "Christian" for "Jew," "baptism" for “circumcision" and "live out" for "obey") Paul's argument for the Jew/Gentile situation of the first century is directly applicable to the Christian/non-Christian situation in our time.

1.      Rom. 1:18-32, and other passages like it, do not describe non-Christians indiscriminately, but are speaking only of those non-Christians (unlike those described in chapter 2) who are closing themselves to the level of light they have with the resultant evil effects on their lives. There is a difference between a Ghandi and a Hitler!

  1. All of God's children are held accountable to positively respond to, and live according to, the level of light they have received, and they will experience the blessings of life in that light or the self-judgments and consequences of living in the dark, depending on their choice. Rom. 1:3-9; 2:25-29; Lk. 12:47-48.

a.       This same principle is operative within the visible Christian community as well as outside of it. Christians are also described as not totally walking in the light. (See Titus 1:l0-16, for example). Thus, the imperative mood is a major mood in the New Testament. E.g., Phil. 2:12-16. The people of God are also in the process of opening or closing their lives to the light in the dynamic flux of life in their relationship to God, and taking responsibility for the same. As with those at a different level of light; the question is whether the dominant flow of a person's life, at the level of light she/he has, is moving towards God or away from him, opening to him or closing to him.

b.      An appropriate symbol of this faith/unbelief, opening/closing flow in a person's life might be the Yin-Yang symbol of Taoism. There are those whose faith flow at their level of light is dominated by openness mixed with a little closedness, and vice versa. However, things are never static, but dynamic. At times the little closedness in the "believer" and the little openness in the "unbeliever" (at whatever level of light they happen to be) waxes or wanes depending on the response to the vicissitudes of life. "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!" Mk. 9:24. Or, "All religion is superstition. but then again, I wonder."

At times, the littleness of belief in the "unbeliever" or of unbelief in the "believer" gains momentum to the point of completely reversing the flow. The small openness overcomes the closedness and the person opens up to the light at his/her level and blossoms accordingly, or vice versa.

Faith is never a static entity in the Bible. The paradox of faith is that as soon as one thinks one has it "in the bag”, one discovers that one is on the way to reversing the flow in one’s life in the direction of unbelief! Lk. 18:9-14. This dynamic quality of faith as a lived out experience of struggle with unbelief is reflected in Paul's statement in Rom. 7:14-25. A close study of the lives of the apostles will reveal that in the heat of life, even after Pentecost, even they experienced the waxing and waning of belief (openness) and unbelief (closedness). (See Acts 15:36-41; Gal. 2:11-14, for example).

Why a person succumbs to unbelief or closedness or heading towards the dark, is shrouded in the mysterious irrationality of evil that even the wisdom of God cannot penetrate. (I am sure he is still scratching his head over why Adam and Eve did what they did). Why a person responds to the light, however, is very clear. God has illuminated the path ahead so that a person can see that it leads towards the realization of the potential for the full life for which s/he yearns and for which s/he has been created. John 10:10.

           c. The point is not, therefore, whether a person has “heard" all there is to know about the Christian faith in order to qualify for the Kingdom of God, but whether, at the level of light that person has received, his/her faith flow is moving in the right direction.

  1. We might use the illustration of a mountain to clarify this picture of God’s children being acceptable to him if their faith flow is moving in the right direction at the level of light they have.

a.       At the tip of the mountain is God in all his blazing Light..

b.      At the bottom of the mountain is total darkness.

c.       There are paths leading from the bottom part way up the mountain away from the darkness and towards the Light. Some of these paths go higher than others do. The higher a path, the more light there is.

d.      All paths, except one narrow, tortuous one, eventually end at paths going around the mountain. The only way from these circuitous paths to the top is via the narrow one. The Christian mission is to help people on the other paths find the way around to and up the narrow path.

e.       Some people won’t even begin the climb from the bottom, but resolutely turn their backs on any path and prefer to remain in darkness. John 3:19-20. Others start up, but eventually turn around and head back with the same result. Some, however, keep climbing as far as they can during their lifetime, always desiring to face the light they have and find more. John 3:21. Some make their way to and begin up the narrow way.

f.       Still others are born at the entrance to the narrow way. Many go up it, but some head downwards towards the dark or wander off on one of the other paths.

g.      Those who head towards the Light become increasingly aware of the fact that their progress towards the top has only been made possible by the Source of the Light that illumines the path and that (in Christ) comes down to meet them along the way to make it possible for them to continue their journey towards the top. Eph. 2:4-10.

 

D.    What keeps God’s full light from getting through fully to all he wants to save (have experience the fullness of life he intended)--namely to all his children?

  1. His self-limiting love. To force his light and love upon those who prefer darkness would be to destroy them as persons. God is willing to risk losing his children by giving them the freedom to walk away from him because he knows that a coerced relationship is no relationship. Mark l0:17-23.
  2. The Forces of Evil. God is involved in a very real struggle with the F.O.E. whose aim is to perpetuate darkness. John 1:5. Although he will be the ultimate victor, there are times when and places where he cannot act without destroying the basis on which his Kingdom is being built in this age - freedom and faith. Mark 6:5-6. At times the F.O.E. intensify and erupt in society and in individuals (e.g., the Holocaust, illness, death) and the struggle waxes and wanes. The major power God has in overcoming the F.O.E. is the power of loving suffering (as concentrated in the cross) which he himself supremely undergoes in Christ. Matt.27:46.

The struggle can be likened to World War II. "D Day" has taken place in the Christ event. However, "VE Day" is still in the future. Meanwhile, the desperate struggle continues, with the resultant suffering, death and the demonic being present realities. The ultimate outcome of the "war" is not in doubt, but that does not eliminate the present desperate realities. Nor does it eliminate the sense of grief in the Commander over whatever casualties occur among the “troops” of the Kingdom, or among the other seekers of light who are caught (as were the villagers in France) in the crossfire, or even among the "enemy" troops (who are also his, albeit rebellious, children).

 

  1. The strategy 0 the Kingdom. It is not always obvious to the “troops” in the front lines, who are caught in the realities of the struggle of life, that there is an overall coherent strategy for the winning of the war against the F.O.E., (or on a more positive note, a strategy for the establishment of the Kingdom of God and the renewal of all creation). What is called for is faith in the Commander whose general strategy is not always specifically apparent to all people in their particular situation. Is.55:8-9.

 

Why God, for example, decided that the best strategy for spreading his light to the human race would be primarily through the Jews rather than through the Chinese is not immediately apparent, especially to the Chinese! However, God sees the "big picture", and we don't .The main point here is that He does not hold the Chinese, for example, responsible for responding to more light than they had/have at any particular moment in history. That is, He does not hold them responsible for knowing, and acting on the basis of, a general strategy that they would not have had more than a vague clue about.

 

  1. The frailty of those he depends on to carry out his mission in the world. Gal. 2:11-12, etc. God has deigned to carry out the majority of his mission of bringing wholeness to the whole of his creation through the body of Christ; that is, through people who believe, but who are still “on the way” as far as their spiritual development is concerned. As a result, Church history is a mixture of missional advances and retreats. 

III. The Good News That Christians Can Share With the Adherents of Other Faiths (including "faiths" like atheism, secularism, etc.) Is That Although They Have Received and Responded to Some Light, There Is Always More Light That Leads in the Direction of the Fullness of Life Intended for All.

A. This announcement is made from a stance of abject humility, not one of superiority.

 

1.      Christ has revealed the light of God most fully, but there is more to be known about God than even we Christians have yet been exposed to. Rev. 21:1-4,22-27; I Cor. 13:12.

 

  1. We Christians have not yet fully apprehended the light that we have received (and, in fact, we too often distort it). Acts 15:36-41; I Cor. 14:23; 1:1-13; 15:12, etc.

 

B.     The basic light Christians have to offer is the Good News that God-in-Christ set the whole human race free from the power of evil, suffering, death, fear, guilt, darkness and meaninglessness for a life that is whole, full, free and meaningful, and that has a hopeful and purposeful future. Rom. 8:1-11.

 

1.      God came in Christ, THE ELECT ONE, to save (bring fullness of life to) the whole human race. His death and resurrection accomplished that. He was/is God's YES to all of humanity. II Cor. 1:19-20.

 

2.      The whole human race was elect in Christ and united with Him in His death and resurrection. Rom. 3:23-24; II Cor. 5:14-15, 19; CoI. 1:19-20; Heb. 1:3. (Also Eph. 1:3-12; II Till. 1:9-10; etc. if the pronouns are read as referring to humankind).

 

3.      This act set all people free from the curse of the first Adam's act and the power of evil so that every individual is again free to make Adam's decision of whether to ratify God's gracious free gift and remain free, in the light, redeemed, a friend of God, saved, or whether to rebel and choose darkness and all its consequences all over again.

 

The only sin that will condemn a person is the sin of unbelief - an irrational refusal of grace that results in "death", self-condemnation and destruction. (Note that the self is not in the list of what cannot separate us from the love of God! Rom. 8:35-39)

 

In this sense, the Second Adam gives the "sons of Adam" a second chance. Rom. 5:15-19.

 

4.      The ratification of God's act in Christ “for me" (or the act of faith) in the present does not effect a person's salvation, but merely affirms, appropriates and makes experiential what has already been accomplished once and for all by Christ in the past. Eph. 2:4-10.

 

5.      The Good News, then, is an announcement of what has already happened through Christ and a call for a response. Rom. 5:6-11.

 

6.      This inclusive redemption through Christ is the one and only basis on which people, responding on any level to the amount of light they had/have at that level (whether they are specifically aware of the Christ event or not), are accepted by God. Acts 4:12.

C.     The Christian claim to more light is undergirded by its forthright coming to grips with the totality of reality, by its sense of BALANCE.

1.      The adherents of other faiths err in one way or another by taking a part and making it the whole; by pushing one aspect of reality to an extreme that results in the negation of another aspect. E.g., the secularist's extreme rejection of the intuitive as an illusion on the one hand, and the mystic's extreme rejection of the empirical as an illusion on the other hand. The Christian Faith takes the reality of both seriously and provides a meaningful way to deal with both. The reality of the spiritual world and our relationship to it permeates the Bible, but at the same time, the natural world and its worth are also explicitly affirmed. (See Isaiah 11:6-9; Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 18,21,25, 31; 2:10-17 [compare Rev. 22:1-3a]; Rom. 1:20, 18-22; Col. 1:15-20; I Tim. 4:4-5).

2.      Confucian humanism insists that people are free to act, while deterministic Hinduism sees a person as a pawn in the hand of fate. The Christian faith takes the middle way that avoids these either/or errors. A person is in bondage to an evil nature, but can be set free by God to freely experience a loving relationship within the bounds of the holistic life he created a person to experience. John 10:10.

3.      Islam and the Pre-Literary Society religions view the Supreme Being as so transcendent that he cannot have a personal relationship with those he has created. Hindus and Shintoists see the divine as being so immanent that there is no distinction between the divine and that which we experience as the world. The Christian faith corrects both in a balance that avoids the extreme of aloofness and determinism on the one hand and a confusion of the Creator with his creation on the other. (See Gen.1; I Tim. 6:13; Acts 17:25, 28).

4.      Confucianism in essence says that as far as we know, this life is all there is and we should therefore concentrate on it, Jainism in essence says that this life is worthless and we should try to escape from it at the earliest opportunity. The Christian faith sees the whole picture in an unwarped manner through Jesus' concept of eternal life - a life that begins now (and therefore values the now in a positive way) and extends on into the life to come (and therefore gives a purposeful goal and dimension to human existence). John 10:10; 17:1.

5.      Christianity is most in danger of abdicating its claim to have further light for the peoples of the world when it loses its balance either in the direction of atheistic secularism on the one hand or pantheistic superstition on the other.

a.       This danger becomes most acute through the science of a systematic theology that demands a logical either/or out of a Bible that has a multi-dimensional view, and that locates truth/light within the center of a variety of theological tensions.

b.      The point, in my opinion, where Reformed theology is most in danger of losing its balance is in its view of a divine sovereignty that over-rides all else, and that, despite disclaimers, moves in the direction of a kind of Islamic determinism and fatalism. The logical outcome of this trend are the Neo-Calvinist "TULIP" doctrines of "Total Depravity," "Unconditional Election" (of individuals), "Limited Atonement, " "Irresistible Grace" and "Perseverance of the Saints." Perhaps here is where the other Faiths can help us regain our balance by forcing us to take another look at the words "total," "individuals," "limited," "irresistible” and "perseverance" in a way that takes more fully into account the Biblical tensions concerning divine sovereignty and human freedom and responsibility.

IV. The Members of the Christian Church are the Major Means by Which God Brings the Light of the Fullness of Life to the Peoples of the World.

A.    God has used other means in the past and continues to use them in the present to bring some light to all peoples in some way. Rom. 1:19-20; Acts 14:17; 17:22-28; Matt. 25:35-40.

B.     Although some respond to that light, are open to God at the level of light they have and are accepted by God as such on the basis of the Christ event. they still have not experienced the fullness of life that is God's will for all people. The mission of God, through his people, is to bring further light to the peoples of the world so that they will be able to more and more experience this fullness of life that Christ came to give. John 10:10; Acts 17:22-31; Rom. 3:21-26; 5:1-11; Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1: 8.

C.     It is true, as we have seen, that the Bible teaches that the more light people receive, the more they are responsible for. If then people are already acceptable to God through their response to the light they have been given at their level, why increase their responsibility by bringing them more light?

1.      As we have seen, it is God's will that all people should experience the fullness of life that He intended when he created them and when he redeemed them by coming in Christ. He is not satisfied to leave people with murky light and murky lives, and neither should we be.

2.      As Christians, we do not operate on this principle in other areas of life. E.g., if we see someone living at a subsistence level, we will do our best to see that that person receives more of the abundance of this world's material goods and a better opportunity to raise his/her standard of living in the future. In gaining a better opportunity for the future, however, that person is also faced with increased responsibility, but we don't let that hinder us. Why should it be any different when we are dealing with the spiritual core of a person’s being that can be immeasurably enriched through a full understanding of, and living out of, the Good News?

V. Approaches of Various Christians to Adherents of Other Faiths (or the "House" of Interfaith Dialogue).

A.    The Basement ( a place of darkness) .Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Many Christians have looked at other faith systems and said "no". Adherents of other faiths are pagans, uncivilized, heathen, "in the enemy's camp". E.g., some conservative mission groups.

  1. Problem. We have seen that the Bible itself is more inclusive. For example, the teaching concerning God's universal salvific will; the recognition that the Logos is present in all to some degree; the hints that those who live within/according to the light they have will not be rejected; the assertion that the Kingdom of God is wider than the visible church; the assertion that all truth is God's truth.
  2. Possibility. This approach reminds us that Christ uniquely offers fullness of life. Jn. 10:10.

B.     The Nursery (a room where the innocent play). Religion was needed by primitive people to cope with the unknown, but now we have advanced into the scientific age in which humans can explain and manage their own destiny. Worthy values can be conserved, but. metaphysical theology must be left behind. E.g., A. Comte and the History of Religion School.

1.      Problem. This view doesn't square with the fact that the closer we move to scientific positivism, the greater is the yearning for a new spiritual awareness in life. Also, many agree that the empirical and the intuitive should more and more be seen as the totality of what makes up reality, not just the empirical.

2.      Possibility. This view drives us to be intellectually honest (regarding superstition, etc.) while striving to be sincerely devout.

C.     The Library (a room for intellectual stimulation). All come and leave as equals. All will be enriched. Nobody has a corner on the truth. E.g., the Parliament of Religions, the Comparative Religion School.

1.      Problem. The house of inter-faith dialogue needs more furniture than simply a round table of detached-from-life intellectual exchange. E.g., it needs a "hearth" of feeling and intuition, an "altar" of repentance, commitment, etc.

2.      Possibility. Listening, learning, searching with an open (while committed) spirit with no hidden agenda is essential to the development of a humble and open attitude towards those who believe differently.

D.    The Dining Room (a room with a smorgasbord of goodies to choose from). All in common recognize/worship a Person/Power beyond/behind the universe which fills the craving of the heart. All should have the freedom to work out their own details. All religious roads lead to "God". One road is not necessarily “better" than another. E.g. Vivekanada.

1.      Problem. Dogma and worship are not "details" but are the heart of the expression of faith - that which gives it concreteness and life. This view glosses over the fundamental differences in the way the "Person" behind the universe is viewed, how the universe itself is viewed, and how we can "know" what is true and right.

2.      Possibility. This approach encourages a search for common ground and develops tolerance for differences.

E.     The Kitchen (a room where ingredients are blended into a "dish"). All religions have value. We must break through religious peculiarities to the common essence that can unify us all in a new universal faith through a process of syncretism that levels all faiths down to a common denominator. E.g. Bahai, Unification Church, Theosophical Society.

1.      Problem. This is not possible without major metamorphoses that would transform Christianity and other faiths into faiths unrecognizable from what they are now. This view lightly passes over such serious differences because it stems from a tradition that subscribes to the tenet of tolerance at all costs.

  1. Possibility. This approach calls for a serious attempt to identify basic religious tenets held by all people of faith, a commendable goal per se.

 

F.      The Workshop (a room where incomplete projects can be finished). Other faiths have some truth via the "Logos Spermatakos" and their response to general revelation. Christ completes what has been begun, fulfills what in other faiths is now incomplete and illumines that which needs to be discarded through a process that might be described as "leveling up" to the highest revelation. E.g. Roman Catholics, E. Brunner.

 

1.      Problem. Other faiths still feel "put down". In the end, Christ comes out on top after all! This view too easily minimizes the seriousness of basic differences and maximizes the ease of accommodation.

 

2.      Possibility. This approach makes the most serious attempt to hold the universality and the uniqueness of the Christian gospel together. The Vatican II Council, e.g., set out these guiding principles:

 

a.       Reject nothing that is true and holy, whatever the source.

 

b.      Look with respect on that which, though differing in particulars, reflects a ray of the Truth and the Light.

 

c.       Put aside, for the moment, that which is repugnant to Christians and concentrate on the spiritual and moral goods of a particular faith.

 

d.      Prudently and lovingly witness to people of other faiths concerning Christ as the fulfillment, not the destroyer, of what is good and best in their faiths, and the one in whom they will find the fullness of religious life.

G.    The Attic (a place filled with tempting junk). All "religion" (including what is "religious" in Christianity) is the final stronghold where humanity seeks to fashion its own security and avoid dependence on a gracious God. Systems, rituals, structures, rubrics, false “images” of God and distortions of God all, in reality, substitute for and shut out God in the name of seeking God through a process that might be described as groping in the dark from the bottom up. Faith only becomes truly such as it humbly submits to the revelation of God through a process that might be described as light from the top down. E.g. K. Barth, D. Bonhoffer, L. Newbigin.

1.      Problem. This approach disregards the Biblical concepts of general revelation, the cosmic Christ, the wider aspect of the Kingdom of God, etc.

  1. Possibility. This approach engenders humility by reminding people of all faiths that all have at least some "religious" junk in their attics.

H.    The Guest Room (a room for strangers who become friends and perhaps even "family"). All people are children of “our” Heavenly Father (created in his image), are elect in Christ generically and have been touched in some way by grace and truth via the Spirit through their own religion(s) whether they recognize it or not. As such, they can be called “anonymous Christians" and should be treated as such, not as strangers. K. Rahner.

  1. Problem. This approach rejects the Biblical idea that calls for decision at every "level" of revelation, with a responsibility that increases accordingly. The Bible does not teach a universalism that accepts all, no matter what their response at whatever leve1.
  2. Possibility. This view helps us approach people of other faiths not as strangers, but as guests and even loved ones.

VI. The "Encounter" Approach to Adherents of Other Faiths.

A. Difficulties.

1.      The tension between openness and conviction. "Commitment has no boundaries, only roots. The deeper the roots, the more freedom to spread and grow without being blown over." (Smartha)

  1. The tension between the philosophical enunciation of a faith and the practice of it by its adherents.

B. Characteristics.

1.      The following are not "steps" but "components" in that they do not necessarily take place in sequence but contemporaneously.

2.      Sharing is not only done verbally, but also non-verbally.

 

D.    The Components of the Encounter Approach.

 

1. Listening (to you). Passing over.

 

a. What new insights, appreciations, discoveries can I have/make about you as a (           ) that will correct my previous misunderstandings, prejudices and ignorance? (Not only about your ideas/practices, but also about your culture, history, present situation, etc.).

 

b. What experiences have you had in relating to Christians, and what are your impressions of them?

 

c. What questions do you have that I can try to answer to help you gain a better understanding of me as a Christian?

 

      2. Learning (about myself). Coming back.

a. How do I as a Christian have a clearer perception of my faith after dialoguing with a (        )?

b. How do, I as a Christian now feel about what (        ) believe after dialoguing with a (        )?

      3. Searching (for common ground) .Meeting .

a. What do you as a (         ) and I as a Christian have in common in terms of background, beliefs, ideas, etc.?

b. How can I as a a Christian cooperate with you as a (        ) in meeting the needs of people? (Often more understanding and trust is generated through doing together than through merely talking together ).

      4. Sharing (myself, my story, my convictions). Testifying.

 

a. Are you, a (            ), willing to share yourself, your story, your convictions with me, a Christian?

 

b. Are you, a (          ), willing to let me a Christian share myself, my story, my convictions with you?

(If components 1, 2 & 3 have been a part of the dialogue, a relationship will have been built that will accept this kind of mutual sharing as a natural part of that relationship. Movement will most likely take place within both participants. Self-giving is the aim, not manipulation to win over the other. The person who aims at converting people will turn them off, but the person who opens himself to others, lovingly gives of himself to others, and honestly shares his deepest convictions with others, with no strings attached, will find some entering the Kingdom of God because they will have been "surprised by joy").

VII. The Results of Encounters With Adherents of Other Faiths.

A.    On the one hand, it will be more difficult to chirp about the superiority of the Christian faith. On the other hand, it will be more difficult to glibly say that all faiths are saying the same thing and that all paths are leading to the same place.

B.     Christians will come to realize that the communication of the Christian faith to a person of another faith is as difficult as their making an honest attempt to understand that person's faith.

C.     Encounters with adherents of other faiths will help to purge some of the dross out of a Christian's faith and life.

D.    Some adherents of other faiths may find the fulfillment of their faith in the Christian faith and forever "cross the bridge".

E. Other adherents of those faiths may temporarily "pass over" to the Christian faith and then "go back" to influence the reform of their own faiths.

F. Some Christians, accepting the genuine risk of honest inter-faith dialogue, may "pass over" to another faith for awhile before "coming back" to reform their own. There is always the possibility that others may "pass over" never to return.

 



[1] Rev. Wendell Karsen adalah seorang missionaries berpengalaman puluhan tahun di negara-negara Asia termasuk Indonesia, seorang penulis buku sejarah gereja, pendeta dan dosen. Beliau juga pernah menjabat sebagai Direktor Program Pasca Sarjana di Western Theological Seminary di USA.