This review appeared in the Jan-Mar 2012 vol. 169 no. 1 issue of Biblotheca Sacra, DTS’s quarterly academic journal.Subscribe Today
A God of Many Understandings? The Gospel and a Theology of ReligionsB&H Academic, Nashville, TN April 1, 2010
Miles is assistant professor of theology and hermeneutics at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. The book is written to defend the exclusivity of the gospel against challenges from within Christianity, particularly from those who are confessedly evangelical. The thesis of this book is clearly stated: “There is one supreme God, the Creator, who is sovereign over all. He has revealed Himself as triune and has uniquely revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, the second person of the Trinity. Humanity, due to its rebellion against God, stood condemned before God, utterly without hope. God, in His rich mercy and love, reached out to us in Jesus Christ, paving not just a way but the only way for relationship with Him through conscious and intentional repentance and faith in Christ. In short, there is one way to the Supreme Creator God, and that is through His Son, Jesus Christ” (p. 139).
Miles begins with a biblical defense of exclusivity, arguing that conscious faith in Christ is necessary for salvation. He devotes a chapter to a critique of conditional immortality, arguing that hell is a place of eternal conscious torment. He also discusses pluralism and inclusivism, with particular attention to the inclusivist positions of the Second Vatican Council and evangelical theologians Clark Pinnock and Amos Yong. He concludes with a call for the church to embrace the task of worldwide proclamation of the gospel. “The gospel is the good news, the power of God for salvation to all who believe—a demonstration of the love, mercy, power, righteousness, and wisdom of God. By God’s grace, may the Church embrace her mission, and may the Spirit embolden our witness as we testify to the love of God in Christ” (p. 353).
The title of this book, and the artwork on the title page, might lead some readers to expect a book that considers Christianity in relation to world religions. But that is not what this book does. Instead it is a biblical defense of the necessity of conscious faith in Christ for salvation and the fact that there is no hope apart from Him. The presentation is clear, the argument is easy to follow, and the conclusion is sound.
—Glenn R. Kreider