Tuesday, September 09, 2008

ESV Study Bible: The Bible and World Religions, and An Interview with Harold Netland

The next sampling from the ESV Study Bible is now being made available: The Bible and World Religions (a 9-page PDF).

You'll find three articles in this set written by three excellent, careful, evangelical scholars:
  • Marvin Wilson (Harold J. Ockenga Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Gordon College) writes on Judaism.
  • Harold Netland (Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Intercultural Studies and the Naomi A. Fausch chair of missions at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) writes on World Religions.
  • Timothy Tennent (Professor of World Missions and Indian Studies, Director of Missions Programs at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) writes on Islam (going into more details than Netland's treatment).
Here's a skeletal outline of the articles:

The Bible and Contemporary Judaism
Early History (c. 2100 B.C.–586 B.C.)
Second Temple Judaism (c. 516 B.C.–A.D. 70)
Judaism after A.D. 70 (c. A.D. 70–c. 1750)
Contemporary Judaism (c. A.D. 1750–present)
Contemporary Branches or Movements
Judaism and Evangelicalism

The Bible and Other World Religions
Biblical Themes and Other Religions

The Bible and Islam
The Revelations of the Qur’an
The Qur’an and the OT
The Qur’an and Christian Theology
Islamic View of God and the Trinity
Islamic View of Jesus Christ
Islamic View of Sin and Humanity
Islamic View of Other Religions
Islamic View of Salvation
Islamic View of the Bible
Islamic Attitudes toward the Use of Violence
Islamic Attitudes toward Civil Government

Today at his blog Owen Strachan (Managing Director of the Henry Center at Trinity Evangelical Divinity) has a fascinating interview with Dr. Netland on world religions, pluralism, global Christianity, his experience as a missionary in Japan, and what it was like studying under the pluralist John Hick. It's about 45 minutes in length. I found it to be quite helpful.

I also think it's worth drawing attention to a book co-edited by Netland and published a couple of years ago: Globalizing Theology: Belief and Practice in an Era of World Christianity, ed. Ott and Netland. In the close to a review of this book, Craig Blomberg writes:
. . . It has been years since I read a work on any topic and found myself proclaiming to anyone who would listen over and over again, "there has to be some place in our curriculum for this to be required reading." If only our entire faculty and administration would agree to read it! Ironically, the logical place for it in a curriculum would be in a second, core intercultural ministries course after students had been given the basic introduction to the field offered in their first core course. But, alas, no such course exists today. One can hope at least that seminaries that have preserved the historic evangelical commitment to missions as a central part of their curricula will find a place to require a large swath of their students to read Ott and Netland. But it deserves a far broader audience as well.
If you're wondering why "Christianity" isn't included in these articles on "World Religions," the reason is that it receives its own treatment in a series of articles (not online):
  • Roman Catholicism (by Gregg Allison)
  • Eastern Orthodoxy (by Robert Letham)
  • Liberal Protestantism (by Bruce Ware)
  • Evangelical Protestantism (by Bruce Ware)
  • Evangelical Protestantism and Global Christianity (by Harold Netland)