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Archive for August 13th, 2011

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

With the recent Evangelical discussion of Rob Bell and the issue of Emergent theology, salvation and hell, this book does make a contribution even though the book was published in 2010 and a year before the whole Bell’s “Love Wins” controversy. It would seem to me that the issue of “theology of religion” is largely not the subject of conscious focus in these debates, though they are foundational to the discussion. Here the author Todd Miles explore what the Old Testament and New Testament’s view of other religions are, especially in regards to it as means of salvation. But don’t expect that the four hundred page work to be nothing more than a glorified bible study of proof text regarding the Bible’s view on other religion. The author does engage the text of Scripture in an accurate way with care and consideration of the context. Miles also interact with Universalism, Annhilationism and Inclusivism and their particulars, such as their history, scriptural arguments and what contemporary advocates are saying. Miles does an excellent job documenting and giving extensive quotations of what advocates believe in their own words. One might even fault the author’s extensive quotations to a fault–it seems that at times entire chapters are devoted to quoting people multiple times when Miles has already made it the point that this is what these people believe and why they believe what they believe. Readers will also be intrigued with a footnote reference that discusses the Emergent movement and a comment on Rob Bell in a charitable light that he has not openly embrace universalism, at least in light of the literature at that point. What a difference in a year makes! The book seems to indicate that this was an adaptation of the author’s doctoral dissertation with the extensive quotation of those whom Miles disagree with. The author completed his doctoral studies at Southern Seminary, where his advisor was Ben Ware. Dr. Ware’s area of expertise is largely in the area of theology proper, and is known for his role in the Open Theism debate and the issue of the Trinity’s ramification for the Biblical manhood and womanhood issue. Given Ware’s conscious reflection on the Trinity, one sees that Miles was also very conscious of the Trinity in his critical assessment of Inclusivists make Pneumatological arguments for their view. The book provided a correction on the inclusivists and universalist’s Pneumatological arguments and discusses what Scripture has to say concerning the Holy Spirit’s relationship to Jesus when it comes to salvation. For the fact that Miles offers readers the paradigm of a “theology of religion” (as opposed to comparative religion, religious studies, etc) and being Trinitarian conscious in assessing soteriological views, I would recommend this book for readers to think about.

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