Conclusion

If the reader now has a sense of the theological, historical, socio-political and methodological issues involved when considering the relationship between Christianity and other religions generally and specifically, then this chapter will have served some purpose.

There are two particular questions which I have left untouched but which are perhaps vital to this topic. I can only raise them rather than indicate possible answers. First, what is the relationship of theology of religions to systematic theology or dogmatic theology? Some have suggested that it should be located at the centre of systematic theology and not seen as a partial specialism (Smart and Konstantine 1991; D'Costa 1992), while others have argued that a global or world theology is required, which is a far more radical proposal (Smith 1981; Hick 1988; Swidler 1990). Others would disagree with both groups. Second, is a theology of religions very different from the question of what kind of relationship Christianity has to culture? The way in which this is answered will also determine the way in which the first question is answered; and again one can only indicate that there are different perspectives on this point, as will be expected. It is hoped that other chapters within this Encyclopedia will help clarify some of these issues and also alert readers to the interrelationship between these different questions facing modern Christian theology.

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