Christianity and the religions: a zero-sum game? reclaiming "the path not taken" and the legacy of Krister Stendahl

Knitter, Paul

Robert Wright, in his recent book, The Evolution of God, posed a sobering challenge for all religions: In our economically and geopolitically globalized world, religions, together with nations, are being challenged to move from a "zero-sum" (win-lose) to a "non-zero-sum" (win-win) relationship. For Christians, that means that they must lay aside past claims to be the one religion meant to replace or fulfill all others. To lay out his case that Christians are able to take up-Wright's challenge, the author draws from the legacy of Krister Stendahl (d. 2008), New Testament scholar, former dean of Harvard Divinity School, and Lutheran bishop of Stockholm. This essay unfolds in three steps: (1) a summary of Wright's challenge to all religions; (2) Stendahl's refocusing of that challenge as an opportunity to take a path that Christian churches could have taken but did not In the first century of their existence-the path beyond supersessionism; and (3) an unpacking of the ecclesiological, missiological, and christological components of Stendahl's path toward a non-zero-sum (or a nonsupersesslonist) theology of religions.



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Journal of Ecumenical Studies

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Union Theological Seminary
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April 11, 2012