Frederick Quinn on the Bible and Other Faiths

The New Testament Reign of God welcomes non-Christians as common seekers after a truth fully revealed in Jesus Christ but experienced in different historical settings by other religions as well. The Kingdom was consistently made available to outsiders. Jesus said to a Roman centurion, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.” (Mat.: 8:10) To a Canaanite woman he declared in healing her daughter, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” (Mat. 15:21-28). Jesus conversed with a foreigner, a Samaritan woman, (Jn. 4:7-15) who sought “living water” and elsewhere cited the example of the “good Samaritan” who had pity on a wounded robbery victim (Lk. 10: 29-37). Pagans, outsiders, or foreigners were consistently welcomed by Jesus, and at the final Passover dinner he told his followers he would not eat the Passover again “until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” (Lk 22: 16).

This, in broad outline, is a reading of what the Reign of God means. Many world theologians of recent decades understand the kingdom to be freely offered to both believers and members of other religions. If their lives and beliefs reflect what Jesus preached, they too are witnesses to the Kingdom in global settings. This moves considerably beyond Rahner’s “anonymous Christians” and the classic confines of Exclusivists and Inclusivists, and affirms that God’s loving reach extends to other religions, most of which the earthly Jesus would not have encountered in the Middle East of his time.

Read it all.


Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Inter-Faith Relations, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

10 comments on “Frederick Quinn on the Bible and Other Faiths

  1. MP2009 says:

    Left out, of course, is the fact that the features of the kingdom of God as Jesus preached it included a radical claim for authority and lordship on his part, a claim that the availability of the kingdom was bound up with him (he created the access to it), and a new intimacy with God (Abba fellowship) which also was bound up and made possible, not from a general state of worldly affairs, but with and by him. He was not just the herald of the kingdom, but the bringer of it, even as servant of it.

    I have no problem moving beyond static inclusive-exclusive mindsets for Christ is, eschatologically, alive and still calls and moves people into relationship with him. And, of course, there is something in the notion that Christ, as the wisdom by which the world was created, will honor, does honor, wisdom seekers. But on the whole Quinn’s pluralism sounds like nothing new or compelling to me, just pushed on from Hick, through Ward, and some others.

  2. Jim the Puritan says:

    Is it not written that our Lord said:

    “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

    Matthew 7:13-20

  3. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) says:

    An understanding of God is indeed available to all. See Romans 1:20. In fact, the “all” have “no excuse.”

    It’s what happens [i]AFTER[/i] we begin to understand God that matters. His perfect Justice condemns us to the fate we deserve, yet His perfect Love … offers each of us a way out of that condemnation.

    It is a way out available only through Christ.

  4. Jim the Puritan says:

    This is a good one to put in your clipping file headed “The Episcopal Church is Just Unitarian Universalism in Fancy Dress.”

  5. evan miller says:

    Never thought I’d agree with a Puritan, but Amen to your #4!

  6. Philip Snyder says:

    Jesus said: “Not eveyone who says to me “Lord! Lord!” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he that does the will of my Father.”

    Jesus also said: “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom He has sent.”

    Both must be true. I do believe that there are those who follow Jesus without knowing that they follow him. I also believe that this is a relatively small number. Of greater concern to me than Jews or even Muslims are those who profess Jesus with their lips but faith only in themselves or their own understanding. I find it easier to bring a person who has a different faith to faith in Jesus than a person who’s faith is only in himself, but is robed in Christian language and vestments.

    Phil Snyder

  7. A Senior Priest says:

    The term ‘Reign of God’ is an overly limiting (because politically-corrected) attempt to make a universal statement about the Divine. Can’t stand it. ‘Kingdom of God’ is both richer and more immediately descriptive of absolute reality.

  8. MP2009 says:

    The other thing about Jesus earthly ministry is that as he moved about the kingdom became manifest and open. God was known, enjoyed and embraced. A lot more confident than Quinn’s vision IMHO.

  9. Pb says:

    The Kingdom is where the King is obeyed. It is contrasted to the World, which is where the King is not obeyed. It is about a relationship. I believe everyone may have a personal relationship with Jesus, either in obediance or rebellion.

  10. Daniel Muth says:

    [blockquote]Pagans, outsiders, or foreigners were consistently welcomed by Jesus…[/blockquote]
    As is usually the case for our Progressive friends, this author grossly misrepresents our Lord’s earthly ministry, during which He never seeks out a single Gentile. He never dines with one. He never even touches one. His healings of Gentiles – the Centurian’s slave (who may have been Jewish – hence the Lord’s offer to go to the man) and the Syro-Phoenician woman’s daughter – are all performed at a distance. This utter poppycock about some fantastical openness of our Lord to Gentiles prior to His Ascension appears to be a vain attempt to drag Him out of His earthly ministry as a first century Galilean Rabbi and turn Him into a 20th century civil rights worker. He is nothing of the sort; He is a Torah-observant Second Temple Period Jewish Rabbi with absolutely no ministry among the Gentiles. That mission He leaves to His Church and that only after His Ascension.

    Like all attempts to deny the particularity of divine revelation – especially that of the Incarnate Lord Himself – this modernizing effort constitutes a lie about the Gospel. God manifests Himself among us, gives Himself to and for us at a particular time and place and culture. He graces that time and place and culture with His incarnate presence as He has and will no other. We can know Him only as we enter that time and place and culture and only after we have listened to Him there, can we then come back to our own and imitate Him under the guidance of His Spirit and within the arms of His Church. We cannot and must not attempt to turn Him into one of us, particularly in an effort to flatter our fatuous egos. As usual, our Progressive friends do precisely that which is manifestly forbidden. They can’t be serious.