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Challenging the Stereotype

The Theology of Karl Barth as a Resource for Inter-religious Encounter in a European Context

Series:

Glenn Chestnutt

Karl Barth never paid particular attention to the religions of the world. In fact he has often been stereotyped as the prime exponent of an exclusivist attitude toward other religions because of his belief that salvation comes through Christ alone. However a close analysis of his work suggests that it defies the rigid typology of exclusivism, inclusivism and pluralism so often used in inter-religious debate and instead allows for the possibility of discerning God’s presence in the other Abrahamic faiths.
This book asserts that a case can be made on the basis of Barth’s theology for promoting a democratic society which respects freedom and difference. It shows how this argument can be extended to accommodate religious pluralism. Other faith groups can contribute to a just society and interact in ways which are theologically fruitful for the Church’s own life. In particular, this book demonstrates how Barth’s theology can help Christians relate to Muslims by showing that God’s grace is at work in places it is not expected – beyond the boundaries of the Church. The Church can be addressed through the presence and voice of the other. In today’s context this includes address through the presence and voice of Islam.
Contents: The concept of religion in Barth’s early work – Barth’s understanding of Islam – Truth extra muros ecclesiae – Bringing Barth’s theology to Islam in the contemporary European context – An inter-religious encounter with Tariq Ramadan.