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Christian discipleship and interreligious dialogue: A theological exploration

What is the relationship between Christian mission and inter-faith engagement? What has interreligious dialogue got to do with Christian discipleship? Is one in competition with the other? Is one subsumed within the other? Is one effectively vitiated by the other? And what is the relation of mission to discipleship? Is it the case that ‘making disciples’ is the goal of mission? “Discipleship has been for centuries a way of thinking and speaking about the nature of the Christian life… But what is meant by Christian discipleship?” Is engagement in dialogue an authentic component of Christian discipleship and witness? Or is interreligious dialogue enjoined, in the end, by virtue of being subsumed to mission, whose aim is something other than the pursuit of dialogical relations? These are examples of the deep questions and theological issues that have arisen ever since, in the course of the twentieth century, a sea-change occurred with the wider Christian Church in regard to relationships with, and views about, other religions. This paper addresses just three questions: Is there a biblical basis for inter-faith engagement? What may we make of the ‘Great Commission’ in respect to interreligious dialogue? What is the understanding of mission in regards to discipleship, and how might that relate to interreligious dialogue?
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
Pratt, D. (2006). Christian discipleship and interreligious dialogue: A theological exploration. Paper presented at the Systematic Theology Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (STAANZ) Conference, 30 November-1 December 2006, Wellington, New Zealand.