A senior Christian theologian of religious plurality, Dr S. Wesley Ariarajah, has elaborated on central assertions of his new book Your God, My God, Our God in a conversation facilitated by Dr Clare Amos, World Council of Churches (WCC) programme executive for inter-religious dialogue and cooperation, at the Ecumenical Centre, Geneva.
The book, published by the WCC, asks: “How does theology come to terms with the fact that our neighbours pray and believe differently from us?”
Ariarajah is professor of ecumenical theology at Drew University, United States. A former director of the inter-religious dialogue programme and deputy General Secretary of the WCC, he has authored several highly regarded works, including The Bible and People of Other Faiths and Not Without My Neighbour, both in the 'Risk' series of books published by the WCC.
For Dr Ariarajah, an authentic contemporary faith must search for new concepts to articulate its central mysteries. The distinctiveness of his book, he said, lies in its “comprehensive attempt to rethink the Christian faith,” taking the whole interlocking constellation of Christian doctrines together.
The probing discussion centred on doctrinal and theological formulations of Trinity, Christ, sin and salvation, as well as the putative “non-negotiables” of the Christian theological tradition in its encounter with religious plurality today.
“You cannot conceptualize the faith for all times,” asserted Ariarajah, but instead must be willing to re-conceive the historically mediated and given faith in ways that answer one’s contemporary context.
Today’s reality strikingly includes religious plurality, he argued, as well as traditional doctrinal language’s opacity to many Christians themselves.
Dr Ariarajah’s book is available from WCC distributors ISBS (www.isbs.com) in North America and Gazelle Book Services (www.gazellebookservices.co.uk) in Europe and the UK, as well as online retailers.
The World Council of Churches is an ecumenical fellowship of churches, founded in 1948, which brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and which works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.