Alternative approaches bypass the one true way.

Although mass starvation and the threat of nuclear war are monumental concerns, the ultimate issue confronting people of every generation is how one comes to know the living God.

Christians have historically affirmed that to enjoy a life-transforming relationship with God a person must believe and obey the gospel. Augustine insisted that since the plan of salvation lies beyond the grasp of the natural mind, saving knowledge of God is impossible without intellectual assent to the revealed truths of Scripture and commitment to the person of Christ. Calvin held that from nature, history, and conscience man can know the hands and feet of God but not his heart. Only God’s special revelation in Christ and the Bible, applied to the soul by the Holy Spirit, leads to sound doctrine and true religion.

Many contemporary theologians claim that God can be savingly known in ways other than explicit assent to Christ and the gospel message. The most popular nonevangelical path is the experiential route. Depreciating the cognitive dimensions of revelation and faith, many contemporary thinkers insist that man as man engages God in the depths of everyday, nonreligious experience. J. A. T. Robinson argues that since the Numinous dwells at the center of human existence, every person is claimed and renewed by God simply by being human. The Presbyterian philosopher of religion John Hick adds that every person of serious intention—Hindu, Buddhist, or atheist—lives in the presence of God and is imbued with a deep religious sense.

Leading Roman Catholic theologians such as Karl Rahner and Hans Küng insist that man discovers the supernatural and grace in every dimension of human experience in the world. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.