TCL3200EN - Theology of Religion

Course description

An exploration of the relationship between God who saves and humanity among the world’s diverse religious phenomena. The historical scope of this course begins with popular questions such as, “Do all paths lead to the same God?”, “Can salvation be obtained apart from the Christian Church?”, “What happens to people who never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ?” and “Where is God in non-Christian religions?” and compares and evaluates the models commonly proposed to answer these questions.

How this course benefits students

The missional mindset affirms the urgency to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ but missional practice also observes and acknowledges that the field is increasingly global, secular and inclusivistic where pluralism, diversity and tolerance are among the highest social and personal values. Students who can articulate a vision of the interactions between a God whose highest value is soteriological, who is known as “Savior” and who can acquire an appreciation of the “unknown God” among the nations will be better equipped to build missional relationships among those people. This course helps students recognize God’s Presence among people who do not yet know the Living God.

Why this course is important

In a world that believes in Jesus only as one god among many, Evangelicals need to believe that God not only calls and sends believers but leads them into a mission field; that God is going ahead, perhaps present among them preveniently. This course establishes the biblical and theological basis for describing and explaining how God is mighty to save and that the divine will that “all be saved” is being worked out for the good of all who love Him, who are called according to His purposes.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Cultural Theology
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

God’s saving nature is evident in the biblical literature. To Abraham God says, “And I will bless the nations through you.” It is often understood that Jonah’s success among the wicked Assyrians at Ninevah should be attributed to God’s Holy Spirit that was already convicting sinners when the sermon of repentance was preached. God demonstrated divine influence among the Babylonians in the Book of Daniel when the unbelieving kings boldly declared God’s presence among them. In the New Testament this theology can be seen in the life of Jesus, moving and ministering not among the righteous, but the unrighteous. The idea of “the unknown God” is given by the Apostle Paul in Acts 17, where it is said, “We are His offspring,” and God is depicted as loving all the people of the world, willing that none should perish. The biblical basis of God’s qualities, characteristics, nature and personality as Savior will be foundational for the development of a practical theology of religion.

Missionally driven

The basis for Christian missions is in the Great Commission of Matthew 28. Christian missions also relies on the urgency, informed by the New Testament, for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be made known to all people. A well-grounded theology of religion recognizes that God is present among the nations, and the Holy Spirit goes before—sending but also preparing and leading—and an ability to articulate this theology should be part of this preparation.

Contextually informed

Globalism, pluralism and values of tolerance and diversity define much of the contemporary missional setting. Our missional ambitions should be informed by an appreciation of the ways God may be involved among the peoples to whom we are sent.

Interculturally focused

Cultural shifts such as globalization and an increased interest in and awareness of alternative modes of being known in comparative studies of the world’s religions brings many to question whether Christianity is truly the one-and-only religion God uses to make known the Gospel, and whether truths that lead one to a grace that saves could be found in different religions. This course focuses on theological discussion concerning the possibility that God could be at work to save people who practice religions other than Christianity; that God is being revealed to people outside the functions of the church.

Practically minded

Inquiry and reflection on the nature of God including revelation and the acquisition and apprehension of saving knowledge, the mechanism and means of grace, the plan of salvation and the relationship between God, humans and the world are applied philosophically but also practically in that our theological assumptions inform our relationships with others and the motivation for engaging the world in real, lived social dimensions.

Experientially transformed

Students who can embrace a God who is by nature a Savior will learn to see God at work, interacting with sinners and the ignorant so that the seeds of the Gospel of Jesus Christ can take root in good soil as it is sown in missional contexts.