Global Missiology English, Vol 2, No 14 (2017)

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Conflict Paradigm for Theology of Religions

Enoch Wan, Samuel Wang


In the early 1990s, the renowned missiologist David Bosch observed that “the revival religion is not only a Christian phenomenon. On the contrary, it would seem that it is especially the other religions that are experiencing revitalization.”  According to, a website promoting religious tolerance rather than just one religion, “though Christianity ranks number one in its followers, the followers of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism are also rapidly climbing. Hinduism has grown to become the world’s third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam. It claims about 837 million followers - 13% of the world’s population. It is the dominant religion in India, Nepal, and among the Tamils in Sri Lanka.” The site also says that “the Hare Krishna Movement, a contextualized Western version of a form of Hinduism, single-handedly started by an Indian guru, Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in the middle 1960s in New York, now has a stable membership of over one million members worldwide;”  (The writer of this paper was once a full-time devotee from 1989-1993 in China before converting to the Christian faith in 1994. The membership then was less than 200,000 worldwide.)

Christian churches of today are faced with totally unprecedented challenges. Bosch wrote, “It would probably be correct to say that we have reached the point where there can be little doubt that the two largest unsolved problems for the Christian church are its relationship to world views which offer this-worldly salvation, and to other faiths.” Sharpe believes it is the theologia religionum which is the epitome of mission theology.