THE WIDE, WIDE CIRCLE OF DIVINE LOVE: A Biblical Case for Religious Diversity

W. Eugene March, Author . Westminster John Knox $14.95 (152p) ISBN 978-0-664-22708-1

Making a biblical case for religious diversity is a tall order. But this small, information-packed book, by a retired professor of Old Testament studies at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary, delivers. March begins with his own experience, admitting that as he interacted with people of other faiths, some of his "official theology," which denied the validity of other people's faith, "simply did not compute." From there, he takes readers through stories from the Old and New Testaments demonstrating how God's love always creates a wider circle than humans expect. With a conviction that "we belong to God—all of us," March explains why a literal reading of the Bible, ignoring historical context, is misleading and causes some Christians to spend their lives focusing on who is and is not accepted by God. If a hard-and-fast rule is necessary, March suggests living by the "Rule of Love"—love God and love your neighbor as yourself. The final chapter encourages lively conversation—between Christians who differ in theology, with people of other faiths and with those who profess no faith. Doing that, he says, will help everyone better understand "the wideness of God's love." Accessible and academically rock-solid, this book is a must-read for anyone who feels conflicted or troubled by "one way" theologies. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/29/2004
Release date: 12/01/2004
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