Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths

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9780849947247: Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths
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We live in a multifaith society: an ever-growing, diverse cultural climate, where no religion is viewed as having a monopoly on truth. It is important when that Christ-followers not only share the Word of God but also listen and learn how to interact meaningfully with those of diverse perspectives as we engage in life’s most important conversations.

Connecting Christ
encourages believers to be not only better communicators and witnesses but also listeners to people of other worldviews and traditions―skills that are crucial in defending against today’s negative connotations and ineffective approaches associated with Christian evangelism.

With extensive commentary from leaders of various walks of faith and life ― from Judaism to Islam and Buddhism to atheism ―theologian and author Dr. Paul Louis Metzger offers a spiritual compass to help navigate the intimidating yet critical dialogue of conveying our faith in Christ. Filled with practical guidance and insight into controversial topics, such as hell, fascism, and homosexuality, Connecting Christ reveals that there is a way of evangelizing that is neither disengaging monologue nor silent, lifestyle ministry but is, instead, an approach for evangelism and dialogue to go hand-in-hand.

We must remove ourselves as the stumbling block to salvation for others and embrace a way to proclaim the uncommon, compassionate God revealed in Jesus Christ―the Savior this world is dying to know.

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From the Inside Flap:

"Many times evangelical treatments of new religions (pejoratively labeled cults)--and at times world religions--consist of doctrinal comparison, usually followed by apologetic refutation. Paul Louis Metzger's volume moves beyond this template to consider new and world religions on their own terms while also relating them to the Christian faith. Not content with mere description, contrast, and rebuttal, Metzger invites representatives of the religious traditions he engages into conversation that includes critique. This dialogical approach is a refreshing addition to evangelical treatments of religion that should be of value to Christians in the academy, the pulpit, and the pews." --John W. Morehead, director, Western Institute for Intercultural Studies; and director, Evangelical Chapter of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy                                                                                                                                                         "In this wise and stimulating discussion, Paul Louis Metzger calls for evangelical Christian to pursue 'relational, incarnational apologetics' in our engagement with a religiously and culturally diverse society. Drawing upon his extensive personal relationships with those from very different perspectives, as well as his experience in teaching theology, Metzger presents a fresh approach that listens carefully to Christianity's critics while also pointing others to Jesus." --Harold Netland, professor of philosophy and religion and intercultural studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School                                                                                                                                                          "In Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths, my good friend Paul Louis Metzger writes on a topic he daily lives out--connecting Jesus to our post-Christian culture. How can we join the most important conversations of our time, rather than retreating to the comfort of our own subculture? Metzger has labored hard to build bridges here, in very progressive Portland, Oregon, making this a work deeply rooted in real-life experience. In this timely and compelling read, you will learn how to engage the culture more effectively for greater kingdom impact." --Kevin Palau, president, Luis Palau Association                                                                                                                                                        "I have trusted and respected Dr. Paul Louis Metzger so much that over the past several years we have asked him to periodically teach an apologetics course to our Young Life staff in the Northwest. His book Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in A World of Diverse Paths is consistent with why our staff loves his teaching--he weds a message of biblical orthodoxy together with the compassion of incarnational witness. Dr. Metzger's book reads like a field manual for engaging disinterested and even hostile people with both the truth and grace of Jesus Christ." --John Franklin, senior vice president, Young Life Western Division                                                                                                                                                         "I find Connecting Christ to be as robust and clear a statement of evangelicalism as I have recently seen." --Phyllis Tickle, founding editor [ret.], Publisher's Weekly, religion                                                                                                                                                        "Paul Louis Metzger loves Jesus, and this book shows that his love for his neighbors is just as palpable. Connecting Christ presents the kind of witness to Jesus that participates in the power of the gospel to change the world. The development of a viable and winsome evangelical apologetic in the twenty-first century receives a huge boost in the book you hold in your hands." --Amos Yong, J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology, Regent University School of Divinity                                                                                                                                                          "Paul Louis Metzger has given us a remarkable expression out of God's very heart. His proposal for a relationally authentic pursuit of engaging others needs to be heard by everyone. In his writing he is clear while not being simplistic, and he is courageous without being arrogant. A relational-incarnational apologetic model will challenge and release all of us to seriously live out of God's heart, to love unconditionally with humility, repentance, and confession." --Dr. Randall Y. Furushima, dean and executive officer, New Hope Christian College                                                                                                                                                          "The variety of religions and philosophies across the globe is dizzying. The common way to account for such diversity--from the world's perspective--is to say either all of it is false or there are many paths to fulfillment and the hereafter. Paul Louis Metzger, a leading expert on Christ and culture, gives us another perspective, a better way. Connecting Christ is a must-read on how to live Christianity in a world of diverse faiths." --Michael Emerson, Allyn & Gladys Cline Professor of Sociology and cofounding director, Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Rice University; and author, Divided by Faith, United by Faith, People of the Dream, and Transcending Race Barriers                                                                                                                                                           "In this wide-ranging trinitarian apologetic, Paul Louis Metzger gently but firmly addresses people of various Christian denominations, other religions, and no religion from an evangelical perspective of solidarity with them, presenting the good news that because God is gracious to us in Jesus Christ, God will not let any of us go and will not let Christians separate themselves from anyone, even their enemies, because those who trust in the crucified Savior cannot let anyone else go either. Among other intriguing issues the relation of theology and science; the problem of universalism; how to understand Christianity in a pluralistic market-driven, consumer culture; and how to relate with others over divisive moral issues are also discussed."What makes this a very compelling read and an unusual one today is the fact that Metzger never wavers from pointing readers to the only One who can make us truly one and give us genuine hope for the future of humanity, namely, Jesus Christ himself. Anyone reading this book will see just how everything really does look differently in light of a theology of the Trinity." --Paul D. Molnar, professor of systematic theology, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, St. John's University                                                                                                                                                         "Paul Louis Metzger paints a compelling and refreshing picture of our Christian opportunity to both share the good news and grow in love and relationship with others. Neither is negotiable. It is an honest look at how we have missed the mark in evangelism and steers us back to the heart of Jesus. I also love how Metzger lays out a humble and thoughtful display of different religions. He does not belittle or generalize but invites us into real relationships and real conversations with others. What a helpful resource for people who want to grow in their witness!" --Vikki Rubens, area director, Oregon, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, USA

About the Author:

Paul Louis Metzger, PhD, professor of Christian theology and theology of culture at Multnomah Biblical Seminary, Multnomah University, is founder and director of the seminary's Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins. Dr. Metzger received his PhD from King's College London. He is the author of numerous works, including the award-winning Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church. Dr. Metzger is married with two children.

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