Mar 16

Christ Among Other Gods: A Defense of Christ in an Age of Tolerance ★★★★★

This book is a set of 12 sermons that Lutzer delivered at Moody Church a few years ago. The reading of this book is very easy as the writing is in a relaxed narrative style. Though the book is 246 pages long, it can be read in several nights sitting.

The forward by JI Packer is most interesting, in that Packer is most deeply a Reformed theologian, and yet Lutzer is dispensational and elaborates dispensational thinking in one chapter of the book, chapter 10 on the return of Christ. Yet, Lutzer also heavily quotes recent Reformed thinkers that are distinctly outside of his camp, such as BB Warfield and JG Machen, showing that both Packer and Lutzer don’t have restrictive eschatologies. In the course of this book, Lutzer tends to suggest a drift away from strict dispensational soteriology and towards a more Reformed understanding of the nature of salvation from an infralapsarian perspective (which I also hold).

This book is not a book on comparative religion, as is offered by JND Anderson. Lutzer does not detail the various religions of the world, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Animism, etc., but speaks in general terms about those religions in comparison to Christianity. Lutzer is correct that there is a very distinct gulf between all other religions and the Christian faith, making it imperative that the Christian religion be examined for its worth. Lutzer spends a chapter covering the issue of “tolerance” and the Christian perspective on tolerance. He discusses relativism—can Christians truly make absolute truth claims? The majority of chapters then delve into Christian claims, most centered around the Christ event, including his birth, his life, his authority and claims, his death, his resurrection, and ultimately, his return. In chapter 11, he addresses the claim that Christianity is unique, arguing that challenges to that uniqueness ultimately fail. In chapter 12, he calls on Christians to share the good news. We have a set of truth claims that neither Muslim, nor Buddhist, nor atheist, nor any other religion can ultimately challenge since it is based on the true creator God of the universe.

I enjoyed reading this book much because it reads so easily and provides a non-technical rational for our Christian stance in the forum of multiple religions. Also, the book was a wonderful reminder of sitting under the pulpit of Erwin Lutzer during our Chicago years. The book is a spiritual challenge to me to be bold in presenting a real, true faith to an ever more pagan world. So, I highly recommend the book to all, Christian and non-Christian alike.

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3 Responses to “Christ Among Other Gods”

  1. Bruder Dennis says:

    I have noticed that key words are sometimes left undefined. I wonder if Lutzer defines “gods”.

    The Bible does not deny the existence of other gods than Yahweh (Psalm 82). Yahweh presides at their council. My working definition of “god” is any being who is more advanced or capable than human beings as we know us.

    Jesus is a human being but is a god in that he exists in a more advanced state than we do. ETs are gods. Angels are ETs and are gods. Demons are angels, hence ETs and are gods.

    The problem with polytheism is not that other gods are recognized but that they are misplaced in their authority and the honor due them. Gods of the ancient pagan pantheons were likely real beings or else humans elevated to a god-like status, such as the Roman emperors or the heroes of the old Nordic religion such as Odin, after whom Odin’s Day, Wednesday, is named, or Thor (Thursday).

    • Kenneth Feucht says:

      1. Lutzer does define “god” as anything gains our attraction outside of the Infinite-personal God of Scripture.
      2. Your comments err on the side of Arianism.
      3. Your god is too small. You need to read VanTil. You have a serious problem with the distinction between the creator and creature, which I will not elaborate since so many others have done far better than me. I am reading John Frame’s history of Philosophy, and it is superb at dealing with the issues you bring up. Better yet, read Paul Helm on the philosophical implications of an infinite God outside of time and space.

      • Bruder Dennis says:

        Ken, your response seems to be more of a response to my other comment than this one. Do you have any specific response to the points made above?

        Regarding the other comment, none of the above responses 2 or 3 apply unless read in a way that requires that they apply, which of course is not necessary. I am well aware of the implications but do not find theology today to be a finished business.

        For instance, take the word “infinite”, even as it is applied to God. What does it mean? It leads to all kinds of logical conundrums that the Bible assiduously avoids by NOT using infinity-language. The mathematical concept of infinity has no place in biblical studies simply because it is not there to begin with – despite the translators using infinity-words like “forever”, which in Hebrew literally means “for all the days”, not forever. Other examples apply.

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