The question of how Christians can and should approach our interaction with believers from other faith traditions is an important theological, if not tactical issue which, having often been left unaddressed, has led to many unpleasant and counterproductive engagements with the Christian gospel with those whom we intend to reach. In this paper, I explore five areas that we must consider when approaching those of other faiths.
First, the benefits of seeking inter-religious dialog (IRD) can motivate us to desire IRD for many reasons beyond “mere” gospel mission. Second, Paul Knitter’s five approaches to our theology of other religions are explored, helping us choose a way to view Christianity with respect to other faiths. These approaches range from paternalizing and exclusionary to quite postmodern and syncretistic (a middle position is recommended). Third, the positioning of our heart and self concerning others is reviewed, including such concepts as learning from v. about, and exchanging gifts, v. a one-way value proposition. Fourth, principles and methods for IRD are suggested. Lastly, some examples of what Christians might learn from other faiths are presented.