An examination of dual religious belonging theology : contributions to evangelical missiology
Dual religious belonging is a phenomenon of individuals who identify themselves as followers of more than one religious tradition. People of faiths may find themselves in different degrees of dual or multi-religious conditions due to growing up in inter-religious marriages of their parents, exposure to multi-religious traditions or inter-religious encounters. The thesis of this study is to argue for the legitimacy of “Dual Religious Belonging” for Christians coming from Asian religious backgrounds through an assessment of the threefold theology of religions. It concludes that “Universal Access Exclusivism” can be the best model for sustaining dual religious belonging from an Evangelical perspective. The study seeks to answer the following primary research questions: 1) Theologically, can Evangelical Christians belong to more than one religious tradition? What are the arguments forwarded for dual religious belonging and how do Christians develop a theological assessment of such phenomena, particularly for Christians who hold on to the finality of Jesus Christ for salvation? 2) Within the threefold model of theology of religions, which theology can best sustain dual religious belonging for Evangelical Christians? The study offers a comparative examination of the pluralist theology of Paul Knitter, the inclusivist theology of Raimon Panikkar and the exclusivist theology of Harold Netland. The secondary research question is what are some contributions of dual religious belonging theology toward an Evangelical contextual missiology? Specifically, some contributions toward “insider movements” debates and Christian discipleship for those coming from different faith traditions will be considered. The study seeks to, first, offer a critique against pluralist and inclusivist theologies for multiple and double religious belonging, and second, forward a proposal for dual religious belonging theology for followers of Jesus Christ coming from mixed religious backgrounds from an Evangelical perspective.