Interfaith Dialogue in Christianity.
Traditional Christian doctrine is Christocentric, meaning that Christ is held to be the sole full and true revelation of the will of God for humanity In a Christocentric ‘.iew. the elements of truth in other religions are understood in relation to the fullness of truth found in Christ God is nevertheless understood to be free of human constructions Therefore God Holy Spirit is understood as the power who guides non-christians in their search for truth which is held to be a search for the mind of Christ even if "anonymously", in the phrase of Catholic theologian Karl Rahner For those who support this view an anonymous Christian belongs to Christ now and forever and leads a life fit for Jesus commandment to love even though she never explicitly understands the meaning of her life in Christian terms
While the conciliar document Nostra Aetate has fostered widespread dialogue the declaration Dominus lesus nevertheless reaflimms the centrality of the person of Jesus Christ in the spiritual and cultural identity of Christians rejecting various forms of syncretism
Pope John Paul lI was a major advocate of interfaith dialogue promoting meetings in Assisi in the 1980s Pope Benedict XV1 has taken a more moderate and cautious approach stressing the need for intercultural dialogue but reasserting Christian theological identity in the revelation of Jesus of Nazareth in a book published with Marcello Pera in 2004
For traditional Christian doctrine the value of inter-religious dialogue is confined to acts of love and understanding toward others either as anonymous Christians or as potential con’ietrs In mainline liberal Protestant traditions howewer, as well as in the emerging church, these doctrinal constraints have largely been cast off Many theologians pastors and lay people frori these traditions do not hold to uniquely Christocentric understandings of how God was in Christ They engage deeply in interfaith dialogue as learners. not converters and desire to celebrate as fully as possible the many paths to God
Much focus in Christian interfaith dialogue has been put on Christian-Jewish reconciliation Reconciliation has been successful on many levels but has been somewhat complicated by the Arab-Israeli conflict in the M1iddle East where a significant minority of Arabs are Christian