No Other Name

This month I want to offer a few reflections on the relationship between Christianity and other religions, so let’s begin with the claim made by the apostle Peter in the book of Acts: “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.” Jesus himself, according to John’s gospel, says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes…

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Chosen People

I’m teaching the undergraduate Introduction to Religion course at Carnegie Mellon University this semester, where we’re looking at a number of traditions—Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim—and reflecting on the kinds of issues raised by religion in general. When we came to Judaism, one thoughtful student from another country asked about the idea of a “chosen people.” The Hebrew Bible focuses on …

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Out of Obscurity

This month, a few more-or-less random weekly observations on the matter of heritage, as Westminster celebrates its 70th anniversary year. Some years ago I had occasion to visit Scotland, where about half of my ancestors came from—which makes me a typical western Pennsylvania Presbyterian, by the way. In preparation for the trip I invested a little time and money in a genealogy program and m…

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Faith Seeking Understanding

I’ll be honest, I’m not so sure that I had a good grasp on what “theology” was when I got into seminary. I’m pretty sure I thought it was just the language that really smart people used to confuse the rest of us when they were talking about God. Why say “eschatology” when you could just as easily say “the study of the end times?” I was much more interested in biblical scholarship and historical studies in the be…

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