develop a relational and transformational vision of redemption and an inclusivist theology of religions.
The dialogue partners of this book represent two historic Christian traditions: the Roman Catholic Church and the North American evangelical movement. The identity of the Roman Catholic Church can be taken for granted, but such is not the case for Evangelicalism. “Evangelicalism” is notoriously difficult to define. Here, the term refers to the North American movement of conservative Protestants who emerged from and rejected the cultural isolationism of early twentieth-century Protestant Fundamentalism. It traces its roots to the sixteenth-century Protestant reformers, such as Martin Luther and John Calvin. It identifies with the Christianity of Puritan New England and the subsequent blend of pietistic devotion, revivalism, and Calvinist theology represented in the Westminster Confession and the Princeton theology that characterized mainstream North American Protestantism through the end of the nineteenth century. Arminian and Wesleyan groups and British theologians such as Alister McGrath, Colin Gunton, and Thomas F. Torrance also can be considered evangelical, but they do not neatly fit into the North American paradigm. For the latter half of the twentieth century, its chief public representative has been Billy Graham. More contemporary iconic figures are Bill Hybels, Max Lucado, and Rick Warren. Key educational institutions in the movement are Fuller Theological Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Influential evangelical thinkers include Carl F. H. Henry (1913–2003), Bernard Ramm (1916–1992), Francis Schaeffer (1912–1984), John Stott (1921–2011), J. I. Packer (1926–), Millard Erickson (1932–), Stanley J. Grenz (1950–2005), and Clark Pinnock (1937–2010). The National Association of Evangelicals is the public and political voice of Evangelicalism’s myriad constituencies, and the Evangelical Theological Society is the chief scholarly venue for Evangelicals. Beliefs that typically characterize Evangelicals are the deity and virgin birth of Christ, the Trinity, the authority (i.e., the inerrancy or infallibility) of the Bible, the importance of a personal conversion experience and relationship with Jesus Christ, and premillennial eschatology.2