The unique revelation of God through the Jews and through Jesus does not imply that no other revelation of God's character has ever occurred. That is the basic premise that motivated Gerald McDermott to write Can Evangelicals Learn from World Religions?: Jesus, Revelation and Religious Traditions. As he describes the book, it is "the beginning of an evangelical theology of the religions that addresses not the question of salvation but the problems of truth and revelation, and takes seriously the normative claims of other traditions."
The first five chapters of the book are McDermott's argument that we can indeed learn more about Christianity by understanding various ideas and concepts from other religions. He believes that the Bible even suggests that God may have sometimes revealed Himself to those outside of Israel and the Church. He also offers a possible new interpretation of revelation, and argues that God has revealed religious types in other religions (which is different from both special and general revelation). Then he looks at three Christian theologians who have used extensive knowledge from outside the Church to help them understand the revelation of Christ better (Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin).
The next four chapters are observations from McDermott's study of four major religions. He offers insight and perspectives from Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism and Islam. Each of these religions, says McDermott, can teach us something new about Christ, or at the very least, teach us how to view something we already know from a different perspective.
While many of those who accept the possibility of revelation in other religions tend to adapt Christian doctrines to fit that which is revealed in other religions,McDermott feels he has found in other religions a strong confirmation of Christian doctrine which allows for a new, and deeper insight. But there are some objections which can be raised in response to McDermott's insights, and he understands this. Thus, he asks and answers five questions which can and have come up regarding the issue of revelation in other religions: 1) Do we not already know the truths revealed in other religions? 2) Does new revelation compromise the biblical canon? 3) How does believing in the possibility of revelation in other religions affect missions and evangelism?; 4) Why study other religions when we do not know our own? 5) What is the purpose of learning truth from other religions?
Provocative and insightful, this book will open your eyes to the God who has made Himself known among the nations. You will gain an understanding of other religions, and their search for God, and you will understand Christianity better as well.