Wesley Ariarajah invites theological renewal
Theologian S. Wesley Ariarajah elaborated on central assertions of his new book Your God, My God, Our God in a conversation facilitated by Dr Clare Amos, World Council of Churches (WCC) program executive for inter-religious dialogue and cooperation, on 27 February in the Ecumenical Centre, Geneva.
The book published by the WCC asks, he said, “How does theology come to terms with the fact that our neighbours pray and believe differently from us?”
Ariarajah is professor of ecumenical theology at Drew University, United States. A former director of the inter-religious dialogue program and deputy general secretary of the WCC, he has authored several prior works, including The Bible and People of Other Faiths and Not without My Neighbour, both from WCC Publications.
For Ariarajah, an authentic contemporary faith must search for new concepts to articulate its central mysteries. The distinctiveness of his book, he said, lies in its “comprehensive attempt to rethink the Christian faith,” taking the whole interlocking constellation of Christian doctrines together.
The probing discussion centred on doctrinal and theological formulations of Trinity, Christ, sin and salvation, as well as the putative “non-negotiables” of the Christian theological tradition in its encounter with religious plurality today.
“You cannot conceptualise the faith for all times,” asserted Ariarajah, but instead must be willing to re-conceive the faith in ways that answer one’s contemporary context. Today’s reality strikingly includes religious plurality, he argued, as well as traditional doctrinal language’s opacity to many Christians themselves.