James R. Edwards Eerdmans Pub Co 2005-05-01

Perhaps the biblical issue of most theological and missiological significance today concerns the uniqueness and exclusivity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Edwards, professor of biblical languages and literature at Whitworth College, rehearses old answers in new ways with special sensitivities to current questions in this winsome defense and well-researched definition of Christological uniqueness and salvific exclusivity.

His presentations of New Testament data clarify and confirm the convictions of the early church: (1) Jesus of history—who lived, died, and rose again; (2) Jesus who claimed to be and was accepted as Lord—that is, God Himself in human form and presence; and (3) Jesus who is offered as Savior of all people—His cosmic reach.

The second major part of the book connects the Jesus of history, God, and salvation to the questions posed by postmodern pluralism and world religions. In especially strong flourishes the author makes a case that Jesus comprehensively addressed Jewish (and thus extrapolated, human and other religious) concerns for morality, civil religion, and spiritual experience.

Some readers may be left with a couple of troublesome questions toward the end of the book. One wonders about the author’s reticence, in spite of his well-argued particularity of Jesus, to restrict the possibility (not just the guarantee) of salvation to premortem life alone. Further, while his theology of religions is primarily cast in terms of Jewish-Christian relations, Edwards does not argue for the distinctiveness of Jesus Christ as Savior. He would like to find significant preparatory parity between Judaism and other religions of the world for the arrival of the historical, unique, exclusive, and universal Savior.

With those caveats this reviewer highly recommends this midlevel apologetic work of a scholar-preacher in presenting a strong case for the historical Jesus and the reliability of the New Testament documents that accepts Jesus’ self-understanding as Deity and Savior of the world. 

About the Contributors

Ramesh P. Richard

In addition to more than thirty years of faculty service, Dr. Richard is founder and president of Ramesh Richard Evangelism and Church Health (RREACH), a global proclamation ministry that seeks to evangelize leaders and strengthen pastors primarily of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. He has ministered in over 100 countries, speaking to wide-ranging audiences, from pastors in rural areas to heads of state. In partnership with DTS, RREACH launched the Global Proclamation Academy to equip influential young pastors from all over the world. Dr. Richard is also the founder of Trainers of Pastors International Coalition (TOPIC) and the general convener of the 2016 Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers. He and his wife, Bonnie, have three grown children and three grandchildren.