Imagery of Regent people and campus

Divinity Symposium Explores World Religions

By Sarah H. Dolan | March 5, 2010

The Christian mission in a world of many faiths may appear reserved for front-line missionaries whose frequent flier miles often reach Gold Medallion status. But according to Fuller Theological Seminary Professor Dr. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, the Christian encounter with world religions occurs in America more than any other country.

"We live in a melting pot," Kärkkäinen explained. "Religion is very much part of our everyday experience. Different forms of faith and religion are not just in our backyards [other countries]. They are also in our front yards, which should not be ignored."

Kärkkäinen was one of several featured presenters at Regent University School of Divinity's The Great Commission and the Non-Christian Religions symposium on February 27. The panel of Renewal Christianity scholars explored the Christian encounter with faiths such as Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.

"Christians in America tend to think of other religions not only as wrong, but as distant and weird," said Kärkkäinen. "It's easier to dislike something because it's not personal, and you become distant and close-minded."

His advice for Christians, who want to make a lasting impact on people of other faiths, is to first find common ground and build relationships. And from there, literally put a person's face to the religion.

"I lived for many years in Thailand and built relationships with the Thai people who were mostly Buddhists," Kärkkäinen said. "What I found extremely important for me is that I not only learn about Buddhism, but that I also came to know people who are Buddhists. I talked with real people who sincerely believed that I was wrong. Yet to learn how people in other faiths think, believe and behave helped me be more sympathetic to their needs, especially when I try to get them to know the light of Christ."

Other presenters at the symposium included Dr. Kirsteen Kim, associate senior lecturer in theology at Leeds Trinity University College; Dr. Cephas Omenyo, associate professor of religion and vice dean of the faculty of arts at the University of Ghana; Dr. Tony Richie, adjunct professor at the Church of God Theological Seminary in Tennessee; and Dr. Steven M. Studebaker, assistant professor of theology and the Howard and Shirley Bentall chair in evangelical thought at McMaster University.

To learn more about the School of Divinity, visit their website.


Back to Top


PR/NEWS CONTACT:
Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888
E-mail: mhughes@regent.edu



Latest News

Robert G. Lee addresses CTV students.

TV's Top Warm-Up Comic Screens New Film at Regent

By Amanda Morad | April 24, 2014

Robert G. Lee on stage at the 2014 Regent Showcase.

Regent Showcase Features Top Student Films

By Amanda Morad | April 17, 2014

Regent Boasts Moot Court Success

By Brett Wilson | April 16, 2014

Production still from Episode 6 of <i>Vice Meets Virtue</i>.

Vice Meets Virtue Series Concludes at CAS Assembly

By Amanda Morad | April 15, 2014

Dr. Ben Carson

Dr. Ben Carson to Speak at Regent Commencement

April 10, 2014

Regent team.

Law Excels at National Competition

By Brett Wilson | April 9, 2014

Share |




Upcoming Events

The Drowsy Chaperone

04/26/2014 07:30pm

Clergy Summit

04/30/2014 01:30pm

Commencement

05/03/2014 09:30am

View More Events >