Among the recent approaches to religious pluralism is what has been called “the turn to the Holy Spirit.”1 Theologians who employ the pneumatological approach regard it as a way out of the traditional impasses that have hindered developments in the theology of religions.2 For instance, the Pentecostal theologian Amos Yong identifies three advantages of a pneumatological approach to other religions.3 First, he considers pneumatology as the key to overcoming the dualism between Christological particularity and the cosmic Christ. The either/or of particularity/universality dissolves when one recalls that the historical Jesus was who he was because of the Spirit of God and that the risen Christ was resurrected by the power of the Spirit. Second, pneumatology is the key to understanding the tension between what has traditionally been labelled specific and natural revelation. While it does not deny these categories, pneumatology emphasizes the dynamism of revelation and salvation rather than dualisms. Third, pneumatology enables us to transcend questions related to other religions not merely as human efforts to reach the divine because this approach emphasizes the universality of the Spirit and the dynamic nature of divine activity. Thus, Yong sees pneumatological approach as offering a way of moving the conversation forward. This turn to the Spirit also characterizes the theology of certain Roman Catholic personalities and institutions. For example, Jacques Dupuis and Gerald O’Collins regard the unique contribution of Pope John Paul II as his emphasis on the presence of the Spirit in the religious life of peoples of other faiths.4 As Clark Pinnock puts it, For John Paul, the reason why there are spiritual treasures in the religions of the world, why there is a sense of kinship, and why dialogue is promising, is the reality of the Holy Spirit, who is alive and active in world history, both before and after Christ, and who inspires the searchings of humankind. He believes that, while there are many religions in the world, there is one Spirit seeking to bear fruit in them all.5 This approach has also been taken up by both Gavin D’Costa and the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) in their theological reflections on the religious other. In both of their theologies of religions, there is a strong emphasis on the role of the Spirit in others. In this article, I would like to compare their theologies of religions, focusing only on the pneumatological dimension of their theologies.6 I will confine my discussion on four issues with respect to their positions: (1) the salvific character of other religions; (2) their theological starting points; (3) the parameters in thinking of the Spirit in others; and (4) the fulfilment of the church and the religious other in their dialogue with each other.
Mendoza, R. (2010). Religious Pluralism and the Turn to the Spirit: FABC’s and Gavin D’Costa’s Theology of Religions. Journal of Dharma 35(1), 23-38.