Chapter A3 “The Number of Religions in the World”
In essence, Pieper says, there are two religions in the world. There is that which seeks to be reconciled by man’s works and that which trusts in Jesus. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus gives his followers the command to disciple all nations. The gospel is seen as having exclusive claims and power. Compared to this our man-made philosophies desire to make all beliefs stand together.
Many define religion as having a common element of a personal relation between man and God. yet when viewed this way, the non-Christian religions approach God in fear, hoping for appeasement. This is a hopeless religion. A Christian, on the other hand, approaches God as a loving father, with the fear erased.
If religion is a common way of worship, we find Christian worship directed to God who has already shown grace. Again, there is no fear.
If religion is a striving for fulfillment, again Christianity is different. Fulfillment does not come through striving but through receiving.
Psychology also makes differentiations. The Christian has peace and confidence while others have fear and guilt.
Progressive theologians wish to remove a divine element from religion. To do this with Christianity effectively removes all that makes it distinct. It can be done with all religions dependent on works but not on that one which depends on faith.