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Irving Hexham: This Is Why Christians Need to Know About Other Religions

understanding world religions

Dr. Irving Hexham is a Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He has done extensive research on world religions, cults, nationalism and religion, and new religious movements. He has written over two dozen books, including Understanding World Religions and most recently, Encountering World Religions. Irving is married to Dr. Karla Poewe and has two children.

Key Questions for Irving Hexham

-How are we now experiencing a world similar to the one we see in the New Testament?

-How can Christians be educated about other religions while being able to have gracious, fruitful conversations with people of different beliefs?

-How can pastors and ministry leaders help people navigate feelings like Islamophobia?

-How can we find commonalities between Christianity and other religions and use these as starting points for conversations? 

Key Quotes from Irving Hexham

“You see a steady decline of Christianity in North America.”

“Across the Western world, we’re seeing the rise of alternative religions.”

“This means that we’re in the situation that St. Paul was in, or at least, we’re rapidly getting there, where you have the altar to the Unknown God. And Paul faced a situation, and the early Christians faced a situation where the majority of people were not Christians, and you couldn’t assume that they knew anything about the Bible.”

“When I first came to Calgary over 30 years ago, the majority of students in religious studies classes at least were Christians. So things have changed very drastically, and you get the same sort of thing going on other English-speaking countries.”

“What I learned from Francis Schaeffer and L’Abri was the importance of the person.”

“When you get to know [people of differing beliefs], many of them are very nice people. I think, for example, when you think about Islam, I think there are many worrying things about Islam as a movement…but if you know a Muslim, the majority are very nice people. 

“The first step in approaching people of another faith…you have to get to know them. And that’s going to take a long time.”

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As Vice President of Ministry Mobilization for Outreach, Inc., Jason dedicates his time to encouraging and equipping churches, denominations and ministry organizations to develop their Kingdom effectiveness by creating a culture that is both incarnational and invitational. He also serves as the Executive Director of the National Back to Church Sunday movement and hosts the weekly ChurchLeaders podcast. Jason lives on Anastasia Island, Florida, with his beautiful wife and children. Connect with him on Twitter and Instagram @jasondaye