Kenneth Richard Samples has a passion. He wants to exalt Jesus Christ above any other religious figure. He is committed to the idea that Jesus is the only true way of salvation. Therefore, he dismisses any other belief system, even “Christian” systems that allow for salvation apart from explicit belief in Christ. Samples has done a masterful job explaining his view.
This book is not an easy read. Samples wanted to prove his idea. He loads the book with facts, explanations, detailed explanations on logic, and more charts than are necessary. Consequently, this book took me 3 months to read, while I worked, traveled, and took care of an infant.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to have a better understanding of Krishna, Buddha, Confucius, and Mohammad. Samples explains their personal and religious histories very well. I also appreciate the addition at the end of each section explaining how to dialogue with a follower of those individuals for the purpose of evangelism.
I have two critiques. First, Samples does not interact with religious experts within the other religions. All of his quotes are from Christian experts of the other religions. I believe his book would be stronger if he included non-Christian experts. Second, at the end of the book, Samples discusses pluralism and universalism, contrasting them with exclusivism. While he has a good handle on pluralism and universalism, he pushes inclusivism to the side, erroneously tying this belief with universalism. He makes a broad statement that inclusivism is bad, but does not explain why. He then broadens exclusivism to include many beliefs inclusivists have.
Both these critiques are minor. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to dive deeper into world religions.
I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.