Clary, Erik. “Theology of religion in flux: on Paul F. Knitter’s soteriologic shift culminating in mutualism” in Trinity Journal ns 31 no 2 (Fall 2010): 243-263.
In recent decades, there has been much discussion within professedly Christian circles over the possibility that there may, in fact, exist pathways to God that do not require of the individual specific belief in, or even knowledge of, the person and work of Jesus Christ. Among the more prominent advocates of this expanded view of salvation is theologian Paul F. Knitter. In 1985, Knitter introduced a “theocentric” approach to religion under the label of “unitive pluralism,” and it sparked much discussion and activity among his peers. Groundbreaking as it was, however, Knitter soon left unitive pluralism for a “soteriocentric” approach that he has revised over the years and now characterizes as “ethical mutualism.” It is the purpose of this essay to first trace the development over time of Knitter’s soteriology and then assess his present mutualist position. It is concluded that ethical mutualism, while commendable with respect to its concern for the poor, fails chiefly because it rests upon a faulty Christology.
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