Description: What is dialogue? What are the goals of dialogue between faiths? Are they attainable? Are they compatible with Christian faith? This important book addresses the issue of dialogue from a different, even unique, perspective: as the relationships, in social and historical context, between faiths. David Lochhead first differentiates between several ideological stances (often categorized as simply "exclusivity" or "inclusivity") that have defined Christian attitudes toward other faiths. He considers the sociological as well as theological dimensions of these stances, concluding that a theology of interfaith dialogue "must ultimately be grounded in a theology of the world." Lochhead brings fresh insights to a reading of Barth on the theological significance of religion. He argues that, while generally considered otherwise, Barth's view is not inherently hostile to interfaith dialogue. Rather, Barth poses questions of the utmost importance to reconciling dialogue with Christian faithfulness. Based on this, Lochhead proposes a stance of "faithful agnosticism"--the refusal to make a priori valuations of other faiths--as the attitude most conducive to constructive interfaith relationships. Exploring the notion of dialogue as a means to truth Lochhead then discusses Plato and Buber from the dialogical perspective and addresses the question of whether a doctrine of revelation must be universalized in order to permit interfaith dialogue. After examining several views of the ultimate goals of dialogue (as understanding, as negotiation, as integration, or as activity) Lochhead concludes by explicating the import of the dialogical imperative for Christian theology and mission. A clear, concise treatment of the nature and goals of interfaith dialogue, The Dialogical Imperative affirms the dialogical approach from within the Reformed Protestant tradition. Endorsements: "The Dialogical Imperative is an uncommonly wise and helpful book. Challenging some of the most widely held tenets of conventional theological wisdom, it shows why faithfulness to Jesus Christ itself requires that 'openness to the world' which makes interreligious dialogue a Christian imperative." --Schubert M. Ogden, University Distinguished Professor of Theology, Southern Methodist University "David Lochhead's splendid new book meets a deeply felt need among all those who acknowledge Karl Barth as among their theological mentors. We need a theology of religion in a Barthian mode Along with other fruitful insights, Dr. Lochhead gives us just that, and impels us into new understanding of the relation of truth and dialogue. Monologue is death, for it cuts us off from humanity. Dialogue is life, and has its own justification and imperative." --Kenneth Cracknell, Cambridge University "Lochhead's book suggests that the theological discussion of dialogue is still young . . . His insistence that dialogue is not an option, but an imperative for the church, that it does not require the modification of existing theology but rather its implementation, and that it is not a sharing of existing understanding between communities but a shared venture in new understanding, are all fresh stimulants that will move the dialogue about dialogue forward." --John B. Cobb, Jr., School of Theology at Claremont About the Contributor(s): David Lochhead (1936-1999) was Emeritus Professor of Systematic Theology at Vancouver School of Theology, British Columbia, and a minister of the United Church of Canada.