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The contours of justice: An ancient call for shalom

Wolterstorff, Nicholas
June 4, 2015

Source: (1999) In God and the victim: Theological reflections on evil, victimization, justice, and forgiveness, ed. Lisa Barnes Lampman and Michelle D. Shattuck, 107-130. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; and Neighbors Who Care: Washington, D.C.

God loves justice, writes Nicholas Wolterstorff in this essay. The justice that God loves consists in the well-being of the weak, the vulnerable, and the lowly (“widows, orphans, and aliensâ€?, and “the poorâ€?). Behind this justice are three elements: (1) God loves all people, not just some; (2) God desires the shalom of all people (where shalom signifies peace defined dynamically in terms of spiritual and material well-being); (3) and God’s justice seeks the shalom of all people because all have a right to the basic conditions that lead to shalom. In the Old Testament Wolterstorff finds that justice is imperative for the people of God because they should love and pursue what God loves and pursues. Moreover, justice is not an Old Testament imperative no longer obligatory in the New Testament. Wolterstorff examines the New Testament and finds in key concepts and the practice of Jesus the imperative for Christians to desire and practice shalom-oriented justice.


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