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The Cross: God’s Peace Work – Towards a Restorative Peacemaking Understanding of the Atonement

Northey, Wayne
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) In Justice Reflections: Worldwide Papers Linking Christian Ideas with Matters of Justice. Lincoln UK: Diocese of Lincoln, Issue 16. JR 1119.

The New Testament witness is consistent: there is no love of God without love of enemy. How we treat the enemy is the ultimate indicator of how we respond to God. Avowed love of God is a religious farce if it is not shown in concrete love of the enemy. We read: “But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do (James 2:18).” Justification by faith is legal fiction if not demonstrated in the identical attitude towards neighbour and enemy that God takes towards us in the offer of justification in the first place. This is the biblical “plan of salvation” so central to the Gospels. “The strength of this plan of salvation lies in the tight bond it creates between divine grace and a total human response. Christian conduct does not follow (by some kind of inference or induction) as a consequence of salvation: it is itself salvation. The salvific gift of God and its human answer in following Jesus are two sides of one reality (McClendon, Jr., 1994. p. 118).” This “reality” I submit is biblically Ultimate Realpolitik, that is restorative peacemaking to the core. (excerpt)


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