Category Archives: Restorative justice

The Doctrine of Creation

Is a self-conscious doctrine of creation compatible with a belief that pacifism is a central Christian conviction?  Is it possible to construct an Anabaptist doctrine of creation, given how dominated that arena of thought has been by Reformed views?  In my essay on “The Doctrine of Creation,” I argue that indeed love and creation go together–along with an understanding of justice that sees the concerns of justice being the work to bring healing to brokenness in our world (“restorative justice”).

This essay is the fifth in a series that examines core Christian doctrines, consistently asking what shape they should take if they are articulated in light of Jesus.

The Old Testament message of mercy

Many people, we could call them the “cultured despisers,” reject the Old Testament as a “bloody book.”  Many others, probably more, affirm the Old Testament as a “bloody book” and all too often use that “bloodiness” as a justification for their own.

This article, “Mercy not retribution,” argues for a reading of the Old Testament that recognizes the centrality of God’s mercy in the story–and sees that mercy as the biblical basis for Jesus’ own peaceable message.

It was originally published in The Mennonite, September 6, 2005.

Pacifism With Justice (14)

Christian theology is both part of the problem and part of the solution with regard to violence against children. My essay, “The Theological Roots of Violence Against Children,” which is part of my book in progress, Pacifism with Justice: The Biblical and Theological Case, addresses this tension.

I suggest that a problematic “logic of retribution” characterizes the theology of evangelical writers such as James Dobson and Millard Erickson. This logic underwrites harsh practices of child discipline that actually teach children to be violent. Drawing on the work of Alice Miller and others, I argue for more peace-oriented approaches to relating to children that are ultimately grounded in biblical theology.

Pacifism With Justice (13)

Restorative justice is a recent movement in the criminal justice arena that has sought to foster more humane approaches to dealing the offenders. This essay, “Theology and Restorative Justice,” which part of my book-in-process, Pacifism with Justice: The Biblical and Theological Case, looks at the theological and historical roots of restorative justice and how its philosophy differs from standard, retributive approaches.

Pacifism With Justice (12)

Where does violence come from? What about the desire for retribution? Are there theologies that undergird violence? These are crucial questions for constructing a theology of Christian pacifism. They are addressed in this essay,“Theology, Retribution, and the Ways of Peace”, part of my book in process: Pacifism with Justice: The Biblical and Theological Case.

Pacifism With Justice (11)

The Book of Revelation might seem an unlikely place to find a theology of justice that emphasizes mercy over retribution, but here’s an attempt to present a case that this indeed is what we find. This essay, “The Justice of God in the Book of Revelation,” is part of my book-in-progress, Pacifism with Justice: The Biblical and Theological Case.

Pacifism With Justice (4)

Quite often in discussions of Christian pacifism, the concepts of “peace” and “pacifism” and “love” are held in tension with the theme of “justice.” In recent years, the discipline of restorative justice has arisen that, in its more faith-oriented strands, has sought to rethink the meaning of justice in ways that see it as more complimentary with peace, pacifism, and love.

This essay, “Healing Justice: The Prophet Amos and a ‘New’ Theology of Justice,” is chapter four in my book-in-process, Pacifism With Justice: The Biblical and Theological Case. It addresses the understanding of justice reflected in the Old Testament, specifically, the Book of Amos. It argues for a view of justice that emphasizes justice as focused on healing.