Archives For Christian Ethics

 

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”1587434016″ locale=”US” src=”http://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/51prPXTFJKL-3.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”216″]Flourishing and Abundant Living

A Review of

For The Life of the World:
Theology that Makes a Difference

Miroslav Volf and Matthew Croasmun

Hardback: Brazos Press, 2019

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Reviewed by Cate Michelle Desjardins
 
 
I’ve been pondering Jesus’ words lately. You know them. After comparing himself to a gate that those who go through, like sheep, will find green pastures, Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10).

What is the abundant life that Jesus speaks of? What does it look like in practice?

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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”1978702019″ locale=”US” src=”http://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/511nIF3j2EL-1.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”209″]Mapping the Landscape
of Christian Ethics

A Review of

Augustinian and Ecclesial Christian Ethics:
On Loving Enemies

D. Stephen Long

Hardback: Lexington Books, 2018
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Reviewed by David W. Opderbeck
 
 
Steve Long has a talent for seeing a way through tensions between competing movements in contemporary theology.  In his 2014 book Saving Karl Barth: Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Preoccupation (Fortress Press, 2014), Long addressed the debates over natural theology and the analogia entis that still divide Protestant theology in a Barthian key from Catholic theology sympathetic to von Balthasar.  As Long showed in that book, while there are real differences, contemporary theology can benefit from insights from both of these great thinkers, even as Barth and von Balthasar benefitted in their own lifetimes from their personal friendship.

Now, in Augustinian and Ecclesial Christian Ethics, Long takes up a related set of differences in Christian ethics, between “neo-Anabaptists” and “neo-Augustinians.”  The “neo-Anabaptists” – or, as Long comes to refer to them, the “ecclesial” ethicists, are represented by John Howard Yoder, Stanley Hauerwas, James William McClendon, and others who have taken up their work.  The “neo-Augustinians” are represented by Oliver O’Donovan, John Milbank, Eric Gregory, Charles Mathewes, Jennifer Herdt, and others who are more sympathetic to the “Augustinian realism” of Reinhold Niebuhr. In many ways, the ecclesial ethicists represent the Barthian side of Saving Karl Barth, while the neo-Augustinians represent the von Balthasarian side (though O’Donovan is perhaps a Barthian Augustinian).

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A Review of

War, Peace, and Social Conscience:
Guy F. Hershberger and Mennonite Ethics
.
Theron Schlabach.
Hardback: Herald Press, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith

As a young college student in the shadow of the first Iraq war and trying to sort out what I thought war (and peace), I picked a book off my Dad’s shelf that had been a textbook during his college days at Goshen College.  That book was Guy Hershberger’s War, Peace and Non-Resistance, and it helped to nudge me in the direction of a commitment to nonviolence and to reflect upon the logic behind the many varieties of Christian nonviolence.  I have re-read this important work several times over the intervening years, and as I mature, I find myself agreeing less with Hershberger and at the same time, having a deeper understanding of why this was such an important book.   And now, Theron Schlabach has written an authoritative work on Hershberger’s life and ethics.  Hershberger was likely the most significant Mennonite ethicist prior to John Howard Yoder, and thus Schlabach’s new book is an important contribution to Mennonite thought.  Schlabach chronicles how Hershberger rose from his humble beginnings among the Amish-Mennonites of Southeastern Iowa to become professor at Goshen College and one of the most respected Mennonite thinkers of his time.  Although little known outside Mennonite circles, one of the most significant contribution of Hershberger’s work was the distinction — introduced in his book War, Peace and Non-Resistance — between non-resistance (a literalist interpretation of Jesus’ teaching to “resist not the evil man”) and non-violent resistance.  One of the most striking facets of Schlabach’s book is that it narrates how Hershberger’s perspective evolved over the course of his life after the publication of War, Peace and Non-Resistance.  Schlabach’s description of this development is focused primarily on Hershberger’s engagements the the Civil Rights movement and particularly with Martin Luther King, Jr.  Schlabach makes a compelling case that — at least later in his life — Hershberger’s understanding of non-resistance was more complex than mere passivity.  Schlabach says:

In 1975, at age seventy-eight, Hershberger was still pondering his exact position on nonviolent resistance.  And he was taking counsel from various voices in his church.  He was not at all fickle, not quick to move away from the convictions he had long held.  He still approved deeply of King’s kind of nonviolent action, yet he did not give it simple, unqualified, blanket endorsement.  Ultimately he wanted to be a disciple of Jesus, not of King.

Yoder scholars will be interested in Schlabach’s account of how Hershberger’s work in the later years of his life was influenced greatly by Yoder’s theology, particularly Yoder’s critique of Reinhold Niebuhr’s Christian ethics.  I don’t imagine that this new book on Hershberger will find a huge audience, but nonetheless it is a well-researched and graciously-written work that is a major contribution to the history of Mennonite theology.

 

“Yoder’s pièce de résistance?”

A Review of
Christian Attitudes to
War, Peace and Revolution.

by John Howard Yoder.
Edited by Ted Koontz and Andy Alexis-Baker.

 Reviewed by Chris Smith

 

Christian Attitudes to
War, Peace and Revolution.

John Howard Yoder.
Edited by Ted Koontz and Andy Alexis-Baker.

Paperback: Brazos Press, 2009.
Buy now:   [ ChristianBook.com ]

 

In these days, when governments promise us endless war, the people of God need serious reflection on the ethics of war and our responsibility to follow faithfully in the way of Christ Jesus.  Into this crucial era, Brazos Press has just offered up an essential text on the Christian ethics of war from the late Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder, Christian Attitudes to War, Peace and Revolution.  This book was compiled from lectures in a seminary course of the same name, which Yoder taught year after year over the course of three decades from 1966 to his death in 1997.  Christian Attitudes spans the history of the Christian tradition from its earliest years to the present, exploring the various perspectives that churches have taken on military cooperation, with special attention to those positions characterized by their opposition to Christian participation in the military.  It is a tribute to the excellent editorial work of Ted Koontz and Andy Alexis-Baker, who assembled and refined this work from Yoder’s lectures, that a work of this scope, stature and rigor can read so clearly and be packed into a little over 400 pages – (not including study guides and other end material).  Yoder’s work here should be understood as a dialogue with Roland Baintain’s heralded work of a similar name, Christian Attitudes toward War and Peace, which served as a textbook for the course on which this new book is based.  Continue Reading…