Archives For Peacemaking

 

Bonhoeffer’s Commitment to Peace and Opposing Injustice
 
A Feature Review of

Bonhoeffer the Assassin? Challenging the Myth, Recovering His Call to Peacemaking.
 
Mark Thiessen Nation, Anthony G. Siegrist, and Daniel P. Umbel.

Paperback: Baker Academic, 2013.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

 
Reviewed by Shaun C. Brown
 
“Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–45), a pastor and theologian, is perhaps best known today for his involvement in the conspiracy to topple the Hitler government, which included his involvement to kill Hitler, leading to Bonhoeffer’s subsequent execution at the hands of the Third Reich” (1). Since Eric Metaxas’s biography introduced Bonhoeffer to a wider audience, this opening statement carries even more weight. This plot usually says that through his theological study, Bonhoeffer came to hold some form of pacifist position, but when faced with the cold reality of Nazi Germany, he abandoned his pacifism, embraced a Reinhold Niebuhr-like realism perspective, and joined the plot to kill Hitler.
 
Mark Thiessen Nation, along with two of his former students, Anthony G. Siegrist, and Daniel P. Umbel challenge this understanding of Bonhoeffer’s life and work. In particular, “[W]e will argue that it is highly unlikely Bonhoeffer was involved in any assassination attempts. And since he was not involved in such attempts, there is no textual evidence that he attempted to justify such attempts” (13). Part 1 consists of a sketch of Bonhoeffer’s biography, while part 2 analyzes his writings.
 
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“Building Interfaith Bridges

A review of
Allah: A Christian Response.
by Miroslav Volf.

Review by Bob Cornwall.

ALLAH by Miroslav VolfAllah: A Christian Response.
Miroslav Volf.
Hardback: HarperOne, 2011.
Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ] [ Amazon – Kindle ]

[This review originally appeared on the reviewer’s blog
and is reprinted here with permission.]

Do Christians and Muslims worship a common God?  In the opinion of many Muslims and Christians the answer to this question is a rather simple and stark no.  Muslims might point to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity as proof that Christians worship a divinity far different from the one described by their strict monotheism.  Christians might respond in quite the same way, suggesting that the fact that Muslims don’t accept the Trinity is proof that Allah isn’t the same as the God they worship.  Others might suggest that while the Christian God is a God of love, Muslims serve a violent, wrathful, and vengeful God.  In response to these claims, there would be counterclaims, of course.  The question, however, is an important one because Christianity and Islam claim the allegiance of more than half the world’s population and adherents of these two faiths find themselves in conflicts around the globe.

There is no question that there are differences between the Christian and Islamic faiths, differences that include but go beyond the doctrine of the Trinity, but according to Miroslav Volf, a Yale theology professor who has been in active conversation with Muslims, there are also significant commonalities.  In his view, these commonalities can provide an important foundation for conversations that could help build bridges between the two faith communities.

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A sneak peek at one of the books to be featured in our
first print edition…  (Have you subscribed? )

Forgiving As We’ve Been Forgiven:
Community Practices for Making Peace
(Resources for Reconciliation Series)

by L. Gregory Jones and Célestin Musekura
Paperback: IVP Books, 2010.
Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

 

“Blessed Are the Peacemakers

A Review of
The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Peace.

Nigel Young, Editor.

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

The Oxford International
Encyclopedia of Peace.

Nigel Young, Editor.
Hardback: Oxford UP, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Oxford international Encyclopedia of PeaceAs followers of Christ, we are called to be peacemakers, and part of our education as disciples of Jesus is learning the things that make for peace.  Thus, it has been exciting to see Peace Studies emerge as an academic discipline over the last three decades, and with the rise of Peace Studies come reference works that assist and propagate research.  And now The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Peace (OIEP), published earlier this year by Oxford University Press, will undoubtedly reign supreme for many years as the key reference work for Peace Studies.

The four volumes of the OIEP represent a mammoth undertaking; its 850+  articles span over 2700 pages and were collected over a period of more than five years.  The work begins with a brief foreword by the Dalai Lama who praises the work as a “scholarly but accessible reference work [which] will enable many of us to learn from the great ideals and struggles for peace over past centuries, and it will be a valuable resource for teachers of peace and for policy makers” (xix).
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A Brief Review of
Ambassadors of Reconciliation:
New Testament Reflections on Restorative Justice
and Peacemaking, Volume I
,
Ched Myers and Elaine Enns. 

Paperback: Orbis Books, 2009.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by R. Dean Hudgens.

Ched Myers’ new book, written with his wife Elaine Enns, is a two volume work on a Christian discipleship of restorative justice and peacemaking.  Volume one, reviewed briefly here, describes the New Testament basis for this work.  Volume two, due in  November 2009, will present testimonies from a variety of practitioners (i.e. disciples of Jesus) and outline the broader conceptual framework.  In the first volume Myers and Enns provide a robust and provocative reading of four important passages from the New Testament that get beyond the typical prooftexts on this topic, and demonstrate the central place of restorative justice and peacemaking in the biblical view of discipleship.  These passages are well chosen (in order of treatment they are 1 Cor 5:16-6:13, Mark 1-3, Matthew 18, and the entire book of Ephesians!) and the exegesis is typical of Myers’ previous works in being illuminating, provocative and compelling.  Myers wants to show that Jesus and the apostles were “visionary peacemakers” and “peace disturbers”.  He utilizes the history of the civil rights movement as embodied in the words and work of Dr. Martin Luther King to makes this aspect of the New Testament “come alive.”  This will be perhaps a controversal tack for some, and yet Myers clearly indicates that he is not saying that Jesus was merely doing the same thing as Dr. King, nor that Dr. King was a reincarnate Messiah.  However, utilizing our familiarity with King can help North Americans grasp a central aspect of Jesus’s ministry that often goes unnoticed by both liberals and conservatives. Namely, Myers wants to explicate nonviolent direct action (NVDA) as a central part of the gospel message.  The value in this volume is found in the biblical argumentation for this thesis (especially valuable in Myers’ work on the epistles), the clear presentation of the biblical foundations and theological rationale underlying the civil rights movement, and the persuasive argument for a discipleship that all of us should take more seriously.