Issue: March 2004

Volume 4 Number 3

Between sanctity and depravity: Law and Human Nature in Martin Luther’ Two Kingdoms

Witte discusses (1) the distinctions between the fallen realm and the redeemed realm, the City of Man and the City of God, the Reign of the Devil and the Reign of Christ; (2) the distinctions between the sinner and the saint, the flesh and the spirit, the inner man and the outer man; (3) the […]

Pastoral Counsel concerning The Passion

A letter from Pastor Tillberg to her congregation, published in the church newsletter. [1] I’ve just returned home from seeing Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ. Here’s some pastoral counsel concerning the movie: [2] 1. If you choose to see it, be warned, it is the most violent movie – with respect to […]

Restorative Justice vs. Retributive Justice

[1] “Restorative justice” is a concept that has been written about, talked about, and argued about. However, only a few people have actually been engaged in the practice of “restorative justice.” Fortunately, the number of such practitioners is growing, and the faith community is discovering that restorative justice is closely related to such biblical truths […]

Restoring Forgiving Power

[1] Traditionally, theology and religious thought has thought of love and justice as the poles between which human interaction must move. Justice punishes or repays, love heals. The relatively recent phrase “restorative justice” attempts something different, which is to think about the ways in which justice might restore. I would like to explore the old […]

Review of The Passion of the Christ

[1] After seeing Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ I will never sing “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord” or “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” the same way again. Normally my mind flicks quickly over the gory language and bloody images in those hymns. I tend to imagine a cross without a […]

Review of Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ

[1] Everything about this movie was unexpected. [2] I expected the scourging and crucifixion, and was prepared for their horror. I did not expect the constant shoving, pushing, slapping, striking, punching, hitting, whipping, stoning, and spitting, and was unprepared for their torment. [3] I expected the fountains of blood. I did not expect the constant […]

Review of “The Passion of the Christ”

1] I was asked to review this movie because I am a Pastor of the ELCA whose father was Jewish in heritage and because I have an active relationship with members and organizations of the Jewish community in Chicago. [2] If I may be permitted a personal comment, I would mention that as a child […]

Rooting, Reforming, Restoring: A Framework for Justice in Rwanda

[1] The Gacaca (ga-CHA-cha) trials in Rwanda represent a radical and necessary alternative to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the reconstructed state judicial system. Attempts to legitimate the establishment of a traditional community justice approach have focused primarily on three issues: (1) dislodging an entrenched culture of impunity; (2) responding to the […]

Some Reflections on the Theology of Reconciliation

[1] Last January, I attended an academic conference in Pittsburgh. During a break, we were given the option of visiting the Andy Warhol Museum or meeting representatives from South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The TRC was established to provide an opportunity for the perpetrators and victims of atrocities that had occurred under apartheid […]

The Church as Reconciling Community and Institution in South Africa

[1] This essay tries to demonstrate that the church, as an institution and a community of persons, carries within itself valuable resources for enabling and fostering social reconciliation in South Africa.1 I shall explore in brief some of the ways in which Christian community has been and can be efficacious in the promotion of reconciliation […]

Review of John W. De Gruchy’s Reconciliation: Restoring Justice

[1] Is there a place for Christian insights about reconciliation beyond the realm of the personal and private? Even more, is it possible that these same insights can help pave the way to a more deeply reconciled national identity in South Africa? John W. De Gruchy has charted a difficult and courageous path indeed in […]

A Review of Reconciliation: Restoring Justice by John W. De Gruchy

[1] John W. De Gruchy’s book Reconciliation: Restoring Justice is an appealing exploration of the process of truth and reconciliation in South Africa. In the history of truth commissions throughout the world, South Africa was the first to combine notions of truth and reconciliation. This combination, I believe, was due to the commission’s Chairman, the […]

Christianity and Human Rights

[1] The historic relationship between Christianity and human rights is an ambiguous one. For hundreds of years the Christian Church actively promoted religious intolerance and persecuted those who failed to accept its moral values and customs. Many of these values and practices are today rejected as contrary to a human rights culture and moral decency. […]