The July 2011 PNEUMA INFORMER
In this issue
Reports from Around the World
Egypt : Can oppressed Christian minority find freedom, too?
Enraged Muslims betrayed the Christian hope for unity in several violent attacks during the final weeks of June in Egypt. Despite all this, Christians hope the fight for democracy will unite them with the Muslims. Paul Estabrooks with Open Doors says others aren't so sure. "The church is, I think, far more optimistic about opportunities and positive change in the future than we on the outside looking in." Christians in Egypt have found some unity with Muslims as they protest government oppression, but Muslims will be the majority in the new regime. With the power shift, Muslims may be more likely to oppress the Christian minority. "They trust that minorities are going to be involved in any democratic constitution that'll be established and be protected," says Estabrooks. "However, there doesn't seem to be a history of protection of minorities in new democracies." How can Christians help? "Pray that their optimism will be honored and that they will be able to have the freedom that they desire to share the Gospel."
Source: Mission Network News, 29 June, 2011. Full story: http://www.mnnonline.org/article/15906
Middle East: One man's trust
"For Real?!" by Rachel Fields, who has lived in the Middle East since 2003 and is assistant director of an English center there. How one Muslim man's faith in Jesus has led increasing numbers of fellow Muslims in his community to also put their trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord. www.lausanneworldpulse.com/themedarticles.php/1402/05-2011
Global Leaders Share Concerns
Christian leaders in the Global South think evangelism will be easier in five years, while those in the North think it will become more difficult.
Cuba: Severe government pressure against Churches
"Cuban Baptist pastor prevented from attending church service as pressure on all denominations intensifies" dynamic.csw.org.uk/article.asp?t=press&id=1193 (Christian Solidarity Worldwide).
South Sudan: Beginning of Independence
South Sudan marked independence Saturday, July 9, with the jubilation of a people group freed from oppression. Days later, the big question is: Now what? Lawmakers formed a caretaker government and announced a new currency yesterday. But freedom begins with a solid foundation. Lorella Rouster with Every Child Ministries says they're part of that solution. "I was there just a few days before Independence, training church and orphanage workers in Southern Sudan in more effective ways of children's ministry." As refugees return to the South in droves, groups like ECM are preparing for the influx by partnering with the local church. "We would like people to pray that people would use the teaching that we have given them and be effective in reaching the new generation," says Rouster. "The techniques that we've given are good for large groups, so I think that's good for the influx of new children." Pray for a peaceful transition.
Source: Mission Network News, 12 July, 2011. Full story: http://www.mnnonline.org/article/15958
Survey: Religion, Faith Still Important to Most People
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A global survey of more than 18,000 people across 24 nations finds that religious faith is still important to most people.
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Tony Richie, "The Right Moment for an Important and Unprecedented Document"
"Christian Witness in a Multi-religious World: Recommendations for Conduct": The Right Moment for an Important & Unprecedented Document
By Tony Richie
On Tuesday June 28, 2011 the news became public that an important, and in some ways, unprecedented, document on Christian witness and mission has been finalized and published. In the interest of full disclosure, along with several others, I helped write it. That doesn't mean that what follows is a defense. Although some of us who worked long (5 years) and hard (in Lariano, Italy; Toulouse, France; and Bangkok, Thailand) on it may be tempted to see this document as our "baby," we also know better than anyone its faults and flaws. However, I must express my deep and profound respect for my colleagues. It was a special blessing to work with them all. And this document is important and unprecedented, and it is the right moment for it. It is important because it addresses some of the most challenging and significant aspects of Christian mission in today's religiously plural world. As a collaborative effort involving representatives of 90% of the world's 2 billion Christians, it is also unprecedented. It is the right moment for it because global conditions demand we face the reality of interfaith conflict and violence. Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct is literally the first document ever to receive unanimous endorsement from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) of the Catholic Church, the World Council of Churches (WCC), and the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). In a time of interreligious tension, often involving issues of Christian mission, the "Preamble" to "Recommendations for Conduct" unapologetically affirms the mission of the churches in a manner respectful of others, including non-Christian religions.
More of a practical guide than a theological statement, "Recommendations for Conduct" outlines "A Basis for Christian Witness". This is the most consistently biblical section, and primarily upholds mission as a participation in the mission of God and obedience to the example of Jesus and the early church with a strong emphasis on ethical behavior and responsibility. The document also details "Principles" of Christian conduct in bearing witness to the gospel: "Acting in God's love," "Imitating Jesus Christ," "Christian virtues," "Acts of service and justice," "Discernment in ministries of healing," "Rejection of violence," "Freedom of religion and belief," "Mutual respect and solidarity," "Respect for all people," "Renouncing false witness," "Ensuring personal discernment," and "Building interreligious relationships." True to its subtitle, it also suggests "Recommendations" for guiding relationships between Christians and others as Christians respond to God's call to do mission: "study" the critical issues involved, "build" relationships of respect and trust, "encourage" Christians to strengthen their own religious identity and faith, "cooperate" with other religious communities for justice and the common good, "call" on governments to respect religious freedom, and "pray" for all neighbors.
"Recommendations for Conduct" ends with an "Appendix" describing the background and process of its origin and development over the last five years. As a participant from beginning to end in that process, I understand that this background is essential for appreciating many of the nuances of the statements of this document. Also, it would be a mistake to divorce the content and tone of "Recommendations for Conduct" from the clear purpose statement in the "Preamble".
The purpose of this document is to encourage churches, church councils and mission agencies to reflect on their current practices and to use the recommendations in this document to prepare, where appropriate, their own guidelines for their witness and mission among those of different religions and among those who do not profess any particular religion. It is hoped that Christians across the world will study this document in the light of their own practices in witnessing to their faith in Christ, both by word and deed.
The early response to "Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct" has been mostly positive. Of course, almost everyone can see the need for addressing interfaith conflict, and the role that issues of conversion and evangelism play in that scenario. Many seem almost amazed that such diverse Christian groups were ready, willing, and able to work so closely for so long and, of course, to succeed in producing a unanimous statement. Some misunderstand. For example, Religion Today Summaries (June 30, 2011) put it like this: "Top 3 Bodies in Christianity Issue Evangelism Rules." Of course, "recommendations" and "rules" are not the same at all. This kind of oversight sets up potential problems. No one is trying to impose rules on anyone's evangelism. (Below you will notice that Chris Norton makes the same mistake.) The World Council of Churches press release put it better: "Christians reach broad consensus on appropriate missionary conduct." This news release is also informative and balanced (http://www.oikoumene.org/en/news/news-management/eng/a/article/1634/christians-reach-broad-co.html).
Then Francis X. Rocca (Religion News Service, June 30, 2011), in "Ecumenical Accord Reached on Proselytizing: Did You Know?" suggests this historic document is little more than "the latest attempt to assuage sometimes violent tensions over proselytizing in non-Christian societies". He offered expert testimony that though "not a full-throated apology for such practices, the injunctions are 'tantamount to an admission that they have been going on'". While to be expected, these kinds of comments don't do justice to the strong fiber and vibrant substance of the overall work. Nevertheless, Rocca clearly recognizes the need for peaceful relations among world religions. And that may be the main thing here.
Christianity Today's Chris Norton's "Top Evangelical, Catholic, and Mainline Bodies Issue Evangelism Rules" (6/29/2011) is especially interesting. Before looking at it, I will mention that I'm not happy about his exclusion of Pentecostals from the title and the task. The major news releases from participating bodies stressed the inclusion not only of Evangelicals but also specifically of Pentecostals. One of the original organizers and leaders of the whole project, Hans Ucko, told me personally yesterday that he considered one of the major accomplishments to be the inclusion of Evangelicals and Pentecostals. While in my North American context I consider myself both an Evangelical and a Pentecostal, these are not necessarily synonymous terms. In many parts of the world they may have quite different meanings. Christianity Today should've been more specific. Yet it is important to note that Pentecostal involvement was more informal and less official than, say members of the WEA, who formally and officially endorsed their participants and the outcome of their work. Kudos to WEA! Right now, too many Pentecostals are still struggling with stepping up to the plate to take their place at bat in the critical "game" of living and serving in a multi-religious world.
One of the things I like about Norton's article is that it does honestly engage the document and wrestle with the issues it raises. His subtitle, "Missiologists applaud unity effort, but note what's missing and what will raise eyebrows" (christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/juneweb-only/evangelismrules.html) sums up its substance well. Not to quibble (again!) about words in the title/subtitle, but I would mention we need to understand "unity effort" in the sense of a united effort. In other words, this was not an effort toward unity, but an effort arising out of unity. One thing that's most impressive about this process and the document it eventually produced is that fact. An underlying unity already in place made it possible. Admittedly, it was sometimes stretched; but, I also think it was strengthened. Those who don't think ecumenism can be effective need to think again. Along that line, Norton does a good job of explaining the significance of the release of "Recommendations for Conduct." As an Evangelical myself, I gladly note that his article rightly points out, from Kevin Mannoia, professor of Ministry at Azusa Pacific University, and former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, that Evangelical involvement in this process signals that Evangelicals are beginning to take their proper place in the broader Christian context - and are even willing to address and discuss interreligious dialogue. To me, that's a real plus. He also quotes a former professor of mine, George Hunter, dean of the School of World Missions at Asbury Theological Seminary, who calls attention to what's not in the document. Notably, Hunter thinks the omission of any statement on the sacraments was a major concession by the Catholics. While I can certainly see where he's coming from, I don't remember there being a big to-do about it in our work together. My impression is that most of us just thought we were talking about something else: namely, appropriate Christian behavior in doing the mission of the churches in religiously plural settings.
Norton notes that Lon Allison, executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, said the document doesn't include everything Evangelicals would have liked to see, either. He states that more emphasis on evangelism as verbal proclamation would have been beneficial. He seems to think that too much emphasis on deeds takes away from the importance of words. I just think they both go together. Naturally those who favor one over the other will feel like insufficient emphasis has been given to their preference. And I disagree with Allison that our work operated from an assumption that Christians "do witness, but do it badly or incompletely." However, I wonder would he deny that some Christians have sometimes done witness in ways that don't glorify God or don't result in saving souls? If so, these kinds of recommendations might be helpful in such cases. Jerry Root of Wheaton College has concerns similar to Allison but agrees that Christians should not be offensive in their evangelism and admits that he likes the "spirit of the document".
I personally have more problems with what Norton reports from Craig Ott, professor of mission and intercultural studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He objects to the document's emphasis on interreligious relations and dialogue as leaning toward the Catholic and Mainline Protestant view that the God of other religions is the same as the God of Christianity. He argues that Evangelicals cannot accept that idea. That totally misses the point. I'm neither Catholic nor Mainline Protestant; I'm an Evangelical and a Pentecostal. Yet I believe that righteous relations with religious others is required of Christians. In a way, it has little to nothing to do with what I think of the other religions' god or gods. For me, it's about being a good Christian through loving my neighbor.
In Norton's article, Hunter, and also Dana Robert, co-director of the Center for Global Christianity and Mission at Boston University, rightly point out that the word "evangelism" is not even in the document, and that it stresses "changing one's religion" rather than "converting". I agree that "evangelism" and "evangelize" are good, strong biblical words that it would have been well to include. That is something that stands out to us Evangelicals but doesn't so much to other Christians. I'd like to have seen it in there, but I understand that this is a broad consensus statement that includes other Christians. The word "witness" is also a good, strong biblical word; and, perhaps it doesn't carry as much emotive baggage for some. Further, this document does address conversion, but argues that conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit and not a human act. I'd also suggest that Robert's suggestion that the lack of "activist" language flowing out of the Great Commission assumes that the Great Commission itself is very narrowly interpreted to mean only evangelism. Most biblical scholars, including Evangelicals, don't go that far. However, I readily admit that finding the right language is one of the greatest challenges, and I'm sure it can be improved upon. Further, Robert is, along with Douglas McConnell, dean of Fuller Theological Seminary, certainly right that interpretation and perception will play a huge role in how "Recommendations for Conduct" gets applied in varied contexts. But then, I see it as a strong point of this document that its general statements can be effectively adapted to specific contexts. In fact, that's part of its purpose.
Nevertheless, I share the concern that it is in areas where interfaith hostility is most intense that applying these recommendations will perhaps also be most difficult. After all, how does one enforce these guidelines? Or how are we held accountable? And yet, I can't help but believe that having them out there, with the full significance of knowing that 90% of the world's Christians favor some version of morally sensitive evangelism such as it signifies, and that interfaith violence is not acceptable, may bring a little salt and light to what has been a flat and dark situation for too long. I hope so. I pray so.
In any case, as one who helped in a small way in the writing of "Recommendations for Conduct," I certainly concur with Ott's general assessment.
What's valuable about the document is that Christians are letting the world know that they are intending to be respectful, loving, and transparent in their approach to missions and that they do not intend to be seen as violent or coercive... If it causes some groups to give a little more pause to the way they consider others, especially a lot of the real nasty, uninformed rhetoric that is out there, if it somehow calls people to be tempered in their speech, then it is a good thing.
Nevertheless, I would be the first to admit that "Christian Witness in a Multi-religious World: Recommendations for Conduct" is not a perfect document. How could it be? Some of what I wanted didn't make it in, and some of what I didn't want in did make it! I'm sure my colleagues could each say the same. To an extent, that also sounds a lot like what I'm hearing come through from others who are now reading it for the first time. That being said, I think this is the right moment for such an important and unprecedented document - a unified statement on unapologetic Christian mission and witness characterized by honesty and humility. A world of anger and danger needs believers to bear witness to our Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel in love with gentleness and respect without compromising righteousness and truth.
To read the press release from the World Evangelical Alliance, point your browser to: http://www.worldevangelicals.org/news/article.htm?id=3578
Tony Richie, D.Min, Ph.D., is missionary teacher at SEMISUD (Quito, Ecuador), guest lecturer at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary and Lee University (Cleveland, TN) and adjunct theology professor for Regent University Divinity School (Virginia Beach, VA). Dr. Richie is an Ordained Bishop in the Church of God, and Senior Pastor at New Harvest in Knoxville, TN. He serves the Society for Pentecostal Studies as Ecumenical Studies Interest Group Leader and Liaison to the Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches (USA), and represents Pentecostals with Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation of the World Council of Churches and the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs. He is the author of Speaking by the Spirit: A Pentecostal Model for Interreligious Dialogue (Emeth Press, 2011) and several journal articles and books chapters on Pentecostal theology and experience.
Resources You Can Use
New Christian Magazine from India
John Lathrop, a regular contributor to Pneuma Foundation publications, writes to tell us about a new publication that will be of interest to Informer readers:
There is a new Christian magazine that is being published in India called Christian Trends (it is published in English). One of the founders is Dr. Finny Philip. He is a Pentecostal, I met him in the Philadelphia area in 2005. Dr. Philip is the Principal of Filadelphia Bible College in Udaipur, Rajasthan India. You can see the college's website at: fbcudaipur.com/index.html
You can see the first issue of the magazine on their website at: http://ctrendsmag.com
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James Cobble, "Simple Guide to Preventing Church Lawsuits: Legal trends that put your church at risk" http://www.churchsafety.com/topics/law/governance/boardbasicssafechurches/churchlawsuits.html
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Interview with Pastor Philip Mantofa
Introducing Philip Mantofa: Pastor Philip Mantofa graduated from Columbia Bible College, in British Columbia, Canada, with a degree in theology. Since 1998, he has been serving Mawar Sharon Church, a growing church of 30,000 in Indonesia. Currently, he is one of the leaders of the Mawar Sharon denomination, which has a network of 70 local churches. He has brought more than 100,000 souls to Christ. His passion is to see nations encounter and experience the love of Jesus Christ and ignite fire in the younger generation to become pastors and spiritual leaders all over Asia. He and his wife have three children.
Pneuma: Please tell our readers how you came to know Jesus.
At one time I harbored a lot of hatred toward the Lord and toward myself. I was disappointed in my family, friends, and church. My days seemed dark. On one occasion I cursed the Lord, I challenged Him, and blasphemed Him. When I did this my heart began to beat fast and I collapsed. My heart was racing and I thought that I would die. My breathing became tight and I felt the presence of the Lord. He spoke to me and said "I love you." When He said that my heartbeat became stable again and I stood up. Then I blasphemed Him again. This time I was thrown to the floor and my heart again began to beat frantically. Once again I felt the Lord's presence and I cried like a baby because I heard Him again say that He loved me. I was on the floor screaming, "Why do you love me? I do not love You! Kill me now! Do it now while I hate You! Punish me now!" I rejected God's love. I blasphemed a third time, again my breath was constricted and I was thrown to the floor. Once again His presence came to me and I heard a voice in my heart say as though crying "I love you." After this my heartbeat once again became normal.
After these experiences I decided that if the Lord would not kill me then I would kill myself. No one knew of my plans to kill myself. Twice I planned to take my life but I could not do it because I thought of my family and how they would handle it. The third time I planned to kill myself I was interrupted by a phone call from my pastor's wife and so I did not go through with it.
Two weeks later I went to church. I had a sense that there was going to be an altar call to receive Christ and I prepared to leave the service. I stood and started moving toward the exit. As I was reaching for the door knob I heard a man's voice in my ear, it was very firm and loud. It was an audible voice. The voice said, "Philip, if you are not saved today, you will be lost forever." There was no one standing near me, I then realized that it was the voice of God. I immediately ran to the front of the church and lifted my hands. I cried and cried. I also saw a very bright light. At this time I heard an audible voice speaking to me in English. The voice said, "I am Jesus and I love you." I asked the Lord to let me die for Him. He told me to live for Him. That day He touched me and I was changed.
Pneuma: When did you sense the Lord's call to ministry, and what is the specific calling that He has placed on your life?
When I was six years old I had a vision. I was not born-again at this time but I had a vision nonetheless. I believe that this vision was the first indication that there was a call of God on my life. I saw a large stone in front of me. The stone looked like it was rolling toward me. It was very close and was going to crush me. I did not know what the vision meant. Right before the stone got to me my mama slapped my cheeks and asked me what was wrong. Suddenly the vision was gone.
I forgot about that vision until the Lord Himself reminded me of it after I had repented (at the age of eighteen). I asked one pastor the meaning of the vision. He said: "That was a solid hard rock which would crush your life. But after the rock crushed your life, it was no longer you who lived but Christ who lived in you!"
When I repented the Holy Spirit spoke to me: "I called you! Follow Him just like when He called His disciples and said: 'Follow Me!'" Since that day I have abandoned all of my hopes, desires, and aspirations and have followed Jesus. At the time, I quibbled a little with the Lord because I was not certain if that was from the Lord or not. "You do not have the right to quibble with Me!" the Lord said. "Your mother has already surrendered you to me. Your mother gave you to me in a vow when you were sick." I asked my mama about this and found out that it was so. At first my mother forgot; but finally she remembered her vow; she had never told me about it. She was surprised when I asked her about it. My father did not know my mama had dedicated my life to the Lord. It was a secret promise between the Lord and my mama. No one else knew because my mama had said it in her heart. When I asked her about it, she said, "How did you know about that?" I answered, "The Lord told me I could not run away from Him because I had already been dedicated to Him by a vow."
Early in 2003, I had a supernatural experience while I was alone in my bedroom; I met the Lord Jesus. I felt a strong urge from the Holy Spirit to pray and I obeyed Him. The presence of God was very powerful in that place. I felt unworthy to receive such a great honor. At that time I uttered one sentence that today has become the vision for Mawar Sharon Church."We will build You 1,000 strong local churches with 1,000,000 disciples!"After I finished that sentence, the visitation ended.
On October 14th 2003, I once again had a supernatural experience in my room, this time I wasn't alone. I was relaxing with my wife and daughter when the Holy Spirit spoke to me. "Stay awake later, after your wife and daughter are asleep." I obeyed. After my wife and daughter were sound asleep, I gave myself to prayer and the Holy Spirit spoke to me for five hours without stopping. The Lord revealed to me the coming of a great spiritual revival. I saw a tsunami, enormous waves that were tens of meters high in front of me. The unbroken waves were extremely large. From behind the waves I heard a voice. "I have sent you a greater spiritual revival. It is very great and you do not know it. In one sweep many souls will be saved." After I received that promise from the Lord, I went straight to bed. It was 4 o'clock in the morning.
Pneuma: Your homeland of Indonesia is predominantly Muslim. How receptive are the people of Indonesia to the gospel, and what are some of the reasons?
Indonesians at large are thirsty and hungry for a visitation from the Living God. The main reason is because the Bible says that the field is white unto harvest, and the Bible never lies! God knows the hearts of men and He speaks the truth. Indonesia is not exempt from His Word. A small and vocal minority of Muslim radicals would lead us to believe that Muslims are not a ready harvest. It is Satan's lie! Worse yet, if Christians hearts are filled with the fear of man and fear for their own lives, lies enter in and kill faith. Another reason for the great reception of the gospel in predominantly Muslim Indonesia is the willingness of a few to believe God's Word and obey the great commission against all odds. There are heroes of faith in this part of the world!
Pneuma: How is Indonesia different than other countries you have ministered in?
As far as God is concerned, it is not different than other countries on earth in the sense that God can work anywhere in the world. As far as I'm concerned, it is a place of two births in my life. Firstly, I was born here and I call this country "home." But more importantly, Indonesia has been born in my heart by choice. After living most of my life overseas, in the year of 1998 - during one of the darkest times in the history of the nation, when Chinese minorities and Christians were persecuted, robbed, raped and murdered in broad day light - I returned to my homeland by faith for the sake of revival and the Gospel. I could almost say that, that day I went to hell to bring down the Kingdom of Heaven. Now that's unforgettable for me! That's my bonding with Indonesia.
Pneuma: What are some of the things you have seen God doing as Jesus is being proclaimed?
Many miracles and healings have been reported. For example in "The Festival of God's Power" meetings held in Surabaya, Indonesia on October 8th and 9th 2010, a seventeen year old man was healed of deafness. On the first day of the crusade the Lord opened one of his ears and on the second day he was completely healed. Also, during this crusade a thirty-five year old woman who could not see very well was totally healed. These are just a couple of examples but these healings have been confirmed by doctors.
The Pneuma Informer would like to thank Mulyadi B. (Pastor Mantofa's assistant) and John Lathrop for helping to prepare this interview for publication.
Excerpts from THE PNEUMA REVIEW
THE PNEUMA REVIEW is a quarterly printed journal of ministry resources and theology for Pentecostal and charismatic ministries and leaders. For more information about THE PNEUMA REVIEW, and to learn how to subscribe, please visit: Introducing THE PNEUMA REVIEW. www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp
For a full index of the contents of all Pneuma Review issues, visit: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/pr_archive.jsp.
Worthington's A JUST FORGIVENESS, Reviewed by Woodrow E. Walton
From the Summer 2011 issue
Everett L. Worthington, Jr., A Just Forgiveness: Responsible Healing without Excusing Injustice (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009) 252 pages, ISBN 9780830337014.
Since this reviewer has sat under Worthington in a seminar setting in an American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) national meeting, it is a personal pleasure to review this book of his which seeks to "titrate" justice and forgiveness in order to either foster reconciliation or restore lives where reconciliation may be impossible to attain. "Just forgiveness" is one where both justice and forgiveness is served. Worthington identifies that humility is what brings justice and forgiveness together. Such an interconnection is accomplished "by a Trinitarian God who understands such interconnections" and is able to lead individuals, groups, and societies "to humble just forgiveness and peace" (p.230).
Worthington, who received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Missouri (Columbia), is professor of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond), and also an active member of the AACC, and is known for his work in marriage counseling. This reviewer owns one of his works in that area. In his A Just Forgiveness, Worthington starts off by discussing the place of forgiveness in marital and family relationships before continuing to show how forgiveness and responsible healing can take place in church, business, community and society, and the world at large where "injury has occurred" while also upholding the case for a "rational and relational justice" (p. 59).
The book is essentially divided into two sections. The first one hundred twenty-six pages concentrates on what just forgiveness entails. Those pages also delve into the tensions involved, the questions raised and the humility that is required for resolution of differences and hurts and restoration. The second part discusses how just forgiveness can result in family situations, within churches, workplaces, communities, and the world. He makes distinctions among distributive, retributive, procedural and restorative kinds of justice and shows how each works itself in actuality. Similarly, Worthington distinguishes decisional forgiveness and forgiveness from the heart and makes the case for a forgiveness that needs to be both rational and affective. One without the other does not bring about resolution, restoration, and/or reconciliation.
There is one place where Worthington follows Max Weber's sociological distinction between "church" and "sect," while recognizing their commonality as a community of believers (p.150). The sect usually arises "in opposition to an established church and organize around a person" (p.150) while a church is what emerges as a sect grows and becomes "unwieldy and unable to operate on the basis of a single leadership" (p. 150). Jesus, however, never made such a distinction. Since the term "church" describes those who "belong to the Lord," no matter the size, degree of organization, and type of polity, sect and church are much the same in having the same submerged personality conflicts regardless of differences over polity, beliefs, or ethical standards.
One of the most interesting discussions in the book is in chapter nine where Worthington takes on the issue of just forgiveness in the world where he describes violent cultures, the role of prejudice, the origins and types of societal violence, and the underlying factors which lend themselves to the persistence of societal violence. Worthington examined the Amish response to the Nickels Mine Massacre of school children in Lancaster Co., PA; the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission experiment, the Colombian limited amnesty program, and the Rwandan Gacaca court trials (having to do with the 1994 Rwandan Genocide).
Worthington closes off his book by promoting a "Track-Three Diplomacy" approach on the world level and concludes with suggestions on what we can do. Track-Three diplomacy "involves opinion leaders working with their constituencies to bring about changes in attitudes that foster and maintain peace and reconciliation" (p. 214). Before giving suggestions on what we can do whether in the family, the church, the workplace, community, society, and the world, Worthington singles out motives for doing whatever needs to be done. These involve recognizing the injustice gap that exists and the justice motive, grace and mercy motives, agape - the God kind of love - and keeping motives in balance. In whatever situation three primary actions must be taken and these are seeking God, taking responsibility for reducing tension, and pursuing pathways to peace no matter if the situation is interpersonal, church-related, societal-related, work-related, or community - related. He also defines specific things for individuals to do. Rather than describing those specifics, this reviewer recommends that the potential reader pick up and read the entire two hundred thirty-two pages of text. It is well-worth the reading by any one. There are no difficult terms within Worthington's study but is very understandable and includes ample illustrations drawn from his own life and situations that have received national notice. There is one reference to an incident that is principally still sensitive to the Jewish community and it revolves around an incident in the life of Simon Wiesenthal after whom the Wiesenthal Center in New York City is named.
Reviewed by Woodrow E. Walton
Preview A Just Forgiveness
Woodrow E. Walton, D.Min. (Oral Roberts University School of Theology and Missions), B.A. (Texas Christian University), B.D. [M.Div.] (Duke Divinity School), M.A. (University of Oklahoma), is a retired Seminary Dean and Professor of biblical, theological and historical studies. An ordained Assemblies of God minister, he and his wife live in Shattuck, Oklahoma. Walton retains membership with the Evangelical Theological Society, American Association of Christian Counselors, American Society of Church History, American Academy of Political Science, and The International Society of Frontier Missiology.
Read more reviews and other articles in the Summer 2011 issue of THE PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp