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Newbigin on Justice

If “justice” is conceived as an abstract principle, the pursuit of it is a recipe for endless war, because all human beings overestimate what is due to themselves and underestimate what is due to others. Belligerents invariably claim to be fighting for justice. The Christian fait his that God’s justice has been made manifest and available in the actual event of Christ’s atonement, and that it is here at the cross that it can be received as a gift by faith and become the basis for actual justice among human beings. So also “peace” pursued as an abstract concept can only delude us. The most devastating wars are fought among the promoters of rival programmes for peace. The Christian faith is that God has made peace through Jesus “by the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:20), so establishing the one valid centre for the unity of the whole human family. But these statements are meaningless unless they are embodied (even if only provisionally) in a visible community in which the righteousness of God and the peace of God are actually known and experienced in reality – even though it is only a foretaste of the full reality. The Church is not authorized or empowered to represent a justice or a peace other than the justice and peace offered to the world in the atoning work of Christ.

Lesslie Newbigin, God’s Reign and Our Unity, Paragraph, 18

One Comment

  1. m@ wrote:

    this is a great excerpt. i have a lot of respect for newbigin. thanks for posting this!

    Tuesday, March 6, 2007 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

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