Justice in Public and Private

JusticeIn “Divine Justice as Restorative Justice“, Christ Marshall sums up what is a major concern of mine in terms of Christian public witness:

“Christians today often suppose that ecclesial ethics—how believers are to treat one another within the community of faith—have no pertinence to the ethical standards and legal practices that apply in mainstream society. Church and world are assumed to be entirely separate domains with their own distinctive norms. As a result, conservative Christians in America often rank among the strongest supporters of the current, highly retributive penal system, with its galloping rates of incarceration and its enduring, shameful reliance on capital punishment. They sense no tension between their support for a relentlessly punitive criminal justice system and the incessant call in Scripture to practice forgiveness and reconciliation, a call they conveniently confine to the sphere of interpersonal relationships within the Church.”

“But such incongruity is theologically indefensible. The Church is called to bear witness to the reality of God’s saving justice in Christ, both by pro-claiming it verbally in the story of the gospel and by putting it into practice in the way it deals with offending and failure in its own midst. Knowing God’s justice to be a restoring and renewing justice, the Church is obliged to practice restorative justice in its own ranks and to summons society to move in the same direction. There can be no justification for saying one thing about God’s justice in Church and advocating the opposite in the world.”

How do you understand the link between justice in church and the world?

One Comment

  1. Sounds like a good excuse for people to do whatever they want. Law is law wherever you are. God’s laws for conduct don’t change because you leave the Church parking lot. Religion and morality are indispensable pillars to the constitution and the constitution is the supreme law of the land.

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