Forgiveness is at the heart of the Christian Gospel. It goes hand in hand with love, mercy, and grace, the fundamental theological virtues. However, forgiveness is easier to define than it is to embody. This unique collection of essays brings together theologians, ethicists, and ministry practitioners into a constructive dialog which explores the complex and crucial concept of forgiveness: what it is, where it is to be found, and how it might be practiced. These essays reflect the perspectives of those from various traditions who nonetheless take the Christian Scriptures seriously, believe that forgiveness is central to living out the Gospel, and are creative in the ways in which forgiveness can be practiced. Forgiveness is an art and not simply a science; as such it requires trust, skill, and hope alongside love, mercy, and grace if it is to be embodied. This volume offers a unique window into the art of forgiveness and the faithful and innovative ways in which it is to be understood, embodied, and cultivated.
Introduction: The Art of Forgiveness - Philip Halstead and Myk Habets
Part One: The Art of Forgiveness: Theological and Biblical Foundations
1.“To Err is Human, to Forgive is Divine”: The Ontological Foundations of Forgiveness - Myk Habets
2.Drawing Pictures in Water: The Place of Penitence in the Art of Forgiveness - Kit Barker
3.The Unforgivable Sin in the Old Testament? - Csilla Saysell
4.“To See Your Face is like Seeing the Face of God”: Pastoral and Systemic Reflections on Forgiveness and Theosis in the Jacob Story - Jonathan R. Robinson
5.A Second Temple Context for Jesus’ Teaching on Interpersonal Forgiveness - Richard Neville
6.The Art of Forgiveness in Luke’s Gospel - Sarah Harris
7.Forgiveness: An Anabaptist Perspective - Mark S. Hurst
8.The Limitations of Forgiveness - David P. Gushee
Part Two: The Art of Forgiveness: Practical and Applied Perspectives
9.“Making All Things New”: Why Innovation Matters for Forgiveness - L. Gregory Jones
10.Forgive and Forget Justice: The Tension Between Forgiveness and Justice - Stephanie Worboys
11.An Ongoing Oxymoron: Can Anger Coexist with Forgiveness in Christian Responses to Ongoing Injustices? - Belinda Jacomb
12.Siphiwo Mthimkhulu, Daniel Grootboom, and the Art of Forgiveness - David Tombs
13.Sharing the Meal of Forgiveness: Eucharist, Communal Boundaries, and the Dispute over Homosexual Practice - Dale Campbell
14.Te Tiriti o Waitangi: An Act of Forgiveness - Alistair Reese
15.From Whiteness Towards Witness: Revelation and Repentance as Unbelonging to Empire - Andrew Picard
16.Journeying Through Forgiveness When It Really Hurts - Philip Halstead
Forgiveness is not one thing. It is a rich, multifaceted, multilayered concept that represents many things to different people. As a psychologist, I find it refreshing to read theologians' many different understandings of the varieties of forgiving and of ways to practice its art. And nothing brings home this freshness like reading essays by bright people in different disciplines (generally theology) from different countries (generally New Zealand). This was a stimulating and broadening read--great for theologians but enlightening regardless of one's background.
If we do not learn to practice the art of forgiveness, our future will forever be determined by the evils of the past. Forgiveness is not easy, but this book is sure to help, both by tutoring us in the art of forgiveness, and by alerting us once more to the resources of grace.