Subscribe via RSS Feed

Roger Olson: Reinhold Niebuhr and Stanley Hauerwas: Can Their Approaches to Christian Political Ethics be Bridged?

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves … For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience (Romans 12:17-13:2, 13:4-5).

Ultimately, though Olson is a great teacher and wonderful blogger, his quest to bridge the Niebuhr – Hauerwas divide is futile. It is an attempt to connect a theology that incorporates the fullness of Scripture and understands the present tragic dilemmas that man must live with, with a system that seems Christian but is ultimately unbiblical.

Reviewed by William L. De Arteaga

 

Notes

[1] Reinhold Niebuhr, Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study of Ethics and Politics, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1932). It is still in print, but also available online as a free PDF download. [Preview]

[2] Hauerwas has written many books, but a quick way to understand his theology it is by accessing an anthology of his works, The Hauerwas Reader, editors John Berkman and Michael Cartwright (Durham: Duke University Press, 2001). His single most important work on Christian pacifism and non-violence is Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony (Nashville: Abingdon, 1989).

[3] Contemporary scholarly example: Barrie Wilson, How Jesus Became Christian (NY: St. Martin’s Press, 2008).

[4] Scot McKnight “Jesus vs. Paul” Christianity Today. Posted Dec 3, 2010. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/december/9.25.html

[5] For a brilliant and readily accessible explanation of these difficult issues, see the recent article in First Things by James R. Rogers “Death Penalties and the Divine” Posted, March 28, 2017. https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2017/03/death-penalties-and-the-divine

 

Pin It
Page 4 of 41234

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Living the Faith, Spring 2017

About the Author: William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include, Quenching the Spirit (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), and Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He and his wife Carolyn continue in their healing, teaching and writing ministries. He is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations. Facebook AnglicalPentecostal.blogspot.com

  • Connect with PneumaReview.com

    Subscribe via Twitter 1200 Followers   Subscribe via Facebook Fans
  • Recent Comments

  • Featured Authors

    Amos Yong is Professor of Theology & Mission and director of the Center for Missiological Research at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena. His graduate education includes degree...

    Jelle Creemers: Theological Dialogue with Classical Pentecostals

    Charles Carrin, D.D., has served the body of Christ for over 65 years. Educated at University of Georgia and Columbia Theological Seminary, he denied, in belief and practice,...

    Interview with Charles Carrin about his book Spirit-Empowered Theology

    Craig S. Keener, Ph.D. (Duke University), is F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is author of many books<...

    Listening for God’s Voice and Heart in Scripture: A conversation with Craig S. Keener

    William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major w...

    An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story