Thursday, September 13, 2007


One would think that peace, a term that occurs as many as one hundred times in the New Testament alone, would enjoy a prominent place in theology and ethics textbooks. Yet it is surprisingly absent. (By contrast, three contested texts about same-sex relations - written out of the context of ancient pederasty, idolatry and cultic prostitution, rather than modern faithful partnerships, are used to divide whole churches these days.)

Leading Mennonite biblical scholar Willard Swartley’s superb Covenant of Peace remedies this deficiency, restoring to New Testament theology and ethics the peace that the great majority of evaulative and confessional works have missed. In this comprehensive yet accessible book Swartley explicates virtually all of the New Testament, relating peace — and the associated emphases of love for enemies and reconciliation — to core Christian theological themes such as soteriology, eschatology, Christology, and the reign of God. No other work in English makes such a contribution. Well worth an investment of time and money. Incidentally, Willard has also made some eirenic contributions to the sexuality debate himself. We don't quite see eye-to-eye on that one, but he lives out the peace he preaches and exposits in the way he converses.

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