world council of churches

The Reconciliation of Peoples: Challenge to the Churches
Gregory Baum and Harold Wells, eds


Modern ethnic tension and conflict, fuelled by poverty and despair, have led to a worldwide escalation of hostility among peoples. From Bosnia to Rwanda to Sri Lanka there seems to be no end to the list of countries in conflict -- and the deep divisions along religious lines that become fuel for the fires. Ethnic conflict challenges peacemakers and, in particular, peacemakers in the churches. This collection of fifteen original essays reports on the efforts of church-based groups to foster reconciliation between former combatants in many different contexts.

The opening essay by Harold Wells explores biblical perspectives on forgiveness, reconciliation and grace. The essays on particular conflicts reflect upon actual efforts and achievements by Christian churches, organizations and individuals to bring about reconciliation among former enemies. These conflicts include peoples divided (the Irish, the Koreans, the Rwandan/Burundians), peoples persecuted internally by their own ruling elite (the Chileans, the Fijians), peoples tragically deprived of land and home (the Palestinians), and peoples torn apart by war (the Germans, the Poles, the peoples of the Balkans). Reconciliation in these contexts is the only way for "two parties to rewrite their histories and enter upon a new path." The concluding essay by Gregory Baum reflects theologically on the meaning and demands of reconciliation, and why it is at times so difficult for churches to take on the role of mediator. (260 pp., WCC Publications, Geneva, Switzerland & Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY, USA, 1997.)

Gregory Baum, a Catholic theologian and native of Germany is Professor Emeritus at the Religious Studies Faculty of McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Baum has served as editor of the The Ecumenist since 1962. His most recent books are Karl Polanyi on Ethics and Economics and The Church for Others: Protestant Theology in Communist East Germany. Harold Wells, a Protestant theologian, is professor of systematic theology at Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto, Canada. His most recent book is A Future for Socialism: Political Theology and "The Triumph of Capitalism.".

Product number: 1217-1
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