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WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
JANUARY 18–25, 2019

PRAYER / WORSHIP: Commentary on the Scriptural Text

2019 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Deuteronomy 16:20 “Justice, Only Justice, You Shall Pursue”

By Dr. Paul Louis Metzger, Ph.D.
Professor of Theology & Culture
Director of the Institute for Cultural Engagement: New Wine, New Wineskins
Multnomah University and Seminary, Portland, Oregon.

Faith Alone and Justice Alone Go Together

The Protestant Reformation’s clarion call involving “sola” (alone) included five dimensions: Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone); Sola Fide (faith alone); Sola Gratia (grace alone); Solus Christus (Christ alone); and Soli Deo Gloria (to the glory of God alone). There is need for a sixth sola: Sola Iustitia (justice alone). Here I call to mind the biblical text for our meditation—Deuteronomy 16:20: “Justice, justice alone shall you pursue, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD, your God, is giving you.” While this phrase was absent at the time of the Protestant Reformation, emphasis on justice is certainly present in the Protestant tradition, as we shall see. However, what is lacking today is a consistent emphasis within Protestantism on “justice alone.” “Justice alone” in Deuteronomy 16:20, and the Torah as a whole, involves a consistent articulation and embodiment of justice, not a patchwork or piecemeal approach. Only when “justice alone” is pursued by all God’s people—including Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox—can we expect to be free rather than be held captive, and to possess and flourish in the land that we inhabit. In what follows, I will seek to outline what a consistent emphasis on justice or “justice alone” entails, beginning with Martin Luther’s ecumenical treatise The Freedom of a Christian.

In 1520, Martin Luther wrote the treatise The Freedom of a Christian in the attempt to persuade Pope Leo X and Catholicism that the Reformation was consistent with sacred Scripture and the orthodox Christian tradition rather than a breech with the one true faith.ii The non-polemical tract and letter of dedication to the Pope were remarkable attempts at Christian unity at a time of great tension in Christendom. Unfortunately, for Luther, and for Christendom as a whole, the attempts were rejected, and Luther and his teaching were condemned. While the reasons for the rejection are complex, nonetheless, Luther’s views expressed there would find a far more positive reception with the Papacy today.

Here I call to mind Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Deus Caritas Est published in 2005 in which he eloquently speaks of the proper relation of two forms of love—eros and agape: “eros, as a term to indicate ‘worldly’ love and agape, referring to love grounded in and shaped by faith. The two notions are often contrasted as ‘ascending’ love and ‘descending’ love.”iii Rather than seeing them as separate, Benedict synthesizes them. One must receive love (eros) if one is to give love (agape). One is called to become a source of love bestowed on others, but one must first receive love and return again and again to the original and undying source of love, the Lord Jesus: “He cannot always give, he must also receive. Anyone who wishes to give love must also receive love as a gift. Certainly, as the Lord tells us, one can become a source from which rivers of living water flow (cf. Jn 7:37-38). Yet to become such a source, one must constantly drink anew from the original source, which is Jesus Christ, from whose pierced heart flows the love of God (cf. Jn 19:34).”iv Benedict also makes a connection between this account of eros and love and the Church Fathers’ allusions to the biblical imagery of Jacob’s ladder. He pays special tribute to Pope Gregory the Great, who served as Holy Father from 590-604 A.D., given his emphasis on ascending through contemplating the divine mysteries and thereby being equipped to descend to one’s fellow humans here below in compassionate service. v It is worth noting that Jacob’s vision of a heavenly ladder with angels ascending and descending also features prominently in Luther’s Freedom of a Christian treatise for his discussion of faith and love. For Luther, faith is formed by the divine love which is poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (here he references Romans 5:5). This divine outpouring of love “makes us free, joyful, almighty workers and conquerors over all tribulations, servants of our neighbors, and yet lords of all.” vi Beyond Luther’s seemingly paradoxical statements that the Christian is free and subject to no one, and dutiful and subject to everyone, he contends that we ascend to God in Christ by faith (rather than by our acts of love vii) and descend to our neighbor in love. If, as Benedict claims, agape is “grounded in and shaped by faith,” and if we must “constantly drink” from Jesus, who is “the original source” of love, to be in turn sources of love for others, then it would appear the sharp divide between Luther’s and Pope Leo X’s ecclesial descendants no longer exists.viii

It is hoped that if the Roman pontiff were to write a similar treatise to Luther’s Protestant progeny today it would meet with more favorable results than Luther’s attempt in 1520. Still, I fear that while there would be greater alignment today on the subject of faith in God (as outlined in The Freedom of a Christian) than at the time of Luther, there might not be such resonance on what the dutiful love of neighbor involving “justice alone” entails. In what follows, I offer an ecumenical treatise on the subject of love of neighbor that I believe reflects official Catholic teaching on justice in hopes of American Protestantism’s embrace. Roman Catholicism’s robust and consistent theology of life has much to offer American Protestantism in the face of freedom from love of neighbor and the world so rampant in our society and across the globe today.

We take as our transition point the concluding statement of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification issued by the Catholic Church’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation in 1999. It reads,

Our consensus in basic truths of the doctrine of justification must come to influence the life and teachings of our churches. Here it must prove itself. In this respect, there are still questions of varying importance which need further clarification. These include, among other topics, the relationship between the Word of God and church doctrine, as well as ecclesiology, ecclesial authority, church unity, ministry, the sacraments, and the relation between justification and social ethics. We are convinced that the consensus we have reached offers a solid basis for this clarification. The Lutheran churches and the Roman Catholic Church will continue to strive together to deepen this common understanding of justification and to make it bear fruit in the life and teaching of the churches. ix

Although there is need for greater clarity on such subjects as the nature of Christian unity, nonetheless, in the spirit of Christian unity, I wish to focus on the “relation between justification and social ethics,” an area where further precision is also needed. For all the differences that remain between Catholics and Protestants on the subject of justification, nonetheless, there would appear to be agreement on the following: God is just. God justifies the godless. God makes his people just. This essay focuses on the last of these three tenets: God makes his people just. Here I believe the Protestant community has much to learn from official Catholic teaching on the subject bound up with a consistent theology of life.

In the papal encyclical Evangelium Vitae (“The Gospel of Life,” 1995),x Pope John Paul II took aim at the prevalence of a “culture of death” that was intensifying and increasing in his day. John Paul focused on abortion and euthanasia. He also addressed the subject of capital punishment.xi In our libertarian culture, we are prone to treat topics like abortion and euthanasia as rights rather than as “moral crimes.” “Choices once unanimously considered criminal and rejected by the common moral sense are gradually becoming socially acceptable.”

Many Evangelical Protestants have resonated with the Papacy’s stance on such topics as abortion and euthanasia but have not reflected generally the same consternation over various other theology of life matters, including concern for the poor and capital punishment. Here is Evangelical leader Jim Wallis writing on the subject of a consistent theology of life earlier this year:

…, the TRUMP EVANGELICALS cannot call themselves consistently “pro-life” when their political choices and allegiances do not support the lives of the poor, racial and religious minorities, immigrants and refugees, low-income families and children. Indeed, all the facts show that support for low-income women’s health care, nutrition, and security is the best way to reduce abortion and the Trump administration is undermining all of that — making their pro-life stance hypocritical. Greatly reducing abortion in our society is a commitment that should be made by all our leaders — including the Democrats — and that should include both pregnancy prevention and support for vulnerable women. It’s about far more than Supreme Court appointments, which is one narrow issue to trade off for a political leader who threatens the truth with darkness and democracy with autocracy.xii

While Wallis’ statement on “pregnancy prevention” may suggest a point of contention with the official Catholic position on how to contend with abortion, nonetheless, he reflects a broader engagement of justice concerns than many Evangelicals.

In contrast to a great many Evangelicals, Pope John Paul promoted what Cardinal Joseph Bernardin called a “consistent ethic of life,” which involves “a theological basis for linking all life-issues, however diverse they may be, from conception to natural death.”xiii The same consistent message is found in the work of Pope Francis. Twenty years after John Paul delivered Evangelium Vitae, Francis issued Laudato Si (“Praise be to You”), which addressed the theme “on care for our common home.”xiv

Laudato Si makes global or holistic connection regarding care for the creation in its entirety. By no means simply a matter of addressing concerns over the environment, the Pope shows that if the future of the planet is in jeopardy, so are all of us, especially the poor:

The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation. In fact, the deterioration of the environment and of society affects the most vulnerable people on the planet: “Both everyday experience and scientific research show that the gravest effects of all attacks on the environment are suffered by the poorest”. For example, the depletion of fishing reserves especially hurts small fishing communities without the means to replace those resources; water pollution particularly affects the poor who cannot buy bottled water; and rises in the sea level mainly affect impoverished coastal populations who have nowhere else to go. The impact of present imbalances is also seen in the premature death of many of the poor, in conflicts sparked by the shortage of resources, and in any number of other problems which are insufficiently represented on global agendas.xv

The Holy See’s holistic orientation on justice concerns is exemplary. Pope Francis continues to emphasize a consistent theology of life in his most recent encyclical, Gaudete et Exsultate, where he takes issue with those who would relativize all ethical issues save the one they prize. Here he singles out abortion. While calling for a “clear, firm and passionate” defense of the unborn, the Pope instructs the church that the poor, the sick, the elderly, the trafficked, abandoned and rejected are also worthy of our undying advocacy.xvi

It is fair to say that such advocacy today must include comforting the children and young men who were/have been abused by members of the Roman Catholic priesthood, and whose sinister behavior of exploitation and cover-up have come to our attention.xviiLuke 17:2 hauntingly reminds us that it would be better to be cast into the sea with a millstone around the neck than to lead children from any tradition into sin. Children and young men as well as young women are not to be thrown away, but cherished. Surely advocacy on behalf of the abused is not something that pertains only to the Roman Catholic hierarchy and Catholic parishes in places like Pittsburg, Pennsylvania but also to evangelical Protestant megachurches in places like Barrington, Illinois, where Senior Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church recently stepped down over allegations of sexual misconduct.xviii

Reminiscent of his analysis several years ago of a “throwaway culture” that worships “money and consumption” while disposing of human life,xix the Pope adds in Gaudete et Exsultate that “We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty.”xx

One would be hard-pressed to find such an expansive and consistent justice paradigm embraced by the Evangelical movement. However, there is a holistic connection to be made between evangelical piety and social action. Along such lines, it is important to account for the vibrant spirituality coupled with grassroots activism that is found in certain sectors of Evangelicalism. Such personal piety and activism can easily be minimized or suppressed in more hierarchal and institutional settings.xxi Even so, in the absence of such a consistent or comprehensive justice framework in Evangelical circles, one will have to look further afield within Protestantism.

One iconic figure whose public theology provides a basis for developing a holistic model of justice is the man who shared the great Protestant Reformer’s name, the Baptist minister, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King’s Vietnam War sermon delivered on April 4th, 1967 provides a compelling model that reflects a consistent or comprehensive moral framework. There King spoke of the evil triplex of racism, economic exploitation and militarism and called for moving from a culture of things to persons. King exclaimed, “We must rapidly begin…the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”xxiiOne finds in King’s thought a pervasive pursuit of the sacredness of life and prophetic critique of what Francis terms a “throwaway culture,” which led King not simply to address the horrors of racism but increasingly other deeply disturbing social ills, such as poverty and militarism. If King’s life had not come to a tragic and premature end on April 4th, 1968 (a year to the day of delivering this controversial sermon), no doubt other concerns such as sexism and environmental degradation would also have received increased attention, as they have in the Holy See’s emphasis on justice, including Laudato Si and Gaudete et Exsultate.xxiii

Evangelical scholar Charles Marsh argues in his book, The Beloved Community, that Dr. King “had spoken in judgment of the liberal establishment in his denunciations of Vietnam and the American culture of violence. His comprehensive devotion to the sacredness of life would have surely included the unborn, or risked grave inconsistency.”xxiv On the one hand, Marsh takes issue with white liberals who could argue that “the disproportionate number of aborted black babies to white in the South” was “a demonstration of social compassion only by mocking the civil rights movement’s protection of society’s most excluded and vulnerable.”xxv On the other hand, Marsh takes issues with social conservatives who would use such claims as ammunition against legalized abortion. Here’s Marsh:

white conservative Christians could not share the civil rights movement’s outrage at Roe vs. Wade because most white Christian had really never cared about black babies to begin with. Lacking a commitment to the poor and the excluded, conservative white opposition to abortion produced nothing so much as a generation of pious patriots; and, as it turned out, any action would be justified in waging war against abortion except support of precisely those social policies for the poor that would make abortion less desirable.xxvi

In light of King’s consistent veneration of life, including his non-violent civil disobedience in confronting racism, economic exploitation and militarism, white Evangelical Christians like myself should not be surprised when the surrounding culture views us as a self-righteous “generation of pious patriots.”

We Evangelical Protestants often fall short of enacting holistic social righteousness while also falling for one of one of two ideological errors that Pope Francis notes in Gaudete et Exsultate. We discount those outside our moral tribe as “superficial,” “secularist,” “communist,” and the like. Alternatively, we “relativize” or minimize their concerns as not vitally important, wrongly promoting our rightful concern—abortion—as alone worthy of engagement.xxviiSuch a limited scope is itself superficial, as Marsh notes.

One of the ethical arenas deemed most promising for much of Evangelicalism to move beyond our pious patriotism was, until recently, immigration reform. Initiatives like the Evangelical Immigration Table brought together Evangelicals from across the ideological spectrum in service to a bi-partisan solution. The envisioned bi-partisan solution involves the following tenets: “respects the God-given dignity of every person; protects the unity of the immediate family; respects the rule of law; guarantees secure national borders; ensures fairness to taxpayers; establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents.”xxviiiGrievously, calls for wall-building and zero-tolerance overshadow such bridge-building efforts.

In this light, it is encouraging to find the same Pope who said Christians are called to build bridges, not walls continuing to exhort Christians to take to heart the plight of migrants:

We often hear it said that, with respect to relativism and the flaws of our present world, the situation of migrants, for example, is a lesser issue. Some Catholics consider it a secondary issue compared to the “grave” bioethical questions. That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian, for whom the only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children. Can we not realize that this is exactly what Jesus demands of us, when he tells us that in welcoming the stranger we welcome him (cf. Mt 25:35)? Saint Benedict did so readily, and though it might have “complicated” the life of his monks, he ordered that all guests who knocked at the monastery door be welcomed “like Christ”, with a gesture of veneration; the poor and pilgrims were to be met with “the greatest care and solicitude.”xxix

Could it be that the call for erecting walls and closing doors on migrants and asylum seekers presently, perhaps even calling it “a lesser issue,” reflects the erection of a wall in our relationship with God? Many conservative Christians, whether Protestant or Catholic, may take issue with this suggestion, which leads me to wonder how often our points of unity and disunity are political, not spiritual in nature.

Spiritual unity would entail bringing together consideration of the God of justice who frees his people Israel from slavery in Egypt with consideration of care for those who are often enslaved or oppressed in various ways in Israel’s and our midst. The oppressed include the orphan, widow and alien in their distress. Deuteronomy 10 points the way forward, uniting emphases on the God who is just with his people operating justly: “For the LORD, your God, is the God of gods, the Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who has no favorites, accepts no bribes, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and loves the resident alien, giving them food and clothing. So you too should love the resident alien, for that is what you were in the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 10:17-19).xxx

Pope Francis makes such biblical connections, and yet is viewed with suspicion in certain circles. Some Catholics see him as capitulating to secularist or liberal elements in our global society.xxxiEven here, there is need for Christian unity, which Francis models in Gaudete et Exsultate. Besides aligning with the traditional Roman Catholic stance on abortion, there is resonance between Francis and his predecessor Benedict. Recall Deus Caritas Est’s claim noted at the outset of this essay on our utter need for God’s originating and lasting love in our love of neighbor. It finds resonance with Francis’ critique in Gaudete et Exsultate of works not grounded in mystical encounter. As Deus Caritas Est puts it, our sacrificial love of neighbor is completely dependent on God’s prior and perpetual love for us in Christ Jesus. When such dependence is lacking, Christianity with its ministry of justice becomes what Francis calls in Gaudete et Exsultate an “NGO stripped of the luminous mysticism” of great saints like St. Francis of Assisi.

Having already drawn attention to the ideological error committed by Christians who discount or label the justice emphases of others as secularist, here we find Francis making mention of a truly secular ideological error, namely,

the error of those Christians who separate these Gospel demands from their personal relationship with the Lord, from their interior union with him, from openness to his grace. Christianity thus becomes a sort of NGO stripped of the luminous mysticism so evident in the lives of Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Vincent de Paul, Saint Teresa of Calcutta, and many others. For these great saints, mental prayer, the love of God and the reading of the Gospel in no way detracted from their passionate and effective commitment to their neighbors; quite the opposite.xxxii

Neither Pope Francis, Pope Benedict nor the Reformer Martin Luther would have separated the Gospel demands to love our neighbors as ourselves from their interior union with God. There is more to Protestantism than Luther’s concern that we are robbed of the assurance of salvation if our union with God who is love is dependent on sufficient acts of love reflecting God’s nature. While that concern continues to hold merit for many Protestants today, Protestants and Catholics alike need the assurance that God’s originating and enduring love will sustain us as we engage in loving our neighbor unconditionally. An “NGO stripped of…luminous mysticism” will not get it done. After all, as Luther wrote in his Heidelberg Disputation, “The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it. The love of man comes into being through that which is pleasing to it.”xxxiiiWe are not the originators of such pure, agape love. The God revealed in Jesus Christ is that source, as Pope Benedict rightly reasons, and which was noted earlier. At the outset of the papal encyclical Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI writes,

The pious Jew prayed daily the words of the Book of Deuteronomy which expressed the heart of his existence: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might” (6:4-5). Jesus united into a single precept this commandment of love for God and the commandment of love for neighbour found in the Book of Leviticus: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (19:18; cf. Mk 12:29-31). Since God has first loved us (cf. 1 Jn 4:10), love is now no longer a mere “command”; it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us.xxxiv

Only God makes it possible through the divine gift of love for us to engage responsively in pure altruistic activity, or a “dangerous altruism,” to use Martin Luther King, Jr’s phrase. King wrote of the Samaritan of extraordinary benevolence in Jesus’ parable recorded in Luke chapter 10 that he “possessed the capacity for a dangerous altruism.”xxxv King reflected further on the various characters in the parable as well as the dangers associated with the road from Jerusalem to Jericho on which they traveled and where they found the man left for dead: “I imagine that the first question the priest and Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But by the very nature of his concern, the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’”xxxvi

Prior to sharing this parable, a lawyer puts Jesus to the test. There they engage in a discussion of the essence of the Law and what is required to inherit eternal life. The conclusion is that one is to love God with all one’s heart and one’s neighbor as oneself, which involves the synthesis of the Deuteronomy and Leviticus texts, as noted above in Benedict’s encyclical. Things get really testy when Jesus tells the lawyer to do this and he will live. Seeking to justify himself, the lawyer asks the Lord who his neighbor is. The long and short of it is that his neighbor is the person in need before him. He is to love his neighbor as the Samaritan loved the man left for dead.

Things have gotten testy today as well, not necessarily over Jews and Samaritans, but definitely over migrants and asylum seekers. Would not Jesus’ call to love one’s neighbor as oneself on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho apply as well on the road(s) from Mexico to America? As Francis reasons, parents have risked their own lives to make it possible to find better lives for their children across the border. Not only should we see a connection between Pope Francis’ encyclical Gaudete et Exsultate and Benedict’s Deus Caritas Est, but also we should see a connection between Pope Francis’ reference to Saint Benedict and ourselves. Saint Benedict’s instruction to open the door of the monastery to every stranger who knocks, as if it were Christ Jesus himself, should find resonance in our daily lives when strangers knock on our hearts’ doors and country’s gates. Such acts of just love may very well complicate our lives, just as such acts of love may have complicated the lives of St. Benedict’s monks, as Pope Francis surmises.

We will not be able to practice justice alone in this way apart from Christ alone, faith alone, and grace alone, or apart from what Pope Francis calls the “luminous mysticism” on display in St. Francis’ and other saints’ lives. Faith alone and justice alone go together. Just as we ascend to Christ by faith, we must descend to our neighbor in just love. Luther writers that it is not just or right for a Christian to live “in himself.” A Christian must live “in Christ and in his neighbor. Otherwise he is not a Christian. He lives in Christ through faith, in his neighbor through love. By faith he is caught up beyond himself into God. By love he descends beneath himself into his neighbor.”xxxviiOnly as we open our hearts’ doors and pursue justice alone toward our neighbor, including the widow, orphan and alien in their distress, like Israel of old, will we be able to remain in the land we now possess (Deuteronomy 16:20; Deuteronomy 10:18).

Paul Louis Metzger, Ph.D. is Professor of Theology & Culture and Director of the Institute for Cultural Engagement: New Wine, New Wineskins at Multnomah University and Seminary, Portland, Oregon. Dr. Metzger is the author of numerous books, including Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church, and co-author of Exploring Ecclesiology: An Evangelical and Ecumenical Introduction. He is the Editor of Cultural Encounters: A Journal for the Theology of Culture, and writes regularly for Patheos at his blog column, Uncommon God, Common Good.


ihttp://www.usccb.org/bible/deuteronomy/16. I believe this is the New American Bible, revised edition, which was produced by the Roman Catholic Church leadership in the United States.

iiMartin Luther, The Freedom of a Christian, in Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, ed. Timothy F. Lull, with a foreword by Jaroslav Pelikan (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1989).

iiiPope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est (Rome: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2005), number 7. http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20051225_deus-caritas-est.html.

ivBenedict, Deus Caritas Est, number 7.

vBenedict, Deus Caritas Est, number 7.

viMartin Luther, “The Freedom of a Christian,” page 619.


viiLuther’s teaching is best set against the backdrop of the medieval paradigm that love is the basis for our union with God, not faith. Here it is worth noting the widespread medieval view that love has three forms: uncreated love, namely, the Holy Spirit, who is the love between the Father and Son; created love, namely, sacramental grace; and acts of love, namely, meritorious acts. For a discussion of these three forms, see Steven Ozment, The Age of Reform, 1250-1550: An Intellectual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980), page 242. In this context, Ozment draws upon Gerson’s claim pertaining to union with God: “‘Our becoming like God [similitudo]’ wrote Gerson, ‘is the cause of our union with him’” (Ozment, page 242). Now since love is that which binds together the persons of the Trinity, God and the human soul, and man with man, love is considered to be the basis of the union. After all, the principle of likeness is considered the principle of union (See Ozment, page 242). Luther’s fundamental concern was that an emphasis that prizes our acts of love as the basis for our union with God jeopardizes the assurance of salvation. Heiko Oberman puts well Luther’s orientation: for Luther, union with God in Christ is a sure ground through faith, not an uncertain goal. See Heiko A. Oberman, The Dawn of the Reformation: Essays in Late Medieval and Early Reformation Thought (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), page 124.

viiiSee Benedict, Deus Caritas Est, number 7.

ixThe Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church, “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification” (Rome: Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, 1999). http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_31101999_cath-luth-joint-declaration_en.html.

xPope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae (Rome: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995.
http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae.html.

xiCertain caveats must be accounted for here. The Pope permitted Catholic legislators to support laws that would limit or restrict abortions, but he did not go as far as to ban abortions in their entirety. Also, he made allowance for capital punishment in extreme cases—those of “absolute necessity.”

xiiJim Wallis, “Reclaiming Jesus from the Trump Evangelicals,” Sojourners, March 29th, 2018. Accessed August 26th, 2018. https://sojo.net/articles/reclaiming-jesus-trump-evangelicals.

xiiiPaul Galloway, “John Paul Condemns ‘Culture of Death,’” Chicago Tribune, March 31st, 1995. Accessed August 26th, 2018. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1995-03-31/news/9503310188_1_encyclical-abortion-and-euthanasia-pope-john-paul-ii.

xivPope Francis, Laudato Si (Rome: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2015). http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html.


xvFrancis, Laudato Si, number 48.

xviPope Francis, Gaudete et Exsultate (Rome: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2018), number 101. http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20180319_gaudete-et-exsultate.html.

xviiDaniel Burke, “’How Could This Happen Again?’ Why This Catholic Abuse Scandal Seems Worse Than 2002,” CNN, August 20th 2018. Accessed August 27th, 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/19/us/catholic-sex-abuse-outrage/index.html.

xviiiBob Smietana, “Bill Hybels Accused of Sexual Misconduct by Former Willow Creek Leaders,” Christianity Today, March 22nd, 2018. Accessed August 27th, 2018. https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/march/bill-hybels-misconduct-willow-creek-john-nancy-ortberg.html.

xixFrancis X. Rocca, “Pope Says ‘Throwaway Culture’ Harms Environment and Human Life,” Catholic News Service, June 5th, 2013. Accessed August 26th, 2018. http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2013/pope-says-throwaway-culture-harms-environment-and-human-life.cfm.

xxFrancis, Gaudete et Exsultate, number 101.

xxiAccording to The Princeton Proposal for Christian Unity, Evangelicals have a great deal to offer to the whole church given “their vitality, their zeal for evangelism, and their commitment to Scripture.” The statement adds that Evangelicals “demonstrate a spirit of cooperation with each other and sometimes with others that breaks down old barriers, creates fellowship among formerly estranged Christians, and anticipates further unity. The free church ecclesiologies of some evangelicals bring a distinct vision of unity to the ecumenical task.” See: Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson, eds., In One Body through the Cross: The Princeton Proposal for Christian Unity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003), pages 55-56.

xxiiMartin Luther King, Jr., “Beyond Vietnam,” in A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ed. Clayborne Carson and Kris Shepard (New York: Warner Books, 2001), pages 157-158.

xxiiiOn the much-needed and likely evolution of King’s thought in addressing sexism, see Rufus Burrow, Jr., “Some Reflections on King, Personalism, and Sexism,” in Encounter, vol. 65.1 (Winter, 2004): pages 9-10. For differing assessments of King on environmental justice, see the following: Rufus Burrow, Jr., God and Human Dignity: The Personalism, Theology, and Ethics of Martin Luther King, Jr., with a foreword by Lewis V. Baldwin and Walter G. Muelder (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006), page 126; Melanie L. Harris, “African Diaspora: African American Environmental Religious Ethics and Ecowomanism,” in Routledge Handbook of Religion and Ecology, ed. Willis Jenkins, Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim (New York: Routledge, 2016), page 201.


xxivCharles Marsh, The Beloved Community: How Faith Shapes Social Justice, from the Civil Rights Movement to Today (New York: Basic Books, 2005), page 143.

xxvMarsh, The Beloved Community, page 143.

xxviMarsh, The Beloved Community, pages 143-144.

xxviiFrancis, Gaudete et Exsultate, number 101.

xxviiiRefer to the principles for immigration reform at the website for the Evangelical Immigration Table: http://evangelicalimmigrationtable.com/.

xxixFrancis, Gaudete et Exsultate, number 102.

xxxhttp://www.usccb.org/bible/deuteronomy/10.

xxxiTake for example the following reflection on Gaudete et Exsultate: “Gaudete thus had two jobs to fulfill. It needed to further the pope’s wider agenda of stressing the importance of social justice, and criticizing what he has previously called the ‘throwaway culture’ of a capitalist, technology-obsessed world. But it also had to counter the claims of many of Francis’s critics, who often see him as a liberal modernizer too willing to compromise on core Catholic values in order to please the secular world.” Tara Isabella Burton, “Pope Francis: Catholics Should Care as much about the Poor as about Abortion,” Vox, April 11th, 2018; https://www.vox.com/2018/4/11/17220108/pope-francis-catholics-conservative-abortion-gaudete-exsultate-twitter-church-apostolic-exhortation. Refer here as well: Tara Isabella Burton, “The Conservative Case against Pope Francis — and Why It Matters,” Vox, April 5th, 2018; https://www.vox.com/identities/2018/4/5/17189564/ross-douthat-francis-pope-conservative-catholic-amoris-laetitita.

xxxiiFrancis, Gaudete et Exsultate, number 100.

xxxiiiMartin Luther, “Heidelberg Disputation,” in Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, ed. Timothy F. Lull, with a foreword by Jaroslav Pelikan (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1989), page 48.

xxxivBenedict, Deus Caritas Est, number 1.

xxxvMartin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, with a foreword by Coretta Scott King (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, Fortress Press Gift Edition, 2010), page 25.

xxxviKing, Strength to Love, page 26.

xxxviiLuther, The Freedom of a Christian, page 623.