A&E / Archive

Wolterstorff dazzles audience with wisdom

This past weekend at The Justice Conference, I got to hear one of my heros speak, Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff, who has spent many years of his life reflecting on justice and the Christian life. He gave a lecture entitled: “justice in love,” which showed that within Christianity there has been a tendency to think that love and justice are incompatible. He explained that others sometimes infer that love and justice are basically the same thing. In his talk, Wolterstorff outlined the fact that love and justice have unique distinction, and yet are united.
Wolterstorff brought to light the scriptures in relation to justice, saying that the three synoptic gospels state the following: love your neighbor as yourself. He gave the example of Matthew 22, which is a quotation of the Old Testament scripture Leviticus 19:18. Leviticus gives examples of tangible “justice,” such as don’t oppress your neighbor, don’t steal, don’t vengeance or bear a grudge against your neighbor. At the end, this culminates into verse 18: we should “love our neighbor as ourselves.”
Thus, if Wolterstorff is right, and I personally think he is, justice is a mode of loving one’s neighbor and “doing justice” is an example of what scripture means by love. Justice and love are indeed perfectly compatible. Wolterstorff closed his talk positing, “justice is always to be done out of love, but love is never unjust.”

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