Forgiveness is essential to Christian life and holiness, yet in some instances forgiveness seems impossible. Is Forgiveness Possible?, a pastoral and theological introduction to forgiveness based on the prayer of forgiveness" in Luke 23 and Acts 7, explores the theological foundations of such forgiveness dilemmas.
Is Forgiveness Possible? facilitates a dialogue among leading American pastoral theologians in forgiveness theory and between these contemporary theologians and the Lucan tradition, a dialogue that provides understandable and pastorally sensitive foundations for a contemporary comprehension of the nature and process of Christian forgiveness. As such, it breaks new ground as a hermeneutical study and provides a methodological frame of reference that is theological yet practical.
Sr. Joan Mueller analyzes the texts of Luke 23 and Acts 7 - a prayer of forgiveness still largely unexplored in biblical exegesis - and considers how these texts may be applied (and how they should not be applied) in pastoral situations. She also reviews the work of five modern authors on pastoral forgiveness theory and critiques their approaches in light of the Lucan texts.
As forgiveness and reconciliation become more common themes in world affairs, a detailed theology of forgiveness becomes increasingly important. Is Forgiveness Possible?promotes such a theology. It is useful for pastoral theologians as a textbook for courses in pastoral counseling and forgiveness theory; as an ecumenical resource of the best and most popular contemporary authors in the area of forgiveness theory; and as a framework for dialogue between the pastoral and the biblical sciences. Academic theologians can use it as a text and as an ecumenical discussion concerning a theology of forgiveness. Counseling, mediation, and internal affairs professionals looking for a Christian theology of forgiveness in which to ground their professional theories will also benefit from this study. Chapters are "Introducing the Dialogue Partners," "The Context of the Lucan Prayer of Forgiveness," "The Process of the Lucan Prayer of Forgiveness," "Answering Real Questions: The Contribution of Pastoral Theology," and "Toward a Theology of Christian Forgiveness: A Scriptural/Pastoral Dialogue." It includes a bibliography that covers both the scriptural and American pastoral resources available on forgiveness and those used in the study.
Joan Mueller, OSF, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at Creighton University. Her other books include Why Can't I Forgive You? A Christian Reflection and Faithful Listening: Discernment in Everyday Life. She received her PhD in Systematic Theology from Duquesne University.