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Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics

Volume 39, Issue 2, Fall/Winter 2019

David Cloutier
Pages 269-285
DOI: 10.5840/jsce2019102415

Beyond Judgmentalism and Non-Judgmentalism
A Theological Approach to Public Discourse about Social Sins

Contemporary social discourse oscillates between norms against being judgmental and discourse filled with highly judgmental conflicts. The paper suggests the inability to understand the scope and limits of judgment in society requires Christian ethics to recover its own understanding of judgment, including of a final judgment as something other than a courtroom encounter over one’s individual sins. After exploring the centrality of God’s judgment in Scripture as an ongoing activity of social ordering for justice and mercy, I draw on several theologians to develop a different imagination for what final judgment means, rooted in conflicts of social identities, and then identify four key lessons for ethical discourse about social sins.

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