Item description for Faces of Forgiveness, The: Searching for Wholeness and Salvation by F. LeRon Shults & Steven J. Sandage...
Overview A psychologist and theologian fuse Christian forgiveness and psychology with the unifying motif of the face, thereby building on the psychological research linking emotions related to forgiveness with the human face to offer illuminating insights into what forgiveness really means.
Publishers Description While forgiveness has historically been regarded as a religious concern, it has also become a popular topic in contemporary psychology. Unfortunately, there has been little effort to combine a Christian understanding of forgiveness with psychology. The Faces of Forgiveness, winner of the Narramore Award from the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, steps in to fill this void. The authors fuse Christian forgiveness and psychology with the unifying motif of the face; thereby building on the considerable psychological research linking emotions related to forgiveness with the human face. At a deeper level, the face can serve as a metaphor for integrating forgiveness, wholeness, and salvation. The authors argue that forgiveness should take a central role in our understanding of salvation because it is warranted by the Bible and engages our postmodern context. Pastors, psychologists, family counselors, and students of psychology and theology will find The Faces of Forgiveness a helpful resource.
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F. LeRon Shults (Ph.D., Princeton University; Ph.D., Walden University) is professor of theology at Agder University in Kristiansand, Norway, and the author of several books, including Reforming the Doctrine of God and Reforming Theological Anthropology. Steven J. Sandage (Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University), a licensed psychologist, is the Albert and Jessie Danielsen Professor of Pastoral Psychology and Theology at Boston University and director of the Danielsen Research Center at the Danielsen Institute. He coauthored To Forgive Is Human. Shults and Sandage are the coauthors of The Faces of Forgiveness, winner of the Narramore Award from the Christian Association for Psychological Studies.
F. LeRon Shults currently resides in St. Paul, in the state of Minnesota. F. LeRon Shults has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Agder, Norway.
Reviews - What do customers think about Faces of Forgiveness, The: Searching for Wholeness and Salvation?
Book review Apr 26, 2008
Faces of Forgiveness is a very thorough expose into the characteristics and experiences of forgiveness.
I recommend it.
Very Exciting Theology and Psychology Mar 21, 2006
F. LeRon Shults and Steven J. Sandage co-authored The Faces of Forgiveness: Searching for Wholeness and Salvation (Baker: 2003). Sandage brings his expertise as a clinical psychologist who teaches at Bethel Theological Seminary and Shults brings his expertise as a theologian who also teaches at the same seminary. Together they tackle the meaning and practice of a core human necessity: forgiveness.
They introduce a new-to-many concept: facial hermeneutics. They write, "We suggest that the face represents a powerful interpersonal "text" that evokes an attempt to interpret the feelings and dispositions of the other." By "face" they mean the actual human face (a fascinating discussion in the book) and also "facing," that is, encountering/confronting presence, our being to one another, and the meaning our "being" has for good or bad. Sandage discusses the psychological/ developmental dimensions of "facing" (as well as losing face and de-facing) and Shults offers an intriguing biblical study of "face" (God's "face" and human faces). The reader is led into the union of "face" and "forgiveness," or as the book title rightly describes "the faces of forgiveness."
A core premise of the book is the move from a "substance" definition of being to a "relationality" definition of being (for both God and human beings). Shults offers similar theological insights from a robust trinitarian theology as he does in his book Reforming the Doctrine of God. The blend of psychology and theology from a trinitarian vision of relationality offers new, creative insights about and practices of forgiveness, especially for Christians formed by forensic (legal) forgiveness--that great transaction in the sky that doesn't really change lives. As they report, forensic forgiveness is good news for oppressors and bad news for the oppressed. With this forgiveness lives can be acquitted, wiped clean of "sin," with no need for justice and shalom-making. But, humans don't long for a clean slate in the sky, but for personal and relational wholeness and salvation here and now. Shults and Sandage urge a forgiveness that is essentially all about the here and now, not about a ticket to go to heaven when we die. Forgiveness is about inviting people in the here and now into joyful, infinite life and glory of the Father, Son and Spirit, that is, into a community of infinite love. It's incarnate, unending grace.
In many ways, Scot McKnight's book, *Embracing Grace: A Gospel for All of Us,* offers a similar vision of salvation and grace in community. Scot comes at it from the angle of "the gospel of the kingdom of God" and how the believing community is the gospel incarnate. The church is the message as well as having a message.
Shults writes, "I suggest that the overarching meaning of forgiveness in Scripture is manifesting and sharing grace" (125). " When forgiveness, an aspect of a broad horizon of salvation, becomes relational and present, it also becomes communal, not individualistic. "Speaking from a free-church tradition, Miraslov Volf argues that redemption is mediated through real relations in community, not simply 'immediately' to the individual" (160).
Just as salvation/redemption is "by grace through faith," so is forgiveness. Shults writes, "Trying to work up the energy to forgive another exhausts human resources. Divine forgiveness makes room for humans to share in the grace and joy of trinitarian love, which provides an infinite resource for human forgiveness" (169).
Shults discussion of "Being in Eucharistic Community" (216-221) draws on the meal-time practices of Jesus (and the early church) as incarnate expressions of forgiveness or intended forgiveness. He argues that who was to be included or excluded from the Lord's Table was not the issue for the early church, but the Table was a practice to show the shalom-bringing transformation in our otherwise exclusionary lives and culture(s).
The Faces of Forgiveness is a book I highly recommend. A friend of mine told me that the book "made a profound change in his life." It's not a popular, pietistic (shallow, "feel good") book nor is it a pop-psychology "self-help," "seven steps" to forgiveness and wholeness book. It's a compelling invitation to comtemplate (and participate in) the radical meaning of sharing the life of our trinitarian God with each other and the world.
Very Interesting / Compelling May 24, 2005
Sandage and Shults blend two seperate expertise - therapy and theology into a good book on the topic of forgiveness. This book delves into the biblical concept of 'facing' reflecting the face of God to other people through your own face. And, this book stresses the need to forgive in the redemptive power that is found in community. Shults is at the top of his game in the book, easy to read yet highly intellectual at the same time - a hard pair to find in this day and age. Sandage is also good to read in this book - the two together equal a book that is recommended for all who are interested in this topic. JVD
Theology of Facing Nov 30, 2004
The authors state that their "overarching goal for the book is twofold: 1) to demonstrate the explanatory power of facial hermeneutics; and 2) to illuminate the transforming reality of forgiveness as we search for wholeness and salvation" (pg.24).
The authors had five things they felt their book said that had not already been said by other authors on the subject. These are: 1) to do an interdisciplinary work that attempts an implicit and explicit synthesis/integration on the subject of forgiveness; 2) to combine scholarship and clinical application; 3) to use the face motif and the "metaphorical realist" approach to forgiveness; 4) to try to integrate empirical psychological and psychoanalytical approaches; and 5) to add the systems/socio-cultural perspective so as to explore the "connections between forgiveness, power and justice . . ."
The authors state that there are three kinds of forgiveness: a) forensic; b) therapeutic; and c) redemptive. Redemptive forgiveness is when "a party agrees not to exact what the law requires" (pg. 20). Therapeutic forgiveness is a moral judgment that an offender is responsible for harmful actions, surveying the damage done by the hurtful actions and eventually remembering it differently (pg. 22). Redemptive forgiveness includes both forensic and therapeutic forgiveness but the "overarching meaning of [redemptive] forgiveness is manifesting and sharing redemptive grace" (pg. 23).
Excellent Mar 10, 2004
F. LeRon Shults and Steven Sandage have written a masterpiece in this book that deserves the consideration of all who would claim to have a biblical understanding of forgiveness.
The book is called 'the Faces of Forgiveness' as an important part of the book is the concept of 'facing' each other in community and forigiveness which leads to true healing; salvation. Sandage looks at the psychological aspects of forgiveness in the first section of the book, LeRon focuses more on the theological aspects of forgiveness in the second part of the book, and finally the third section (co-written) presents case studies for the integration of the material in the book.
The thrust of the book is really understanding what it means to have the fullness of being: "The Futurity of the biblical God of hope is revealed in the face of Christ by the power of the Spirit: this discloses the essential relationality of the divine Trinity, whose perfect Infinity embraces and calls human persons into the fullness of being" (p.210); the entire book is full of breathtaking material like this - get your hands on a copy!