Churches Together in Britain and Ireland

Churches Together in Britain and Ireland

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christian reflections


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What is the nature of Christian apology?

In the context of secular society the word ‘apology' typically denotes an expression of regret for some action. It can imply that the one apologising is acknowledging a fault or some sort of offense against another. The word can carry connotations of putting right a fault.

Is the use of the word ‘apology' helpful in describing Christian expressions of sorrow and regret for past actions. We will argue that the kind of theological language we would prefer to employ - repentance, forgiveness, renewal and reconciliation - language which places God at the heart of our intent and our actions, enables a more meaningful theological discussion and depth of understanding to come about, but which has little relevance unfortunately to the fault-compensation axis of the secular world. In this sense then, Christian ‘apology' is constantly in danger of being misrepresented and misunderstood on both sides.

The article from the Mission Theology Advisory Group (MTAG) link to external website looks in particular at the apologies offered to the Aboriginal people for their treatment by the Australian authorities and to those children forcibly adopted and sent to live in Australia. These apologies were made publicly by Kevin Rudd, the former Australian Prime Minister, on 13th February 2008 and 16th November 2009 (see video above).

Full article (download)

Apology articleSome reflections on the nature of Christian apology - MTAG (PDF)

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