Directly relating restorative justice to biblical and theological study


Atonement, Justice, and Peace: The Message of the Cross and the Mission of the Church (Eerdmans, 2015)  by Darrin W. Snyder Belousek

“The most comprehensive and persuasive biblical critique of penal substitution currently available (and possibly ever written). Belousek analyzes in detail virtually every nut and bolt in the edifice of penal atonement theology as it is presented in current mainstream evangelicalism and does so with the kind of exegetical precision and theological commitment necessary to command a hearing from those he critiques.” – Christopher D. Marshall — Victoria University of Wellington

Covenant of Peace: The Missing Peace in New Testament Theology and Ethics (Eerdmans, 2006)   by Willard Swartley at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary

One would think that peace, a term that occurs as many as one hundred times in the New Testament, would enjoy a prominent place in theology and ethics textbooks. Yet it is surprisingly absent. Covenant of Peace remedies this deficiency, restoring to New Testament theology and ethics the peace that many works have missed.  Swartley explicates virtually all of the New Testament, relating peace — and the associated emphases of love for enemies and reconciliation — to core theological themes such as salvation, christology, and the reign of God. No other work in English makes such a contribution.  (Eerdmans synopsis)

Healing the Gospel: A Radical Vision for Grace, Justice, and the Cross (Wipf and Stock Publishing, 2012) by Derek Flood (view his website)

“In this provocative book, Flood exposes the grave deficiencies of the penal substitution model of atonement, pinpointing its shallow treatment of the depth and the gravity of sin . . . Armed with astute interpretations of Scripture, he focuses on the love of God and reinterprets justice as restorative . . . Finally, after centuries of suffering under a legal perception of atonement, Flood has shown us that the good news is truly good news!” -Sharon L. Baker, author of Razing Hell

Restorative Christ: Jesus, Justice, and Discipleship (Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2015) by Geoff Broughton from Australia   

“Broughton’s develops key practices (e.g., remembering, forgiving, repenting, repairing) that bear witness to the restorative Christ. Broughton shows how genuine restoration is multilayered involving not only victims and wrongdoers but also the community. The discussion is grounded throughout by insights from Christian ministry, reflection on core Scripture texts, and practical application. An important theological contribution to a contemporary challenging topic.”  – Stephen Pickard, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture


Justice That Transforms, Voume One by Wayne Northey (Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2020)

“The most replicated early model of Restorative Justice, based on the well-known “Elmira Case,” was a Canadian first, initially dubbed Victim Offender Reconciliation Project (VORP). The author became its second director in 1977.  At seminary, Northey had learned to think through one’s vocation theologically. He began in that vein, writing and publishing on this profound call for a systemic “paradigm shift,” and has been at it ever since.”

View other volumes of Justice That Transforms on Amazon.


Ted Grimsrud – Peace Theology Blog 

Through his “Peace Theology” blog, Ted G. has been blogging on restorative justice themes for over the past decade. His “Healing Justice (and Theology): An Agenda for Restoring Wholeness introduction kicks off a comprehensive 9-part series on restorative justice within both biblical and contemporary contexts.


The Journey: Forgiveness, Restorative Justice and Reconciliation Kindle Edition (2011) by Stephanie Hixon and Tom Porter

The Journey: Forgiveness, Restorative Justice and Reconciliation intertwines stories from the Bible and recent history to illustrate the redemptive power of forgiveness, the restorative power of God’s justice and the Good News of reconciliation. The Journey includes a study guide that takes us from spiritual concepts to tangible practical life skills.

Tom Porter works with JustPeace, a United Methodist center. View The Journey on this site, too.

Political Trauma and Healing: Biblical Ethics for a Postcolonial World (Eerdmans, 2016) by Mark Brett

Brett argues that the Hebrew Bible can be read as a series of reflections on political trauma and healing — the long saga of successive ancient empires violently asserting their sovereignty over Israel and of the Israelites forced to live out new pathways toward restoration. Contemporary applications include legacies of colonialism, the demands of asylum seekers, the challenges of climate change, and the shaping of redemptive economies.

Reconciling All Things: A Christian Vision for Justice, Peace and Healing (IVP, 2008)  by Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice

Secular models of peacemaking are insufficient. And the church has not always fulfilled its call to be agents of reconciliation in the world. In Reconciling All Things Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice, co-directors of the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School, cast a comprehensive vision for reconciliation that is biblical, transformative, holistic and global. (IVP)

View the complete  6-volume “Resources for Reconciliation” series from InterVarsityPress. (IVP series page)

which also includes…

Living without Enemies: Being Present in the Midst of Violence by Samuel Wells, Marcia A. Owen

Justice That Heals: A Biblical Vision for Victims and Offenders (Wipf and Stock Publishers) by Arthur Paul Boers  (original publication date: 1992)


God and the Victim:Theological Reflections on Evil, Victimization, Justice, and Forgiveness  (Eerdmans, 1999)  Edited by Lisa Barnes Lampman


God’s Just Vengeance: Crime, Violence and the Rhetoric of Salvation (Cambridge Studies in Ideology and Religion)  historical perspective  by Timothy Gorringe


Just Peacemaking: Transforming Initiatives for Justice and Peace (Westminster/John Knox, 1992) by Glen H. Stassen

In this classic pioneering book, Stassen shows how the Sermon on the Mount promotes a practical “community-restoring justice” (his translation of ‘righteousness’) that integrates with mercy, love and peace. The book also features peacemaking efforts in Eastern and Western Germany related to nuclear weapons and political transition. His early book Journey Into Peacemaking came out in 1982.

Read more about Glen Stassen and his work with Fuller Seminary’s Just Peacemaking Initiative.  David Gushee also wrote a tribute for Stassen in Sojourners.


Ted Lewis oversees the Restorative Justice Classic Reprints series at Wipf & Stock Publisher and promotes new manuscript projects integrating restorative justice with biblical or theological studies. For more information, contact Ted.