This article draws on the Old Testament book of Amos as a lens for thinking about the aid-giving behaviour of ‘traditional donor’ states at a time of international uncertainty. In the emerging ‘beyond aid’ environment, achieving international development outcomes will require much more than the provision of aid. States and individuals that are serious about contributing to international development will need to ‘go deeper’, actively assessing the development impacts that a wide array of their own behaviours may have on individuals beyond their borders. By bringing key themes from Amos into conversation with characteristics of the international development regime, this article demonstrates why moving away from an aid-centric approach to international development—symbolised by the 0.7% spending target—is proving difficult. At the same time, it reveals how the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to function as a critical juncture for reimagining international development in line with the message of Amos.
This article considers avenues for fruitful engagement between international relations and public theology in order to ask what an ethical Christian response to global conflict should entail. The process of mediating principles of biblical justice into a contemporary international context requires interpretation in a reality of territorial bounded states, with rules and norms governing international interactions that are unique to the present day. This article draws on two theologically oriented contributions to international relations, Christian realism and political reconciliation to probe the question as to how we conceptualise justice as a pursuit in international relations from a Christian worldview. It reflects on the contingencies of the present-day context of global conflict, and the implications for praxis from a public theology standpoint.
International Relations scholars routinely credit Christian actors with helping to create the modern international humanitarian order by institutionalizing principles of care and assistance within global governance. As this humanitarian order has become more secularized, however, faith-based reflections have been sidelined in secular academic work on humanitarian issues. This article reflects on the opportunities for dialogue and mutual engagement following the critical turn in International Relations scholarship over recent years. It highlights the development of International Relations thinking on the normative dimensions of the international humanitarian order and shows how their critiques of a secular order have created a window for engagement with the intellectual resources of the Christian traditions. Developing meeting places for engaging on deeper questions of ontologies of practice provides an opportunity to pursue a richer vision of global humanitarian endeavours, to the benefit of all.
A long Christian tradition has argued that the possession and coercive/physical use of nuclear weapons is morally indefensible and advocated nuclear disarmament. This article takes stock of what we now know about nuclear weapons and advocates a Christian responsibility to redirect initiatives from eliminating nuclear weapons to eliminating the hatred, fear and insecurity that creates a demand for them. It notes the small number of nuclear powers despite many states that could develop a nuclear capability and argues that the United States holds the most responsibility for their limited spread. It also notes that the tendency for nuclear weapons to provide otherwise elusive solutions to deeply pressing security challenges facing the nine nuclear powers means that these states will likely never eliminate them. The article advocates for the removal of the insecurity that generates the demand for nuclear weapons, and briefly illustrates how this might look like in contemporary North Korea.
The world confronts an enormous range of challenges in the global economy. A far-reaching enterprise has arisen to meet these challenges by producing laws and regulations to shape and protect global commercial and financial markets. This article considers how a Christian theology can guide the highly consequential processes of creating law for world commerce. First, from the perspective of the sociology of globalization, law and markets, the article describes findings from current research on who makes global law and how they make that law in the United Nations’ principal body for the creation of private international law. Second, the article proposes that public theology offers Christian theological principles and middle level axioms to deepen and extend the dimensionality of global lawmaking, thereby offering ethical guidance for prospective global lawmaking. It sharpens focus by appraising the participation and creativity of weak actors in global lawmaking. Third, the article turns to praxis for weak actors in global lawmaking and concludes with considerations that may foster mutually productive dialog between social scientists and public theologians of the global.
Some Christian political theorists and theologians counter calls for greater generosity toward refugees by appealing to the prerogatives of state sovereignty, the preferential love for fellow-citizens, and the priority of loving nearby neighbours over distant strangers. This article responds to each argument, arguing that the right to exclude outsiders is not an immutable aspect of sovereignty, the construction of a social contract among fellow-citizens does not justify abandoning duties to non-citizens, and, in a highly globalized world, the obligation to love one’s neighbour is not rightly circumscribed by geography. It further argues that Jesus’s parable of the good Samaritan serves as a foil through which it can be seen that many sovereign states not only fail to love the displaced neighbour by providing refuge, but, like the priest and the Levite, go out of their way to keep refugees at a distance—and, like the robbers, even contribute to their vulnerability and suffering.
This article documents how the formation of a Scholarly Circle led to the development of the articles published in this issue. We outline how our Scholarly Circle developed across three stages over a period of seven years. By doing so, we hope to encourage others to consider the Scholarly Circle as a potential model to guide small communities of scholars seeking to integrate their faith and scholarship in a deeper and more deliberate way.