The Just Peacemaking Initiative (JPi) at Fuller Theological Seminary exists to encourage knowledge about and use of the practices that make for peace and to promote research on the new paradigm that we have developed (for which the institute is named). We pursue these ends in a number of ways:
- Bringing attention to key areas of focus through articles on this website and through regular co-curricular offerings like forums, conferences, and travel study opportunities (see upcoming events here);
- Contributing to the formation of Christian leaders through a number of relational channels; and
- Providing funds for PhD students who intend to include in their program research on the just peacemaking paradigm and its theological, biblical, and ethical basis.
The work of fostering bright peacemakers had been informally under way for several years prior to the JPi’s founding in 2010. Fuller faculty with expertise in biblical studies, theology, Christian ethics, philosophy, psychology, marriage and family therapy, conflict transformation, and Islam often teach courses in peacemaking skills and their underlying theological and philosophical grounding (see a list of related course offerings here). Classes of students have seen formative community in a variety of manifestations, encouraging academic rigor and real world engagement. And recent PhD graduates have included a peacemaking dimension in their PhD studies and are doing outstanding work in Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Czech Republic, the United States, and elsewhere.
The Just Peacemaking Initiative now gives form to many aspects of the agenda that Fuller Seminary set in a key document concerning the “Mission Beyond the Mission.” In this groundbreaking statement, commitment to peacemaking is a core mandate and a central issue of passionate conviction. The imperatives of this Mission commend our dedicated aim:
Go and make disciples;
call the church of Christ to renewal;
work for the moral health of society;
seek peace and justice in the world;
uphold the truth of God’s revelation.
Discipleship to the Lamb requires faithfulness to the way of Jesus, and churches that witness to Jesus’ call to peacemaking embody the practices of discipleship and faithful renewal. Church renewal through discipleship is a concern of all faculty, but it is a special emphasis of faculty in the departments of Christian ethics and ministry. On that score, we are laboring to offer a more concerted program that addresses the need of churches for leaders skilled in transforming conflicts in ways that unite rather than divide, that strengthen rather than fragment, polarize, and split churches. The moral health of society is in focus with each practice of just peacemaking, and the fourth mandate – “seek peace and justice in the world” – is the JPi’s hallmark. As to the fifth mandate, our firm purpose and present practice is to ground our vision and practice of peacemaking in biblical and theological constructs and commitments, not only sociological, political science, and psychological understandings.
Fuller faculty and graduate students have made significant contributions to deeper understandings of theological and biblical grounds for peacemaking, and these contributions are on offer and visible to the wider Christian world and its surrounding societies in the Just Peacemaking Initiative. Most peacemaking programs lack deep theological grounding; we are developing significant biblical and theological innovation for guiding Christian engagement in peacemaking.
We think of our logo as a sort of duck-rabbit: how do you see the dove interacting with the roots? Is peace growing from the roots like the mustard seeds of God’s reign? Is the dove struggling against thorny weeds? Is it overcoming them?
By providing funds for PhD students to encourage research on peacemaking practices and their biblical mandate; by contributing to the formation of Christian leaders who know and do the practices that make for peace; and by bringing the new paradigm that we have developed to the attention of an expanding public audience through regular co-curricular offerings, through this website, and through social media: the Just Peacemaking Initiative endeavors for church renewal and pursues the moral health of society.