Towards an explicitly theocentric model of forgiveness based on God's two-fold commandment to love
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SubjectBible. -- N.T. -- Matthew XXII, 37-40 -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Bible. -- N.T. -- Mark XII, 29-31 -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Bible. -- N.T. -- Luke X, 27 -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Forgiveness -- Religious aspects -- Christianity.
Love -- Religious aspects -- Christianity.
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This dissertation develops a God-centered understanding of forgiveness based on the context of God's redemptive history and derived from His two great commandments. Chapter 1 surveys the forgiveness literature, points out the divergent views of twelve aspects of forgiveness, and builds a case for the need of an explicitly theocentric model of forgiveness. Chapter 2 begins with an overview of redemptive history and its implications for understanding forgiveness, and then provides a biblical and theological understanding of divine love. The intimate connection between love and forgiveness is demonstrated from Scripture and explained as a precursor to developing a theocentric definition of forgiveness. Chapter 3 starts with an overview of the major theological omissions of the prevailing clinical models of forgiveness---the centrality of God, doctrine of sin, and primacy of Jesus Christ. Then, the theocentric definition of forgiveness is used to address and develop the twelve aspects of forgiveness, looking also at the communal aspects of each issue. Chapter 4 develops a Christian psychology of unforgiveness and forgiveness by examining the dynamics within the soul. A model for moving from unforgiveness to forgiveness is offered, which focuses on developing a heart of love, and entails a growing intimacy with, identity in, and imitation of Christ. Chapter 5 offers concluding thoughts and reflections and recaps the theme that runs through the dissertation---the process of moving from unforgiveness to forgiveness is a primary process of sanctification. Implications of a theocentric understanding are briefly discussed for the areas of clinical research, Christian counseling, the body of Christ, and the life of the believer. Finally, significant areas for further research are highlighted.