Keys to Forgiveness and Reconciliation in the Turkish Church: The Izmir Case


Jose L. Cruz

Publication Date



This dissertation examines elements which are particular to the Turkish society and Turkish social dynamics that impact the experience of forgiveness and reconciliation, emphasizing those used to attain forgiveness by the Turkish church. It also formulates a plan that aims at establishing a culture of forgiveness and reconciliation in the local churches of Izmir.

The main theories visited in this work were: Honor in Turkey and the Bible, shame in Turkey and the Bible, forgiveness in Turkey and the Bible, the relationship between forgiveness and reconciliation, and mediation. All these were linked to the topic of forgiveness with emphasis in the social, cultural and religious aspects of Turkey.

The field research initiates with a historical background of Turkey and the Christian Church and their impact on the concept of forgiveness up to this day. Then it presents an actual picture of the church in Izmir. The methodologies used in this research were: focus groups, in-depth interviews and surveys. The main method utilized was the in-depth interview, used with seven mature Turkish believers. The focus groups served to open up the topic and the surveys triangulated the findings, further confirmation was done by five different leaders. From the research major hindrances and catalysts to forgiveness were obtained.

The applicational project suggests a plan that expands an environment of forgiveness in the local churches by creating a movement with the leaders and mediators, who are an important catalyst in the culture and church, as found in the field research.

The conclusions show the Turkish culture with its peculiarities in the areas of pain and shame, a culture of honor and pride, and the head and emotional struggle that has impacted negatively the Christian believers' relationships in offering forgiveness and reconciliation. Yet, in contrast some have worked through those issues and offered forgiveness by being obedient to the Word of God, by using personal and corporal prayer, by using the support of the community and the advice of their mentors, by following the example and encouragement found in Jesus and by making use of the inner healing process and practical wisdom.

Mentor: Alan Weaver

Degree Name

Doctor of Intercultural Studies (DIS)

First Advisor

Weaver, Alan

Document Type





Christianity and culture, Turkey, Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Shame


Missions and World Christianity


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