Towards New Narnia: An Evangelical Response to Children’s Suffering Grounded in Human Rights

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Towards New Narnia: An Evangelical Response to Children's Suffering Grounded in Human Rights is a five-chapter work that looks at an intervention-oriented theology of justice for children's suffering. In the first chapter, the author lays the groundwork for the dissertation with a brief discussion of C. S. Lewis's The Last Battle, statistics on tragic social issues affecting children, a review of relevant literature, and general reflections on what children's suffering can specifically teach Christians. She then argues that interventions that do justice for and with children in light of children's suffering should be grounded in human rights. Chapter 2 provides an examination of Jesus' interactions with children, showing his support for crucial human rights concepts, before illustrating how evangelicals have failed children through their contemporary opposition to children's human rights. Chapter 3 continues this discussion by drawing lessons relevant to children's human rights from Baptist case studies on Roger Williams and the early Baptists, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the children of the Civil Rights Movement, and the Woman's Missionary Union of the Southern Baptist Convention. Chapter 4 bridges N. T. Wright and Miroslav Volf's understandings of forgiveness with a human rights framework drawing from Michael Walzer's understanding of the Exodus. The author suggests that sometimes a human rights framework is complementary, if not more helpful than forgiveness, to implement justice in children's tragic circumstances. In chapter 5, the author looks at participatory meanings of the atonement, relating the atonement to children and the understanding of Jesus presented in chapter 2. In the process, she suggests how the atonement can aid the implementation of justice for and with children in a way that supports their human rights. To do this, she builds on Tearfund's model of child participation.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Theology (PhD in Theology)

First Advisor

Gushee, David P.

Document Type





Jesus Christ, Blessing of children, Suffering in children, Suffering, Human rights


Missions and World Christianity


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