Biblical and Theological Studies Faculty Publications

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Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society





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In the contemporary Christian church, one does not need to look far to find references to the biblical Jubilee. On the campus of Wheaton College, the World Christian Fellowship sponsors a yearly Jubilee week, in which students are challenged to think globally about the world Christian movement. A branch of a local charitable organization is called the “Jubilee Furniture Company.” This group raises funds for Christian outreach through the re-sale of furniture and supplies needy families with home furnishings. An internet search will lead one to the Jubilee Christian Church, the Jubilee Christian Academy, and even the Jubilee Water Park and Resort.

In the history of the church, the Jubilee has often played a significant role. In the year 1300, Pope Boniface VIII proclaimed a “Jubilee” plenary indulgence for the forgiveness of sin for all those who fulfilled the necessary requirements. Although these papal proclamations have continued until the present day and other biblical interpreters have often called for the church to “proclaim a Jubilee,” the last decade has seen an increase in these calls with the turn of the millennium and frequent appeals for debt forgiveness for African nations as an expression of Jubilee.

In this article, we will begin by summarizing three such calls for a modern Jubilee: the theological summary in Jubilee 2000: Economic Justice for Churches in Eastern and Southern Africa; Christopher J. H. Wright’s Old Testament Ethics for the People of God; and John Howard Yoder’s The Politics of Jesus. After briefly outlining each of these proposals, we will turn to the biblical data in an attempt to summarize the main themes connected to Jubilee. Finally, we will return to these initial proposals and evaluate them in light of the biblical data.


Biblical studies, jubilee, Luke, Old Testament, Jesus

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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