Stereotypes die hard. One stereotype that haunts the church today is that conservative churches believe in evangelism without social action, and that liberal churches are concerned with social justice but do not care about evangelism. Like most stereotypes, there are some groups of Christians that critics of the church may point to as clear examples that this caricature is true. Most of evangelical Christianity, however, is rejecting this false dichotomy. Many Christians of a variety of theological and denominational backgrounds are realizing that personal evangelism and social action are both core commitments of disciple of Jesus Christ.
Timothy Keller is one of the leading lights in the New Calvinist movement. His writings combine a thoroughly missional vision of the church with a thoroughly Reformed theology. In Generous Justice, Keller focuses his considerable intellect upon the place of social justice in the ministry of the local church. The result is a concise, intelligent, and methodical argument in favor of Christians being passionately involved in social justice concerns in the church and in society.
Generous Justice is a thorough book. It examines the issue of social justice through an in-depth study of both the Old and New Testaments. After doing this, Keller puts considerable attention toward how we live out the ancient commands in our contemporary lives, and explaining how Godís specific emphasis on social justice is integral to strong, healthy Christians and strong, healthy churches.
Keller has done his research. Throughout Generous Justice he references the works of historic theological luminaries such as Jonathan Edwards and Abraham Kuyper. He also discerningly references more contemporary studies in academic disciplines other than theology.
One weakness of the book is that it primarily addresses justice as a domestic issue and a neighborhood concern. I would have liked to hear Keller say more about how to be generously just in the global village, instead of simply the social conscience we should have within our comfortable North American bubble.
Generous Justice is a very heady work. In my opinion, it is also easily accessible reading for most of the folks in the pews on Sunday morning that have questions about social involvement and equality. The New Calvinist movement needed a thorough, theologically-grounded statement on what the Bible says concerning social justice ministry and how to be involved in it. Keller does the church a great service with the publication of this wonderful book. I recommend it. Ė Clint Walker, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
It is commonly thought in secular society that the Bible is one of the greatest hindrances to doing justice. Isn't it full of regressive views? Didn't it condone slavery? Why look to the Bible for guidance on how to have a more just society? But Timothy Keller sees it another way. In Generous Justice, Keller explores a life of justice empowered by an experience of grace: a generous, gracious justice. Here is a book for believers who find the Bible a trustworthy guide as well as those who suspect that Christianity is a regressive influence in the world.
Keller's church, founded in the eighties with fewer than one hundred congregants, is now exponentially larger. More than five thousand people regularly attend Sunday services, and another twenty-five thousand download Keller's sermons each week. A recent profile in New York magazine described his typical sermon as "a mix of biblical scholarship, pop culture, and whatever might have caught his eye in The New York Review of Books or on Salon.com that week." In short, Timothy Keller speaks a language that many thousands of people yearn to comprehend. In Generous Justice, he offers them a new understanding of modern justice and human rights.