Tim Keller does a great job of unpacking not just what the Bible says about justice, but how that applies to us in the current day. He includes real world examples of people who are obediently following the Lord by seeking justice in different ways. Aug 06, Chuck rated it it was amazing. Among the most helpful books I've read. A great balance between the priority ministry of the church to introduce Christ and the role of believers in the search for social justice.
Philosophical and practical, in addition to being strongly Biblical. Lots of helpful direction, textual reflection, and personal illustration. A must read for those whose eyes and heart are ready to see a broken world and do something about it. Aug 21, Emilee rated it it was amazing. This book is amazing. Feb 29, Brian rated it really liked it Shelves: How God's Grace Makes Us Just by Timothy Keller author of the best-selling The Reason for God, and senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City is a clear, convicting, and compelling case for the assertion that "there is a direct relationship between a person's grasp and experience of God's grace, and his or her heart for justice and the poor.
In his Introduction, Keller says that he wrote this book for four groups of people: With this variety of target audiences in mind, Keller unfolds his argument for grace-driven justice in eight chapters. Chapter one asks "what is doing justice? While never getting overly technical, Keller shows that the Hebrew word for justice has to do with both the punishment of wrongdoing and giving people their rights p. Justice is, essentially, "to treat people equitably" - to give them their due. Such justice, which over and again in Scripture is concerned with widows, orphans, immigrants, and the poor "the quartet of the vulnerable" , is rooted in the character of God and wedded to "righteousness.
In fact, Keller argues that when these two words, justice and righteousness, are tied together in Scripture, "the English expression that best conveys the meaning is 'social justice'" p. Though this terminology is sometimes nothing more than a slogan used to recruit people to some political ideology or another, Keller says that "if you are trying to live a life in accordance with the bible, the concept and call to justice are inescapable" p. Chapters two and three build the case for doing justice from the Old and New Testaments respectively.
Keller carefully nuances his arguments from the Old Testament, showing that commands in the Old Testament reflect clear principles that are binding on Christians today, while granting that Scripture does not tell us exactly how to carry these principles out today. Especially helpful in this second chapter is how Keller deals with the causes of poverty, showing that Scripture doesn't neatly fit into the schemas of either liberal or conservative theorists. Rather, "the causes of poverty as put forth in the Bible are remarkably balanced" p. However, Keller says, "having surveyed the Bible on these texts numerous times, I have concluded that the emphasis is usually on the larger structural factors" p.
Chapter three focuses on the teaching of Jesus about justice and tackles some of the lesser known and lesser obeyed words of Jesus, such as those found in Luke Chapter four uses the parable of the Good Samaritan Luke 10 to build the case that Christians have the responsibility to show mercy and do justice not only for those inside the church, but for anyone in need, "regardless of race, politics, class, and religion" - that is, for anyone who is your "neighbor" see p.
This chapter, drawing heavily on the work of eighteenth-century theologian Jonathan Edwards, includes a very helpful series of answers to common objections that religious people often make when faced with the call of justice and mercy. Chapters five asks "Why should we do justice? Most people do know and believe this. The real problem is that, while knowing, they are insufficiently motivated to actually do it" p. So how does the Bible motivate us? First, with "joyful awe before the goodness of God's creation" and, second, with "the experience of God's grace in redemption" p.
Keller's discussion of creation focuses mainly on how human dignity and therefore human rights is actually rooted in the Scripture's teaching that human beings are created in the image of God. In an excellent discussion of civil rights on pages , Keller illustrates the point through interaction with the writings of Aristotle, Martin Luther King, Jr. But "as important as the doctrine of creation is, the most frequently cited Biblical motivation for doing justice is the grace of God in redemption" p.
This is really the heart of the book, out of which everything else flows. With eloquent reason, Keller drives this truth home: Self-indulgence and materialism should be given up and replaced by a sacrificial lifestyle of giving to those in need" p. Grace makes you just. If you are not just, you've not truly been justified by faith" p. If chapter five addresses motivation, chapter six takes on the practical question of "how should we do justice?
This chapter delves into issues such as the needs of poor communities, racial reconciliation, and reforming unjust social structures. Drawing on Abraham Kuyper's concepts of "sphere sovereignty," he discusses both the responsibilities of Christians in the institutional church and as the organic church. And he tackles the relationship between social justice and evangelism, arguing that "they should exist in an asymmetrical, inseparable relationship" with evangelism being "the most basic and radical ministry possible to a human being. But Keller will not agree that justice is simply a means to the end of evangelism OR that doing justice IS evangelism.
There is a distinction between the two. Deeds of justice and mercy are not identical to gospel proclamation. To say so, is "fatal confusion. Chapter seven carries the practical questions a step further, with a judicious exploration of "Doing Justice in the Public Square. But how do we do that? In one of my favorite paragraphs in the book, Keller answers: Human beings are like those threads thrown together onto a table. If we keep our money, time, and power to ourselves, instead of sending them out into our neighbors' lives, then we may be literally on top of one another, but we are not interwoven socially, relationally, financially, and emotionally.
Reweaving shalom means to sacrificially thread, lace, and press your time, goods, power, and resources into the lives and needs of others" p. The length of my review shows my enthusiasm for this book, which is a significant contribution to Christian theology and ethics. Keller's clear and accessible style makes this book appropriate for any thoughtful believer, seeker, or skeptic.
Dec 26, Keren Threlfall rated it it was amazing Shelves: Throughout the book, he also draws out the beauty of the Gospel, and the amazing grace that God has shown us through His love for us. A particularly helpful aspect of the book at least from the background I am coming from, where specific objections were actually taught as reason to avoid helping the poor is that he addresses several common objections people may have to assisting those in need. Some of them are: There are others, as well, and Keller walks through each one, deconstructing the objections with Scriptural examples and directives.
In my reading of the book, Chapter Eight seemed somewhat disconnected from the rest of the book. Further into the chapter, it began to make more sense. I am not sure if this was just me and my foggy state of mind or if others may feel the same. However, it did not affect my appreciation for this work.
This is a book that now has a good deal of highlighting and notes, and one that I will have on a list to read again and refer to often. In the introduction to Generous Justice: People who have a concern for social justice and have been involved in the volunteerism movement, but who do not let their social concern affect their personal lives.
Also, many lose enthusiasm for volunteering over time. From their youth culture they have imbibed not only an emotional resonance for social justice but also a consumerism that undermines self-denial and delayed gratification.
- Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just - Academic Commons.
- Generous Justice.
- Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes Us Just;
- See a Problem?.
- Email Updates.
Popular youth culture in Western countries cannot bring about the broad change of life in us that is required if we are to make a difference for the poor and marginalized. While many young adults have a Christian faith, and also desire to help people in need, these two things are not actually connected to each other in their lives. That connection I will attempt to make in this book. He rejected the traditional doctrines of Scripture and atonement.
He taught that Jesus did not need to satisfy the justice of God, and therefore he died only to be an example of unselfishness. The scope of the present volume prevents us from looking at these debates about atonement and justification. However, one of its main purposes is to show that such reengineering of doctrine is not only mistaken in itself, but also unnecessary.
The most traditional formulation of evangelical doctrine, rightly understood, should lead its proponents to a life of doing justice in the world. But as we will see, the Bible is a book devoted to justice in the world from first to last. And the Bible gives us not just a naked call to care about justice, but gives us everything we need—motivation, guidance, inner joy, and power—to live a just life. They all fail at some level to see that the Biblical gospel of Jesus necessarily and powerfully leads to a passion for justice in the world.
A concern for justice in all aspects of life is neither an artificial add-on nor a contradiction to the message of the Bible. Oct 15, Aharon rated it really liked it. How we are to love our neighbor the city, the lost and the poor and die to self. Nov 23, Tom Bazan rated it really liked it Shelves: Generous Justice, as the title would imply, is about justice. Keller argues that Christians must be just--it is ingrained in the grace that God gives; it is the response to the person of Christ. He does not argue that justice and a passion for helping those who need it is solely a Christian endeavor, but he does argue that all of that passion is from God through grace common to everyone.
Further, he says that if we are going to follow God for who he is--not as some manifestation or some image Generous Justice, as the title would imply, is about justice. Further, he says that if we are going to follow God for who he is--not as some manifestation or some image that we create--we must do justice out of merciful love.
Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes Us Just - Timothy Keller - Google Книги
He uses two Hebrew words to point to different aspects of justice; both can be translated justice, but one is also translated righteousness. Through them, he points to the ideas of primary justice and rectifying justice. Rectifying justice is the more traditional idea of punishing wrongdoers and putting things back as best we can.
Primary justice, on the other hand, is behavior that, if it were prevalent in the world, would render rectifying justice unnecessary. Thus, he argues, justice must include charity; it is not just a negative response, but a positive action to improve our community or society. But if we were really going to get at the cause of injustice and all of its effects, it would be important to know what the cause was, right? Well, Keller wades into that, but not too deeply.
He says that your opinions on the causes of injustice, poverty, etc. And, he points out, scripture can support many different perspectives. Poverty can be caused by a oppression; b calamity; and c personal moral failures. And that does not mean American society, but humanity. Our response, then, is clear: The real problem is that, while knowing it, they are insufficiently motivated to actually do it. In other words, we do it out of a love for God, rather than as a requirement that we must or should obey.
When we keep everything in perspective--and see God as closely as we can to who he truly is--then we can't help but be merciful, gracious, loving, etc.
In other words, just. The final question, then, is how we do this. He has three layers of help: In this, we see both rectifying immediate relief and primary redevelopment and social reform justice. He goes into some detail about aspects of each of these, and has some examples of how others have pursued this; but he notes that there are no straightforward answers. Different people are called to different places; we have different means and abilities, and will therefore have different missions. The key, he says, is to keep the mission of the church as a church: But the people of the church have no choice but to pursue justice in response to God, but not as a means of forcing the gospel on someone.
His position on the role of the church seems to waffle at times.
But I find myself not disagreeing with him. He notes that social justice is not the mission of the church; rather, the mission of the church is evangelism and bringing the message that God is reconciling the world to himself through God the Son. But, Christians cannot ignore the plight of those in need of justice. So, while it is not the mission of the church, it is at least part of the mission of Christians and will therefore spill over into activities of the church.
And how do Christians interact with a world that has common grace but no willingness to hear the morality of Christians? He makes the point that it is impossible to talk about social justice without talking about morals. Regardless of how secular an idea becomes, it all has to revolve around the value of a human life, which comes from some moral framework. It is all about what religious or moral framework we use. So, while having discussions about justice and not talking about morality and religion and partnering with groups that have the same surface goals as we have might get things accomplished, we will never get at the root of the problem.
Instead, he recommends a strategy of humble cooperation and respectful provocation. It's a good primer on biblical social justice. The reader has to engage to follow what he is saying, but it doesn't feel like it has to go over everyone's heads. In other words, it can be useful. And, if nothing else, it is a good reminder--like a prod--that we can't be inactive; we have to live out the grace that we have been given. Feb 16, Jeff rated it liked it. In the introduction to this book, Keller identifies the his audience: In a good Reformed theological persp In the introduction to this book, Keller identifies the his audience: In a good Reformed theological perspective, Keller links our Christian call to justice with salvation.
Keller strives to walk a balance between many issues that divide those who call themselves conservative and those who call themselves liberal in America today. This necessitates political involvement. I found this book refreshing for a personal reason. Keller is a pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America. My general view of those in the Presbyterian Church in America a conservative denomination has been colored by my experiences in the South. He calls for Christians to get involved, and not just on social issues, but on issues that affect the vulnerable in society.
Instead, he calls for us to wrestle the need to be involved. For congregations, he presents five questions to be considered: How much should we help? Whom should we help? Under what conditions does your help proceed or end? In what way to do we help? From where should we help? It would make a good study for a small group. Grace is giving benefits that are not deserved, while justice is giving people exactly what they deserve.
In Christ we receive grace, unmerited favor. Nevertheless, in the mind of the Old Testament prophets as well as the teaching of Jesus, an encounter of grace inevitably leads to a life of justice. In short, all your resources are in the end the gift of God. Christians now do not constitute a theocratic kingdom-state, but exist as an international community of local assemblies living in every nation and culture, under many different governments to whom they give great respect but never absolute allegiance.
So no one can say to a fellow human being: My father was better than yours. Mar 11, Ryan rated it liked it Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Keller's book on how the Bible explains justice and how we should approach justice-related issues in our Christian life. In fact, each of America's two main political parties has built its platform on one of these sets of ethical prescriptions to the near exclusion of the other.
Conservatism stresses the importance of personal morality, especially the importance of traditional sexual mores and hard work, an Keller's book on how the Bible explains justice and how we should approach justice-related issues in our Christian life. Conservatism stresses the importance of personal morality, especially the importance of traditional sexual mores and hard work, and feels that liberal charges of racism and social injustice are overblown. On the other hand, liberalism stresses social justice, and considers conservative emphases on moral virtue to be prudish and psychologically harmful.
Each side, of course, thinks the other side is smug and self-righteous. It is not only the political parties that fail to reflect this "whole cloth" Biblical agenda. The churches of America are often more controlled by the surrounding political culture than by the spirit of Jesus and the prophets. Conservative churches tend to concentrate on one set of sins, while liberal ones concentrate on another set. Jesus, like the Old Testament prophets, does not see two categories of morality. Such denunciations cut across all current conventional political agendas.
The Biblical perspectives sees sexual immorality and material selfishness as both flowing from self-centeredness rather than God-centeredness. How do we account for that? I would like to believe that a heart for the poor "sleeps" down in a Christian's soul until it is awakened. I think the reason that this sensibility has not been more aroused in the Christian world is due to the failure of my own class - pastors and Christian leaders. We tend to try to develop a social conscience in Christians the same way the world does - through guilt.
We tell them that they have so much and don't they see that they need to share with those who have so little. That doesn't work, because we have built-in defense mechanisms against such appeals. Almost no one really feels all that wealthy. Even the well-off don't feel rich compared to the others with whom they live and work. Here is an example of the kind of argument that accomplishes this. Now, dear Christians, some of you pray night and day to be branches of the true Vine; you pray to be made all over in the image of Christ.
I will give to the good angels. He gave his blood for the undeserving. Christ might have said the same; yea, with far greater truth. Christ knew that thousands would trample his blood under their feet; that most would despise it; that many would make it an excuse for sinning more; yet he gave his own blood. Oh my dear Christians! If you would be like Christ, give much, give often, given freely, to the vile and poor, the thankless and the undeserving. Christ is glorious and happy and so will you be. It is not your money I want, but your happiness.
On p Keller references a Mark Gornik who writes about how important it is for the leaders and people making the change in a community to be from the community. If they are not the primary agents of action it is unlikely for any positive changes to remain in effect. He cites Kuyper when he mentions that community development organizations can be used to serve the community so that pastors and leaders in the church can concentrate on building up the church through evangelism.
If churches take on too much themselves, it can lead to the compromise of the true purpose of the church - preaching the gospel. Feb 13, Jelinas rated it it was amazing. A few months ago, the elders of my church read this book. They almost immediately decided to appoint deacons to facilitate mercy ministries social justice; taking care of orphans and widows and the poor in our church. According to Acts 6, the church chooses from amongst themselves, so our elders asked us to nominate people that we thought were already actively ministering mercy to others. In my mind, I was a little dismissive of the process.
I thought to myself and said aloud to a few friends A few months ago, the elders of my church read this book. I thought to myself and said aloud to a few friends , We all already know who the church is gonna nominate. Why don't they just choose? Imagine my surprise when the church chose me. I just didn't see it. I could see all of the other nominees as merciful people, and most of them were already involved in showing mercy to people in need in some way, but I was certain that my nomination was a mistake; people must just be throwing out whatever names they knew.
Plus, I hadn't given much mercy out to others; in fact, I'd received much more mercy than I'd given in the last year. Our elders gathered the eleven nominees for a meeting, to share their vision for this ministry. I figured that I ought to at least attend before declining. I arrived at the meeting, confident that they would tell me how many meetings were required and how much work this ministry would be, and that I could then give them an emphatic "no. They shared that they just wanted to bring the church more in line with the biblical model for mercy ministries, and for the church to know who they could talk to if they knew of someone in need.
I left the meeting deflated; I was no longer certain that I wanted to decline this opportunity. On the one hand, I was pretty busy with work and trying to stay afloat financially in my own life. On the other hand, I do love being a guinea pig for ministry, and I agreed with the elders' vision for the ministry.
In this state of confusion, I headed home and read my assignment for a class I had later that evening. My assignment was to read the first four chapters of Generous Justice , but because I never read directions thoroughly, I ended up finishing the whole book in one shot. It was one shot, but there was a lot of putting down the book and thinking and praying in between chapters. Some of what I read was almost too heavy for me to bear.
Some of what I read filled my heart with such joy and agreement that I wanted to jump up and down, shouting, "Yes! That's exactly what we should be!! He reminds us that the God of the Bible is a God of mercy; Israel was commanded to show kindness and mercy to the poor, to orphans and widows, and to aliens and strangers.
He looks at what Jesus had to say about showing mercy to those in need. He talks about why Christians ought to pursue justice, and how they should go about it. It's his look at Acts 6 that changed the way my church's elders think about mercy ministries. In that chapter, there are complaints by some of the widows that they're being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. The apostles realize that they can't neglect the ministry of preaching and evangelism in order to tend to this issue, even though it's of utmost importance.
And that's when they tell the church to choose people from among them that they trust to do this work of distributing the church's resources to those in need. In the past, our church had seen deacons as those who took care of the administrative needs of the church. In some churches, they're seen as the janitors; those who serve behind the scenes and basically clean up after everybody else's mess. I can't believe that it took reading this book for me to see what it really is: This book was a game-changer for me. I went from looking for excuses not to serve in this way to being eager to be a part of this biblical ministry.
I also began to see how my financial struggles could help me to understand what its like for those who are reluctant to receive help from the church, and how I could serve people in need with a simple listening ear. In fact, all eleven nominees agreed to serve in this way.
I just hope that God will guide us and help us to give some form to this nebulous ministry so that we can get to work in meeting the physical needs of the people in our church, in our community, and in the world. Dec 23, Rick Davis rated it it was amazing Shelves: The book is also overwhelmingly Biblical, putting forth the case that social justice is not only the realm of liberal Christians, but a concept and duty that are at the very heart of the gospel itself. Pastor Keller begins by showing that the words our Englis Generous Justice: Throughout the Old Testament, cultures and societies are called righteous or unrighteous based on how they treat the stranger, the widow, the orphan, and the poor.
Whereas the gods of other nations favored the rich who could offer better sacrifices, Yahweh favored the oppressed and destitute. This does not stop with the Old Testament, but continues into the New as well in the teachings of Jesus and the practice of the early Church. It is commonly thought in secular society that the Bible is one of the greatest hindrances to doing justice. Renowned pastor and bestselling author of The Prodigal Prophet Timothy Keller shares his most provocative and illuminating message yet. Why look to the Bible for guidance on how to have a more just society?
But Timothy Keller challenges these preconceived beliefs and presents the Bible as a fundamental source for promoting justice and compassion for those in need. This book offers readers a new understanding of modern justice and human rights that will resonate with both the faithful and the skeptical.