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Uniting the Bible with today's view of justice, Tim Kellers offers an illuminating look at how pursuing justice is intrinsic to the Christain calling
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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 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 80s with fewer than 100 congregants, is now exponentially larger. Over 5,000 people regularly attend Sunday services, and another 25,000 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 understand. In GENEROUS JUSTICE, he offers them a new understanding of modern justice and human rights.
Generous Justice by Timothy Keller was published by Hodder & Stoughton in February 2012 and is our 10260th best seller. The ISBN for Generous Justice is 9780340995105.
Timothy Keller comes with credentials. He has written extensively. His first book was a New York Times best seller. Newsweek called him ‘a C.S.Lewis for the twenty-first century’. He planted a Presbyterian Church in New York which currently has a congregation of 5,000. Another 25,000 regularly download his talks each week.
He tells us that in his thirty years as a pastor he has always been interested in issues of poverty and justice and this book is the fruit of that. Basically, his aim is to root that concern – which is surely shared by most if not all Christians – in the biblical text. He wants to show his readers that typical contemporary concerns for human rights and redistributive policies by governments are Christian in the sense that they have biblical warrant. He also wants to show that they have their true origins in Christianity rather than anywhere else.
His audience is principally American – who have more concerns about government intervention than Europeans – and evangelical – who need to trace the origins of their commitments to the scriptures. The book begins, therefore, by justifying ‘doing justice’ to a Christian audience – something that would probably strike many British Christians as unnecessary.
The method employed is familiar. He takes the idea of ‘justice’ as we understand it today and points the reader to texts in the Old Testament and then the gospels where it is used in the same way. Each text is carefully explained using insights from modern scholars. In fact, the scholars quoted – biblical, theological and philosophical – are an impressive list in themselves.
I have some doubts about what he says. I am not convinced that what we mean by ‘justice’ can simply be read off the biblical text. I think he deals rather too easily with those issues that are a real headache if you take the view that every part of the Bible is equally authoritative – ideas about holy war in Deuteronomy, for instance. He has a tendency to call in aid contemporary secular writers when they are useful and supportive of his ethics, but he fails to deal with their sharp challenges to his position on some of the more difficult ethical questions of modern times – such as those to do with human sexuality. As a result I am not sure he has an answer to the problem of doing justice in a plural world where there is no simple agreement even among Christians on what are and what are not basic human rights. Is divorce? Is abortion? Is voluntary euthanasia?
'A C.S. Lewis for the 21st century'
|Author / Artist||Timothy Keller|
|Publisher||Hodder & Stoughton (February 2012)|
|Number of Pages||256|
|Page last updated||1st December 2018|