I’m rapidly becoming a big fan of everything Tim Keller writes (I previously reviewed Counterfeit Gods) because, well, he just seems to make so much sense.
In Generous Justice: How God’s grace makes us just Keller explores how the motivation for acts of compassion and justice are rooted in the grace of God to us in Christ. It’s this connection that makes this book stand out from many of the other books on social justice.
Keller has four main groups in his sights as he writes; those keen on social justice but unclear of the gospel connection, those clear on the gospel but wary of social justice, those who are keen on mission as social justice but gone soft on the cross and lastly those who think Christianity like all religions ‘poisons everything’.
In many ways there really is little difference between what Tim Keller is saying here than say what Jim Wallis says in A Call to Conversion but Keller goes a bit deeper and connects in a truer way to the heart of the Gospel. Many authors start from the needs of the poor and then work backwards to the Bible looking for reasons why we should do something. Keller comes to similar conclusions but from a very different starting point. He starts with the Gospel message and then works out the implications of that and seeks to show that you can not, not have social justice if you’ve understood the gospel.
The one area where Generous Justice is a bit thin on the ground is personal stories and illustrations which is a bit surprising because I don’t think Keller or his church are short of them. A few more would have given just a bit more real life insight into some of the solutions Keller was suggesting.
However, Keller also knows his core readership will come from American evangelicalism, a group not always known for their commitment to social justice and in this volume he teaches the how and why of social justice using language they can grasp and understand. More importantly he connects it to the thing they are most concerned about: the gospel.
Well worth having a copy on your shelves.