Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes Us Just by Timothy Keller
Point: God cares for the sick, the needy, the poor and the oppressed. His people should as well.
Path: In order to uphold justice one must properly understand “What is Doing Justice?” (ch 1). In order to prove his point that doing justice involves giving all human beings their due as creations of God (pg 18), Keller looks to the Old Testament for God’s view of justice (ch. 2). Through the Pentateuch and the Prophets it is clear that justice is demanded. Keller then looks to the teachings of Christ (ch 3) to see if Christ has “moved beyond” the teaching of the Law. He hasn’t.
Keller’s third testimony comes from the parable of the Good Samaritan (ch 4). Here the author stresses that one must receive this neighbor-love before they can ever give it (pg 77). Keller continues by asking the question “Why should we do justice” (ch 5). It is precisely because God loves it and we love God. He then asks “How?” (ch 6) and what does it look like in the public square (148). He concludes with “Peace, Beauty, and Justice” (ch 8) and how seeing true beauty will remind us who we are and what we must do.
Sources: Keller regularly references Jonathan Edwards and Mark Gornik.
Agreement: I must seek to do good to all men, even unbelievers, even when they do wrong, and even when they squander what I do. I am to do this out of love for Christ, not my love of me.
Disagreement: Keller seems to advocate the idea that “no culture is better than any other.” I disagree here. If that were the case, why push for reform? That would be changing someone’s “culture” to another equally valid culture. I also believe that the culture of some head hunters on a distant island is wrong and that a culture which has been molded more by biblical principles is better.
This would be a good starting book for anyone starting to think about ministry in the city. It also is a good book to remind us that there is more out there than middle class Suburbia.