Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Just Church: Book Review

Book Review: The Just Church, by Jim Martin
Foreward by Gary Haugen, Founder of the International Justice Mission



What's this book about?

Have you ever read a story in a publication or seen a story on the news about the unfair living conditions, actions, or crimes against human beings that are being tolerated all around the world?  Did you ever feel compelled to do something about it?  This book contains answers regarding the overwhelming dilemma of how we as believers can carry out the Biblical mandate to speak for those who have no voice. 

The author starts by taking us through his own journey of ordinary church leader to active participant in pursuing justice in connection with the International Justice Mission.  He lays out step by step approaches and guidelines for any church body to not only seek justice, but to go out into the world and make disciples.  More than just a manual, this book serves as a heart check for those of us who have grown weak in faith, calling us to exercise it to the point of failure so that we can watch it grow.  He addresses fear and gives us Scriptural fuel to keep us going.  By the end of the book, we are motivated and equipped with a process for getting involved and resources to help us along the way. For all those who have ever wanted to be involved in issues of social justice around the world, but haven’t a clue how to start, this is the MVP of resources!

What did I like about it?

I often make the excuse that though my heart is to get involved in the plight of those suffering around the world, it’s not a realistic endeavor for a normal mom like me.  The reality is that God has called us all to uphold His standards.  The author begins with his own personal journey from ordinary Christian to passionate pursuer of justice, making it plausible that each of us, regardless of vocation or location, can and should take up responsibility for the atrocities going on in our world.  For those of us (like me!) who have a heart to right these wrongs, but are discouraged, he gently explains what is required of us, is realistic in explaining why failure is important for growing our faith, and makes this overwhelming task of seeking justice seem doable.

This book serves as a manual of sorts, inviting each one of us “to find trouble” to grow our faith and to rest, and reflect after failure.   The author is honest and clear, not hiding the fact that in living out this adventure, much discomfort and humility is required.  But he also makes this call attractive, making the reader desire to get uncomfortable in order to pursue justice, an issue so very dear to God’s heart.  He writes with a clear message of hope, and encourages us to spread that message to those in desperate situations. 

The Appendix is full of amazing resources as well.  He has included additional resources for further research, a list of justice-related Scripture, and a step-by-step strategy plan to get your church motivated, educated, and ready to go out and be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Who should read this book? 

Are you a Christ follower?  Then you should read this book.  Are you aware of how many people regularly suffer injustice on a daily basis?  Then you should read this book.  Are you a church leader?  You should read this book and make your church read it too!  This one’s for everyone because the call to pursue justice is for everyone.  The degree in which God has called us to engage in this mission varies, but we are all called. This is great resource for all of us who want to fulfill our roles in God’s plan.




Many thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for providing a free copy of The Just Church for review.

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