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Return to Justice

Authors:  Soong-Chan Rah and Gary VanderPol
ISBN:  9781587433764
Publisher:  Baker Books
Published:  2016
Pages:  224
Sub-title:  Six Movements that Reignited Our Contemporary Evangelical Conscience

Price$24.99 $26.24 with TAX
Reclaiming an Evangelical History of Activism

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest by evangelicals in the topic of biblical social justice. Younger evangelicals and millennials, in particular, have shown increased concern for social issues. But the move toward evangelical social justice is not a recent development. Following World War II, a new movement of American evangelicals emerged who gradually increased their efforts on behalf of justice.

This work explains the important historical context for evangelical reengagement with social justice issues. It tells the story of how, in just two generations, Bible-believing Christians came to rediscover what has always been true: justice is close to the heart of God. The authors provide an overview of post-World War II evangelical social justice and compassion ministries, introducing key figures and seminal organizations that propelled the rediscovery of biblical justice. The book explores the historical and theological lessons learned from evangelical history and offers a way forward for contemporary Christians.


Part 1: Justice Is Personal and Relational
1. The Power of Personal Story: John Perkins and the Christian Community Development Association
2. The Power of a Personal Connection: Child Sponsorship and Global Poverty
Part 2: Justice Is Public and Prophetic
3. World Vision and the Work of Prophetic Advocacy
4. Sojourners as a Prophetic Voice for Those on the Margins
Part 3: Justice Confronts Power in Community
5. African-American Evangelicals and the Challenge of True Racial Reconciliation
6. The Fraternidad Teológica Latinoamericana and the Sharing of Power in a Globalized Christianity


"Justice must be central for Christians because it is central to the heart of God. As Soong-Chan Rah and Gary VanderPol write, American evangelicals are rediscovering God's deep concern and Christians' historic activism for justice. Return to Justice is a compelling reminder that those on the margins must be at the center of the church's attention."

Richard Stearns, president, World Vision U.S.; author of The Hole in Our Gospel

"The story of evangelicalism in the United States, and specifically the exciting story of how many in the modern evangelical movement have increasingly embraced justice concerns in the post-World War II era, is inspiring--but also complex and underappreciated. In Return to Justice, Soong-Chan Rah and Gary VanderPol have done a masterful job, telling six compelling stories, with scholarly rigor and highly accessible prose, of evangelicals rediscovering their nineteenth-century justice heritage. Calling the church to return to its true vocation and embrace biblical justice has been the central motivating force of my own life and vocation. So I cannot recommend this book strongly enough. Return to Justice should be read by anyone who wants to understand evangelicals and Christianity on a much deeper level than the shallow political definitions in the media."

Jim WallisNew York Times bestselling author of America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America; president of Sojourners; editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine

"In the lifetime I have spent within the circle called evangelicalism the single-most noteworthy development is not the much-discussed shift toward activism among the political Right in the Reagan years, but rather the much deeper stream flowing now with dramatic force into social justice activism on the part of many evangelicals. The resurgence of concern for justice emerges from deep wells in the evangelical tradition, and the story needs to be told--and in fact has now been told in Return to Justice. While this story reveals some unexamined assumptions or activisms, the commitment to justice in all its forms--some central and some sadly neglected--is inherent to the deep evangelical tradition. Many who write the history of the twentieth century have ignored these deep wells but they are now visible for all to see."

Scot McKnight, Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary

"Compelled by a deep love for the evangelical church in America, Rah and VanderPol recount the history of some of the movement's most courageous prophets, advocates, and organizations in the church's quest for a more just world. Return to Justice tells the story of an evangelical history that must not be forgotten. This book examines several influential evangelical movements that have shaped our understanding of service, compassion, and justice, including contributions from the African American and Latino evangelical communities. Return to Justice provides valuable insights that both inspire individual growth and compel us toward an authentic return to God's heart for justice."

Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, author of Social Justice Handbook: Small Steps for a Better World

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