Brief Review of Generous Justice

Generous JusticeGenerous Justice by Timothy Keller My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Keller does a good job of identifying the need for all Christians to give as God has given to them, undeserving and rebellious people. He identifies different causes of poverty and injustice: individual sin, natural disaster (what insurance policies used to call “Acts of God”), and systemic oppression. Unfortunately he is unable to identify true systems of systemic oppression (e.g. institutions that sustain poverty and promote injustice and dependence). For example, instead of seeing the enormous moral, financial and educational failure of government schools, he recommends reforming them. The ravaging idol of secular statism (which claimed over 170 million lives in the 20th century) is an elephant that never gets touched. There are also some weird points, like saying Peter was “taught about the sinfulness of racial and ethnic bias (Acts 9:34)” (p123) and referring to the sacrificial system, a great resource for understanding justice, actually, as “an eye-glazing number of diverse rules” (p39). Peter wasn’t a racist before Acts 9:34, sheesh. The call of this book is good, but those who take it up need to go elsewhere for how to understand and do justice.

2 Comments Brief Review of Generous Justice

  1. yodieyoyo


    Curious how Keller’s views of “social justice” compare to those of N.T. Wright. Where do Keller and Wright agree and differ in this area?



  2. jwowen

    Good question. I remember in Wright’s Surprised by Hope (I think!) he talked about the US forgiving third world debt as an application of Jesus’ resurrection, an odd and largely counter-productive measure. I would need to take a closer look to compare their views. I’ve not read Wright’s more recent book on ethics but likely that would be the place to compare.

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