Jim Martin lays out an invitation to engage in securing justice with both courage and humility. He illustrates how doing so is an integral part of our faith in Jesus Christâ€”not simply because of the magnitude of suffering and sin in our world but because God has invited us to join Him in this fight.
The fight for justice and righteousness is not an easy one, but Martin reminds us that "love proves itself most profoundly in adversity" (56). It is in these difficult times that fellowship, rest, and the nourishment of scripture become indispensable.
In the latter half of the book, Martin lays out a framework by which churches can effectively participate in bringing God's kingdom to Earth. It is not a formulaic, step-by-step instructional manual but rather a blueprint by which fellowships of believers may recognize how doing justice is essential to their faith
The discussion questions at the end of each chapter are thought-provoking and challenging and make "The Just Church" a wonderful tool for anyone who desires to effectively join in the fight for justice.
In The Just Church, Jim Martin provides a practical and actionable road map for churches to not only begin the justice journey but stay engaged for the long haul. The first part of The Just Church addresses the biblical call to engage in justice along with numerous analogies illustrating why we have failed in this call, both as individuals and as a church body. The second part of The Just Church provides a framework for local church bodies to become engaged, along with case studies from churches around the country that have partnered with International Justice Mission in fighting the global scourges of slavery and human trafficking.
If you read The Just Church, you will be challenged and overwhelmed, inspired and heartbroken, encouraged and repulsed, devastated and compelled... yet hopeful and joyous. This book is a gift to the church at a time when God is calling His people to stand in the gap for the victims of violent oppression around the world.
Are you looking for a way to engage in the work of biblical justice? Is your desire to encourage a growing church culture defined by a heart beating with God's heart for justice, for the oppressed, the orphan and the widow? If you answer "yes," get your hands on this book. If you are serious about getting involved as the Church (or even unsure where to start), to act against injustice, drop everything and read it. No more excuses.
The Just Church will prepare you for a journey of true, life-changing discipleship. A journey where fear, failure, and trouble are not avoided but addressed and sought out for spiritual growth and (most importantly) God's glory. Here you will find encouragement and scriptural basis for an all-out, no holds barred response to violent injustice.
Jim Martin proves his own statement true: "Through the pursuit of justice we find our way to deep intimacy with a God who loves us and calls us into His work not only for the good of others, but for our own good as well. The work of justice is...as much about discipleship as it is about mission."
Do you seek an all-out faith and the courage to take risks for the Kingdom? Consider this book your invitation.
Compelling & practical roadmap to fight injustice.
October 4, 2012
In The Just Church, Jim Martin provides a biblically based, tangible, and practical roadmap for becoming a "Risk-Taking, Justice-Seeking, Disciple-Making Congregation." The Bible commands us to seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, and plead for the widow - The Just Church provides a framework for the church to engage in the fight against injustice in concrete and meaningful ways. If you're ready to reject apathy and boldly pursue justice, this book offers a step-by-step guide for how your church can do justice and make disciples in the process.
The first half of the book provides an overview of the intersection between faith, discipleship, and justice. Using the story of Blair who reached a "failure point" and was unable to pray during an IJM operation in India, Jim challenges the reader to examine whether they have ever reached a failure point in their faith - As Jim described, "we grow our faith not by sitting alone and trying to flex our faith muscle. We grow our faith by putting ourselves in situations that will require faith of us_faith grows most profoundly when it regularly confronts the failure point." As Chapter 1 demonstrates, Blair has become a courageous and inspiring leader at IJM by regularly reaching the failure point of his faith.
Part 1 goes on to explain how pushing through our failure points in moments of trouble lead to a deeper relationship with God, and ultimately, greater joy. Using Isaiah 58 as an illustration, Chapter 5 demonstrates that we cannot pursue holiness and God's favor in our own lives while at the same time disregarding injustice around the world. As we engage in the world around us and pursue justice for the lost, oppressed, and orphaned, we will find God and joy that surpasses all understanding.
Using IJM's tremendous record of experience as a guide, the second half of the book provides a clear, three-step strategy (Encounter, Explore, Engage) for churches that are ready to fight injustice in their communities and around the world. Jim provides sample surveys, diagrams, charts, and many meaningful examples from churches that have applied these principles and have created sustainable and successful justice ministries. Jim encourages the reader to use the practical examples as a guide, but more importantly, to prayerfully move through each step of the process and allow God to reveal the specific direction for his/her justice ministry.
The Just Church is an incredible resource for church leaders and Christians who are ready to answer God's command to seek justice - This book has challenged me to examine not only my faith, but my commitment to seek justice no matter the cost. I've been a dedicated justice seeker for many years, but this book inspired me to rally my congregation around God's command to seek justice - Using scripture as a basis, Jim powerfully demonstrates that the church is God's answer to ending injustice around the world. One of my favorite quotes from the book is: "If we are risk averse we will be faith poor." It's time to step out of our comfort zone and engage in the work of justice.
This book documents one of the most important movements in the church world - the groundswell of evangelical churches taking on God's call to fight for justice - and do so from a Biblical perspective. Martin roots his book in our call to work out our faith, challenging the reader that it is at the very core of their faith to go to those uncomfortable places.
Martin does not take the approach of spurring the reader to action by outlining the breadth and magnitude of the atrocities that exist in the world today. Rather he comes to us as disciples - and those responsible for shepherding communities of believers. He outlines the case for deep study coupled with daring yet humble action as an imperative for our own sake and for the sake of our churches.
In shepherding our younger members, Martin states "The onus is therefore on church leadership to lead rather than label today's youth. Where else will the foot soldiers of the new abolition movement come from? Who will do the work of building a deep and lasting theological and educational foundation under these passionate people? Who will carefully guide them into careers that matter to God and to those suffering in this world? The job is ours, and it's time for us to take it seriously."
Later, Martin outlines some practical steps to move forward in your and your church's justice journey. He leverages real life examples. Rather than a blueprint, he provides guideposts, strung together with moments of specific detail of one church's story, etc.
The format of the later chapters is elegant in how it inspires the reader, giving them some guidance and vignettes to grasp onto - yet leaves room for the reader to seek out their specific call and ultimately lean on God rather than a book to reveal the `good works that have been laid out in advance for us to do'.