3 Stars Out Of 5
May 20, 2011
The Reformed Reader
Mae Elise Cannon's Social Justice Handbook is a book written to encourage and equip believers for taking part in social justice. The book is broken down into two parts: Foundations of Justice and Social Justice Issues. In part one of the book Cannon makes a theology of social Justice. Part two of the book applies this theology to particular injustices going on throughout the world. Cannon roots her argument for justice in the fact that God is just/good therefore we should be likewise. Cannon does not explain justice in light of, God restoring all things under Christ's headship, but as an implication of the fact that this is an attribute of God's character. Cannon's argument is God is just, therefore we should be just also.
I wish that Cannon's theological argument for justice was better explained in light of the cross. There isn't a section in the book that explains the difference between the difference between Jews doing good works and Christians doing good works. Why is it that a Christian who is taking part in justice different from a Jew or a Mormon doing these same works? I think this issue is extremely important especially in light of the many moralists attending our churches. The modern western church is full of "Veggie-Tale Spirituality"( being a good person divorced from the cross). Scripture roots good works in the resurrected Christ and his Spirit, working through the life of the believer (e.g. Galatians 5:22-3, Eph 4, and Col 3). Although Cannon does not teach a Social Gospel some may find this to be an implication while reading her book. Good works are not the "root of the believer, but the fruit" as Piper explained at the previous T4G conference. I do think Cannon's book is an amazing tool for pastors and that it should be found upon their shelves. The church, not just individuals should be involved in justice. By taking part in social justice, the church demonstrates that God has defeated sin and is restoring all things back under the headship of Christ. Social justice is a reflection of this restoration that is taking place through the Spirit. Cannon's book offers some helpful tools in educating believers of the problems within the world. Cannon also gives helpful/practical advice how to get involved in bringing justice to the world. Whether that be through watching a movie (e.g. Amazing Grace) or feeding homeless people within the inner-city, Cannon has ideas for education/relief for over 30 different injustices going on across the street, around the world. I would highly recommend the book, as long as one keeps the cross in their foresight. I do not think that Cannon neglects the cross in her book, but I do not she makes this the theme or reason for good works.
~The Reformed Reader~