Featured Reviews, VOLUME 3

Featured: JUSTICE RISING by John Heagle [Vol. 3, #47]

“The Coming of God’s Just Kingdom

A review of
Justice Rising:
The Emerging Biblical Vision
John Heagle

Reviewed by Warren Hicks.

Justice Rising: The Emerging Biblical Vision.
John Heagle
Paperback: Orbis Books, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Justice Rising - John HeagleNear the end of his book, Justice Rising: The Emerging Biblical Vision, John Heagle poses the following question, “what if the second coming of Christ is neither an imminent global catastrophe nor a distant apocalyptic event, but rather an unfolding process within human history” (162)?

With this question, Heagle invites us to consider push back against some of the prevailing theologies of justice based on tired interpretations of what the ‘Kingdom of God’ is all about in terms of Jesus’ life and ministry and to join with God in the ongoing work of pointing toward the emergence of the Kingdom as it exists and to work for the environment that will encourage its further coming and hold on the powers and principalities of our contemporary world.

To talk about justice in the current context of political and religious ‘dialogue’ in the United States is bound to ring some bells and hit some buttons with folks.  When the role of ‘social justice’ as it relates to the Church and the message of Jesus becomes a flashpoint for divisive rhetoric, it would be easy to approach this volume with presuppositions of one sort or another.  To do that with this book, however, would be a mistake.

Heagle, in accessible language and scholarship, appeals to the best of our tradition as followers of Jesus to give a solid background to what is truly biblical justice.  The section on Jesus as the fulfillment of ‘suffering servant’ from Isaiah alone, is worth the read, especially here in the Advent and Christmas season.

In a world that too often sees justice as retributive, Heagle calls believers of all stripes to wrestle with the text of Scripture in the context of its day, God’s vision and contemporary challenges to faith.

The book adeptly deals with the issues of interpersonal justice, violence, war, politics and environmental stewardship in a way that invites the reader to take examine one’s notions of God’s action in the world and what constitutes a faithful response to Scripture and the movement of the Spirit.

Justice Rising would make for a good foundation for discussion of the above issues of justice. The book is laid out in chapters with helpful sub-headings that would make discussion easy to facilitate.

C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

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Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith

"This book will inspire, motivate and challenge anyone who cares a whit about the written word, the world of ideas, the shape of our communities and the life of the church."
-Karen Swallow Prior

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