THEOLOGICAL & PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS of Social Ministry and Social Justice
Part of the ministry resources on Christian Social Ministry, Social Justice, and Urban Ministry
- Biblically-Based Calls to Social Conscience and Action
- Collections of Popularly Referenced Authors on Social Ministry, Social Justice, and Urban Ministry
- Theology of Social Ministry and Social Justice
- Theology of Reconciliation
- Theology of Material Possessions – General
- Theology of Material Possessions – Warning
- Theology of Material Possessions – Liberation Theology
- Theology of Material Possessions – Pro-Wealth, Capitalist
- Related Ministry Resources
Biblically-Based Calls to Social Conscience and Action
From International Justice Mission, Gary Haugen:
- Gary A. Haugen, Good News About Injustice: A Witness of Courage in a Hurting World – Offers a rich overview of the biblical message concern social justice, and introduces a wide range of resources. An excellent awakening to the issues of social justice from the director of the International Justice Mission.
- Gary A. Haugen, Just Courage: God’s Great Expedition for the Restless Christian – An introduction to the real and pervasive social evils that exist internationally, and a call to be courageous in seeking justice for those who would remain in the clutches of that evil outside our intervention.
From World Vision International, Richard Stearns:
Richard Stearns, The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? The Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World — A personal plea that describes the biblical and personal motivations that lead a successful corporate executive, who is now President of World Vision International, to let it go to pursue a call to an orphanage in Uganda.
From Evangelicals for Social Action, Ron Sider:
- Ronald J. Sider, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger– A recognized classic, now in its third printing. Among Evangelicals, perhaps the most widely read confrontation against materialism and a call to identify with the poor and oppressed.
- Ronald J. Sider, The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience: Why Christians Are Living Just Like the Rest of the World — Contends that “by their daily activity, most ‘Christians’ regularly commit treason. With their mouths they claim that Jesus is their Lord, but with their actions they demonstrate their allegiance to money, sex, and personal self-fulfillment.”
- Ronald J. Sider, Just Politics: A Guide to Christian Engagement – Helps Christians express their social consciences politically.
- Ronald J. Sider, I Am Not a Social Activist: Making Jesus the Agenda – A personal manifesto of one of this era’s most effective social prophets.
From Sojourners Community, Jim Wallis:
Jim Wallis, Rediscovering Values On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street: A Moral Compass for the New Economy – Many regard this to be one of Wallis’ most personal and passionate calls to Christian social conscience. It is also a good overall introduction to his thinking.
From the Christian Community Development Association, John Perkins:
- John M. Perkins, Let Justice Roll Down: John Perkins Tells His Own Story – John Perkins’ honest, humble, and compelling autobiography. It is recognized as a modern classic, and is referenced by virtually every resource in Christian social justice ministries.
- John M. Perkins, Beyond Charity: The Call to Christian Community Development – Perkins’ call for churches to change their perspectives regarding development of spiritually and economically disadvantaged people.
- Charles Marsh and John M. Perkins, Welcoming Justice: God’s Movement Toward Beloved Community (Resources for Reconciliation) – A historian and activist partner to chronicle God’s vision for more equitable and just world. A special focus is on the progression from the times and Dr. Martin Luther King on into the legacy of Perkins and others in American society.
- John Perkins and Shane Claiborne, Follow Me to Freedom: Leading as an Ordinary Radical – Perkins and Claiborne team re-imagine leadership and followership in a world desperate for true social justice, compassion and freedom.
Mark Labberton, The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor: Seeing Others Through the Eyes of Jesus – Awakens the deep disdain for social injustice that is in every human heart, yet exposes the casual disregard and self-serving avoidance maneuvers we often have toward those who live in the throes of that injustice.
Collections of Popularly Referenced Authors on Social Ministry, Social Justice, and Urban Ministry
- Tony Campolo
- Shane Claiborne/New Monasticism
- Duke University, Resources for Reconciliation
- John Perkins
- Ron Sider
- Jim Wallis
Theology of Social Ministry
Advanced Popular level:
- Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert, What is the Mission of the Church? Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission – Brings conservative Reformed and Southern Baptist perspectives to the subject of mission, offering definitions of terms such as missional, missio Dei, social justice, and shalom.
- Timothy J. Keller, Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes us Just — Keller’s newest volume on the subject. He builds a theology of justice empowered by an experience of grace: a generous, gracious justice.
- Timothy J. Keller, Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road — A biblically balanced look at the subject written on the foundation of the parable of the Good Samaritan. Part One lays out clear biblical principles for mercy ministries.
- Ronald J. Sider, Good News and Good Works: A Theology for the Whole Gospel – Concentrates on the theology and philosophy undergirding Christian social action, but in a way that honors the biblical call to evangelism. The companion volume, Cup of Water, Bread of Life: Inspiring Stories About Overcoming Lopsided Christianity, tells stories about ministries that combine the two emphases.
- Charles Colson, Nancy Pearsey, and Harold Fickett, How Now Shall We Live? – A comprehensive theology on how Christians should conceive of their place in postmodern society and fulfill their divinely appointed mission. Not written with a view toward ministries of evangelism and social justice per se, but on how Christians should perceive themselves generally within the created order.
- Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself – A well-written, accessible distillation of the best of theology, theory, and practice on the subject of social ministry.
- Bryant L. Myers, Walking With the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development – An academically weighty, balanced, and comprehensive book on the theology and practice of working with the poor. A good companion to Corbett and Fikkert, When Helping Hurts referenced above.
Theology of Reconciliation
- Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice, Reconciling All Things: A Christian Vision of Justice, Peace, and Healing (Resources for Reconciliation) – Seeks to cast a comprehensive vision for reconciliation that is biblical, transformative, holistic and global. From the Center for Reconciliation at Duke University Divinity School.
- Christopher L. Heuretz and Christine D. Pohl, Friendship at the Margins: Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission (Resources for Reconciliation) — Presents an alternative paradigm for mission, where people are not objectified as potential converts but encountered in a relationship of mutuality and reciprocity. Recommends befriending those on the margins of society by practicing hospitality and welcome, we create communities where righteousness and justice can be lived out.
- Fred Bahnson and Norman Wirzba, Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile With Creation (Resources for Reconciliation). – Stresses human interdependence with plants and animals, land and sea, heaven and earth. Expresses hope of restoring shalom and experiencing Jesus’ kingdom of shared abundance.
Theology of Material Possessions — General
- Craig Blomberg, Neither Poverty Nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions — A well-researched, balanced, and thorough development of biblical teaching on the subject of wealth and poverty. It demonstrates a good degree of scholarly objectivity, without the excesses characteristic of strong advocacy of a particular social philosophy.
- David L. Baker, Tight Fists or Open Hands: Wealth and Poverty in the Old Testament – A substantive (440 pages) development of the Old Testament teaching on the subject of poverty and wealth. Good supplement to Blomberg on the Old Testament.
- Ben Witheringon, Jesus and Money: A Guide for Times of Financial Crisis – Surveys Jesus’ teaching on issues of finances, poverty. Not as influenced by liberation theology as Barker’s Making Poverty Personal. Good supplement to Blomberg on the New Testament.
- Sondra Wheeler, Wealth as Peril and Obligation — Presents in-depth treatments of five New Testament texts: Mark 10:17-31; Luke 12:22-34; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; and James 5:1-6. She also surveys the teachings on possessions in the remainder of the New Testament. Recognized as a standard on this subject.
Theology of Material Possessions — Warning
Ronald J. Sider, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger– Contains a serious biblical study highlighting God’s identification with the poor and the “casting down” of the rich.
Theology of Material Possessions — Liberation theology
- Justo Gonzalez, Faith and Wealth: A History of Early Christian Ideas on the Origin, Significance, and Use of Money — From a respected liberation theologian. For evangelical Christians whose faith has been shaped in economically advantaged social-majority environments, Gonzalez may provide good alterantive exposure.
- Ash Barker, Making Poverty Personal: Taking the Poor as Seriously as the Bible Does — Surveys the teaching on poverty from the Exodus narrative, O.T. laws, O.T. poetry, O.T. prophets, the Gospels, Acts, the Epistles, and Revelation.
Theology of Material Possessions — Pro-Wealth, Capitalist
John R. Schneider, The Good of Affluence: Seeking God in a Culture of Wealth – Offers wealthy Christians biblical affirmation but also challenges them to a life shaped by an uncommon sense of stewardship and compassion.
Related Ministry Resources
See Other Ministry Resources on Social Ministry, Social Justice, and Urban Ministry:
- Social Ministry, Social Justice, Urban Ministry – Introduction
- Theological and Philosophical Foundations of Social Ministry, Social Justice, Urban Ministry
- SPIRITUALITY for Social Ministry, Social Justice, and Urban Ministry
- STRATEGIES For Christian Social Ministry and Social Justice
- URBAN MINISTRY – Strategies For Social Ministry and Social Justice Among the Urban Poor
- Christian Perspectives on POLITICS and Church-State Relations
- Christian Perspectives on ECONOMICS and Public Policy
See Resources on Over 100 Areas of Christian Ministry: