Takeaway: Evangelism and Social Justice are not antithetical.
I started Humanitarian Jesus immediately after Jesus Manifesto (my review). In most ways, Humanitarian Jesus was exactly what Jesus Manifesto should have been. The first section of the book focused on a theology of Christ and ministry. This is a practical, theology of how to maintain a focus on Christ and at the same time balance the need for evangelism and ministry.
One good example of the good theology, and practical working out of issues is the fine line that is maintained on evangelism.
“Evangelism is not just sharing the gospel of salvation. And evangelism is not just meeting needs…Evangelism is allowing Christ to so live in and through us that who we are, what we do and what we say is the very expression of who he is…Christ did not meet needs and live among the people just so he would have the chance to evangelize. He met needs and lived among the dying because that was part of the truth of the gospel…We should meet needs because it is part of who Christ was and if we are in Christ it should be part of who we are.”
The authors walk a narrow line. They define evangelism as both “who we are and what we do” and “a message the requires a response.” They are pushing back against people that want to only view evangelism as a written or spoken message, or those that want to define evangelism as only action. Evangelism is both action and word, done in conjunction.
The second section is just as important to the project. Section two is completely focused on interviews of people that are attempting to balance evangelism and social action (or ministry or social justice.) Also important is that those being interviewed will not agree on terminology, or the way that things work out or the theology of why they are doing what they are doing. But that is part of the conversation.
This is not a perfect book. I would have chosen a few different interviews. Still too much focused on the White Guy. But overall this is a much better book than several others I have read on similar topics lately.
This book was provided by christianaudio.com for purposes of review.