Generous Justice, Tim Keller
From Introduction (“Why Write This Book?”), pg. xviii-xxv
Justice was awakened for Keller on the schoolyard as he shares in the telling of Jeffery’s story. (pg. xix). Class members may be able to tell stories of when they became aware of a need for justice in the world.
American Civil Rights Era Justice
There was a national awaking to racial injustice in the that led to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. Keller recognized that “the Bible provides the very basis for justice” including in the Genesis creation account (“all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” as the US Constitution recognizes). Cf. Gen 1:26, mankind created in the image of God. Recalling the creation story, Paul preached, “he made from one man every nation of mankind.” (Acts 17:26).
Keller then points us to “Biblical prophetic literature” that rings with calls for justice. (pg. xx-xxi).
Here are some verses that will be cited later in the book, some more than once:
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy
This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight.”
Early Church Justice
In contrast to the Pharisees of Jesus’ day whom he charged “neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness” (Mt. 23:23), the early church awakened to the call for justice as deacons were first appointed in the church to bring justice to the care of widows. (Acts 6:1-6). (pg. xxii).
Awakening to a Mature Understanding of Justice
Discuss Keller’s statement, “There is a direct relationship between a person’s grasp and experience of God’s grace, and his or her heart for justice and the poor.” (pg. xxii).
Relate the story of Easley Shelton who, “When he lost his Phariseeism, his spiritual self-righteousness, he lost his racism.” (pg. xxiv).
Conclusion: “When people see the beauty of God’s grace in Christ, it leads them powerfully toward justice.” (pg. xxiv).