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As a church leader I found this book a good check on where I was, and where we were as a church on our outreach programme. With much social action being commended, and so it should be, it was helpful to read both an exegetical and practical anaylsis on this subject. We are ultimately here for proclamation of the gospel, the great commission, and we shouldn't let other good things deviate us from great things.
If you could read only one book this year I recommend that this should be the one especially if you have leadership responsibility in the church because this addresses such a live issue. Increasingly conflict rages in churches and between churches about just how much social action the church should be involved in. This is an area in which Christians are often very judgemental towards those who take an opposing view. Some are caught up in incarnational theology without even realising it; they have a heart for a suffering world and seek to â€˜be Jesusâ€™ to people. Others see the error in this and faithfully continue to proclaim the gospel message but fail to reach out in compassion towards those who are struggling around them. The division between â€˜evangelicalâ€™ churches in my area is expressed in positions they take on this issue. Some consider a certain church dogmatic and unloving whilst others consider themselves as the only ones with a true heart for the gospel. Some are involved in a lot of action but do not proclaim the gospel message and others proclaim but are not involved in the community at all.<br /> <br /> This book speaks into this increasingly polarised debate tackling both positions and leaving all its readers with a challenge to live more in line with Godâ€™s purposes in scripture. It addresses the subject through a biblical overview whilst providing detailed exegesis of some much quoted and often misused passages. It contains a very helpful clear historical, and theological framework. The book itself is a wonderful example of how to read the bible with a biblical theology. If the issue is not one that is pertinent to you then the book is still worth reading purely as a model of how to read and understand Godâ€™s purposes in the bible.<br /> <br /> This book is ultimately very practical. It is a call to all those in leadership to remember what Godâ€™s mission is and â€˜to resist the urge to make the church body do everything you want the parts to be doingâ€™. This distinction draws together both the need for clear gospel proclamation and faithful living by members of the community of believers which is an essential message for our church today.<br /> <br />