Tony Merida has written a short and accessible work on the practical “ordinary” ways for Christians to begin addressing social concerns in our fallen world. Since the rise of the “social gospel” in the early 20th century, social justice concerns have been a hot topic issue among evangelicals. This is why this topic must be addressed with biblical clarity. In the author’s own words this book is about “ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality.” Merida begins with the doctrines of the imago Dei, redemption, and restoration. These doctrines, he argues, ought to motivate followers of Christ to engage in the cause for justice. He roots social justice concerns in the gospel of the Kingdom.
In the brief five chapters Merida shows the importance of ordinary things like:
1) loving our neighbors
2) demonstrating kingdom hospitality
3) caring for the fatherless
4) speaking for those who have no voice
5) living with humility.
These ordinary everyday activities done through the power of the Spirit shape the world and reflect the Kingdom of God. Each chapter is saturated with biblical and personal examples of how social needs are an important aspect to the Kingdom of God. I appreciate the authors concern for the integration of the gospel in social justice matters. For far too long those who claim to believe in the life transforming power of the gospel have been silent when it comes to social justice issues. In contrast the author offers a gospel-centered perspective in light of the objective that only “liberal theologians address social concerns.” It is encouraging to hear young voices like Tony Merida drawing attention to important social concerns. As a young pastor I am looking for sound biblical material to recommend to my congregation on this issue. “Ordinary” is one that I can recommend for its practical and biblical material.
I received this book from B&H Publishing in exchange for a fair review.