Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Book: Jesus and Justice

Just noticed that my good buddy Peter Heltzel's book is coming out next summer with Yale University Press. It is titled Jesus and Justice: Evangelicals, Race, and American Politics. Peter teaches theology at New York Theological Seminary.

Here's a description from Yale University Press's website:

This timely book investigates the increasing visibility and influence of evangelical Christians in recent American politics with a focus on racial justice. Peter Goodwin Heltzel considers four evangelical social movements: Focus on the Family, the National Association of Evangelicals, Christian Community Development Association, and Sojourners.

The political motives and actions of evangelical groups are founded upon their conceptions of Jesus Christ, Heltzel contends. He traces the roots of contemporary evangelical politics to the prophetic black Christianity tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the socially engaged evangelical tradition of Carl F. H. Henry. Heltzel shows that the basic tenets of King’s and Henry’s theologies have led their evangelical heirs toward a prophetic evangelicalism in a shade of blue green—blue symbolizing the tragedy of black suffering in the Americas, and green symbolizing the hope of a prophetic evangelical engagement with poverty, AIDS, and the environment. This fresh theological understanding of evangelical political groups shines new light on the ways evangelicals shape and are shaped by broader American culture.

I had the privilege of reading this book in manuscript form; it does a masterful job of tracing the historical and theological roots of the various dimensions of evangelicalism. It is a timely book, full of passion, and brimming with rich insight. Read this for a preview of some of what you will find in the book. Peter also recently edited a volume of essays titled Evangelicals and Empire.

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