While the gospel of social justice is a popular topic today, it is refreshing to read a presentation of the Gospel that gives both spiritual transformation and social justice its biblical due. Richard Stearns, president of World Vision, has written a compelling book that pulls the blinders off of our comfortable, American Christianity. While social justice was given the bulk of the attention here, this is due to Stearns' sense of it's utter neglect in the Gospel of many evangelicals.
This book read like a half autobiography/half World Vision sponsor video script, neither of which I particularly enjoy but both of which I found compelling. And certainly, when there is such abject poverty and suffering in our world, and when we live in such opulence by comparison, we do not deserve to enjoy everything we read.
I was not convinced by some of Stearns' arguments from the Bible. I am still of the mind that Jesus' proclamation of good news to the poor, freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, and release of the oppressed was primarily (though not solely) referring to the spiritually poor, imprisoned, blind, and oppressed. Case in point: how many prisoners did Jesus free? Not even John the Baptist was freed by Jesus.
However, much of Stearns' offering was well-reasoned and biblically supported. World Vision's founder, Bob Pierce, famously prayed, "Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God." How will this ever be true if we blind ourselves to the things that break the heart of God?