Evangelicals and Social Action
From John Wesley To John Stott
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Paperback / softback
Publisher: Inter-Varsity Press
Number of Pages: 320
Width: 15.6 cm
Height: 23.4 cm
Evangelical Christians around the world have debated for years the extent to which they should be involved in ministries of social action and concern. In Evangelicals and Social Action Ian J. Shaw offers clarity to these debates by tracing the historical involvement of the evangelical church with issues of social action. Focusing on thinking and practices from John Wesley, one of the architects of eighteenth century evangelicalism, to John Stott’s work in the second half of the twentieth century, he explores whether evangelism and social action really have been intimately related throughout the history of the church as Stott contended. After an overview of Christian social action prior to Wesley, from the early church through to the eighteenth century, Evangelicals and Social Action explores in detail responses from the evangelical church around the world to eighteen key issues of social action and concern – including poverty, racial equality, addiction, children ‘at risk,’ slavery, unemployment, and learning disability – encountered between the 1730s and the 1970s. Drawn from a wide range of contexts, these examples illuminate and clarify how Evangelical Christianity has viewed and been a part of ministries of social action over the last three centuries. With an assessment of the issues raised by this historical survey and its implications for evangelicals in the contemporary world, Evangelicals and Social Action is a book that will help better inform the debates around the evangelical church and social action still happening today. This is a book for anyone wanting to deepen their knowledge of the history of the evangelical church, and anyone wanting to better understand Christian social action from an evangelical perspective.
Exhilarated. Sobered. Hopeful. Those were my emotions as I read this extraordinarily timely book. Indeed, as we seek to respond to a world that serially reels from disasters like Covid-19 and their economic, environmental, emotional, mental, physical, spiritual impacts, Ian Shaw's compelling survey of evangelical gospel action over two centuries comes to us as an imagination-expanding well of wisdom. ... While this book illuminates times past, I would be very surprised if it does not lead to contemporary action. * Mark Greene, Mission Champion, LICC * Dr Ian Shaw has put the challenge to 'love your neighbour as yourself' firmly back on the evangelical map. The welfare state and controversies over the 'social gospel' have held evangelicals back from their God-given task to be good news as well as preach it. In this book you will find tremendous challenge and inspiration from the lives of everyone from John Wesley to John Stott - almost a 'who's who' of evangelical heroes whose compassion for the poor and downtrodden blazes a trail for us to follow. * Jeremy McQuoid, Chair, Keswick Convention * Ian Shaw's beautifully written book explores the extensive social impact evangelicals in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries created in their communities and around the globe as both men and women tackled prison reform, education, housing, employment, medical care and other social concerns. He emphasizes the historical evangelical approach to minister to the whole person, defying social norms that denigrated others. Evangelicals and Social Action is an inspiring call to renew the historical evangelical emphases of conversion and social activism. * Lynn H. Cohick Provost/Dean of Academic Affairs, Northern Seminary, Illinois, USA * This book is an excellent resource for anyone wondering whether evangelical Protestantism can contribute meaningfully to the common good. Using well-crafted case studies, Ian Shaw provides a compelling account of the wide-ranging social impact of holistic ministry by evangelicals around the world. * Jeffrey P. Greenman, President, Regent College, Vancouver, Canada * From slavery to human trafficking, from orphan care to prison reform, Ian Shaw ably shows how evangelicals have been at the heart of the action for more than two hundred years. This thorough examination of Christian social responsibility as it combined with gospel proclamation, demonstrates how such holistic or integral mission is not only supported by Scripture, but has been blessed by God to the advancement of his kingdom.' * Ian Burness, former General Director, Echoes International * This book brought me to tears, to a place of awesome wonder, and to gratitude to God for the inspiration he has given to men and women of faith to work in front of, and behind the scenes, of society. It is not simply a sweeping historical account of the kindness and grace of evangelicals, it is a substantial work, carefully researched. Ian Shaw illustrates the breadth of social action and political involvement over this period, which changed society. He brings issues to life with character studies and has unearthed new material, even about well-known figures such as Hudson Taylor... Many of the challenges of earlier centuries are still with us. Every Christian should read this book and be proud of their Christian heritage; and then should pray to God that he will raise up men and women of faith and courage such as Lord Shaftesbury and Josephine Butler, for our generation. * Sheila Stephen, Former Chair of the Christian Charity PROSPECTS, UK * This superbly well-researched and engagingly written book brings so many unknown names of evangelical believers into the limelight... The sheer abundance of facts and statistics proves beyond question how evangelical commitment over two centuries saw no dichotomy, but natural and biblical integration, between evangelistic zeal to save sinners and conscientious activism battling against the social and economic evils that sin generates. Those of us who are glad to see such missional integration increasingly re-instated in global evangelicalism (not without resistance) welcome the historic lineage provided by this book. Yet, the underlying evils are with us still. The battle goes on. And this book will encourage those evangelicals today whose calling is to engage in that battle in the power of the cross and living demonstration of the gospel, inspired by such a cloud of witnesses. May their tribe increase. * Chris Wright, Global Ambassador and Ministry Director, Langham Partnership *