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Pursuing Justice: The Call to Live and Die for Bigger Things Hardcover – February 11, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 135 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Wytsma is one of the new breed of evangelical Christians returning to scripture to redeem justice as a central tenet of faith. He infuses his writing with fresh experiences from working with the millennial generation...This accessible guide provides trustworthy scriptural analysis...and a solid philosophy for understanding justice in today's society. "Justice cannot be divorced from God's heart and purposes," he writes. Wytsma is engaging, encouraging, and invitational. His humor helps the reader recognize her own humanity and transformative potential. (from Publishers Weekly)

From the Back Cover

"Justice has become trendy. Ken Wytsma's Pursuing Justice avoids all the pitfalls of trendiness. It exhibits a deep and accurate understanding of the nature of justice. It is an eye-opener."
--NICHOLAS WOLTERSTORFF, Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology, Yale University
"Ken is a fresh voice of balance, humility, and collaboration. His enthusiasm is contagious and his challenge to the church to not only do justice, but to learn to do it well, is commendable."
--KEITH WRIGHT, International President of Food for the Hungry
"Ken Wytsma's Pursuing Justice will rattle you. Not since C. S. Lewis put down his pen have readers been so provoked to think. It will change the way you approach others."
--KAREN SPEARS ZACHARIAS, Author of A Silence of Mockingbirds and Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-Wide? 
"Ken Wytsma not only brings us back to a biblical understanding of justice, but also humbly calls us to pursue it in practice. I was both enlightened and motivated."
--RANDAL ROBERTS, President of Western Seminary, Portland, OR
"In Pursuing Justice, Ken is at the cutting edge of where God's heart is. This book is timely and needs to be read by everyone in the church."
--JOHN M. PERKINS, Civil Rights Leader
"Ken's book will serve as an important guide as the global justice movement matures from sensation-driven reactions into transformational pursuit."
--BETHANY H. HOANG, Director of the International Justice Mission (IJM) Institute for Biblical Justice

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (February 11, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0849964660
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849964664
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #467,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ken Wytsma is a leader, innovator, and social entrepreneur. He is the president of Kilns College, where he teaches courses on philosophy and justice. He is the founder of The Justice Conference--a yearly international conference that exposes men and women to a wide range of organizations and conversations relating to justice and the biblical call to give our lives away. Ken is also a church planter and the lead pastor at Antioch Church. He and his wife, Tamara, have four daughters and live in Bend, Oregon.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Even though we can't fix the world, we can certainly change it."

In Pursuing Justice, Wytsma has assembled a fascinating hybrid of memoir, theology, sociology, history, and art. Always honest, authentic, and transparent, he bares his soul on his lifelong struggle to understand and imitate God's heart for justice and what he has learned along the way.

With content you might not expect in a book about justice - there are chapters on happiness, worship, and the love of God - Pursuing Justice covers areas that are universal to human experience. As a result, it is universally relevant even to people who have never read a book on justice or spiritual growth or the meaning of life. Wytsma goes beyond justice and expands on how to find happiness and fulfillment as well as pursue and draw closer to God.

Pursuing Justice is different than many of the other books on justice or theology I've read. It's not negative. It isn't a catalogue of atrocities going on the world. While Wytsma occasionally brings up some of the `trendier' justice issues, he keeps the focus on the reader's role in bringing justice to the world. He shies away from making every person responsible for solving every problem. Instead he encourages the reader to take their unique place in God's ever unfolding tapestry of justice. That might mean something drastic like moving to Africa to work with AIDS orphans, but - for most of us - probably looks more like staying home to be a good parent or being kind to the jerk who cuts us off on the freeway.

Far from a dry discussion of justice or theology, this book is filled with anecdotes and personal stories, including Wytsma's spiritual journey and how he nearly partied himself to death in his twenties before he began to search for meaning and fulfillment.
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Format: Hardcover
Around ten years ago, I used to meet my Seminary spiritual mentor, Bobby Brewer, weekly at the local Barnes and Noble in Scottsdale, Arizona for some good spiritual refreshment, insight, and encouragement. And every week I would show up a little early and scan the Christian section of the bookstore, seeing what was new and popular to read in the Christian world. During this time, I remember seeing books on lots of topics - sex, prayer, holiness, discipleship, love, theology - but I never remember seeing any books on justice. Boy, how things have changed in ten years....Now, justice resources abound as the Spirit of God seems to be renewing and refashioning His people to live a life pursuing and doing justice - a calling and goal as old as the Scriptures themselves. Ten years ago, justice wasn't on the radar for many Evangelical Christians. Today, it couldn't be more different.

So, when I got the opportunity to read and review the soon-to-be-released book, Pursuing Justice, by Ken Wytsma, I jumped at the opportunity. Wytsma is quietly (he is so dang humble - more on this later) becoming a leading voice in America for a new generation of justice folks. He is the founder of the Justice Conference, President of Kilns College, and the lead pastor of Antioch Church in Bend, Oregon....and likely soon to be a best-selling author. He lives a life he preaches - which is so refreshing and captivating.

Wytsma covers a lot of ground in Pursuing Justice - masterfully weaving together Scripture, theology, Christian tradition, current/historical stories justice, and personal reflections/stories. He moves through many of these categories eloquently - never talking over the head of the reader or going off on tangents.
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Format: Hardcover
What Ken produces in this book is a gospel centered approach to God's call to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly. It encompasses God's intrinsic design and command that we do justice. An impassioned plea to redeem the word and concept of Justice and restore it to it's rightful place deep within God's heart and subsequently,ours.
Once we embrace the template God provided for why we pursue justice and shalom, Ken moves into an overview and analysis of many of the obstacles present including apathy, blind spots, politics, and social structures.
He easily blends history, philosophy, theology, and ethics to address some of the solutions to engaging this not just as activists or soap-box-ranters but as grace soaked administers bent on seeing God's intent fulfilled as we obey his call.

He covers a lot of ground in 307 pages and his tone, while intellectual makes subjects such as the theological necessity of justice easily within reach for any reader. He intersperses segments of his life experiences and encounters with others to demonstrate many of his points and includes interludes between each chapter where many diverse voices contribute art, lyric, poetry, and dialogue on a myriad of topics. The end result being a mosaic of creativity and collaboration.

He gives almost no application in the book's entirety. There are no lists to check or steps to follow or obey so that you can be assured you are living a just life. It was most certainly intentional. Ken doesn't fill in all the blanks for you, challenging you to engage the topic personally and spiritually.
My mind was provoked, leaving me with a lot of questions.
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