From Publishers Weekly
Thundering like a biblical prophet against social and economic injustice, racism and political deceit ("Jesus did not establish a bureaucratic institution, weekly social gatherings, or houses of religious entertainment"), Hendricks, professor of biblical interpretation at New York Theological Seminary, proclaims Jesus as a political revolutionary who overturned the unjust social policies of his day. Rather unoriginally, Hendricks suggests that Jesus employed seven political strategies (e.g., "treat people's needs as holy"; "give a voice to the voiceless"; "expose the workings of oppression") in his challenge to the status quo. With cunning insight, however, Hendricks fervently examines the politics of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush—two U.S. presidents who have professed to be following the politics of Jesus—and argues that these leaders fall woefully short of living out Jesus' message of justice, righteousness and steadfast love. Hendricks also indicts church leaders for their complicity with these political figures, condoning unjust wars and corrupt economic practices and not calling judgment on them in Jesus' prophetic voice. Overall, Hendricks echoes the call to Christian social justice that John Howard Yoder proclaimed over 30 years ago in his own book of the same title. (Aug. 29)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Evangelical activists claiming Jesus for the Republican Party have finally met a zealous challenger. Combining the skills of a theologian with those of a political analyst, Hendricks sees little evidence that today's Republican leaders are upholding the Gospel ideals Jesus once taught. Indeed, while Hendricks adduces from the New Testament numerous indications that Jesus championed the oppressed and challenged the powerful, he interprets recent political events as proof that President Bush and his Republican allies have done just the opposite. In the president's frequent professions of Christian faith, Hendricks hears only the echoes of the corrupt triumphalism that the Roman emperor Constantine long ago substituted for the true gospel message. Even many Bush voters may concede the justice of this skeptical critique of right-wing Republican claims clothed in religious rhetoric. But many will balk when Hendricks himself drapes the mantle of Christian sanctity around the policies of FDR and LBJ. Despite his excesses, however, Hendricks provides a corrective to the religious partisanship of the Right. Bryce ChristensenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved