The (Un)Common Good

| January 19, 2015

Jim Wallis. The (Un)Common Good: How the Gospel Brings Hope to a World Divided. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2014. 303 pp. $15.99.

For anyone familiar with the nearly 25-year-old Sojourners movement, there are few surprises in president Jim Wallis’s latest book, The (Un)Common Good: How the Gospel Brings Hope to a World Divided. He strives to speak truth to power—whether that power is the U.S. government or the behemoth known as evangelicalism. The “truth” Wallis promotes includes the need for churches to be community organizers (21), for appropriations bills to fund poverty relief (79), for the Pentagon to focus on loving our Muslim neighbors (140), and for Congress to reauthorize the earned income and child tax credits (237). In short, in The (Un)Common Good Wallis restates his vision for an activist church and a beneficent government.          

There is much for evangelical readers to disagree with here. For example, Wallis concedes that same-sex marriage is not sinful and should be welcomed in the church (127, 269). He argues that faithful Christians must not only agree on the imperative to fight poverty, but on the political means to wage that war (77). Finally, Wallis blurs the distinction between…

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